How to Parboil Brussels Sprouts

Cyd Converse

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.

Cranberry Pecan Roasted Brussels Sprouts Photo

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 potatoesgreen beans, peppers, and broccoli, but it works really well with meats too!

You can cut the cooking time of a whole chicken or chicken wings by parboiling first, or parboil ribs so that they drop right off the bone when fully cooked.

You can even parboil sausage and brats - it makes the casings stronger so they won't split and helps them cook evenly too.

Cranberry Pecan Roasted Brussels Sprouts Picture

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.

Cranberry Pecan Roasted Brussels Sprouts Image

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

How to Parboil Brussels Sprouts Photo

First, trim the Brussels sprouts by removing the hard ends and any discolored or wilted leaves.

How to Parboil Brussels Sprouts Picture

Next, place the Brussels sprouts in a deep saucepan and pour in enough water to completely cover them.

How to Parboil Brussels Sprouts Pic

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.

How to Parboil Brussels Sprouts Image

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 Parboil Brussels Sprouts Tutorial Photo

How to Use Parboiled Brussels Sprouts

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.