What Do Brussels Sprouts Taste Like?

Brussels sprouts are part of the brassica family of cruciferous vegetables that also include broccoli, kale, and cabbage. Even though they look like baby cabbages, they’re an entirely different plant and even grow on a stalk that makes them look like little trees. 

They are packed with nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin K, lots of fiber, and many more antioxidants that help with anti-inflammation in the body. 

raw Brussels sprouts

What do Brussels Sprouts Taste Like When Raw?

You can most definitely eat brussels sprouts raw, and they’re especially delicious in salads. Like members of their family, raw brussels sprouts have a slightly bitter flavor to them–this is something they are undeservingly infamous for. 

cut Brussels sprouts

If you ask me, you can easily prepare brussels sprouts by massaging the leaves with a little oil and lemon to help remove their bitterness and soften the leaves before tossing them in a salad–just like kale!

Opt for smaller-sized, organic brussels sprouts when purchasing them because the smaller in size and less mature they are, the sweeter they will be and easier to eat raw. Older aged brussels sprouts also have a rubbery texture than their smaller sized counterparts. 

What do Brussels Sprouts Taste Like When Roasted or Cooked?

roasted Brussels sprouts

One of the best ways in my opinion to eat brussels sprouts is through roasting them in an oven. Roasted brussels sprouts have a sweet, nutty, and smoky flavor — no bitterness here at all. 

You can get a similar flavor out of sauteed brussels sprouts on a hot cast-iron on the stove if you don’t have an oven. Just make sure to leave enough room on the pan to properly and evenly cook all the brussels sprouts. 

If you want a simpler flavor, you can also steam brussels sprouts for a few minutes until they soften (but not mushy) and add a sprinkle of lemon juice and salt to add a little flavor. 

Do Brussels Sprouts Taste Like Cabbage?

While Brussels sprouts may look like baby-sized cabbage, they do have a more bitter flavor to their leaves when eaten raw than raw cabbage. Cabbage has a milder flavor to their leaves, but they both have a similar texture of rubbery, but crisp leaves when they’re fresh. 

What’s the Texture of Brussels Sprouts Like?

roasted Brussels sprouts texture

Raw brussels sprouts have rubbery skin that feels rough to the touch, but still have a crisp snap when you bend the leaves. They have a chewiness when you bite into the heads. Once you roast or cook the brussels sprouts, they quickly soften and produce a lot of moisture. It’s important to stop cooking your sprouts before they get mushy. 

How to Make Brussels Sprouts Taste Good

If you’re not a fan of slightly bitter, cruciferous veggies, we would recommend cooking your brussels sprouts to get rid of the natural bitterness. You can cook these greens by roasting, sauteing, steaming, or frying them.  

To enhance brussels sprouts natural slightly sweet flavor, you can also add different spices and toppings to your roasted brussels sprouts:

  • Sweet: drizzle of honey or balsamic reduction glaze, or sprinkle brown sugar
  • Tangy: drizzle balsamic vinegar or sprinkle lemon 
  • Savory: mix in minced garlic or add in cooked bacon bits or pancetta

How to Tell When Brussels Sprouts Have Gone Bad

When brussels sprouts have gone bad, you can tell by smelling or even just looking at them. Spoiled brussels sprouts will have a sour smell to them, and will often begin changing in color and texture. Fresh brussels sprouts are green and hard, old brussels sprouts will start to get black or brown spots/edges and get softer.