How to Grow Bean Sprouts (DIY)

Bean sprouts are an easy way to grow your own food in just a few days. Full of vitamins and really high in protein, these crunchy sprouts will get your vegetable gardening fix in during the long winter months.

Grid of photos showing 4 days of mung bean sprout growth.

I started growing my own alfalfa sprouts several years ago. Around the same time I experimented with growing Mung Bean sprouts. Mung bean sprouts are the ones you recognize as plain old bean sprouts in the grocery store.

The alfalfa sprouts worked right out of the gate. The Mung Bean sprouts … did not. Commercially grown bean sprouts are nice and long and relatively straight. This is not necessarily true of home grown bean sprouts. Unless you know the trick. And I know the trick.

Do you want to know the trick?  Then read on.

Home Grown Bean Sprouts.

Black plastic takeout container with holes drilled in the bottom being reused for growing mung beans.
The most important thing to do to ensure you get grocery store quality sized bean sprouts is to weigh them down while they’re growing. 

Alfalfa sprouts can be successfully grown in a mason jar but Mung bean sprouts need a special set up. Nothing too crazy, and you can make it at home. You’ll need 3 Tupperware-type containers. I used old Indian food takeout containers that I’d saved. And one lid. The lid is optional.

First things first. The big question.

Are mung beans and bean sprouts the same thing?

There are TONS of different types of bean sprouts. You can sprout any bean. BUT when people refer to “bean sprouts” they are generally referring to the sprouts of mung beans, a small, round, green dried bean.

How long does it take for mung beans to sprout?

Mung beans will actually sprout in just one day!  They’ll grow to a size that’s edible in just 3-4 days.

How to do it.

  • You need to drill some drainage holes into one of the containers.
  • The other thing you’ll need are actual Mung Beans. These can be found in the bulk section of some grocery stores, sold in the bag, or at the Bulk Barn. So they aren’t very difficult to get ahold of. 

Mung bean seeds in a glass beaker with cork for storage.

Dump some beans into your perforated dish.  You want a couple of tablespoons.  Definitely less than half of what would cover the entire bottom of your dish.  Bean sprouts will quadruple their size once grown.
Mung beans ready to soak covering less than half the bottom of the perforated takeout container.

Place your perforated dish into a regular dish.
Placing mung bean seeds in water to soak for 8-12 hours.

Fill with room temperature water and leave for 8-12 hours to soak (just run the tap until it’s around room temperature. You just don’t want very cold or very hot water.)
Mung beans soaking, day one.

Drain your beans.
Draining water after soaking bean seeds overnight.

Rinse them once more very well under clean cool water and drain thoroughly after.

Put them back in the original base.
Drained mung beans after one night of soaking.

Trick #1

Fill your last remaining plastic container base with water and put the lid on it.  Put this on top of your bean sprouts in the perforated dish.  You don’t need to use the lid with water, it’s just helpful for the first day or so. You just need to weigh the top container down so it stays in contact with the bean sprout seeds.

Mung bean growing setup with weighted lid to keep roots strong and straight.

Now you rinse and drain the beans every 8 – 12 hours.

Trick #2

For the first couple of days use VERY light water pressure when rinsing.  Just barely more than a dribble.  Your goal is to have the bean seeds not move at ALL while you’re rinsing them.  That means, very low water pressure and rinsing for a long time to make sure you’ve rinsed them well.

Return the sprouts to their holding bin each time, and weigh them down.
Mung bean seeds on day one of growing in a homemade bean growing kit.

You can eat your sprouts at any point, but I like to let mine grow for around 4 days.

Grid of home grown bean sprouts growth on days 1, 2, 3 and 4.Mung Bean sprout growth on days 1, 2, 3 and 4.

These sprouts get STRONG.  Anabolic steroid after a bath salts bender strong.  As evidenced in the photo below.  The sprouts started getting strong enough that I needed to weigh them down with more than 3 little pigs.  I put a huge pumpkin on them.

