Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Chestnuts

Have you started your holiday meal planning yet? If you have, bravo! If you haven’t, don’t despair, neither have we. Typically that happens about two days before the event. But if I have anything to do with it this year (and that’s a big if, as my dad is usually the one who decides what we eat for the big family meals) these brussels sprouts with chestnuts and bacon will be on the menu.

Chestnuts and brussels sprouts are a natural combination—earthy and strong, warm and filling. Add bacon to the mix and you have a match made in heaven. The only tricky part to this recipe is that you shred the brussels sprouts and then blanch them in salty water, and then shock them in ice water to set the color bright green. Other than that it’s an easy sauté. Whatever you do, don’t overcook the sprouts. Overcooking them will give them a somewhat sulfuric taste. But cooked just enough? Perfect. Especially with the chestnuts and bacon.

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Chestnuts Recipe

  • Yield: Serves 8-10 as a side.

Chestnuts are delicious, but a major pain to roast and shell (have you ever exploded chestnuts all over your kitchen? I have). Canned (jarred more like it) chestnuts actually work better in recipes than the kind you roast and peel yourself. The texture and moisture content is more consistent. So, we suggest using canned roasted chestnuts for this recipe. You can of course roast and shell your own if you prefer.



  • 1 pound brussels sprouts
  • 1/3 pound thick-sliced bacon or slab bacon, cut into 1/4-inch pieces or batons
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 20-25 canned roasted chestnuts, quartered or roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Lemon wedges to serve


1 Put a large pot of salty water on the stove to boil. While the water is heating, cut the brussels sprouts in half and slice thinly, starting at the top of the sprout and working back toward the stem. Discard the hard tip of the stem side.

2 Cut the bacon into pieces about 1/4 inch wide and put them in a large sauté pan over medium heat.

3 Once the water is boiling, add all the brussels sprouts and boil them for 2 minutes. While the sprouts are boiling, get a large bowl of ice water ready. Transfer the brussels sprouts to the ice water (this will shock them vibrant green and stop the cooking) and chill thoroughly. Move to a colander to drain.

4 When the bacon is browned, remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Remove all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat (do not put down the drain, see how to render bacon fat). Turn up the heat to high, add the red onions. Cook until the onions begin to brown, add back the bacon.

5 Add the chestnuts and brussels sprouts to the sauté pan with the bacon and onions. Add the chicken stock and toss to combine. Stir in about 1 teaspoon of salt, more or less to taste. Cook over high heat for 2-3 minutes. Add pepper to taste.

Serve hot with lemon wedges. Squeeze a little lemon juice over the sprouts right before you eat them.

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Sautéed brussels sprouts with almonds and onions - from here on Simply Recipes
Roasted brussels sprouts - from here on Simply Recipes
Shredded Brussels Sprouts with Apples - from 101 Cookbooks
Brussels Sprouts with Pasta - from Orangette
Brussels Sprouts with Chestnuts and Brown Butter - from Smitten Kitchen

View Comments / Leave a Comment


  1. Dee

    This is very similar to something I did last night, except I didn’t boil the sprouts. Cut that thinly, they don’t need it and a simple saute in the skillet is enough to cook them through. I cooked about the same time (maybe a minute more) and did add a couple of tablespoons of water, covered with a lid to steam for maybe a minute or two (of the entire cooking time). I find they absorb the taste of the fat better and stay nice and crisp.
    Love the idea of the chestnuts, will try that next time. thanks!

  2. Renee

    This sounds simple and good. What part of the grocery store carries roasted chestnuts? I don’t think I’ve ever seen them.

    They come in jars. Where you find them in the store really depends on the individual store. Near canned vegetables? Near raisins? I would just ask. That’s what I have to do. ~Elise

  3. Megan

    Could I prepare the sprouts day before – and quickly cook the bacon and saute day of? This looks awesome!

    I haven’t made this ahead, but I’m guessing that you could cut and blanch the brussels sprouts the day before, and to the rest the day of. ~Elise

  4. Cynthia

    I shred the sprouts in the food processor -this makes them really thin and eliminates the need to boil them – then saute them with 1/4 lb. of diced pancetta. The chestnuts should just be the icing on the cake!!! (If I can keep from eating them before I toss them with the sprouts!) Definitely on my Thanksgiving menu!

