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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I have used one gallon glass jars with smaller holes than the seeds tp be sprouted drilled in the lid to look like a sieve. Put the seeds in, cover with water, soak about twenty five minutes and drain the water out the lid. Then three or four times a day, cover seeds with water and squish around a bit and pour the water out the lid. Easy as falling off a log. Now you can tell I am an old geezer ( 82)

OldBearHair - 2016-04-08 19:32:18

I used to buy lots of raw sunflower seeds at trader Joe's and then last summer they mysteriously ran out of stock, when I kept asking I finally got someone who told me they were looking to get their supplier to pasteurize and where having some issues with that. Now, of course, no more sprouts :-( What are your thoughts here?

Frank - 2016-03-19 13:44:33

Can I soak and/or sprout hemp seeds or pine nuts? If so; what are the required soak and sprout times? Thanks.

Mary - 2016-03-12 14:21:01

Hi! Can I make nut butters immediately after soaking the nuts for the required time? Do I have to sprout them as well? Most nut butter recipes DO NOT require any soaking or sprouting. It just says to take the raw nuts from the package you bought them in then place them in the food processor to make the butter. However, after reading this article; I'd like to make the nut butter from soaked or sprouted nuts. Is this even possible? Will the nut butter turn out the same?

Mary - 2016-03-12 14:18:28

What is the purpose of the ½ tsp of Celtic salt? These nuts have to be in their shell, right? Thank you.

Joe G - 2015-11-30 17:11:36

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