How do you crisp soggy brussel sprouts?

Brussel Sprouts don’t get enough love in my opinion. And it’s no wonder! The most common way of cooking Brussel sprouts that I’ve experienced has been, shall we say, less than par. There is only one way that brussel sprouts taste good and that’s roasting! But what if you’re asking yourself: Why won’t my brussel sprouts get crispy? Stick around to find out! I’ll share my secrets for perfectly crisp and not bitter Brussel sprouts. Who knows? They may become your new favorite side dish!

The Wrong Way to cook Brussel sprouts

Step away from the sauce pan! Boiling brussel sprouts makes them soggy, watery, tasteless, and sad. Plus, it really stinks up your whole house! In addition, boiling takes away a lot of the healthy minerals that you should be getting out of your veggie! So, no boiling, ever!

The right way to cook brussel sprouts

If you are looking for a roasty flavor that is rich and earthy, then you absolutely must roast your brussel sprouts. But, a lot can go wrong when roasting. I get it! I’ve been there! And, fortunately, I’ve learned from my mistakes. So, I’ll share some tips to help you get the crispiest, but not burnt or bitter, brussel sprouts that will taste so good, even the kids will eat them!

Step 1: Cut your brussel sprouts in half

It’s impossible to roast whole brussel sprouts to get them fully cooked in the middle and nicely browned and crispy on the outside. They are too dense and end up burning on the outside and being undercooked and crunchy on the inside. So, don’t skip the cutting part!

Step 2: Soak your brussel sprouts in water

Okay, this is a very important part for a variety of reasons. After you cut your brussel sprouts, put the halves into a bowl filled with regular, cool tap water. Let them sit for 5 minutes fully submerged. Give them a little stir after 5 minutes.

This helps things like grains of sand and dirt and, I know it’s gross, but little bugs that may have been living in the inner leaves! Let’s face it! Plants grow outside and bugs are going to crawl on them.

But, it’s our job as the home cook to get those critters off before we cook them and serve them to our friends and families!

Step 3: Dry your brussel sprouts

You must not skip this part! This is the main reason people end up with soggy brussel sprouts. As with ANYTHING that you are roasting, the food must be dry before being put on the roasting pan. Wet food in the oven gives off steam and steam doesn’t allow for crisp, right!?

Pull your brussel sprouts out of the water and let them sit on a good amount of paper towels for maybe 10 minutes before the next step.

Step 4: Coat your sprouts with oil

Grab a large mixing bowl and place your dried brussel sprouts in it. Drizzle with a good amount of olive oil to coat them. Put just enough to coat them. You shouldn’t have a pooling of oil at the bottom. Excess oil can lead to smoke in the oven and result in burning and blackening of brussel sprouts.

Sprinkle some salt and pepper on the sprouts to suit your taste. Now, the fun part! Toss the sprouts in the bowl and really get some air with each toss. This process gets the oil in every nook and cranny of the brussel sprout which makes for perfectly crisp results!

Step 5: Line your baking sheet with parchment paper

Never cook food directly on your baking sheet. Who wants that clean up anyway!? Use parchment paper instead of foil because the brussel sprouts will stick to the foil, but not stick to the parchment, so you won’t lose any of your crisp edges when you go to remove your sprouts.

Step 6: Cook on High Heat

Place your baking dish in a 450 degree Fahrenheit pre-heated oven and cook for around 20 minutes. Based on your oven and the amount your cooking, it could be longer. Don’t worry if some of the loose brussel leaves turn black. That’s okay. You’re more concerned with the sprouts themselves.

They should be a rich, dark brown color with a little black sprinkled around. Pulling your brussel sprouts out to early is another reason you don’t have crispy brussel sprouts. They need to be on the darker side. Don’t worry, they’ll taste amazing with a simple Asian-inspired sauce drizzled over them.

