Learning how to grow broccoli sprouts at home isn’t as hard as it sounds, and it’ll save you tons of money!
If you’ve got your finger on the pulse of what’s going on in the real food world lately, chances are you’ve heard of broccoli sprouts.
But what are these little darlings, why are they so damn nutritious, and how can you grow them at home?
In this tutorial, I’ll cover all that so you can start sprouting with confidence. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need a bunch of fancy equipment…just a little patience.
What are Broccoli Sprouts & Why are They So Nutritious?
Broccoli sprouts are tiny, immature seedling versions of the mature broccoli you’d buy in the grocery store.
And while mature broccoli is renowned for its nutrition profile – 100 grams contains 148% of your daily Vitamin C and is a good source of Vitamins A, B6, and fiber – it doesn’t quite compare to broccoli sprouts.
It’s common to think that because broccoli sprouts are so little, they couldn’t possibly be more nutritious than their full-grown counterparts. They may not contain as much Vitamin C, for example, but they are loaded with some other incredible compounds.
The biochemistry involved could easily move this tutorial into the realm of an upper-level university course, so let’s focus on the most well-known compound in broccoli sprouts: sulforaphane.
(If you want to geek the heck out, go watch Dr. Rhonda Patrick drop some serious knowledge bombs here.)
Sulforaphane is found in broccoli sprouts and other Brassicas like cabbage, cauliflower, kale, and Brussels sprouts. These cruciferous veggies are renowned for being rich in antioxidants, containing compounds important to cellular detoxification pathways, and having anti-cancer properties (source). Sulforaphane is one those compounds.
In a nutshell, sulforaphane concentration is higher in fresh, raw broccoli sprouts than it is in mature broccoli.
There’s bound to be more research forthcoming about all the beneficial compounds in broccoli sprouts so stay tuned.
We put raw broccoli sprouts in salads, green smoothies, or right on the plate next to our fermented veggies. (See my Fermented Ginger Carrots recipe.) They have a mild peppery flavor that’s reminiscent of broccoli, but they’re not as spicy as some other types of sprouts.
For best results, don’t cook them and chew them well. About 1/4 cup per day is a good serving size to start with.
How to Grow Broccoli Sprouts at Home
Hopefully, I’ve convinced you to start eating raw broccoli sprouts every day.
The bummer is that they’re pretty expensive; our local market sells two ounces for $2.99, and that adds up fast. Many markets don’t even sell them, and if they do, you’re never quite sure how fresh they are.
I’m going to show you how easy it is to grow broccoli sprouts right in your own kitchen…without any fancy seed sprouting trays. This is the method I’ve been using for several months, and it’s relatively foolproof…but with that being said…
A Word About Contamination
It’s worth mentioning that sprouts are quite fragile and can spoil if left too long without tending, so it’s best not to start a batch before you head out on vacation or if you’re too busy to rinse them.
Be sure you wash all your glassware and your hands before touching your sprouts. You also will need to make sure they’re dry before storing in the refrigerator. Too much residual moisture will cause them to rot or go moldy.**
We’ve eaten dozens and dozens of batches of sprouts without an issue, but if you’re immune-compromised in any way, you may want to exercise caution.
**Your nose knows. Smell your sprouts. They should smell like broccoli, not fishy or putrid. If you accidentally let them go too long without rinsing and they stink, dump them out and start over.
Equipment You Need to Grow Broccoli Sprouts
You may have almost everything you need in your kitchen right now to grow your own sprouts. Yes, there are fancy sprout-growing trays and whatnot, but I find this quick and cheap method works better for our tiny kitchen. Plus, if I ever decide I’m sick of growing my own broccoli sprouts, I don’t have to off-load any equipment or watch it collect dust and take up space.
I usually stagger my sprouts so I often have two jars going at once, in different stages of growth.
- Wide-mouth quart Mason jar with lid (see the ones I use)
- Wide-mouth mesh sprouting jar lid (see the ones I use)
- Glass-lock container (see the ones I use)
- Organic sprouting seeds* (see the ones I use)
* It’s really important to buy organic seeds specifically marked for sprouts.
How to Grow Broccoli Sprouts Step 1: Soak
First, you’re going to soak the broccoli seeds in water overnight or for about 8 hours. This helps deactivate compounds in the seed coating that can bind minerals and prevent them from being absorbed by your body.
One thing to clarify: This is the only time you’re going to let the seeds/sprouts sit in water. After this, they get rinsed.
- Add two tablespoons of broccoli seeds to the Mason jar.
