A popcorn alternative has been high on my list of things to find lately. My daughter was recently diagnosed with a corn allergy and it makes snacking very hard. Everything she has come to know as normal has changed because of this new-to-her allergy.
Because of this, I have been reading and researching every possible way to provide my kids with a snack that tastes like the popcorn that they crave. We sample a lot of alternatives but mostly with the same opinion, they don’t taste right.
After lots of testing, and different purchases my daughter has found 2 options that she loves. I have had less luck creating the one, but she truly seems to make it better than I! Ready to find out the popcorn alternative for those with corn allergies?
Popcorn Alternative For Those With Food Allergies
Talking the talk and walking the walk with each of you
The most dreaded words in our house, ‘You were found to be allergic to and that means….’ Is that what you have heard too? Let’s conquer popcorn avoidance together, shall we? Read on.
*Updated May 11, 2019, **
Today as you read the article, please note that some of the highlighted links may be affiliate links. If you click on the links and then make a purchase from the website, I may receive some type of compensation.
The links here will take you right to products we use, and order. If for no other reason, I suggest looking at the products so you can read about them before you buy them.
Additionally, use those links as a price gauge for later when you are shopping for the products. An educated shopper scores the best products and prices.
I am hoping that each of these products helps you replace what you are currently not able to eat, and miss, popcorn! Ready to get poppin’ excitement over #NotPopcorn now?
Use my Storefront link to see all the products together if you prefer, this way you can select the ones you want more quickly than reading through here.
However, do note, I am about to provide tips on storage, cooking and tell you what products we prefer after personally using! Not one bit of this post is sponsored, this is all me, sharing what I know. Talk the talk and walking the walk!
It’s not easy to find a popcorn alternative, and the brands often make it cost offensive to purchase products that are pre-made and packaged. Sourcing out new products and creating delicious eats for my daughter is what I do well, and I thought I should share what I have found with you.
Gluten sensitivity is not an easy food allergy to deal with, and on so many levels it is emotional as well as physical. I have attempted to find alternatives to replace the foods she loved and can no longer consume.
Honestly, and you know this when you have food allergies, you either work around them or you suffer. I put on the boxing gloves to kick corn out of my daughter’s life, and it takes some doing, but research is what helps.
Just as my son with severe food allergies needs to be accommodated with foods, my daughter does as well, and this momma is hot on the trail of some pretty cool stuff.
It’s a Process
No one that could have told me that one day, I would be a mom to kids with food allergies, would I have believed. It’s a daily battle to make sure there are no cross-contamination or wrong foods consumed, but I do it each day.
What’s been the hardest part of all of this is when there is a misdiagnosis of a food allergy, but it still has led me to who I am today. The person that advocates for allergen-friendly dining, and foods. A Mom who consistently creates new recipes based on eliminating and replacing ingredients.
I truly hope that I can somehow help you in your quest to replace and enjoy food that might be missing in your life due to a crappy food allergy!
Where to Find a popcorn alternative for those with corn allergies.
Remember this story is from at least 9 years back. I’ve had a website that long actually longer. In fact I have been at this for almost 13+ years now, so if it seems like the information was hard to find, it was!
I have done my homework and Googled until I can Google no more, but no one really has the same allergy combinations. For us, beating gluten is one thing, but adding in the corn allergy takes this to another level. I have to really be smart about this and figure out how to not have corn in popcorn.
You would think you might be able to walk into a grocery store and find a section marked Corn-Free but that is not the situation. Frustration led me to resourcefulness and on a recent foodie conference, I met with a few brands.
More Recently …. (5+ years back -lol)
The brands I spoke with were not working to create food without corn, rther that is one of their main ingredients. But, my mind thought, if they know all the products that have CORN In them, they might be able to whittle my list of Corn-Free products down.
That’s exactly what happened. After speaking to a few of the brands, I made a new list of food sources that might be corn-free and of course I struck gold!
Finding the foods in all stores is not always possible, but make sure to check Whole Foods. They are pretty good at sourcing foods that you cannot normally find. In addition, my Go-To is Amazon.
You can find anything there albeit prices are not always favorable. However, I am also gonna give props to Walmart. Don’t roll your eyes, really it’s a great place for the unexpected, after all that’s why you shop there to people watch right? HA!
While often frustrating because so many people are in the aisles, some of my best allergen-friendly finds have been sourced there and at very favorable prices.
I look at it like this. Rather than driving store-to-store, I cut my losses, order and try. When it works, then I hone in on who else has it and monitor the prices. It’s that simple. However, do what works for you. As a shopping queen, I do have my own methods to the way I shop and why!
