Crunchy baked kale chips are a healthy snack. Lacinato kale leaves are cut into large strips, then tossed with olive oil and seasonings. Gentle oven temperatures ensure the crispiest vegetable chips.
Kale is often added raw to salads, or tossed into dishes for a nutritional boost. But if you haven’t indulged in baked kale chips, you’re missing out! The large, cruciferous leaves can be easily chopped into handheld snacks.
Even though potato chips may be undeniably tempting, these homemade crisps are a much healthier option. Not to mention, they are more affordable than store-bought versions! Using the oven to gradually remove the moisture from the plant ensures super crunchy bite-size pieces.
Lightly coating the leaves with olive oil, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and black pepper adds just the right amount of seasonings for an enjoyable treat.
How to make kale chips
- Preheat oven to 200ºF (93ºC).
- Remove the thick stems from the kale and cut into smaller pieces.
- Wash and then dry the leaves in a salad spinner.
- Thoroughly dry using paper towels.
- Toss washed kale leaves with olive oil.
- In a small bowl, season leaves with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder.
- Place kale on baking sheets topped with wire racks in a single layer.
- Bake until very crisp and lightly brown on the edges.
Cool before eating or storing.
What type of kale to use
The best type of kale to use for these homemade chips is flat-leafed Lacinato kale (also known as Tuscan or dinosaur kale). The surface is much more uniform and smooth in shape making them ideal for chips. Curly kale can also but used, but they may need more drying time. You may also notice that the edges won’t be as crisp because of the tiny overlapped leaves.
Kale can taste naturally bitter. You can massage the kale for a few minutes, then rinse really well and dry before baking. This brings those undesired flavors to the surface, which some can then be washed away.
Remove the thick stems
In order to make chips that are super crispy, remove the stems that run through the middle of the leaf. Then cut the chips into large 3-inch sized pieces to give hearty nibbles that are easy to grab.
Dry the leaves very well!
To quick-start the drying process, make sure the kale leaves are as dry as possible. If not, the moisture will turn to steam and create a humid environment in the oven resulting in chips that aren’t as crispy as you’d like. Using a salad spinner, followed by hand-drying the leaves in between towels is best practice.
Make sure to rub the oil onto the leaves with your fingertips, like a little kale massage. An even coating will help the leaves become equally crispy instead of having chewy areas. Also, mixing the dry seasoning blend together then sprinkling onto the kale prevents strong pockets of flavor.
Bake the chips on a wire rack
The most effective way to bake kale is by placing the seasoned leaves on a wire rack. This allows the air to circulate under and around. A bonus is that this method also saves you from having to flip the chips over. An alternative is cooking on a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Bake at low temperatures
The key to a successful batch of crackling kale chips is to dry them out in a moderate heat environment that mimics a dehydrator. Instead of 6-plus hours in the dehydrator, the chips cooked in an oven are dry in about an hour.
At 200ºF, the water-filled cell walls of the kale leaves will be extracted quickly without burning, creating a brittle green that crumbles in your mouth.
Make them ahead of time
This kale chips recipe is great for meal prep! Because most of the moisture is removed it prevents spoilage organisms from quickly forming which helps prolong the shelf life. Kale chips should stay crispy for a few weeks.
I like to separate them into small airtight containers for individually portioned servings whenever my family or I need a quick snack.
Other seasonings to try
- Sprinkle on some nutritional yeast for a savory flavor.
- Use garlic salt, sea salt or pink salt.
- Make it spicy with some chili powder or cayenne pepper.
- Smoked paprika adds a barbecue flavor.
More recipes with kale
How do you keep kale chips crispy?
Kale leaves contain approximately 85% water, which needs to be removed to create kale chips. The long cook time of around an hour in a moderately warm 200-degree oven helps to crisp them up. Do not store warm chips or they will steam up and become chewy.
Baked Kale Chips
- Position oven racks to the upper-middle and lower-middle position.
- Preheat oven to 200ºF (93ºC).
- Place wire racks on top of two separate baking sheets.
- Remove the stems from the kale and cut into 3-inch pieces.
- Wash and dry the pieces several times in a salad spinner.
- Working in batches dry the kale in between two kitchen towels or paper towels. Press down to dry as much as possible.
- Transfer kale to a large bowl and toss with olive oil. Use your fingers to ensure that the leaves are evenly coated.
- Combine salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and pepper in a small bowl.
- Gradually sprinkle over the kale, tossing between each addition to evenly coat the leaves.
- Divide the kale among the two baking sheets, spreading the leaves out in a single layer.
- Bake for 30 minutes and then rotate the trays.
- Bake until lightly browned on the edges and very crisp, about 15 to 30 additional minutes.
- Cool the chips on the wire rack before serving.
- Recipe Yield: About 3 cups
- Serving Size: About ¾ cup
- You need about 8 cups of cut raw kale for this recipe.
- Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.