Introducing Air Fryer Bacon Wrapped Brussels Sprouts! A slightly ridiculous but super fun and extremely delicious canape, appetiser or side dish. You never know, you might even convert a bacon-loving-brussels-hater into a sprout fan!
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Serving bacon with sprouts is nothing new or ground breaking, the flavours are a longstanding match made in heaven.
Wrapping things is bacon isn’t a new concept either. Pigs in Blankets are a long term classic, especially at Christmas. And I have been serving my Bacon & Cherry Bites for many years now. They’re so high in demand!
I’m also not adverse to making unusual dishes with sprouts. My Satay Sprouts are somewhat legendary in certain circles and for good reason.
But bacon wrapped sprouts was a new one on me! I had an idea, I tried it and they were delish. I mean, is there anything you can’t wrap in bacon and make it super amazing?
How to Serve
You can absolutely serve bacon wrapped sprouts just as you would sprouts simply cooked with bacon. Like with a roast dinner, or as a side for any number of everyday dishes. And of course they’re going to make for a super special sprout dish on a Christmas dinner.
But I actually like to serve these as a nibble, snack or canape. I love to make slightly different and surprising dishes using traditional Christmas ingredients in non-traditional ways. To complement the satay sprouts I mentioned before, I’ve also created Turkey Steamed Chinese Dumplings and Cranberry Dumpling Dipping Sauce.
To make these a fully rounded canape, I’ve also included a super simple cranberry sipping sauce. But unlike my Chinese inspired soy based sauce, this one uses sour cream to make a really unctuous option. But saying that, the soy version would work really well with these sprouts too.
I do think these bacon wrapped sprouts need to be served hot. I’m not a fan of cold sprouts and the fat on the bacon doesn’t have such a great texture when cold.
For an extra bit of fun and flavour, give the cooked sprouts a good drizzle with balsamic glaze. The sweetness complements the earthy sprouts and smoky bacon perfectly.
You do ideally need fresh brussels sprouts for this dish. Frozen sprouts are just a little on the soft side for serving like this.
Otherwise any sprouts are fine. You can buy sprouts at various points of preparation. Its quite common to be able to buy them still attached to their stalk in the winter, especially in the run up to Christmas. I do like to buy them like this because they last really well.
The thing to take into account when buying a stalk is that there will inevitably be many varying sizes of sprout on it. So for each meal or serving, it’s easiest if you try to cut off sprouts of a similar size so they cook evenly.
If you do have some significantly differing sizes, you might want to allow the large ones to cook for a few minutes before adding the smaller ones. This advice really stands regardless of how you buy (or grow) them.
Next are the stalkless sprouts that come with all their outer leaves. You don’t need to remove these unless they’re looking gnarly. Use your gut to determine which to remove or not. If it doesn’t look appetising, get rid.
And then they now often come “prepared”. This is how the sprouts I cooked came. They don’t generally have any dark outer leaves but you should still check through them. By the very nature of the inner leaves now becoming the outer leaves, they can still discolour and wither.
There are effectively 4 main types of bacon in the UK. Back bacon and streaky bacon with each being available smoked and unsmoked. I am largely an unsmoked back bacon kind of girl but I like to use smoked streaky bacon here.
I find the smokiness can often overpower other flavors in a dish. But with these bacon sprouts, that flavour can afford to really take centre stage.
You can absolutely use unsmoked if you prefer. Either way, look for a pack of bacon with a good ratio of fat to meat. I try not to buy anything with more than about 40% fat. Otherwise it will all render away when cooking and you’ll end up with sprouts wrapped in the ghost of bacon.
This provides the creaminess of the sauce. And you really can choose what kind of thick dairy you use here so crème fraiche is a great alternative. And you could use a thick Greek yoghurt if you prefer.
If you don’t have or fancy the dairy element, just dip away in straight up cranberry sauce.
This recipe is free from egg, gluten and nuts.
Dairy Free: Only the dipping sauce contains dairy. Replace the sour cream with a dairy free alternative or skip the sauce entirely.
Please note that this recipe may contain other allergens not referred to above and any variations suggested have not been tested unless otherwise stated. For more information regarding any dietary information provided on this website, please refer to my Nutritional Disclaimer.
How Long to Air Fry Bacon Wrapped Sprouts
Before air frying, you need to first boil the sprouts. If you wrap and try to cook them from raw, they’re really not the pleasant to eat so please don’t skip this step.
They boil in around 5 minutes. They don’t need to be super soft but they’re not going to soften much more in the air fryer. So it’s best to cook them to the point where you’d like to eat them.
The actually air frying stage is only 10 minutes. This is enough time to make the bacon lovely and crisp.
