Learn how to sprout mung beans quickly and just a few days with this step by step tutorial.
Fresh sprouted mung beans are absolutely delish when it is used in Vietnamese, Thai, and Lao dishes. While it is not as commonly used in western salads, when they are used, these legumes provide a filling and wholesome crunch to any salad.
Mung beans provide a crispy and nutritional addition to any meal at just 31 calories per cup.
When I moved to the United States, the only place I could find them a decade ago was at Asian supermarkets. As the years went on, mung bean sprouts were available commercially in local grocers in the United States, often labeled as "bean sprouts".
The problem with the commercially grown mung bean sprouts is that in order to find fresh ones, you had to know the schedule of how often they were restocked at your grocer. If you didn't, you would find the bean sprouts would start to turn brown at the roots, the start of the rotting process.
When you sprout mung beans at home, it will not only be fresher, but it will save you a lot of money without a lot of startup costs.
Next, I'm going to share with you how to sprout mung beans, my tried and true tips, and things you should avoid in order to sprout mung beans easily at home. Make sure you scroll down to the frequently asked questions because I answer A LOT of questions about the process!
Fun Facts About Sprouted Mung Beans
- 5,000 years ago, Chinese doctors were prescribing mung beans to heal medical disorders.
- Green mung bean soup has been used by Asian families as a healing soup (similar to the western chicken noodle soup).
- Mung beans are among some of the fastest sprouting beans, which is why it is used a lot during elementary school experiments for teaching. It only takes 3-4 days to sprout mung beans.
- It is believed that mung beans have healing and protective properties and allegedly boost blood circulation, reduce swelling, and help skincare products penetrate deeper. This increase in circulation can also help smooth out fine lines and wrinkles as well as reduce puffiness and inflammation in the face.
- Mung beans are less likely to cause flatulence as compared to it's other bean relatives.
- Mung beans have also been an integral part of the Indian Ayurvedic diet due to their wholesome properties. For example, it is used in Kitchari, a very simple Indian dish which is revered for it’s cleansing and healing properties.
Other Names for Sprouted Mung Beans
Sprouted mung beans are known in the United States more generally as "bean sprouts". In other cultures, they can be referred to as green gram, moong bean, mungo, pesalu, hesarukalu, pasi payaru, and mung sabut.
Nutritional Health Benefits of Mung Beans
Sprouted mung beans have 31 calories per cup.
Mung beans are a legume, which is the same family as beans and lentils.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), mung beans have protein, carbs, and dietary fibers. Mung beans are a high source of nutrients like; manganese, potassium, magnesium, folate, zinc and the essential B vitamins. They are also full of protein, resistant starch and dietary fiber.
Other benefits of mung beans include:
- Sprouted mung beans contained fewer calories and more free amino acids and antioxidants than unsprouted ones.
- Mung beans contain healthy antioxidants, which help neutralize free radicals, which are potentially harmful molecules.
- Animal studies have shown that mung bean antioxidants lower "bad" cholesterol (LDL levels) and in the same token human studies have related higher legume consumption (which is the family mung beans are in) lower LDL cholesterol levels as well.
- Mung beans are a great source of potassium, magnesium, and fiber which are linked with lower blood pressure levels in adults.
- Sprouted mung beans also aid in digestive health because they contain a variety of nutrients.
- Mung beans may promote weight loss because it can help suppress hunger and raise the feeling of fullness.
Sprouted Mung Beans - Store Bought versus Sprouting at Home
How are sprouted mung beans grown commercially?
In most commercial operations, the mung beans are grown in water, drained, and separated across specialized drums and trays. The seeds are continually irrigated based on desired maturity levels. They are then harvested 3 days after sprouting. The sprouts are then washed in large batches to remove the mung bean hulls and packed into bags or trays.
With this process, the mung beans have to be then transported to the stores and distributed to consumers.
Pros and Cons for Sprouting Mung Beans At Home
Pros for Home Sprouted Mung Beans
- It's really fun to watch them grow and educational for kids!
- Mung beans are less expensive if you grow them yourself.
- You can trust that there were no chemicals involved in the sprouting process.
- There is no special equipment needed to grow it yourself.
Cons for Home Sprouted Mung Beans
- There is a delay between sprouting and eating of about 3 days, so you'll need to plan your meals accordingly.
- You need to be careful about ensuring that you follow clean and proper techniques to avoid contamination.
