Bean Sprouts: Everything You Need to Know About This Tasty and Nutritious Food

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Bean sprouts are the perfect addition to your Asian dishes, but what are they exactly?

Bean sprouts are a common ingredient, especially in Eastern Asian cuisine, made from sprouting beans. The typical bean sprout is made from the greenish-capped mung beans. Other common bean sprouts are the usually yellow, larger-grained soy sprouts. It typically takes one week for them to be completely grown. The sprouted beans are more nutritious than the original beans and they require much less cooking time and, therefore, less fuel.

In this guide, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about bean sprouts and how to grow them.

What are bean sprouts

Next, learn about 10 Scrumptious Ways to Cook Japanese Style Bean Sprouts

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Bean Sprouts: A Crunchy and Nutritious Ingredient for Your Culinary Creations

  • Bean sprouts are a popular vegetable commonly used in Chinese and other Asian cuisines.
  • They are obtained by sprouting beans, with mung beans being the most commonly used type for sprouting.
  • Other types of beans that can be sprouted include moong beans, lentils, and chickpeas.
  • Bean sprouts are grown by placing the beans in a container, watering them, and keeping them in a shaded area until they sprout.
  • The sprouts are obtained by germination, and the hypocotyls (the part of the sprout that protrudes from the bean) are the edible part of the sprout.

Preparing and Cooking Bean Sprouts

  • Bean sprouts are a good source of vitamin C and are a popular choice for adding crunch to salads, stir-fries, and spring rolls.
  • They can be eaten raw or cooked, but cooking destroys some of the vitamin C content.
  • To prepare bean sprouts, select a fresh and crisp assortment of sprouts and follow these steps:

– Rinse the sprouts thoroughly to remove any dirt or moisture.
– Chop the sprouts finely, either horizontally or vertically, depending on your preference.
– When chopping vertically, make sure to chop them finely to ensure they are tender.

  • Bean sprouts can be added to fillings for stuffed dishes like samosas or used as a topping for soups.
  • Steaming is a popular cooking method for bean sprouts, but they can also be stir-fried or added to soups and stews.

Tips for Purchasing and Storing Bean Sprouts

  • When purchasing bean sprouts, select a package that is free of moisture and avoid any that appear moist or have lost their crispness.
  • Check the quality of the sprouts by looking for any discoloration or signs of spoilage.
  • To store bean sprouts, place them in a plastic bag and keep them in the refrigerator for up to three days.
  • Before using them, rinse them thoroughly to remove any dirt or bacteria that may have accumulated.

Assortment of Languages for Bean Sprouts

  • Bean sprouts are a common ingredient in many cuisines around the world, and as such, they have different names in different languages.
  • Some of the names for bean sprouts in different languages include:

– Bikol: Toge
– Centraldeutschespañolesperanto한국어bahasa: Kacang hijau
– Indonesiaitalianojawabahasa: Kecambah
– Melayu閩東語: Tau-geh
– Nynorskpangcahsvenskaไทยукраїнськаئۇيغۇرچە: Bønnespirer
– Uyghurchetiếng: Giá đỗ
– Việtwinaray粵語中文: 豆芽

  • No matter what language you speak, bean sprouts are a delicious and nutritious addition to any meal.

Exploring the Flavor and Texture of Bean Sprouts

Bean sprouts are a popular ingredient in Chinese cuisine, known for their fresh and slightly sweet taste. Compared to other vegetables, bean sprouts have a unique flavor that is hard to describe. Some people describe it as mildly nutty or grassy, while others find it to be pretty bland.

Ways to Serve Bean Sprouts

Bean sprouts are a pretty convenient and affordable ingredient that can be used in hundreds of different dishes. Some popular ways to serve bean sprouts include:

  • Adding them to stir-fries and other spicy dishes
  • Using them as a topping for salads and sandwiches
  • Mixing them into soups and stews
  • Serving them as a side dish with meat or other foods

Checking the Quality of Bean Sprouts

When buying bean sprouts, it’s important to check their quality to make sure they are fresh and safe to eat. Here are some things to look for:

  • The sprouts should be firm and not wilted
  • They should be free of any mold or discoloration
  • The sprouts should smell fresh and not have any off odors

Choosing the Best Bean Sprouts: A Guide

To choose the best bean sprouts, follow these tips:

  • Look for sprouts that are packed tightly in their container and are moist but not wet.
  • Check the sell-by date and choose the ones that are the freshest.
  • Choose sprouts that are not too big or too small.
  • Make sure the sprouts are not turning yellow or brown, as this can be a result of having been refrigerated for too long.

