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Air fryer Brussels sprouts with bacon is the ideal side dish – easy enough for every day, delicious enough for the holidays. They’re flavored with a savory mixture of butter, garlic and herbs, and sprinkled with parmesan cheese.
Brussels sprouts with bacon are a classic Thanksgiving side. They’re also a traditional dish for Christmas dinner. Enjoy them year round with roasted Cornish hen, BBQ meatloaf, baked mac and cheese, and lemon pasta.
Making Brussels sprouts in the air fryer delivers consistent results every time. The veggies have crisp outer leaves, while their insides are perfectly soft and tender. And the crispy bacon – we make that in the air fryer too!
If you don’t like pork, just skip it. Instead of flavoring the dish with bacon, drizzle some extra melted butter over the veggies so they’ll have a deeply savory taste. Or to avoid any extra calories, air fry the veggies without oil or fat. Then drizzle some olive oil over the cooked Brussels sprouts.
- Thick-cut Bacon: It adds a salty, meaty flavor to the Brussels sprouts. I recommend lean bacon from the butcher counter. If you don’t eat pork, feel free to leave it out.
- Brussels Sprouts: In this recipe these veggies are the star of the show. Look for Brussels sprouts that are uniform in size, and about 1-inch in length. This way, they will all cook at the same rate.
- Butter: You can use salted or unsalted. It adds a rich buttery flavor, and helps the veggies become crisp in the air fryer. If desired, drizzle more melted butter over the cooked veggies just before serving.
- Grated Garlic: Adds a rustic earthy taste to the dish. We grate the garlic so it incorporates smoothly with the melted butter. If we were to mince the garlic it would burn in the air fryer.
- Fresh Rosemary: This is a wonderful herb to pair with bacon and garlic. It also adds a delicious aroma. But you could also use thyme, Italian parsley, or sage if that’s what you have on hand.
- Kosher Salt: This seasoning enhances the flavor of the other ingredients. I recommend kosher salt, but you can also use sea salt.
- Freshly-cracked Black Pepper: Adds a fresh spicy flavor to the dish, along with a bit of texture. It has more heat and greater complexity than ground black pepper.
- Grated Parmesan Cheese: Adds a salty nutty flavor to the Brussels sprouts and a bit of added texture.
📖 RECIPE STEPS
RECIPE PREP (OPTIONAL): Before trimming the Brussels sprouts, soak them in a bowl of cold salted water for 20 minutes. Drain off the water. Pat veggies completely dry between lint-free towels. We do a salt-water soak to reduce bitterness and hydrate the veggies so they’ll cook up tender.
Air Fryer Method
RECIPE NOTE: Bacon adds extra flavor, making the dish more savory. Don’t want to use pork? No problem! Just skip it and begin the recipe at Step 3.
- STEP 1: Arrange the bacon slices in a single flat layer inside the air fryer basket. Make sure the basket is not overcrowded.
- STEP 2: Cook at 375ºF for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the bacon is crisp and browned. Carefully remove bacon to a cutting board. Chop it into bite-sized pieces. Set it aside until ready to use. If needed, discard excess grease from the air fryer, but don’t clean the basket.
- STEP 3: In a large bowl, toss together the Brussels sprouts, melted butter, grated garlic, minced rosemary, salt and pepper. Stir until the veggies are evenly coated with the garlic-butter mixture.
- STEP 4: Transfer the Brussels sprouts to the air fryer. Again, make sure not to overcrowd the basket. Depending on the size of your appliance, you may need to cook the veggies in batches.
👩🏻🍳 KITCHEN SMARTS: Uncured bacon cooks quicker than cured bacon. Lean bacon cooks quicker that fatty bacon. Adjust the cook time as needed to prevent the meat from burning.
- STEP 5: Cook Brussels sprouts at 400ºF for 5 minutes. Stir the veggies, or shake the basket. [For even crispier bacon, add cooked bacon pieces back into the basket now.] Cook 2 to 5 minutes more, or until veggies are cooked through and crisp on the outside.
- STEP 6: Transfer Brussels sprouts to a serving bowl.
- STEP 7: Drizzle 1 to 2 tablespoons melted butter over the veggies (optional). Add parmesan cheese and cooked bacon to the bowl. Toss to combine. If desired, sprinkle a bit more parmesan on top.
- STEP 8: Serve Brussels sprouts with bacon with flaky salt on the side. Enjoy immediately while the veggies are still hot.
👉🏻 KEEP IN MIND: Each appliance cooks differently depending on the brand and the size and shape of the basket. Adjust cooking times as needed.
🤔 RECIPE FAQ
These are the most commonly-asked questions for making the BEST air fryer Brussels sprouts with bacon, and the most helpful answers for recipe success.
