Spice Up Your Meal with Caramelized Red Chili Brussels Sprouts

I think Brussels sprouts might be my favorite vegetable. But I understand that this is an unpopular opinion.

Vertical closeup of a white nearly overflowing dish of caramelized Brussels sprouts seasoned with black pepper and red chili, with orange and white text.

It wasn’t love at first sight – these things seldom are – but you could say it all started back in the day when I was visiting Nashville, amidst the excitement and unknowns of another budding relationship.

One Sunday night, when I was having dinner with friends, we poured leftover walnut and sage brown butter onto roasted Brussels sprouts, and couldn’t believe how delicious it was.

Oblique angle shot of a white serving dish of vegetables, on a striped multicolored cloth with a metal serving spoon, and two glasses of red wine in the background.

In truth, I shouldn’t have been all that surprised, having tasted the sweet caramelization of Brussels sprouts for the first time at a restaurant less than a year before, and then again in my own kitchen when I attempted to replicate it at home.

Vertical image of a wooden spoon stirring seasoned vegetables in a large skillet.

But, as we sometimes do when we’re busy or distracted or generally not tuned in, in the following months, I’d managed to forget all about it. The Nashville Brussels sprouts, thank goodness, made a more lasting impression. And I’ve seldom been without them ever since.

Sauteed Brussels sprouts with red chili, in a large frying pan.

It’s funny how that works, you know? One day, you have plain, unremarkable vegetables – or, say, that person you hadn’t thought much of previously. Until one day, they do something impressive, and you think, “Huh. I never noticed that before!”

Oblique overhead shot of a white serving dish filled beyond the brim with caramelized Brussels sprouts, with a metal serving spoon in shallow focus in the background, on a cloth surface.

And sometimes, that’s enough to change your interactions forever after, to set you on a course to a whole new path in life. Other times, you forget and move on, and have to be impressed all over again.

For us, Brussels sprouts are that love that came quietly, without seeking it out, expecting it, or planning for its entrance into our routines.

Caramelized quartered Brussels sprouts in a white souffle dish, on a tablecloth with two glasses of wine in the background.

Through gentle persistence, it’s become the vegetable that most often accompanies our Sunday night dinners, a favorite side dish on busy weeknights, the thing we pick up from the produce department “as a treat” but not the kind that we need to indulge in only occasionally.

Nowadays, we like ours served very simply – barely dressed, just sauteed or roasted enough to turn soft and golden, with crispy edges that crunch when you take a bite.

A white souffle dish filled above the brim with sauteed seasoned Brussels sprouts, with two glasses of red wine in the background.

We cook them in coconut oil, with hefty dashes of salt and pepper, maybe with some red chili flakes thrown in. And that’s really all you need.

This little cabbage-like vegetable was once barely even an afterthought, but now, I celebrate it!

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Caramelized quartered Brussels sprouts in a white souffle dish, on a tablecloth with two glasses of wine in the background.

Caramelized Red Chili Brussels Sprouts

  • Author: Shanna Mallon
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 2-3 servings 1x


An oft-maligned green vegetable gets a makeover with our caramelized red chili version. It’s a spicy and flavorful way to enjoy Brussels sprouts. Read more.


  • 1 lb Brussels sprouts, washed and quartered
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp red chili flakes
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper


  1. Heat coconut oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until fully melted. Add Brussels sprouts. Season with chili flakes, salt, and pepper, and toss to coat.
  2. Turn the heat down to medium-low and cook until the sprouts are soft and golden, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes. Serve immediately.
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Category: Vegetables
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Side Dishes

Keywords: Brussels sprouts, chili pepper, spicy

Cooking By the Numbers…

Step 1 – Prepare Vegetables and Measure Remaining Ingredients

Top-down shot of a large stainless steel mixing bowl of whole raw Brussels sprouts to the left of the frame, with four small square glass dishes of salt, ground black pepper, red pepper flakes, and coconut oil arrananged around the right half of the bowl, on a beige countertop.

Wash and quarter the Brussels sprouts. Set them aside.

Washed and sliced Brussels sprouts in a stainless steel mixing bowl with a ring handle, on a beige countertop.

Measure out the remaining ingredients, and set these aside as well, so they will be ready when you need them.

Step 2 – Season and Cook

In a large skillet, melt the coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add the prepped veggies.

Cleaned and chopped Brussels sprouts with red chili flakes sprinkled on top, in a large stainless steel mixing bowl on a beige kitchen counter.

Stir in the chili flakes, salt, and pepper. Toss a couple of times to coat.

Quartered raw Brussels sprouts with red chili flakes, salt, and pepper, in a large stainless steel bowl.

Reduce heat to medium-low and cook the sprouts until they are soft and golden, stirring occasionally.

Closely cropped overhead image of a large frying pan of browned Brussels sprouts with spices, and a wooden spoon.