- There is the potential for choosing a bad bean source provider, which may cause unanticipated lower yields.
Pros and Cons for Store Bought Sprouted Mung Beans
Pros for Store Bought Sprouted Mung Beans
- There is no waiting period for sprouting, just hop to the store and you can eat it afterwards.
- Store bought sprouted beans often have a consistently thicker root than those grown at home.
Cons for Store Bought Sprouted Mung Beans
- Sprouted mung beans are more expensive when considering the cost of the bean seed.
- Sprouted mung beans are often seasonal, so they are not always readily available when you need them.
- There is the potential of not knowing what chemicals were used during the sprouting process.
Most sprouts that are sold commercially are chemically treated and also come with a risk of being contaminated too. With home grown bean sprouts, they are virtually chemical free (if you purchase organic beans) with a low risk of contamination if they are sprouted with caution and carefully.
Tips and Tricks Before Sprouting Your Own Mung Beans
- In order to avoid a bitter taste, sprout the mung beans in the dark and avoid bright light during the sprouting process.
- When choosing mung beans to sprout, purchase fresh green grams that have been harvested recently in order to increase your yield of sprouts.
- To avoid the risk of bacterial contamination, rinse the green gram beans with clean water at least four times, with the final rinse using hot water to remove any impurities.
- When sprouts are compressed during sprouting, they grow thicker roots.
- If there is a concern about bacteria, blanch the sprouts in boiling water before using the sprouts in cooking.
How to Sprout Your Own Mung Beans At Home
Sprouting your own mung beans will provide a yield of 1:3, meaning that for every 1 cup of dry mung beans seeds, you'll get 3 cups of sprouted mung beans.
There are two methods to sprouting mung beans at home, the container method and the towel method. The towel method provides a better taste because the mung beans are compressed tightly with the cloth, allowing them to keep their shape and swell into larger sprouts.
After the initial 8-hour soaking period, tiny sprouts will begin to appear within 24-37 hours.
Supplies Need for Mung Beans
- Mung Beans
- Clear jar for initial soaking
- Cheesecloth for the clear jar (and a rubber band for securing) (optional step)
- Container for the longer sprouting period
- Clean, white kitchen cloth or cheese cloth for sprouting
- Colander for rinsing
- Basin for cleaning
- Dark Bag to Place Container
- Baking Sheet lined with Paper Towels
Step by Step Instructions to Sprout Mung Beans
Step 1 - Purchase Whole, Untreated Beans
Purchase mung beans that have been organically sourced. Do not use gardening packets and check the label to ensure you are using beans that are made for eating and sprouting. You can often find mung beans in batch at your local Asian supermarket.
Step 2 - Measure Out Desired Amount of Sprouts
Measure out the amount of sprouts you'll be able to consume 2-3 days from the day you start this process. Pick out any bad beans from the measured batch and replace them.
Step 3 - Rinse and Soak Beans
Rinse the mung beans with slightly hot water (avoid boiling water). The water should run clear, ensuring that any remaining debris is removed to avoid contamination. Often, mung beans are dusty due to most beans originating from China where the beans are dried on gravel roads. By rinsing them well in hot water, any mites, metals, and toxins from the dusty gravel can be removed prior to sprouting.
Place the mung beans in a clear jar and submerge with cool water (about 3 times the volume of the beans). Set aside. As an additional, but optional step, you can cover the jar with a breathable fabric, like cheese cloth secured by a rubber band.
Allow the beans to soak in cool water for 8 hours in a container to allow the skin of the mung bean to be broken in order for the bean sprout to easily grow. Set aside at room temperature.
Note: Larger mung beans may require a longer soaking period, up to 4 additional hours.
Step 4 - Choose the Sprouting Storage Container
The size of the storage container you plan to sprout them in should allow the unsprouted beans to be filled only a quarter full. The mung beans grow by a ratio of three, so ensure there is enough room for the beans to grow.
Step 5 - Prepare the Beans for Sprouting and Remove Light
After the soaking period, drain and rinse the beans with a colander or through the cheese cloth if you used it. Rinse the beans multiple times to remove any debris and bacteria.
Step 6 - Compress the Soaked Mung Beans Into Storage Container
The next process is sandwiching and compressing the bean sprouts in the storage container. Place a paper towel, cheese cloth or clean cloth on the bottom of the storage container.
Layer in the rinsed beans. Layer on another clean paper towel, cheese cloth or clean cloth above it.
