Difference Between Alfalfa Sprouts and Bean Sprouts

Sprouts could be one of the best breakfast options as well as a great snacking option. With lots of protein content, dietary fibers, vitamins, minerals, folate, etc., they offer tremendous health benefits.

There are various types of sprouts, bean sprouts, and alfalfa sprouts being a few of them. There are different kinds of bean sprouts like soybean sprouts, mung bean sprouts, and adzuki bean sprouts.

Both alfalfa and bean sprouts are highly nutritious food and are eaten raw or used in salads and sandwiches. Both the types of sprouts arise from their respective seeds when their seeds are soaked in water.

They have a few similarities and a lot of differences between them. Alfalfa sprouts and bean sprouts differ in their attributes, appearance, crunchiness, size, market price, sprouting time, and many more aspects. 

Alfalfa Sprouts vs Bean Sprouts

The main difference between alfalfa sprouts and bean sprouts is that alfalfa sprouts are thinner, less crunchy, and more delicate compared to thicker bean sprouts which are more crunchy and toasty.

Alfalfa sprouts, apart from being consumed by humans, are also consumed by livestock and are costlier than bean sprouts.

Alfalfa Sprouts vs Bean Sprouts

Also, alfalfa sprouts have lesser protein content and take more time to sprout compared to bean sprouts.

Comparison Table Between Alfalfa Sprouts and Bean Sprouts

Parameters of ComparisonAlfalfa Sprouts Bean Sprouts 
SizeAlfalfa sprouts are quite thinner in diameter compared to bean sprouts.Bean sprouts are thicker in diameter and larger in size compared to alfalfa sprouts.
CrunchAlfalfa sprouts, being more delicate, are less crunchier than bean sprouts.Bean sprouts are crunchier than alfalfa sprouts.
Appearance Alfalfa sprouts are white shoots that are thin and delicate with a leaf-like green apex.Bean sprouts are long dull-white shoots that arise when the mung beans are soaked in water.
Protein contentAlfalfa sprouts have lesser protein content compared to bean sprouts.Bean sprouts have relatively higher protein content compared to alfalfa sprouts.
Sprouting timeAlfalfa sprouts take more time to sprout compared to bean sprouts.Bean sprouts take comparatively less time to sprout than alfalfa sprouts.
CostAlfalfa sprouts are costlier compared to bean sprouts.Bean sprouts are cheaper compared to alfalfa sprouts.
UsesAlfalfa sprouts are used as fodder for livestock and are also consumed by men. These are used to prepare salads and sandwiches. Its leaves are often used as a dietary supplement in the form of tablets or tea.Apart from being used in salads and sandwiches, bean sprouts can also be cooked to prepare broth and soups, and are common in East Asia.

What are Alfalfa Sprouts?

Alfalfa with the botanical name Medicago sativa is a leguminous plant that comes under the family Fabaceae.

It is mainly cultivated in temperate areas as fodder for animals and has purple flowers. Its root nodules contain nitrogen-fixing bacteria.

Alfalfa sprouts are rich in water content, carbs, proteins, fibers, vitamins, minerals, and have negligible fat.

Alfalfa seeds are put in a jar or container with water and left to sprout. They usually take 3 to 4 days to sprout. Alfalfa sprouts are quite delicate so they are not cooked.

They are eaten raw in sandwiches and salads.

What are Bean Sprouts?

Primarily being consumed in East Asia, bean sprouts are popular all over the world.

They are sprouted in a variety of ways. In countries like China, India, Korea, Japan, Nepal, Thailand, and Indonesia, mung bean sprouts are used to prepare different types of cuisines.

Mung bean sprouts and soya bean sprouts are the two most popular bean sprouts.

Mung bean sprouts are crunchy and toasty. Being a bit thicker, apart from being eaten raw, they are often cooked and fried.

With high nutritional value, mung beans can reduce the risk of chronic diseases, aid in digestion, help reduce the risk of heart diseases by lowering bad cholesterol levels in the blood, and can be very beneficial to your health if you consume them frequently.

Main Differences Between Alfalfa Sprouts and Bean Sprouts

  1. Bean sprouts can be quickly grown and are also cheaper as compared to alfalfa sprouts which are costlier and take more time to grow.
  2. Bean sprouts are primarily consumed by humans while alfalfa sprouts are primarily consumed by livestock though it is consumed by humans also.
  3. Alfalfa sprouts have white shoots with tiny leaf-like green structures at the tips while bean sprouts are just dull white shoots arising from soaked moong beans.
  4. Alfalfa sprouts are thinner and more delicate than bean sprouts.
  5. Bean sprouts are crunchier than alfalfa sprouts.
  6. Alfalfa sprouts have lesser protein content than bean sprouts.
  7. Alfalfa sprouts can not be cooked or stir-fried and thus it is used in sandwiches and salads while bean sprouts can be cooked and fried and thus can be used to prepare soups apart from salads and sandwiches.
Difference Between Alfalfa Sprouts and Bean Sprouts


Because of their low calorie and high fiber content and so many health benefits, sprouts have always been a better choice for food. Bean sprouts and Alfalfa sprouts are among the most common sprouts that we consume.

They can easily be distinguished from each other merely by looking at them.

Both are good sources of proteins, fibers, vitamins, minerals, etc., and arise from their seeds when soaked in water, i.e., alfalfa sprouts arise from alfalfa seeds while bean sprouts arise from bean seeds.

Alfalfa sprouts are thinner, more delicate, costlier, take more time to sprout, have less protein content, are less crunchy, cannot be cooked, are used as fodder for livestock, and are consumed by humans.

On the other hand, bean sprouts are thicker in diameter, less delicate, cheaper, take less time to sprout, have a higher protein content, store crunchy, can be cooked, and are primarily consumed by humans.

They also differ a lot in their appearance.


  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0740002018309006
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0956713507001533
  3. https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/la020835i
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