How Long Do Brussels Sprouts Last?

You probably hated brussels sprouts as a child. But now, as a grown-up, you decided to give them another chance. That’s why you’ve bought a bunch on the farmer’s market.

Having zero experience with these veggies, you need a quick primer. After all, you don’t want your brussels sprouts to go bad.

And that’s why you need to learn how to store them, how long you can keep them in storage, and how to tell good brussels sprouts from bad ones.

If that’s what you’re looking for, you’re in the right place. Let’s dive in.

Brussels sprouts in hand

Table of Contents

How To Store Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts come in two forms: attached to the stem and off the stem. The second option is far more popular, and you need the sprouts off the stalk before cooking them anyway.

If you’ve bought a stalk with the brussels sprouts attached to it, remove them from the stem and discard it.

Tip

It might be tempting to wash or remove the outer leaves once you get home, but you should leave that until you’re ready to use the brussels sprouts.

When it comes to storage, put the brussels sprouts in the fridge. Use a ventilated plastic bag or a storage container that allows some airflow. A similar approach works for cauliflower.

For bonus points, put a damp towel in the bag or container, so those little heads of cabbage won’t dry out as quickly.

You can, of course, keep them on the counter or in the pantry, but they will deteriorate within a couple of days. Keep them at room temperature only if you’re going to use them within a day or two of buying.

If you need to keep the brussels sprouts for a prolonged period, freezing is the way to go.

Brussels sprouts in a freezer bag
Brussels sprouts in a freezer bag

Do Brussels Sprouts Need to Be Refrigerated?

You don’t need to refrigerate brussels sprouts, but it helps them last much longer. If you leave them at room temperature, they’ll retain quality for only 1 to 2 days, while if you place them in the fridge, they’ll last for 7 to 10 days.

That means that by simply placing it in the fridge, you increase the shelf life of brussels sprouts threefold.

If you have to store brussels sprouts at room temperature, choose a cold and dark spot in the pantry, and use those little cabbages within a day or so of buying for the best quality.

How To Freeze Brussels Sprouts

You’ve probably seen frozen brussels sprouts in the supermarket’s freezers, so you know freezing them is an option. It takes a bit of time, but it’s much better than discarding them.

Here’s how the process goes:

  1. Prep. Trim, get rid of the coarse outer leaves and make sure there are no insects. Then wash the heads thoroughly, and sort them into small, medium, and large ones.
  2. Blanch the veggies. Bring a pot of water to a boil, and plunge the heads into that water. Small heads require 3 minutes, medium ones 4 minutes, and large ones 5 minutes. After cooking for that period, transfer the veggies into a pot of cold water, possibly with some ice cubes, to stop the cooking process. If you’re doing a large batch, change the water when it’s not that cold anymore.
  3. Drain the heads. Leave them on a kitchen towel for 15-20 minutes and remove any water drops from the tops. You want the brussels sprouts to be dry before proceeding.
  4. Portion and package. Transfer the prepped veggies into freezer bags or airtight containers. Label each one if you like.
  5. Put everything into the freezer.

When it comes to thawing, either do it overnight in the fridge or throw the frozen tiny cabbage heads directly into the dish you’re cooking on the stove. The latter, of course, works only for some recipes.

Cooked brussels sprout
Cooked brussels sprout

How Long Do Brussels Sprouts Last?

PantryFridge
Brussels sprouts1 – 2 days7 – 10 days
Cooked brussels sprouts3 – 4 days

Brussels sprouts last 1 to 2 days at room temperature and about a week in the fridge, maybe up to 10 days. If you store them for more than a few days, you might need to discard some outer leaves.

The exact storage time, besides whether or not you refrigerate the plant, depends on how fresh your brussels sprouts were when you bought them. If you buy fresh and green ones, expect at least a week in the fridge, but if they’re on clearance and the outer leaves don’t look that great, use them within 2 to 3 days tops.

If you need more time, you can freeze raw brussels sprouts. I covered that above already.

After Cooking

Cooked brussels sprouts keep for 3 to 4 days in an airtight container in the fridge. Let the cooked veggies cool to about room temperature before storage, but limit that period to two hours for safety purposes.

If you’re thinking about cooking brussels sprouts in bulk, say, as a part of your meal prep routine, cook enough for four days, or freeze the rest if you prepared more.

Freezing cooked brussels sprouts is as easy as it gets: you divide them into meal-sized portions, transfer each into an airtight container, and freeze all the containers.

Bunch of brussels sprouts
Bunch of brussels sprouts

How To Tell If Brussels Sprouts Are Bad?

For starters, a brussels sprout having some coarse outer leaves is perfectly normal, just like it is with cabbage or lettuce. Just remove them when you’re prepping the veggies.

The same thing goes for outermost leaves that have brown edges, or black spots.

Brussel sprouts damaged outer leaves
Brussel sprouts damaged outer leaves

Signs of spoiled brussels sprouts include:

  • Insects between the leaves. Spotting them might be difficult. That’s why it’s essential to wash the heads thoroughly before cooking.
  • Harsh smell. If a brussels sprout smells like old cabbage, and you don’t have to get near it to experience that, it’s done for.
  • Squishy or soft texture. Fresh heads are firm to the touch. If yours start to lose that firmness, it’s now or never when it comes to using them. If they are soft or feel squishy already, discard them.
  • Mold or black spots. I think it goes without saying that you should get rid of moldy brussels sprouts.
Half rotten brussels sprout leaf
Half rotten brussels sprout leaf – discard the leaf and use the rest

Brussels Sprouts Storage and Shelf Life Summary

Thank you for reading this guide, I hope you found it informative and useful. Let’s recap the most important topics that we covered:

  • How long do brussels sprouts last? Brussels sprouts last 1 to 2 days on the counter and about a week up to 10 days in the fridge. If yours are quite old and the outermost leaves are coarse, you can remove them and use the rest. Cooked brussels sprouts keep for 3 to 4 days in the fridge.
  • How to tell if brussels sprouts are bad? Brussels sprouts are spoiled if they are soft to the touch or squishy, smell like old cabbage, or they start to rot or go moldy. In other words, look for the same spoilage signs you look for in other vegetables.