How to Cook Fresh Balsamic & Honey Brussel Sprouts in the Microwave

I was convinced as a kid that Brussel sprouts were just tiny cabbages. While they’re in the same family, I now know that they have an identity all their own. Once I show you how to cook Brussel sprouts in the microwave you’ll be excited to whip up your own “mini cabbages”.

Brussels sprouts offer a variety of health benefits, and they’re also incredibly versatile in how you eat them. 

We’re going to cover how to make some perfectly steamed brussels in your microwave quickly and easily. If plain sprouts aren’t to your taste, I’ve also included a recipe for honey balsamic brussel sprouts below. They are absolutely delicious!

So, let’s talk about the quick and easy way to get this side on the table in a snap!

If you’re interested in trying a different recipe, take a taste of air fryer Brussel sprouts with bacon and maple syrup!

how to cook honey balsamic brussel sprouts in the microwave dinners done quick

How Long Does it Take to Microwave Brussel Sprouts?

It takes 5-8 minutes to microwave whole Brussel sprouts, or 3-5 minutes if halved. The exact time will depend on the size of your sprouts and your microwave wattage.

I prefer halving them to not only cut down on cooking time, but because I also think it helps the sprouts better absorb the flavor of whatever sauces and seasonings you add.

How Do You Microwave Brussel Sprouts: Step By Step

  1. Prep your Brussels by removing the stem, tough outer leaves, and washing them. Cut in half if desired
prep brussel sprouts by removing stem outer leaves and halving them
  1. Add sprouts and 2 tsp water to a microwave safe dish with a lid
add 2 tsp water to brussel sprouts before microwaving
  1. Cover and place filled dish in the microwave and cook on high for 5 minutes, or 3 minutes if sprouts are halved
  2. Check that a fork will pierce one easily. If not, add an additional 1-2 minutes of cooking time in 30-second increments
  3. Remove from microwave, drain, and season as desired
honey balsamic brussel sprouts steamed in the microwave

The time will vary based on the size of your specific sprouts and the wattage of your microwave.

See our recipe card for honey balsamic Brussel sprouts below for a great preparation suggestion!

A microwave steamer is a handy tool to use here if you happen to have one. If not, any covered microwave-safe dish will work. If you’re in the market for one, check out our picks for the best microwave steamer to get started.

How Long to Microwave Brussel Sprouts Before Grilling

If you plan to grill your Brussel sprouts and just want to microwave to soften them beforehand, cook 1 minute for halves and 2-3 minutes for whole sprouts.

This softens the Brussels just slightly ahead of time, which helps them to fully cook through without burning on your grill. They just need a little head start to be fabulous!

If you love grilling, check out some of the best Blackstone air fryer recipes to try. This handy grill air fryer combo is perfect for the backyard cooker extraordinaire! 

Why Do Brussel Sprouts Explode in the Microwave?

Brussel sprouts can explode in the microwave due to moisture escaping as steam. If too much water builds up, it may split your sprouts up in an effort to escape.

While they may be slightly unsightly, they’re still safe to eat (and taste the same).

How Do You Keep Sprouts From Exploding in the Microwave?

To keep your sprouts from exploding in the microwave, cut them in half before cooking. If you prefer the whole Brussel, use a sharp knife to cut a plus sign into the base of the stem.

Either way, this allows the steam to better escape during cooking, which should keep your Brussel sprouts from exploding in your microwave.

microwave steamed honey balsamic brussel sprouts in pumpkin pot

Do Brussel Sprouts Smell When Microwaved?

Yes, Brussel sprouts do smell when microwaved. Like some other cruciferous vegetables, they contain hydrogen sulfide gas that releases during cooking. While it’s not harmful, it does stink a bit like Sulfur.

The longer they cook, the worse the smell will be. If you’re trying to reduce the stench, cut the sprouts in half before putting them in the microwave. The smell factor for Brussel sprouts increases at the 5-7 minute mark when cooking.

By splitting them and reducing your cook time, you’ll significantly reduce the odor produced. That’s not to say they won’t still stink a bit, but it’ll be far more tolerable. 

I just drown the smell out with that of freshly cooked bacon or turkey bacon in the microwave to top off my sprouts. 

Alternatively, the balsamic vinegar in our honey balsamic Brussel sprouts below tends to cut that stink down as well!

Final Thoughts

Now that you know how to cook Brussel sprouts in the microwave, it’s easy to add some healthy green to your plate in minutes. Feel free to experiment with all sorts of different topping and sauce combinations to find your favorites!

Brussels are incredibly versatile and pair well with steaks, salmon, salads, and more. They always remind me of fall, but the truth is you can enjoy these “mini cabbages” almost year round!

Top the honey balsamic Brussel sprout recipe below with some honey roasted pecans made in the air fryer!

how to cook honey balsamic brussel sprouts in the microwave dinners done quick

Microwave Brussel Sprouts with Balsamic Vinegar, Honey & Shallots

This easy preparation method cooks your Brussel sprouts quickly. Sweet honey, tangy balsamic, and crunchy shallots make them delicious on their own or as a side!
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 3 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Total Time 8 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Vegetables, Vegetarian
Servings 2
Calories 243 kcal



  • 1 lb Brussel sprouts
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp Butter, margarine, or olive oil (divided)
  • 2 tsp Water
  • 2 tbsp Balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp Honey
  • 1 Shallot thinly sliced


  • Prepare your Brussel sprouts by trimming the stem, removing tough or damaged external leaves, and cutting them in half
    1 lb Brussel sprouts
  • Toss the sprouts in 1 Tbsp melted butter or margarine, or use olive oil
    2 tbsp Butter, margarine, or olive oil
  • Place Brussels in a microwave safe dish and add 2 tsp water to the bottom
    2 tsp Water
  • Cover and microwave on high for 3 minutes, or until a fork pierces a sprout with relative ease
  • Remove from microwave, drain, and add 1 Tbsp butter plus 2 Tbsp each of balsamic vinegar and honey to sprouts, tossing to coat
    2 tbsp Balsamic vinegar, 2 tbsp Honey
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste
    Salt and pepper
  • Top with thinly sliced shallots or other toppings as desired
    1 Shallot thinly sliced


  • You may leave your sprouts whole if preferred. Score the bottom of the stems, and increase cook time to 5 minutes to start
  • The second addition of butter (post-cooking) may be omitted if preferred
  • I like to fry my shallots on the stove in some olive oil while the Brussels are cooking for the added crispy texture (but you can use them raw as well)
  • Brussels may be added face down to a hot pan with olive oil or butter on the stove after cooking if you want a bit of browning
  • Feel free to substitute other toppings and sauces. I also like: teriyaki sauce, honey mustard, bacon, pomegranate seeds, figs, and toasted nuts. I’ve added some cranberries and candied pecans here
  • Balsamic glaze may be used in lieu of the balsamic and honey, especially if you prefer a thicker consistency
  • For a honey alternative, try Agave nectar instead


Serving: 150gCalories: 243kcalCarbohydrates: 31.3gProtein: 3.1gFat: 13.1gSaturated Fat: 4.8gCholesterol: 15mgSodium: 66mgPotassium: 355mgFiber: 3.6gSugar: 23.2gCalcium: 33mgIron: 1mg
Keyword brussel sprouts, brussel sprouts ideas, brussel sprouts with balsamic and honey, easy brussel sprouts, how to cook brussel sprouts, microwave brussel sprouts, steamed brussel sprouts, vegetables, vegetarian dishes
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how to cook honey balsamic brussel sprouts in the microwave dinners done quick pinterest
Katie Vine