I walked in the door one afternoon to find the Lance Armstrong of sprouts had actually pushed the pumpkin right off of them.
Mung beans bursting lid off of container while growing on day 4.Your sprouts might get a slightly pink tinge to them. This is from exposure to air. It’s fine. If you weigh them down really well and keep the top container in contact with this, you’re less likely to get pinkish sprouts.

Bean sprouts at day 4 of growing.
 Some of the sprout roots will grow out of the bottom of the container.  Don’t worry about it.
Sprout roots growing out of base of perforated drainage container.

4 days later a nest of thick sprouts. If you really want to avoid having the roots come out of the drainage holes, just keep a paper towel folded across the bottom of your container.

Long and strong bean sprouts grown at home in 4 days.

Keep your sprouts covered in the fridge for a few days.

How to Grow Bean Sprouts (DIY)

How to Grow Bean Sprouts (DIY)

Yield: Home grown bean sprouts
Active Time: 3 days
Total Time: 3 days

Making thick, long bean sprouts at home is easy. You just need to know a couple of tricks.


  • 3 tablespoons mung bean sprouts
  • water


  • 3 plastic containers that are the same size and fit into each other.
  • (one container needs holes drilled into the bottom for drainage.)


  1. Drill or punch drainage holes into the bottom of one of your plastic containers. You'll use this over and over again whenever you make sprouts.
  2. Dump some beans into your perforated container. No more than what will cover half the bottom of your container. Start with 2-3 tablespoons. Place your perforated dish into one of the other tupperware-type containers and fill with water. Let soak overnight. 
  3. After soaking, drain the beans and rinse them. Remove water from the lower container and put the perforated dish back into it. Place your 3rd container on top of the beans so it's covering them up and touching them. Weigh the top container down with something heavy. Either fill it with water or set a heavy object on it.
  4. Rinse and drain the beans every 12 hours. Be careful not to disturb the beans when you rinse and drain them. Keeping them in the same spot helps them grow long straight roots.
  5. Rinse the beans one final time when they've grown big enough to your liking and refrigerate them. I like around 4 days growth for fat, juicy bean sprouts).


Can you just do them in a jar instead of all these plastic containers? Yes. But you won't get as nice a sprout. Follow my Alfalfa Sprout instructions, just use mung beans instead.

How long can I store them?  Close to a week if they're refrigerated.

How can you tell when the bean sprouts are ready? You can eat them whenever you want! Even as early as day 2. They just won't be as big as they are at day 4 or 5.

Are mung bean sprouts good for you? You bet! They're full of vitamins A, C and iron. PLUS an added bonus for vegans and vegetarians, they have more protein than almost any other plant. 

How can I use them?  Put them in stir fry, soups or on salads.

Weighing the sprouts down really is the key to getting pro-quality bean sprouts. Get growing.

Because of the risk of salmonella and E. coli There is a danger to eating raw sprouts. All sprouts. Even homegrown ones. Just so you know. Having said that there’s also a danger to just existing basically.


→Follow me on Instagram where I often make a fool of myself←


How to Grow Bean Sprouts (DIY)


  1. Francesca says:

    Hi I am a recent subscriber. I have a question : I am growing sprouts from azuki red beans. Sprouts are now approx 4 inches but the red bean is still very much there. Do I cut off the sprouts and bin the beans or do I wait until the beans kind of “disappear”? Thank you.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Francesca! I’ve never done it with azuki beans so I can’t answer you with 100% certainty, but with any other seeds or beans the process softens the outer coating of the “bean” and you eat that too. So if they perform the way other beans do you just eat them as long as they’re soft enough. If they *aren’t* soft then you may have to cut the sprouts off and next time try with a mung bean. ~ karen!

  2. Ive just made a batch following you advice in a mason jar with a mesh lid, washed n drained 3 times a day. Perfect thick roots.

