Brussels Sprouts Gratin

4.80 from 10 votes
1 hour 15 minutes
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This cheesy Brussels Sprouts Gratin is the perfect elegant side dish that pairs well with almost anything! Tender Brussels sprouts are blanketed in a velvety cheesy cream sauce and then finished with a crispy, buttery breadcrumb topping. This luxurious casserole can even be made ahead of time!

Brussels Sprouts Gratin in oval baking dish with spoon scooping some up.

What is a gratin?

A gratin is a baked dish topped with bits of butter, breadcrumbs and grated cheese and then browned. The dish is generally shallow and often oval. The terms au gratin or gratinée refer to any dish prepared in such a manner.

Why This Recipe is a Keeper!

Smoky bacon always pairs amazingly well with Brussels sprouts; this gratin is no exception.

The luxurious cheesy cream sauce is simple to make yet delivers richness to this decadent side dish. Sharp white Cheddar cheese adds the perfect tanginess to compliment the savory bacon and the earthiness of the Brussels sprouts. 

The crispy topping on this Brussels Sprouts Gratin made from buttery brioche breadcrumbs and nutty Parmesan cheese creates the perfect contrast between the tender Brussels sprouts and the creamy sauce. Together, all these elements make this dish shine!

Brussels Sprouts au Gratin is easy to make and, best of all can be prepared ahead of time! The casserole base can be refrigerated for up to two days before baking, making this dish especially great for the holidays. So, while you’re cooking the day of, this delicious side dish has already been taken care of!

With all this cheesy, bacony goodness going on, this Brussels Sprouts Gratin may even turn a Brussels sprouts skeptic into a fan!

This cheesy Brussels sprouts recipe is:

  • Easy!
  • The perfect holiday side dish.
  • Delicious! Fresh breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese form the crispy crust that tops off this decadent side dish.
  • Make-ahead! 
Brussels Sprouts Gratin in oval baking dish with spoon scooping some up.

How to Make a Brussels Sprouts Gratin:

Recipe Ingredients:

Here’s everything you’ll need to make this Brussels Sprouts Gratin recipe, along with how to prep the ingredients. See the recipe card below for the exact quantities.

Ingredients for Brussels Sprouts Gratin in glass bowls.

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions:

  • Brussels Sprouts: Use small to medium-sized Brussels sprouts. Remove any rough-looking, yellow outer leaves and trim the stem end.
  • Bacon: You can use turkey, beef, or soy bacon if you don’t consume pork. If using turkey or soy, you may need to add extra fat, like butter, to make the roux. Avoid flavored bacon, such as maple, because the flavor competes with the cheese.
  • All-Purpose Flour: A small amount of starch in the form of flour helps keep the cheese from curdling or “breaking.”
  • Cheddar Cheese: I like using sharp white cheddar cheese for a more robust flavor. Yellow cheddar will also work, but white Cheddar makes a prettier presentation. Other suitable substitutes would be Gruyere, Fontina, or Brie cheese. 
  • Heavy Cream: Also called whipping cream. Heavy cream has a higher percentage of milk fat–usually 36%, while whipping cream has approximately 30%.
  • Breadcrumbs: A buttery-flavored bread like brioche works well for this recipe, but plain fresh breadcrumbs will work fine.

Step-By-Step Instructions:

