Quick and easy, this recipe for Air Fryer Frozen Brussels Sprouts shows you just how to make crispy and flavorful brussels sprouts (frozen OR fresh!) in your air fryer with no hassle. This is a healthy, fast, and convenient side dish or appetizer that will make anyone enjoy this underappreciated vegetable.
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Hey Internet, have you seen those memes on social media: “Does anyone actually eat Brussels sprouts?” I always laugh because I actually LOVE Brussels sprouts.
However, I grew up eating them prepared in a delicious way: roasted with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper. Sometimes there was a little soy sauce in there too.
Most people I’ve talked to who are Brussels haters have only ever had them one way. Steamed and plain.
Sorry, that’s just not right in my opinion.
My husband is the perfect case study. He thought he hated Brussels sprouts before he met me, and had only ever had them steamed.
I made him my dad’s version and he loved them! Ever since we’ve been experimenting with Brussels sprouts--I even made these roasted apple Brussels sprouts which are also really good.
But today we’re here to talk about one thing: how to air fry frozen Brussels sprouts. I’ll also tell you how to do it with fresh ones too, but here’s the thing about frozen…
It’s so convenient! You don’t have to wash them, cut off the woody stems, or deal with all the extra leaves that get everywhere. Just toss them in your air fryer.
This is a great way to get a healthy veggie on your plate any time of the day, no matter how busy you are. If you didn’t know, frozen Brussels sprouts are just as nutritious as fresh because they are flash frozen at max ripeness
The ingredients list is pretty dang short. I’m adding ingredients for a little smoky vegan mayo too, just as a little sauce but to be honest you really don’t need it.
Why This Recipe Works
Air fryer Brussels sprouts seems pretty basic if you’re relatively familiar with throwing vegetables into these countertop convection ovens. They get crispy and delicious with minimal effort.
But add the word frozen in there, and suddenly there are questions. How much longer do you cook them? Will they get soggy? Do I defrost them first?
If you’ve ever wondered how to make air fryer frozen Brussels sprouts, this is the recipe for you.
To answer the above questions, you really only have to add a little bit of extra time on to the frozen Brussels sprouts, no thawing needed.
And no, they don’t get soggy!
There’s a few tips that really help:
A little oil goes a long way. You don’t have to use it if you’re oil-free, but I think the texture is even better with just a little.
Also, the size matters. Depending on what you have available, you may need to adjust the times. This recipe works with “petite” frozen brussels sprouts and medium ones, but if the ones you buy are kinda big, you may have to cook them a little longer to get them perfect.
Finally, while you can do a double batch, ideally all the sprouts are in one layer. If there’s multiple layers, they won’t get as crispy and evenly cooked.
If you have a very small air fryer, you may need to decrease the recipe by half.
Ingredients and Substitutions
Frozen (or fresh) Brussels sprouts: I looked in multiple grocery stores and the only frozen Brussels sprouts I ever saw had the word “petite” in their name, so they are smaller than some larger sprouts you might see in the fresh produce section. However, the recipe can easily be adapted to large sprouts--just cook a bit longer. Fresh Brussels sprouts also work--I’ll show you how to do that too.
Olive oil, optional: It’s completely optional but it does make them taste a little better and crisp up a little better. Any oil will work--I like olive or avocado oil here. The Brussels sprouts should still be a little moist when we season them, but if they’re not and you don’t want to use oil, just brush or toss them with a little water, vegetable broth, or soy sauce and then sprinkle on the seasonings so they stick.
Sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper: You can also use any seasonings you’d like!
Optional add-ons, to serve: Grated vegan parmesan cheese (we love using Violife, but here’s a homemade recipe for vegan parmesan topping if you prefer) and homemade vegan bacon bits. You can make these while the Brussels sprouts cook if you’re so inclined.
Smoky Vegan Mayo Dipping Sauce, optional
Blend the following ingredients until smooth:
- 1-16 ounce package silken tofu (or 1 ½ cups soaked raw cashews or sunflower seeds + water to blend if using this substitution)
- 2-3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ¾ - 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar, optional
And that’s it! It makes a lot, so go ahead and store the leftovers to use on sandwiches, as a salad dressing, etc.
If it seems thin, refrigerate it a bit and it will firm up.
How to Make Air Fryer Frozen Brussels Sprouts
This section is specifically for frozen Brussels sprouts. Skip to the next section if you’re using fresh sprouts.
