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Why You Should Soak & Sprout Nuts (Plus a Sprouted Almond Milk Recipe)

It's easier than you think (and worth the effort).

Angela's Featured on

sprouted almond

sprouted almond

sprouted almond

sprouted almond

sprouted almond

Although not yet Paleo, I made the decision in 2005 to give up most forms of conventionally-raised dairy.  I didn’t have much knowledge or access to raw dairy at that point so I made do without it (for the most part).   One way I went about this was via store-bought dairy-free milks.  I was smart enough to avoid soy but went back and forth between rice and almond milk.  As I’m sure you’re aware, these weren’t too much healthier than eating true dairy due to the (sometimes hydrogenated) vegetable oils, various GMO ingredients, and emulsifying gums.

Around 2011 I got the cajones to try making my own.  I definitely found it daunting at first.  And I’ve seen the same thing in a lot if friends who try to eliminate dairy.  They continue to rely on store-bought nut milks because it seems too tough to do otherwise.  And though the ingredients in most  store-bought options have slimmed down and been (somewhat) cleaned up, making your own is by-and-large always the best way to go.

So while I speak of not being intimidated by making your own, I’m here today to add a few extra steps to the homemade process.  (My brain, I know… I don’t get it either.)  I’ve included directions for a simplified (non-sprouted) version below so if you are new, please feel free to go that route.  And once you’ve done a little time with that, I hope you’ll try your hand at growing some little almond sprouts.

I’ve sprouted seeds and beans before but almonds seemed to be a different ball game.  They go a bit slower and it can be harder to tell that you’re on the right track.  And what I found that made it even more difficult is in what almonds you’ve chosen to do your sprouting with.  Almond buying was not something I’ve previously prioritized as organic.  Sometimes from the bulk bins are Sprouts but more often than not from Costco.  Kirkland brand makes no claims to organic, non-GMO or anything of the like.  But I ate them so intermittently that I just hadn’t cared to find another option.

Well after two failed sprouting attempts with my Kirkland almonds (3 days and no sprouting, only  a smelly, moldy mess!), I thought I should start investigating.  What I found is that as of 2007, the USDA mandated that all almonds be pasteurized to prevent salmonella (there was an outbreak and some deaths that tied back to almonds).  What’s worse is that while almonds can be steam pasteurized, many companies do not use this option.  Because it’s quicker and simpler, they choose to fumigate the almonds with propylene oxide gas (POP).  POP is a know genotoxin (gene-disrupting) and carcinogen (cancer-causing), yet that doesn’t stop the USDA from allowing it.

More times than not, the pasteurization process will yield almonds un-sproutable, due to killing off the enzymes needed for the nuts to naturally “reproduce.”   Even if you think you are buying raw almonds, you may not be.  There is no regulation stopping companies who pasteurize from claiming “raw” on the package as long as they are not roasted.  While they don’t claim to be raw, Costco has stated they use POP.  Probably the cause of my failed sprouting attempts. Detoxinista has a good list of where to get almonds here.  I took her advice and scoured Amazon for a new brand.  I found some made my Terrasoul that are organic and unpasteurized and state in the title that they are “sproutable.”  I already use their pure Vanilla Bean Powder and it’s AMAZING so I felt I could trust them.

Why Sprout Your Nuts?

Sprouting is a simple process of saturating with saltwater and allowing the perfect conditions for growing.  Since making almond milk already requires soaking, you are halfway there with just that step.  All nuts, seeds, grains, and legumes contain significant levels of phytic acid, which acts as a natural protectant until they are ready for fertilization.  Although phytic acid is a naturally occurring substance, it acts as a strong chelator (binder) to many nutrients, particularly zinc, calcium, and iron.  This means that when you consume any nuts with phytic acid present, nutrients will be pulled out rather than used by your body.  Soaking is an essential step to help neutralize the phytic acid and also increase the natural enzymes present to aid in sprouting.