  5. randi in canada

    Asian stores sell chestnuts in resealable zipbags. Never had to use the zip part as they are eaten almost immediately. I’ve also seen them like this in a few of the better grocery stores. I could eat a plate of only brussels sprouts for dinner and be perfectly happy.

  6. Wanda

    Are chestnuts the same as water chestnuts that you get in a can in the Asian section of the market? If they are not the same, are they close enough to substitute? I have never seen them. Is there a suitable sub?

    Definitely not the same, not even close. You cannot use as a substitute. I would ask your local grocer for either jarred or vacuum-packed roasted chestnuts. ~Elise

  7. Carroll

    This would be perfect for my Christmas Eve dinner. Could I do any of this ahead of time? I was thinking of doing steps 1-4 in the morning and the final step just before dinner. What do you think?

    I’m guessing that would work. This dish reheats well in my opinion. ~Elise

  8. Gwen

    I love chestnuts with brussel sprouts. Lovely flavor combo. However, I live in a small rural town, so chestnuts are in the store in limited quantities only around the holidays. If I want the same feeling of chestnuts (though a different flavor note), I use walnuts or some other large meaty nut. Pecans work, but they add a slightly sweet flavor. Chestnuts are nice because they add a meaty, nutty element without a lot of other flavor distractions.

  9. Meagan

    I could eat 2 large bowls of this no problem, sometimes I wish my stomach was bottomless.

  10. Whitney

    Made this last night — it was delicious! My grocery store didn’t have roasted chestnuts (or at least the person I asked didn’t know where they were), so I used toasted chopped hazelnuts. I will definitely be making this on Thanksgiving, and I’ll be on the lookout for roasted chestnuts!

  11. Shandy

    Would this reheat well? If I made this in the afternoon and reheated it in a casserole dish a few hours later (in an oven, not a microwave), would it do well or would it end up a mushy, not-green mess?

    I ate this for leftovers for days and loved it. It shouldn’t get mushy. It may not be as bright green. ~Elise

  12. Jill Anderson

    These brussels sprouts were a huge hit at our Thanksgiving feast today! Thank you for the recipe.

  13. Greg

    Had these for Thanksgiving, too! We substituted toasted chopped walnuts for the chestnuts, and it was a big hit! And this may sound odd, but the leftovers made a great omelet filling this morning! I mixed in a little grated parmesan, and it was terrific!

  14. Angela

    We made this for Thanksgiving (in fact, we had a nearly all Simply Recipes Thanksgiving) and it was great! Aside from the part where we exploded chestnuts all over the kitchen, though :)

    Oh yes, I’ve done the exploding chestnuts too. You’ve got to score them before cooking if you make them that way. ~Elise

  15. Penny

    Dee-lish! Finished off with a little bit of umeboshi vinegar, a nice big bowl of these makes a whole meal. I think the secret is not to boil them too long, because you can always saute as long as you want. Thanks Elise!

  16. Jessica

    This may be a silly question, but the Trader Joe’s near my house sells fresh brussel sprouts still attached to the stalk, and I was wondering if your “1 lb.” measurement includes the stalk or just the sprouts. (If it’s just sprouts, about what weight would I want with stalk still attached?) Thanks!

    The 1 lb measurement does NOT include the stalk. Brussels sprouts are usually sold loose. Good idea to get them on the stalk though, because they will likely be more fresh and will keep better. No idea what the weight would be with the stalk still attached, but I’m guessing that you would be fine with this recipe with the sprouts from one stalk. ~Elise

  17. E A Lindstrom

    Hello, just finished preparing the Brussel Sprouts with bacon & chestnuts recipe per above.
    I followed the above recipe implicitly.
    My results were disastrous, very pungent Brussel Sprouts flavour, soft, watery and slimy texture.
    Altho I thot one could not go wrong with the combination of ingredients (bacon, red onion, chestnuts) the blend when cooked made those flavours seemly blend into a new flavour, a flavour I cant see anyone liking.
    Bottom line…test it before you serve to friends and family..or ya may lose ‘em!

  18. Lyndsay

    I’m bookmarking these for Christmas. I usually do Ina Garten’s roasted brussel sprouts but this looks really good. I often do a lot of my cooking ahead. Do you think this would work as a make ahead – squeeze lemon on after re-heating or no?

    Yes on make ahead, and yes on lemon after re-heating. ~Elise

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