To ensure thicker roots for the sprouts, compress the space for the beans to prevent the roots from stretching through the space to find row to grow. You can use a small weight to weight down the beans.
Cover and ensure no light hits the mung beans in order to avoid a bitter taste for the sprouted beans. In the example below, we've used a black plastic trash bag to wrap around the container.
Store in a dark area, like inside your kitchen cabinets.
Step 7 - Draining and Rinsing - 12 Hours
Twice a day (or every 12 hours), rinse and drain the beans using a colander or using the cheese cloth in order to remove the chance of odor as well as any bacteria. Compress with clean paper towels or cloth, and return them to the dark storage spot after each rinsing session.
Rinsing well will prevent spoiling, bacterial, and mold growth.
Step 8 - Final Cleansing and Rinsing Process
During the second or third day, the beans should be sprouted with thick roots. Once they have reached your desired length (most often ½ an inch long), pour the bean sprouts into a colander and give them a cold rinse.
Step 9 - Remove the Remaining Hulls
Place the sprouts in a basin and fill it with water. Carefully use clean hands to agitate the water in the basin, and the hulls will start to float on top. Continue discarding the hulls and picking at the remaining ones left.
Step 10 - Drying Process
Spread the sprouted beans across a baking sheet that is lined with paper towels. Spread the rinsed and rained beans on top. Add another layer of paper towels to absorb any excess water by patting them dry.
Pick out any unsprouted beans and discard.
Step 11 - Serve or Refrigerate
After rinsing once more, you can serve it right away fresh. Often, the most common method is storing them in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours to "cool" them so there is a nice, fresh bite into the sprouts.
If you are concerned with bacteria, before using the sprouted beans in your food, blanch the sprouts in boiling water for a few seconds to kill off bacteria.
Sprouted mung beans can keep in the refrigerator for at least 3 days.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the most common questions I get about sprouting mung beans. Hopefully, this helps you on your journey to making these delicious bean sprouts right at home!
Sprouting Process Questions
Where can I buy mung beans?
You can find mung beans readily available at most local Asian supermarkets or on Amazon. This is my favorite brand that has great reviews!
Are mung beans and bean sprouts the same thing?
Mung beans are a type of bean sprouts. For example alfalfa beans can be sprouted and are also known as bean sprouts. Generally though, when people refer to bean sprouts, they are referring to mung bean sprouts.
What is the ratio between the mung bean sprouting?
The expansion yield is estimated to be 3 to 1, but it truly depends on where you sourced the beans from as well as how long you plan on sprouting them.
What this means is if you sprout 1 cup of unsprouted beans, you'll get 1 cup of sprouted beans.
How can I remove the mung bean hull?
Once your sprouts have reached the length that you desire, cover them with water to agitate them (use a salad spinner). The green hull will start floating and the sprouts will sink.
How can I make the mung bean sprouts grow faster?
Sprouting mung beans that is warm and dark will speed up the growing process.
What happens when some of the mung beans don't sprout?
The beans may have been too old. Mung beans gemination yield reduces as the beans get older. Mung beans generally have less than a 50% seed germination after three years.
How do I ensure that I safely grow the bean sprouts?
When attempting to sprout bean sprouts, ensure that you rinse them thoroughly. When you are sprouting them, use a plastic container that controls light, moisture, and air flow. Too much warmth and moisture will cause the crop of bean sprouts to grow mold and spoil it.
How do I ensure that my bean sprouts don't have stunted growth?
The mung beans should be soaked for a long duration, which will ensure that the moisture content increases, which will help the later stages of the sprouting process.
Why are my mung beans hard after the sprouting process?
If your mung beans did not swell up, it may be due to the quality of the seeds or the seeds may have been damaged in some way. There is also the potential that the seeds were fresh, and you tried to use them during the dormancy period.
My mung beans are fresh, is there anything I need to be aware of?
Fresh mung beans may have a fresh seed dormancy stage. In order to break through this dormacy phase known as scarification, freeze the mung beans for a few weeks in a freezer. After removing them from the freezer, follow the sprouting process again.
Why are my sprouted mung beans red after a couple of days?
This may indicate that sprouts aren't fresh and may be due to the water quality or the bean quality.
When would you soak the beans in warm water versus soaking them in cold water?
Soaking mung beans in cold water is generally used when the sprouted mung beans will be eaten fresh, which is a safer alternative in order to reduce contamination. Soaking mung beans in warm water is generally used when you are wanting to speed up the sprouting process, but the mung beans will be used during the cooking process where it will be heated.
