10 Best Substitutes for Popcorn


Looking to substitute popcorn? You are at the right place.

While an amazing as a movie light snack, many would want to replace the corn with another grain keeping the pop!

Best Popcorn Substitutes

Here are the 10 best substitutes for popcorn you can explore!


Sorghum pops very much like popcorn and is a great alternative to use instead of popcorn. It also goes well with flavorings, spice mixes, and more.

You may pop sorghum grains the same way as popcorn in a large, heavy-bottom pot.

Sorghum is a great addition to your diet. It has an array of health benefits.

It is a good source of copper, zinc, magnesium, and vitamin B1 and B6. It is also rich in antioxidants that can help evade chronic illnesses caused by free radicals.


Sorghum is a healthy grain that can be popped easily, the same way as popcorn. This is a good choice due to its similarity and due to its list of health benefits.


This seed is a powerhouse of nutrients that can make a great replacement for popcorn. Its naturally high in vitamin C, antioxidants, protein and is also gluten-free, making it a fantastic alternative to use for people with celiac disease.

Amaranth is versatile; you can pop it into wonderfully nutty puffs inside a microwave or on a good old-fashioned heavy bottom pan.

It is a good healthy replacement for corn and goes well with seasonings.


Amaranth is packed with several vital nutrients. The seeds can be popped in the microwave or in a pan too. The seeds are gluten-free and work well with seasonings.


If you are looking for a nutty and toasted flavor similar to popcorn, barley will not disappoint.

While it won’t pop dramatically into puffy white plumes, it will crack and split instead and provide a satisfying nutty snack to munch on.

Barley is great for your body, too; it is famously known for its ability to lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels.


Barley won’t pop like corn or other grains but is a perfectly good and healthy substitute as a nutty, flavorful, toasted snack to eat instead of traditional popcorn.


Millets are great, easy access, and affordable replacement for popcorn that can most deliciously boost your diet’s health quotient.

Millets have an incredibly high quantity of calcium and are also great sources of iron and several vitamins.

Millets can be popped on a dry heavy bottom pan with no oil or fats and will yield a nutty and filling snack to substitute popcorn.


Millets are cheap and easy to find. They are healthy and very simple to pop, making them an excellent substitute for popcorn in many ways.


Buckwheat is yet another ancient pseudocereal that can replace popcorn easily on movie night without compromising on flavor.

There are many benefits to consuming buckwheat, from being an excellent source for protein and fiber to being filled with minerals.

Buckwheat seeds are small in size and make for great toppings and work well with sweet seasonings. You can pop it easily by covering and heating it in single layers on a heavy heated pan.


This small pseudocereal is a great source of minerals, protein, and fiber. It can be popped like other grains and is a great replacement for popcorn.


Quinoa is a small pseudocereal that packs in a lot of delicious nutty flavor when popped.

Popping it in a pan will be noisy; these grains pop with a distinct cracking sound but look very similar to raw quinoa. They are lighter and nuttier.

Quinoa, though a small seed, is very good for your body.

This superfood is packed with manganese, magnesium, and phosphorus, along with being rich in fiber and being fully gluten-free.


Quinoa is a pseudocereal that is incredibly fiber-rich, a good source of minerals, and is a celiac-friendly alternative. When popped, it makes a great nutty snack to replace popcorn.

Water Lily Seeds

You can find water lily seeds pre-popped in Asian ingredient stores since it is a common ingredient in Southeast Asia.

This is a great substitute for popcorn due to its health benefits and surprising similarity in texture and flavor.

It has 50% more protein, and less than half the fat traditional popcorn has. They also have several antioxidants that can prevent chronic illness by regulating free radicals.


Popped water lily seeds are a common Asian ingredient that looks and tastes very similar to popcorn. They are a good substitute since they are arguably healthier in many ways than popcorn.


Rice is yet another grain that can be found pre-puffed, that can replace popcorn easily.

This is a great ingredient since it is very versatile. It works very well in granola and trail mixes, adding a light, mild-flavored addition.

It is a good source of magnesium and is very low in calories. Additionally, it is gluten-free, making it a great celiac-friendly alternative.


Rice is a good substitute; its mild flavor goes well in trail mixes and granola. It is gluten-free and low in calories as well.

Wheat Berries

Though they sound rather uncommon in the popping grain category, wheat berries are a great substitute for popcorn. Wheat berries are whole wheat kernels that are packed with nutrients.

They won’t pop with a plume-like a cor kernel; they will crack and split and create a crunchy toasted berry, great for snacking.

They are packed with iron, fiber, and protein. Wheat berries are also rich in vitamin e and magnesium. It may also aid in weight management and in controlling blood sugar levels, and boosting your metabolism.


Wheat berries are whole wheat kernels with a lot of important nutritional value. They crack and split and make a great toasted snack to replace popcorn.


A very unusual replacement for popcorn can be in your vegetable drawer in the fridge; the humble white cauliflower can be broken into florets, seasoned, and baked into delicious popcorn-like ‘kernels.’

They are very filling and taste great.

Cauliflower, other than being a good slate for a variety of flavorings and seasons, is great for health too. It contains pantothenic acid, folates, and several minerals and is very rich in vitamin C.


A great vegetable to snack on instead of popcorn is cauliflower. It is a good source of nutrients and goes well with seasonings of different kinds.


Is popcorn gluten-free?

Corn is naturally gluten-free. Therefore, popcorn is celiac-friendly. However, certain packaged popcorn may have flavorings that contain gluten. Check the packaging of store-bought popcorn carefully!

Is popcorn fattening?

Popcorn at movie theatres is loaded with sodium and fattening butter flavor. However, plain homemade, lightly seasoned popcorn is low carb and will not fatten you if eaten in moderation.

Is there such a thing as low-carb popcorn?

Popcorn naturally has a pretty quantity of calories. However, additional butter, salt, seasonings, flavorings, preservatives, and food additives make it a rather tainted choice unless made freshly at home with no additions. There are also several alternatives available to try out that are low carb, like millets or sorghum.

Is popcorn okay for Keto?

Yes. Popcorn is naturally low carb and can fit into even stricter versions of keto diets, with a limit of around 50 grams of net carbs daily.

Bottom Line

Popcorn is a great snack, but sometimes, we must switch it up and find newer, more diverse options to munch on.

We hope any of these ten great substitutes work out for your snack needs and leave you with a satisfying snacking experience!

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About Nancy Miller

Nancy is a foodie by heart and loves experimenting with food. She likes to experiment not only as part of academics but also as a cook at home, sometimes she does not get the desired outcome of these experiments though! But that doesn't stop her from trying more out-of-the-box things. When Nancy entered college, it became clear to her that food was going to be an important part of her life.

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