Here's Why Brussels Sprouts Smell So Strange

Brussels sprouts have been the butt of jokes forever. Kids notoriously hate them, while well-meaning parents continue to serve them for dinner. Most can agree that Brussels sprouts are good for you, but they also emit a weird aroma. According to Eating Well, Brussels sprouts have a ton of health benefits. Not only are they jam-packed with vitamins and minerals, but they can reportedly lower blood pressure, fight cancer, reduce inflammation, improve bone health, and combat fatty liver disease.

Health benefits aside, what's with the smell? Whether you're boiling, baking, or sauteing these mini cabbages, Brussels sprouts have a very recognizable odor. It turns out that what you're smelling is sulfur and something called raffinose, a carbohydrate that's also found in beans. Broccoli, cabbage, and kale also contain raffinose, which is often linked to bloating and discomfort (via Verywell Fit). So, is there any way to reduce the smell during cooking, or to reduce the amount of bloating caused by Brussels sprouts?

How to reduce the smell of Brussels sprouts

According to The Cook, the secret to reducing the Brussels sprouts smell in your kitchen is to cook these little guys fast! The less time Brussels sprouts spend on the heat, the less time they have to emit that smelly sulfur and raffinose. Stick to a hot saute pan or the oven set to broil. Set your timer for less than five minutes. Always cook Brussels sprouts with stove fans on, and windows open, if possible.

After you've cooked, if the smell of Brussels sprouts is still hanging in the air, try brewing a cup of coffee, baking a batch of cookies, or placing vanilla extract-soaked cotton balls around the kitchen (via Wiggly Wisdom). All of these tactics will work to get your kitchen smelling less like Brussels sprouts, and more like, well, a kitchen. If bloating caused by cruciferous vegetables like Brussels sprouts is the problem, try adding Beano to your recipe, or drink peppermint tea to help reduce the symptoms.