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. Jennifer says:

    Why are my sprouts small and very curly? Not straight at all?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Jennifer. The bend comes from growing into the pockets around other bean sprouts. The more you compress them while growing, the straighter they’ll be. You really have to weigh them down. It’s the weight that gets them strong and straight. ~ karen!

  2. Kenny says:

    I love your article. I’ve been growing sprouts and microgreens for a few months. So exciting. Just thought I should say that I grow red lentils. They are really easy. I grow them a microgreens but have also grown them as sprouts. I just got them from the supermarket.

  3. 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!

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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!

  7. 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.

  8. Skip says:

    Worked great! Better than jar bean sprouts. Thanks.

  9. 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!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Skip to Instructions
The Art of Doing Stuff