The Corn-Free Party
First, know that Amaranth can be used to pop. However, you have to find a reliable brand. I still struggle with this. Basically, the breakdown ratio of Amaranth seed/kernel to popping is a 1:2 ratio. Meaning that for every raw tablespoon you pop you will yield 2 tablespoons of popped.
However, that is if they ALL pop, which rarely happens, no matter who you are cooking it: pro, home-chef, etc. Therefore it takes it back to a 1:1 Ratio/ tablespoon. Truth!
We once knew a lady that got weevils in her pantry in everything. So, with that in mind, find a cool, dark space and keep this either zipped up tight in a bag or a jar with an airtight lid. Don’t refrigerate or freeze.
Have you heard of Amaranth? I read about it in a magazine at our Dr’s. office and never finished investigating until my hand was forced. Amaranth is able to be put on a stove and it should pop.
I will not lay claims about the brand, but you can find one that will pop and may prefer. Personally, when there are little pieces left, I don’t sift through and re-pop, that’s too ridiculous. Instead, I shake the bowl and let them just fall to the bottom.
You can season it, and it looks like small kernels of popcorn. It is very good once you get the cooking method right and add the seasoning you want.
Did you know that Amaranth is readily available at almost all major grocery and health food stores? While it does not pop NEARLY as big as regular popcorn, it sure does give the flavor that is reminiscent of popcorn which truly satisfies the pang for popcorn.
I just find it to be tedious if we are being honest to pop and finding a reliable brand without grit, basically impossible. Also, consistency in any brands we have tried is just not there. However, you can also buy it pre-popped.
SOLVE IT- BUY IT POPPED
The Kuali brand of Amaranth comes popped and ready to eat, it’s just a question of do you want manufactured food or made fresh?
The Truth Behind Amaranth – Corn Free Popcorn Alternative – Popping With Irritation
At first, I struggled with popping Amaranth, it is a temperamental beastie. You have to really work with it to understand. I will offer this advice as well, find a nonstick pan with a clear, glass lid and stay true to it.
You might note that I seem frustrated, but if you have tried to pop this you understand. Being truthful with you is the best way to set your expectations. After all, it’s not gonna be a silver spoon attempt on try number one.
When at first you don’t succeed, try and try again, which is what I had to do to get this all right! You will have to as well!
I dedicate one pan to this because it consistently creates beautifully popped Amaranth. The pan you use and the heat you use are going to need to be consistent and in the end, will be the reason you either succeed or fail.
If I sound nuts, try popping it. Chances are you will burn it and scar a pan on more than one occasion. Make sure to have a filter for your mouth, because you will cuss that pan out and the Amaranth (yes I did!)
The pan/pot you use needs to either be nonstick or stainless steel with a clean bottom that allows your Amaranth to scatter and slide about the bottom without issue. You are not USING cooking oil.
A pan/pot with a clear glass lid. Clear will allow you to see the process!
Think Of Pancake Preparation And Mimic It
Comparatively speaking, when cooking pancakes your first pancake in a pan fails unless of course, you do the water spatter test. Truly you will learn that you have to do the same with Amaranth kernels. A few will be sacrificed to create the many in an appropriately heated pan.
Unlike popcorn in a pot, with an oil base and kernels tossed in, before a pan heats, these little beasties need to have a pan of proper temperature. Rather than go on and on check out the articles below to help you.
You can use this article if you like to learn more about How to Puff Amaranth.
All I can say is if at first you don’t succeed try and try again, because once you figure it out, you will be pro and it is yummy and corn-free!
Need More Corn Free Alternatives to Popcorn?
It’s not just Amaranth that is corn-free and popcorn-like. In fact, I have another substitute for you, and this one is just as good. It is all in YOUR Preference.
Meet Sorghum. It pops up nicely, but remember these are going to be 1/2 the size of popcorn. Again, my best friend is Amazon when seeking these foods. I simply, click and order. However, as I said, I have been finding it in many different places.
The Brands and Their Allergen Declarations
POP Sorghum Yourself
Bob’s Red Mill products are pretty much my go-to when it comes to cooking and I trust the brand. So, with that said, I will share how I cook Sorghum. It was reaffirming to see I was doing it right when I saw how they are cooking it too!
At current, this is the brand we are using and I will not waiver. Bob’s Red Mill products are consistent and priced fair as far as all these foods go. Also, it is easiest to find compared to other brands.