Soaking plus sprouting ensures you are eating a LIVE food.  According to Sally Fallon, author of Nourishing Traditions, sprouting can increase enzyme activity up to 6x what soaking does.  People who note difficulty digesting nuts, cramping, bloating, etc, may simply be consuming unsoaked/unsprouted nuts that have phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors present.  Soaking and sprouting allows for an easier digestive process due to greater enzymatic activity.  The benefits of soaking/sprouting almonds are well-worth it. Personally I have found a dramatic difference in digesting them if I take them time to do it.

It’s Not Hard

Soaking, in and of itself, is not difficult — it just takes a bit of patience.  And if you can handle soaking, you can handle sprouting.  It’s simply a matter of a bit more babysitting.  Have a job you’re at all day? Bring your nuts to work and set them in a window!

I highly recommend a sprout screen.  It’s a cheap investment that really cleans up the process.  I’ve seen them at many health food stores but you can also get one here.  Otherwise, it’s just basic bowls and colanders needed plus a warm, even sunny, spot to let it rest.  Questions — please ask!

Sprouted Almond Milk

Yields: 4 cups

1 c. unpasteurized almonds

large pinch of sea salt

filtered water for soaking


3 ½ c. filtered water

1 Tbsp. honey or maple syrup (optionalcan sub 1-2 dates)

1 tsp. vanilla extract

¼ tsp. sea salt


glass wide-mouth quart jar

small strainer or colander

small bowl that fits the strainer

sprouting screen (can sub a tea towel)

large colander

large bowl that fits the colander

tea towel


Step 1:  Place the almonds in the glass quart jar with a large pinch of sea salt and enough filtered water to completely submerge them.  Cover with a sprouting screen and soak overnight, or a minimum 8 hours.  Rinse the nuts and add another large pinch of sea salt and enough water to cover.  Soak for another 8-12 hours.  Then drain the water and rinse them well again.  (If you won’t be sprouting your almonds, skip to step 3.)

Step 2:  Place a small strainer inside a small bowl.  Invert the jar of almonds into the strainer and place in a warm spot in the kitchen.  Leave inverted for 24-48 hours for sprouting.  Every 4-6 hours, rinse the almonds and place it back in the small strainer (letting it go 8 hours while you sleep is fine but try to rinse more often during the day).  Rinsing less often can possibly cause bits of mildew to start growing.  The almonds shown here were sprouted for 48 hours.  You can tell they’ve sprouted due to the cracking in the shell/skin — from the stem trying to work its way out — and when you peel back the skin, you can see the stem peeking out from the top.

(You can optionally eat them right now, as is.  Or use them in recipes, like here and here. Or keep going for plain almond milk.)

Step 3:  Once they’ve finished sprouting, give them another good rinse.  Peel the almonds if you want (see note below).  Then place the almonds in a blender with the 3 ½ c. filtered water and blend on high for 1-2 minutes.  Place a large colander inside a large bowl and line the colander with a tea towel.  Pour the almond milk into the tea towel to strain out the pulp (see image above).  After it’s strained most of the liquid through, gather the edges of the tea towel and twist the towel tight around the pulp.  Squeeze as much of the remaining almond milk out into the bowl as your forearms can muster.

Step 4:  Pour the almond milk back into the blender and add the honey (if using), vanilla extract, and sea salt.  Blend for 10-15 seconds to incorporate.  Pour the finished milk into a clean glass quart jar and store in the refrigerator for up to a week.  The milk will naturally separate in the fridge, simply shake it again before drinking.

*Note on peeling the almonds:  you may be wondering why I’d peel the almonds when many nutrients can be found in the skin?  I often peel them to yield a finer blended pulp, which allows for easier dehydrating and grinding for homemade almond flour (you can see how white and clean the pulp is in the picture above).

