In high school, one of my friend’s moms heard that I liked Brussels sprouts. Her children were notoriously picky eaters, so she was over the moon that someone would eat vegetables for dinner. Off she ran to the store and then in she came, beaming from ear to ear, with a plate of steamed Brussels sprouts. The sprouts had been cooked to oblivion, their bright-green hue turning to gray-green, and tender-crisp texture giving way to soft, sulphuric mush. She looked so pleased—Eat them! Eat them!—so I ate them, every single last one of them, hoping to never eat a Brussel sprout like that ever again.
These Brussels sprouts are not those Brussels sprouts. Say goodbye to steaming and hello to air frying. This method results in sprouts that are truly a thing of beauty—tender on the inside, while still retaining a little bite with a deeply caramelized, crunchy exterior. Tossed with roasted garlic butter laced with spicy chiles and lemon zest, these babies are crave-able. I can attest to this after eating a full half-pound of them in one sitting—yes, they are that good.
And, the best part, this recipe makes twice as much butter as you need, so you’ll have some on hand for all your fiery, buttery desires. Use it on more sprouts, toss with air-fried broccoli, tuck under the skin of a chicken before roasting, or slather on a thick slice of toast and top with a jammy egg. —Asha Loupy
Test Kitchen Notes
This recipe is shared in partnership with Ninja™, and was developed using the Ninja Foodi™ 8-qt. 9-in-1 Deluxe XL Pressure Cooker & Air Fryer. —The Editors
- Prep time 10 minutes
- Cook time 45 minutes
- Serves 4
whole heads garlic
Fresno chile peppers
extra-virgin olive oil
unsalted butter, softened
kosher salt, divided
Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
Flaky sea salt, for garnishing
- To make the garlic-chile butter, cut the top quarter of each head of garlic off. Insert the Deluxe Reversible Rack in the broiling position in the pot and add 1/2 cup of water. Place the garlic heads, cut side up, and the Fresno chiles on the rack, and drizzle with the olive oil, making sure the oil gets down in the crevices of the garlic.
- Assemble the pressure lid, making sure the pressure release valve is in the SEAL position. Select PRESSURE and set to HIGH. Set the time to 8 to 10 minutes, depending on the size of your heads of garlic (if larger, use the full 10 minutes) and select START/STOP to begin.
- When the pressure cooking is complete, let the unit naturally release the pressure, leaving it sealed and on KEEP WARM for 10 minutes. Move the pressure release valve to the VENT position, releasing any excess pressure. Carefully remove the lid when the unit has finished releasing the pressure.
- Close the crisping lid. Select BROIL and set the time to 5 minutes. Select START/STOP to begin. Transfer the cooked garlic and chiles to a plate and allow to cool for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the Deluxe Reversible Rack from the unit and wipe out any residual water from the bottom of the pot.
- Remove the stems (and seeds, if you want a milder heat) of the Fresno peppers and finely chop. They’ll be quite soft, so you should have a coarse paste after chopping. Transfer the chopped peppers to a small bowl, then squeeze the heads of garlic, releasing the garlic cloves into the bowl. Discard the papery outside. Using a fork, mash the garlic into a paste with the peppers. Add the softened butter, zest of the lemon (reserve the lemon, you’ll need wedges for garnishing) and 1 teaspoon of salt. Mix well, taste, and adjust salt, as needed. Set aside at room temperature, if using right away, or refrigerate and let come to room temperature again before using.
- Add the Brussels sprouts to a medium bowl and toss with the canola oil and remaining 1 teaspoon of salt to coat. Insert the Cook & Crisp™ Basket and add the seasoned Brussels sprouts, spreading into an even layer.
- Close the crisping lid. Select AIR CRISP and set the temperature at 375°F. Set the time to 5 minutes and press START/STOP to begin.
- Open the crisping lid, gently stir the Brussels sprouts and close the crisping lid once again. Increase the temperature to 400°F and set time to 10 minutes. Press START/STOP to begin, and stir the Brussels sprouts halfway through the cooking time.
- To serve, transfer the caramelized Brussels sprouts back to the medium bowl, add half the garlic-chile butter, and toss to coat. Pour the dressed Brussels sprouts onto a serving platter, cut the reserved lemon into wedges and serve alongside for squeezing. Sprinkle everything with flaky sea salt and enjoy!