Brown Sugar Is the Secret Ingredient Taking Roasted Brussels Sprouts From OK to OMG

POPSUGAR Photography | Nicole Shoemaker
POPSUGAR Photography | Nicole Shoemaker

Brussels sprouts have always had a bit of a complicated reputation. Often greeted with a furrowed brow and some variation of "no, thank you," this hearty vegetable is regularly overlooked in favor of more popular veggies. But once you give Brussels sprouts a chance, you'll realize that their unflattering reputation was never deserved; the sprouts are delicious. And if you're still on the fence about sprouts, it's because you haven't yet tried this recipe, which involves roasting Brussels sprouts in bacon, which acts as the fat, while brown sugar — the secret ingredient! — gives everything a sweet finish. Once the sprouts are about halfway done cooking, sprinkle in the sweet shallots, and cook until soft. After everything is nicely roasted, the sprouts, bacon, and shallots are tossed with a handful of sweet dried figs, seasoned with salt and pepper, and ready to be served. So good luck to the naysayers, because even the most contrarian of people won't be able to turn up their nose at these flavorful Brussels sprouts.

Additional reporting by Kelsey Hurwitz

POPSUGAR Photography | Nicole Shoemaker
POPSUGAR Photography | Nicole Shoemaker

Bacon and Brown Sugar Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Shallots and Dried Figs

Cook Time35 minutes
Yield4 servings

Original Recipe


    • 1 1/2 pounds brussels sprouts, cleaned and halved
    • 4 slices bacon, chopped
    • 1 teaspoon olive oil, if necessary
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
    • 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
    • 1/2 cup chopped dried figs
    • More salt and pepper, to taste


    1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

    2. Spread Brussels sprouts on a large, rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with bacon. Roast for 10 minutes until bacon fat starts to render. Pull the pan out and toss Brussels sprouts in bacon fat. Sprinkle with the salt. If not enough fat has rendered, add 1 teaspoon olive oil.

    3. Roast another 10 minutes. Pull pan out and add brown sugar and shallots. Roast another 10 minutes or until shallots are softened and sprouts are crisp on the outside. Pull pan out and toss with dried figs. Season with more salt and pepper to taste.