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These boiled Brussels sprouts are quick to make and delicious! Mix them with butter and Parmesan cheese as a tasty side dish.

Boiled Brussels Sprouts

The words “boiled Brussel sprouts” might conjure up a pile of soggy, wet lifeless greens. But we’re here to tell you otherwise. These perfect Boiled Brussels Sprouts with Parmesan are anything but! Boil and season Brussels the right way, and they’re deliciously crisp tender and buttery. We like them with a little sprinkle of Parmesan cheese to add a savory pop. While the best Brussels sprouts are crisp roasted, boiling them is loads faster. Here’s what to do!

How long to boil Brussels sprouts

Here’s the one thing to remember when boiling Brussels sprouts. Do not overcook them or they become mushy and taste bitter. In fact, overcooking Brussels sprouts releases sulfur-containing compounds, which make an offensive odor. Here’s how long to boil Brussels sprouts to avoid that misstep:

  • Slice the Brussels sprouts in half, removing any tough ends or browned outer leaves. This is important, as their quicker to cook and easier to eat when they’re halved.
  • Boil 4 to 5 minutes, until crisp tender and bright green. Taste test using a fork as soon as possible and try to avoid over-boiling.
  • Immediately drain. Toss with salt, butter, black pepper and Parmesan cheese.
Boiled Brussels Sprouts

Make sure to salt well

Once you’ve made your boiled Brussels sprouts, here’s the most important part: make sure to season them well with salt. If you taste before they’re salted, they’ll taste very bland. Here are our notes on salting:

  • Use kosher salt. Kosher salt has flat grains, which makes it salt more gently than table salt. It brings out flavor, instead of tasting salty.
  • With 1 pound, start with ½ teaspoon salt. Start here, then taste and adjust salt as necessary. The exact amount will also depend on the other flavorings you add.

Ways to season boiled Brussels sprouts

The other thing to keep in mind about boiled sprouts: add a little richness by adding butter or olive oil. Without it, they taste much too plain. Here’s what we like to do and a few other ideas:

  • Butter and Parmesan cheese. This is our favorite! Just mix butter with the warm Brussels sprouts and it melts into a sauce. Top with grated Parmesan cheese, and you won’t be able to stop noshing on them.
  • Maple glaze. Go to Brussels Sprouts with Maple Glaze to make the balsamic maple glaze.
  • Sriracha. Add heat to your Brussels with the sauce from Spicy Brussels Sprouts.
Brussels sprouts

More Brussels sprouts recipes

The best way to cook Brussels sprouts? Roasted in the oven until they’re crispy! We like boiled Brussels sprouts because they’re so quick, but for best flavor we recommend roasting. Our second favorite way to eat them? Raw and shaved in a salad. Here are a few more Brussels sprouts recipes to try:

This Brussel sprouts recipe is…

Vegetarian and gluten-free. For dairy free, plant-based, and vegan, use olive oil and omit the Parmesan cheese.

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Boiled Brussels Sprouts

Boiled Brussels Sprouts

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x


These boiled Brussels sprouts are quick to make and delicious! Mix them with butter and Parmesan cheese as a tasty side dish.


  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts (off the stem)*
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter (or olive oil)
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • Fresh ground black pepper


  1. Add 1 tablespoon of kosher salt to a large pot of water and bring it to a boil.
  2. Slice the Brussels sprouts in half, removing any tough ends or browned outer leaves.
  3. Place the Brussels sprouts in the water and boil them 4 to 5 minutes until they are crisp tender and bright green. Taste test as soon as possible and try to avoid over-boiling.
  4. Immediately drain the Brussels sprouts well.  Toss with the salt and butter, stirring until the butter melts. Add the Parmesan cheese and black pepper and serve.
  • Category: Side dish
  • Method: Boiled
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Keywords: Boiled Brussel sprouts, How long to boil brussel sprouts, boiled brussel sprouts recipe

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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  1. Delicious! I wanted a change from roasted/fried Brussel sprouts. I didn’t know if boiling them would make them bitter, etc but they tasted fresh and healthier. I slightly overcooked them but I’ll get it right next time. Thanks for the recipe!

  2. Yours is the same method I usually use but today I did something different…
    I boiled my fresh picked sprouts whole, ends on, for five minutes so they wouldn’t get too done.
    I took them out of the water then used that water for my rice.
    While the rice cooked I got some Boston Butt that I have smoked then BBQ’d out of the fridge & warmed it up.
    When my sprouts (did I mention that I just picked them?) had cooked I trimmed & halved them … then in the last two minutes of the rice cooking I added the cut sprouts to the rice, added a touch of Thai garlic & pepper sauce (about a tablespoon), & topped it all with Asiago cheese …
    The pork, rice &:sprouts made a delicious supper and it was all ready in less than 20 minutes.
    The garlic & Thai peppers really set off the flavor of sprouts…and the little green guys gave a rice a sweetness most sprouts don’t get all alone.