Popped Sorghum

Low Lectin Sorghum Popcorn Recipe (Low – Medium Oxalate, Low Histamine Popped Sorghum)

My clients with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance often tell me they don’t know what to do for low histamine snacks. I’m excited for you to try popping sorghum!

I used to love popcorn. But even with using very fresh, organic popcorn kernels and popping it myself, I would still get a lot of reactions.   

I noticed many of my clients with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance are eating popcorn, too. And they are getting reactions, just like I did. 

A lot of people eat popcorn because it gets labeled as a healthy snack. It isn’t deep fried. It’s fairly low calorie.

And if you make it yourself, it won’t have a lot of preservatives and additives. All good things! 

But it can still be a problem for some people. 

The good news is that I’ve found a delicious alternative – popped sorghum!

This sorghum popcorn recipe is:   

Before we dig into the recipe, why might popcorn be making your symptoms worse?  

Why Popped Sorghum: The Problem with Popcorn  

When I was eating popcorn, I didn’t know about lectins wreaking havoc with mast cells and histamine levels.  

I thought since corn was low histamine, freshly popped corn would be a good snack option for me.  

(You definitely want to stay away from bagged popcorn. It can be a high histamine food due to inflammatory ingredients like canola oil. It may also contain mast cell triggering ingredients in the way of additives and preservatives.) 

Even though corn is low histamine, it can be difficult to digest. And gut issues, like leaky gut or SIBO, are extremely common in those with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS).

You want to be as gentle with your gut as possible if you have gut issues. 

Corn is also a common allergen. So, for some people, corn can even trigger immune issues. 

I also found out that corn (including popped corn) is a lectin.

Lectins are a type of protein in certain plants, like: 

  • Wheat 
  • Corn 
  • Quinoa 
  • Even some vegetables like squashes and tomatoes! 

Lectins are one of the major causes of wheat sensitivities. And one reason why many people sensitive to wheat also react to corn.  

You can read more about lectins here: Lectins and the Mast Cell Connection

How can you know if you shouldn’t be eating corn or popcorn?  

You can run a Lectin Zoomer test and a Corn Zoomer test through your practitioner. (Or ask if you’re already in the Mast Cell 360 practice.)

The Corn Zoomer is the best test on the market to check for corn sensitivities.  

Corn Zoomer

And the Lectin Zoomer checks for lectin sensitivity across a number of lectin foods.  

I especially like the Food Zoomers for people who need to be careful about removing more foods due to an already limited diet.  

That way, you can be more sure whether a specific food is an issue. And you aren’t eliminating foods unnecessarily.  

When I took the Corn Zoomer, my results showed I shouldn’t eat corn or popcorn.  

My Lectin Zoomer and Corn Zoomer showed I have major immune reactions to corn and popcorn. So, both corn and popcorn are clearly out for me.  

But I did figure out that I could tolerate some lectins, like rice. That meant I was able to reintroduce a food I thought I couldn’t eat back into my diet. So, the Food Zoomer tests are definitely worth it.  

I did feel better when I gave up corn-based foods like popcorn.   

But popcorn was one of my favorites, and I really missed it. Especially on movie nights.   

I tried subbing chopped apples for a crunchy snack. Apples are filling and they have histamine lowering properties. They are a nice, sweet snack.   

But it wasn’t popcorn.  

I still craved a salty, savory, nutty snack. If you are a popcorn lover…you know what I mean.  

So, what to do? Well, I started looking into sorghum popcorn. And here are some of the things I found out. Let’s start with the health benefits. 

Health Benefits of Sorghum  

Sorghum is the 5th most common grain in the world. It is an ancient grain commonly used in Africa, Asia, and Central America.  

Sorghum is a low lectin grain. It’s one of the very few low lectin grain options. This is a plus in my book.  

I was even more excited when I started looking up the health benefits of sorghum. Here’s what the studies showed:

  • White sorghum reduces IgE production which is involved in significant allergic reactions  
  • Sorghum flour helps manage inflammation and weight in overweight rats
  • Black sorghum demonstrates significant anti-inflammatory activity, particularly on 2 mast cell mediators: pro-inflammatory cytokines interleukin-1β and tumor necrosis factor-α
  • Black sorghum has significant antioxidant activity

Black sorghum is a little harder to find. But if you can find it, it’s another good choice. It’s loaded with antioxidants.  

The bottom line: any form of sorghum may have good health benefits for those with mast cell issues. And black sorghum has even more anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties!  

