A delicious Asian-inspired side dish that will leave everyone happily gobbling up their veggies, these Kung Pao Brussels Sprouts are an unexpected twist on roasted Brussels sprouts with a crispy-tender texture and a tantalizing sweet-salty-spicy flavor combination.
Kung Pao Brussels Sprouts Recipe
A few months ago, a friend was raving to me about PF Chang’s Kung Pao Brussels Sprouts.
She described them as a tangy, spicy yet sweet and both crunchy and fork tender.. and begged for me to figure out how to make it at home.
I honestly have no idea what their version actually tastes like because the closest PF Chang’s is over an hour away. Already I know that my version is pretty different because they wok-fry their Brussels Sprouts and add in peanuts and sugar to their recipe.
But, my friend was very happy with these Sichuan-inspired Brussels Sprouts and my daughter happily gobbled them up, so I thought I should share them here for your vegetable side dish inspiration. (But please note, I am in no way claiming that they will be anything like the restaurant version.)
These Kung Pao Brussels Sprouts would best be described as tangy and nutty with a hint of sweetness and umami undertones. The outer leaves crisp up beautifully while the centers before melt-in-your-mouth tender. If you add the optional hot sauce, it will bring that spicy flavor profile in, too.
Most kung pao recipes have a pretty lengthy list of ingredients and are much spicier than this recipe. I wanted a dish that contained the authentic flavors I grew up with but wasn’t too spicy for kids to enjoy. While I have a kitchen full of Chinese ingredients, I wanted this recipe to be accessible so the only uncommon ingredient is sesame oil. I use it often in my recipes and highly recommend adding it to your pantry. A small bottle won’t cost too much and will last for a year if stored in a cool place in your kitchen.
What is kung pao? Kung pao is typically seen as kung pao chicken, a spicy dish containing chopped chicken, veggies and peanuts that originated in the Sichuan province of China. The original contains a spicy balance of whole toasted peppercorns and chilis, in addition to cooking wine for acidity. You can check out authentic versions of the Sichuan (and Guizhou) kung pao chicken here.
Western versions of kung pao are completely different from the original and differ with the addition of orange juice, ginger and/or sugar, and usually just use ground black pepper in place of whole Sichuan peppercorns, while some versions use sriracha. It often lacks the acidity seen in Chinese versions, though sometimes rice wine vinegar is added to bring in some acidity.
Be sure to check out our quick recipe video to see how easy these Kung Pao Brussels Sprouts are to make – and then don’t forget to scroll down to grab your free printable recipe card:
More Delicious Brussels Sprouts Recipes
- Maple Bacon Brussels Sprouts
- Cheesy Brussels Sprouts Bake
- Brussels Sprouts Salad with Feta and Cranberries
- Parmesan Roasted Brussels Sprouts from I Wash You Dry
- Crack Brussels Sprouts from Swanky Recipes
Kung Pao Brussels Sprouts Ingredients
- Brussel Sprouts, ends trimmed
- Olive Oil
- Sesame Oil, or more to taste
- Soy Sauce <– can use tamari sauce
- Maple Syrup <– can use honey
- Garlic Powder, optional
- Salt and White Pepper, to taste <– if you have Sichuan pepper, it will be delicious in this recipe
Scroll down to the printable recipe card for full measurements.
Tip: you can add sriracha, garlic chili sauce or hoisin sauce to play with the flavor profile a bit. Hoisin sauce adds a sweet and licorice-like flavor while sriracha or garlic chili sauce increases the heat and garlicky tang of this recipe.
Kitchen Tools You May Find Helpful
- Measuring Cups and Spoons
- Sharp Kitchen Knife
- Cutting Board
- Cookie Sheet
- Parchment Paper or Silicone Baking Mat
- Mixing Bowl
- Wooden Spoon or Spatula <– I like these spatulas because they are one solid piece and don’t have removable heads for bacteria to get trapped underneath. Plus they are heat-resistant and have a lifetime warranty.
How to Make Kung Pao Brussel Sprouts
Trim the ends and any rough leaves off of the Brussels sprouts.
You can cut the sprouts in half or score the bottoms with an “x” to allow for the marinade to soak in.
Place the Brussels sprouts in a large bowl and add all remaining ingredients. Taste and adjust the marinade to your personal preferences.
If you have time to allow the sprouts to marinade for a bit, this will result in the best possible flavor.
Preheat oven to 400ºF and spread the Brussels sprouts on a lined cookie sheet.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, stirring once, until sprouts are deep green and edges are crispy.
Grab your free printable recipe card for our Kung Pao Brussel Sprouts recipe:
- 1lb Brussel Sprouts, ends trimmed
- 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
- 1 teaspoon Sesame Oil, or more to taste
- 1/3 cup Soy Sauce
- 2 Tablespoons Maple Syrup
- 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder, optional
- Salt and White Pepper, to taste
- Trim the ends and any rough leaves off of the Brussels sprouts.
- You can cut the sprouts in half or score the bottoms with an "x" to allow for the marinade to soak in.
- Place the Brussels sprouts in a large bowl and add all remaining ingredients. Taste and adjust the marinade to your personal preferences.
- If you have time to allow the sprouts to marinade for a bit, this will result in the best possible flavor.
- Preheat oven to 400ºF and spread the Brussels sprouts on a lined cookie sheet.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, stirring once, until sprouts are deep green and edges are crispy.
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Soeos Szechuan Peppercorn Powder, Sichuan Peppercorn Powder, Ground Sichuan Green Peppercorns, Green Sichuan Peppercorn Powder, Mapo Tofu Essential Ingredient, 1 oz.
La Tourangelle Toasted Sesame Oil – Rich, Deep, Delicious Flavor – All-natural, Expeller-pressed, Non-GMO, Kosher – 16.9 Fl. Oz.
Brussels Sprouts, 1 lb
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 122Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1327mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 3gSugar: 8gProtein: 5g
Sugar, Spice and Glitter uses an auto-generate nutrition calculator. Nutrition information isn’t always accurate unless analyzed in a scientific lab, so these should be considered more of a guideline than medical information.
I hope your family loves this roasted Brussels Sprouts recipe as much as mine did!
For more ways to make veggies delicious, check out our full vegetable recipe collection here:
For more scrumptious side dishes, check out our full side dish recipe collection here: