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Brussels sprouts lovers and skeptics alike will enjoy a plate of crispy deep fried Brussels sprouts with bacon and maple mustard dipping sauce. A quick fry in hot oil yields a simple but delicious side dish or appetizer that makes the most of Brussels sprout flavor,
Raise your hand if you despised Brussels sprouts growing up. (Hint, my hand is raised). These little green veggies were definitely on my do not eat list as a child, that is until I discovered the brilliance of a deep fried Brussels sprout.
First served to me as an appetizer at a restaurant (thanks to my aunt and uncle for ordering them!), it occurred to me that I simply hadn’t had them prepared in a way I appreciated yet. Bring on the deep fryer.
This super simple recipe captures all that I love about a fried sprout, crispy outsides, tender middles, no odd cabbage smell, and a hearty handful of bacon that gets fried all in the same pot. Add to that a generous bowl of my Maple Mustard Vinaigrette, and Brussels sprouts are forever redeemed.
Brussels or Brussel?
Fun fact, something like 75% of the world calls them Brussel sprouts…but that’s actually not the proper name! They’re named after the city of Brussels; it’s thanks Belgium and their early cultivation of the plant that we have Brussels sprouts available today.
Regardless of whether you’re referring to a single sprout or a dozen, it’s always Brussels. Don’t worry if you occasionally drop the ‘s’, you’re in good company.
As Brussels sprouts are part of the Brassica family of vegetables (think kale, cabbage, broccoli), they love fat and acid. Getting them to crispy, delicious perfection is all about maximizing just that.
- Brussels Sprouts – I used a pound of small sprouts for this, you can use larger ones, but they may take a bit longer to cook.
- Bacon – As with any of my bacon recipes, I always recommend a thick cut quality bacon for both flavor and texture.
- OIl – For deep frying anything it’s essential that you use a high heat oil. Grapeseed is my preferred high heat oil, but canola, avocado, sunflower, or vegetable oil will work as well.
- Maple Mustard Vinaigrette – a simple dressing recipe that makes either a fantastic dipping sauce or a dressing if you choose to drizzle and toss your cooked sprouts in it. It takes minutes to prepare and you can whip it up while your sprouts fry.
Do you love bacon? Check out my countless other bacon recipes like Maple Bacon Onion Jam, Bacon Jam Crostini, Bacon Jam Burgers, Green Beans with Bacon and Mushrooms, White Cheddar Mac and Cheese, and Cheesy Bacon Rice.
How to Deep Fry Brussels Sprouts
Of all the things I’ve tossed in a deep fryer…or rather gently lowered into it, Brussels sprouts are among the most touchy for one main reason – splatter. As a high moisture vegetable, the moment these bad boys touch really hot oil all the water evaporates off, but in a violent sputtering sort of way.
So before I get into technique I want to quickly recommend this nifty little tool I recently acquired. A splatter screen. This unassuming mesh splatter screen from Zulay Kitchen is a super handy tool that I really wish I’d had in my kitchen arsenal for longer.
All you do is pop the screen over the pot (and it’s nice and large so it works on ALL my pots) and all that annoying grease is kept in the pan, while all the steam drifts easily out. No angry oil splatters on you or your stove to worry about, that means less clean up and less deep fry stress.
Now that I have one, I’ve used it for sauteing bacon, my twice fried french fries and pretty much anything else that potentially splatters or spits oil. Nifty, right? The answer is yes! You can head to the Zulay Kitchen Shop and order one with the discount code TFHP10 for 10% off for a limited time!
Okay, so onto the fry! It’s really a very simple process and here are my best tips for deep fried Brussels success:
- Peel off any unsightly outer leaves from your Brussels sprouts and trim off the bottom while still leaving the stem intact. This prevents it from separating into a big pile of leaves that will burn in the fryer.
- Cut them in half, even if their small, and if they’re very large, in quarters. This allows the oil to penetrate the vegetable better leading to even cooking and browning.
