Sprouting Lentils in a Jar


Sprout lentils in a jar! In the midst of winter, it’s a fun way to “garden” inside, and any time of year, it’s an easy, great way to grow some fresh food of your own in just a few days. (You can let kids do it, too.)

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How to Sprout Lentils in a Jar:

1/2 cup dry lentil beans
quart jar
small piece of cheesecloth
jar band

That’s all you need!

Pour lentils into the quart jar.

Rinse lentils a time or two, using lukewarm water. I just use my hand to cover the top of the jar and let the water run out through my fingers while holding the lentils inside. Alternatively, you could go ahead and place cheesecloth and the jar band on top and run it through that way or rinse the lentils before adding them to the jar.

Once the lentils are rinsed, add just enough water to cover the top of the lentils by about an inch.

Place a small piece of cheesecloth on top.

Put on the jar band.

Keep the jar (upright) in a warm, dark place. A kitchen cabinet works good.

Let sit about 12 hours or overnight then take out the jar and drain the soak water (again, I just take the cheesecloth/band off and drain it out through my hand). Fill the jar with fresh, lukewarm water and drain again. Replace the cheesecloth/band and return the jar to the warm, dark location, this time setting the jar on its side to distribute the lentils.

Take the jar out once or twice a day to rinse and drain, returning it back to its side wherever you’re keeping it.

How long it will take for your sprouts to be ready will depend on the temperature in your house. It should take under a week, anywhere from three to five days in most cases. For me, in my winter house, it takes about five days.

Within a day or two, you’ll see the first shoots coming forth.

Within a few more days, they’ll fill up the jar, with sprouts measuring an inch or so. They’re ready!

You can eat the sprouts by themselves as a snack (they’re delicious!) or load them onto salads. Mix them in a stir fry with seasonings! Or use them in sandwiches in place of lettuce.

To store: Keep them in the fridge. You can store them in the same jar you used for sprouting. When the jar’s nearly empty, start another one! Sprouts are full of vitamins, too, so they’re not only good–they’re good for you.

Note: You can sprout all sorts of seeds and beans such as alfalfa, broccoli, soybeans, garbanzo beans, sunflowers, etc, using the same method. Be careful about choosing seeds and beans for sprouting–if they are packaged for garden use, they may have been sprayed with chemicals. Be sure they’re either organic or labelled for kitchen use before using any seeds or beans to eat as sprouts. Some sprouts need to sit out for a day in indirect light at the end of the sprouting period to develop chlorophyll or carotene, and in some cases, it’s desirable to remove the hulls before using. The directions above are specifically for lentils–the beans will be quite soft and wonderful and add to the flavor–don’t hull them!

Seasoned lamb patties on Grandmother Bread toast points, with homemade farmhouse cheddar and lentil sprouts.

Good eats!


  1. Stargirl Heuser says:

    Yum! What a great idea! I love sprouts!

  2. skippymom says:

    Nasty. Sorry – I eat very healthy but it doesn’t extend to something that looks like that. It squees me out. LOL

  3. Townie Farm Girl says:

    I respectfully disagree….looks yummy and I like the stir fry idea!

  4. Kathie says:

    My chickens love them too!

  5. Nic, SD says:

    That’s really cool!

  6. Runningtrails says:

    Great idea! I saw a video recently about sprouting sunflower seeds for sprout snacks and salads too. I might try this.

  7. NorthCountryGirl says:

    I used to make my own sprouts years ago. May try it again. Thanks!

  8. CATRAY44 says:

    Forget breakfast! That lamb patty with the works looks wonderful!

  9. Ilene says:

    Suzanne, I frequent a forum hosted by GardenWeb and there is a woman who gives advice on the Cooking forum about adding 1 teaspoon of citric acid to a quart of water, and using this water for the soaking and rinsing, to avoid growth of bacteria. Have you tried that and do you have an opinion?

    I tried to sprout mung beans and didn’t have very much luck. This woman (her screen name is Grainlady) said you have to weight mung beans down and keep them in the dark. I had never heard of that, either.

    I do enjoy sprouts, and I’d like to make my own bean sprouts for several oriental dishes I make. I grow Jerusalem artichokes (aka Sunchokes), the Stampede variety that retain their crispness when cooked, and use them in the place of water chestnuts. Your lentil sprouts look like they’d be an easy replacement for mung bean sprouts in those recipes. I’m going to try that!

    Thanks for this post, I’m a new fan and I have your blog on my blogroll so I and everyone who visits my blog can see what’s new on yours. Keep up the great work, I enjoy your blog a lot!

    • Suzanne McMinn says:

      Ilene, I haven’t tried that (adding citric acid). You could, I don’t see anything wrong with it. On the other hand, sprouting lentils just takes a few days and if you rinse them well a couple times a day, you shouldn’t have any trouble with mold etc. I haven’t.

  10. KentuckyFarmGirl says:

    Good morning! My boys will have a great time growing these. They always have something in a jar or bowl growing on my kitchen counter but then again I do too….sour dough yeast, herbs in the window, etc. LOL.

    I’m having a big Spring give away on my blog. I hope it’s okay if I mention it here. I am so ready for warm weather and gardening.

  11. LauraP says:

    Have you tried red clover sprouts – very tasty, my favorite. I like the sweeter taste. Others in the family prefer the zippier radish sprouts. We do alfalfa & mung sprouts, too.