  • Gather and prep all the ingredients.
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Lightly butter, oil, or spray with cooking spray an oval gratin-style baking dish large enough to hold all the sprouts. Set aside.
  • Prepare the Brussels sprouts by removing any rough-looking leaves and trimming up any stems. Slice them in half.
  • Prepare an ice bath. Bring a large, deep skillet or saucepan of generously salted water (approximately 2 tablespoons) to a boil.
  • Carefully drop the Brussels sprouts into the salted water and cook for 3-4 minutes or until almost cooked. (You should be able to pierce the Brussels sprouts easily with a knife but still feel some resistance in the center, and they should remain bright green.)
  • Drain and transfer to the ice bath to cool.
  • Drain again and blot them dry with a paper or clean kitchen towel.
  • Cook the bacon in the same deep skillet or saute pan until crispy.
  • Drain on a paper towel-lined plate.
  • Set aside, but reserve the bacon drippings in the pan.
Cooked crispy bacon in nonstick skillet.
  • Whisk the all-purpose flour into the bacon drippings.
  • Cook for 1 to 2 minutes over low heat.
Flour being whisked into bacon drippings in nonstick skillet.
  • Stir in the heavy cream and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat.
  • Cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until beginning to thicken.
  • Add the shredded cheese by the handful and whisk after each addition until the cheese has melted and the sauce is smooth.
  • Add salt and black pepper to taste. Add a pinch of cayenne if desired.
  • Stir the Brussels sprouts and bacon into the cheese sauce and stir to coat.
  • NOTE: The cheese sauce will immediately thicken because the Brussels sprouts were cooled off.
  • Transfer the Brussels sprouts to the prepared baking dish.
  • Combine the butter, breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese in a small bowl.
  • Mix with your hands until the butter is mixed in and evenly distributed.
  • Scatter over the top of the Brussels sprouts.
  • Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until bubbly.
  • Cover with aluminum foil if necessary at around the 15-minute mark if breadcrumbs are getting too brown.
  • Then, cheesy, crispy Brussels sprouts deliciousness!!
  • Serve immediately.
Fully baked Brussels Sprouts Gratin on a blue striped towel with a serving spoon.

Chef Tips and Tricks:

  • Trimming and halving Brussels sprouts with a paring knife knicks up my thumb, so I wear a disposable glove. A fingertip cot also works.
  • Transferring the Brussels sprouts to an ice bath after blanching stops the cooking process, and the cold shock sets the color.
  • Let the shredded cheese come to room temperature before adding it to the sauce so it melts more easily.
  • A buttery bread, like brioche, works well for toppings like the one on this cheesy Brussels sprouts bake. I always like to have it in my freezer and then make the breadcrumbs fresh. Just tear the bread slices up, place them in a food processor, and pulse until they are coarsely ground.
Brussels Sprouts Gratin in oval baking dish with spoon scooping some up.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What other types of cheese can I use in Brussels Sprouts au Gratin?

I like using sharp cheddar because it has a robust flavor and is easy to find. You can use other cheeses, though, if that’s what you have or you prefer. Gruyere, Fontina, and Brie are all good substitutes for this dish. Shred or chop the cheese before incorporating it into the sauce.

Can I use pre-made breadcrumbs?

Fresh breadcrumbs offer a nicer texture and flavor. However, store-bought panko, which are coarse, can be used in a pinch.

Can Brussels Sprouts Gratin be made ahead of time?

This Brussels sprouts gratin can be assembled up to two days in advance. Leave the topping off until you are ready to bake. Let the casserole stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before baking at 400 degrees.

Brussels Sprouts Gratin in oval baking dish with spoon scooping some up.

Storage:

  • Refrigerate any leftovers. Reheat in the oven or toaster oven at 350 degrees. Consume within five days.

Serve Brussels Sprouts au Gratin with:

More great Brussels sprouts recipes you’ll love!

Get all my vegetable recipes at Vegetable Side Dish Recipes – From A Chef’s Kitchen.

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Brussels Sprouts Gratin in oval baking dish with spoon scooping some up.

