Popping Sorghum: Drying Down Popcorn’s Healthy Alternative

“I tried popping some and all that happened is the kernel opened a very little and was some what crnuchy. Is that all it will do? Should it have a popped kernel like popcorn? Thanks.  ~JA”


Thank you for the email regarding popping sorghum.  It sounds like your popping sorghum may be a little to fresh for popping.

Popping sorghum will pop when freshly harvested, but not well: its high moisture content leads to poor expansion and may give a more ‘chewy’ affect to the pieces because it is more dense from less expansion. Sorghum kernels with a high moisture content are also susceptible to mold when stored. For these reasons, the kernels/grains should be allowed to dry until they reach the moisture level at which they expand the most. This differs by variety and conditions, but is generally in the range of 14–15% moisture by weight. If the sorghum kernels are over-dried, the expansion rate will suffer and the percentage of sorghum kernels that pop at all will decline.

The way I have done it in the past it to lay the popping sorghum kernels on cookie sheets for a day or two when the weather is nice and dry outside.  I put them on the table near an open window.  After that, I do a test sample to see how it is popping.  By that time, it has dried enough that I have really nice popping.  The sorghum kernels can then be put in glass jars to store.

No matter what the moisture content, you are going to end up with a yummy treat if you have popping sorghum.  Popped sorghum is a crunchy, fluffy, healthy and downright great alternative to regular junky snack foods. When popped, popping sorghum looks and tastes just like mini premium popcorn, only slightly sweeter and with a better crunch. It has fewer calories and less fat than popcorn, and best of all, it has no hulls to get stuck in your teeth.  Although the sorghum kernels are smaller… it just shows that good things come in small packages.



© Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


8 thoughts on “Popping Sorghum: Drying Down Popcorn’s Healthy Alternative

  1. I recently bought some raw sorghum to pop – about 25% of it popped in oil and even less than that when I put it in my hot-air popcorn popper. Corn is grown and conditioned to pop well – I don’t think sorghum is. I did, though, find a company that sells flavored popped sorghum – Mini Pops. They’ve got 6 different flavors, and their website says they’re coming out with more. http://www.MyMiniPops.com is the website.

    • Not all sorghum can be popped. For example, varieties that are grown for syrup production don’t pop well. Was that original type you purchased labeled as popping sorghum?

      Another reason that it may not have popped well is because it was not fully developed at harvest and/or had not been properly dried down.

  2. Interestingly, I actually had to ‘Hydrate’ my sorghum to get it to pop. Trying to pop it as-is didn’t yield anything.
    I gave up and bought some post-popped (Mini Pops).

  3. Pingback: My Homepage

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