Popped sorghum can be a great alternative to your popcorn snack. But here’s what you need to know about popping sorghum if you have oxalate issues.  

Is Popped Sorghum Low Oxalate? 

If you haven’t heard of oxalates yet, you can read What Are Oxalates in this post.    

Oxalates are in many types of plants. They look like tiny razor blades under a microscope. Oxalates are made by plants to protect themselves.  

Some foods are much higher in oxalates than others. Some high oxalate foods are:

  • Spinach
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Beets
  • Most nuts
  • Most grains   

Why does this matter if you have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance?  

Oxalates can lead to a lot of mast cell activation (and degranulation.) They can also cause muscle pain, urinary pain and burning, joint pain, and other issues in those who are sensitive.  

The oxalate levels in sorghum varies, depending on what kind of sorghum you are using and how much.  

Here are some example servings:  

Medium Oxalate:  

  • ¼ cup Bob’s Red Mill sorghum flour  
  • ½ cup Authentic Foods superfine sorghum flour  
  • ½ cup whole grain sorghum, cooked overnight  

Very High Oxalate:  

  • ½ cup Bob’s Red Mill Sorghum flour  
  • ½ cup sweet white sorghum berries, soaked overnight, drained, and rinsed  

You can see the oxalate content depends even on which brand of flour you use. For sorghum flour, Authentic Foods brand tested lower than Bob’s Red Mill.  

How about oxalate levels in popped sorghum? We just don’t know because it hasn’t been tested yet.  

If you have oxalate issues and are just starting to work on your health, you may want to hold off on introducing popped sorghum for now.  

If you aren’t sure if you have issues with oxalates, you may want to limit popped sorghum to ¼ cup the first time you try it. See how you do. If you don’t have reactions, you can slowly increase. 

If you are ok the next day, then you might try ½ cup max the next time you enjoy popped sorghum.  

Think about oxalates like a bucket. You don’t want your bucket to overflow.  

If you’ve eaten other high oxalate foods that day, you won’t have as much room in your oxalate bucket for popped sorghum.  

So, on days you plan on having popped sorghum, you’ll only want to otherwise eat lower oxalate foods. Keeping this balance may help oxalate dumping.

Sorghum Popcorn Portions  

It can be a little hard to limit how much popped sorghum you eat if you are used to eating several cups of popcorn.  

But just measure it into a bowl and eat it slowly savoring every bite.   

Maybe have several snacks to choose from to slow yourself down. You could chop up an apple, like I did.   

Combining snacks will fill you up and help slow you down when it comes to the popped sorghum. 

I felt a little deprived after I stopped eating popcorn. But, oh my gosh, popped sorghum has been the absolute best replacement for it! If you like popcorn, this is definitely worth a try. 

Here are my top tips for popping sorghum.  

The Best Sorghum for Popping 

Popped sorghum is fairly easy to make.   

It starts with choosing the right sorghum.  

And there are tricks for different cooking methods.  

Here’s what I learned.  

I tried different sorghum brands and popping methods while researching this post. I ended up with a lot of burned sorghum while experimenting.  

But not to worry, I’m sharing all my popped sorghum secrets with you below!  

One of the most important things I found out is that not all sorghum will pop!  

Shiloh Farm’s sorghum kernels definitely didn’t pop. I suspect this flatter variety is more suitable for cooking in a recipe like this low histamine stuffing.

Nature Nate’s is my favorite brand. It popped well. And it’s organic and non-GMO. 

If you can’t find Nature Nate’s, Bob’s Red Mill sorghum grain popped well, too.

With sorghum, you will have ⅓ of the grains that don’t pop. That’s ok.  

That’s just the way it goes with popping sorghum. It won’t pop as much as popcorn. You can still eat the un-popped grains. Just make sure you chew them really well.  

TIP: Here’s one more thing to note about popped sorghum. Popped sorghum is small. About ¼ the size of popcorn. But it still tastes awesome.  

Remember, even though sorghum is a low histamine food, people with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance can react to even low histamine foods for various reasons.  

If you’ve never had sorghum before, try just a bite or two first to make sure you tolerate it.

If you don’t notice any reactions after 2 days, then you might experiment with ¼ cup, popped.  

Let’s get on to the recipe!  

How to Pop Sorghum   

I played with different methods of making popped sorghum. I’ve got directions for making it 3 ways for you.  

For healthy, high heat cooking, you want to stick with:  

I’ve got the full instructions for you coming up. But first, here are some of the top points to note about each method. 

