Last Monday, Sturgeon announced she would call on MSPs to back a motion demanding a vote on remaining within the UK by Spring 2019.
Speaking on ITV's Peston on Sunday, Sturgeon called membership her "compromise position".
"The reason I was prepared to compromise there is because I think that is the minimum for Scotland is to be in the Single Market," Sturgeon said. "It what I think makes sense for the UK as well if it 's out of the EU.
"But my preference is for an independent Scotland to be in the EU. I accept that because we're in different circumstances now, the UK is leaving. Then we have to set out before people in Scotland make a choice, the route, the process and the transition that we would make towards that."
Holyrood will consider Sturgeon's motion on Wednesday.