This should take about 30 minutes total.

Want to shave off some cooking time? You can cook the veggies in the pressure cooker before finishing off in the pan with the other ingredients!

Why You Should Eat More of These Green Wonders

I used to hate Brussels sprouts, but ever since I discovered they could be spicy and delicious like they are in this particular recipe, I’ve been all about them.

Another reason to love on these little green buds of deliciousness is all the healthy nutrients that come along with them. Brussels sprouts are rich in antioxidants like vitamin C, and high in dietary fiber. And there’s some potassium and vitamin A in there as well!

Overhead shot of a white bowl full to the brim with caramelized tiny green cruciferous vegetables that look like mini cabbages with red chili pepper sprinkled on top, with a metal serving spoon, on a gathered multicolored cloth with fringe.

Really, you need to be making sprouts on the regular. And this is the perfect way to do it. The simple ingredients and the easy cooking process make it a dish that you will want to serve alongside just about any entree you are cooking for dinner.

What would you like eat with these little green balls of deliciousness? Tell us in the comments below, and be sure to give the recipe a five-star rating if you loved it!

And if you love your Brussels sprouts, check out some of these tasty recipes:

Photos by Meghan Yager, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on March 6, 2012. Last updated: October 6, 2021 at 11:03 am. With additional writing and editing by Meghan Yager and Allison Sidhu.

Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

The staff at Foodal are not medical professionals and this article should not be construed as medical advice. Foodal and Ask the Experts, LLC assume no liability for the use or misuse of the material presented above. Always consult with a medical professional before changing your diet, or using supplements or manufactured or natural medications.

About Shanna Mallon

Shanna Mallon is a freelance writer who holds an MA in writing from DePaul University. Her work has been featured in a variety of media outlets, including The Kitchn, Better Homes & Gardens, Taste of Home, Houzz.com, Foodista, Entrepreneur, and Ragan PR. In 2014, she co-authored The Einkorn Cookbook with her husband, Tim. Today, you can find her digging into food topics and celebrating the everyday grace of eating on her blog, Go Eat Your Bread with Joy. Shanna lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with Tim and their two small kids.

14 thoughts on “Spice Up Your Meal with Caramelized Red Chili Brussels Sprouts”

  1. The photos here are crazy good. It feels like I can reach into my screen and pluck a sprout or two out from the pile. I love it! I also love Brussels sprouts. But weirdly, people don’t eat them that much here in Brussels. It’s never a thing. The fields are always full of them, but dinner plates never seem to be. I did a little spin on my beloved Brussels sprouts with chili flakes, but I have yet to try them with walnut-sage brown butter. But then again, when can you go wrong when sage and brown butter team up?

    • Thank you for those kind words, Emily! I have to say, Brussels sprouts are easy to photograph–they’re so naturally beautiful!

  2. As a child I didnt like Brussels sprouts. My mom and grandma always made them for a typical german sunday dish. But when I got older I learned to like them! And now I love them. I always cooked them first and then sauteed them in butter with curry powder or alot of nutmeg. But I just love your way of serving them. I have to try the roasted option. It sounds delicious. And Butter and sage are the perfect combination for Brussels sprouts I think.

    • What’s so nice about roasting, Katharina, is the way the Brussels sprouts will crisp around the edges. I really believe 90% of vegetables taste amazing this way! : )

  3. i didn’t try brussel sprouts until i was an adult, it’s not a vietnamese vegetable that made it to our dinner table growing up. i enjoy this vegetable a great deal and like you, very simply dressed with olive oil & salt/pepper for seasoning. i’ve made it with a liberal sprinkling of crumbled bacon & that was lovely too..

  4. Shanna!

    I love that you wrote about brussels sprouts! There is nothing that compares to fresh brussels sprouts. I grew 4 plants last year and am aiming for 12 this year. It’s the one vegetable I’m glad no one else in my family likes because then I don’t have to share! 🙂

    • Maxine! I love that you love Brussels sprouts—and even more that you’re growing your own!? Jealous. If I still lived in Illinois, I’d invite myself to come learn from you!

  5. We would just about commit a felony for a free case of fresh Brussels sprouts!!! So, so glad you saw the light after that first iffy foray. 🙂 Now I’ve got a craving …

    • Right? Such a blessing! I’ve come a long way since our early Brussels sprouts chats over email and Thanksgiving menus, haven’t I, friend? You were right all along.

  6. My favorite Brussels method: slice in half and put, cut-side down, on a foil-lined baking sheet that you’ve drizzled with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic powder and red chili flakes, and kind of swish them all around to make sure they’re all coated with seasoning and that everyone’s cut-bottoms are in oil. Bake in oven around 400 degrees, for oh, I don’t know, 10 minutes? Until they’re golden brown and maybe a little crispy.

    Oh hey, it’s pretty similar to your method 🙂


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