How to Soak & Sprout Nuts, Seeds, Grains, & Beans

By Tess Masters March 18, 2013 Categories: How-To's

Nuts, seeds, grains, and beans are nutritional powerhouses. However, the natural agents that protect them from early germination can wreak havoc in our digestive system. Soaking and sprouting replicates germination, which activates and multiplies nutrients (particularly Vitamins A, B, and C), neutralizes enzyme inhibitors, and promotes the growth of vital digestive enzymes.

Soaking and sprouting is very easy. The method is exactly the same for nuts, seeds, grains, and beans—only the time required for full germination changes. (See the table below.)

Please note: Many “raw” nuts and seeds have been pasteurized and irradiated. Truly raw almonds and peanuts will sprout, but those that have been pasteurized and irradiated will “activate” with soaking, but will not physically “sprout.” However, soaking still removes anti-nutrients (compounds that can interfere with the absorption of nutrients), increases nutrient density, and makes the nuts more digestible.



PLACE  in a large glass bowl or mason jar, and cover with warm, filtered water (about a 2:1 ratio) and about ½ tsp. Celtic sea salt. Cover with a light cloth for desired time.

RINSE food thoroughly and drain.

USE these activated “non sprouts” immediately to make plant-based “milks.” (Read my recent post on How to Make Plant-Based “Milks.”) You can also cook soaked and rinsed grains immediately, using them just as would un-sprouted grains in any of your favorite recipes or as a bed for vegetable dishes. Do note that most soaked grains only need a 1:1 water/broth ratio to be cooked through because they are already plumped with water.


DEHYDRATE in a food dehydrator at no higher than 115º F for 12 to 24 hours, and store in sealed glass containers in the fridge. Beware: If nuts are not completely dry, they will develop mold.



GET a quart-sized (or larger) mason jar. Remove the solid middle insert of the lid, and cut a piece of cheesecloth or breathable mesh to fit inside.

FILL one-third of the jar with nuts, seeds, grains, or beans, and fill the rest of the jar with warm, filtered water and about ½ tsp Celtic sea salt. Screw the lid on with cheesecloth or breathable mesh screen in place.

SOAK For soaking times, see table below.

DRAIN/RINSE Remove the mesh insert of the lid, and replace with metal insert. Pour the soaking water out of the jar, fill with fresh water, replace lid, and rinse well by shaking jar. Replace the metal insert with the mesh lid again, and drain. 

INVERT the jar and lay at an angle so that air can circulate, and the water can drain off. Allow to sit in the light.

REPEAT this process, rinsing every few hours, or at least twice daily.

WAIT  In 1 to 4 days, the sprouts will be ready. Sprouts vary from 1/8-inch to 2-inches long. When ready, rinse sprouts well, drain, and store in a jar (with the solid part of the lid replaced) in the fridge.

ENJOY within  2 to 3 days. Sprouts are a fabulous nutrient-rich addition to raw salads, sandwiches, and wraps, and are also tasty in smoothies, soups, and stews.



Almonds 8-12 No Sprouting (if pasteurized) 3 Days (if truly raw)
Adzuki Beans 8-12 4
Amaranth 8 1-3
Barley 6 2
Black Beans 8-12 3
Brazil Nuts 3 No Sprouting
Buckwheat 6 2-3
Cashews 2-4 No Sprouting
Chickpeas/Garbanzo 8 2-3
Flaxseeds ½ No Sprouting
Hazelnuts 8-12 No Sprouting
Kamut 7 2-3
Lentils 7 2-3
Macadamias 2 No Sprouting
Millet 5 12 hours
Mung Beans 8-12 4
Oat Groats 6 2-3
Pecans 6 No Sprouting
Pistachios 8 No Sprouting
Pumpkin Seeds 8 3
Radish Seeds 8-12 3-4
Sesame Seeds 8 2-3
Sunflower Seeds 8 12-24 hours
Quinoa 4 2-3
Walnuts 4 No Sprouting
Wheat Berries 7 3-4
Wild Rice 9 3-5


