This baked Kale Chip recipe is a delicious alternative to eating a bowl of potato chips or tortilla chips. It is a great recipe to satisfy your salty snack cravings without any guilt. Not that I had any in the first place…
There are so many kale chip recipes out there that over complicate things, but all you really need is kale leaves, olive oil, and sea salt. A tasty, easy, and great healthy snack! Truth be told, kale chips have never been high on my “yummy” list, but after a recent issue with having way too much kale, I gave them a whirl.
Hubby over purchased kale for Kale Salad and I didn’t want to waste the remainder. I finally gave into kale chips, originally given to me by a good friend, and kale vendor, at our local farmer’s market.
Keep in mind that now crunchy kale chips are fairly standard and a delicious way to get more leafy green vegetables into your day… but at this time they were the hot new food trend! Most folks gave a puckered two-year-old yuck face when the word was uttered, so I was convinced they could be transformed into a tasty snack quite yet.
What Are Kale Chips?
Kale is a unique, frilly green that is sturdy enough to be baked and essentially dehydrated to form a crispy “chip” instead of just wilt. A process similar to turning fresh herbs into dried herbs or making apple chips. You can use any type of kale you like.
The vibrant green only intensifies as the leaves decrease in size leaving you with a healthy snack food. Since coming in hot on the scene, many folks have tried to mass produce kale chips, but they are fairly delicate and troublesome to bag without breaking into a million pieces.
One company succeeded but the end result was a kinda chewy, weird tasting kale thing… not so much chips. They are far better prepared at home and after you get the hang of it, quite easy too. It’s a great way to get in those leafy greens.
What Types of Kale Are There?
Yes, there is more than one type of kale! In fact, there are 7! But in the states, you’ll commonly only see about 3.
- Common Curly Kale– pale to deep green and the most common variety.
- Lacinato Kale (Dinosaur Kale, Tuscan Kale) – Italian kale with larger, dark blue or green leaves. They do not have the same frilly edges as common kale.
- Ornamental (Salad Savoy)– Frilly and fluffy, this variety comes in a variety of colors from purple to magenta, but good luck finding it in a regular grocery store. It is also used more for garnish than cooking due to coarse and chewy leaves.
- Red Russian (Ragged Jack)– Purply-red, it tastes good and can be found in some health food stores. It is sweeter than average kale.
- Chinese Kale (Chinese Broccoli, Kailaan, or Gai Lan)- You may have had this, but it looks like broccoli and it used in stir-fry and many chinese dishes and labeled… broccoli.
- Siberian Kale– A hardy leafy green, is has even bigger leaves than dino kale! It is much better cooked than raw.
- Redbor Kale– Another huge version, is more reddish with purple veins, making it a stunning garnish or dish.
How to Make Kale Chips
Grab the ingredients, which is a short list of kale, olive oil and salt. It’s pretty simple considering most of the time spent on them is in the oven baking, but there are a few tips to get perfect kale chips every time.
- Tear large pieces of fresh kale leaves off of the thick stems. Ribs don’t work well for kale chips. They will also shrink considerably, so larger pieces are better.
- Rinse the kale and dry it well, having a salad spinner would come in handy and is the best way to dry them off well. If you don’t have one, pat dry between two paper towels. Excess water will result in steamed kale and not crunchy kale.
- Place the kale in a large bowl and toss the leaves in olive oil, which is what will help them crisp up, but not too much or you’ll have greasy chips. I toss mine in a bowl and then move them to a baking sheet using tongs or my hands so I can tap them a bit to get off any excess.
- Place them on the baking sheet or cookie sheet in as much of a single layer as possible. They are mostly water and will release steam, if they are too close, they won’t crisp. But they will also shrink as they cook, so they can touch a tiny bit at first. You might need to do them in batches or use two large cookie sheets and also rotate the sheets from rack to rack.
- Cook at a low temperature so they don’t burn (get bitter) but high enough to crisp them up, the first time I went too high, but found the second round that 300°F was just perfect.
- Turn half way through cooking to get the best, even results.
- My next trick is to let them cool in the oven. This prevents them from being overbaked while still getting crunchy. They crispy up even further!
- Salt them right after cooking while they are still hot and tacky. Hold your hand about a foot over the chips to get an even sprinkling.
Kale Chip Variations
Personally, I like them plain and salty, but the different seasonings are endless! Any flavor of potato chips can essentially be a kale chips flavor.
Aim for dry seasoning and spice blends or dried herbs. Parmesan cheese and other hard cheeses can also work. Here are my favorites.
Homemade kale chips are best enjoyed fresh, but can be saved for later. Make sure to let them cool fully, then store in an airtight container or plastic bag at room temperature for 2-3 days. They are fragile, so don’t pack them in and push them down or you’ll end up with dust.
But if you do… they make a great salad addition and can be used in sauces and for a sprinkle seasoning.
I do not recommend freezing kale chips.
More Snack Recipes
Kale Chips Recipe
- 1 bunch large kale 10-12 large leaves
- 2-3 teaspoons olive oil
- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt or flaky salt
- Preheat the oven to 300°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper.
- Rinse the kale leaves and dry well with a salad spinner or blot with paper towels. Tear the leaves from ribs in 2-3 inch pieces.
- Toss dry kale leaves with the olive oil in a large mixing bowl. Try to evenly cover all leaves and then spread out kale leaves in a single layer.
- Bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove, turn and return for an additional 10 minutes. Turn oven off completely, but allow kale to remain in the oven until it has fully cooled and fully crisped.
- Remove and sprinkle with salt.
- If you've tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was in the comments or star ratings.