  3. Samantha says:

    I always wanted to try this. Your article is really detailed thanks for documenting the pictures are very helpful as well!5 stars

  4. Ronda says:

    I’ll remember that trick, blanching them. Thank you. Mine are ready to eat now and in the fridge. So hard not to snack on them!

  5. Tiffany says:

    Was wondering if it’s possible that the beans died? I have been trying to sprout my beans and it’s been a good 2 weeks but they only have a tiny little stem coming out. I’ve been changing the water daily but still nothing. What would you recommend? Will I need to start over again or can I still consume and/or use them? Thank you!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Tiffany! I’d get rid of them and try again. I’m not sure what could have gone wrong. If they have a tiny stem that means the seeds do seem to be viable and are sprouting. Are you definitely using mung beans? And are you following the instructions exactly? So that they’re not soaking in water, but rather you’re rinsing them? ~ karen!

      • Brina says:

        I’m guessing it’s a lack of water. Either the beans weren’t soaked long enough initially, or they were insufficiently rinsed (you really can’t over-rinse your sprouts) to maintain constant moisture throughout.

  6. Skip says:

    Worked great! Better than jar bean sprouts. Thanks.

  7. Ess Dee says:

    Holy cr@p, these instructions should come with a warning that you may get crazy monster sprouts! We’re in Midcoast Maine, aka Canada Light, and the only decent commercial mung sprouts are 90+ minutes away. Partner loves them. We’d tried before but not had good luck; this time we tried your method along with two canning-jar methods. The jars did well, but your process – wow. Methodical, engineer-brained husband was very dubious about weighing the sprouts down, and was flabbergasted by the results. No snarl of interlocked curly sprouts, just a mini field of tall, robust, straight sprouts in our takeout container. I wasn’t as elegant in my drilling of holes, but the sprouts weren’t judgy. Now when the Zombie Apocalypse happens, we won’t have to worry about scurvy!

  8. Cheryl says:

    First time doing this, and here’s my problem: instead of coming out fat and strong like yours in the photo, mine came out skinny and scrawny. What I did differently from your directions was that I stored them in my microwave oven for the first two days (not while it was running, of course), because the first couple of batches I started got knocked onto the floor by the cat. Then I read somewhere that they need air circulation, so I found another spot. Also, my sink faucet was moving them around to much, so I rinsed them by filling the base container with water and lowering the sprout container gently into it. I did this 5x for each rinsing, and drained them as much as possible.
    What did I do wrong? I’m going to eat them tonight anyway (cooked!), and I’m starting a new batch.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Cheryl! It’s hard to say what you’re doing srong. Other than the things you mentioned, lol. My initial thought is to ask if you remembered to put something HEAVY on them as they grew. Very heavy. ~ karen!

      • Cheryl says:

        Thanks, Karen. I weighted them with a third tray filled with water. It was pretty heavy. I’m going to try to correct my other mistakes with this new batch.

        • Karen says:

          HI Cheryl. They need something reallyyyyyy heavy. You saw in my photos how my bean sprouts literally pushed over a huge pumpkin! If you have a really large cylinder vase, fill that with water, and set it on the third tray. That should help. ~ karen!

  9. Carol Davis says:

    Wonderful instructions with great photos!

  10. Mary W says:

    If I needed E coli, I could just go the the grocery store and buy some fresh spinach! LOL

  11. Jane says:

    Love your piggies! Are they cast iron? A couple of decades ago at the Christkindl Market, I bought a summer sausage in the shape of a little piggy for my husband, who likes summer sausage. He never ate it and it has been sitting on the kitchen table. Of course it became hard as a rock after a year or so. The cats, at least the ones that used to jump up onto the kitchen table, loved to bat it down onto the floor. After so many years, it has completely lost its aroma and looks a little leaner than when I first bought it. Still good as a paper weight. This year when I was at the Market again, I remembered to mention it to the same vendor, who got a real kick out of the story.

    • Karen says:

      LOL! A couple of decades ago??? Holy crow. That’s some long lasting summer sausage. My pigs are indeed cast iron, they’re from Urban Barn years ago. ~ karen!