- Remove as much moisture as possible, especially if you washed them. This will reduce the potential splatter when they hit oil.
- Get your oil HOT in a sturdy, heavy bottomed pot. I typically use a dutch oven or my heavy duty stainless steel pot. Use a deep fry thermometer to ensure your oil is at the proper 375°F degrees.
- Use a spider strainer to safely lower your sprouts into the pot, and then again to remove them. Please take care not to touch the oil as it will burn.
- Have your bacon chopped and ready to go, this recipe only takes 5 minutes to cook, and the bacon needs almost all that time to crisp properly.
- Lower in your sprouts, cover with a splatter screen or stand back and let the oil calm down then immediately add your bacon and stir to disperse it through the oil.
- Let them fry for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, before removing to a paper towel lined bowl to remove any excess moisture, salt them at this point.
Once your Brussels Sprouts are fried and beautiful, serve them with your mustard vinaigrette and go to town. After all, they’re best eaten fresh!
The best solution is to use a heavy pot that retains heat, which is why I recommend an enameled cast iron dutch oven. If you don’t have one, you can heat your oil to closer to 400°F to combat the severity of the temperature drop.
Make sure you’re using a high heat oil if you need to do this, Canola oil, Safflower oil, Vegetable Oil, or Avocado oil are good examples of oils that won’t smoke or burn at this temperature.
You can also turn up your burner once the oil has dropped to maintain or return the oil to temp. IF needed, cook the Brussels sprouts an extra minute or two to ensure they’re cooked..
I believe so yes. Since you aren’t cooking the sprouts in the bacon fat, but rather cooking the bacon in oil, you only get salt from the bacon when you eat a piece of it. I’m a strong believer that recipes benefit from proper salting and every stage. Hitting the freshly fried sprouts with just a pinch of salt and tossing them, ensures proper seasoning in every single bite.
I don’t recommend cooking then storing them no. As with most deep fried foods, they’re best eaten fresh. If you must hold off on eating them immediately, spread them on a baking sheet and place in the oven at a low 200°F temperature to help retain some of the warmth and crispiness.
Well there you have it! A magnificent platter of deep fried Brussels sprouts with bacon and an it’s so good I could drink it maple mustard sauce that compliment that crispy fried vegetable flavor. My husband was more than delighted when I presented him this platter after pictures, and we happily munched away as a late night snack. Whether you serve it as an appetizer, side dish, or an indulgent lunch, I think you’ll find it as satisfying as I have. Enjoy, and as always Happy Eating!
If you liked this recipe, be sure to check out these other fabulous deep fried foods!
- Twice Fried French Fries
- Deep Fried Cheesecake Bites
- Tequila Lime Wings
- Beer Battered Fish
- Italian Ricotta, Raisin, and Chocolate Doughnuts
- Country Fried Pork Chops
- Deep Fried Pickles
- 1 lb Brussels Sprouts
- 1/2 lb thick cut bacon
- 1 1/2 quarts oil* 6 cups
- Pinch salt
- 1/2 Maple Mustard Vinaigrette Recipe
- Place your oil in a heavy duty pot and set over high heat with a deep fry thermometer. Bring it to 375°F.
- Discard any browned or wilted outer leaves from the Brussels sprouts and trim the bottom, leaving the stem intact to hold the sprout together. Slice in half.
- Dice your bacon.
- When your oil as reached the proper temperature, lower your Brussels sprouts in gently and wait for the oil to stop bubbling, then quickly add the bacon and stir to break it up.
- Let fry for 5 minutes.
- Remove to a paper towel lined bowl. Remove the paper towels once they've soaked up any excess oil (30 seconds), and sprinkle with salt. Toss to mix.
- Serve immediately with a dipping sauce of choice.
I’d love to hear what you think, feel free to tag me on Instagram @theflourhandprint so I can see how it went! Until next time, Happy Eating!
Nutrition information and cooking times are provided as a best estimate. Values may vary based upon ingredients and equipment.