How to Grow Alfalfa Sprouts

How to Grow Alfalfa Sprouts at home. Image shows a stacked sandwich on wholemeal bread packed with alfalfa sprouts, tomatoes, sauerkraut, cucumber and kale. The sandwich is on brown paper and there is a glass container of sprouts in the background.

Wondering how to grow alfalfa sprouts? It's really easy, and I'll show you how in this quick tutorial - all you need are alfalfa seeds, a jar and some cheesecloth.

Salad and Alfalfa Sprout Sandwich by Vancouver with Love.

We all have a little more time at home right now, and what better way to use that time than by growing our own food? I'm not talking about complicated methods or full-on gardening, but simply growing your own alfalfa.

I grew up with a mother who used to sprout alfalfa seeds regularly (yes, I was that kid at school) so have known how to grow them since childhood. Because of this, I've always loved the taste of crunchy fresh sprouts in sandwiches and salads.

It's not just the taste though - sprouts are also really good for you, being high in vitamin C, K and iron among other things. Sprouting seeds and beans greatly increases their nutrient quality, and makes them easier for us to digest.

However you use them (in sandwiches, salads, smoothies or stir-fries), they're an incredibly delicious and versatile little food that really doesn't get enough kudos. So read on to see how to do it!

How to Grow Alfalfa Seeds by Vancouver with Love - image shows a woman's hands holding alfalfa sprouts.

Looking for more easy how-to guides? Why not try the following: How to Make Sauerkraut, How to Make Coconut Whipped Cream, or How to Make Hemp Milk.

Growing Alfalfa Sprouts - They're So Easy!

Alfalfa is very easy and cheap to grow at home, with a packet of seeds costing just a few dollars (that will last you a while!). I definitely recommend ensuring you've soaked the seeds for 6+ hours first though, as this will help make the sprouting process much easier and faster!

You don't need any fancy equipment: a large glass jar, cheesecloth and an elastic band will do the job. I actually have a seed sprouter (essentially a tiered system where the water drips down through different levels), and whilst it is helpful, it's definitely not essential. You can grow great sprouts in just a jar, so keep scrolling for the recipe!

These instructions can be used for any seeds you want to sprout, even though I'm using alfalfa here. It's one of the most popular but there are loads of other seeds you can use: clover, broccoli, radish etc. All have different nutritional profiles and flavours. Experiment with a few to see what you like - or even make up your own mix!

How to Grow Alfalfa Seeds by Vancouver with Love - image shows mixed bags of alfalfa sprouts and other sprouted seeds.

Alfalfa Sprout FAQs

1) How long does it take to grow alfalfa sprouts?

Tiny sprouts should begin to form within about 2 days. From there, it takes about another 2 days for the sprouts to grow longer, turn green and be ready to harvest.

2) Are alfalfa sprouts good for you?

Alfalfa sprouts are good for you as they contain nutrients such as vitamins K, C and iron. For more information on their nutritional profile click here.

3) Where can I buy alfalfa seeds?

You can usually buy alfalfa seeds for sprouting in your local health food store. Alternatively, large stores like Whole Foods usually sell a decent selection of seeds for sprouting, and sometimes you can even find them in your local supermarket.

4) What can I use to cover my jar instead of cheesecloth?

If you don't have any cheesecloth, a piece of old (clean) tights, stockings or pantyhose will work.

5) Why do you add a pinch of salt when you first soak the seeds?

As with soaking the seeds, adding sea salt helps encourage germination and reduces enzyme inhibitors, making the seeds sprout a faster! Whilst soaking and adding salt aren't essential steps, they make the process easier.