      • Jane says:

        You’re probably unfamiliar with a good summer sausage, the aroma of which permeates everything in closed quarters with it, something my husband found out when he left a summer sausage sandwich in his locker in high school. If you leave the sausage intact, the cloth breathes and it never spoils sitting out in the open, just dries up completely and becomes a paper weight.

  12. Elsa says:

    I have been doing this for some time , my chickens love the sprouts in the winter, its a healthy treat for them

    • Thank you Elsa! I was wondering if these, like Alfalfa, were ok for chickens! Long, hard, winters where I live & we do everything we can to provide fresh produce & enrichment activities for them!

  13. Sondra says:

    I’ve been sprouting these things for years! Only way I like mung beans actually. Buy them in bulk at the health food stores. I buy a 25 pound of organic (necessary if you want them to sprout) and make a batch weekly.

    Best and quickest no fuss way to sprout and grow mung beans is to use a s/s double boiler! Line it with a layer of paper towels. After you have soaked the beans over night, rinse, pour beans into a big solid layer in the top part of the boiler (the part with the holes) and rinse daily, put back on the bottom part of the two pan double boiler and cover with a lid. They will drain well right in the pan. Paper towel keeps them from falling through the holes plus it keep them from growing through the holes. Use a kitchen sprayer to rinse in cool water twice a day and let drain into the bottom pan. They stay in the dark with the lid on, the roots grow into the paper towel which makes it easy to lift large handfuls out after after 3-4 days and trim the bottoms if you want. I grow mine short of the nasty multiple furry roots so I don’t even bother trimming. Rinse, drain and wrap in a paper towel and store in the refrigerator in a covered large container until ready to use. My dog Bizy (Springer) loves them in her chicken/veggie/rice meals! No dog food for her and and she gets healthy mung bean sprouts to boot!

  14. Eileen Splitt says:

    I’ve been “sprouting* for around 15 years but never had much luck with bean sprouts, now I’m excited to give it a go again. Thanks for the winter gardening inspiration!🙂🌱

  15. TucsonPatty says:

    My local eatery (eclectic cafe) has my favorite sandwich which contains sunflower sprouts. I despise alfalfa sprouts (taste like dirt to me) and would never have even tried the sandwich if I had noticed it had sprouts of any kind. I now really like them and wonder how those are done? Do you buy the raw seed with the shell? Would raw ones shelled ones from our local grocery sprout this way? They are not easy to bite through, and this would be a way to cut them up a little before putting in my sandwich which I vow to learn to make at home.

  16. Sandra D says:

    This proves I’ve been following you for awhile. I looked for “mung” beans when I first saw this post, but I couldn’t find any.

    Lo and behold, a couple of days ago, there they were in No Frills. I love bean sprouts and will be “sproutin’ ’em”…

    Soon, I hope – I tend to keep dried beans in the pantry until they no longer want to sprout. What on earth do I do with years old dried beans, peas, lentils, etc?

    Wish me luck :)


    After reading your pea shoots post I shopped for the right kind of seeds for sprouting and thought Imhad found them. Got a huge bag and never succeeded in getting a single sprout. Never could figure out why, as I can sprout many other things.

    Come to think of it, this year almost non of my sweet peas in the garden sprouted either. We had outrageously wet winter but I got the seeds out at the usual late April date. Maybe I’m pea challenged. Oh, dear, I think the problem is the homonym, I need to use the Latin name for my peas!!!

    • Karen says:

      Any peas will sprout Kathleen. Peas that you use for planting peas will definitely sprout, and marrow peas in a box from the grocery store will sprout. Maybe your conditions weren’t right? :/ ~ karen!

  18. Demetra says:

    Hello! After you soaked, drained, rinsed, & then put the beans back into the original dish you mention filling the last plastic container with water putting a lid on it and then placing that on top of the bean sprouts in the perforated dish. This is where I get confused. How many dishes do you have? and where does the dish filled with water and a lid go on top of? How many layers of dishes do you have? Is the water dish used to weigh them down or are the pigs? Please help me clarify! lol I am sprouting Mungs for the first time and I just know there is a special process with these guys. Thanks!

