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What is the best way to shred brussel sprouts?

Brussels sprouts are a highly nutritious vegetable that can be enjoyed in many dishes. However, their small size and compact shape makes them challenging to slice or shred. Finding the best technique to shred brussels sprouts can make preparing them for recipes much easier. In determining the optimal shredding method, factors like ease of use, speed, safety, and end result texture should be considered.

Should You Shred Brussels Sprouts?

Shredding brussels sprouts can provide some advantages over leaving them whole:

  • More surface area for caramelization and charring when roasted or sautéed
  • Ability to incorporate into slaws, stir fries, and other shredded vegetable dishes
  • Cooks more quickly than whole sprouts
  • Can mix in with other shredded vegetables like kale or cabbage
  • More opportunities to add spices, oils, or dressings that stick to shredded surfaces

The main downside to shredding is that it can sometimes lead to overcooking if not carefully timed. Still, with some care shreds can retain a nice crispness. Many recipes call for shredding at least some of the brussels sprouts used. Overall, shredding provides flexibility and can enhance taste and texture when done properly.

Shredding Methods

When it comes time to shred brussels sprouts, there are several options to consider:

Chef’s Knife

A sharp chef’s knife is a classic shredding tool found in most kitchens. To manually shred sprouts with a knife:

  1. Trim the stem ends of the sprouts and remove any loose leaves.
  2. Cut the sprouts in half top-to-bottom to expose more surface area.
  3. Lay the sprout flat and slice thinly from top to bottom to create shreds.
  4. Rotate and continue slicing to shred the entire sprout.
  5. Slice perpendicular to the first cuts to make cross-hatched shreds if desired.


  • Simple and fast once proficient with a knife
  • Ability to control shred thickness
  • Makes uniform shreds


  • Can be dangerous for novice knife users
  • Time consuming to shred large batches
  • Requires good knife skills

Food Processor

A food processor fitted with a shredding disc can make quick work of brussels sprouts. To shred sprouts this way:

  1. Trim and halve the brussels sprouts.
  2. Load in food processor bowl.
  3. Grate using large shredding disc, pulsing to control texture.
  4. Be careful not to overprocess into a mush.


  • Extremely fast for large batches
  • Gives perfectly even shreds
  • Less risk of cutting yourself


  • Must own a food processor
  • Can easily overprocess into mush
  • More cleanup than knife shredding


A mandoline slicer can also make quick work of shredding brussels sprouts with its adjustable blades. To shred on a mandoline:

  1. Trim and halve the brussels sprouts.
  2. Adjust mandoline to medium shredding blade thickness.
  3. Run sprout halves through shredder using guard grasp and consistent pressure.


  • Very fast for shredding lots of sprouts
  • Gives perfectly uniform shreds
  • Adjustable shred thickness


  • Must own a mandoline
  • Dangerous if not used properly
  • Not ideal for small batches

Box Grater

The humble box grater found in most kitchens can also be used in a pinch to shred brussels sprouts. To shred on a box grater:

  1. Trim and halve the brussels sprouts.
  2. Hold sprout half cut-side down against largest grating holes.
  3. Grate with firm pressure in a back and forth motion.
  4. Rotate sprout to grate all sides.


  • Simple and inexpensive
  • Easy to control shred size based on pressure
  • Found in most kitchens already


  • Can be time consuming for many sprouts
  • Risk of grating fingers if not careful
  • Doesn’t slice as cleanly as other tools

Manual vs. Electric Shredding

While manual shredding with a knife or grater may be sufficient for small batches, electric tools offer big advantages when shredding lots of brussels sprouts:

Manual Electric
Time Required More Less
Batch Size Small Large
Convenience Less More
Control More Less
Cleanup Minimal More

For big batches or frequent shredding, a food processor or mandoline makes the job far easier. But for occasional small needs, a simple knife or grater gets the job done.

Shredding Styles

Not all shreds are created equal. The thickness and style of shredding can impact the texture and cooking time. Consider what style of shred makes the most sense for the dish:

Fine Shreds

Super thin shreds almost resemble grated sprouts. These can cook quickly but may overcook if not timed perfectly. Best for stir fries or sautés.

Wide Shreds

Thicker slices that retain more integrity during cooking. May need extra time to become tender. Useful for roasting or grilling.


Shredding across two perpendicular directions to create interlocking shreds. Adds more surface area and absorbency. Great in slaws and salads.

Storage of Shredded Brussels Sprouts

Pre-shredding sprouts can save time when cooking later, but shreds will oxidize and lose quality faster than whole sprouts. For best results:

  • Use freshly shredded sprouts whenever possible.
  • If shredding in advance, store in airtight container for up to 3 days.
  • To freeze, blanch shreds briefly in boiling water, then freeze in single layer on tray before transferring to bags.
  • Freeze shreds for up to 3 months.

Properly stored, shreds can retain quality almost as well as whole sprouts. Just avoid leaving them aerating in the fridge for extended periods.

Best Uses for Shredded Brussels Sprouts

Shredding opens up many new possibilities for enjoying brussels sprouts. Some top ways to utilize brussels sprout shreds:

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Toss shredded brussels sprouts with olive oil, salt, and pepper, then roast at 400°F until browned and tender. Shredding helps the exterior get extra crispy.

Brussels Sprout Slaw

For a twist on traditional cabbage slaw, use shredded brussels sprouts as the base or mix in with other shredded veggies. Dress with cider vinegar and oil.

Stir Fry

In a hot pan or wok, stir fry shredded brussels sprouts with sliced protein and aromatics like ginger and garlic. The fine shreds cook up quickly.


Bind shredded raw sprouts together with beaten eggs and breadcrumbs or flour. Pan fry flattened scoops like little veggie pancakes.


Sauté shredded brussels sprouts with diced potatoes or sweet potatoes and onions for a hearty veggie hash. Top with a poached egg.

The flexibility of shreds allows brussels sprouts to work in many more recipes beyond their classic whole form.


While small, brussels sprouts can be effectively shredded in several ways to unlock new recipe potential. For home needs, manual options like a good chef’s knife work well, especially for small batches. But electric food processors and mandolines can save huge time and effort when prepping sprouts for large gatherings or meal prep. The key is finding a shredding technique that provides the right balance of speed, safety, and shred style for your needs. With the right tool and methods, brussels sprout shredding can be easy and convenient, while also adding delicious new dimensions to your recipes.