How to Grow Broccoli Sprouts (& Why We All Should)

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Wellness Mama » Blog » Health » How to Grow Broccoli Sprouts (& Why We All Should)

If you’ve ever heard of sulforaphane you’ve probably heard about broccoli sprouts. Sulforaphane is a powerful compound with a myriad of health benefits. And it’s why broccoli sprouts are one of the best health foods on the planet. 

In the springtime and early summer, our thoughts tend to turn to gardening, farmers’ markets, and fresh produce. But you don’t have to have a plot or pot of your own to grow these microgreens. All you really need is a mason jar on your kitchen counter. While your countertop garden might be small, the health benefits are not.

If you’re unfamiliar with sulforaphane, let me provide a case for why these humble sprouts should be growing in all our kitchens.

Broccoli Sprouts = High in Sulforaphane

Broccoli sprouts are an incredibly rich source of sulforaphane. I wrote an entire ode to sulforaphane but the short version is that this plant compound: 

  • Releases antioxidant enzymes that may protect against cancer
  • Benefits the heart and protects against cardiovascular disease
  • Protects the brain against disease
  • Increases glutathione
  • Supports natural detoxification by increasing a compound called Nrf2

Sulforaphane supports every organ system in the body in one way or another. You can easily create your own local source by growing sprouts in your kitchen. One of the first things my thyroid doctor recommended after my Hashimotos diagnosis? Eat raw broccoli sprouts daily for their sulforaphane.

Now, if you’re already ruling them out, thinking they must taste terrible, hold on a moment. Surprisingly, the sprouts don’t taste like full-grown broccoli plants. Some people say they’re spicy, like radishes, while others report they don’t notice any taste at all. However, it likely depends on how much you’re using at a time. And if you blend large amounts in a smoothie, it may release more of the flavor.

Give them a try, and if you decide they aren’t for you, there is also a great supplement option. Read on!

Why Not Just Eat Broccoli?

Cruciferous vegetables have many benefits. Researchers find that eating them raw a few times a week reduces cancer risk by 40% or more. But when it comes to sulforaphane, full-grown broccoli doesn’t come close to power-packed fresh sprouts. Three to four day old broccoli sprouts have up to 100 times the amount of sulforaphane as mature broccoli. This is because the sprouting process increases the bioavailability of nutrients, making broccoli sprouts a superfood.

On top of that, cooking destroys sulforaphane. So unless you want to chow down on several pounds of raw broccoli a day, you likely won’t get much (if any) sulforaphane. Yet, cooked broccoli, and other cruciferous vegetables, are still healthy for many other reasons. Even if they aren’t as high in sulforaphane.

Biomedical scientist Dr. Rhonda Patrick offers a tip to increase sulforaphane in cooked veggies. She recommends sprinkling them with dried mustard seed powder. Mustard seed replaces an enzyme needed for sulforaphane production but that’s destroyed in cooking.

Reasons to Grow Your Own Sprouts

Hopefully, now you’re big fans of broccoli sprouts and understand why they should be a regular part of a healthy diet. Let’s talk about why we should grow them ourselves.

Thanks to researchers like Dr. Patrick, news has spread about broccoli sprouts’ benefits. I’ve seen broccoli sprouts in many stores, including all three of our local grocery stores. But these store-bought sprouts are expensive and we can’t really know how fresh they are. Remember, sulforaphane content spikes on days 3-4 after the seed sprouts. Store-bought sprouts are likely much older than this.

Save Money by Growing Your Own 

Store-bought sprouts are also really expensive compared to growing your own. In fact, you’ll spend up to 10x as much! Sprouts from the store can run $2-5 an ounce, but you can grow them at home for $0.60 an ounce. Even less if you buy broccoli seeds in bulk like I do).

With basic equipment, you can grow 15-16 pounds of broccoli sprouts per pound of broccoli seeds. To put this in perspective, a 3-ounce container of sprouts is $6 at my local store. That ends up being about $32 a pound for sprouts. An entire pound of seeds costs less than that (and much less if you buy in bulk). In fact, I buy 5 pounds of broccoli seeds for $50 and grow up to 80 pounds of broccoli seeds for that, making them $0.62 a pound.

Plus, It is Soooo Easy

Some vegetables are worth buying because they’re too time intensive to grow. Or they take up too much room in the garden. Cabbage, celery, fennel, and some lettuces are all on this list. Organic broccoli sprouts are not. They’re almost foolproof to grow, ready to eat in days, and healthier than almost any other vegetable we can grow.

No Time/Don’t Like Sprouts?