What happens if my sprouts have a bad smell or odor?
If your sprouts have a bad odor, discard them immediately. To avoid this, make sure you wash the beans during the sprouting process twice a day. Changing the water will reduce the odor.
Will sprouts stop sprouting during the rinsing process?
No, shaking the sprouts actually allows for the water to circulate during the rinsing process and allows the sprouts to germinate and grow, thus avoiding a tangled mess of sprouts. Being gentle will allow you to avoid damaging the sprouts.
The bean sprouts are sticky, why is this happening?
If the sprouts are sticky, it is probably just the mung bean hulls trying to sprout. Just rinse them until they are not sticky.
Can mung beans be grown in a pot with soil?
Yes, mung beans can be grown in moist soil as a plant.
What happens if my sprouted beans taste bitter?
Mung beans that have a bitter taste are generally a result of a bad source for the bean provider. Try a different brand, like this one, and try again.
How should I store my remaining mung bean seeds that I'm not ready to sprout?
You can store them in a cool or dry place. If you wanted to extend the germination period, store them in the fridge or freezer to last even longer.
Serving and Preparation Questions
Can you eat bean sprouts raw?
Yes, bean sprouts can be eaten raw. Examples of Asian dishes you can eat them with include:
Do you have to soak the sprouted mung beans before cooking?
While they do not need to be soaked before cooking, sprouted mung beans should be rinsed thoroughly in order to remove any foreign debris.
Why are mung bean sprouts often deemed as dangerous?
Like any fresh produce that is consumed raw or lightly cooked, sprouts can carry a risk of food borne illness if they are contaminated with bacteria. Unlike other fresh produce, the warm, moist conditions required to grow sprouts are ideal for the rapid growth of bacteria, including salmonella, listeria, and E. coli. In the past two decades, they have caused more than 2,500 people to get sick and caused 186 hospitalizations.
Sprouts often get contaminated due to the water they are in. When the water and rinsing process is not throughly followed, microorganisms may grow leading to an upset stomach or diarrhea after eating them. Ensuring that the bean sprouts are washed throughly in warm to hot water if you are going to eat them raw is important. Officials recommend cooking them before serving.
Can mung beans still be eaten when the leaves start forming?
Yes, mung beans can still be eaten when the leaves start initially forming. After 1 full day of seeing the leaves, I would recommend discarding them.
Are mung beans and bean sprouts the same ones that are normally in Chinese and Thai restaurants?
Yes, mung bean sprouts are often used in Chinese and Thai dishes that are popular in western culture. They are generally referred to just as "bean sprouts".
My bean sprouts have a hard crunch when I ate them, what happened?
The mung beans were probably too old and didn't germinate correctly.
How long do sprouted mung beans last after sprouting?
Mung beans can be kept in an airtight container in a refrigerator for up to four days (until the roots start browning). The best practice is using them up to 3 days after sprouting.
Can you freeze bean sprouts?
It's possible to flash freeze them, but freezing bean sprouts is not a common practice. Bean sprouts are generally seen as a "fresh" vegetable that is added into dishes as a garnish.
Can mung beans be used as a substitute for lentils?
Sprouted mung beans are most frequently used in Asian dishes and lentils should not be used as a substitute as it would take away from the flavor.
Sprouted mung beans are an incredible nutritional powerhouse full of proteins, vitamins, and minerals. There is nothing more easier than growing your own mung bean sprouts at home!
Mung beans are delicious, healthy, and fun to grow. Sprouting mung beans at home is not only economical, but it is hygienic and comes with the added bonus of being fresh. Consider incorporating them into future dishes you make.
Other Posts You Might Like
The ratio from unsprouted mung beans to sprouted mung beans is 3:1. Ensure that you have clean hands and hygiene during the process of rinsing to avoid contamination.
Purchase Whole, Untreated Beans
Measure Out Desired Amount of Sprouts
Rinse and Soak Beans
Choose the Sprouting Storage Container
Prepare the Beans for Sprouting and Remove Light
Compress the Soaked Mung Beans Into Storage Container
Draining and Rinsing - 12 Hours
Final Cleansing and Rinsing Process
Remove the Remaining Hulls
Serve or Refrigerate
The ratio from unsprouted mung beans to sprouted mung beans is 3:1. Ensure that you have clean hands and hygiene during the process of rinsing to avoid contamination.