Brussels Sprouts Gratin

4.80 from 10 votes

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By: Carol | From A Chef’s Kitchen
This cheesy Brussels Sprouts Gratin is the perfect elegant side dish that pairs well with almost anything! Tender Brussels sprouts are blanketed in a velvety cheesy cream sauce and then finished with a crispy, buttery breadcrumb topping. This luxurious casserole can even be made ahead of time!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Course Side Dishes – Vegetables
Cuisine French
Servings 8
Calories 451 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • Butter, oil or cooking spray - for the baking dish
  • 6 strips bacon - diced
  • 2 pounds Brussels sprouts - small to medium in size, outside leaves removed and stems trimmed, halved
  • Salt - to taste
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 cups grated sharp white Cheddar cheese - or Gruyere, Fontina or Brie
  • Freshly ground black pepper - to taste
  • Pinch cayenne pepper - (optional)
  • 2 slices butter-flavored bread - such as brioche, coarsely ground
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter - softened or unsalted butter with a pinch of salt added
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly butter, oil or spray with cooking spray an oval gratin-style baking dish large enough to hold all the sprouts. Set aside.
  • Prepare an ice bath. Bring a large, deep skillet or saucepan of generously salted water (approximately 2 tablespoons) to a boil.
  • Carefully drop the Brussels sprouts into the salted water and cook for 3-4 minutes or until almost cooked. (You should be able to pierce the Brussels sprouts easily with a knife but still feel some resistance in the center and they should remain bright green.) Drain and transfer to the ice bath to cool. Drain again and blot them dry with a paper or clean kitchen towel.
  • Cook the bacon in the deep skillet or saute pan until crispy. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Set aside, but reserve the bacon drippings in the pan.
  • Whisk the all-purpose flour into the bacon drippings. Cook for 1-2 minutes over low heat.
  • Stir in the heavy cream and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until beginning to thicken.
  • Pour the heavy cream into the saucepan and whisk in the all-purpose flour. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat.
  • Add the shredded cheese by the handful and whisk after each addition until the cheese has melted and the sauce is smooth. Add salt and black pepper to taste. Add the pinch of cayenne if desired.
  • Stir the Brussels sprouts and bacon into the cheese sauce and stir to coat. (The cheese sauce will immediately thicken because the Brussels sprouts were cooled off.)
  • Pour the Brussels sprouts and bacon into the prepared baking dish.
  • Combine the butter, breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese in a small bowl. Mix with your hands until the butter is mixed in and evenly distributed.
  • Scatter over the top of the Brussels sprouts.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes or until bubbly. Cover with aluminum foil if necessary at about the 15-minute mark if breadcrumbs are getting too brown. Serve immediately.

Notes

MAKE AHEAD: Can be assembled and refrigerated up to two days before without the topping. Add the topping right before baking. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before baking. You may need to increase the baking time.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 | Calories: 451kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 38g | Saturated Fat: 23g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 121mg | Sodium: 343mg | Potassium: 524mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 2200IU | Vitamin C: 97mg | Calcium: 330mg | Iron: 2mg

These are estimated values generated from a nutritional database using unbranded products. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.

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Recipe Rating




9 Comments

  1. 4 stars
    The cheese sauce is good. I added extra bacon, had to substitute a mix of Brie and Gouda (because I was short on Brie) and instead of breadcrumbs, I used buttery crackers. I think my Brussels sprouts were too big and not blanched for long enough. Next time, I will quarter them and boil them longer.

  2. I can’t wait to have this dish with our Thanksgiving dinner! My Brussels sprouts are on the large side so I would like to cut them in half. Do you suggest doing that after the ice bath? Have you run into this? Happy Holidays!!!

    1. Hi, Connue, Thanks so much for your question. You could do it before or after–I think you’re good either way. Thanks so much, Happy Thanksgiving and hope you enjoy!

  3. The write-up says to boil the sprouts for 6 to 8 minutes, however, the recipe says 2 to 3 minutes. Which is the correct boiling time?

    1. Hi, Douglas, Thanks so much for your question and for catching that! Start with 2-3 minutes. The cooking time is going to depend upon the size of the Brussels sprouts so you want them par-cooked but still some resistance because they will cook again in the gratin. I’ve made changes to the write-up. Thanks again and especially for reading the write-up!!

  4. How could I change this recipe by using a cheese such as white Cheddar, Monterey jack or Colby etc. Also, could I use regular bread crumbs, fresh crumbs?? I do not want to mess up this beautiful dish but need to know if the choices I mentioned would be suitable. Thank you so much.

    1. Hi, Joyce, Thanks so much for your question! I would go with the Monterey jack first because it has a flavor more similar to Brie and it melts beautifully. Either white Cheddar or Colby will work, but the flavor of those are stronger. If you’re okay with that, go with the white Cheddar. The recipe calls for fresh brioche breadcrumbs, so plain fresh breadcrumbs of any sort will work fine. If you use something like panko, combine it with the butter and Parmesan as directed. Thanks so much and hope you enjoy!