Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts with Sweet and Spicy Glaze — The air fryer makes these Brussels sprouts perfectly crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, and the mildly spicy honey butter glaze makes them IRRESISTIBLE! An EASY side dish for busy weeknights, family dinners, or Thanksgiving that’s ready FAST! Oven baking instructions also provided.
Crispy Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts – A Sweet and Spicy Recipe
I really love Brussels sprouts of all kinds, but these air fryer Brussels sprouts with a sweet and spicy glaze might just be my favorite!
There are two major elements to fall in love with here and that’s the perfect crispy texture created by the air fryer and the perfect balance of sweet and spicy flavor in the honey-chili powder glaze that coats the sprouts.
Besides the crispy exterior of the Brussels sprouts, tender yet not mushy interiors, another big reason to make Brussels sprouts in air fryer is because it makes it makes the recipe faster than oven-roasting.
In just about 15 minutes, the air fryer cooks the Brussels sprouts to perfection with very little help from me. On a busy weeknight, that’s exactly the kind of vegetable side dish recipe I need.
Apart from that, not having to turn on your oven, or freeing up oven space if you want to serve these air fryer Brussels sprouts as a holiday side dish for Thanksgiving or Christmas, are nice wins.
But the glaze is the real reason I adore these Brussels sprouts. Melted butter, honey, smoked paprika, chili powder, cayenne, and orange zest come together to create the most mouthwatering combination of flavors.
The honey obviously lends sweetness, while spicy seasonings add some pizzaz, and tangy orange zest is seriously so satisfying.
You may be surprised how even the pickiest eaters at the table enjoy these crazy flavorful Brussels sprouts made in air fryer because they’re crispy yet tender, sweet yet spicy, and have a 100% satisfaction rate in my home.
How Do Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts Differ from Baked Brussels Sprouts?
In my real life, I tend to not be an appliance-oriented cook. I don’t have much storage space, I don’t like to learn new (cooking) tricks, and I figure I can just make everything on the stovetop or in the oven.
But I have jumped on the air fryer bandwagon for certain recipes, such as these air fryer Brussels sprouts. It will give you Brussels sprouts closer in texture to restaurant-style Brussels sprouts which are usually deep fried and that’s something I simply don’t ever do at home.
- If you’re using a convection oven, you may not notice a ton of difference in the crispiness level of air fried Brussels sprouts compared with the results you can achieve in a convection oven. That’s because a convection oven is circulating hot oven air around the food, which is what an air fryer also does. It circulates hot air so it acts as a mini convection oven.
- However, if you are using regular oven, you will see a definite boost in the crispiness level if you use an air fryer instead.
- If you overcrowd the sprouts on the baking sheet no matter if you have a convection or regular oven, they will be more likely to steam rather than roast. And steaming = mushy in vegetable world! So you will definitely see a positive change if you opt to air fry your Brussels sprouts!
What Kind of Air Fryer Is Best?
I use this Cosori XL Air Fryer with good luck. I like it because the basket is “extra large”. Keep in mind, however, that even the more XL of baskets aren’t exactly huge.
Tip: When cooking Brussels sprouts in the air fryer, you’ll need to cook them in two batches if this is the model you have or a model similar to it.
If you are a person who knows you like air frying, and you have the space for it, I recommend the newer air fryers on the market like this Double Basket Ninja Air Fryer. You can knock out everything at the same time when you’ve got two baskets going!
Can I Make Crispy Brussels Sprouts Without An Air Fryer?
You sure can! Follow the overall gist of my recipe for Roasted Balsamic Brussels Sprouts roasting the sprouts until they’re about 95% done, about 25 minutest at 400F.
At this point, remove the baking sheet from the oven and remove sprouts from the baking sheet, add them to a large bowl, pour the hot honey butter and chili powder glaze over them, toss to coat evenly, and bake for another 3 to 5 minutes, or until as done as desired.
Ingredients for Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts
Let’s get down to the ingredients for these fast and easy air fryer Brussels sprouts, all of which are commonly found fridge and pantry ingredients, many of which you likely already will have on hand. Plus, this a budget-friendly recipe which is always nice!
