Within the crunchy snack category, popcorn has quite the leg up on its chip and cracker competition: It can take on any flavor profile you're craving with a few dashes of seasoning, makes your entire kitchen smell like melted butter, and can be wolfed down in large servings without causing your stomach to feel like it's exceeded max capacity. Still, the munchie has one major pitfall: It leaves pointy kernels stuck in your gums and teeth, forcing you to spend a few minutes flossing your pearly whites after every snack sesh.
The equally delicious solution to the dental issue: Trade in your popcorn for popped sorghum. The ancient whole grain has a barely-there hull that won't slip between your teeth while you chew, and it offers the same light and fluffy yet supremely crunchy texture as the OG popped snack. And despite its tiny size (seriously, the grain is roughly 3 millimeters in diameter), sorghum is packed with nutrition; a half-cup serving of the unpopped, naturally gluten-free grain offers 6.5 grams of fiber, 51 percent of the recommended dietary allowance for magnesium (a mineral that helps regulate muscle and nerve function), and 85 percent of the RDA for manganese (a mineral that helps make energy and protect your cells from damage), according to the United States Department of Agriculture.
How to Pop Sorghum
To score those nutrients and fulfill your hankering for a crunchy munchie, you've got options. If you prefer to make your popped sorghum from scratch, simply pour sorghum grains (Buy It, $13, amazon.com) into a hot stainless steel pot, cover with a tight-fitting lid, and cook on medium heat, continuously shaking the pot. Once you hear about two-thirds of the grains pop (you'll want to be listening closely), remove from heat, pour out the popped grains, and repeat the process with the uncooked ones until all are popped and ready to be enjoyed, according to Bob's Red Mill. (Related: The Puffed and Popped Food Trend Is a Healthier Way to Snack)
Try Pre-Made Sorghum Snacks
For a mess- and stress-free snacking experience, though, you'll want to stock up on one (or all) of these popped sorghum snacks. Whether you prefer salty or sweet, bite-sized or in chip-form, there's a munchie sure to satisfy your stomach and taste buds.
Poplettes Popped Sorghum Snacks
If you firmly believe that Smartfood is the GOAT in the popcorn department, turn to Poplettes. The brand's white cheddar popped sorghum snack packs the same flavor as the OG munchie, but each bite is roughly one-sixth of the size (cute!). Those with more adventurous palettes will enjoy noshing on the Bollywood Masala variety, which features bold spices such as dried mango powder, red chili powder, and ground turmeric, or the Mediterranean Magic variety, which is tossed with sumac, roasted sesame seeds, thyme, and garlic powder.
Ka-Pop! Popped Chips
These popped sorghum munchies were crafted with snackers who are allergic to practically everything under the sun in mind. Featuring both sorghum flour and popped sorghum kernels, Ka-Pop! Popped Chips are certified vegan and free of GMOs, gluten, and the 12 most common allergens. And although they faintly resemble a styrofoam-like rice cake, reviewers say the chips — which are available in five flavors, including dairy-free cheddar, salt and vinegar, and red and green sriracha — are anything but bland. "[They] taste a million times better than any popcorn snacks or rice cake snacks I have ever eaten," wrote one shopper. (ICYMI, pasta chips are a thing — here's how to make them.)
Chasin' Dreams Farm Popped Sorghum Snacks
When you're in desperate need of a 2 p.m. sweet treat, grab a bag of these popped sorghum snacks from Chasin' Dreams Farm. The female-founded, female-led brand offers three varieties of popped sorghum, including a kettle corn-like flavor that nails the balance of saltiness and sweetness, a cinnamon flavor that's reminiscent of cinnamon rolls, and a cocoa flavor that tastes like the grains were actually dipped in hot chocolate. But these munchies aren't just for eating straight up; the company recommends sprinkling a few pieces on top of a scoop of ice cream, mixing them into trail mix or cereal, or using them as edible cake decorations. There are no wrong answers here.
Nature Nate's Popped Sorghum
Made solely with organic sorghum, avocado oil, and sea salt, Nature Nate's Popped Sorghum snacks are as simple as they come. The munchies are free of the 12 most common allergens, GMOs, preservatives, additives, and natural flavorings. Despite the short-and-sweet ingredient list, reviewers are clearly obsessed, calling it "a dream come true." "Literally cannot get enough of this stuff," said one shopper. "THIS is the best thing since sliced bread, no kidding. I probably eat at least a bag a week."
Pop I.Q. Air Popped Sorghum
With flavors such as cheddar, kettle-cooked, and salt and pepper, this popped sorghum could easily be mistaken for the popcorn you'd find in gigantic snack tins during the holidays. Save for the plain variety (which has one ingredient: sorghum), the snack packs are made with three to five ingredients, including a base of sorghum and sunflower or extra virgin olive oil. To ensure you get only the biggest pieces of the tiny grain, the company sifts its pops not once or twice but three times. In filtering out any crumb-sized bits that can be difficult to eat, your snacking experience is sure to require less clean-up. (Related: 11 Natural Snacks You're Going to Want to Stock Up On)
Pop Bitties Ancient Grain Chip
Coated in a sweet-meets-spicy-meets-smoky spice blend, these popped sorghum disks are a dead ringer for BBQ-flavored potato chips — only they're air popped instead of fried and are also crafted with quinoa, chia seeds, and brown rice. The snack is non-GMO project verified, certified gluten-free, certified vegan, and, according to reviewers, "are light like pop chips but have the crunch of Stacy['s] Pita Chips." Eat 'em as is or dunk them in your favorite dip to balance out the heat.