How to Sprout Lentils

Sprouting Lentils is Easy

Dry and sprouted lentils
Dry and sprouted lentils | Source

Types of Lentils to Sprout

There are several different types of lentil; 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. However, if you take a look at the photo of red lentils lower down this article 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 opposite 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 However, you can buy strainer lids that fit onto your own quart sized jars, 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, and I have included a link to a 5 star one 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 lentils in water

Soak your chosen lentils in water.
Soak your chosen lentils in water. | Source

How to Sprout Lentils

1) First 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.)

2) After soaking the lentils for 8 - 12 hours, drain them and rinse.

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 manufacturers instructions, but generally all you need to do is spray the lentils lightly with water a few times a day.

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. | Source

3) Repeat rinsing twice a day until the sprouts are ready. They will begin to develop shoots after a day or so, and will be ready within about 3 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.

Red lentils do not sprout well.

These lentils have been sprouting for 3 days.
These lentils have been sprouting for 3 days. | Source

Sprouting Lentils: the main points

  • Use green, brown, puy or French lentils, but NOT red.
  • Soak overnight.
  • Rinse twice a day.
  • Keep in a warm place.
  • Eat raw or cooked.

The picture opposite shows red lentils after 3 days. They have only tiny shoots on a few of the lentils.

How to Prepare Sprouted Lentils

All you need to do before eating sprouted lentils is to give them a final rinse. They are delicious raw in salads or lightly fried in a stir-fry.

Sprouting Lentils: Trouble shooting

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 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.

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Comments 22 comments

billybuc profile image

billybuc 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

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!

Natashalh profile image

Natashalh 3 years ago from Hawaii

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.

Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

Glimmer Twin Fan 3 years ago

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

vespawoolf profile image

vespawoolf 3 years ago from Peru, South America

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.

livingsta profile image

livingsta 3 years ago from United Kingdom

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!

prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 3 years ago from malang-indonesia

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!


glassvisage profile image

glassvisage 3 years ago from Northern California

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 :)

DDE profile image

DDE 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

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

Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

Marcy Goodfleisch 3 years ago from Planet Earth

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

Melovy profile image

Melovy 3 years ago from UK Author

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

Melovy profile image

Melovy 3 years ago from UK Author

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

Melovy profile image

Melovy 3 years ago from UK Author

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

Melovy profile image

Melovy 3 years ago from UK Author

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!

Melovy profile image

Melovy 3 years ago from UK Author

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!

Melovy profile image

Melovy 3 years ago from UK Author

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.

Melovy profile image

Melovy 3 years ago from UK Author

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

Melovy profile image

Melovy 3 years ago from UK Author

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

Melovy profile image

Melovy 3 years ago from UK Author

Thanks Marcy, and hope you have fun sprouting!

Turtlewoman profile image

Turtlewoman 3 years ago from California

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!*

Melovy profile image

Melovy 3 years ago from UK Author

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.

Kristen Howe profile image

Kristen Howe 13 months ago from Northeast Ohio

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

Melovy profile image

Melovy 13 months ago from UK Author

Glad you found it useful Kristen!

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