Some use a pan and no oil, me, I love my microwave. What I will tell you is that it all happens fast. My microwave cooks popcorn itself faster than the recommended projection on the bags. Therefore, stating that it takes me 2-3 minutes means you need to really learn your microwave cooking time.
1/4 C of Sorghum, and a paper lunch bag that folds down. You will add the sorghum to the bag and lay it flat, after folding the top over 2x. Know ahead, if it’s your first time, expect mistakes. This way you won’t be upset and you will stride on! Trust me, you won’t be the first to burn a batch, nor the last!
Sacrifice will be the theme, lol! I cook mine on Power level 8 for about 2 M and 45’s, which seems to be the sweet spot. However, sometimes it is longer if I add more to the bag. I also only use brown bags from the grocery store and never the dollar store.
We tried bags from there and albeit so much cheaper than paper bags at the grocery store, after being microwaved we tossed out the sorghum it tasted funky. After we popped the next batch, in bags we had left it tasted fine.
These smaller brown party bags are perfect for this and we just ordered some online. Of course, standard paper lunch bags are fine as well. You just need to be able to fold the bag, so those handled brown bags are not an option.
Cooking this on your stove again to me is a license to drink. Honestly, it is temperamental and I don’t like doing it. With measured success in the microwave that’s how I roll, but in case you want to tackle it, try this.
Use a pot with a glass lid that fits it well. Also, use a glass lid so you can see in while the POPPING Is going on. You will use up to 1/4 C.
Next, preheat the pot/pan to medium heat. Think like preheating for a pancake. However, don’t put water in there, you want a dry pan/pot bottom. Make sure it is either nonstick or stainless steel so that you can scatter and shake those little sorghum pieces while they are popping.
It’s all gonna happen fast, so don’t walk away. Shake. Watch. Shake. Repeat. When you get about 10 seconds between pops, turn off the heat, remove from stove, shake and place into a bowl. You can top it as you like. With spices, salts, or light mists of butter.
STORAGE TECHNIQUE for Sorghum
I have successfully found Sorghum in grocery stores, as well as Walmart and online. I just grab it when I see it. Might as well right? We use enough of it, so I don’t want to run out. I store it in a zippered freezer bag.
Once you look for this, as with all the other Bob’s Red Mill and other brands, you will note the price is not pennies on the dollar, so storage matters. Grab some freezer bags or a container like this for storage where you might now expect.
You can store it in the freezer or in the refrigerator, but those are its best places for storage. If we are in a ‘movie-season’ like, the winter months, we keep it in the fridge, it’s just easier to grab. However, during the summer, we are outside more, less eating and therefore I just leave it in the winter.
Pro-Tip For The Sorghum Foodies.
First, Bob’s Red Mill products do go on sale, so look for those sales and stock up! Next, I have a thing about portions and my freezer. Buy those food portion bags and put your pre-measured Sorghum in there. Then put those small bags in a big one so they don’t get lost in the freezer or in a little plastic unit like this.
When you are ready to use, pull it out and Go! Super easy and totally ready for those last-minute cravings right?
What Not To Use
For those of you considering an air popper to accomplish the task of cooking, don’t! Don’t use an air popper for sorghum or amaranth, it will not work. (guess how we found out? )
Another Sorghum Already Popped
Mini Pops is another excellent sorghum source. We have eaten this, and we like it a lot. The quality is excellent, and it has a wonderful flavor. Does this take the work out of making it? Absolutely, but then again, it’s now pre-made, pre-packaged, so that is truly a personal choice! That said, read on!
Since it is already popped it makes consumption easier, but it takes away from the fresh taste of creating your own. If you don’t want the heartache of a scorched pan or don’t feel like watching a pan heat, then, this is for you!
HEALTHY EATING ~ POPCORN ALTERNATIVE FOR THOSE WITH CORN ALLERGIES
As a mom, I am willing to try anything that makes sense but I also bear in mind that my 14-year-old is not as willing to try new things! In order for her to try it, it has to look as good as I say it tastes. You know teens–“prove it to me before I try it” I did prove it to her and she is so happy that we have introduced this to her diet as an alternative.
I have found that although amaranth and sorghum do not taste exactly like popcorn, they are a wonderful popcorn alternative for those who cannot have corn. I am excited that I was able to find these.
Between my son and my daughter, I keep on looking for the next best thing and I truly hope this helps you. I will continue to look for and bring you other alternatives for food allergies in the future!
Lavishly live healthy eating out loud, with popcorn alternatives for those with corn allergies.