When Bean Sprouts are Ready to Eat

Bean sprouts are ready to eat as soon as they are germinated. They are best consumed within a day or two of buying them.

How to Sprout Bean Seeds

If you want to grow your own bean sprouts, you can do so by sprouting bean seeds in a jar. Here’s how to do it:

  • Fill a mason jar with 1-2 tablespoons of bean seeds.
  • Add water to the jar and let the seeds soak for 8-12 hours.
  • Drain the water and rinse the seeds twice a day with cold water.
  • Place the jar upside down at a 45-degree angle to drain.
  • After 3-5 days, the sprouts will be ready to eat.

Benefits of Consuming Bean Sprouts

Bean sprouts are low in calories and high in nutrients, making them an ideal ingredient for those who are watching their weight. They are also packed with protein, fiber, and vitamins.

Bean Sprouts: Growing Your Own

Growing bean sprouts is a great way to ensure a fresh supply of this popular vegetable all year round. It’s easy, requires minimal equipment, and can be done in the comfort of your own kitchen. In this guide, we’ll take you through the steps involved in growing your own bean sprouts.

Equipment Needed

To start growing your own bean sprouts, you’ll need the following equipment:

  • A container: You can use a plastic or glass container, or a specially designed sprouting jar.
  • Seeds: You can use mung beans, soybeans, or adzuki beans.
  • Water: Make sure the water you use is clean and safe for consumption.

The Sprouting Process

The process of sprouting beans involves several technical steps. Here’s a simple guide to get you started:

  1. Start by rinsing the beans in cool water and removing any stones or debris.
  2. Place the beans in a container and add enough water to cover them.
  3. Let the beans soak for about 8-12 hours, or overnight.
  4. Drain the water and rinse the beans with fresh water.
  5. Place the beans back in the container and cover with a lid or a piece of cloth.
  6. Place the container in a cool, dark place for about 2-3 days.
  7. Make sure to rinse the beans with fresh water every 8-12 hours to keep them moist.
  8. After 2-3 days, the sprouts should be ready for picking.

Tips for Optimum Sprouting

Here are some additional tips to ensure a successful sprouting process:

  • Make sure to use the right type of seed for the variety of bean sprouts you want to grow.
  • Check the seeds for any signs of damage or mold before starting the sprouting process.
  • Make sure the container you use is clean and equipped with proper drainage.
  • Keep the sprouts in a cool, dark place to prevent them from drying out.
  • Make sure the sprouts are uniform in size and shape.
  • Always use fresh, clean water when rinsing the sprouts.
  • Remove any internal seed hulls that may be left after the sprouting process.

Bean Sprouts in the Kitchen: A World of Possibilities

Bean sprouts are a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of dishes. Here are some common ways people use bean sprouts in their cooking:

  • Stir-fries: Bean sprouts are a common ingredient in Chinese stir-fries, adding a fresh crunch to the dish.
  • Soups: Bean sprouts are often added to broths and finished soups, adding a fresh and filling element to the dish.
  • Spring rolls: Bean sprouts are a popular filling for Vietnamese spring rolls, adding a light and refreshing crunch.
  • Salads: Bean sprouts can be added to salads for a fresh and healthy twist.
  • Omelettes: Bean sprouts can be added to omelettes for a quick and easy breakfast or lunch option.