How to Air Fry Bacon Brussels Sprouts From Frozen
These are great to make up and freeze ready to then air fry from frozen. You need to make sure that they’re made up to the point where the bacon is wrapped and secured with the cocktail sticks.
You can then free freeze them on a tray then move them to a container or bag once fully frozen. This will stop them from freezing into one solid lump.
To cook, they simply go in the air fryer for the same cooking time but at 10c/50f lower temperature. You can then crank the temperature up to full and give them another minute or two until they’re perfectly crispy.
Leftovers – Storage & Reheating
Leftovers will keep for around 3 to 4 days in the fridge if well covered.
They can be reheated in the air fryer but they are at risk of becoming a little bit too crispy ad dry. If you have the option, I would recommend putting them in the microwave for 2 or so minutes first and then giving them a 2 minute blast in a preheated air fryer to make sure the bacon is nice and crispy.
Common Air Fryer Questions – A Brief Guide to Air Frying
- What exactly is an air fryer?
- What are the benefits of using an air fryer?
- Are all air fryers the same?
- Is an air fryer always better to use than an oven?
- Do air fryers need to be pre-heated?
- What is the best temperature to air fry at?
- Can food be cooked from frozen in an air fryer?
- Can I reheat food in an air fryer?
- Are air fryer liners a good idea?
The Air Fried Feast Community
Come on over to Facebook and join my community discussing all things air fryer. Get involved in sharing your experiences and trials, help out others and find out what wonderful things everyone is cooking in their air fryers!
What Exactly is an Air Fryer?
Very simply, an air fryer is a small convection (fan) oven. The benefit is that the hot air is circulated all around the food being cooked which speeds up the cooking time and cooks the food more evenly.
What are the Benefits of Using an Air Fryer?
Size, time and energy usage. Air fryers are ideal for cooking smaller quantities. Heating up a space that the food just fits into requires less energy and means that the heat source is much closer to the food. Combining these two things can speed up the cooking time.
Are all air fryers the same?
Nope! The term air fryer is now used very broadly. I consider there to be 4 main types:
Basket Air Fryers
These are what I would consider to be the most common, especially in the UK. A boxy type unit has a pull out drawer/basket. Food isn’t usually visible whilst cooking.
Some larger models have two drawers so different items can be cooked at different temperatures or for different times.
This is the type that you’ll see in the images in this recipe. I mostly use a Cosori Lite 3.8L (CAF-LI401S) with a 3.8 litre capacity. The square(ish) shaped basket is 21cm x 21cm and 24cm on the diagonal. It isn’t an overly expensive or fancy model.
I’ve also recommended to several friends and family the model with a slightly larger basket. This is the Cosori 4.7L (CAF-L501) with a 4.7 litre basket. The unit is no larger than the 3.8 litre model on the outside but does have a larger internal basket capacity. I’ve borrowed this air fryer for some recipes where my smaller model was just too small. I’ll always note this in the recipe.
Rotary Air Fryers
Round air fryers with a paddle in the centre that rotates to move the food. This is the type I’ve been using for years – the most common is a Tefal Actifry.
Rotary types are not usually good for recipes where the food is breaded, glazed, likely to break up or in a tray/container. They do however make the best chips and roasted veg.
My 2 in 1 version like the one I’ve linked does have a rotating tray for things that could be broken up by a paddle, but the height clearance with the lid isn’t deep enough to use it to cook some items like sausage rolls.
Multicookers with Air Fryer Functions
Some like Ninja 11 in 1 and some of the earlier versions with a few less functions, have an air fryer option. They mostly operate the same as a basket fryer but the basket drops in the top rather than sliding in like a drawer.
Some electric pressure cookers like Instant Pots can also air fry when used with a specific lid.
Is an air fryer always better to use than an oven?
As much as I do love air frying, the honest answer to this is no. And the more detailed answer is that it will always depend on what you’re cooking, how much of it you’re cooking and what type and size of air fryer you have.
Once you need to cook in more than 2 batches, it often makes more sense to use an oven. If you already have the oven on to cook other items, it may make more sense to throw one more item in rather than using an additional appliance.
I don’t think either method is necessarily better than the other. The important point to note is that there is absolutely no difference in the finished product.
Do Air Fryers Need to Be Pre-Heated?
The answer to this is rather annoying – it depends. It depends entirely on your model and type of air fryer. The best advice I can offer is to check your manual and follow their guidance. My Cosori model has a preheat function. I press a button and it heats at 205c for 4 minutes.
It’s also worth noting that regardless of whether you are supposed to pre-heat or not, if you are cooking in batches, it is quite likely that anything after the first batch will cook a little quicker because of the retained heat. It is best to check on them before the cooking time is completed.
