Learn how to parboil Brussels sprouts - it's the perfect way to prepare them for roasting, grilling or sautéing.
If you've tried your hand at roasting or grilling Brussels sprouts, you might have been disappointed, which is where learning how to parboil them comes into play.
What sometimes happens is that the outer leaves become blackened before the insides are properly cooked, leaving them crunchier than they should be!
The answer is parboiling - a quick and easy extra step that can be used when you're preparing all different types of foods.
What is Parboiling?
In a nutshell, parboiling a food means to partially cook it before finishing it off with another cooking method.
You simply place the food you are cooking in a pan of water - or a more flavorsome liquid like apple cider - then bring it to a simmer.
After letting it bubble away for a few minutes (or longer, depending on the type of food you are parboiling) you drain it, so that it is softer than when it was raw, but not fully cooked.
You can then finish off cooking the food in whatever way you prefer. Parboiling is great for grains like rice or brown rice, vegetables like potatoes, green beans, peppers, and broccoli, but it works really well with meats too!
Why Parboil Brussels Sprouts?
Brussels sprouts are quite dense little vegetables, so parboiling them gives you a headstart on the cooking process.
It is especially helpful for dishes involving grilled or roasted Brussels sprouts, because it softens them in the middle.
That way you can focus on getting the outer leaves deliciously caramelized without having to worry about them being undercooked in the middle.
Some people even find that parboiling Brussels sprouts helps cut down on their bitterness.
How to Long to Parboil Brussels Sprouts?
Bearing in mind that the aim of parboiling foods is to only partially cook them, it takes very little time at all to parboil Brussels sprouts.
Just three to four minutes is all you'll need to soften them and you can tell when they are ready to drain because they will turn bright green.
How to Parboil Brussels Sprouts
First, trim the Brussels sprouts by removing the hard ends and any discolored or wilted leaves.
Next, place the Brussels sprouts in a deep saucepan and pour in enough water to completely cover them.
Add a large pinch of kosher salt to the water and heat over medium-high heat until the water comes to a low boil. Boil for around 3 to 4 minutes until the Brussels sprouts start to turn bright green.
Remove the saucepan from the heat, drain, then rinse with cold water. Finally, pat the Brussels sprouts dry. They are now ready to continue to cook in whichever way you desire.
How to Use Parboiled Brussels Sprouts
- Parboil Brussels sprouts before roasting - try these amazing Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Sriracha, which are deliciously spicy and tangy.
- Parboil Brussels sprouts before grilling in a grill basket or on skewers with shaved parmesan on top.
- Parboil Brussels sprouts before sauteéing in butter with garlic - a classic but simple side dish.
- Parboil Brussels sprouts before adding to other dishes, like this satisfying Chicken, Potato and Brussels Sprout Sheet Pan Dinner.
Cyd is a native of Upstate New York, born to a family of women who love to cook and host parties. She shares her love of all things food, home and entertaining on her blog, The Sweetest Occasion and on Instagram.