Bean Sprouts

Do you love bean sprouts?  Do you not like how much they cost in the store, or how they sometimes appear to be not so fresh?  Ever think of making your own?  They’re so good and they have to be good for you.  They’re pretty inexpensive when you make your own.  I think a batch of lentil sprouts cost me about a nickel!  We love the smaller sprouts on sandwiches . . especially tuna salad.  We often use them in place of lettuce on sandwiches or burgers, mainly because we almost always have sprouts and we don’t always have good, fresh lettuce.  When sprouts are just out of the fridge, they’re cold and crunchy and kinda sweet and nutty and delicious!

For the larger sprouts, we use those on salads or in Chinese or Indian dishes that call for sprouts.  Here’s how I make them.

There are many different types of beans that are good for sprouting.  For the larger sprouts, I usually use mung beans.  They taste mostly like the bean sprouts purchased in the grocery store.  Mung are the beans on the left.  For the smaller sprouts, I use lentils, on the right.  These jars are the beans I’m storing . . not the ones I’m sprouting.  Only put about 1/8th of a cup in the jar you’re sprouting.  They grow quickly!

Start with about 1/8th of a cup .. really, seriously!  Especially the mung beans, they expand a lot!  Rinse them and put them in a pint jar (separate jars, of course!).  Add enough warm water to about fill the jars.  You just need enough for the beans to soak.  Let them soak overnight.  Drain the water off  and rinse with cool water.  Drain the beans so they’re not sitting in water but allow them stay very moist.

Cover with either cheesecloth or I just use a paper towel.  I place the towel on the jar, then screw the band onto the jar/towel.  Lay the jar in a bowl or something that will catch any spills if it drips.  Place the jar on its side so that the beans have as much room to spread out as possible.  (They’re not piled on top of each other.)  Some say they need to stay in a dark place.  For me, that means that if I stick them somewhere dark, I can’t see them and I forget about them and forget to rinse them every day.  I leave mine out on the countertop and they work just fine.

In the above picture, the mung beans are getting ready to soak overnight.  The lentils have already been drained.

At least twice a day, usually in the morning and right before bed, rinse the beans and drain well, but continuing to keep them moist.  You do not want them to dry out.

After a day or so, sprouts should begin to appear.

After 3 or 4 days, depending on the warmth in the area in which the beans are sitting, you’ll have full blown sprouts!

Here are the mung bean sprouts:

Here are the lentils.

When they’re sprouted, rinse them well with cold water.  Shake most of the excess water from them.  Lay them on a paper towel.  The towel will absorb some of the water and you want the paper towel to stay good and damp.

Stick the sprouts, paper towel and all in a resealable bag.

These will last 2 or 3 or more weeks in the fridge.  Ours never last more than a few days so as soon as I “harvest” the sprouts, I get a new batch going.  Even if you’ve never tried sprouts, you might want to play around with some beans and see what you get and how you like them.  It’s a pretty inexpensive and fun experiment if you have kids around too.


  1. 1


    Sprouts are supposed to be a real super-food – way more nutritious than ordinary salads. You’ve inspired my to get back to growing them Judy. I did a while back, but stopped for some reason, but I’m going to get my sprout kit out again! I think it was the thought of a tuna and sprout sandwich that did it!!! Thanks for that!

    • 1.1


      As soon as I “harvest” a batch, I start another batch. It seems like if I go a few days without any growing, it’s hard to get started again . . though it really isn’t hard at all!

  2. 2


    Quck, cheap, and tasty…what’s not to love? My favorite is a blend of radish and alfalfa. In fact that was our lettuce substitute all winter. The grocery store stuff in Maine in winter is pretty gross (or horribly expensive). To my surprise DH even liked them.

    • 2.1


      Same here with the horribly expensive and pretty nasty looking lettuce. We like sprouts so much better on our sandwiches.

  3. 4

    Mary Beth says

    I’ve been wanting to make my own sprouts, you have inspired me once again!! I gotta try this since we are eating healthy these days.

    • 4.1


      Oh, just wait. Once you make these, you’re going to love me! Every time you eat sprouts, you’ll think of me. Every time I see a wedding dress, I think of you! 🙂

  4. 6

    Katie says

    I love spouts! I never realized growing your own was so easy. I think we’ll have a biology lesson in the kitchen this weekend (sadly, the kitties will probably be more interested than my intended audience – the hubby). Thanks!

  5. 7

    Jane says

    Judy, you are amazing! How in the world do you get so much accomplished? I’d really like some tips. I have so much I need to do & want to do and don’t seem to be able to concentrate on anything !

  6. 8

    Dawn in California says

    Do you eat the beans that the sprouts came from too? It seems like a lot of work to sort them out, but I think the beans would be very hard and unappetizing if you didn’t.

    • 8.1

      Cynthia H., El Cerrito, CA says

      Yes, you eat the beans, too. After they’ve soaked and sprouted, they’re not hard and dry anymore. Just a gentle crunch. Kind of like the pieces of peanut in peanut butter, but they don’t get stuck in your teeth. I’ll have to get back into doing this, too….

    • 9.1

      Cynthia H., El Cerrito, CA says

      Check the Chinese / Asian shelves at the grocery store. They’re often packaged in 1-lb bags. Sometimes “health” food stores sell them in bulk. If you consider that you’re only sprouting 2 Tb. at a time, 1 cup of mung beans (or alfalfa seeds, chickpeas/garbanzos, lentils, etc.) will be a bargain compared to purchasing the equivalent already sprouted.

      “Bean sprouts” in restaurants are mung bean sprouts, so many of us have already eaten these without knowing it.

  7. 10


    I have the different mason jar sprouting lids for mine -but like the idea of using cheesecloth or a paper towel – that would be a great solution to getting more jars going at once. duh – why didn’t I think of that?! thanks!

  8. 12

    Bonnie says

    So would these be the normal every-day type of dry bean in the package from the grocery store or are they purchased differently? And where do you get alfalfa seeds for sprouts?

  9. 13

    myrna sossner says

    In the spirit of being green, I recently attended the sustainability workshop sponsored by West Palm Beach. At the reception there was a buffet set up, with the centerpieces of large glass bowls fulled with …… dried beans! Limas, red, white and split peas, right off the super market shelf all mixed together. As the evening came to a close, I asked what would be done with all those beans. The reply was a shrug then I was asked if I wanted them! Well,of course I did. They were dumped into bags and I happily brought them home.
    I have cooked a couple of cups and have a large coffee can full in the freezer. This article about sprouting beans could not have come at a better time. 2 Tbsp. at a time … I started a jar two days ago (picking out the split peas)and can see little sprouts on most of the beans. Thank you … I have not done this for years and forgot how much fun it is.