- Fill the jar halfway with water, and put the mesh lid.
- Let the jar stand at room temperature for 8 hours or overnight. I do this before I go to bed.
- After 8 hours, dump out the water.
- Place the jar into a glass-lock container (no lid) or bowl with the opening facing down and store in a dark cabinet! This helps an excess moisture drain away. Very important. From now on, you don’t want the sprouts sitting in water.
How to Grow Broccoli Sprouts Step 2: Sprout (Obvs)
- After about a day, the seeds will begin to crack open. Sprouting has begun!
- Two or three times a day, you’ll want to rinse your sprouts and drain. I usually do this in the morning and before I go to bed, but sometimes I get a little crazy and rinse around lunchtime too. If you’re not home at lunchtime, no worries. Just rinse in the morning and at night.
- To rinse: Fill the jar with fresh water, swirl it around, and drain the water out through the mesh lid. Place the jar back in the cabinet with the opening facing down.
- By the 4th or 5th day***, your sprouts will be long enough. You’ll know it’s time because they’ve pretty much filled up the jar.
- Place the jar in a sunny windowsill for a couple hours, and the sprouts will develop a nice green color. (Thanks, chlorophyll!)
***On day 3 or so, the broccoli sprouts will start showing tons of fuzzy root hairs. Don’t be alarmed. This is not mold.
How to Grow Broccoli Sprouts Step 3: Store
- Be sure your sprouts are dry before you refrigerate them. I like to lay down a kitchen towel with some paper towel on top of that. Then, I remove the sprouts from the jar with clean hands and spread them out for an hour or so until they dry. You can also use a salad spinner to remove moisture. We happen to not have one and it’s no big deal.
- I store my sprouts in a covered glass-lock container. You can also store them in their jar by replacing the mesh lid with a solid Mason jar cover.
- Refrigerate your sprouts for 2-3 days. If it’s past three days, it’s best to discard what’s left.
How to Grow Broccoli Sprouts
- Quart-sized Mason jar wide mouth
- Mesh sprouting lid wide mouth
- 2 tbsp organic broccoli sprout seeds specifically marked for sprouts
- Glass-lock container
Soak the broccoli seeds. Add two tablespoons of broccoli seeds to the Mason jar. Fill the jar halfway with water, and put the mesh lid on. Let the jar stand at room temperature for 8 hours or overnight. I do this before I go to bed.
- After 8 hours, dump out the water. Place the jar into a glass-lock container (no lid) or bowl with the opening facing down and store in a dark cabinet.
- Sprout the broccoli seeds:Two or three times a day, rinse your and drain the sprouts. I usually do this in the morning and before I go to bed.
- To rinse: Fill the jar with fresh water, swirl it around, and drain the water out through the mesh lid. Place the jack back in the cabinet with the opening facing down.
- By the 4th or 5th day, your sprouts will be long enough. You’ll know it’s time because they’ve pretty much filled up the jar.
- Place the jar in a sunny windowsill for a couple hours, and the sprouts will develop a nice green color.
Store the broccoli sprouts: Be sure your sprouts are dry before you refrigerate them. I like to lay down a kitchen towel with some paper towel on top of that. Then, I remove the sprouts from the jar with clean hands and spread them out for an hour or so until they dry.
- Store the sprouts in a covered glass-lock container or the Mason jar with a solid cover.
- Refrigerate your sprouts for 2-3 days. If it’s past three days, it’s best to discard what’s left.
At first, growing your own sprouts might seem a little weird. Your friends might even start calling you crunchy. (That’s when you know you’ve made it!)
But once you get the hang of how to grow broccoli sprouts, it’s pretty straight forward, and you’ll find your rhythm. I usually start another batch two days after the first one so we have sprouts all the time.
You can sprout other types of seeds in a similar manner though actual sprouting time may vary. And at the very least, soaking nuts before making nut milk is a good practice to get into.
Thank u so much for this!!!! I luv sprouts but they r outragiously expensive. My roommate will buy them when they r marked down but I’m very hesitant to do so n it kinda creeps me out so I will, on occasion, buy them when my budget allows. Now Ill have them all the time! Woohoo ???
You’re very welcome Angi! I hope you enjoy growing your own. Much better for the wallet!
Even my seeds smell… strongly. Do I just hate broccoli that much.. or can the seeds spoil too?
If they smell strongly of earth, they should be fine. If they smell rotten/fishy then toss out.