Step 7: Cover with a great sauce

Roasted brussel sprouts are great on their own, but they are irresistible with a great sauce drizzled over them after cooking. Not before! If you put a sauce on while they are cooking, you steal the crisp away. No, you must drizzle the sauce on the finished brussel sprouts.

Place them in a bowl and drizzle just enough sauce to coat the sprouts. Too much sauce and the sprouts will lose their crispness and their taste and be overpowered by the sauce. My preferred sauce is easy to make and has a simple taste that won’t steal the show from the brussel sprouts themselves.

The only ingredients are honey, red pepper flakes, and soy sauce. Mix together your desired amount based on your spice level and sweet level, and drizzle. Yum!


Why are my brussel sprouts still hard after cooking?

  • Undercooking: They might not have been cooked long enough. Brussel sprouts require sufficient time to soften, especially if they’re whole.
  • Size Matters: Larger brussel sprouts take longer to cook. Try cutting them into halves or quarters for even cooking.
  • Cooking Method: Roasting or steaming is more effective in softening brussel sprouts compared to other methods.
  • Prep Tip: Score a small X on the bottom of each sprout to help heat penetrate more effectively.

Why are my brussel sprouts soggy?

  • Overcrowding the Pan: This causes them to steam rather than roast, resulting in a soggy texture.
  • Too Much Oil: Excessive oil can make them greasy and soggy. Just enough to coat them is ideal.
  • Not Preheating Your Oven: Starting with a hot oven ensures a good sear and prevents sogginess.
  • Quick Fix: Try spreading them out on a baking sheet and placing them under the broiler for a few minutes to crisp up.

Why won’t my brussel sprouts get soft?

  • Old Sprouts: Freshness matters! Older sprouts tend to be tougher.
  • Heat Distribution: Ensure even cooking by regularly stirring if pan-frying or sautéing.
  • Steam Power: Steaming can help soften them, especially if they’re older or larger.
  • Experiment: Cooking them covered for a few minutes can help soften them before finishing uncovered for crispiness.

Why are my brussel sprouts not forming tight heads?

  • Growing Conditions: They require cool temperatures and plenty of water for tight head formation.
  • Nutrient Balance: A lack of specific nutrients in the soil can affect their growth.
  • Harvest Time: If left too long on the stalk, they might not form properly.
  • Tip: Homegrown sprouts? Ensure they have well-draining soil and steady moisture.

Why do you soak brussel sprouts before cooking?

  • Cleaning: Soaking helps in removing dirt and tiny insects hidden in the layers.
  • Reviving: If they seem a bit wilted, soaking in cold water can revive their crispness.
  • Reduce Bitterness: Some believe soaking in salt water can help reduce bitterness.
  • Prep Tip: A quick 10-minute soak in cold water is usually sufficient.
Cooking MethodTextureTime RequiredFlavor ProfileTips
RoastingCrispy on outside20-25 minutesRich and caramelizedPreheat oven, cut sprouts in halves
SteamingSofter overall5-10 minutesMild and tenderUse a steamer basket, add salt

Try these tips and follow these steps the next time you want to cook an amazing side dish and serve crispy, tasty brussel sprouts. No one has to know has easy it is, either! Share your comments below and share this recipe!

Crispy, Asian-Inspired Brussel Sprouts

Course: DinnerCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time



Get crispy brussel sprouts for your next dinner that taste amazing and have great crunch!


  • 2 cups brussel sprouts, halved and rinsed

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce

  • 1 tablespoon honey

  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Cut brussel sprouts in half, soak in a bowl of water for 5 minutes, thoroughly dry them with a paper towel
  • Toss sprouts in a mixing bowl with oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on a parchment lined baking dish.
  • Cook in a pre-heated 450 degree oven for about 20-25 minutes.
  • Remove from oven, place brussel sprouts in a bowl. Combine the soy sauce, honey and red pepper flakes. Drizzle mixture over sprouts and lightly toss to coat.


  • Try your favorite spices and dressings as a drizzle to mix things up!