PLEASE NOTE: Sprouts can be subject to contamination which can result in bacterial growth such as E. coli, leading to food-borne illnesses. Always purchase organic fresh products from a reputable source, wash your hands thoroughly before handling foods, and keep sprouting equipment and all kitchen surfaces clean to avoid cross contamination. Always consume sprouts within a few days, fresh and straight out of the fridge. Some health organizations also recommend consuming them cooked to reduce the risk of infection. I certainly consume raw homemade sprouts, and have never had an issue. Decide what is a responsible choice for you and your family.



Tess Masters is an Australian actor, presenter, voice-over artist, cook, and writer living in Los Angeles.
 Her alter-ego, “The Blender Girl” writes the quirky vegetarian recipe blog Healthy Blender Recipes, where she shares super quick and easy gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, and raw recipes. Join Tess on FacebookTwitter, PinterestYou Tube, and Google +.


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Hi, I forgot about my pumpkin seeds marinating. Today will be 5 days. Do you think they are still ok to roast tonight? Thank you.

Alice - 2015-11-05 13:32:42

In my opinion, truly activating a seed, nut, or grain requires them to not have been pasteurised or irradiated at all.

Jennifer - 2015-11-03 03:51:39

hi tess, I have always soaked beans some successful some not, but in all the articles I have read no one has recommended using salt this is the first time I have read to be soaked in sea salt,can you please tell why and what difference does it make also after soaking in salt do beans sprout? Tkz

ninette - 2015-10-21 10:20:24

I've tried to soak my bean/seeds using recommend time for sprouting but they only seem to soften and start splitting apart can you suggest what I could possibly be doing wrong? And what if I don't pre-soak the seeds before would they still sprout?

Davis - 2015-10-16 13:17:20

The whole premise was eating watermelon seeds and then no instructions on them?

Maggie - 2015-09-08 02:40:03

With the whole thing which seems to be developing within this specific subject matter, all your points of view are actually relatively stimulating. Having said that, I appologize, because I can not subscribe to your entire suggestion, all be it exciting none the less. It would seem to everyone that your remarks are generally not completely rationalized and in reality you are your self not even totally certain of the argument. In any case I did appreciate reading through it.

Élégant New Balance 786 Marine Hommes - 2015-07-28 10:05:07

Can you cook sprouted chickpeas? I've been accidentally soaking for 2 days.

Lisa - 2015-07-23 18:07:08

How do you properly drain & rinse small grains? I've tried soaking teff & amaranth, & even larger grains like quinoa & rice, & I find them very difficult to drain in the morning. I use the double cheesecloth method, & a lot of the water will come out, & I'll rinse them as best as possible, but they still seem to be full of water. Thanks!

Steph - 2015-07-18 00:24:35

I sprout fenugreek which is great, and is packe with Amino's and vitamins

Naomi - 2015-07-08 12:12:52

Why does the chart say "no sprouting" for flax seeds? I have certainly seen sprouting with mine.

Robyn - 2015-06-12 15:35:34

Could you please let everyone know the amount of time for sprouting watermelon seeds? Thank you

Arnie - 2015-06-11 20:46:44

what about chia? the author of the paleo diet says chia contains phytic acid which blocks the absorption of all those lovely nutrients, but some sources say the phytase in chia neutralizes it and we don't need to soak chia, but others say we need to soak it

donnagail - 2015-05-15 23:05:09

THANK YOU for a brief and lucid article on sprouting. Your directions make me say, "Yeah, I can do this." Others make it sound so complicated. You look like you are glowing in your photo. It is certainly an inspiration.

Natalie - 2015-05-15 20:45:18

Why add salt?

frank jacobson - 2015-04-28 16:29:39

What's the purpose of the salt?

Curious - 2015-04-24 02:33:30