    • Karen says:

      Hi there! I can see how it might be a bit confusing. You need 3 dishes. One without holes, one with holes, and another without holes. The dish filled with water and a lid sits on top of the perforated dish with the bean sprouts. It sets right on top of the sprouts and weighs them down. The iron pigs on top adds extra weight to help weigh everything down. The dish UNDERNEATH the perforated dish with the bean sprouts in them really is just acting like a drip tray. So your dishes are 3 layers. Non perforated dish, perforated dish with sprouts, non perforated dish on top to weigh sprouts down. You can either fill this dish with water and put a lid on it, or you can just set something heavy in it without water and a lid to weigh it down. Let me know if that helps. ~ karen!

  19. Joan Lambert says:

    I love your writing style, thank you for the blog! I’ve been following the mung bean directions. I started these about…a week ago, maybe a tad more. They look almost like real sprouts now, and all have two long thin green leaves poking out of the bean, and I think the bean is about to fall off. Does that mean they’re…done? Overdone? I can see the leaves in your last pics, but my leaves are greener and longer so probably a day past those. I tried one this morning and it seemed bitter so I decided to wait…but maybe I missed my window.

    • Karen says:

      Oh dear! They’re overdone Joan. They’re still edible, just as you say … bitter. Coincidentally I started some mung beans about 5 days ago and when I got home tonight from being out I tried one and thought OOP! On their way to being bitter so I rinsed, drained and stuck them in the fridge. Try to aim for 3-4 days. That’s when they taste the best (to me anyway). ~ karen!

      • Joan says:

        Okay, thank you for the reply! At least I know now that the method works (really well) so I’ll start a new batch and pull them after 3-4 days. I’m still learning, but happy to be doing so!

  20. Rintin says:

    No, this one uses a juice carton. May not yield straight tails but seems very easy.
    Would love to know if you try it! I will myself, eventually, but prolly not until the new year as my only real juice carton availability will be over the holidays.
    Happy sprouting!

    • Karen says:

      Ah! No, I’ll probably just keep using my method. It works great, it’s easy and I get nice long sprouts from it. I just keep my containers that I use to do it in my “Tupperware drawer” and use them over and over again. I will take a look just in case though! ~ karen!

  21. Rintin says:

    Just saw another intriguing method for sprouting mung beans; thought you might find this interesting:

  22. Donna says:

    I started this process on Monday, and now it’s Saturday. They are in my greenhouse window. I have some sprouting, but they’re not growing as quickly as yours. Should they be in a dark place instead?

  23. Barbie says:

    I see your kitchen looks like it might be torn apart in the one photo by your sink! I’m looking SO SO SO SO SO forward to seeing the finished product! Sorry…..I know I’m supposed to comment on mung bean sprouts :) but I got distracted!

  24. Debbie says:

    Back in my single days, I did this all of the time! Hubby doesn’t like them and work and kids took up any extra moments. Hmm, maybe it’s time to try again as we are empty nesters next year and I can grow them as a gift to myself.

  25. Julie says:

    I am going to try this right now. Do you have any easier tips for getting all the seed husks off? The tedious picking is what put me off growing my own.

    • Karen says:

      Well Julie … I don’t take them off, LOL. I don’t even notice them. After they’ve been soaked and rinsed etc. etc. they’re softer than the actual sprouts. So, that’s one way to get around your problem. :) ~ karen!

  26. cheryl says:

    Thanks Karen, now i know what to do with the mung beans in the canning jars in my pantry besides cooking them with left over ham bone an pieces picked off…I love chow mien an now i can make my own instead of getting at chinese restaurant which is hardley at all because of the MSG they use to make it….Also ladies/gentlemen when you rinse those beans put a small bucket or like container under an save the water to use on your house plants or outside garden, instead of going down the drain..I save all water from rinsing or draining vegies to use in this manner….Keep it up Karen !!!

