Everyday Food Blog

How to Make Kale Chips (Better)

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Welcome to Winter Greens Week! Every day this week we'll be highlighting a new seasonal green in the daily recipe and on the blog. Up first? Kale, of course!

Unless you've been living under a rock, you know that greens are good for you. You also probably know that kale tops the charts when it comes to nutrients-per-bite. But, for all that nutrition knowledge, the real eat-your-greens revolution is taking place in home ovens across the country... Yep, I'm talking about kale chips! The crispy, salty, totally addictive snack has moved out of the "hippie food" category and gone mainstream. If you haven't yet tried making your own kale chips, you are missing out! And if you have made your own kale chips, why not punch 'em up a bit? Read on for our favorite formula for perfect chips, plus some speedy seasoning ideas.

BASIC BAKED KALE CHIPS

Tear the leaves of one bunch of curly- of flat-leaf kale into 2-inch pieces and toss with a tablespoon (or two, depending on how healthy you're trying to be) of extra-virgin olive oil and a teaspoon of coarse salt. Spread the kale out on a large rimmed baking sheet (use two baking sheets, if necessary -- the kale should have enough room to bake in a single layer).

For dry, crisp chips: Bake at 300 degrees for 3o - 35 minutes, stirring halfway through.

For toasted chips with browned edges: Bake at 350 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes, stirring two or three times.

FAST IDEAS FOR FRESH FLAVOR

  • Kale Chips with Kick: Add a teaspoon or two of Sriracha sauce to the oil before tossing with kale and baking.
  • Lemon Zest Kale Chips: Finely grate lemon zest over the kale chips as soon as they come out of the oven.
  • Soy Sauce-Kale Chips: Replace half the oil with soy sauce, and cut back on salt, for some savory, umami flavor.
  • Double-Healthy Kale Chips: Sprinkle with nutrient-rich nutritional yeast. (Okay, this one might be veering back into the "hippie food" category, but trust us, it's delicious! The chips taste nice and cheesy)
  • Chile-Lime Kale Chips: Mix a bit of chile powder in with the salt, squeeze lime juice over kale chips when they're hot out of the oven.

RELATED: Turkey Sloppy Joes with Kale Chips recipe

Comments (36)

  • avatar

    You can make them in the microwave, and are not as likely to burn them-hard to get it right in the oven.

  • avatar

    I sprinkle mine with smoked paprika after they come out of the oven and it's a delicious smokey treat.

  • avatar Author Comment:

    Amy -- That sounds so good! Trying it with my next batch.

    Leola -- Tell us more about your microwave method! Is this the Modernist Cuisine technique, where you coat the kale with olive oil and nuke on plastic wrap stretched over a deep bowl? We'd love to hear more!

  • avatar

    Can you add http://caramelizedsarcasm.com/ to the 'Sites we Like'. I use that website all the time for original and yummy reciepes. Love the kale chips idea! Thanks
    Anna

  • avatar

    "toss with a tablespoon (or two, depending on how healthy you're trying to be) "

    Using two tablespoons of oil does not make one less healthy than a one tablespoon'er.

    In fact, low fat is not healthy. Why did that olive oil comment need to be phrased as such in your recipe?

  • avatar

    Thanks for the great Kale chip ideas. Why must someone always add a snide comment to something so irrelevant?! Grow up!!

  • avatar

    Thank you for the recipe. I love that these are vegan and also very easy to make. So yummy!

  • avatar

    First time making them tonight! Additive. I was also making carrot-ginger soup tonight and I thought "why the hell not?" Had a bowl of soup with a dollop of fat free plain greek yogurt and some smushed up kale chips on top. SUPER YUMMY. If you like carrot-ginger soup, try sprinkling a few of these on that bad boy. mmmm.

  • avatar

    Doesn't mention washing the kale first. Wondering if any wetness would affect the cooking. They sound yummy! Also is sea salt considered coarse salt?

  • avatar

    "In fact, low fat is not healthy"

    Jocelyn, what on EARTH are you talking about? Of course, low-fat is healthier than high fat. It makes a better snack to add less olive oil...

  • avatar

    I want to try these with the yeast. Do I sprinkle it in before or after baking?

  • avatar

    These look delicious, but you might try these cheesy kale chips, especially if you are on a raw food diet. They're also gluten-free and they taste like Doritos. Seriously! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=disq2AQTy-Y

  • avatar

    "Doesn't mention washing the kale first. Wondering if any wetness would affect the cooking. They sound yummy! Also is sea salt considered coarse salt?"

