Skip to Content

Why Are Brussels Sprouts Pink Inside?

Why are Brussels Sprouts Pink Inside?

Learning to cook can be a major hassle, especially if you don’t like it.

However, one of the best parts of cooking is figuring out what works for you in the kitchen, which foods you prefer to eat, and how you like to cook them.

Part of cooking is knowing what to expect from certain foods when you cook them, vegetables included.

Brussels sprouts are versatile and delicious.

According to the University of Minnesota Brussels sprouts (Brassica oleracea var. gemmifera) are usually harvested after the first snowfall and are tasting better if fall has been cooler.

They’re an incredible source of antioxidants, and they’re super healthy all around.

There are plenty of ways to prepare Brussels sprouts, from boiling them to roasting them in the oven.

You get to decide how you prefer to have them cooked, but if you’ve ever sliced them open and noticed a bit of discoloration, you could be wondering why are Brussel sprouts pink inside?

Why are Brussels Sprouts Pink Inside?

Brussel sprouts might be pink inside because of the variety of Brussel sprout you’ve chosen to cook with. Some are naturally a bit pink or red on the inside, and this is nothing to show concern over. However, if your Brussel sprouts are pink on the inside, and they smell foul instead of earthy, they may have gone bad. In most cases, crispy Brussel sprouts that have a bit of pink on the inside are fine to eat, it’s simply the type of sprout you’ve purchased.

Why Are Brussels Sprouts Pink Inside?
Why Are Brussels Sprouts Pink Inside?

Knowing the Difference

Before you cook up your Brussels sprouts, you should know what they look like when they’re fresh, and how they might appear if they’ve gone bad.

Cooking with rancid vegetables will mess with the taste and smell of your finished dish, not to mention, they could very well make you ill.

Some people cook with whole Brussel sprouts, but because they’re round and can be hard to fit into one mouthful, depending on the size, most cut them in half.

I recommend cutting them because they cook faster, they’re more palatable, and you can tell just how fresh they are.

So, if you’ve chopped your Brussels sprouts in half and you notice that they’re pink on the inside, do a sniff test.

While Brussel sprouts don’t necessarily have the best scent, they should smell earthy, not moldy.

When cooking with Brussels sprouts verify that they have not gone bad. Fresh Brussels sprouts smell strong and earthy
When cooking with Brussels sprouts verify that they have not gone bad. Fresh Brussels sprouts smell strong and earthy

You’ll be able to tell with just one sniff if they’re fresh or not. If your sprouts smell fine and they’re showing a bit of pink on the inside, you’ve chosen a variety with a pinkish-red inside and they’re ready to cook and eat!

On the other hand, if you chop your sprouts and they’re pink and a bit on the stinky side, you might have a problem with your hands.

When Brussel sprouts take the turn from smelling strong but earthy to pungent and moldy, you’ve probably got a fungus growing within, or they’ve sat for much too long.

Rancid Brussel sprouts are positively wretched-smelling, and you won’t be able to even stand taking more than one whiff.

Also, if your Brussels sprouts have gone bad, then they likely have an unappealing slime on the outside.

They might even be a bit mushy, as vegetables tend to get when they’re rotten.

Brussels sprouts can become pink inside because they have gone bad
Brussels sprouts can become pink inside because they have gone bad

Cooking with Fresh Brussels Sprouts

Once you’ve determined that your Brussel sprouts are fresh, despite the pink inside, you’ll be able to begin concocting recipes for them!

Brussel sprouts taste amazing with so many things, pretty much any type of protein included.

Chicken, beef, and pork make fantastic matches for Brussel sprouts, and there are lots of ways to switch up the flavor.

Though Brussels sprouts have a strong scent, they don’t typically have too strong of a flavor.

It’s rather mild, which makes for a great flavor platform.

From simmering in spices like garlic and onion to sauteeing them in bacon grease, Brussel sprouts can do almost anything.

Brussels sprouts are pink on the inside because of the variety of Brussels sprouts
Brussels sprouts are pink on the inside because of the variety of Brussels sprouts

While Brussels sprouts are okay to eat raw and don’t require being cooked to an internal temperature of any sort, you’ll want to make sure they’re soft before serving.

Raw Brussel sprouts are notoriously hard, and it takes more than a bite or two to make your way all the way through one.

When cooked correctly, they’ll be soft enough to chew and swallow without problems.

How to Cook Brussels Sprouts

Brussel sprouts are easy to soften up and cook, just give yourself the time to flavor them properly.

Brussel sprouts are great when boiled, but they won’t pull much flavor from just the water, so once you take them out, be sure to salt and season them.

You can also take the time to chop and saute them in any oil or fat of your choosing, and they’re almost always delicious this way.

Brussel sprouts can be tossed in the oven as well, paired with chunks of bacon and drizzled with just a touch of olive oil.

No matter how you decide to cook your sprouts, as long as they’re fresh, they’re certain to taste amazing.

Brussels sprouts that are pink inside and have a fouls smell are rotting
Brussels sprouts that are pink inside and have a fouls smell are rotting

Frequently Asked Questions About Why are Brussels Sprouts Pink Inside

Brussel sprouts are a popular side dish, especially as health consciousness seeps to the forefront of society.

Not only can you make these sprouts super tasty, but they’re good for you as well!

Why are my Brussels sprouts pink on the inside?

In most cases, your Brussels sprouts are pink on the inside because that’s the variety of sprouts you’ve chosen. If they smell okay and feel dry, they’re perfectly fine to eat. If they’re slimy, mushy, and rancid, you’ll want to steer clear.

How can I safely cook Brussels sprouts?

You can safely cook Brussels sprouts by boiling, roasting, or sauteing them. They’re okay to eat raw as well, but they probably won’t taste that great.

Conclusion About Why Are Brussels Sprouts Pink Inside

When you know how to cook Brussels sprouts, you’ll have a healthy, inexpensive side dish for life.

While many veggies tend to get boring, Brussels sprouts are the opposite.

They can be cooked in so many different ways, it’s near impossible to get sick of them.

Try them a few different ways this week, and determine which one is your favorite!

Author Bio

Daniel Iseli (Head Chef)

Hi, my name is Daniel and I am passionate about cooking. I have been cooking for the past 20 years and am happy to share my best recipes and cooking-related knowledge with you.