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Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

How would you describe the taste of brussels sprouts?

Asked by Pied_Pfeffer (28141points) October 1st, 2010

This question is dedicated to Aesthetic_Mess, who has never tasted one. Is there anyone else who has never had them before?

People who have eaten brussels sprouts seem to love them or loathe them. How would you describe their taste and their texture? Were you one of those kids that wouldn’t touch one with a 10-foot pole and will now eat them at every meal? (That’s for you, Josie)

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45 Answers

Aesthetic_Mess's avatar

Thank you Pied_Pfeffer

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

They’re for those that would rise above the commoners and the sock suckers.

aprilsimnel's avatar

They taste and look like little cabbages. It’s as if a cabbage were shrunk down to a 100th its normal size, but none of the flavour was removed, so it’s more concentrated. It can taste somewhat bitter if not prepared properly. I like to roast mine in the oven with a bit of olive oil and crushed garlic.

CMaz's avatar

Bitter and tangy. Rich and buttery.

gravity's avatar

They taste like little cabbages to me. They are soft in texture and I guess I’ve had them boiled and they were sort of buttery tasting. I figured they would be yuck because that is their reputation but I was pleasantly surprised and now I like them.

the100thmonkey's avatar

They’re vile little things. Vile.

The texture’s fine – much like cabbage, but what no one so far has mentioned is that they taste awful and smell worse – like a pair of wet socks that got left at the bottom of the wash basket for a week.


Aesthetic_Mess's avatar

So many different opinions!

Frenchfry's avatar

A mini cabbage with a small twang at the end. Watch out though they give you gas.

tranquilsea's avatar

I was not a huge fan of brussel sprouts when I was a kid but they were served to me time and time again and I had to eat them. I like them now. They are a tad bitter but I like bitter. I usually just boil them and add butter. But once in a while I make something called, “Tolerable Brussel Sprouts”. Recipe available on request.

misstrikcy's avatar

I love them! For some reason though, we only ever eat them with xmas dinner.
I hated them when I was a kid – thought they were really bitter. But when I was about 13 I had them again and suddenly loved them.
It’s like a cabbage (texture), but a tiny one. Not sure how to describe the flavour…

Go on Aesthetic_Mess… try one!

CyanoticWasp's avatar

Depends how they’re cooked. I’ve had them boiled to a fare-thee-well, and they’re positively disgusting.

I’ve had them steamed to a nice near-crisp green, with a little melted butter, and I love them.

And now I’ve learned to braise them (cut ‘em in half from pole-to-pole, and saute them raw in a little oil), and they’re even better.

I’ve never thought that they taste like cabbage. They look a little like a tiny cabbage, but they have a taste all their own.

ETpro's avatar

Roasted, they have a slightly meaty taste uncommon in vegetables. We have only 5 taste buds, and all the rest of our perception of taste is from smell. So describing the exact taste of things is tough. There’s salty, sweet, sour, bitter and umami. Anything else tastes like chicken.

@Adirondackwannabe I recommend you just try some. Just don’t use a recipie that calls for boiling them into a plate full of disgusting mush. Roasted or steamed just to the point of tenderness is good. And a great sauce can make them a true treat.

marinelife's avatar

I love them. Boiled with blue cheese and toasted chopped walnuts or braised in chicken broth with garlic and topped with crisped pancetta. Yum!

MissA's avatar


Wow…have never tasted them like that. Will try…

I would have to describe them tasting like concentrated cabbage. They are really good sauteed in steak or roast beef juice. I also like them steamed with garlic, salt and butter. Use caution not to over-cook them (mushy).

I enjoy them once in a while now, but I never cared for them growing up. They are an acquired taste.

Now, I’m hungry for them.

YoBob's avatar

Basically, they taste like cabbage with attitude.

Personally, I love them.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@ETpro I like brussels sprouts, it was just a reference to a prior discussion with cruiser. He compares them to old socks. I have picked up some new ways to try them Thanks guys!

MissA's avatar

I feel badly for Cruiser that he’s had such lousy experiences with socks!!

ETpro's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe Tell Cruiser that I wouldn’t know. I have never eaten old socks. :-)

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I love them and would describe them this way

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Wow…I never would have guessed that there would be this many brussels sprouts fans. Since I posted the question, albeit for @Aesthetic_Mess , please feel free to post any tips or recipes you have.

mammal's avatar

mildly metallic.

Aster's avatar

Buy them frozen and plain and they’re not very good. But if you get them in those frozen bags where they’re drenched in butter that you stick in the microwave I LOVE them!

GeorgeGee's avatar

I would never microwave them… I like them fresh, trimmed, and braised in a pot with lightly salted and buttered water. One important note about any cabbage family foods: Overcooking brings out sulfur compounds that smell and taste bad, so I recommend cooking only until they’re soft.

