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The secret to getting everyone to eat their veggies is to make perfectly crispy Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts. Keep it super simple and air fry them with just salt and pepper, or add bacon and parmesan cheese to turn the simple sprout into something irresistible. This quick and easy recipe is sure to become a go-to side dish!
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Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Parmesan
Have you had fried Brussels sprouts at a restaurant? They are so amazing – crispy outside but tender in the middle and loaded with flavor. But also, super greasy. And if you are gluten free, you have to worry about whether they fry breaded or floured dishes in that same fryer.
The secret to getting that deep fried deliciousness at home with way less oil (and no risk of gluten cross-contamination) is to make those Brussels air-fried! This easy air fryer recipe makes the crispiest in absolutely no time – faster than you can preheat your oven – and with just enough oil to coat them to give them that golden, caramelized exterior.
And it is so easy to add flavors. In this recipe I as some smoky bacon and salty parmesan cheese. But you can skip those or customize them based on what you love!
Besides the sprouts themselves, all you really need is olive oil, salt, and pepper. But a few extra ingredients make them come alive, and might even convert the biggest skeptics into sprouts-lovers!
- Bacon – This is optional, but if you use it you will want about 6 slices of cooked bacon cut into small pieces. You can cook them in the air fryer or use your preferred method to cook bacon while you prep the Brussels sprouts.
- Brussels sprouts – Larger ones are recommended for this recipe so that you can cut them in half for bite-sized pieces that cook perfectly.
- Olive oil – Or your preferred oil, such as avocado oil.
- Salt and pepper – To taste.
- Onion powder
- Parmesan cheese – Finely shredded or grated. You’ll add some while cooking, and you can also save some to sprinkle on at the end.
- Garlic – Optional if you want to add a garlicky flavor.
How to Air Fry Brussels Sprouts
Cook the bacon. If you are going to add bacon, cook it in the air fryer, or use a skillet or oven, if you prefer.
Prepare the Brussels sprouts. Rinse and dry the Brussels sprouts thoroughly. Trim off the bottom of the stem, then remove any tough or discolored outer leaves. Cut any large ones in half.
In a medium bowl, toss the Brussels sprouts with olive oil, salt, pepper, and onion powder until coated thoroughly.
Air Fry The Brussels Sprouts. Preheat the air fryer to 400°F according to manufacturer instructions. Add the Brussels sprouts to the air fryer basket in a single layer. Air fry at 400°F for 5 minutes.
Gently shake, then sprinkle with the parmesan cheese, and, if using, the fresh garlic. Cook at 400°F for another 5-6 minutes until charred and crisp.
Finish and serve: Add the crisp bacon to the cooked Brussels sprouts. Serve with more parmesan on top, if desired. Enjoy right away!
How Long to Cook Brussels Sprouts in an Air Fryer
This recipe calls for air frying Brussels sprouts for about 10-12 minutes total in a Cosori 5.6 L air fryer (a basket-style air fryer). The Brussels sprouts should be crisp (not firm but not overly soft either) by the end of frying. You can give them another couple of minutes, but be careful not to overcook and burn them.
Since models can vary, you may find that if you use a different model, you’ll need a little more or a little less cooking time after that initial 5 minutes, once you shake it and add the cheese.
How to Make them Softer
If you want more tender vegetables, cooking them longer is not the best approach, since that can end up just over-charring the exterior. Instead, soak the Brussel sprouts in water for about 30 minutes before air frying. For best results make sure to dry them thoroughly after soaking.
Air Frying Frozen Brussels Sprouts
You can air fry frozen Brussels sprouts, but they will take a bit longer and tend to have a softer texture. They will need about 8-10 minutes for the initial cooking, then another 8-10 minutes after you toss and add the cheese.
Tips for Success
Make sure it’s dry. If you don’t dry the Brussels sprouts well, they will steam instead of roasting and not get as crisp.
Don’t let them stick. Coating the vegetables well with that tablespoon of olive oil is typically enough to keep them from sticking to the basket. But for extra assurance, you can spray the basket with oil. This also helps give it a nice crisp texture.
