Kung Pao Brussels Sprouts

You’ve never tasted Brussels sprouts this good before! Kung Pao Brussels Sprouts are crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, and covered in a sweet and spicy kung pao sauce. Toss with roasted peanuts and red chilis for a crazy delicious spin on a classic roasted vegetable. 

I’m a big fan of flavorful Brussels sprouts. One classic flavor combination is Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic Reduction and Cranberries. I also love Smashed Brussels Sprouts with Lemon Tahini Sauce.

But friends, believe me when I say that this kung pao sauce takes Brussels sprouts to a whole new level! This sauce is an explosion of spicy chiles, sweet brown sugar, and tangy soy sauce – SO good! It’s surprisingly easy to make and one of those recipes you can feel good about eating (it is Brussels sprouts, after all). 

This recipe for Kung Pao Brussels Sprouts starts with roasted Brussels sprouts that are extra crispy on the outside, but still soft on the inside. Once they’re crispy, add that yummy sauce. Then toss with roasted peanuts for a final result that beats takeout every time!

Bowl of Kung Pao Brussels Sprouts on counter with bowl of peanuts and jar of oil

Ingredients you’ll need

  • Brussels sprouts
  • Olive oil
  • Cornstarch
  • Sesame oil
  • Garlic
  • Fresh ginger
  • Chili paste
  • Dried red chili peppers
  • Low sodium soy sauce
  • Rice wine vinegar
  • Brown sugar
  • Unsalted, roasted peanuts
  • Cooked rice for serving (optional)

It’s really important to use fresh ginger for this recipe, since the flavor of ground ginger isn’t the same. You can buy it fresh, grate it on a microplane, then freeze the rest for the next time you need ginger. 

For the chili peppers, I like to use arbol chiles, which are long and skinny. They seem small, but definitely pack some heat. Remove the seeds or just skip the peppers if you don’t want the dish too spicy. 

Ingredients for kung pao sauce on a baking tray.

How do you make Kung Pao Brussels Sprouts?

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 
  • Cut off brown ends of Brussels sprouts and cut in half. Then toss with olive oil and arrange them in a single layer on 1 or 2 baking sheets. 
  • Roast for 25-30 minutes, until crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. 
  • Mix cornstarch and 1 tablespoon of water in a small bowl until smooth.
  • Heat sesame oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and ginger and cook, stirring often, until fragrant, 1-2 minutes. Then add chili paste and cook, stirring, until darkened, about 2 minutes. 
  • Add remaining sauce ingredients (chilis, soy sauce, vinegar, brown sugar and ½ cup water) and bring to a boil. Then stir in the cornstarch slurry and simmer, stirring often, until sauce coats a spoon, about 2 minutes. Let cool slightly.
  • Toss roasted Brussels sprouts with sauce and serve topped with peanuts.

How to make these in the air fryer:

If you want to make these Kung Pao Brussels Sprouts in the air fryer instead, it works just as well. Just heat the air fryer to 380 degrees. Toss the Brussels sprouts with olive oil, then toss in the air fryer basket and cook for 18 minutes, stirring halfway through. 

While cooking, make the kung pao sauce as directed. Then place the cooked Brussels sprouts in a bowl and toss with the kung pao sauce.

Can I prep this recipe ahead?

You can make some elements of this dish ahead, but it is important to cook them fresh for best results. Feel free to cut the Brussels sprouts and store in a zipper bag in the fridge for 2-3 days. You can also make the kung pao sauce and store in the fridge for 2-3 days. When ready to cook, roast the sprouts according to the recipe and reheat the sauce gently on the stove. 

Can I use frozen Brussels sprouts?

I have never had good luck with frozen Brussels sprouts. They hold onto the moisture after freezing and tend to end up soggy. I suggest using fresh sprouts for this recipe. 

Right side of gray bowl with kung pao Brussels sprouts garnished with peanuts.

How do I get Brussels sprouts crispy?

For the crispiest Brussels sprouts, make sure to toss them with oil right before roasting. If they sit in the oil for any amount of time, they start to become soft. Secondly, make sure to flip the Brussels sprouts so the cut side is down on the sheet pan. This will helps them get extra crispy. 

What to serve with Kung Pao Brussels Sprouts:

You can serve these Brussels sprouts over a bowl of white rice as a meal – they’re that good! The rice is perfect for soaking up all that addictive, spicy sauce. You can also serve these as a side along any Asian main, like this Grilled Chicken with Peanut Sauce or this Chinese Roasted Chicken with Soy-Lime Dipping Sauce.

Kung Pao Brussels Sprouts in gray bowl with peanuts, chiles, and oil on counter

More Brussels sprouts recipes:

More vegetable side dishes:

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Bowl of Kung Pao Brussels Sprouts with chopsticks.

Kung Pao Brussels Sprouts

Kung Pao Brussels Sprouts are crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, and covered in a sweet and spicy kung pao sauce. Toss with roasted peanuts and red chilis for a crazy delicious spin on a classic roasted vegetable.
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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 6

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds brussels sprouts
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 4 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon chili paste
  • 6-10 dried red chili peppers (split and seeds removed (optional))
  • 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • cup unsalted (roasted peanuts)
  • Cooked rice for serving ((optional))

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Cut off the brown ends of the Brussels sprouts and cut in half. Toss with olive oil and arrange them in a single layer on 1 or 2 baking sheets. Roast for 25-30 minutes, until crisp on the outside and tender on the inside.
  • Meanwhile, mix cornstarch and 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl until smooth.
  • Heat sesame oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and ginger and cook, stirring often, until fragrant, 1-2 minutes. Add chili paste and cook, stirring, until darkened, about 2 minutes. Add chiles, soy sauce, vinegar, brown sugar and ½ cup water and bring to a boil; stir in cornstarch slurry. Simmer, stirring, until sauce coats spoon, about 2 minutes. Let cool slightly.
  • Toss roasted brussels sprouts with sauce and serve topped with peanuts.

Notes

Tips for crispy Brussels sprouts: 
  • Toss with oil right before roasting. If they sit in the oil, they will become soft. 
  • Place cut-side down on baking sheet for extra crispy edges. 
 
Air fryer instructions:
  • Preheat air fryer to 380 degrees. 
  • Cut Brussels sprouts according to directions. Toss with oil. 
  • Cook in air fryer basket for 18 minutes, stirring halfway through. 
  • Meanwhile, make kung pao sauce as directed. 
  • Place cooked Brussels sprouts in bowl and toss with kung pao sauce. Serve with peanuts. 
Did you make this recipe?Mention @platingsandpairings or tag #platingsandpairings!

Nutrition

Calories: 260kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 27mg | Sodium: 751mg | Potassium: 654mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 1588IU | Vitamin C: 130mg | Calcium: 77mg | Iron: 3mg

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