Cruiser's avatar

@ETpro Brussel Sprouts = “meaty taste”?? HS sir! Time to get a new butcher if your meat tastes like gym socks!! XD

downtide's avatar

Very much like cabbage except stronger and more concentrated, slightly peppery. Best way to cook them is to cut a slit in the stem end and then steam them for around 5 minutes. I love them, but only fresh ones. Frozen ones are horrible (and so are fresh ones if they’re overcooked). My mum cooked them properly and I loved them as much as a kid as I do now.

ucme's avatar

Ahh the delights of the “baby cabbages” Don’t know, never tried one, never will. One of those things that I just know I won’t like :¬(

Kardamom's avatar

It totally depends upon the way they are cooked. Back in the “old” days people used to boil the heck out of them until they were mushy and bitter. That’s probably how many of us remember them from childhood. I hated them then. But when I grew up and learned how to cook and became interested in nutrition and learning about all sorts of different kinds of preparations for all sorts of foods, I found out that Brussels sprouts were very delicious. If you simply steam them and put a little butter and pepper on them, they taste similar to broccoli with a little bit of a nutty taste. I also like to steam them and put a little balsamic vinegar on them. When cooked properly they should be tender with a little bit of a crunch, never mushy.

If you really want something extraordinary with Brussels sprouts, try eating them baked in a casserole with cheese. Here’s a pretty good recipe for that:

Another way to eat Brussels sprouts, that is very good, is to thinly slice or grate raw Brussels sprouts and eat them as a salad. Here’s an easy recipe for a tasty salad:

Bon Apetite!

downtide's avatar

@Kardamom I often eat them whole and raw. When I’m preparing them for cooking, a fair few never make it as far as the pan.

Kardamom's avatar

Oh yeah, you MUST use fresh Brussels sprouts, unlike some veggies like corn or peas that are fine from the frozen foods section, the characteristics of Brussels sprouts are changed dramatically when they’re frozen (and not in a good way!)

janbb's avatar

Sort of like bath tub farts

rooeytoo's avatar

Weird and wonderful, sort of cabbagy but not quite. I nuke them and then finish off stir frying with garlic and soy. Or I nuke them and then roast with other veg and chicken in the oven. Or steam and eat with salt and vinegar. They really are an acquired taste but worth the effort and they are cruciferous so very good for you.

the100thmonkey's avatar

You’re all insane.


Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@the100thmonkey Don’t fret. A banana fruit salad has been arranged for you for the Fluther banquet.

tranquilsea's avatar

Tolerable Brussel Sprouts

4 cups (2lbs) fresh brussel sprouts
½ cup chopped onion
2 tbsps butter
1 tbsps flour
1 tbsps packed brown sugar
½ tsp salt
½ tsp dry mustard
1 cup sour cream
1 tbsp parsley

Wash, trim and cook sprouts until tender. Saute onion in butter until clear but not brown. Stir in flour , sugar, salt and mustard. Add milk and cook slowly until thickened. Blend in sour cream. Add sprouts and heat through. Sprinkle with parsley before serving.

Serves 6


YARNLADY's avatar

Everyone in my family loves Brussel sprouts. I steam them in my rice steamer and then serve with various dips that we make from sour cream and flavorings.

augustlan's avatar

I absolutely despised them as a kid, when my mother would boil the hell out of them and serve with butter. Even as an adult, I had sworn off them for good when I started hearing about pan roasting them, and how it changed everything. I tried it, and they were absolutely delicious!
Pan Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@Cruiser Maybe this ^ is why @ETpro finds that they have a meaty taste. He’s been following @augustlan ‘s recipe. @augustlan – thx for your editing assistance.

ETpro's avatar

@Cruiser Damn, is that what happened to my old butcher. I thought that broth on the roasted Brussels sprouts was unusually meaty.

augustlan's avatar

Everything is better with bacon. :p

@Pied_Pfeffer Any time. :)

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

People who hate them or say that they are bitter are probably eating frozen brussel sprouts. Frozen sprouts are waterlogged (hence the “wet sock” comment) and bitter. Like most strong flavored veggies, freezing makes them stronger. We take fresh brussel sprouts – trim and cut in half longways. Put equal parts olive oil and butter in a saute pan and put them in, cut side down. Add chopped pancetta, salt and pepper, and garlic. Put on the lid and cook over medium low heat until done.

As far as describing the taste – like a tiny, tender cabbage but more concentrated flavor.

janbb's avatar

They taste like farting in the bathtub smells.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

Thanks for that observation, @janbb . Now I will really try to get that visual out of my mind.

If I thought like that, I wouldn’t eat a lot of things that I happen to like. Cabbage, turnips, mexican food, saurkraut, broccoli cheese soup. I am really glad that I don’t have a weak stomach. Probably why I am so healthy.

ETpro's avatar

@Skaggfacemutt Great brussel sprout recipe. Thanks.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

@ETpro I’m glad you like it!

SecondHandStoke's avatar

Challenging to pair with wine.

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