Spread them out. If you have a large enough air fryer, you should be able to cook one pound of Brussels sprouts in a single batch. But if you can spread them out evenly or want to make more, you’ll need to cook them in batches. If you are working in batches, you can keep the cooked ones warm in a 170°F oven.
Give it a shake. Shaking the basket once they are partially cooked ensures that it browns evenly.
Use the oven if you prefer. You can roast them in the oven at 400°F for 30-40 minutes, flipping once, about halfway through.
Omit the bacon. For a vegetarian version, just skip the bacon. They will still be delicious.
Or cook the bacon at the same time. I prefer to cook the bacon separately so that I know I am cooking it to my perfectly desired doneness. But you can cut the raw bacon into small pieces and add it to the air fryer with the Brussels sprouts.
While the parmesan and bacon version here is a good starting point, there are so many ways to flavor air fried Brussels sprouts.
- Give them a drizzle of lemon juice.
- Sprinkle on some breadcrumbs along with the parmesan cheese.
- Try feta cheese instead of parmesan.
- Use different herbs like rosemary or thyme.
- Toss them in a bit of maple syrup.
- Finish them off with a drizzle of a balsamic vinegar reduction.
- Add dried cranberries for something sweet and tangy.
- Add them to a Salad: Serve on top of a Roasted Brussels Sprouts Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing.
- Give them a Dip: Try dunking them in Burger Sauce or Creamy Balsamic Dressing.
- Make on a Busy Weeknight: Cook them quickly while you make Honey Mustard Chicken Bites and Baked Sweet Potatoes.
- Complete a Sunday Dinner: Enjoy them with French Onion Stuffed Meatloaf and Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes.
- Serve for the Holidays: They go great on the table with everything from a Thanksgiving Roast Turkey to a holiday Glazed Ham.
Leftovers can be kept in an airtight container for 3 to 4 days. You can reheat them in the air fryer or oven at 350°F for 5-10 minutes. You can also microwave them, but they will not be crisp.
Technically, you can also freeze cooked Brussels sprouts in an airtight container. But once thawed, they will be somewhat soggy. If you do this, be sure to thaw them overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
What is the Best Air Fryer?
I usually make my air fried Brussels sprouts the COSORI Air Fryer Max XL. It is a nice size to give your veggies plenty of space so they cook evenly. And I like the basket models because it is easy to shake everything around partway through the cooking time to make sure all of the surfaces get nicely caramelized.
COSORI Air Fryer Oven Combo 5.8QT Max Xl Large Cooker (Cookbook with 100 Recipes), One-Touch Screen with 11 Precise Presets and Shake Reminder, Nonstick and Dishwasher-Safe Square Design Basket, Black
Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Parmesan
- 6 slices bacon, cooked until crispy and cut into pieces
- 1 lb Brussels sprouts, washed and dried thoroughly
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt, or to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
- ¼ cup finely shredded or grated parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish, if desired
- 1 clove garlic, minced (optional)
- While you are preparing the Brussles sprouts, cook the bacon in a skillet or in the air fryer at 350°F for 8-12 minutes, until crispy. Cut into pieces.
- Trim the ends off of the Brussles sprouts and remove any tough or discolored outer leaves. Cut any large ones in half.
- In a medium bowl, add trimmed Brussel sprouts, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt, pepper, and onion powder. Toss to coat thoroughly.
- Preheat air fryer to 400°F according to manufacturer instructions. Lightly spray the air fryer basket with oil, if desired (not essential, but spraying does ensure better cooking and a more crisp texture in the end) and add the vegetables in a single layer.
- Air fry at 400°F for 5 minutes. Gently shake and add the parmesan and garlic, if using. Air fry at 400°F for another 5-6 minutes until charred and crisp on the outside and tender on the inside.
- Add the cooked bacon and toss everything together. Serve with more parmesan on top, if desired.
You can also cut the raw bacon into small pieces and add to the air fyer with the Brussles sprouts to cook everything together. But watch it careful to be sure it doesn’t burn.