Though not everyone is familiar with sorghum, this cereal grain has been around for centuries. Sorghum belongs to the grass family Poaceae. It’s small, round, and usually white or pale yellow — though some varieties are red, brown, black, or purple.
Sorghum is the fifth most produced cereal crop in the world (1). It’s rich in natural nutrients and easy to add to your diet, but its merits don’t stop there. It’s also widely used as animal feed, and as a natural and cost-effective fuel source.
You can cook this grain like quinoa or rice, mill it into flour, or pop it like popcorn. It’s also converted into a syrup that’s used to sweeten many processed foods.
There are a lot of health benefits to eating whole grains like sorghum. This article covers the nutritional benefits and many uses of this very versatile grain.
Sorghum is a cereal grain that’s widely produced around the world. Its whole grain is commonly used in baking, while its syrup is used as a sweetener. Finally, it’s used as a natural fuel source.
Sorghum comes in a few types, each of which has different uses. Grain sorghum is a grass that’s used to feed livestock and is made into flour for the food we eat. It comes in white, tan, orange, red, bronze, and black varieties.
Red, orange, and bronze sorghum is versatile enough to be used for everything from animal feed to fuel. Tan, cream, and white grain sorghum are made into flour for the food industry. Burgundy and black sorghum are especially high in antioxidants (2).
Onyx sorghum is a newer variety developed by researchers at Texas A&M University. The composition is related to ancient black and high-tannin sorghum varieties, and it’s designed to be super high in antioxidants.
These types of sorghum are used in recipes:
- Whole grain sorghum includes the entire grain, with all three parts — the bran, endosperm, and germ — intact. You can boil or steam the whole grain and add it to salads, side dishes, and pilafs.
- Pearled grain sorghum is stripped of its bran and some of its germ. It’s softer than the whole grain variety, and it goes well in soups.
- Sorghum syrup comes from the stalks of sweet sorghum. It’s a natural sweetener for baked goods and other desserts.
- Popped sorghum is smaller, sweeter, and more nutrient-dense than popcorn. It also has fewer calories and less fat. But like popcorn, you can pop it in the microwave or on the stove.
Sorghum comes in many colors and varieties. Some are used mainly for animal feed, while others can be incorporated into baked goods, side dishes, and other recipes.
Sorghum is an underrated, nutrient-rich cereal grain. Half a cup of uncooked sorghum (100 grams) provides (
- Calories: 329
- Protein: 11 grams
- Fat: 3 grams
- Carbohydrates: 72 grams
- Fiber: 7 grams
Sorghum is also a good source of the following micronutrients:
- vitamin B1 (thiamin)
- vitamin B6
Sorghum is a nutrient-rich cereal grain. It’s low in fat, but high in protein, fiber, B vitamins, and micronutrients.
Sorghum is rich in a variety of nutrients, including B vitamins, which play an essential role in metabolism, nerve cell development, and healthy hair and skin.
It’s also a rich source of magnesium, a mineral that’s important for bone formation, heart health, and over 600 biochemical reactions in your body, such as energy production and protein metabolism (
In addition, sorghum is high in antioxidants like flavonoids, phenolic acids, and tannins. Eating a diet rich in these antioxidants can lower oxidative stress and inflammation in your body (5).
What’s more, half a cup of sorghum provides more than 7 grams of fiber, which is about 25% of the recommended daily fiber intake (
Finally, this grain is a great source of plant-based protein. In fact, it provides as much protein as quinoa, a cereal grain renowned for its high protein content.
Sorghum boasts an impressive nutrient profile. It’s a significant source of many vitamins and minerals, fiber, and protein, all of which contribute to good health.
Gluten is a group of proteins found in certain grains that gives food products a stretchy quality and structure.
With more people avoiding gluten for health reasons like celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, the demand for gluten-free products is on the rise (
For those looking for a gluten-free grain, sorghum is a super healthy option. You can replace gluten-containing flour with sorghum in baked products like bread, cookies, or other desserts. This whole grain also works as a hearty side dish.
That said, sorghum products may be made in facilities that produce gluten-containing products. Be sure to check the label to ensure they’re made in a gluten-free facility.
An increasing number of people can’t eat gluten because of disorders or sensitivity. Sorghum is naturally gluten-free, making it a good option if you’re avoiding gluten.
Similar to molasses, sorghum syrup is widely used as a sweetener in the food industry (9). Both products have a thick consistency and are dark brown, but they’re processed differently.
Both sorghum syrup and molasses are members of the Poaceae grass family, but the former comes from the juice of the sorghum plant, while the latter is derived from sugarcane.
Sorghum syrup is lower in total sugar but higher in fructose, making it sweeter than molasses. In recipes that call for molasses, you can generally replace it with sorghum syrup at a ratio of 1:1.
If you find it too sweet, use slightly less or add more liquid. But considering that many people may be consuming too much sugar, it’s worth consuming high sugar products in moderation (
The color and consistency of sorghum syrup are similar to those of molasses. The syrup is made from the juice of sorghum, while molasses comes from sugarcane. You can usually replace molasses with sorghum syrup at a 1:1 ratio.
Sorghum is versatile and easy to add to a number of recipes.
The following are some ways you can enjoy it:
- Replace rice or quinoa. You can cook whole grain and pearled sorghum much like you’d cook rice and quinoa.
- Milled flour. Thanks to its neutral flavor and light color, it can serve as a gluten-free flour in most recipes. Simply swap it in at a 1:1 ratio.
- Popped. Add the grains to a heated pan and watch them pop like popcorn. Add seasonings for extra flavor.
- Flaked. Similarly to other cereal grains like oats, flaked sorghum is delicious as a cereal and in baked products, such as granola bars and cookies.
- Syrup. Sorghum syrup is commonly added to processed foods as a natural sweetener or an alternative to molasses.
You can purchase sorghum online or at bulk food stores.
Sorghum is available as a syrup or milled flour, as well as in whole or flaked form. In most recipes, it can replace grains at a 1:1 ratio.
Sorghum is a nutrient-packed grain that you can use in many ways.
It’s rich in vitamins and minerals like B vitamins, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, iron, and zinc. It’s also an excellent source of fiber, antioxidants, and protein.
What’s more, it’s easy to replace rice or quinoa with whole sorghum in most recipes. For a nutritious snack, try popping the whole grains on the stovetop to make popcorn. Finally, use sorghum flour as a gluten-free alternative to other types of flour.
If you’re looking for a nutritious grain to add to your next meal, give sorghum a try.
Just one thing
After you boil sorghum, save the water. You can substitute it for chicken, vegetable, or beef stock in recipes.