Many sulforaphane supplements aren’t well absorbed by the body since it’s difficult to stabilize. The one exception I make is for this brand. They’ve developed a unique new process for naturally stabilizing sulforaphane. This is a great option if you don’t have the time or desire to harvest and juice broccoli sprouts every day. We take it when we’re busy or traveling. (They have a kids’ version too!) 

broccoli sprouts

How to Grow Broccoli Sprouts

Here's everything you need to grow your own nutrient dense broccoli sprouts.
Calories 8kcal
Author Katie Wells


1 jar




  • Place the broccoli sprouting seeds in a wide-mouth mason jar and cover with a few inches of filtered water.
  • Put a sprouting lid on and place the jar in a slightly warm, dark place away from direct sunlight for 8-12 hours.
  • The next day (or at least 8 hours later), drain off the water and rinse with fresh water.
  • Rest the mason jar upside down at an angle on a sprouting jar holder or inside a bowl so any remaining water can drain. Continue to keep the jar in a slightly warm but mostly dark place during this time.
  • Rinse the sprouts 2-3 times a day and place them back on the jar holder or bowl after each rinse. I rinse at meal times so I remember. After a few days, all the seeds should start to break open and grow.
  • Keep up with the rinsing and keep the seeds in a darkish place until the raw sprouts are about an inch long. At this point they can tolerate some indirect sunlight or low light exposure.
  • Eat the seeds once you see some dark green leaves, usually 3-4 days after they start to sprout.


Nutrition Facts
How to Grow Broccoli Sprouts
Amount Per Serving (1 cup)
Calories 8 Calories from Fat 2
% Daily Value*
Fat 0.2g0%
Saturated Fat 0.02g0%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.1g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.02g
Sodium 2mg0%
Potassium 26mg1%
Carbohydrates 1g0%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 0.1g0%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin A 51IU1%
Vitamin C 3mg4%
Calcium 11mg1%
Iron 0.3mg2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


This whole process usually takes about a week. I start a new batch every 1-2 days so we have a constant supply.

The Best Place to Grow Broccoli Sprouts

I’ve tried various places and find this works best to place the jar on the counter above my dishwasher right before I go to bed. I cover the jar with a towel and start the dishwasher so a small amount of heat comes through the counter and helps the seeds sprout more quickly. That said, it also works to leave the jar anywhere on the counter or place it inside a cabinet at room temperature.

After a while, the sprouting just becomes part of the natural rhythm of the day and week.

To Store the Broccoli Sprouts

Wait at least 12 hours from the last rinse so all remaining moisture can drain off. Replace the sprouting lid with a regular mason jar lid or transfer it to an airtight container. Place in the refrigerator and store for up to a few weeks (though I recommend using them as quickly as possible).

How to Boost Sulforaphane in Broccoli Sprouts

These adorable sprouts are already one of the best sources of sulforaphane. But, if you want to be an overachiever, there are a couple of ways to increase the sulforaphane content before you eat them. The method I’m about to recommend is counterintuitive … heat them up. 

I know, I know, I already said not to heat them above 158 degrees. But it turns out heating them to just below that actually increases sulforaphane. Heating to an exact temperature may also deactivate sulforaphane nitriles, which aren’t as beneficial. If we hit an exact temperature of around 158 degrees Fahrenheit, it deactivates the sulforaphane nitrile and not the myrosinase needed for optimal sulforaphane. 

Dr. Patrick explains the sweet spot is heating to exactly 158 degrees Farenheight for 10 minutes. See her process in the video below. At her suggestion, I heat water and use a digital thermometer that beeps when it reaches temperature. As soon as the water hits 158, I pour it into a jar with the sprouts and set a timer for 10 minutes. Then, I let it cool and blend it in a blender.

Fair warning: a broccoli sprout smoothie is an acquired taste. I do it because it’s nutritious, but as you’d expect with a sulfur-containing food, it has a strong taste. 

You don’t have to drink it straight up. You could also take a small handful and add them to your favorite fruit smoothie or juice. In small amounts, the flavor shouldn’t be too intense.

Have you ever grown broccoli sprouts? If so, what are your favorite ways to include them in your diet?

This article was medically reviewed by Dr. Scott Soerries, MD, Family Physician and Medical Director of SteadyMD. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.

Have you ever grown broccoli sprouts? Will you join the sulforaphane fan club and start now? If you already grow broccoli sprouts, tag me (@wellnessmama) in your photos on social media so I can see!

Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


123 responses to “How to Grow Broccoli Sprouts (& Why We All Should)”

  1. James Blackwell Avatar
    James Blackwell

    What is the optimal amount of broccoli sprouts to ingest per day?

  2. nina Avatar

    5 stars
    Can we soak broccoli seeds in water into which B vitamins are added? Theoretically, these vitamins are supposed to (a) increase the sprouting rate and (b) increase the vitamin content of sprouts. Probably there is some research on this topic?

  3. Heide Avatar

    I’d like to know more about adding the mustard powder or seeds to cooked broccoli. How much and when do you at it in? Does the mustard need to be cooked with the cruciferous vegetables are just sprinkled on top….when serving? Than k you!

