Bean sprouts are common ingredients in many Asian cuisines and are often used in salads or stir fry. The most common come from mung beans, which are sprouted commercially under specific light-dark conditions. They look like white roots attached to greenish seeds. Some may have brownish threads at the other end of the white root.


Boiled Bean Sprouts[1]

  • 9 ounces (255 g) bean sprouts
  • 4 cups (1 L) water

For Salad (optional)

  • 1 scallion, chopped (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon white sesame seeds, toasted and ground
  • 1 clove garlic, grated or pressed
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) sesame oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon (7.5 mL) soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Serves 2

Sautéed Bean Sprouts[2]

  • 2 cups (200 g) fresh bean sprouts
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Serves 4

Stir Fried Bean Sprouts[3]

  • Peanut oil, to cook
  • 1/2 cup (50 g) thinly sliced scallions
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1 tablespoon sliced garlic
  • 1 pound (450 g) bean sprouts, hair removed
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Serves 4

Method 1
Method 1 of 4:

Preparing Bean Sprouts

  1. Avoid ones that look brown, limp, wilted, or slimy. You should also avoid ones that have musty smell.[4]
    • Make sure that your bean sprouts are refrigerated; otherwise, they are susceptible to bacteria. They can be pre-packaged, or they can be sold loose/by weight.[5]
  2. As soon as you get home from the store, transfer the bean sprouts into the refrigerator. Keep them in the veggie drawer, separate from raw meat, including seafood.[6]
    • You will be washing and cooking the bean sprouts eventually, but you still want to avoid cross-contamination with raw meat and seafood.
  3. Some foods can last a while in the fridge, but the sooner you use bean sprouts, the better. For example, if you buy loose bean sprouts by weight, you will need to use them within 2 days. It would be best to buy them the same day or the day before.[7]
    • If you buy pre-packaged ones, you need to use them before the "best-buy" date.
    • The longer you let bean sprouts sit unused in the fridge, the more prone they'll be to growing bacteria.
  4. Wash your hands with soap and water first, then place the beans into a strainer or colander. Rinse the beans with filtered water, then gently shake them to remove any excess moisture.[8]
    • You can pinch off this wispy, brown thread at the end of the root if you want to, but this is not absolutely necessary.[9]
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Method 2
Method 2 of 4:

Making Boiled Bean Sprouts

  1. This will be enough for 9 ounces (255 g) of bean sprouts. You can prepare more bean sprouts if you want to, but you'll need to add more water.
    • If you are cooking more bean sprouts, use enough water to cover them.
  2. The water will die down when you add the bean sprouts, so let it return to a boil first. Once it is boiling again, set the timer for 1 minute and 30 seconds.
    • Be sure to rinse the bean sprouts with filtered water first. You can also remove the brown threads from the roots, but you don't have to.
  3. Jiggle the colander to drain the excess water, then set the bean sprouts aside for 5 minutes so that they can finish draining. If the colander doesn't have little feet to stand on, set it over an empty pot instead.
    • This is important; otherwise, the extra moisture will dilute any sauces, oils, or dressings that you add.
  4. At this point, the bean sprouts are ready to use. You can chill them and toss them into a green salad or add them to a sandwich. You can add them to a side dish, or you can turn them into a popular Japanese salad.
    • If you want to turn them into a popular Japanese salad, keep reading!
  5. Chop the scallion into small pieces first--the thinner, the better--then add it to a small bowl. Next, grind the toasted sesame seeds using a mortar and pestle, and add them to the bowl as well. Add in 1 grated garlic clove, then stir everything together.
    • If you can't buy toasted sesame seeds, you'll need to toast them yourself in a dry frying pan for a few seconds.
    • Peel the garlic clove before you grate it. If you don't have anything to grate the garlic with, use a garlic press instead.
  6. Pour the ingredients into the small bowl containing the scallion, sesame seeds, and garlic clove. Stir everything with a fork until the ingredients come together.
    • This step completes the dressing for the salad.
    • You can use a different type of oil, if you want to, but the flavor may not be the same.
  7. Pour the dressing over the salad first, then lift the salad repeatedly with a pair of salad tongs. Place the salad into the refrigerator and wait 30 minutes. Serve the salad immediately afterwards.
    • You can save the salad for later, but eat it within 24 hours.
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Method 3
Method 3 of 4:

Making Sautéed Bean Sprouts

  1. Tilt the skillet around so that the oil coats it evenly first, then set the skillet down on the burner. Turn the heat up to high, and let the oil heat up; it's ready when it starts to bubble.
    • You can use another type of oil if you want something more flavorful, such as peanut oil. Vegetable oil is recommended because it won’t impart a strong flavor to the bean sprouts.
  2. If you have not already, prepare 1 small onion by peeling the papery outer layer first, then cutting off both ends. Chop the onion into small pieces, then toss them into the skillet. Fry it for 2 minutes, stirring it often with a wooden spatula.
    • You can omit this step if you don’t like onion, or replace it with 1 clove of garlic instead.
  3. Rinse the bean sprouts with filtered water first, then add them to the skillet. Season them with a 1/2 teaspoon of salt, then give them a stir.
    • If you want to, you can remove the brownish threads at the ends of the white roots first.
  4. Stir them often with a wooden spatula as they fry, otherwise they won’t cook often. They are ready when they start to turn translucent and golden. This will take about 3 to 5 minutes.
    • Be careful not to overcook them, however, or they will start to turn mushy.
  5. Like most fried foods, sautéed bean sprouts should not sit too long. Once they are ready, slide them off of the skillet and onto a serving dish.
    • Sautéed bean sprouts make a great side dish.
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Method 4
Method 4 of 4:

Making Stir-Fried Bean Sprouts

  1. Pour enough peanut oil into a wok to lightly coat the surface--about 1 tablespoon (15 mL) should be enough. Add 1/2 cup (50 g) of thinly-sliced scallions, 1 tablespoon minced ginger, and 1 tablespoon sliced garlic. Give everything a brief stir with a wooden spatula.
    • If you don’t like peanut oil, you can use another stir frying oil instead, such as canola or vegetable.
  2. This will take about 1 to 2 minutes. Stir them often with a wooden spatula so that they cook evenly and don't burn.
    • You’re not quite done cooking yet, so don’t worry if the ingredients don’t look cooked.
  3. Start with a pinch of salt and a few shakes of pepper, then stir the ingredients again. Don’t worry if this doesn’t seem like a lot for now; you can always season the bean sprouts further later.
  4. Rinse the bean sprouts first, then add them into the wok. Stir them to distribute the other ingredients evenly, then fry them for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring often.
    • Remove the little brown hairs at the ends of the white roots first.
    • Do not overcook the bean sprouts, or they will turn mushy.
  5. Once the bean sprouts are done, slide them off the wok and into a bowl. Serve them immediately, or they will look their texture.
    • For a more filling meal, serve them over steamed rice.
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How to Eat More Bean Sprouts

Community Q&A

  • Question
    Do you need to wash bean sprouts?
    wikiHow Staff Editor
    wikiHow Staff Editor
    Staff Answer
    This answer was written by one of our trained team of researchers who validated it for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
    wikiHow Staff Editor
    wikiHow Staff Editor
    Staff Answer
    Yes, it’s very important to wash bean sprouts before eating them. Wash your hands with warm water and soap, then rinse the sprouts thoroughly under cool, drinking-quality water. Make sure to wash any utensils or food preparation surfaces thoroughly before and after preparing your sprouts, and keep the sprouts away from possible sources of contamination, such as raw meat.
  • Question
    Are bean sprouts healthy?
    wikiHow Staff Editor
    wikiHow Staff Editor
    Staff Answer
    This answer was written by one of our trained team of researchers who validated it for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
    wikiHow Staff Editor
    wikiHow Staff Editor
    Staff Answer
    Yes, bean sprouts are great sources of protein, as well as vitamins and minerals such as folic acid, vitamin C, and vitamin K. As long as you prepare them safely, they can be an excellent addition to your diet.
  • Question
    Can you get food poisoning from bean sprouts?
    wikiHow Staff Editor
    wikiHow Staff Editor
    Staff Answer
    This answer was written by one of our trained team of researchers who validated it for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
    wikiHow Staff Editor
    wikiHow Staff Editor
    Staff Answer
    It is possible to get food poisoning from bean sprouts, especially if you eat them raw. This is because they are grown in warm, moist environments that encourage the growth of bacteria. They are also sometimes contaminated by dirty irrigation water or compost. If you eat the sprouts raw, wash them thoroughly. Otherwise, you can get rid of harmful bacteria by cooking your sprouts. Don’t eat raw sprouts if you’re pregnant or your immune system is compromised.


  • The following groups should not consume raw bean sprouts: the elderly, toddlers and young children, pregnant people, and those with weak or compromised immune systems.[12]
  • Bean sprouts are susceptible to bacteria because they are grown in warm, moist environments.[13]

Things You'll Need

  • Colander
  • Pot, skillet, or wok
  • Wooden spatula (for frying)

Expert Interview

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About This Article

Sasha Reyes
Co-authored by:
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This article was co-authored by Sasha Reyes. Chef Sasha Reyes is the Executive Chef and Owner of Artisan Personal Chefs. With over 20 years of food industry experience, she specializes in private dinner parties, custom sports nutrition plans for professional athletes, and cooking lessons. Chef Reyes graduated from Arizona Culinary Institute in 2011 with a degree in Culinary Arts, Baking, and Restaurant Management. This article has been viewed 487,427 times.
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Co-authors: 21
Updated: December 30, 2023
Views: 487,427
Article SummaryX

To sauté bean sprouts, first heat 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of vegetable oil in a nonstick pan over medium heat. In a mixing bowl, mix ½ teaspoon (6 g) of salt and 2 cups (200 g) of fresh bean sprouts together. Then, pour your bean sprouts into the pan. Cook them over medium heat for 5 minutes. Stir the bean sprouts occasionally as they cook to ensure they heat evenly. To make bean sprout stir-fry, first slice ½ cup (50 g) of scallions into thin slices. Add them to a mixing bowl with 1 tablespoon (5 g) of minced ginger and 1 tablespoon (8 g) of sliced garlic. Toss them together by hand. Then, coat a large wok with vegetable oil and heat it over medium heat. Add your hand-mixed ingredients and stir them in the wok for 1-2 minutes. Next, add 4 cups (400 g) of bean sprouts to the wok and continue stirring. Heat your ingredients for an additional 5 minutes and serve with rice. For more stir-frying tips, read on!

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