    Ilene – I haven’t heard of the citric acid either but can’t see how it would hurt, and some people just feel better knowing they’ve done something. It would be interesting to see if any studies have been done on effectiveness. I know there’s research being done within the organics industry for alternatives to chlorine rinses in produce processing for market. Personally, I’m not particularly concerned. As long as my sprouts get their 2x daily rinses, I don’t have problems with mold, off colors or smells – all of which are signs of trouble. Haven’t got sick off home-grown sprouts in 40+ years.

  12. CntryLadi says:

    If you put the jar on its side won’t the water pour out?…….lol

  13. Anke says:

    Thank you for sharing this. I already printed out the recipe and my girls and I will try this as soon as they get home from school. They’ll love it!

  14. Kari says:

    I love sprouts and have made them in the past. They have bulk sprout seeds a small “whole foods” type store – all sorts to choose from. It was a lot of fun for my son to do, even though he wouldn’t eat them. ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s good to know that you can sprout lentils – I love lentils! Thank you Suzanne!

  15. Amy says:

    I tried sprouting once awhile ago and they all molded. (It seems like mold grows so fast in our kitchen and laundry room, ick.) After reading this I think maybe I didn’t rinse my sprouts enough! I’m going to try again soon with a bean mix I have. I love sprouts in stir fry or on sandwiches.

  16. Carol says:

    Years ago I grew my own mung beans and used the sprouts for chop suey. I kept my jar in the cupboard, rinsed every day and never had a problem with mold, etc. I wonder if you can even buy mung bean seed anymore.

  17. Kelleh says:

    Definitely going to have to try this! It’s too simple not too, and it’s one of those things you can cross off your list for store bought!

    One question, when you drain them, you’re not looking for “bone dry” status, right? You want a few drip drops of moisture still left behind, correct?

    • Suzanne McMinn says:

      Kelleh, no, not bone dry. I just drain out the water to where it won’t leak when I turn the jar on its side. If you’re rinsing once or twice a day, they stay fresh–what little water is left in there doesn’t sit too long before it’s drained out and refreshed. They need some moisture to sprout. They’re not wet, but they’re damp.

  18. Merino Mama says:

    Where did you get your lamb burger? Was it one of yours?

  19. Rose in VT says:

    I love this blog, but I have to say I am not so thrilled with the new organization. I really loved getting your daily update on life in the country and now I have to search to see what portion is “new” for each day. I hope I am the only one, but I just had to tell you that I miss the “old days”…

  20. kerri says:

    I used to grow sprouts all the time…alfalfa, mung bean, wheat, radish, etc. I’d store the jar under the sink. Never had a problem with mold. They were delicious in salads and on sandwiches, etc. I liked the alfala sprouts best. I even made up a song about sprouts and my (then small) daughter and I used to sing it while we washed and dried dishes. The tune was “The Drinking Song” from the Student Prince ๐Ÿ™‚ Happy memories…thanks :happyflower:

  21. Joyce says:

    Okay, now we’ve got to know the words to the Student Prince “Sprouting” song. What fun! I’m a devoted sprouter but have only done mung beans and alfalfa. Can’t wait to try lentils. Thanks for a delightful blogspot, Suzanne. I never miss a day visiting it.

  22. Julie Wriston says:

    My kids and I will enjoy trying this. I was reading earlier this week about the extra nutrients in sprouts. This is a great tutorial on this!! Thanks for sharing! I love visiting here ~ I’m never disappointed!

  23. SuzzyQ says:

    I had these in a salad once and they were remarkable. This is the simplest tutorial on sprouting I’ve ever read and I love it! The other ones are too complicated.
    By the way, I would NEVER add citric acid as that will make your alkaline sprouts much more acidic and you don’t want that.

  24. Lynn says:

    skippymom – I totally agree!! Blech.

  25. Sylvia says:

    i am jsut starting to eat raw and have no idea of where to begin. I tried sprouting red lentils, but after there days,there are not sprouts and they are smelly. Are they still good to eat?

  26. Cat says:

    You can also use sprouts in your bread recipes. I have a bread machine and always start out with sprouts about 2 -3 days old and chopped up for the batter. So far I have used wheat berries, brown rice, barley and spelt. It is just fun to experiment. :shimmy:

  27. monica says:

    I bet this would break up the boredom for the chickens! I love, love, love alfalfa sprouts in salad, too. I am going to try putting a batch together later today.
    Little N loves to watch how seeds “wake up”.

  28. virtuous_gracious says:

    They also have spouting tops for jars. I suppose someone could easily make one, it’s basically a screen that is the size of your opening (we have two wide mouth sprouting lids) and gives your ring a chance to close. Then you just fill the water though the screen, and drain it through the screen, in fact we don’t take off the screen until we are ready to eat our sprouts. ๐Ÿ™‚ We’ve only tried alfalfa sprouts, but I’ve been wanting to try to sprout more things! Loved this idea.

  29. Audun says:

    Hey, is it OK if the lentils smell fermented at one point? i mean definite fermentation took place https://chickensintheroad.com/wp-includes/images/smilies/monster.gif after the two first days, then i rinsed and after another day it seemed to be fermenting a lot less:P The strong smell was less, and the water was more normal again, or more watery:) Should i just proceed, or should i throw them out?

  30. Swisstoons says:

    This is the second day into my red lentil sprouting experiment. Some of the lentils have sprouted…but the jar (which was freshly washed when I began, as were the lentils) smells slightly like fresh seafood! Can someone describe what fresh red lentil sprouts are supposed to smell like. I’m looking for a word more descriptive than “fresh.” I mean, fresh seafood…has a fresh smell…for seafood.

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