You’ll need the following ingredients:
- Brussels sprouts
- Unsalted butter
- Orange zest
- Smoked paprika
- Chili powder
- Cayenne pepper
- Flaky sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
Note: Scroll down to the recipe card section of the post for the ingredients with amounts included and for more complete directions.
How to Cook Brussels Sprouts in the Air Fryer
Preheat your air fryer and let’s make the best Brussels sprouts in no time!
Step 1: Turn on your air fryer and preheat it to 375°F.
Step 2: Optionally blanche the Brussels sprouts in boiling water for 3 minutes.
Tips: Blanching serves two purposes. It preserves the green color AND if you are a person that doesn’t like crisp-tender vegetables and wants the hearts or centers of the sprouts softer and less crisp, then you should blanche them. Noting that if you blanch them, they may not take the 15 minutes I suggest to cook through and may cook through as much as 5 minutes faster.
Step 3: Toss the Brussels sprouts in melted butter and add them to the air fryer.
Step 4: Air fry the Brussels sprouts for about 8 minutes.
Step 5: Flip them and then air fry for another 7 minutes. Spray them with olive oil cooking spray to make them extra crispy.
Step 6: Make the glaze while they’re air frying by combining the remaining ingredients and microwave for 1 minute.
Step 7: Toss the cooked Brussels sprouts in the glaze.
Step 8: Optionally air fry the glazed sprouts for another 2 minutes or so in the air fryer to set the glaze and lightly caramelize it.
Step 9: Add salt and pepper to taste and serve!
How Long to Cook Brussels Sprouts in an Air Fryer
To make crispy Brussels sprouts in the air fryer, they’ll need to cook for a total of 15 minutes at 375ºF. Flip the sprouts halfway through to ensure maximum crispiness.
Also make sure to cook the sprouts in batches, if needed. Overcrowding the air fryer will result in soft Brussels sprouts.
How Spicy Are These Brussels Sprouts?
In my opinion, as written, these “spicy” Brussels sprouts really are not spicy at all. However, I do love actual spicy food!
Nor are they too sweet, either. Don’t be afraid about the honey making them too sweet!
However, if you’re concerned about the spiciness level:
- Halve or omit the amount of chili powder. While I don’t think chili powder is spicy, some may so just removed it if you’re concerned. Conversely, feel free to double it if you want more oomph!
- Halve or omit the cayenne pepper. Cayenne has far more of a kick than chili powder so this is the real ingredient to pay attention to if you don’t want your air fryer Brussels sprouts too spicy. For the heat seekers, add more to taste!
Whatever you do, you’ll still have a nice savory flavor from the smoked paprika and (hopeful touch of chili powder), you just won’t have the actual spiciness.
Tip: For those wanting a bit more heat, sprinkle on crushed red pepper flakes before serving!
What to Serve with Brussels Sprouts
These easy air fryer Brussels sprouts pair well with just about everything. Then again, I could eat Brussels sprouts every day of the week!
They are wonderful with most any chicken dish including Garlic Butter Chicken or Lemon Butter Dijon Chicken if you’re doing a stovetop skillet recipe or pair any of my Sheet Pan Dinners if you’ve already got your oven fired up.
Brussels sprouts in an air fryer along with my truly Perfect Steak, Sheet Pan Honey Lemon Salmon, or Air Fryer Pork Chops are all great ideas too.
How to Store Leftovers
This easy air fryer side dish recipe is one that’s best served hot and fresh. However, if you do have leftover Brussels sprouts, they’ll keep airtight for up to 5 days in the fridge. Feel free to reheat them either in the microwave or right back in the air fryer.
I don’t recommend freezing spicy and sweet air fryer Brussels sprouts.
Tips for the Best Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts
Here are just a few tips and tricks to make this easy air fryer recipes even easier! I’m always all about convenience, so make sure to read through how I make this recipe truly hassle-free.
Brussels Sprouts: Use fresh, not frozen, Brussels sprouts. Frozen sprouts are not recommended for this recipe (or in my opinion, ever)!