- Add the frozen sprouts directly to your air fryer basket or tray in a single layer.
- Cook for 10 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 degrees Celsius). If your air fryer is like mine, it’s temperature is only set in increments of 10 (so I can’t do specifically 375, only 370 or 380), it’s fine to do 380.
- Remove the basket and add the Brussels to a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil or a little broth or water or soy sauce, then sprinkle on the sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper. Stir gently and return to the air fryer in a single layer. You can do this all in the air fryer but I found a lot of my oil and seasoning were falling through the holes in the basket so it was better to do it in a bowl. You can use the same bowl you’re planning to serve them in to save dishes.
- Cook 4-6 more minutes in the air fryer until starting to crisp and brown. Note that fresh Brussels sprouts are more likely to get really crispy, but these frozen Brussels sprouts taste REALLY darn good like this.
- While the Brussels sprouts are cooking, you can blend up your smoky vegan mayo ingredients (or if you’re in an old apartment with wonky power like me, you may have to wait till the sprouts are done, ugh).
- Optional topping time: If you want to top these like I did with vegan parmesan cheese and vegan bacon bits, go ahead and prepare those now. If you’d prefer to make your own vegan parmesan topping, I have a super quick recipe for that as well. If you prefer, you could also use a balsamic glaze, or a bottled salad dressing, or even a sauce like lemon miso tahini or vegan teriyaki sauce.
- And you’re done! Serve your air fryer frozen Brussels sprouts (or fresh!) hot with a little bowl of the dipping sauce on the side. Sprinkle with desired toppings and enjoy.
How to Air Fry Fresh Brussels Sprouts
The process is similar to frozen but it starts a little differently.
- Start by washing and trimming the woody bottoms off your sprouts. Cut them in halves or quarters so they’re all about the same size. Discard or set aside the leaves that fall off--they’ll burn in the air fryer--not in a dangerous way, just in a not-super-tasty way. I like to save the leaves that fall off and toss them in my salads.
- Soak the Brussels sprouts in a large bowl of cold water for 10 minutes. This makes the cooked sprouts more tender and less dried out (as the air fryer sucks out most moisture). Then drain and pat dry with a kitchen towel.
- Toss with olive oil (or another oil, like avocado oil) (or water, vegetable broth, or soy sauce), sea salt, and fresh cracked black pepper and air fry 12-16 minutes (depending on size and desired level of crispiness) at 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 degrees Celsius), shaking the basket halfway through so they cook evenly.
- Top with vegan parmesan cheese and vegan bacon bits and enjoy!
Frequently Asked Questions
If you’re using fresh, yes, you need to trim the woody ends of the brussels sprouts. If they’re tiny, you don’t need to halve them. If they’re medium - large, I’d recommend cutting them as the outsides can become overcooked before the insides are cooked through. If you’re using frozen (store bought), there’s no need to trim!
Yes! Brussels sprouts are packed with tons of vitamins and minerals, containing a huge amount of vitamin c and potassium. They’re also high in fiber, vitamin b6, iron, magnesium, calcium, antioxidants, and even contain ALA omega-3 fatty acids which are important for heart and brain health.
I recommend serving these air fryer frozen Brussels sprouts either with the dipping sauce as an appetizer or snack, or alongside a starch and protein as a meal. I love baked tofu, for instance, which would be perfect here.
Unfortunately, because of condensation and the nature of refrigerating foods, these Brussels sprouts are best eaten immediately. If you have leftovers, I recommend refrigerating them in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Try reheating them in the air fryer if possible to get them crisp again.
More Recipes Like This
I actually don’t have that many air fryer recipes yet so I’lll share some of my favorite vegetable side dishes!
- Roasted Apple Brussels Sprouts
- Vegan Elote
- Air Fryer Squash
- Vegan Green Bean Casserole
- Vegan Creamed Kale
This Side Dish Pairs Well With
- Vegan Steak
- Seitan Turkey
- Tofu Schnitzel
- Vegan Mashed Potatoes and Mushroom Gravy
- Vegan Roasted Potatoes
- Boiled Baby Potatoes
- Beyond Meat Meatloaf
- Vegan Portobello Mushroom Steaks
- Lentil Mushroom Loaf
- Seitan Chicken
- Vegan Corned Beef
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