A Southern twist on the familiar maple-bacon flavor combination. The air fryer cooks these glazed Brussels Sprouts to a crispy, roasted perfection while the sorghum adds a touch of rich, tangy sweetness. I'll share my trick to getting the bacon to stay crisp for this quick & easy vegetable side dish.
Glazed Brussels sprouts are not just for Thanksgiving and Christmas! I make these for busy weeknight meals, too.
No sorghum in your pantry or can't find it locally? No worries. I give you several substitutes below including maple syrup.
What is sorghum?
Sorghum is a Southern syrup often served on biscuits. It's technically not molasses at all but everyone thinks it's a type of molasses and calls it that interchangeably. It just really looks like it and pretty much is a close second in a taste test.
Without getting too deep into the history of both, sorghum is extracted from the sorghum grass stalks and molasses is made from sugar cane stalks. Black strap molasses (the third round of processing it) may be closer in flavor to sorghum.
If you've ever been to Lambert's Cafe in Foley, Alabama, you've seen sorghum... or at least they call it sorghum molasses. They bring it around in a bucket, twirling it on a large honey dipper and if you give them the nod, they'll plop a thick drizzle of it on your gigantic yeast roll. (I looked it up and Lambert's Cafe sorghum is actually a blend of cane syrup and blackstrap molasses.)
- The air fryer is a shortcut itself!
- Slicing the raw bacon crosswise into strips cooks the bacon faster.
- Cooking the bacon in the air fryer while you cut the Brussels sprouts in half saves time and gives provides yummy bacon drippings. Bonus!
Scroll down to printable recipe for ingredient quantities.
- Brussels sprouts (think tiny cabbages)
- Olive oil
- Sorghum or molasses
How to make Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts with Sorghum Molasses & Bacon
Scroll down to the bottom for the printable recipe with detailed instructions.
- Cut the bacon into 1/4-inch strips and cook on the air fryer rack at 400 degrees for 2 minutes. No need to preheat the air fryer, but ok if it does it automatically.
- Save the bacon drippings to toss with the Brussels sprouts.
Tip: Partially cooking the bacon while you cut the Brussels sprouts saves time and makes sure the bacon is crispy. It will release just the right amount of bacon drippings, then finish cooking with the Brussels sprouts. Bacon tends to be softer when roasted raw from the beginning with veggies.
- To save time, cut the Brussels sprouts in half while the bacon is cooking.
- Stir together the sorghum, olive oil, salt and pepper. Add the Brussels sprouts.
Tip: Don't throw away those Brussels sprouts leaves that fall off when you cut them in half! Go ahead and roast them or save them to toss into a salad for later.
- Pour the bacon drippings and cooked bacon pieces into the bowl of sprouts.
- Toss the Brussels sprouts with sorghum mixture.
- Spread the coated vegetables onto the same air fryer rack and air fry at 400 degrees for 7 minutes or until the Brussels sprouts are crispy and browned on the outside and tender on the inside.
If you love crispy, "fried" vegetables without all the fat of frying, you'll love my "Fried" Okra made in the air fryer or oven.
What air fryer should I buy?
I have 2 oven-style air fryers and one basket-style. My adult kids have one basket-style each and we love them all. Here are our favorite air fryers.
Substitutions & Variations
- Broccoli and cauliflower florets can be used in place of Brussels sprouts.
- Real bacon pieces that are already cooked and found near the salad dressings in the grocery store can be stirred in to the sprouts mixture. Just add an extra table spoon oil to take the place of bacon drippings....unless you have them on hand in the fridge like me!
- Don't have sorghum on hand or can't find it locally? No worries. Use an equal amount of molasses, maple syrup (pancake syrup or real maples syrup), balsamic glaze or even honey.
- Oils- Instead of olive oil any of these will also work: vegetable oil, avocado oil, corn oil, peanut oil, ghee or more bacon drippings.
- Stir in pecans, dried cranberries, almonds, pine nuts before roasting or even toss with pomegranate seeds after cooking.
- Sprinkle with Parmesan or Asiago cheese right before serving.
- Omit the glaze altogether and just roast them without the sorghum molasses.
Can I roast Brussels Sprouts with Sorghum Molasses and Bacon in the oven?
Yes. You can make Brussels sprouts with sorghum or molasses in the oven. Combine the raw bacon with the Brussels sprouts and olive oil mixture or you can fry it in a skillet while you cut up the sprouts similarly to the air fryer method.
Bake at 400F degrees on a foil-lined, greased baking sheet for 15 minutes. Stir once and bake an additional 5 to 10 minutes or until edges are browned.
Yes. Be sure to drain well after thawing so they will crisp up nicely. You can also cook them a few minutes less in the air fryer if starting with frozen.
If you make this recipe I'd love to see it! Tag me on social media with #gritsandgouda or @gritsandgouda. Leave a comment below the printable recipe if you have questions or tell me how you liked the recipe. Don't forget to rate it 5 stars if you love it!
Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts with Sorghum Molasses & Bacon
- 2 slices bacon
- 1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon sorghum or molasses
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound fresh Brussels sprouts
- Slice the bacon crosswise into 1/4 -inch wide strips. Sprinkle the bacon on the rack and air fry them for 2 minutes at 400 degrees.
- Meanwhile, stir together the olive oil, sorghum, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Cut off the ends of the Brussels sprouts and cut them in half. Add them to the same bowl without stirring.
- Add the partially cooked bacon to the Brussels sprouts and pour in any bacon drippings from the drip pan/basket. (It will be about 1 tablespoon.)
- Stir everything together and spread it out in a single layer ion the air fryer rack.
- Air fry at 400 degrees for 7 minutes or until the Brussels sprouts are tender, crispy, and glazed.
- For plain and simple roasted Brussels Sprouts with bacon, just omit the glaze altogether and roast them without the sorghum molasses.
Nutrition analysis on GritsAndGouda.com recipes are mostly calculated on an online nutrition calculator. I am not a dietitian and nutritional information is an estimate and can vary based on products used.