How to Microwave Brussel Sprouts

How-Tos, Microwave

How to Microwave Brussel Sprouts

It is hard enough to get children to eat their vegetables as it is, but brussels sprouts always seem to be the one vegetable that no parent can convince their kids to try – a real shame considering how versatile and delicious sprouts are. 

When you become an adult and give brussels sprouts another go, you realise how much you have been missing out on and want to try as many sprout-based recipes as possible. But can your microwave help to make that quest easier? 

To microwave brussel sprouts, prepare them as you usually would, then pop them into a microwave-safe dish with a splash of water. Cover and then microwave for 4 minutes before microwaving for a further 1 minute uncovered.

How to Microwave Brussel Sprouts

There are several ways to cook brussels sprouts when using your stove or your oven. But the best and most effective way of cooking sprouts in your microwave is to steam them.

Here is how: 

  1. Prep The Sprouts
    Before you microwave the brussels sprouts, cut them into halves and give them a good rinse under cold water. Don’t worry about drying them. 
  2. Add Water
    In a large microwave-safe bowl, add 1-2 tablespoons of water. 
  3. Add The Sprouts
    Place the brussels sprouts directly into the bowl with the water, making sure that the water does not cover more than halfway up the sprouts. 
  4. Cover
    Damp a clean tea towel and cover the bowl completely. 
  5. Microwave
    Place the brussels sprouts in the microwave and set the microwave to its highest setting. Let the brussels sprouts cook for 4 minutes. 
  6. Drain 
    After 4 minutes, uncover the brussels sprouts and drain the water.
  7. Season
    Add any seasonings you want to use and shake the bowl lightly to cover the sprouts evenly. 
  8. Microwave Again
    Place the brussels sprouts uncovered into the microwave to cook for a further 1 minute. 
  9. Serve
    Transfer the sprouts to a serving bowl and enjoy immediately. 

How to Microwave Brussel Sprouts Successfully

Seeing as you are essentially steaming the brussels sprouts in your microwave, there is not a lot of room for error or improvement in the process.

That being said, there are some tips you can keep in mind to make sure you successfully microwave your brussels sprouts every time: 

  • Smaller Sprouts = Less Cooking – Your microwave will make short work of cooking brussels sprouts no matter how you cut them. However, if you want to make the cooking process even quicker, chop the sprouts into quarters instead of halves. 
  • Season After – Adding a glaze or flavour to the spouts as they cook will not be as effective as seasoning the sprouts once you have drained the cooking water. The water will stop the seasoning from sticking to the sprouts.
  • Reheating – You can easily reheat your brussels sprouts the next day by microwaving them again for 2 minutes or until hot. You won’t need to add any water to make the sprouts tender so the seasonings you used will still be delicious once the sprouts are reheated. Though do not reheat the sprouts more than once. 

Why You Should Microwave Sprouts

Still unconvinced that something as controversially enjoyed as brussels sprouts can be cooked successfully in your microwave?

Here are a few quick advantages to using your microwave to cook brussels sprouts that are sure to change your mind: 

Perfectly Small Portions

Just because your children are not fans of brussels sprouts does not mean that you and your partner have to go without their delicious goodness.

Using your microwave to cook brussels sprouts allows you to cook the ideal amount for one or two portions without unnecessary waste.

More so, you won’t have to use your oven for the sole purpose of cooking the sprouts, saving you a little on your electricity bill.

Little Effort

Brussels sprouts do often require a bit of effort to make them taste delicious and tender.

However, microwaving your brussels sprouts takes little to no effort and can produce perfectly cooked, tasteful sprouts in next to no time. 

Quicker Than Your Oven

The speed at which your oven can cook brussels sprouts is not competition for the speed of your microwave.

Some oven-cooked sprout recipes can require up to 45 minutes for the sprouts to fully cook. Your microwave, on the other hand, only takes 5 or so minutes. 

Tender Texture

The key to mouth-watering brussels sprouts is their tender texture once they have been cooked.

You don’t want to bite down into a bitter and hard sprout, it could ruin your whole meal. As you will be using your microwave as a way to steam your sprouts, they are sure to be perfectly tender. 

Why You Shouldn’t Microwave Sprouts

As is the case with most fresh food that is microwaved, there are some downsides to using just your microwave to cook raw brussels sprouts:

Less Flavourful

Admittedly, brussels sprouts without any seasoning or added flavours can be pretty gross.

That is why they are often roasted in plenty of herbs or charred. Steaming the sprouts via your microwave limits how much flavour the sprouts can obtain while being cooked, making for a less tasteful side dish. 

Potential for Mush

Brussel sprouts should be tender in texture. However, they are a vegetable that are easy to overcook, creating a mushy mess.

Seeing as you can’t really open your microwave and check on the readiness of your sprouts without removing all of the heat and having to start the steaming process again, there is a large possibility that you will overcook your sprouts, which is hard to come back from. 

Not as Crisp

Even if you are able to get your brussels sprouts the ideal texture on the inside, the crispy exterior will not be crispy but instead limp and soft.

This is simply due to the heating nature of a microwave, so if you want to microwave brussels sprouts then you will just have to deal with the less-than-perfect texture of the veg. 

Microwaving Brussel Sprouts FAQs

Do you have more questions about microwave sprouts? Then have a look at these common queries:

Can You Microwave Brussel Sprouts Before Roasting Them?

Yes, if you want to soften the sprouts before roasting them, then using the microwave is a great option. Microwave is a covered dish with a splash of water for 2 minutes before roasting in a hot oven for 30 minutes.

Can You Microwave Brussel Sprouts With Other Vegetables?

Yes, sprouts can be microwaved with a range of other vegetables that you could steam, such as broccoli, cauliflower and carrots.


Where we obtain our information and verify the facts in this article:

BBC Good Food

A simple microwaveable brussel sprout recipe.

Flipped Out Food

The easy way to microwave sprouts.

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