We love Kale, and use it a few ways... but this Easy Crispy Kale Chips recipe was our introduction to the greens, and is our first love when it comes to Kale.
Originally published December 16, 2011. Updated on 3/9/2022
I've been sitting on these photos for a few weeks, originally planning to post early in January, for healthy recipes. Life got in the way, though, so NOW I’m sharing my kale chip recipe update!
Homemade kale chips are so easy, and SO good. You'd be surprised how fast one can plow through an entire head of kale by themselves, when done this way.
My husband and I both prefer them to potato chips, and they never last long around here - we will inhale a whole pan or two of crunchy kale chips before they even make it to a bowl.
While we’ll saute up some kale as a side dish - and we love it as the base for our Roasted Radish Salad - these crispy chips are our favorite way to get more leafy greens into our diet.
On the Subject of Diet
These healthy kale chips pack some serious nutritional value!
Kale is packed nutrients including with beta carotene (Which helps your body make vitamin A), vitamins B6 and C, calcium, potassium, copper and manganese.
Also? Low calorie AND suitable for a keto diet!
Who knew that chips could be the best way to get into healthy eating?
You can make a batch of this great healthy snack out of a couple bunches of kale and just a few other ingredients:
You can use basically any kind of kale you want for this, I wouldn’t even say that there’s one variety that stands out as the best kale for making chips.
The main varieties we tend to use are:
This is kind of a default variety in many grocery stores. It’s easily identified by its curly leaves.. Shockingly enough 🙂
I think these bake up to the best texture, as I love the crunchy ruffles... but really, it’s a toss up with the other ones!
This is also known as Lacinato kale, dinosaur kale, and a few other less common names. These are long spears of a more robust feeling kale leaf.
They have a fun, bumpy texture - probably the source of the “dinosaur kale” moniker - it resembles renderings of dinosaur skin.
This variety ends up needing a different cut than the other ones - I’ll cut the leaf tip off, right where the rib ends. Then, I’ll cut each side off the rib, giving 3 pieces per leaf:
Sometimes sold as Redbor Kale, this a variety that has been showing up in our grocery store more often. It’s so pretty, and makes gorgeous chips! Same basic taste/texture as the curly kale, when roasted.
Whichever variety you use, just look for fresh kale, free of wilting and major blemishes.
Here are how the various types roast up:
Generally, we use a basic, decent quality olive oil for this - either drizzled or sprayed. Avocado oil is another good option, either way.
Sometimes we’ll use a drizzle of flavoured olive oil, depending on what mood we’re in!
We tend to use whatever salt we have on hand, usually just table salt. Sea salt, pink Himalayan salt, and even smoked salt are all great options, though!
How to Make Kale Chips
The actual recipe card is at the end of the post, here’s a pictorial walk through with more detailed instructions and tips included
These chips are quick and easy to make, and require no special equipment or ingredients.
First things first: preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
While this is a relatively low temperature, you’ll want to use an even lower temperature if you’re making chips from a more delicate type of leaf, like spinach. (More on that in a bit!).
Line several cookie sheets with parchment paper, spray with a little bit of olive oil.
Prepare the Kale
You’ll need to cut the thick stems out of each piece of kale. You just want the leafy greens!
Depending on the type of kale, I’ll do this one of two ways:
- If the kale is folded over itself at the rib, I just cut through both layers to remove the kale stems:
- If the kale leaf is relatively flat, I’ll make two cuts, from the end near the base of the leaf, up to the tip of the leaf:
Once you have your large pieces of kale, you’ll want to wash and dry kale. Thoroughly drying is an important step to ensure crunchy chips
I like to use a salad spinner to get all the excess moisture water off, and dab with paper towels to get any remaining moisture off.
Depending on the size of your kale pieces - and your preferences - you might want to tear the larger pieces into smaller pieces.
Personally, I prefer full size chips, but many prefer small pieces.
The kale shrinks significantly, though, so I don’t recommend “bite-size pieces” off the bat - they’ll cook down to nothing at all! 2-inch pieces are about the smallest I’d recommend going.
Oil the Kale
Applying the oil can go one of two ways:
- Arranging the leaves on a parchment sheet that has been sprayed with oil, then spraying the tops
- Put the leaves in a large bowl, drizzle a little oil over the leaves, season, and use your hands to mix it up well and coat the leaves.
Either way, don’t use too much oil, just enough to lightly coat!
Personally, I prefer the spray method, as I find it the easiest way to coat the leaves. Your mileage may vary.
Bake the Kale
Arrange kale leaves in a single on a large baking sheet, so that they are tightly spaced, but not overlapping.
If you didn’t oil them in a bowl, spray olive oil across the tops, then sprinkle with a little salt, and any other seasonings you may want.
Bake kale 1 sheet at a time, keeping a close eye on them. You want them completely dry, but not burned.
These are great fresh out of the oven, but can also be put aside for later – IF they last!
To store for later use, allow chips to cool to room temperature before transferring to ain airtight container.
A Bit of a Warning.
Shrinkage is a thing here, and it can impact you in two main ways:
1 - Kale shrinks down to almost nothing as it bakes, so you can find yourself baking 6+ rounds in the oven. It can get a bit time consuming!
2. Because kale shrinks down so much, you can find yourself eating WAY more kale than you realize.
It’s incredibly easy to plow through a bunch of kale - or more - in a sort amount of time .. And there’s a lot of fiber in there.
Be mindful of that - if you eat too much, too fast, you can find yourself in various levels of gastro distress... and never want to see a kale chip again. Apparently, you really CAN have too much of a good thing!
... speaking from personal experience, AND I know several people who have done the same!
Flavouring Your Roasted Kale Chips
We usually just use a bit of kosher salt (or sea salt) when making these, but you can use different seasonings to customize it to your own taste buds’ liking.
A few suggestions:
All of these taste great on these kale chips, either alone (with salt!), or as a mix.
Making Other Roasted Greens Chips
Now, this recipe is labeled as "kale chips", but you can use the techniques here to make your next batch roasted chips out of almost any variety of dark leafy greens.
Baby spinach makes delicate, papery chips.
Beet greens make gorgeous chips - almost like fall leaves!
Mustard greens make pretty chips with a sharp bite to them.
Try collard greens, Swiss chard, turnip greens - almost any leafy green vegetable you like - just be sure to keep an eye on them.
The thinner/more delicate the green (baby spinach), the less cooking time it'll need. You don't want to burn them!
More Healthy Snacks
Looking for more guilt-free snacking? I've got you.
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How to Make Kale Chips
- Kale I’ll usually do about 3 bunches for a batch
- Olive oil spray
- Preheat oven to 350F
- Line several cookie sheets with parchment paper, spray with olive oil.
- Wash kale, and shake/towel/spin dry. Cut the hard “ribs” out of the leaves, and rip into pieces.
- Arrange kale on cookie sheets, so that they are tightly spaced, but not overlapping. Spray olive oil across the tops, then sprinkle with a little salt.
- Bake kale 1 sheet at a time for 11-13 minutes, or until completely dry. Cool a little, then enjoy!
- These are great fresh out of the oven, but can also be put aside for later – IF they last!