I dehydrate the almond pulp in the oven on 175F for 1-2 hours, depending on the volume.  Then grind it up in the blender and store it in a sealed container.  When I leave the skins on, it’s tougher to get as fine a grind as you need for most almond flour baking recipes.  If you don’t plan to dehydrate the pulp (using it for recipes like this or this), don’t worry about peeling the skins.

  1. Renee says:

    You are dehydrating at too high a temp, that high kills the enzymes you worked so hard to support.

    1. When I dehydrate the pulp, I do so with the intent to use it in baking, so it doesn’t matter the temp it’s dehydrated. If I use the pulp for a raw treat of some sort, I don’t dehydrate.

  2. Dana says:

    May i ask/know what weather temperature conditions are your almond nuts sprouted in? thanks

    1. Hey Dana! Sprouting works best if the nuts aren’t too warm or too cold, ideally indoors between 65-75F.

  3. Demi says:

    My almonds had a smell to them after soaking and sprouting. Is this normal? Thank you!

    And great recipe!! So thank you for sharing

    1. Yes, it should have a bright smell, slightly sour but not moldy smelling.

  4. Victoria says:

    Why use salt in the sprouting?

    1. Hey Victoria, sorry for the delay! The salt helps to activate the live enzymes in the almonds!

  5. Laurel Fitzhugh says:

    Why do you add the salt? I thought the salt would kill the sprouts.

    1. The salt actually helps to activate the live enzymes in the almonds!

  6. james williams says:

    I like to soak lentils for dahl and they always sprout… If you blend them they make milk, but also stick to pan, need cast iron, or blend after. Anyhow, costco, the red white and blue, hypermart, fedmart…who else will rationalize the despot. Maybe I need to watch le miserab again, not the hollywood movie, as almonds are from cali, and cali is the Mormon stronghold, if you believe in westward expansion. Eff the proud boys… POP my almonds! Cheeky bastards. Even GA3 solution won’t revive those suckers… Well, I’m Vati constitution and all nuts are good for me, save peanuts.

  7. Hana says:

    Hi Angela,

    Thanks for sharing this! If I want to sprout and store the almonds, do you recommend to dry them out in the oven and keep refrigerated or at room temp? Do you know how long would I be able to store them? Thank you 🙂

    1. Hey Hana, sorry for the delay! After sprouting, you can dehydrate them but I wouldn’t recommend any heat higher than 200F. They’ll be crispier that way. But you could also store in the fridge right after sprouting, though they won’t keep as long that way.

  8. Marguerite Boler says:

    Do you sprout nuts you aren’t using for milk? In that case, what’s your technique for a dry out process?

    1. Hey Marguerite, Instructions for dehydrating are at the very bottom of the instructions. The time needed will be a bit greater if you haven’t ground the almonds down but will vary based on the volume and how spread out the nuts are on your trays.

  9. Aaron Miller says:

    Hi, I came here from your negative review of the TerraSoul almonds. What truly raw almonds would you now recommend? Thanks.

    1. Hey Aaron, I’m confused. I state explicitly in this post that I recommend the Terrasoul brand for sprouting.

  10. Kemal says:

    Can I sprout them for three days and slowly roast them for 8 hours (as I learned from JJ Virgin, celebrity nutritionist), or is it wrong to roast amonds after I let them sprout for three days?

    1. Hey Kemal, you wouldn’t want to “roast” above about 200F or you’ll be killing the good nutrients created by the sprouting process. I like to use a dehydrator for this part of the process or you could also just set your oven on warm for however long it takes to dry them out.

  11. Lenore Hocking says:

    What about using Apple Cider Vinegar instead of Salt. When soaking? I didn’t realize after the first soak, that you needed to do another 8hrs. Of soaking, I will give that a try next time. Thank You, Lenore

    1. Hey Lenore, I’ve never heard of anyone using ACV instead of salt. If you try it, let me know how it goes.

  12. Danielle Kuhn says:

    I’ve always had success in sprouting Kirkland almonds, however I don’t use salt in the soaking process.