  4. Peggy Avatar

    5 stars
    Hi Katie! Just a quick note about putting your sprouts on top of the dishwasher at night. I believe these appliances put off EMFs like crazy. You might want to check on that. I have used a meter to check my stove etc. and it went ballistic. Just FYI. LOVE your stuff and have read you for many years. You’re the best!!!

  5. len Churchwell Avatar
    len Churchwell

    If the sprouts give off a very strong, pungent, unpleasant oder is that the sign of mold or some other problem? What should you be looking for to identify mold?

  6. Javier Avatar

    Hello, Thank you for this guide! I was wondering if its expected to have a good number of seeds not sprouting at all? I tried to follow pretty much every step of the guide. I was rinsing 3 times a day.

  7. Marc Poole Avatar
    Marc Poole

    The current price today on Amazon is $50.49 for 5LB delivered to your door with Prime. A very good price ($5/lb).

  8. Anna Folkesson Avatar
    Anna Folkesson

    So I sprout a lot and it’s great, but you say you buy a 5lb bag for $40 on amazon but i followed your link and the price is $80 for 5lb so wheee do you get your price because it a big difference from 40 to 80..
    Sincerely Anna

  9. Peta Avatar

    Instead if buying Brussels sprout seeds (or any seeds for sprouts or micro greens) can I just grow a full plant to flowering and then harvest the seeds for sprouts?

    1. Dorothy Avatar

      Hi Katie, do the seeds need to be organic? I believe the ones you recommended don’t claim to be. Thanks!

        1. Dorothy Avatar

          I realized that the same company has organic as well, but the price must have gone up recently. I’m enjoying broccoli sprouts, but need to increase our supply. Do you leave the hulls in with the sprouts?

  10. Nancy Barclay Avatar
    Nancy Barclay

    Thank you for the instructions. Just want to clarify what the correct temp is. Your article says 158 degrees. Video of doctor you posted says 70 degrees. Both are Fahrenheit. Which is correct? Too much of a difference not to ask.

  11. Kathryn Avatar

    Just looking into getting some broccoli seeds to sprout. This will be my first time. The ones you linked to, are unavailable. Do you have recommendations as to a different brand? Or just any organic seeds for sprouting?
    Thank you!

      1. Savannah Avatar

        I’ve been trying to sprout seeds and I’m following your guide. I’ve had lots of luck with alfalfa and sunflowers but my broccoli keeps molding ?. Any ideas? Thanks!!

          1. Shari P Avatar

            Are you sure they are molding. The roots have air roots that are furry. Perhaps you are mistaking this for mold?

  12. Tricia Avatar

    I’ve always wanted to try this! Do you have another resource for good seeds? Your linked seeds are no longer available. Also wondering: if we are doing this for lots of people, can we put them in something besides a mason jar to grow more at a time?

  13. Jason Avatar

    I’m a musician and composer with Lou Gehrig’s disease.
    My caregiver read your article and we now have a couple jars of broccoli sprouts in progress. I’m excited about their effects on brain neurons.
    I have a couple of questions and would be grateful if you can answer. All my food and liquid goes through a feeding tube. We are trying to figure out the best way to take the sprouts. With some of my meals there is a lag time between when the food is pureed and when I get it. Is it better to have the sprouts pretty soon after they are pureed? And how much is a good amount to eat per day?
    Also, I think you mention that the sulphoraphane is most potent on about day 2 after the seeds sprout, but in other places I’ve read that they should have some dark green leaves. Which is more important?
    Thank you!

    1. Katie Wells Avatar

      I usually use a mixture of new sprouts (day 2) and some older ones with dark green leaves. I blend and consume almost immediately.

  14. Laurie Avatar

    Hi Katie, I’m following the instructions and it’s working great! My question is, how do you travel and still get your dose of sprouts? Do you take a sprout supplement in that case?

      1. rachel liberman Avatar
        rachel liberman

        Hi Katie! thank you for sharing all your amazing health knowledge. I’ve started growing sprouts and it is going well..i’m still a day or two out from eating them…how much do you eat in a day? thanks!

          1. Rachel Avatar

            Hi Katie,

            You mentioned in a comment that you eat 1/2 jar of sprouts. Just curious what size sprouting jars you use? Thanks!

  15. Caren Kelly Avatar
    Caren Kelly

    Hi I’m new to growing sprouts & am doing okay with alfalfa, but I’m having trouble getting my broccoli sprouts to germinate. A few will start growing,but I have a lot left in the jar that don’t seem to do anything.

  16. James Russo Avatar
    James Russo

    Great article! Thank you for sharing your knowledge.

    How much does a tablespoon of seed yield in sprouts. From what I’ve been reading, consuming about 4oz (+/-0.5oz) of sprouts is the sweet spot. How many tablespoons of seed will yield 4oz?

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