Brussels sprouts and bacon is a combination that extends well beyond the Mediterranean. It’s a staple at many holiday tables and for good reason. The chewy, salty, yet somehow slightly sweet bite of the guanciale against the flaking caramelized Brussels sprouts with their strong vegetal note is instantly comforting.–Donna Lennard
Brussels Sprouts with Guanciale
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
- 1/4 pound store-bought or homemade guanciale, cut into 1⁄4-inch-thick (6-mm) chunks (or substitute 1/2 pound pancetta or thickly sliced bacon)
- 2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more for sprinkling
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (204°C).
- In an ovenproof skillet over medium heat, warm the oil until it starts to shimmer. Add the guanciale and cook, stirring occasionally, until the edges start to brown, 5 to 8 minutes.
- There will probably be 2 to 3 tablespoons of oil and guanciale fat in the skillet. If you have more, drain any excess fat; conversely, if you have less, add some more oil. Stir in the Brussels sprouts and toss to coat. Season with the salt and pepper.
- Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast, stirring once, until the sprouts are tender, 20 to 25 minutes, depending on the size and how tender you like your sprouts.
- Sprinkle with additional salt to taste and serve immediately.
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Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
Brussels sprouts lovers, this is your dish! For all those times I have drooled over smoky, perfectly tender, crisp-edged roasted Brussels sprouts and bacon on restaurant menus, I am rejoicing that they are now available anytime right here at home!
All the instructions and timings worked perfectly, as noted. I opted to use thick cut slab dry-cured hickory smoked bacon for this test, cut into lardons, and although I only used 1.25 lbs of Brussels sprouts, since there are only two of us, I did use the entire amount of bacon called for in this recipe, because you know, bacon! I especially liked that the bacon is cooked only until the edges start to brown, so the added time in the oven keeps the bacon nice and chewy instead of the crisp chips that sometimes happens when roasting sprouts and bacon on a sheet pan for an extended time. I also loved that everything cooked in the same skillet, making the clean-up that much easier.
This dish gets my highest rating for being a quick (37 minutes from start to finish!), easy, and drool-worthy side dish that I would happily eat as the main course! So good!!!!
This is a simple yet amazing way to cook Brussels sprouts. I prepared them in cast iron and it resulted in beautiful, caramelized sprouts.
I cooked them for 20 minutes in the oven, and I got some feedback that the larger ones were still fairly al dente. I would probably cook them a bit longer next time.
I also think they could use a little more pork. I used thick bacon, which wasn’t quite enough for 2 pounds of sprouts. My bacon didn’t produce much fat, so I didn’t drain any. There was probably 2 tablespoons in the pan.
The dish could also benefit from a touch of acid, maybe a drizzle of balsamic or a splash of lemon (even a shower of zest) at the end.
Overall, I can see myself coming back to this recipe for an easy, yet impressive side dish.
In my opinion, you can’t go wrong with roasted veggies of any kind plus pancetta or bacon. The smokiness of the bacon really livens up whatever veggies you have on hand: broccoli, root vegetables, even leafy greens in a sauté. In this case, the halved Brussels sprouts become slightly caramelized in the pan as they roast away in the oven coated in the pancetta fat. Tender yet browned, this is a side dish to swoon over.
As for the recipe itself, I used cubed pancetta in place of guanciale (easier to find!) I roasted the sprouts for 10 minutes, then stirred, and cooked for another 15 minutes. After 25 total minutes in the pan, the sprouts were a lovely shade of brown and very tender on the inside.
Overall, I loved the cooking method of this simple yet memorable side dish.
This is a good classic Brussels sprout recipe that delivers flavor as well as texture from the bacon. Yes, there are fancier sprouts recipes, but it’s nice to have one in your back pocket that delivers dependable results, so I recommend this one.
Brussels sprouts with cured pork is a popular destination and this is one of many ways to arrive there. In this version, you use a skillet to cook the guanciale (or bacon) first, thus gaining some tasty fat to toss the sprouts in. Great for folks on keto or Whole30 looking for a decadent dish!
I used some local thick-cut bacon, and it worked better than I expected! I think 1/4 lb of bacon was fine, but left to my own devices I would definitely double that for that many sprouts.