Culinary Techniques

Bean sprouts can be prepared in a variety of ways to transform their flavor and texture. Here are some techniques to try:

  • Slicing: Slicing bean sprouts thinly can add a delicate crunch to a dish.
  • Stir-frying: Stir-frying bean sprouts with other ingredients can add a smoky flavor and a crispy texture.
  • Microwaving: Microwaving bean sprouts with a damp cloth can steam them and make them tender.
  • Adding to soups: Adding bean sprouts to soups towards the end of cooking can ensure they retain their crunch.
  • Mixing with other vegetables: Mixing bean sprouts with other vegetables can add variety to a dish.

Culinary Uses by Cuisine

Bean sprouts are widely used in many different cuisines. Here are some examples of how bean sprouts are used in different countries:

  • Chinese cuisine: Bean sprouts are a common ingredient in stir-fries and soups.
  • Japanese cuisine: Bean sprouts are often served raw as a side dish or added to hot pot dishes.
  • Korean cuisine: Bean sprouts are a prominent ingredient in dishes such as sukjunamul (seasoned bean sprouts) and sundae (Korean blood sausage).
  • Thai cuisine: Bean sprouts are added to dishes such as pad thai and green curry.
  • Indonesian cuisine: Bean sprouts are a common ingredient in dishes such as mie goreng (fried noodles) and gado-gado (vegetable salad with peanut sauce).
  • Cantonese cuisine: Bean sprouts are added to dishes such as fu chow (a type of noodle soup) and sour and spicy soup.

Best Bean Sprouts Dishes

Here are some of the best dishes that feature bean sprouts as a prominent ingredient:

  • Sukjunamul: This Korean dish features seasoned bean sprouts and is a popular side dish.
  • Pad Thai: This Thai dish features stir-fried rice noodles with bean sprouts, chicken, and vegetables.
  • Gado-gado: This Indonesian dish features a mix of vegetables, including bean sprouts, with a peanut sauce.
  • Spring rolls: Bean sprouts are a common filling for Vietnamese spring rolls.
  • Hot and sour soup: This Chinese soup features bean sprouts, mushrooms, chicken, and a spicy broth.

Get Cooking: Easy and Delicious Ways to Prepare Bean Sprouts

  • Combine 2 cups of fresh bean sprouts with 1 sliced cucumber, 1 cup of snow peas, and 1 cup of spinach.
  • Add 1 tbsp of sesame oil, 1 tbsp of soy sauce, and 1 tsp of honey.
  • Mix well and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • This healthy and crunchy salad is a great vegetarian option.

Marinated Bean Sprouts

  • Combine 2 cups of mung bean sprouts with 1 sliced eggplant and 1 sliced red pepper.
  • In a separate bowl, mix 1 tbsp of soy sauce, 1 tbsp of vinegar, and 1 tsp of sugar.
  • Pour the mixture over the vegetables and let marinate for at least 1 hour.
  • Serve as a side dish or add to stir-fry dishes for an impressive and flavorful addition.

Looking for More Bean Sprout Recipes?

  • Click here to learn about different dishes from Asian countries where bean sprouts are commonly used.
  • Bean sprouts are known for their high fiber and vitamin content, as well as their impressive health benefits.
  • Whether sautéed, raw, marinated, roasted, or fried, there are so many simple and delicious ways to cook with bean sprouts in your kitchen.

Keeping Your Bean Sprouts Safe and Fresh

Proper storage of bean sprouts is crucial to prevent foodborne illness. Here are some tips to keep your sprouts fresh and safe:

  • Store fresh bean sprouts in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.
  • Make sure to remove any excess water before storing.
  • Bean sprouts can be stored for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.

Food Safety

Bean sprouts have been associated with outbreaks of foodborne illness in the past. To avoid getting sick, follow these steps:

  • Always buy fresh bean sprouts from a reputable source.
  • Avoid sprouts that look slimy, have a bad smell, or are starting to turn red.
  • Before preparing, rinse the sprouts thoroughly under running water.
  • Cooking bean sprouts can help kill any harmful microorganisms that may be present.
  • Avoid taking raw bean sprouts if you have a weakened immune system.