1. Popcorn Popper Method 

My favorite way. (Not an air popper; I don’t have one of those.)  

The popcorn popper (NOT air popper) method was the most reliable. I used a West Bend StirCrazy Popper.  

This was the easiest method with a flat stirring rod. Let it do most of the work.  

Just do ¼ cup at a time for best popping. And be sure to use only ghee, avocado oil, or coconut oil as your cooking oil.

Like I said, this isn’t an air popper. But I’ve read online that you can use an air popper for sorghum. But I don’t have the technique down for that one yet.  

2. Stovetop Method

This method is a little tricky to get the high heat just right. But it worked pretty well.   

TIP: Just prepare ¼ cup at a time for best popping.  

3. Microwave Method 

This was also easy. But it’s even trickier to get the heat right without burning. 

And I don’t like being in the room when the microwave is running because of the EMFs that can cause problems in Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance.

EMFs are electromagnetic fields from microwaves, cell phones, cordless phones, computers, WIFI routers, etc.  

This is my least favorite method because of the EMF exposure. EMFs can cause major issues in Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance.  

I do occasionally use a microwave for heating my frozen leftovers. But I always leave the room when the microwave is running.  

Apparently, my microwave is really strong. The first time I tried this method, it burned the sorghum so badly I had to open the windows!  

I wouldn’t use the microwave popcorn settings.   

I only ran the microwave for 2 minutes. So, you might try 1 minute at first. And then build the time from there if needed.  

You can use brown paper bags that you already own or purchase these non toxic brown bags.

That way you can perfect the amount of time you need without being accused of trying to burn the kitchen down!  

So, if you want to experiment, you can try all 3 methods to see what works best for you.  

Pre-Popped Sorghum

Need an on-the-go Low Lectin option for popped sorghum?  

If your histamine bucket is lower, you may be able to enjoy pre-popped sorghum on occasion. Just keep an eye on your histamine levels.   

There are a few pre-popped sorghum options available. Many use extra virgin olive oil. The problem is extra-virgin olive oil may become inflammatory when heated to certain temperatures. 

Olive oil really should just be used for very low heat cooking or added as a finishing oil after cooking. 

Related Article: Olive Oil – Avoiding the Frauds and Finding the Truth

Other brands of pre-popped sorghum use refined avocado oil or refined coconut oil. Those refined oils aren’t good for you.  

Remember, for healthy, high heat cooking, you want to stick with:  

The good news is I found 1 really good, popped sorghum product on Amazon. It is made with organic sorghum, organic ghee, and Himalayan sea salt.  

If you’re in a later phase of the low histamine diet, you might enjoy this. 

This is the only already pre-popped sorghum I can recommend at this time:  
Nature Nate’s Popped Sorghum Organic Ghee Butter  

Are you just starting to work on lowering your histamine levels?  

If so, then I’d wait to eat any packaged foods. In the meantime, you can enjoy freshly popped sorghum by using this recipe. 

Popped Sorghum

Low Lectin Sorghum Popcorn

Enjoy this popped sorghum recipe that's low histamine, low lectin, and low – medium oxalate, depending on the serving size.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Course Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 1 serving
Calories 109 kcal



Popcorn Popper Ingredients

Stovetop Ingredients

Microwave Ingredients


Popcorn Popper Instructions

  • Heat ghee or oil in popcorn popper until hot.
  • Add popping sorghum.
  • Swirl the sorghum in the popper to coat grains with ghee or oil. Wear oven mitts to protect your hands in case the hot oil or grains come out of the pan.  
  • Cover the popper. Continue cooking, shaking the popper every 30 seconds or so. This step is key with popping sorghum so it doesn’t burn. Make sure to really shake it well.  
  • Continue cooking until popping slows to 1 or 2 pops every 3 to 4 seconds. Note: Up to ⅓ of the grains may not pop, so don’t let it burn.  
  • Then remove from heat. Sprinkle with salt and let cool slightly.
  • You can eat the un-popped grains or pick them out – whichever is your preference.  
  • You can also top with melted ghee or oil, if desired.  

Stovetop Instructions 

  • Heat heavy saucepan over medium heat until hot – 1 to 2 minutes, depending on if you have gas or electric burners. If you flick a couple drops of water on the surface of the pan, it should sizzle. Don’t wait too long or it will be too hot and burn.  
  • Add popping sorghum.
  • Cover the pan. Cook over medium heat, shaking the pan really well every 30 seconds or so.  
  • Continue cooking until popping slows to 1 or 2 pops every 3 to 4 seconds. Note: Up to ⅓ the grains may not pop, so don’t let it burn.  
  • Remove from heat. Sprinkle with salt and let cool slightly.
  • You can eat the un-popped grains or pick them out – whichever is your preference.  
  • You can also top with melted ghee or oil, if desired.  

