How To Grow Bean Sprouts: Soybeans and Mung Beans

Learn how to grow bean sprouts that are quick and safe to eat. Find ideas on using a variety of cheap tools for sprouting.  

Soybeans and mung beans are quite easy to sprout. You can use a sprouter device or existing tools you have in the kitchen. These include steamers, colanders, tea pots, trays, plastic water bottles, milk cartons, plastic cups. Items that have holes or items that you can create holes. 

Sprouting your own bean sprouts is a good idea because you grew them, you know they are safe to eat. 

Time needed for mung beans to sprout is about 5 to 6 days depending on the temperature. Soybeans are much faster. Around 2 days. 

Basic steps needed:

  1. Wash the beans. Discard those that float or you know are bad. 
  2. Soak the beans overnight. The beans will rehydrate and start to dislodge their skins. Remove the skins. 
  3. Soak the beans overnight again. Remove as much skins as possible including squeezing those clinging to the beans gently. Removing the skins help to keep the sprouts clean and minimize smell from rotting skins. 
  4. Wet a cheese cloth or gauge or kitchen towel and lay them on top of the sprouting tray, colander, steamer or anything you plan to use for sprouting
  5. Lay the beans on top evenly to give each enough space to grow
  6. Cover the beans with another wet towel 
  7. Water the beans together with the towels and drain off excess water
  8. Cover the entire thing with a black cloth or thick garbage bag to keep out light. 
  9. Leave in a cool dark place
  10. Place a heavy object on top of the beans to help them grow strong and straight. This can be a heavy plate, cutting board, a stone on top of a plate, etc. 
  11. Water and drain the beans every day 
  12. Check the growth of the sprouts and harvest when they reached the desired length. 

The video below shows Maangchi, a Korean lady sprouting mung bean sprouts in a flower pot. I think she sprouted too much (maybe she has a big family to feed) but you can see how a small amount of mung beans can produce such a huge harvest in 5 days. OMG! 

She used a big plastic flower pot and a basin to catch water draining from the pot. Here are a few more videos showing a variety of tools. 


The teapot makes a cute growing container. It keeps light away and rinsing is easy. Pour water from the top and drain using the spout. This lady even use it as a watering can. Watering her other plants putting the rinsing water to good use. 

Plastic Water Bottles

I tried this method before. It works but I find the smell stronger and the sprouts are more curly.

1. Overcrowding. I underestimated the space needed for even a small amount of beans. Expect to leave 90% of the space for growth.

2. Temperature. It thinks this works much better in a cooler climate. The heat from the tropics and overcrowding affected the quality of the sprouts.

3. Placement of the bottle. I prefer to keep the bottle upright to encourage straighter sprouts. 

Plastic Cups

Who does not have plastic cups lying around the house? In Singapore, it is really hard to avoid getting at least a few. Don't just throw them away. Sprout beans with them. 

Plastic Fruit Containers

Highrise for bean sprouts. haha. So neat and space saving. 

Styrofoam Box

Whichever tools you use, there are 3 things that I have discovered that really affect a good "crop". 

  1. The ideal temperature is between 70 to 80 degree Fahrenheit or 20 to 25 degree Celsius for mung beans. Slightly lower for soybeans. I live in the tropics and the day temperature can be as high as 30 degree. Sprouts are likely to overheat and rot. Spacing the beans out and rinsing them often can help. Removing as much of the skins as possible also help. In my case, I will soak the beans for 2 days and remove all the skins before laying them out to grow. 
  2. Good drainage is important. Choose containers with good drainage. Big holes or lots of holes. 
  3. It is important to keep the sprouts away from sunlight. Photosynthesis caused the leaves to turn green and the heads to turn red or purple. This affects the sweetness of the sprouts. 

Before you leave, take a look at this collection of bean sprout recipes to cook and enjoy the sprouts you grew or find out more about this versatile vegetable

Happy Souping, Phoebe