In the fall, especially before Thanksgiving, sometimes there are jumbo sized sprouts in the grocery stores. I recommend more modest-sized Brussels sprouts for this recipe because even if you blanche them, the really huge ones may burn a bit on the exterior before softening up sufficiently in the interiors.
Butter vs. Oil: We prefer the flavor of unsalted real butter for this easy Brussels sprouts recipe. However, you can experiment with 2 tablespoons of olive oil rather than 2 tablespoons of melted butter for the air frying process.
Regardless, I 100% recommend making the sweet and spicy sauce with butter, not oil. For that, you’ll need 1/4 cup melted butter.
Olive Oil Spray: Feel free to spray the air basket with olive oil cooking spray to prevent the Brussels sprouts from sticking. Additionally, after you’ve flipped the sprouts, you can spray them as well for extra crispy restaurant-style Brussels sprouts at home.
Easier Cleanup: Want even less of a mess to clean up afterwards? Create a little foil basket to place in the air fryer and place the sprouts in the foil basket. When the Brussels sprouts are done cooking, remove them from the foil and discard it. You may not even need to clean the air fryer afterwards!
More or Less Spicy: Add more or less chili powder and/or cayenne powder to customize the level of spiciness. Crushed red pepper flakes sprinkled on before serving are also great if you want to boost the heat.
Caramelize the Glaze: I like to toss the glazed Brussels sprouts back in the air fryer for about 1-2 minutes to make set the glaze and caramelize it a little bit. It adds a little extra flavor and does wonders to the glaze consistency and texture.
Blanche the Brussels Sprouts: Blanching is a fancy word that means quickly or flash boiling something and then often setting in an ice bath (although the ice bath isn’t necessary here). If you want the green of the Brussels sprouts to stay more vibrant, blanche the sprouts for 3 minutes, remove and drain over a colander, and then air fry the.
Also, as I mentioned above, if you are a person that doesn’t like crisp-tender vegetables and wants the hearts or centers of your air fried Brussel sprouts softer and less crisp, then you should blanche them. Note that if you blanche them, they may not take the 15 minutes I suggest to cook through and may cook through as much as 5 minutes faster.
Don’t Crowd: Make sure not to overcrowd the air fryer basket. Some piling up is fine, but don’t make a mountain. I suggest cooking the 2 pounds of Brussels sprouts in two batches for most air fryers. If yours is small, you may need to do 3 rounds. If you’re lucky enough to have a double basket air fryer then you can do it all at once.
Air Frying Times: My most important tip and takeaway is to air fry your Brussels sprouts for as long as need be given your particular model of air fryer, how big or small your sprouts are, how crispy you like the exteriors, how tender you prefer the interiors, if you blanched them before air frying, how full your air fryer basket it, and so forth.
All these variables effect the amount of cooking time needed and you may need to play around with the air frying time that’s right for you.
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Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts
The air fryer makes these Brussels sprouts perfectly crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, and the mildly spicy honey butter glaze makes them IRRESISTIBLE! An EASY side dish for busy weeknights, family dinners, or Thanksgiving that's ready FAST! Oven baking instructions also provided.
- 2 pounds fresh Brussel sprouts, trimmed and halved (normal sized rather than jumbo sprouts are recommended)
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted; divided*
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika (regular may be substituted)
- 1 to 2 teaspoons chili powder, or to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste (omit if very sensitive to spicy foods)
- Flaky sea salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Preheat air fryer to 375F.
- Trim and halve the Brussels sprouts.
- Optionally, if you want to blanche the sprouts to preserve the green color OR if you want more well-cooked and softer interiors rather than crisp-tender, then blanche them by adding them to boiling water, boil for 3 minutes, promptly remove, drain over a colander, shake them well to remove, and then continue to step 4.
- Toss all the Brussels sprouts in 4 tablespoons melted butter.*
- Add half the sprouts to your air fryer and air fry for about 8 minutes.