The health benefits of eating sprouted seeds is convincing and I’m ready to start. My main question is: do they have to be organic seeds? Secondary questions are: Do you get the same benefits with conventional seeds? Are there pesticides on conventional seeds and this is the reason for recommending organic? There is a wide price difference between the two and if there is a good reason to choose organic over conventional I wouldn’t mind paying more, but…. Any information on this would be greatly appreciated.
I would recommend organic, yes. Pesticides are the concern.
I enjoyed your demo on broccoli sprouting. Just starting and you answered all my questions.
Do you have recipes on different fermentation?
Hi Loretta…glad it helped! I do…head to https://www.stephgaudreau.com/recipe-index/ and use the filters on the side: Preparation > Fermented. Happy fermenting!
Can you freeze the sprouts once they are grown?
Can I use tap water or can I boil tap water, cool it off and then use it? Thank you!
You can use tap water.
When you are rinsing the water instead of rinsing it over the sink, rinse it to water your garden
I am new at sprouting broccoli seeds. They are so small they drain out of the sprouting lids I bought. Is there a lid or clothe that exists where the seeds don’t slip through?
The sprouting lids are probably not a fine enough mesh. Check out the ones I linked to in the article.
I like nylon netting best because almost all the seeds stay in the bottle.
that works too! The mesh lids I linked are very fine mesh so no seeds fall out 🙂
I just made my first batch of broccoli sprouts using instructions from another website. For the most part it does reinforce what you are saying but I have one question. The instructions I followed assured the reader that if the tiny hulls were not all removed with a fine mesh strainer that the sprouts would spoil. I intend to use the sprouts quickly and to continue growing repeatedly…..so how much of a risk is this? It was impossible to get all the little hulls off, although I tried. I appreciated your website very much. Dr. Rhonda Patrick was very knowledgeable and I like that she had studies to support what she was saying. As a breast cancer survivor, I am in!
Hi there…I’ve never had a problem with the hulls causing spoilage.
Thank you for your reply. I used the first batch over a few days, some hulls included and it looked, smelled, and tasted fine.
Yay wonderful. Dry them well, store them in the fridge, and they’ll be good to go!
I make smoothies everyday. Can I freeze them or does that change their beneficial properties. If so how would you recommend doing that. I’ve read cooking does reduce their benefits.
Hi Cindy…are you asking can you freeze a smoothie or can you freeze broccoli sprouts?
I have been trying to get the seeds off by rinsing. I see you did not do this. Is it safe to eat the seeds at the end of the five days? I used to buy these at the store MANY years ago , it was just not in our budget. So I just finished our first batch. Thank you for the wonderful advise!
The seed coatings do not to be removed by rinsing. Enjoy!
I’m curious what’s going on, because my sprouts have been growing for 9 days now and don’t be have any green. It’s hard to tell it they’re still growing. Could I have taken them out of the dark cabinet too early? Even so, they’ve been covered with a black towel and i moved them once they had inch long yellow stems. They’re all still yellow though. What do you think?
did you soak them in water for 8 hours on the first day?
Hi! Thanks for this really useful post. I have been trying to grow broccoli sprouts for over two weeks now and the seeds still haven’t all germinated and they look slimy and are clumped together. Is two weeks too long? Will they be dangerous to eat? I followed the guidelines carefully, steralised the jar etc, however they just aren’t really growing very well. I live in the UK so maybe the temperature isn’t high enough? Also, there seems to be alot of conflicting information about keeping them dark and warm versus access to air circulation… Any help would be gratefully received. Many thanks
Did you soak them for 8-12 hours in water at the start of the process? If you did that and they haven’t germinated yet you may have a bit of a dud batch of seeds. Even in winter here mine don’t take longer than 5-6 days to go to completion. All I can share is the method that’s worked for me 🙂
You have such a nice “recipe” for making broccoli sprouts on your website. Is there a way I can download it as a pdf so I can print it?
Really iiked your video!
Hi Kathy…there’s a print button inside the recipe pane. As for printing the whole page, you could do that too. Enjoy!
I have a friend who has had two successful batches of broccoli sprouts and now her sprouts are rotting before they are finished. She took the temperature of the room she was sprouting in and it was about 87 or 88 degrees on a hot sunny day. She wondered if her area in Hilo Hawaii is too hot to successfully sprout broccoli seeds? I live near the top of the island and my average hot temp so far this year has been around 79 degrees and I have no problem. She takes about a minute to make sure all the water is out of the jar as she understands that too much moisture in her jar can cause them to rot. Are there some locations in the world that get too hot to grow a successful batch of broccoli sprouts? Mahalo in advance 🙂
She would want to keep them in as cool a location as possible out of direct sunlight
Thank you so much for the FYI on the broccoli fuzzies! Today is Day 3 and I was about to throw them out thinking it was mold/fungus!