How to Grow Alfalfa Seeds by Vancouver with Love - image shows large glass jar with seeds sprouting in it, and food storage container with harvested sprouts.
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How to Grow Alfalfa Sprouts at Home

Wondering how to grow alfalfa sprouts? It's really easy, and I'll show you how in this quick tutorial - all you need are alfalfa seeds, a jar and some cheesecloth.
Prep Time5 mins
Sprouting time4 d
Total Time4 d 5 mins
Course: Salad, Snack
Cuisine: gluten-free, healthy, vegan, vegetarian
Diet: Diabetic, Gluten Free, Low Salt, Vegan
Servings: 1 jar full


  • Small bowl
  • Fine meshed sieve
  • 1 large mason jar
  • Piece of cheesecloth or clean piece of old tights/pantyhose


  • 2 tbsp alfalfa seeds
  • sea salt


  • Place seeds in a small bowl. Cover in twice their volume of water and add a pinch of sea salt to help encourage sprouting. Leave seeds to soak on a countertop overnight (or for 6+ hours).
  • In the morning, drain and rinse seeds through a fine meshed sieve.
  • Place seeds in a mason jar. Cover the jar's mouth with a piece of cheesecloth and secure with an elastic band.
  • Leave jar on its side on countertop to allow seeds to spread out and sprout.
  • In evening, pour about ½ cup fresh water into the jar (you don't need to remove the cheesecloth for this - I usually just pour the water straight through it).
  • Swill water around in jar and then tilt it to drain water out again immediately. Leave jar on its side on countertop to sprout.
  • Repeat this 'pouring & swilling' process each morning and evening for about 4 days, until sprouts are roughly 3-5cm in length with green tips.
  • Remove sprouts from jar, rinse thoroughly to remove husks and store refrigerated in a sealed container until needed.
  • That's it! Use in sandwiches, salads and smoothies. (Sprouts will keep for about 3-4 days if refrigerated.)
Tried this recipe?Leave a rating above and mention @vancouverwithlove or tag #vancouverwithlove on Instagram!

If you’ve tried this recipe, please leave a comment or tip for others below. I'd love to know how you’ve made it your own!

Pin for How to Grow Alfalfa Sprouts by Vancouver with Love. Image shows sandwich stacked with sprouts and mixed colourful vegetables.

Comments 24

    1. Post

      Thanks for your comment! You’ll just need some type of cloth that allows the water to drain through it – a bit of fabric from an old pair of tights or stockings would work instead. I hope that helps. 🙂

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        I don’t personally as I like to get all the nutrients from them raw, but I know some people prefer to cook them over fears of eating them raw. 🙂

    1. Post

      I’ve found it in Whole Foods before, or any local health food store should sell it! They usually have other varieties for sprouting too, like clover and broccoli. 🙂

    1. Post

      You should be able to find them in your local health food store! Otherwise, stores like Whole Foods usually have a selection. 🙂

  1. What a great lookin sandwich.. Thanks for the tutorial but was just wondering if I can just grow them out normally like Wheatgrass?

    1. Post

      Hi Andy. I haven’t tried this myself so am not certain – I’ve never heard of it being done before! Certainly, alfalfa seems to be most beneficial when eaten as a sprout. Let me know if you find any info that says otherwise! 🙂

  2. What’s the purpose of the salt added at the beginning? I’ve never seen that before…

    1. Post

      Hi Sally, I was taught that it helps encourage the seeds to germinate and reduces enzyme inhibitors, which is why I’ve always done it. The seeds will still sprout if you don’t use salt though (they just might be a little slower), so feel free not to if you’d prefer!

  3. Hello- how can I make sure that all the seeds sprout. I always seem to have quite a few seeds that have not sprouted.

    1. Post

      Same here! I think it’s normal for some seeds not to sprout. The best method I’ve found to ensure the most seeds sprout is to soak them (as mentioned in the recipe) overnight with a pinch of salt before sprouting. Otherwise I think it’s normal to have a few seeds left over!

  4. Years ago I grew alfalfa sprouts all the time. I don’t remember rinsing them. I used a spray bottle to spray them every day and it seem to work fine. Is the rinsing just to keep the seeds wet or is there some other reason? I grew mine in a tray. Thanks for your reply.

    1. Post

      Hi Diane, thanks for your question! I hadn’t actually heard of the spraying method. The rinsing is just to keep the seeds wet, so I can imagine it would work just as well as spraying them! I like growing them in a jar because it’s covered – I’m not sure if you cover the tray.

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      I’ve never kept them in direct sun, but I do have a warm, fairly bright (indirect light) kitchen and I think that helps. I think the warmth is more important though!

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