How to Sprout Lentils

Yvonne has been an online writer for over eight years. Her articles focus on everything from world travel to crafts and recipes.

Dry and sprouted lentils.

Dry and sprouted lentils.

Types of Lentils to Sprout

There are several different types of lentils. Some common ones are: brown, green, puy (also known as French), yellow, and red. Most are suitable for sprouting, but the exception is red lentils. These are not whole lentils but hulled yellow lentils and, because of this, they don't sprout well.

Before I began writing this article, I would have said red lentils didn't sprout at all, but I decided to test that out. I was surprised to discover that some shoots did appear. If you take a look at the photo of red lentils lower down this article, however, I think you will agree that my attempt at sprouting them does not count as successful! I definitely do not recommend it.

Green and brown lentils are most commonly used for sprouting. The photo above shows green lentils before and after sprouting.

Equipment for Sprouting Lentils

You don't need any special equipment for sprouting lentils, but it is slightly less work to use a specially designed jar or tray sprouter. The table below gives more details of the pros and cons of each type of equipment. So read that to see which would suit you best.

My preferred option is the jar with the mesh top, and I've had mine for years. My jar is by Biosnacky, and I definitely recommend it. These jars are easily available in the UK, but they are currently unavailable on Amazon. You can buy strainer lids that fit onto your own quart sized jars, however, which are a great idea and can be used in the same way as my jar.

If you plan to sprout large quantities of lentils or other pulses, then a tiered tray sprouter is probably the best idea. These are easily available on Amazon.

You can make your own sprouter with a wide-necked jar, kitchen paper, or a muslin cloth and a rubber band. If you use kitchen paper, you will need to remove this for rinsing, and it's best to do so even if you use a muslin cloth.

Pros and Cons of Sprouting Methods


Sprouting trays

Possible to sprout several batches of lentils at once. Easy to rinse sprouts.

Top layer is prone to drying out.

Sprouting jar with mesh top

Easy to rinse sprouts. Usually grow well.


Wide jam jar, kitchen paper, and rubber band

Cheap! Sprouts usually grow well.

You need to tip the sprouts into a sieve to rinse.

Soak your chosen lentils in water.

Soak your chosen lentils in water.

How to Sprout Lentils

Step 1: Soak your chosen lentils for several hours or preferably overnight.

If you use the stacking trays, their instructions may say there is no need to soak the lentils first. (My tray sprouter’s instructions did advise this, but I think the lentils—or any other pulse—sprout better if they have been soaked first.)

Step 2: After soaking the lentils for 8–12 hours, drain and rinse them.

If you have a jar with a mesh lid, all you need to do is drain the lentils through this, add more cold water, and drain again. Make sure there isn't a puddle of water remaining at the bottom.

When your lentils begin to sprout, drainage becomes slightly more difficult, and it is a good idea to tip the jar upside-down and leave it that way for a few minutes to ensure it has drained. Some types of jar have a lid that enables you to tip the jar at an angle to enable easy draining. (Mine does.) But if yours doesn't have this, don't worry, your lentils will sprout fine anyway.

If you have an ordinary jam jar, you will need to transfer the lentils to a sieve for rinsing. Once you have done that, return them to the jar.

If you are using a tiered sprouter, it is best to follow the manufacturer's instructions. But generally, all you need to do is spray the lentils lightly with water a few times a day.

Step 3: Repeat rinsing twice a day until the sprouts are ready. They will begin to develop shoots after a day or so, and they will be ready within about three days. How fast they develop will depend on how warm they are—the warmer it is, the faster they will develop. For this reason, it's best to keep them somewhere warm.

When sprouting lentils, you don't need to place them in the dark, but do keep them out of the sun. The lentils need to be moist but not waterlogged.

These lentils are just beginning to sprout. It is safe to eat them as soon as shoots develop, but they will taste better when the shoots are longer.

These lentils are just beginning to sprout. It is safe to eat them as soon as shoots develop, but they will taste better when the shoots are longer.

Troubleshooting Problems With Sprouting

It is very easy to grow lentil sprouts, but if anything does go wrong, it is likely to be one of the following:

The lentils have gone moldy.

  • This is because they are too wet and/or have been left out too long. Once lentils are fully sprouted, transfer them to the fridge, where they will keep for several days.

The lentils haven't sprouted.

  • If you have followed the instructions and used only suitable types of lentil, then most likely your lentils are too old to sprout. Don't worry, you can still use them in normal cooking instead.
  • Always buy lentils (or other pulses) for sprouting from a store that sells them often enough to have a good turnover, and don't use lentils you've had at the back of a cupboard for years!
  • The other reason your lentils might not sprout is if they are too cold. In winter, make sure you keep them in a warm place.
Red lentils do not sprout well—this batch has been sprouting for three days.