Production and Seed Safety

The production of bean sprouts requires specific conditions that support the growth of microorganisms. This means that there is an increased risk of contamination during the sprouting process. To ensure seed safety:

  • Only buy seeds from a reputable source.
  • Make sure the seeds are specifically labeled for sprouting.
  • Test the seeds for bacteria before sprouting by combining them with water and allowing them to sit for a few days. If the test comes back positive, do not use the seeds.
  • Always follow proper sprouting methods to reduce the risk of contamination.

Varieties and Cooking

Bean sprouts come in different varieties, including mung bean and soybean sprouts. Depending on the type of sprout, cooking may be necessary to reduce the risk of illness. Here are some tips:

  • Mung bean sprouts are commonly eaten raw, but can also be cooked.
  • Soybean sprouts are generally cooked before consumption.
  • Cooking bean sprouts can help kill any harmful microorganisms that may be present.

Containers and Environment

The environment in which bean sprouts are grown can also contribute to the risk of contamination. Here are some tips to reduce the risk:

  • Use clean containers and equipment when sprouting.
  • Make sure the outer layer of the seed is removed before sprouting.
  • Avoid using dirty water to sprout the seeds.
  • Allow for proper ventilation during the sprouting process to prevent the growth of harmful microorganisms.

USDA Recommendations

The USDA recommends the following steps to prevent foodborne illness related to bean sprouts:

  • Always wash your hands before and after handling food.
  • Keep your kitchen clean and sanitized.
  • Use separate cutting boards and utensils for raw and cooked foods.
  • Cook bean sprouts to an internal temperature of 165°F to kill any harmful microorganisms.

Bean Sprouts Nutritional Guide: What You Need to Know

  • A 1-cup serving of mung bean sprouts contains only 31 calories, making them a low-calorie food option.
  • Bean sprouts are low in fat, with less than 0.5 grams of total fat per serving.
  • They are also low in carbohydrates, with only 6 grams of carbs per serving, including 1 gram of fiber and less than 1 gram of sugar.
  • Bean sprouts are a good source of protein, with 3 grams per serving, making them a great addition to vegetarian or vegan diets.

Minerals and Vitamins

  • Bean sprouts are rich in vitamins E and C, with a 1-cup serving providing 10% and 13% of the daily value, respectively.
  • They are also a good source of calcium, with 1 cup providing 13% of the daily value, and vitamin D, with 1 cup providing 7% of the daily value.
  • Bean sprouts are a good source of iron, magnesium, and potassium, with 1 cup providing 10%, 6%, and 11% of the daily value, respectively.
  • They also contain small amounts of other minerals, including zinc, copper, and selenium.
  • Bean sprouts are a good source of folate, with 1 cup providing 16% of the daily value.
  • Choline, a nutrient important for brain health, is also found in bean sprouts.

Dietary Considerations

  • Bean sprouts are naturally gluten-free and low in sodium, making them a good option for those with celiac disease or high blood pressure.
  • They are also low in cholesterol and saturated and trans fats.
  • Bean sprouts have a low glycemic load, meaning they have a minimal impact on blood sugar levels.
  • However, added sugars or sauces in bean sprout dishes can increase the calorie and sugar content.
  • Bean sprouts are also a good source of dietary fiber, with 1 cup providing 1 gram of fiber.
  • Bean sprouts are edible raw or cooked, making them a versatile ingredient in many dishes.
  • According to WebMD, bean sprouts are considered a supplemental food and should not be relied on as the sole source of nutrition.

Types and Sizes

  • Bean sprouts come in different shapes and sizes, depending on the type of bean or lentil used.
  • Mung bean sprouts are the most common type of bean sprout and are typically used in Asian cuisine.
  • Other types of bean sprouts include soybean, lentil, and alfalfa sprouts.
  • Bean sprouts can range in size from 1-3 inches in length and are typically sold in 8-ounce packages.
  • Bean sprouts can also be grown at home using a sprouting jar or sprouting lid.


Bean sprouts are delicious and nutritious sprouts obtained from beans. They’re popular in Chinese and Asian cuisine and can be eaten raw or cooked. 

So, don’t be afraid to give them a try!

Check out our new cookbook

Bitemybun's family recipes with complete meal planner and recipe guide.

Try it out for free with Kindle Unlimited:

Read for free

Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.