- Open the air fryer, toss and flip the sprouts, optionally spray with olive oil cooking spray for extra crispiness, and air fry for approximately 7 more minutes. Tips - If you blanched them, you may need to cook them the full 7 minutes. Start checking after 2 to 3 minutes. Make sure to air fry and cook as necessary in your air fryer given your model, preference, for crispiness, crowding level of your basket, and so forth. Don't be afraid to cook for more or less time, as you deem necessary. You may need to experiment with the exact air frying time.
- While waiting, make the glaze in a microwave-safe bowl or glass measuring cup by combining the remaining 4 tablespoons melted butter with the honey, zest, smoked paprika, chili powder, cayenne pepper, and heat for 1 minute on high power.
- After the sprouts are done air frying, transfer them to a large bowl, and top with half the glaze, making sure to reserve the remainder for the second round of sprouts.
- Optionally, you can air fry the glazed sprouts for 1 to 2 minutes to help set the glaze a bit and lightly caramelize it.
- Set the glazed sprouts aside and repeat the process with the other half the raw Brussels sprouts, tossing them in the remaining melted butter, air frying for 8 minutes, flipping and air frying again for about 7 minutes, glazing, and optionally air fryer another 1 to 2 minutes before serving. Brussels sprouts are best warm and fresh. Leftovers will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days although they will not be as crispy. Reheat gently in the microwave or you can attempt to recrisp them a bit by air frying them again for a few minutes. I have never frozen the leftovers.
*You will be air frying the sprouts more than likely in 2 batches unless you have a double basket air fryer. For each batch, you should drizzle and toss the sprouts in 2 tablespoons of butter before air frying.
You can try using less butter, and you can also try using olive oil. For me, the sprouts don't achieve the same texture or flavor with either less butter nor by using oil.
The final 4 tablespoons melted butter is reserved for the sweet and spicy glaze.
**To make Brussels sprouts in the oven, follow the basic gist of my Balsamic Brussels Sprouts recipe, roasting the sprouts until they're about 95% done, about 25 minutest at 400F. At this point, remove the baking sheet from the oven and remove sprouts from the baking sheet, add them to a large bowl, pour the hot honey butter and chili powder glaze over them, toss to coat evenly, and bake for another 3 to 5 minutes, or until as done as desired.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 254Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 41mgSodium: 277mgCarbohydrates: 28gFiber: 5gSugar: 18gProtein: 4g
More Easy Brussels Sprouts Recipes:
Roasted Balsamic Brussels Sprouts – These balsamic Brussels sprouts are easy to make and pair perfectly with any main dish. Serve with Parmesan and chopped pistachios to amp up the flavor!
Roasted Balsamic Glazed Brussels Sprouts with Pomegranate Seeds – An easy side dish that’s perfect for not only the holidays but anytime you’re in the mood for CRISPY roasted Brussels sprouts!! The homemade balsamic glaze seeps into every inch of the spouts and adds so much tangy-sweet flavor!!
Orange Glazed Brussels Sprouts – A FAST and EASY side dish that jazzes up Brussels sprouts with a citrus twist!! Great for fall and winter holiday entertaining or as HEALTHY weeknight side!!
Crispy Roasted Brussels Sprouts – An EASY way to try TWO different versions of Brussels Sprouts in one!! There’s Sweet and Spicy Sprouts AND Traditional Roasted Sprouts! So different and both SO GOOD!!
Roasted Brussels Sprouts Salad – A HEARTY salad that celebrates the flavors of fall including roasted Brussels sprouts and dried cranberries along with quinoa, chickpeas, spinach, and goat cheese!! Perfect for lunch, a meatless main, or a HEALTHY side dish on your holiday table!!
Honey Balsamic Chicken and Brussels Sprouts – EASY, one-skillet, healthy, ready in 15 minutes, and loaded with FALL FLAVORS!! Juicy chicken, crisp-tender sprouts, tangy balsamic, sweet honey, and seasoned to perfection!!
Fall Roasted Vegetables with Chickpeas – Fast, easy, HEALTHY, and a great recipe to try as a meatless main or as a satisfying plant-based lunch!! So much FLAVOR in the veggies from the spices and the chickpeas turn crispy!!
Wow! This recipe looks fantastic! I love how you added the pomegranate seeds for extra colour! Going to make this recipe for sure. Thanks!