    Some people will tell you that the kale should be washed then dried thoroughly. However, after I wash my kale for making kale chips I soak them in (Braggs) raw apple cider vinegar. I don't dry the chips after the vinegar and they cook up better if I do this step than if I omit it...so I wouldn't see why one liquid (water) would supposedly hinder the cooking process when another (ACV) seems to HELP it.

    As for sea salt, most sea salts will still either be labeled fine or course ground. It honestly doesn't matter which one you use on your kale chips...just go light because the cooking process can give them a bit of salt-like taste where they get crispy!

    ----

    Now onto my own comment rather than a response to someone else haha. I have converted quite a few people over to "the dark side" with my kale chips! I make mine as follows:

    Wash kale thoroughly (this is especially essential with curly kale as all the little curls hold on to dirt!). I then pull off the pieces of kale. I have found that somewhere in size between a quarter-sized and a half dollar-sized is perfect as they all finish around the same time. I then soak the pieces in apple cider vinegar for a few minutes. You don't need to use much, but definitely toss the kale around in it. After that you put a drizzle of olive oil...another option would be to find an olive oil spray (preferably non-aerosol...I use a travel spray bottle and regular EVOO) and toss the kale again.

    I then lay it all out on a baking sheet. I prefer using an oven to a microwave as microwaves tend to kill off a lot of great nutrients...which is why we're doing this with kale to begin with. Once it's on the sheet I sprinkle it with: Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder (not garlic SALT), and nutritional yeast.

    I don't really cook it for a certain amount of time like the recipe states. I just open the oven around 7 minutes and flip things a bit with my spatula. Around 10-12 minutes I pull the pan out and take out all the crispy pieces (about half of the kale) and put the rest back in for 5-7 minutes. Yes it's one extra step, but for me it ensures that none get so done that they taste all burned.

    ----

    I hope this helps! I have some other great variations I wouldn't mind sharing if anyone wants to e-mail me :) livingtochangetheworld@gmail.com

    Thanks for the great kale chips post, they are just...amazing!

  • avatar

    Oh and Dave...
    "I want to try these with the yeast. Do I sprinkle it in before or after baking?"

    I have done it both ways and have learned that I personally prefer it put on before putting it in the oven...but I also know those who swear by putting it on at the end.

  • avatar

    In response to Jocelyn and 1 tbsp vs. 2...perhaps the person who wrote that simply means that one tastes just as good as 2 if one is at the top end of the oil/fat intake for the day. Be prepared to make an exception rather than take one. Agreed, olive oil is good so is optimism and one can't have too much of the latter. Looking forward to the chips!

  • avatar

    I like mixing them with sesame oil as they tend to burn less than with other oils. Also taste better. Sprinkle on ginger, tumeric and salt, toss a bit, then bake. Yummy. But I still haven't mastered how to cook without burning.

  • avatar

    What's the best way to store the Kale chips after they're baked? Airtight bag? Refrigerated or not? Also, how long will they last? Can I make 2 weeks worth all at once?

  • avatar Author Comment:

    Your best option is to store them in a dry paper bag at room temperature. If they're less crispy the next day, dry them out a bit in the oven at a low temperature (175 F) for 15 minutes.

    Over time, the chips will absorb moisture from the air, so a batch will probably last a few days (a week at the most).

  • avatar

    Casey, Jocelyn is correct. The right type of fats are crucial to good health. A low-fat diet IS bad for you. But again, it needs to be the right fats, in the right amounts. 2 T of (any) olive oil is very healthy for you. Thank you for the wonderful recipe.

  • avatar

    "Jocelyn, what on EARTH are you talking about? Of course, low-fat is healthier than high fat. It makes a better snack to add less olive oil..."

    Haha, no. Olive oil is good for you. In reasonable amounts, of course, as with most things. Your body needs fats for slow-burning, long-term energy, and also to absorb vitamins and minerals from other foods (like calcium and caratenoids). Ironically, being afraid of fat is one of the reason western countries are GETTING so fat. The quest to eliminate dietary fat has led us to add more and more empty carbs to our foods. Check most "low fat" foods and you'll usually see that they've added extra sugars or starches to compensate. These foods break down in your body more quickly than fats, spiking your blood sugar, which leads to hunger and cravings, which leads to overeating and obesity. The vast majority of people would be better served cutting down on their bread or candy intake than a little olive oil.

