Spicy Bean Sprout Salad

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This Korean-style bean sprout salad is a crunchy, spicy, salty side dish that pairs perfectly with a plain bowl of rice.

If you’ve ever been to a Korean restaurant, you probably know the excitement of sitting down and having 5+ different side dishes (banchan) brought to your table. I love Korean food, but I especially love eating out at Korean restaurants because I can always count on unlimited side dishes to help fill me up! Some common dishes include kimchi, cucumber kimchi, wakame salad, nori, seasoned broccoli, braised potatoes, and my favorite — bean sprout salad! Soybean sprouts are very commonly used — and I love them because they’re higher in protein and have a nice bite to them — but I can’t get them where I am, so I settled for mung bean sprouts. I can eat so many bowls of bean sprout salad — the crunchy texture and salty, nutty flavor is so addicting! Luckily it’s also really easy to make at home, and because I love all things spicy, I just couldn’t resist adding in some heat.


  • Bean Sprouts ⟶ Sort through them and discard any rotten sprouts before cooking. I also like to remove any long brown, stringy roots.
  • Gochugaru ⟶ Korean red pepper flakes add a good spicy kick, but if you’re sensitive to spice you can reduce the amount or omit completely.
  • Garlic ⟶ Just a little since raw garlic is very potent.
  • Green Onions ⟶ If you don’t want an intense onion flavor, only use the green part.
  • Salt ⟶ Essential to bring out all the flavors.
  • Sesame Oil ⟶ Feel free to add more as you like.
  • Sesame Seeds ⟶ Use toasted sesame seeds for that delicious nutty flavor. If your sesame seeds are raw, toast them in a pan over low heat for a few minutes until fragrant.

How to Make

  1. Sort & Discard ⟶ If your bean sprouts are a few days old, do not skip this step! Bean sprouts don’t last very long, so you’ll likely have a few bad sprouts in the bag. Discard any that are rotten, brown, and slimy. I also remove the long stringy roots. You don’t have to be perfect about cleaning all the bean sprouts, but sort through them quickly and remove obvious rotten sprouts.
  2. Blanch ⟶ Blanch bean sprouts in boiling water for 2 minutes. You want to cook them just enough that they’re tender but still crisp.
  3. Rinse with cold water ⟶ to prevent the bean sprouts from cooking more after boiling
  4. Squeeze out excess water ⟶ When the bean sprouts are cool enough to handle, take a handful of sprouts and gently squeeze out as much water as possible. This will make the bean sprouts crunchy instead of soggy.

How to Serve Bean Sprout Salad

I love serving these spicy bean sprouts with a bowl of plain rice, a main protein, and some other veggie sides. They are also delicious in bibimbap! I think they would also be good in a noodle salad. Just keep in mind that they are salty and spicy on their own, so they should be paired with a plain or mild flavored dish.

More Tasty Asian Sides!

I hope I’ve inspired you to make this spicy bean sprout salad! If you do try it out, don’t forget to tag me in your photos on instagram @ellielikes.cooking, leave a comment/rating down below, and let me know how you liked it! I love seeing all of your tasty recreations 🙂 Happy cooking ♡

Spicy Bean Sprout Salad

This Korean-style bean sprout salad is a crunchy, spicy, salty side dish that pairs perfectly with a plain bowl of rice. Vegan, gluten-free, and 7 ingredients!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 2 minutes
Course Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine Korean
Servings 3



  • Add bean sprouts to a bowl. Sort through and discard any rotten sprouts. Rinse with water and drain.
  • Bring a pot of water to boil. Add bean sprouts and cook for 2 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water to prevent further cooking.
  • Mix together remaining ingredients in a large bowl.
  • Take a handful of bean sprouts and squeeze out excess water. Place bean sprouts into the bowl with the other ingredients. Repeat with the rest of the bean sprouts.
  • Mix bean sprouts and seasonings together until well combined. Serve immediately or store in the fridge.


Gochugaru: In place of gochugaru you can add 1/4 – 1/2 tsp ground black pepper, depending on how spicy you want it.

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