Do you want to eat home grown foods but do not have the time or space for a full blown garden? Growing your own sprouts at home with a seed sprouter is an easy and fun way to get more nutrition into your diet, and is simple enough that the whole family can get involved.
Sprouts contain vital nutrients, digestive enzymes and antioxidants that are so desperately needed in modern diets. Sprouting seeds unlocks their nutrient rich potential and makes them easy to eat and easy for our bodies to digest.
What To Sprout: If you are wondering what seeds can be sprouted, the short answer is any and all edible seeds. Everything from vegetable seeds like broccoli, to greens like kale and spinach, or even beans and legumes like garbzanos and lentils can be sprouted.
Vegetable and leafy green seeds tend to produce delicate, long tailed sprouts with little leaves. These are perfect additions to sandwiches, salads or on top of just about anything. Some, like radishes, have a spicier taste while others, like alfalfa, are more mild.
Sprouted beans and legumes are much crunchier and have shorter tails. You can use them for making dips like raw hummus, or add them to anything that you think could use a nice crunch.
Keep in mind that some beans, red kidney beans in particular, contain a toxin that must be heated at high temperatures in order to prevent food poisoning. These beans should be soaked for at least 12 hours and can be sprouted prior to cooking, but it is imperative to never skip boiling with these types of beans.
How To Sprout: Sprouting seeds is incredibly easy and does not take a green thumb to achieve delicious results! There are three simple steps: Soak, Rinse and Wait.
First, soak your seeds overnight to germinate (Approx. 2-4 Tbs of seed per jar or tray). Next, drain your seeds into the sprouter, place it on the counter and rinse once or twice a day. In three to five days you will have sprouts with long tails.
You can either eat them as is, or leave them in a sunny spot for a day or two to develop more chlorophyll.
Typically, sprouts have been grown under dark conditions out of direct sunlight, because this mimics the environment of seed growing naturally under a layer of dirt, but research has come out to challenge whether this is the best method.
If you have counter space that receives sunlight, you may want to grow your sprouts for the entire time there, instead of in a dark corner or cabinet. Some studies have shown that in broccoli sprouts in particular, growing them in sunlight significantly increases the amount of Vitamin C, glucosinlolates and phenolic compounds as well as flavinoids such as quercitin.
The sprouters listed in this article are made of a variety of materials, including plastic, glass, terra cotta and cloth. My preference and what I like to use at home are glass sprouting jars or cloth sprouting bags. Glass jars are easy to clean, let the most light in, and contain no harmful chemicals such as BPA, BPS, or phthalates that are found in a lot of plastic sprouters.
1. Best Easy Glass Sprouting Jars: Lotus & Sky Pure Convenience Deluxe Sprouting System
Growing sprouts in jars is easy, does not require as much cleaning as more complex systems, and does not expose your sprouts to plastic containers. The challenge with sprouting in jars is that you have to store the jars either in a bowl or resting on a towel at an angle so that they can continue to drain in between rinses.
This system from Lotus & Sky solves the problem by including a stand and drain tray for your sprouting jars. Each kit comes with two glass jars, stainless steel mesh lids, two stainless steel stands and plastic tray.
Lotus & Sky sent me one of their sprouting systems to try out, and I love it! The tray is small enough to fit right behind my sink in the windowsill, where it is easy to remember to water it every day.
I used a homemade seed sprouter with a mason jar and steel mesh lid for years and I was never really happy with my set up. My home made screens would inevitably rust, I had to keep the jars in a wobbly bowl to let them drain, and they always seemed to end up in inconvenient locations where I would typically forget about them.
The Lotus & Sky system eliminates these issues by using a 100% stainless steel mesh screen and lid, and by making it easy to keep the jars in a convenient location. I love that this system uses standard mason jars, so that I can simply store the sprouts in the fridge int he jar I grew them in while switching out the lid on a new jar for the next batch. This makes it easy to always have sprouts on hand – No more 3 day wait in between when one batch gets eaten and the next one is grown.
Every Lotus & Sky sprout system comes with an easy to use Sprouting Guide to tell you everything you need to know to be successful at growing sprouts, as well as a condensed Quick Start Guide to get you spouting right away.
They also come with one crop’s worth each of broccoli seeds and lentils, so you can start sprouting immediately once the package arrives. Overall, this has definitely become my favorite sprouting system and it is one I am sure I will use for many years to come.
- No plastic ever touches your sprouts
- Very convenient to set up and use
- Well made and durable, machine washable
- No free shipping
- Relatively expensive when compared with plastic sprouters
- Not many customer reviews
2. Best Large Sprouting Jar: Now Foods Sprouting Jar
This sprouting jar from NOW foods is all you need to start sprouting right away. The jar is made out of glass and is a cylindrical shape for easy emptying when your sprouts are grown. The lid is made of stainless steel with a wire mesh.
This jar is made out of glass so there is much less risk of chemical contamination than plastic sprouters, but it is not 100% plastic free. There is a plastic ring that lines the lid in order to create a water tight seal.
This jar also comes with an easy to use instruction guide on how to sprout seeds in 3-5 days. If you would rather use a plain mason jar, you can purchase wire mesh lids for sprouting here.
- Jar body is made out of glass
- Wide mouth for easy emptying
- Easy to use
- Does not come with stand
- Includes a small plastic ring around the edge of the lid
- Only one batch at a time
3. Best Sprout Bag: Sproutman Hemp Sprout Bag
The Sproutman Hemp Sprout Bag is an inexpensive and super easy way to grow sprouts. This sprout bag is what I use most often in my own home and I love it.