Hi there, I just started sprouting broccoli and am on day 4. I noticed 10% of the leaves have black spots on them. They are not part of the hull. They look like blemishes. Do you have any idea what it could be ? The sprouts don’t smell bad, don’t look like they have mold and are not slimy. Is it safe to eat ?
not sure but I always say “when in doubt, throw it out”
I soaked by seeds overnight and they are in my cabinent upside down. do i continue rinsing 2x a day before they sprout or do I wait to rinse till they sprout.
Yes, continue rinsing 2x a day before and after they sprout
Than you for this great post, I’m a newbie to growing sprouts. I’ve read that the best type of broccoli seeds should be organic “Calabrese” broccoli seeds. Are you familiar with this type and does it matter as long as the seeds are organic and meant for sprouting?
Hi Mary…thanks for asking. I’m not familiar with the Calabrese variety. I make sure that the seeds are meant for sprouting like you said. Organic is nice if you can find & afford it.
Where do you purchase your broccoli seeds? I bought some seed for plants but thee are only about 10 seeds in the package and I guess they are the wrong size for this.
Great information here. I have sent this to my wife who recently failed in our broc sprout experiment…!!
yay hope it helps!
Love the information Steph, been sprouting since this whole covid thing started. Put them in just about everything. Best wishes to you guys. Thanks for everything.
Hi Roy! I’m so glad that you’ve given it a go. How is it working out for you?
Can you eat these raw, or is it better to cook or steam them to avoid bacteria? Thanks!
either is fine
Thanks for the tutorial. Just a few questions though. It sounds counter-intuitive to keep in a dark cabinet; wouldn’t that encourage mold? Also, in the written directions you said to use seeds specifically for sprouting. What is the difference between (organic) broccoli seeds for the garden and (organic) sprouting seeds?
2) sometimes broccoli for general planting outside could be different varieties…recommend googling for more info
Awesome Steph thanks
Hi! I just recently bought broccoli sprouts from my local health store. Is there a way to keep growing them from the sprout? Or do I need to buy seeds?
I have been successfully growing Broccoli Sprouts but lately they seem to form one big tight ball in the jar, and not fill the jar. I haven’t changed anything except it has gone from winter/spring (success) to spring/summer (tight ball). I have air conditioning in my house though, so I didn’t think the temperature would matter. Have you had experience with the sprouts not filling the jar and forming a tight ball? Thanks in advance.
I haven’t. When you’re rinsing them, try shaking the jar to dislodge any clumps.
Thank you, I am doing that this go around and it seems like it might be helping.
Thanks for sharing, helpful information!
Would you clarify, the reason for placing the jar in a cabinet?
Do you mean a closed cabinet?
Would It be fine (or better) to leave it on a counter top, for fresh air flow..?
it makes them grow longer when you germinate them and allow them to grow in the dark
Hi I just started my sprouts last night This morn i drainzd off water and put in dark cupboard.Do i rinse them before tomorrow am ?Thank you so very much .
No, just rinse them the next day
Hi Step, this is my first time watching you. I loved the lesson. I started sprouting brocccoli seeds and mung beans about a month ago, and it’s awesome.
So many of the seeds do not sprout. I think that I rinse them too vigorously. Any thoughts?
Hi…I haven’t used mung beans before so I’m not sure.
Best tutorial! Thank you! Curious how you incorporate them into your meals?
You mentioned breakfast..I’m willing! 😆
How many oz of Broccoli sprouts does each 32oz mason jar yield? Thank you!
I’ve never weighed the final result.
your instructions and guidance are so excellent cant thank you enuf. i have a lot of little brown seeds that didnt sprout- do i throw out or are they ok to eat
I have been sprouting broccoli seeds for the past month and have noticed that when I harvest them on the 4th day that there are many seeds that have not sprouted and I just toss them. Any ideas on why they are all sprouting? Thanks!
Where do you purchase the seeds? Are they just regular ones you’d buy to plant?
no, you want to specifically look for sprouting seeds
The brown hulls are edible?
Can I get the sprouts to turn bright green if there’s no sun? It’s very cloudy here.
put them in a windowsill or outside (if there’s no danger of them freezing). even if it’s cloudy there still light coming down.
Thank you very much – it works! I even forgot a few times to wash the sprouts, and they still came out and look beautiful!