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What Are Mung Bean Sprouts?

Mung bean sprouts are nutritious shoots from germinated mung beans, packed with vitamins and minerals. These crunchy, fresh sprouts are a staple in Asian cuisine, known for their health benefits and versatility in dishes. They're a low-calorie, high-protein delight that can enhance any meal. Curious about how to incorporate them into your diet? Let's explore their vibrant culinary potential.
O. Parker
O. Parker

Mung bean sprouts are a type of young bean sprout popularly used in Chinese cuisine. The dried mung beans are sprouted in low-light areas. The resulting sprout is a crisp, white vegetable used raw in salads or lightly cooked. Sprouted beans are nutritious and a good source of vitamins, protein and and enzymes.

Bean sprouts are the first growth that emerges from the bean after germination. The sprouts of mung beans are traditionally between 2 and 4 inches (about 5 and 9 cm) long when eaten. The delicate sprouts have a crunchy, slightly sweet flavor. Sprouting beans at home is an economical and fast way to add fresh, nutritious vegetables to the diet. Mung bean sprouts are high in protein; vitamins A, C and E; and are a good source of iron and potassium.

Mung beans.
Mung beans.

Mung beans can be sprouted at home with minimal equipment. The seeds are first washed in water, and any floating or broken beans are removed. Once thoroughly washed, the beans are soaked in room temperature water, or water at least 32°F (about 0°C), for eight to 12 hours. The soaking process softens the hard seed coat, allowing water to penetrate and stimulate germination.

Mung bean sprouts.
Mung bean sprouts.

A mason jar works well for growing mung bean sprouts. A mesh lid or a lid with holes punched in it should be used. The damp beans are placed in the mason jar and the lid secured. The jar should be laid on its side in a dim area, as mung beans sprouted in an area with lots of natural light turn green. They are just as edible but lack the traditional white color.

Mung beans in the process of sprouting.
Mung beans in the process of sprouting.

The mung bean sprouts should be rinsed every eight to 12 hours during the sprouting process. The jar can be filled with water and then turned upside down to drain. The mesh lid allows water to escape while keeping the sprouts from falling out. Mung beans sprout best in a temperature range between 70 and 75°F (about 21 to 23°C).

Mung beans germinate in one day and fully emerge in two to thee days, producing shoots about a half an inch (1 to 2 cm) long by the second day. By the fourth or fifth day, the sprouts grow 2 inches (about 5 cm long), and by the eighth day, the sprouts are 3 to 3.5 inches (about 8 to 9 cm) long. The sprouts can be harvested anytime during the process. The younger sprouts have the most delicate flavor and texture.

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Discussion Comments


@SkittisH - Mung bean sprout chef salad sounds surprisingly refreshing! I'm trying to get more potassium in my diet (my doctor tells me I'm serious deficient), and this sounds like a yummy way to do it.

I hate the taste of bananas, which are what my doctor recommended that I eat to get more potassium, so I'm going to ask him if Mung bean sprouts would be a good substitute for the bananas.

How much potassium is in a salad-sized serving of Mung beans, would you say? Also, what size of beans do you use for your salads, the big ones or the little ones? The big ones sound nice and crunchy to me.

Thanks for the chef salad idea -- I'm definitely trying that!


@Malka - I agree that it's cool that anyone can teach themselves how to grow sprouts at home and raise their own "veggies" even if they don't have any growing space like a back yard.

These mung bean sprouts shouldn't just be considered food for the apartment dwelling folk, though -- with the vitamins and protein and potassium content, these little babies are a fantastic addition to any health food diet!

I eat an extremely low carbohydrate diet -- so low that many vegetables are off-limits because they have too much fiber and carbs in them. Mung bean sprouts, though, are one of those vegetables that I refer to was "watery". They are juicy and soft enough to chew easily without having any fruit sugars, and that means they are low in carbohydrates.

I eat Mung bean sprouts instead of lettuce in my salads, topping them with dressing, meat and cheese like a typical chef salad. They taste just as good as the lettuce, and have way more vitamins and nutrients in them. Try it and you'll see how great it is!


@seHiro - I've never even seen sprouts that big! Are they crunchier at that size? I would imagine so.

This is really cool. I love how Mung bean sprouts are something that anybody could grow in their home -- this is a good way to get some nice green veggie nutrition in without actually having a garden or even a backyard! Apartment dwellers, take note -- this takes less effort than even a potted plant, and you can eat the results. What's not to like?

Now I want to look up Mung bean sprout recipes. This article is inspiring me to try and raise some of these bean sprouts for myself.


Awesome article -- I was hoping to learn how to grow mung bean sprouts, and WiseGEEK did not disappoint!

These bean sprouts are delicious -- particularly the big three inch long kind. They're great in Vietnamese Pho noodle soup, or dipped in the hoisen sauce on the side. Now that I know how long (or shall I say short) an amount of time it takes to grow the bigger bean sprouts, I'm definitely going to try growing some at home myself!

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      By: Elena Schweitzer
      Mung beans.
    • Mung bean sprouts.
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      Mung bean sprouts.
    • Mung beans in the process of sprouting.
      By: Robin
      Mung beans in the process of sprouting.
    • Mung bean sprouts can be a nutritious addition to a green salad.
      By: EpicStockMedia
      Mung bean sprouts can be a nutritious addition to a green salad.