  27. Manisha says:

    My mother used to do this all the time when I was growing up. I had never related these sprouts to ones that can be bought in the store. Imagine that. As I grow older I realize all those things I should have learned from my mother.

  28. Marion says:

    Living on the wild side! Love those little piggys too.

  29. Angie S says:

    I sprout all sorts of things, but it isn’t for me or the other humans in our home. It’s for my African Grey parrot. She eats WAAAAAAAAAY better than we do. She’s my fancy chicken! :)

  30. Marti says:

    Alfalfa sprouts? Mung beans? Let me know when you get to higher life forms. I’d like my sprout with two legs… and a good job. ;)

  31. Feral Turtle says:

    Awesome post Karen. I like to live on the edge so I might give this a try!

  32. Ella says:

    “Anabolic steroid after a bath salts bender strong.” Snort!

  33. Ev says:

    Thanks for info on bean sprout growing. And can’t wait to see your new kitchen! Remodeling is it’s own kind of hell–hang in there. Hope we will be seeing many vids of in-progress!

  34. Ruth says:

    I have never had any kind of sprouts. I should try this.

  35. Tigersmom says:

    These teaser shots of the kitchen are k i l l i n g me. Your old sink was not stainless steel and your old faucet did not have that cool sprayer action and there is that lovely marble again. Patience is not one of my virtues, obviously.

  36. Divi says:

    Hey Karen!
    We grow our own mung bean sprout with the help of a cloth (after a little bit research in the internet, I found a blog, where this method is described : )
    This is maybe an easier way to grow a lot of sprouts, not only for a salad. But they might be not as strong as yours!
    Love your blog and art of writing (since this is my first comment here, I think I should mention it)

  37. Sia says:

    It’s that easy?

    … “Because of the risk of salmonella and E. coli”, really, how serious is that and how do we prevent it?
    Do we not risk the same danger with store bought srouts?

    Love these and really wanna try…

    • Sia says:


    • Karen says:

      Yes, as I said the risk is the same. And all grocery stores sell sprouts so … (there is a slightly smaller risk with home grown ones because there isn’t any chance of contamination during packaging and travel. :) ) ~ karen

      • Edt says:

        Some major grocery store chains have stopped carrying bean sprouts.
        The produce stocker guy at Safeway told me because of the bacteria risk.
        Our Whole Foods still carries good looking ones.

  38. Belinda Philp says:

    Fantastic! – I tried growing mung bean sprouts once and was incredibly disappointed with how much they did not look , or have the texture of, the commercial ones. Brilliance – thanks for the post, Ill go do some stuff with that…

  39. NikiDee says:

    I have a new respect for Mung Beam growers! The shot of the brick work behind your sink was exciting to see. I feel like a detective trying to sleuth out the new kitchen.

  40. Laura Bee says:

    Cool beans…and nice sneak peek behind the sink in the Rinse shot. Pretty gnarly!

  41. nancy says:

    Every time I see mung bean sprouts I think of my Dad cussing about damn hippies. I love the kitchen-in-the-making photos.

  42. Stephanie says:

    You’ve been on fire with your posts! So many good ones. Educational, inspiring, dang!

  43. Teresa J says:

    I can’t wait till I retire so I can try all these neat ideas!! I can watch my sprouts grow! Thanks Karen, as usual, way cool!

  44. Sue T. says:

    Thanks Karen! I love growing my own sprouts, green peas are my favorite. I’ve eaten cooked mung beans but never did my own sprouts. Who in the world would have thought that weighing them down so heavily would make them grow better?! I’ll be trying to locate these tomorrow. Thanks!

  45. Amie says:

    Now you just need to make a big pot of Laksa and top with your sprouts. Yummo! I’ll be doing this once I get home!

  46. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    Dangerous..But good!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • Seed Starting Calculator

  • About Karen

Skip to Instructions