  13. Ms. Gallardo… I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your replies and reading this blog… I am amazed…and disappointed. I just went out and bought a huge bag of Kirkland Almonds and am now afraid to eat them. I went to Amazon and they are out of what you recommended. Anyway, I went to the local grocery store and bought some “raw” almonds in bulk and have them on the counter in a bowl of salt water right now… going to see what happens. If they soak and don’t smell rancid, I will assume that they are not treated with PPO?? Thanks for the heads up on the Costco brand. Keep up the great work! Don’t think I will have the time to spout this weekend, but will definitely soak! If I do have time to try to spout, and they don’t sprout, will that most defiantly mean PPO was used?

  14. Used “raw” almonds from Winco, almost none of them sprouted after about 60 hours but the milk still tastes great. Any idea what the nutritional info for a cup of this milk might be? Ie. fat, protein, calories?

  15. Laura Ferguson says:

    I recently bought a 2 pound bag of Terrasoul almonds for sprouting, as they are the only nuts I can eat on the Body Ecology Diet and they must be sprouted.
    I do not foresee myself eating this bag of almonds very quickly, so to keep them from going rancid I would normally freeze them. If I do so will almonds sprout after they’ve been frozen. I would think so as I know you can freeze flower seeds.
    Thanking you in advance. Laura Ferguson

  16. Lex Barringer says:

    Using sodium hydrochloride (table salt or sea salt) is best but you need to make sure that when you soak these almonds or any nuts or fruit that you do so with good water, not out of the tap from the city, too many contaminants are in that tap water.

    ACV, is just another form of acetic acid, and it has a different function. Salts from acetic acid, known as acetates are anti-microbial by nature but it can also affect germination of certain kinds of seeds, nuts and fruits.

    My recommendation is to use Angela’s method and to have an organic top self motherless apple cider vinegar (or one of your choosing, as long as it’s organic), at a teaspoon of that in, as well.

    Putting the nuts in the oven, isn’t that good of an idea. Depends on the oven technology, they vary from 150 ~ 200 degree Fahrenheit. Anything above 130 degrees Fahrenheit and it will start to destroy the vital nutrients, using a good quality dehydrator is best and store them in dark non transparent plexiglass or glass jars, to keep the nuts dry and fresh. Avoid using the color blue or violet/purple if the jar is translucent that allows some light to pass, that can aid in accelerating regeneration and in some cases spoilage, too.

  17. Debra says:

    Thank you for your very informative information. Now I am waiting for my order of raw, steamed almonds from “Wild Soil” which claims superb almonds, so hopefully true to their claim.

  18. Icabod says:

    I understand that it’s best soak the almonds in non-chlorinated filtered water? Can you rinse the almonds with regular water from the faucet?

  19. Marsha says:

    After sprouting do I need to dehydrate the almond before making nut butter?
    Also what is your preferred method for fine ground almond flour?

    1. Hi Marsha,
      Yes, you’ll want to fully dehydrate the almonds before making nut butter. Make sure to use a very low temp. As for ground almond flour, check the very last paragraph in the directions here for my method. Good luck!

  20. JJ Palmer says:

    Does sunlight effect the sprouting process?

  21. mary jordan says:

    So interesting! i’m just learning about sprouting, and loving this site! i’m curious if the same comments apply to the Kirkland organic almonds, or are you talking about the conventional Kirkland brand of almonds? Thank you!

    1. Rebecca Ratliff says:

      Nope, you should be fine with the organic option that they now offer. 🙂

  22. Kia says:

    Question: if you buy sprouted almonds, that have been dehydrated, can you soak those & make milk?
    (saw the links provided via your link to the detoxinista- one site sells sprouted nuts)
    So thankful to have come across your site. Transitioning into this lifestyle would be so intimidating if it weren’t for people like you sharing information. 😄

    1. I apologize for the delay, Kia. But yes, you can definitely just find sprouted almonds and then soak & blend to make milk with them!

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