  • avatar

    @Leola, would you wanna microwave it? Microwaves nuke the nutrients out of veggies, defeating the purpose of even eating them.

  • avatar

    I've made tiny brussles crisps using this recipe I sprinkle garlic and parmesean on them :)

  • avatar

    Actually, low fat is NOT healthier. It is a common misconception that began in the 1950s, and since then Americans have become fatter and unhealthier than ever. In fact, the medical establishment is slowly coming around to realize again that healthy, saturated fats (olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, red palm oil, etc) are important in our diet. Fat does NOT make us fat or give us heart disease. Unfortunately, that is the kool-aid we've all been given for much of our life. If truly interested in being healthy, I recommend "Why We Get Fat and What to do About it" by Taub. Amazing at explaining the current misconceptions about diet from an undestandable scientific standpoint. Heard him speak at a recent cardiology meeting. Also, books about the Paleo diet can be great as well.

  • avatar

    Just a note on red palm oil. The harvesting of this oil is contributing to the destruction of the last orangutan habitat worldwide. Please make sure the red palm oil you use is ethically obtained, and if you're not sure - just avoid it.

  • avatar

    Why in the world would you put yeast on these, when there is all sorts of information about to much yeast in the body being horrible for you, even contributing to inflamation and other disease.

  • avatar

    luv this recipe I suggest doing the dry method w garlic salt it is perfect

  • avatar

    Followed Christina H.'s tips & they came out great! Used Mrs. Dash - Fiesta Lime as a low-sodium option. Also, I added the seasoning in the mixing bowl (on my 2nd try) to cut down on the "spillage" that just ended up burning when I sprinkled it on the pan.

    They were so good (& went so fast!) I made a 2nd batch immediately! A new favorite in my quest for healthy and inexpensive snacks!

  • avatar

    Another great variety is sprinkling some garlic powder. Tastes great for garlic addicts like me! :)

  • avatar

    I'm wondering if you can use coconut oil?

  • avatar

    TF: Nutritional yeast is completely different from regular yeast. Two different things.

  • avatar

    Haha, you said: Over time, the chips will absorb moisture from the air, so a batch will probably last a few days (a week at the most). I just made my first batch and I don't think they'll last an hour. I could eat a whole massive bunch of kale in less than an hour this way. So delicious!

  • avatar

    I found a Tupperware container I had forgotten about full of kale chips from about a month prior, and they were just fine! I use EVOO and garlic salt on full-size leaves. I set a small pile of kale aside to wipe my oily, salty hands onto. I just rotate my pans after 10 min. but without any stirring.

    I agree that more of the healthy oils isn't bad - our brains need good fats to function. Low-fat diets can definitely cause depression and other brain problems.

    A friend of mine used only Kikkoman's sauce (no oil) and it turned out great; also hot sauce by itself. I'm glad to hear about the brussel sprouts, but am wondering if anyone's tried this with spinach leaves? i.e. spinach chips?

    Also, I cut raw kale into my pasta sauce and curry sauces, toward the end of simmering.

  • avatar

    Angela - no to coconut oil.... I tried it and it was not good. Just not right. I think I managed to eat the small batch but would never do it again, although I love using coconut oil in almost everything else!

  • avatar

    Actually - on the low-fat/high-fat question:

    Too low fat is not good. Balance is good. I eat low-fat, but I tend to eat enough fats that are monounsaturated fats, such as olive oil avocado and nuts, to increase my high-density lipo-proteins. what this means is that higher density cholesterol empty out low density ones. These high density ones are found in the fats i mentioned, and they empty bad cholesterol found to a high degree in animal products (think butter and cheese), which cause heart attack when accumulated. Now, as far as the question of low fat is always better, yes, low-ER fat, but not super low. because then your good cholesterol won't be in the right range. I am very slim and I used to be an avid runner. I still workout, but don't over-do the running right now. BUT I DO eat some fats, good ones, and I don't worry about it, and guess what - I added olive oil - It's a GOOD fat with good cholesterol. GASP - I added like 4 T of this oil on a whole bag of kale. And it's perfect. And it's still healthy. Be careful what you read. while many authors have good intentions possibly, they don't understand the deeper connection between fat and cholesterol. Just - fat = bad; don't eat it. This isn't quite it. :) Enjoy!

  • avatar

    @ Elisabeth - correction: healthy, UNsaturated fats are good. not saturated. The items you listed are correct though. :)

  • avatar

    how many calories are in the basic kale chips? what is the nutrition daily value as well? tks!! :)

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