What is the best temperature to Air Fry at?
It will always depend on what you are cooking and from what state. All of my air fryer recipes don’t use temperatures above 200c because many of the most common fryers in the UK don’t go above this. Mine goes to 230c and I use this temperature a lot but it is no help for me to share recipes which most people can’t use.
Can Food Be Cooked From Frozen In An Air Fryer?
Absolutely! To cook from frozen you usually will need to reduce the cooking temperature and increase the time to make sure your food is cooked right through to the middle.
It is best to check my individual recipes for cooking from frozen advice as some items are a little different.
Can I Reheat Food In An Air Fryer?
Yes. As a general rule I reheat food for roughly 1/3 of the original cooking time at the same temperature. Or at 10 degrees lower for half the time for larger items.
Are Air Fryer Liners a Good Idea?
Unless otherwise stated, I do not use liners when air frying. Basket and rotary type air fryers are designed to be used without liners. Mini oven types will generally require some kind of tray like with a regular large oven although some come with crisper racks to use.
There are many air fryer liners available including quite thick silicone ones. These will affect the cooking times and possibly temperatures of your cooking/baking. I also don’t like how cooking juices are prevented from dripping through the basket rack. This can stop food from crisping all the way around.
If you do prefer to use them, once you have got a feel for how they affect your cooking and baking, you may need to make adjustments to the recipe accordingly.
More Air Fryer Recipes
All my recipes with instructions for how to cook or bake them in the air fryer can be found in my Air Fryer Recipe Index.
Don’t forget to let me know in the comments if you try making this recipe – I want to know what you think and if you made any substitutions, how did it turn out?
Still Have Questions?
Simple! Just contact me and I will do my best to help as quickly as I am able. Head over to my Contact Me page, any of my social media channels or post a comment at the bottom of this page and I’ll see what I can do.
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Air Fryer Bacon Wrapped Brussels Sprouts Recipe
- 32 Brussels Sprouts
- 1 tsp Fine Salt
- 16 rashers Smoked Streaky Bacon
Creamy Cranberry Dip
- 50 g Cranberry Sauce
- 50 g Sour Cream - or crème fraiche
- Check over 32 Brussels Sprouts. Trim any gnarly ends and remove any leaves that have brown bits or just generally don't appear appealing to eat.
- Boil a kettle of water.
- Add the sprouts to a saucepan along with 1 tsp Fine Salt. Cover with the boiling water.
- Bring to the boil then cook for around 5 minutes. Check that the sprouts are tender all the way through using a small sharp knife.
- Drain the water then take the lid off the pan and allow to sit and steam a little dryer without the lid for a couple of minutes.
- If your air fryer has a preheat setting, start this now.
- Take 16 rashers Smoked Steaky Bacon and cut them in half with a sharp knife.
- Take one half rasher and place a now slightly cooled sprout in the middle. I like to do this stalk side up.
- Wrap the bacon up and over the sprout. Secure with a cocktail stick directly through the core of the sprout and through the other side.
- Repeat with the remaining bacon and sprouts. I find it most efficient to work in batches.
- Set all the sprouts out ready with the top of the sprout side up.
- Use tongs to add the sprouts to the air fryer. In my fryer, I need to do this in 2 batches – I can fit a maximum of 20 in my basket at a time.
- Air fry for 10 minutes at 200℃/390℉.
- Move the cooked sprouts to a plate and repeat with the remaining sprouts.
- Remove the cocktail sticks before serving. Use some fresh cocktail sticks to serve if needed.
Make the Creamy Cranberry Dip
- While the sprouts are air frying, make this simple dip by adding 50g Cranberry Sauce and 50g Sour Cream to a small bowl.
- Mix thoroughly and you're ready to dip!
- This recipe is tested in a Cosori Lite (CAF-LI401S) with a 3.8 litre capacity. The square(ish) shaped basket is 21cm x 21cm and 24cm on the diagonal.
- Not all models advise preheating is required. Please follow the recommended instructions for your model. Mine has a specific preheat setting which is 4 minutes at 205c.
- For this recipe, I cooked 20 bacon wrapped sprouts in one batch. This means that cook all 36 in two batches.
- As all air fryer models are a little different, you may find that you can fit more or less in at a time. Some models include stacking shelves which will increase capacity.
- Required cooking times and temperatures can also vary between models and brands. If you know that your air fryer runs a little hotter than most recipes suggest, use a lower temperature. And vice versa. Equally if you find that food cooks more quickly in your machine than instructions usually state, reduce the cooking time (or check it earlier) and vice versa.