Cookbook:Bean Sprout

Bean Sprout

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The bean sprout is a very young sprouted bean plant, harvested prior to the development of leaves. It is similar to but not the same as microgreens.[1]



Bean sprouts tend to be white to pale yellow in color, with very small little leaves.[2] They are long and crunchy, with a very high water content.[1] Overall, they have an extremely mild, if ever-so-slightly bitter flavor, and they tend to take on the characteristics of the dish they're included in.[2] Care should be taken not to overcook them, as they become translucent, brown, and limp.



Technically, bean sprouts can be made from any dried, nontoxic pulses;[1] however, certain varieties are more common:

  • Mung bean sprouts: some of the more popular and commonly available bean sprouts;[2] long and tubular.
  • Soy bean sprouts: similar in appearance to mung bean sprouts, but larger.
  • Alfalfa sprouts: thinner and more threadlike,[1] somewhat similar to microgreens; not as thick and "juicy" as the above.



Bean sprouts are fairly easy to produce at home from dried pulses, since all that is required is germinating the plants and letting them form shoots.[3] They should be soaked for 8–12 hours in cool water, drained, and placed in a perforated container in the dark and at room temperature.[1] Repeat the washing/draining daily until you have sprouts.[1]

Selection and storage


When purchasing bean sprouts, you should only buy those that are crisp and pale. Discard any sprouts that are limp, slimy, or that smell bad.[2]

Bean sprouts should be eaten fresh, and they have a short shelf life.[1] Once you have mature sprouts, they should be kept dry in an airtight container in the fridge[2]—do not wash them until immediately prior to using them.[2] After washing bean sprouts prior to use, discard any that are not crisp and white, then dry them well before using in cooking.[2]

Bean sprouts are particularly associated with Chinese cuisine, and with east Asian cuisine in general.[2] Bean sprouts are often added to stir-fry, where they add a crunchy texture. They should be added near the end, because they are very easy to overcook.[4]





  1. a b c d e f g "What are Bean Sprouts?". Food Network. Retrieved 2023-12-23.
  2. a b c d e f g h "What Are Mung Bean Sprouts?". The Spruce Eats. Retrieved 2023-12-23.
  3. Davidson, Alan (2014-01-01). Jaine, Tom (ed.). The Oxford Companion to Food. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/acref/9780199677337.001.0001. ISBN 978-0-19-967733-7.
  4. "How to Grow Bean Sprouts in a Jar". Serious Eats. Retrieved 2023-12-23.