How to Make Popped Sorghum

How to Make Popped Sorghum

Love popcorn but can’t eat it regularly because you’re sensitive to corn? We have the next best solution and, spoiler alert, you can make it with your Popper! 

Much as popcorn is a universally beloved snack, unfortunately, some folks just can’t enjoy it because of a corn sensitivity. 

Luckily, if you’re one of these people, there’s an alternative worth exploring. Say hello to popped sorghum!

In this blog post, we give you the low down on this grain as well as some tips on popping sorghum using a popcorn popper.

Let’s get right to it:

What Is Popped Sorghum?

popped sorghum next to unpopped sorghum

Sorghum dates back thousands of years to Africa but is now also grown in the US and is present in India and Southeast Asia. As one versatile grain, it can be used to make everything from flatbread to porridge to the popcorn-like treat we’ve been raving about.
Sorghum has plenty of health benefits. It’s a whole grain, like popcorn, and is therefore a great source of fiber. A small serving can already leave you satisfied. Sorghum is also packed with nutrients such as iron, vitamin B6, and potassium.
Plus, it’s gluten-free, so if you have celiac disease or a gluten intolerance, you can safely snack on it.
Popped sorghum is actually really special in India. Over there, it’s called jowar dhani and seasoned with all kinds of spices. It’s a staple during Holi, or the Festival of Colors, Love, and Spring. 

Key Differences Between Popped Sorghum and Popcorn

Here are the ways popped sorghum is unique from regular popcorn:

  • Size: Don’t expect popped sorghum to be the same size as popcorn. Popcorn kernels typically expand 40 times their size when popped, making popped sorghum much smaller in comparison. 
  • Poppability: Another thing to keep in mind when you’re popping sorghum? It’s normal for some seeds to stay unpopped, even more than popcorn. 
  • Hull: Sorghum gets major brownie points for its soft, edible hull. Even if you’re left with a lot of unpopped seeds, you can still munch on them without worrying about losing a tooth. It’s chewier and softer than popcorn. 
  • Taste: Sorghum has a nutty taste to it. While it’s not as neutral as popcorn, it still pairs perfectly with sweet, savory, and even spicy seasonings.   

How to Pop Sorghum

Now let’s get into the actual sorghum popping. You can technically use any pot to do this, but if you want something that does the job easiest, then we recommend the Popsmith.

Our stovetop popcorn popper is modeled after the same mechanism movie theaters use to make popcorn. Its stainless steel construction and multi-clad metal bottom ensure fast, even heat distribution, while its patented stirrer keeps kernels — or sorghum seeds — in constant motion.

Here’s how to pop sorghum using it:

Step 1: Pre-Heat

woman turns on stove`

Set your Popper over medium to medium-high heat and add oil. (We like to use coconut oil since it adds a buttery richness).

Step 2: Add Sorghum

Pour in the sorghum when the oil begins to sizzle. 

Step 3: Turn

Woman turns crank of stovetop popcorn popper

The sorghum will start popping. Turn the Popper’s crank clockwise to keep the seeds from staying in one place and burning!

Step 4: Remove

When popping slows, take your Popper off the heat and pour the popped sorghum into a bowl.

Step 5: Season

This part is optional since popped sorghum already tastes good plain, but if you want to give it more flavor, go ahead and let your creativity run loose! 

You can add a pinch of sea salt, drizzle melted chocolate, or sprinkle some cinnamon — the sky’s the limit. 

Step 6: Serve and Enjoy

And there you have it! It’s really as easy as cooking popcorn on stovetop and delicious in its own right. 

A Blank Canvas for Culinary Creativity

Popped sorghum may not be the same as popcorn, but it’s a good alternative when you can’t eat corn. Go ahead and try making it with your Popsmith!

The Popper may have been primarily designed to make popcorn (and it does a terrific job at it), but it’s not a one-trick pony. Besides popping sorghum, you can use it to roast coffee beans or make a roux — it’s so much more than an average popcorn popper.

Want more snack inspiration or popcorn recipes? Make sure to check out our blog! 

FAQs About Popped Sorghum

What is popped sorghum?

Sorghum is a decent popcorn alternative. Like popcorn, this ancient grain pops when exposed to a high temperature. 

Is sorghum the same as popcorn?

Nope. While the two are whole grains and can pop using similar methods, they have noticeable differences. Popped sorghum is smaller than the average popcorn, it tastes nuttier, and it has a softer hull. 

Is popped sorghum good for you?

Depends on how you season it. Sorghum is healthy as is, but if you combine it with something like melted chocolate, then expect it to be less nutritious.  

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