Knowing the difference between sprouts vs microgreens can help many diners choose their vegetables easily.

Many people find it difficult to tell which one is which, they end up calling one for the other or completely placing both into a single category: microgreens sprouts.

Difference Between Sprouts vs Microgreens

While the term can be quite delightful in its fusion, there is a real difference between microgreens and sprouts. Baby sprouts have often been confused with micro veggies for some time now, and we are here to make that tasty distinction between the two.

Comparison Table Sprouts vs Microgreens

Sprouts Sprouts are germinated seeds that are only a few days old and often eaten whole.
Microgreens Microgreens are baby plants that are grown for a few weeks before their leaves are harvested, leaving the roots and stems intact.

What Is the Difference between Sprouts and Microgreens?

Let us get the simple thing out of the way first. Sprouts and microgreens are baby plants. Some of their other similarities include the ability to thrive under indoor conditions, being preferred components for certain dietary requirements, and their susceptibility to molds if grown incorrectly.

– Why Are Sprouts Unique?

Sprouts are younger versions of microgreens. Sprouts are called such because they are seeds that have germinated and sprouted. Sprouts are often eaten whole, including the seed, its roots, and its shoots.

Germinated seeds that are three to five days old are normally considered sprouts. When grown sevent to fourteen days, these are already considered microgreens.

Sprouts are generally 2 to 3 inches; they usually do not form true leaves and do not require light to germinate. Sprouts do not need air ventilation and are often cheaper than microgreens.

– Some Popular Sprouts Include

Alfalfa Green Sprouts Alfalfa green sprouts are popular additions to salads and sandwiches. Alfalfa green sprouts are known to provide a lot of vitamins A, E, D, and K.
Broccoli Sprouts Sprouted greens from broccoli seeds are full of antioxidants and provide a mild spicy flavor to whatever dish they are added.
Clover Sprouts The sweet, crispy clover sprouts make fantastic additions to salads and sandwiches. Clover sprouts are full of calcium, iron, potassium, and protein.
Mung Bean Sprouts Originating in Asia, mung bean sprouts are low in calories and high in fiber. Packed with a mild nutty taste, mung bean sprouts are added to a variety of dishes as a garnish or as the main ingredient.
Mustard Sprouts Mustard sprouts look similar to alfalfa sprouts and make a great addition to egg dishes with their spicy flavor.
Onion Sprouts The unmistakable taste of these sprouts lends a delectable flavor to many salads and sandwiches while packing vitamins A, C, and D.
Soybean Sprouts Soybean sprouts are high in fiber and protein, making them a great choice for selective eaters. Soybean sprouts can be added to baked casseroles and steamy stews.
Wheat Sprouts Wheat sprouts that are left to grow for three days end up sweeter and make for a great ingredient in pressed juices.

– How To Grow Your Own Sprouts

Growing sprouts has never been easier. Here are a few steps you will need to follow:

Alfalfa Sprouts

– Soak the Seeds

A teaspoon of seeds can be placed in a pint-sized or quart-sized mason jar. Cover the seeds with cool water up to about two inches and soak for at least eight hours. You can cover the jar with two layers of cheesecloth and secure that in place with the lid or a rubber band. Lay the jar on its side so that the seeds have ample room to spread.

– Rinse and Repeat

Drain the water from the seeds, rinse, and drain again. Place the jar in a cool dark place. Continue the process of draining and rinsing until pale yellow leaves sprout in three to five days.

– A Little Sun Exposure

Once the pale yellow leaves show up, do a final drain and rinse and place the jar with the sprouts in an area that receives bright light to darken the leaves.

– Ready to Serve and Eat

Once the pale yellow leaves have darkened into green, your sprouts are ready to be served and consumed. You may refrigerate them until you are ready to use them, although they are best consumed when fresh.


– Why are Microgreens Unique?

Microgreens are sprouts that have been growing for seven to fourteen days and are usually four to seven inches in length. Microgreens form true leaves and require air ventilation and light to grow.

Microgreens are generally more expensive than sprouts due to having gone through more growth processes. Microgreens contain more nutrients and fiber than sprouts. Only the stems and leaves of the microgreens are eaten. Microgreen seeds are often grown in soil, although hydroponic gardening is also possible. 