Microwave Instructions

  • Add popping sorghum to paper bag. Fold the end of the bag over 2 times, about 1 inch for each fold.  
  • Put in the microwave for 1 ½ to 2 ½ minutes on medium. Cook until popping slows to 1 or 2 pops every 3 to 4 seconds. (I strongly recommend you be out of the room while the microwave is running. This does make it hard to stop the microwave at the right time.)  
  • Remove from microwave. Sprinkle with salt and let cool slightly.  
  • You can eat the un-popped grains or pick them out – whichever is your preference.  
  • You can also top with melted ghee or oil, if desired.  


Nutritional information is only for ¼ cup sorghum without oil. 
Remember: Don’t over consume if you have oxalate issues! 


Nutrition Facts
Low Lectin Sorghum Popcorn
Serving Size
30 g
Amount per Serving
% Daily Value*
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Keyword dairy free, gluten free, grain free, low histamine, low lectin, medium oxalate, sugar free

What’s your favorite way to make popped sorghum?  

More Low Histamine Snacks 

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Awika, Joseph M., et al. (2004). Anthocyanins from black sorghum and their antioxidant properties. Food Chemistry. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S030881460400322X  

Burdette, A., et al. (2010). Anti-inflammatory activity of select sorghum (sorghum bicolor) brans. https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/jmf.2009.0147  

HappyForks. (n.d.-a). Recipe analyzerhttps://happyforks.com/analyzer/result

Rhodes, D. H., Kresovich, S. (2016). Sorghum [sorghum bicolor (L.) moench] genotypes with contrasting polyphenol compositions differentially modulate inflammatory cytokines in mouse macrophages. Journal of Chemistry. https://www.hindawi.com/journals/jchem/2016/9640869/abs/  

Afify, A. E. M. M., et al. (2018). Extruded sorghum flour (sorghum bicolor L.) modulate adiposity and inflammation in high fat diet-induced obese rats. Journal of Functional Foods. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1756464618300100  

Sugahara, T., et al. (2009). White sorghum (sorghum bicolor (L.) moench) bran extracts suppressed IGE production by U266 cells. Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry. https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/bbb/advpub/0/advpub_90245/_article/-char/ja/  


  1. Maria Michaels

    This is great info thanks! Do you have any info on popped water lily seeds? I’m hoping they are ok!

    1. Suz, Mast Cell 360 Team

      Hi Maria,
      Thanks for reaching out. I don’t have any further information specifically on popped water lily seeds at this time. Generally, most seeds are lower histamine if they are fresh.

  2. Sly

    Why are you suggesting to cook at high heat with any oil-especially a highly unsaturated one like coconut oil- where the health benefits are destroyed by heating?

    1. Suz, Mast Cell 360 Team

      Coconut oil and ghee are stable at high heat. These are the safe oils for high heat.

  3. harrie geenen

    I missed maybe the most important part of sorghum.
    The magic word is resistant starch. please google.
    We often distinguish between fast hydrocarbons like sugars, that create blood sugar peaks and the slower hydrocarbons that are slower metabolised. The third group are not metabolised hydrocarbons, the resistant starch family.
    resistant starch is not metabolised by you food processing gut, but it behaves like dietary fiber. It is eaten by the bacteria at the very end of your gut. It is necessary for a good bacteria population, but these bacteria also produce gut healing products like butyric acid.
    By increasing your sorghum intake, eg by eating home made sorghum bread (bread baking machine) you repair your gut and your problems disappear.

    1. Suz, Mast Cell 360 Team

      Hi Harrie,
      Thanks for reaching out! That’s great info! I’m so glad if this worked for you! For those with complex problems, this may not be enough to make all the gut problems disappear. But when we are working through issues like HIT and MCAS, anything we can do that supports our health is great!

  4. Pop Art Snacks

    This is a great piece of knowledge. I want to add some more points to it.

  5. Catlin

    Do you guys have any concern about the issue with mold in sorghum? And what about the pesticides in the non-organic sorghum like Bob’s Red Mill?

    1. Jamie, Mast Cell 360

      Hi Catlin, Grains in North America are tested for mycotoxins and sorghum isn’t usually an issue for mycotoxins. We recommend using organic when possible to minimize exposure to toxins such as pesticides whenever possible.

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