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What Do Bean Sprouts Taste Like? The Buyer's Guide

Bean sprouts are surging in popularity, where once you could only find them in your local Asian grocery store or restaurant, many are now sprouting beans at home. Not only are they fun to grow, they’re also so versatile to cook with, you can add them to stir-frys, salads or have just as snacks. 
Bean sprouts have a crunch or snap when you bite into them, they have a non-distinct bland salad taste. As they contain more than 90% water it’s never recommended to eat them alone, as they're very tasteless. Instead we’d recommend mixing them into a tangy, or spicy salad. 
If you’re growing sprouts for the first time or maybe you've just brought some, and unsure how they taste this article is for you. You’ll be able to discover the best type of sprout for eating as a snack or accompanying your favourite dish. 


What Are Bean Sprouts?

Bean sprouts are a vegetable that grow by sprouting mung beans. They are an off-white creamy colored sprout that are packed with vitamins and minerals. 
Bean sprouts are very easy and cheap to grow, kids and adults alike enjoy seeing their sprouts grow bigger everyday. You simply just soak your mung beans in water for 6-8 hours before rinsing them. After this you’ll need to thoroughly wash your sprouts twice per day, for several days until ready. For a full sprouting guide check out Heir-Loom Organics



What Do Bean Sprouts Taste Like?

As a single vegetable the taste, texture and flavor of bean sprouts are not complicated. Especially when compared to cuisines such as French or Chinese. A few descriptive words are below which can be used to describe taste. 


Earthy - Especially when eating raw sprouts that have just been picked, once cooked and incorporated into a dish however, the sprouts lose the earthy taste and soak up the flavors of the herbs and spices around them. 
Fresh - Containing more than 90% water, bean sprouts are refreshing to eat, similar to eating cucumber or salad. Making them perfect for a salad on a summer’s evening. 
Bland - The taste of bean sprouts is hard to exactly characterise for it containing such high amounts of water. Therefore you’re likely to enjoy eating them or not based on your texture preference. 


Crispy And Crunchy - The outside casing of the bean sprouts forms a crust like layer which when biting into will snap. As bean sprouts tend to be so thin the main texture that you get is the crunch.

What Do Other Sprouts Taste Like?

This is hard to characterise for each sprout being very different to the next. Almost every edible bean, grain and seed can produce sprouts, meaning there are hundreds of possibilities, each with their own unique flavor.  One main thing they have in common is the crunchy texture and fresh taste. 
Sprouts coming from strong tasting seeds or beans may exhibit strong tastes too. For example mustard sprouts will have that characteristic kick, tasting similar to horseradish.


Canned Sprouts Taste

Typically canned sprouts are packed within a brine, water, or oil; each of which may alter the taste, and texture. If canned correctly in water, they’re likely to still be crunchy, perfect for eating. 


Raw Taste 

Fresh, crunchy and earthy - very simple!


Cooked Taste 

Bean sprouts soak up the flavors of what they’re cooked in. Typically they’re added to give the dish an additional crunchy texture or to bulk it out with added vegetables. In Asian cooking you may see them in a meat based stir-fry once which lacks a crunchy texture.


Why Eat Bean Sprouts?

Health Benefits - Bean sprouts are a vegetable, meaning they’re packed full of vitamins, minerals and nutrients. They also are very high in fibre, a high fibre diet has been linked to maintaining bowel health, lowering cholesterol levels, and helping to achieve a healthy weight.
Choline - Bean sprouts have been found to contain choline. Which has been shown to help detoxify livers and even support brain development in children. For more information check out this article by ChateLine.


Common Questions

Can You Eat Uncooked Bean Sprouts?
Although you can, it’s not recommended. Bean sprouts grow in a moist environment meaning they’re susceptible to bacteria and mold growth. There have been many reports of people getting food poisoning, such as E Coli, Listeria, and Salmonella from consuming them.
What Are The Healthiest Sprouts?
Each sprout comes from a different seed or bean. This means that each contains different chemicals and health benefits. Arguably broccoli sprouts are the most healthy, they’ve been linked to reduced autism symptoms, depression, anxiety, detoxification and overall health too - for more information check out
How Do You Prepare Bean Sprouts?
You need to cook them, as suggested before, to avoid food poisoning. We would suggest adding to your stir-frys, a few in your soup, added to sandwiches or as a salad. To get the best out of bean sprouts you need to accompany them with strong flavors as on their own, bean sprouts are very bland.
Are Bean Sprouts Good For You?
There have been many studies into all types of sprouts, for which there is evidence for many health benefits. For mung bean sprouts specifically they contain high amounts of vitamins and minerals. More information can be found on
How Do You Grow Pea Sprouts In A Jar?
All sprouts can be produced in the same general way. Soak for 6-12 hours, then regularly wash them twice a day for a few days until sprouted. Cultures For Health have a full write up which you can find here: How To Sprout Peas.
Are Alfalfa Sprouts And Broccoli Sprouts The Same Thing?
No, alfalfa and broccoli sprouts come from their own seeds. They sprout and look similar and grow in the same way but they’re not the same.
Do Bean Sprouts Taste Bitter?
Slightly, they shouldn’t taste off, sour or overwhelmingly bitter, but a slight taste of bitterness is common.


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