– Some Popular Microgreens Include

Alfalfa Microgreens More nutritious than its sprout, deep green alfalfa microgreens provide a mild flavor to salads and sandwiches.
Beet Microgreens The subtle earthy flavor of beet microgreens makes a wonderful addition to hummus dishes.
Buckwheat Microgreens Buckwheat microgreens impart a tangy taste to dishes or as a stand-alone gluten-free snack loaded with anti-inflammatory properties.
Chard Microgreens High in antioxidants that protect the skin and eyes, chard microgreens can help reduce eye issues with their lutein and zeaxanthin content.
Clover Microgreens Offering a mild fresh taste, clover microgreens add calcium, iron, magnesium, and zinc to any dish.
Collards Microgreens More intense than adult collards, collards microgreens pack a tasty punch as an ingredient or garnish.
Kale Microgreens Popular for its host of nutrients, kale microgreens make incredible ingredients for salads and smoothies.
Kohlrabi Microgreens Featuring a mild taste similar to cabbages, kohlrabi microgreens make a fantastic component to slaws, salads, and sandwiches.
Pea Microgreens Pea microgreens contain high levels of vitamin C and folic acid. Pea microgreens can be perfect companions for sweet and savory salads.
Radish Microgreens The peppery taste of radish microgreens makes it a popular ingredient in salads and sandwiches.
Sunflower Microgreens Packed with vitamins B, C, and E, sunflower microgreens pack a nutritious punch in salads and sandwiches while adding amino acids, folate, and selenium to your system.

– How to Grow Your Own Microgreens

Depending on your selected growing medium, you can place them in your container of choice and plant the seeds in the medium. Moisten the medium with your spray bottle, taking care that the medium does not become waterlogged.

Growing Microgreens

Expose the container with the seeds in the medium to the sun or to your grow light. You can do this until the microgreens are ready for harvest, which should be any time from a week to two weeks.

– Light Exposure

You will need a place with good sun exposure. If you are unable to find one or your place does not have adequate light exposure, you may opt for a grow light made for plants.

– Containers

Microgreen growing containers should be shallow. If you merely want to experiment with growing microgreens as a novice, you may want to use items that you already have. Casserole dishes, trays, and pans will do. Drainage holes are not necessary if you plan to water your microgreens with a spray bottle.

If you plan to grow microgreens as a more serious hobby, you may want to invest in commercially available trays that are specially made for growing microgreens.

– Growing Medium

You basically have two choices when it comes to selecting what medium you want to use: soil-based or soil-less medium. Soil-based medium requires some soil, whereas soil-less medium can use coconut coir, perlite, vermiculite, or a combination of these.

– Spray Bottle

This will be your main source of water. Ensure that your water is safe enough to water plants that you will be consuming.

– Seeds

There are over 80 types of seeds that are suitable for microgreens. You can pick which ones you would like to grow from commercial seed sellers. Ensure that the seeds you purchase are ideal for microgreen growing.

– Harvesting Your Microgreens

Once your seedlings have grown their first set of leaves, grasp the plant gently and trim the stems above your potting medium. Give your cut stems a good rinse.

– Storing Your Microgreens

The best method to store harvested microgreens is to place them in water and in a cool place like the refrigerator.

Storing Your Microgreens

You can also store them in a plastic bag with a moist paper towel. Use them within three days from harvest for optimal freshness.


Are microgreens inflammatory?

Microgreens may have anti-inflammatory properties. Some types, such as broccoli and radish, are known to be high in antioxidants.

Can sprouts become microgreens?

Yes, sprouts can be grown into microgreens by allowing them to develop leaves. Microgreens are generally harvested later than sprouts.

What happens if you let microgreens keep growing?

If microgreens keep growing, they may become too large and lose their tender texture and flavor. It’s best to harvest them when they reach a height of 1-3 inches.


Now that you know the difference between sprouts and microgreens, making the right choice is easier for you when it comes to using and eating them. Let’s go over what makes sprouts and microgreens different from each other.

  • Sprouts are more tender and younger, being harvested within three to five days.
  • Microgreens take a week to two weeks to harvest and are generally more nutritious than sprouts.
  • Some sprouts can be grown into microgreens.
  • There are more options for microgreens than there are for sprouts when it comes to culinary purposes.
  • You can easily make sprouts and microgreens yourself.

Whatever you pick, sprouts or microgreens, you can never go wrong, furthermore with each possessing unique properties, you can use sprouts and microgreens in a variety of ways.

Salads, sandwiches, stir-fry, and smoothies are the easiest and most delectable ways to incorporate these delicious and highly nutritious green options!

5/5 - (14 votes)