It is super simple to use – Just soak your seeds overnight, pour them into the bag, rinse them, and then when it is time to rinse each day just dip the bag into a bowl of water and hang it to dry.
The instructions recommend keeping the bag in a bowl after it finishes dripping so that it does not dry out entirely. In just a few days, you will have sprouts! You can roll down the sides of the bag to let some sunshine in so that they get green in the last day or two of growth.
You can also use this bag as a nut milk bag. I have made hazelnut and almond milk with it, and find it to be very durable and well constructed.
- Does not take up a lot of counter space
- Can also be used as a nut milk bag
- Very durable construction
- Needs hand washing after use
- Seeds can get caught in corners
- Must be hung and then placed in a bowl, more steps than other sprouters
4. Best Glazed Clay Sprouter: Clay GAIA Sprouter
Our final choice is this lovely clay sprouter from Gaia. This sprouter, although expensive is my favorite on this list because it is beautiful, safe and efficient. This sprouter is made of locally sourced clay and has two sprouting trays in between glazed lid and base tray (available in green, blue or white glaze).
This sprouter contains no toxic materials or potentially harmful plastics, is easy to use and would look fantastic sitting on your kitchen counter.
- Very beautiful design and glazing
- Completely toxin free materials
- Clay blocks light well during first stages of growth
- Very expensive
- Not expandable to more than two trays
- Breakable clay
5. Best Earthy Sprouter: Happy Mills Terracotta Sprouter
If you want a multi tier sprouting system that is not made of plastic, this earthy terra cotta three-tier system is a beautiful solution. This sprouter has three trays so you can grow many different types of seeds at one time, and it has a lid and a water catching tray included.
With a six inch diameter in each tray, you can grow a steady supply of green sprouts in this terra cotta sprouter.
- Beautiful Earthy style
- Three trays
- Lid and base included
- Relatively expensive
- No free shipping
6. Best Wheatgrass Sprouter: Thunder Acres Complete Wheatgrass Growing Kit
Growing and juicing your own wheatgrass using a seed sprouter tray is another easy way to enjoy sprouts at home. Wheatgrass juice has a host of nutritional and health benefits to offer, digestive enzymes, antioxidants and chlorophyll.
This kit from Thunder Acres comes with everything you need to get started. It has a growing tray, coconut coir grow medium, organic red wheat seeds, and a spray bottle for watering. The seeds are grown on their farm in Kansas and are 100% organic and non-GMO.
- Complete kit with everything needed to grow wheatgrass
- Grow trays are heavy duty and durable
- Non-GMO, organic seed from a family farm in Kansas
- Made out of plastic
- Only enough coconut coir and fertilizer for three grows
- Not very many reviews on Amazon
7. Best Stackable Sprouter: Handy Pantry Sprout Garden
The Handy Pantry Sprout Garden is a three tray sprouter that is super easy to use and allows you to grow multiple types of sprouts simultaneously. The sprouting trays stack on top of one another and block the light until you are ready to green up your sprouts at the end of the growing cycle.
The stackable design means that you can purchase multiple kits if you want and stack them even higher without taking up extra counter space. The container is made in the USA of BPA-Free plastic.
Each kit comes with three starter seed packs – alfalfa, five part salad mid and protein powerhouse mix.
- Very well reviewed
- You can sprout three different seeds at one time
- Easy to expand to six or more trays
- Made of plastic
- Relatively small tray size
- Relatively expensive
8. Best 4 Tray Sprouter: Victorio Kitchen Products Deluxe Kitchen Crop Seed Sprouter
This innovative Victorio seed sprouter is a very popular model because it is so easy to use and it uses less water than other designs. The sprouter comes with four trays, and you can purchase additional trays in order to stack up to 10 trays at once.
Thi seed sprouter is unique because of its watering system. You simply add water to the reservoir lid, and the hydrophobic irrigation channels allow the water to flow through each tray one after the other, providing just enough moisture for sprouts without over watering.
The sprouter is made of BPA free plastic.
- Large growing area so you can grow a lot of sprouts
- Uses less water than other sprouters
- BPA free
- Can be bulky in small kitchens
- Seeds may get stuck in drain holes
- More complicated to clean than other sprouters
9. Best Automatic Seed Sprouter: Tribest Freshlife 3000 FL-3000-A Automatic Sprouter
If watering your sprouts two times a day every day seems like too much of a hassle, then this automatic sprouter from Tribest is for you. This Sprouting system has an automatic waterer inside and you can stack up to three additional trays (sold separately) on top if you want to grow multiple types of sprouts at one time.
Sprouting does not get any easier than this! The Freshlife spruoter is made of BPA free plastic and has a detachable power cord included.
Price: $159.95 with free shipping
Watch a review video here.
- Fully automatic watering
- BPA free
- Large growing area and expandable up to three trays
- Made of plastic
- Requires some assembly
- Some reviewers thought it overwatered
10. Best Two Tier Sprouter: Gardens Alive! Two-Tiered Seed Sprouter
If you want to have two different types of sprouts growing simultaneously, this simple two tiered sprouter from Gardens Alive is a nice, inexpensive option. This sprouter has four parts – two sprouting trays, a vented lid, and a tray on the bottom to catch drips so that you do not have to place it in a dish or a stand to drain. This little green sprouter will look great on your counter top.
- Has vented lid and drip catching tray
- Simple and attractive design
- Very easy to use
- Small seeds may fall through drain holes
- Small tray size
- Made of plastic
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