Red lentils do not sprout well—this batch has been sprouting for three days.


Yvonne Spence (author) from UK on April 14, 2017:

Thanks for your comment and hope you enjoy the sprouted lentils.

Glennie on April 11, 2017:

Big fan of lentils but have only used then cooked - made lentil soup yesterday. With the approach of warmer weather we will be eating more salads so may try sprouting some.

Yvonne Spence (author) from UK on September 26, 2015:

Glad you found it useful Kristen!

Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on September 24, 2015:

Great hub, Yvonne. This was so interesting about sprouting lentils. Very informative.

Yvonne Spence (author) from UK on June 04, 2013:

Hi Kim, I can imagine how those red lentils smelled! I had fun experimenting with the red, and was surprised to see any shoots at all. Definitely stick to regular lentils, yes. Glad this hub is useful to you, and thanks for popping by.

Kim Lam from California on May 29, 2013:

Ohmygosh Yvonne, I tried sprouting lentils for the first time last week without doing any research. And guess which one?? The RED! Lol I should have seen this hub first! Needless to say it was a failed project...and it started to smell funny. I'll try again soon, but with regular lentils.

Fantastic tutorial! *Sharing!*

Yvonne Spence (author) from UK on April 10, 2013:

Thanks Marcy, and hope you have fun sprouting!

Yvonne Spence (author) from UK on April 10, 2013:

DDE, glad you found it useful, and thanks for your comment.

Yvonne Spence (author) from UK on April 10, 2013:

glassvisage, so glad this came at the right time for you and that it's useful. Thanks for your comment.

Yvonne Spence (author) from UK on April 10, 2013:

prasetio, this would be such fun for students to do in class and for sharing the Indonesian name. I'd love to hear how your students get on, so do pop back and let us know.

Yvonne Spence (author) from UK on April 10, 2013:

livingsta, tying with a cloth would definitely work too, though I'd guess the jar method is easier. (I might try to see!)

Thanks for sharing this extra method and for sharing the hub!

Yvonne Spence (author) from UK on April 10, 2013:

vespawoolf, baby brown ones will do just fine I'd think. They sound as if they'd be similar to puy, but I could be wrong on that. Thanks for sharing!

Yvonne Spence (author) from UK on April 10, 2013:

Glimmer Twin Fan, yes, these are just like spouts you'd purchase - and they work out considerably cheaper!

Yvonne Spence (author) from UK on April 10, 2013:

Natashalh, glad it brought back good memories, and hope you have fun sprouting!

Yvonne Spence (author) from UK on April 10, 2013:

Bill, they are dead easy to do, and need far less looking after than chickens! They may even obey when you say heel!

Marcy Goodfleisch from Planet Earth on March 31, 2013:

I've always wanted to try making sprouts, but never really knew how. This is so helpful - thanks!

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on March 27, 2013:

Very interesting and you mentioned every step in detail, such an informative and useful hub

glassvisage from Northern California on March 26, 2013:

This is a very detailed and helpful Hub! The photos and charts are great. I've been looking to start growing my own things and this is a great start :)

prasetio30 from malang-indonesia on March 26, 2013:

Very informative hub. My students have been practiced this on science lesson. My mother always use the sprout for delicious menu, in Indonesia we called this "Rawon". Thanks for writing and share with us. Voted up!


livingsta from United Kingdom on March 26, 2013:

Interesting article Melovy. I remember when I was a child, my mum used to tie them in a cloth after the soaking process and sprinkle with water to keep them moist. Not sure about the exact procedure.

Thank you for sharing this useful hub. Votes up and sharing!

Vespa Woolf from Peru, South America on March 26, 2013:

I used to enjoy home grown sprouts and I'm glad you shared your experience with sprouting lentils. I definitely won't try to sprout the red ones! We have baby brown lentils here; I might try them and see how they come out. Thank you! Voted up and shared.

Claudia Mitchell on March 26, 2013:

Interesting. Are these like the sprouts one can purchase in the store? I do put those on my salads from time to time.

Natasha from Hawaii on March 26, 2013:

Great hub! My mom used to make sprouts when I was a kid and I have find memories of her sprouting jar. I love lentils and sprouted lentils sound fantastic to me! Thanks for the warning about the reds.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on March 25, 2013:

Well there you go! Something I have never tried. I'm always willing to try something new related to gardening, so thanks for this, Yvonne!

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