Before trimming, soak Brussels sprouts in water for 20 minutes to hydrate. Before cooking, coat them well in bacon fat, oil, or butter so it can get into the folds of the leaves. This will help keep them tender. If there’s not enough oil, they can easily dehydrate while cooking.
Prior to trimming, soak Brussels sprouts in a bowl of cold salted water for 20 minutes. Soaking is an easy way to counter bitterness (and the veggies will be more tender when cooked). Drain off the water. Pat them dry between lint-free towels. After cooking, add a pinch of kosher salt.
With kitchen shears, trim off the fatty ends of the bacon. If desired, continue slicing along side the fatty side of each piece, removing and discarding unwanted portions. You now have much leaner bacon.
Fresh herbs have a higher water content than dried herbs which makes them less potent. So when swapping dried for fresh we must use a lot less. Use 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary for every 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary called for in the recipe.
Yes. It’s very convenient. There’s no need to defrost or rinse the veggies. They’re already trimmed and ready to go. But you will need to increase the cook time, possibly 10 to 15 minutes, depending on their size. It’s of note that frozen Brussels sprouts cook up softer than fresh.
It’s not recommended. The veggies and bacon will lose their crispness. It’s best to enjoy this dish right after cooking. Store leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate up to 2 days. Reheat in the air fryer or oven. Do not rewarm in the microwave or the texture will be squishy.
👩🏻🍳 more delicious sides
Get ready for dinner with these tasty sides. Select your favorite recipes. Add them to your monthly meal plan. For safekeeping, and anytime / anywhere access to the recipes, pin them Pinterest.
- Air Fryer Sweet Chili Tofu
- Air Fryer Corn on the Cob
- Roasted Fall Vegetables
- Sweet Potato Fluff
- Sautéed Mushrooms
- Cheesy Mushroom Polenta with Bacon
- Green Beans Almondine
- Southern Baked Mac and Cheese
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Flavor testers rated this the BEST recipe for air fryer Brussels sprouts with bacon. The texture received high marks – crispy outsides, tender insides. They enjoyed the savory flavor provided by crispy bacon and parmesan.
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Brussel sprouts with bacon are deeply savory and delicious. We cook them in the air fryer for consistent results every time. Enjoy this classic side dish all year round. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
- 4 slices (lean) thick-cut bacon
- 1 pound Brussels sprouts, stems trimmed and veggies halved
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted (plus more for drizzling)
- 2 cloves garlic, grated
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly-cracked black pepper
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
RECIPE PREP (OPTIONAL) : Before trimming, soak Brussels sprouts in a bowl of cold salted water for 20 minutes. Drain off water. Pat completely dry between lint-free towels. We do a salt-water soak to reduce bitterness and hydrate the veggies so they’ll cook up tender.
- Lay bacon slices in a single flat layer inside the air fryer basket, without crowding. Cook at 375ºF for 8 to 10 minutes, or until crisp. Remove bacon to a cutting board. Chop it into bite-sized pieces. Set it aside until ready to use. If needed, discard excess grease from the air fryer, but don’t clean the basket.
- In a large bowl, toss together the Brussels sprouts, melted butter, grated garlic, minced rosemary, salt and pepper. Stir until veggies are evenly coated with the garlic-butter mixture. Transfer the Brussels sprouts to the air fryer. Again, do not overcrowd the basket. If needed, cook the veggies in batches.
- Cook at 400ºF for 5 minutes. Stir the veggies, or shake the basket. [For even crispier bacon, add cooked bacon pieces back into the basket now.] Cook 2 to 5 minutes more, or until the veggies are cooked through and crisp on the outside.
- Transfer Brussels sprouts to a serving bowl. If desired, drizzle 1 to 2 tablespoons melted butter over the veggies (optional). Add crispy bacon and parmesan cheese to the bowl. Toss to combine. Serve with flaky salt on the side. Enjoy immediately.
Keep in mind: Each air fryer cooks differently depending on the brand, and the size and shape of the basket. Adjust cooking times as needed.
Can I make this dish in advance? It’s not recommended. The texture will be compromised. The veggies and bacon will not stay crisp. But if you need to make this in advance, transfer to an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 2 days. Rewarm in the air fryer or oven. Do not reheat in the microwave or the texture will be squishy.
- Prep Time: 5 Minutes
- Cook Time: 20 Minutes
- Category: Side Dish
- Method: Air Fryer
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts with Bacon, Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts, Brussels Sprouts with Bacon
air fryer brussels sprouts 👉🏻 YOUR THOUGHTS
Are Brussels sprouts with bacon on your holiday menu? Do you like the ease of using your air fryer to cook them? Share your thoughts on this classic recipe in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you.