How to Make Kale Chips in the Oven or Air Fryer
Substituting vegetables with health benefits into classic snacks and dishes is a great way to love what you eat and feel great. Cauliflower can step in for mashed potatoes and rice, hearts of palm for pasta, sweet potatoes for hamburger buns, and beets for ketchup. One of my favorite produce takeovers is kale, the once-scoffed-at crucifer. Remember when you only saw it as a garnish on patty melt plates at diners?
These days, if you’re not drinking a juice or smoothie made with kale, wearing a “KALE” tee shirt, or munching on this nutritious nosh, you’re missing out on a culinary and cultural phenomenon, not to mention kale’s health benefits. Vitamin A helps keep bones and eyes healthy, vitamin K supports blood clotting and bone building, and good old vitamin C helps prevent colds and some chronic diseases.
Making homemade kale chips is a great way to get in the kale game while also enjoying a delicious, crispy snack. In addition to being an excellent source of vitamins, a one-ounce serving of kale chips also has about 3 grams of fiber — about 3 times as much as other chips. Take that, potato chips! Kale chips are easy to make at home and once you master the basics, the flavor possibilities are endless.
General tips for the best homemade kale chips
- Wash and dry your kale thoroughly. Wet kale = soggy chips.
- Remove the rib or stem. The stems are hearty and won’t crisp at the same rate as the leaves. Stems can also become very tough and woody if not removed.
- To coat the kale leaves lightly in oil, you can either rub it on with your hands or use avocado or olive oil spray (just make sure you look for one that is chemical and propellant free).
- If you’re using a premade spice blend, check the ingredients for salt. If your blend contains salt, you likely won’t need to add more since the flavors concentrate when the chips dry out in the oven.
Sunbasket’s perfect oven-toasted kale chips recipe
Heat the oven to 350°F.
- Strip the leaves of 1 bunch of kale leaves from the stems. Tear or cut the leaves into 2-inch pieces.
On a sheet pan, drizzle the kale with 2 to 3 teaspoons of avocado or olive oil. Season lightly with salt and pepper, sprinkle with about 2 tablespoons of your favorite spice blend, and toss to coat. Spread in an even layer and bake, turning halfway through, until the kale chips are crisp around the edges, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and season to taste with salt and pepper.
How to make kale chips in the air fryer
It’s easy to make kale chips in the air fryer.
Heat the air fryer to 350°F.
- Strip the leaves of 1 bunch of kale from the stems. Tear or cut the leaves into 2-inch pieces.
In a bowl, drizzle the kale with 2 to 3 teaspoons of avocado or olive oil. Season lightly with salt and pepper, sprinkle with about 2 tablespoons of your favorite spice blend, and toss to coat. Working in batches, spread the kale pieces in a single layer in the basket, shaking halfway through, until the kale chips are crisp around the edges, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from the air fryer and season to taste with salt and pepper.
About half of a bunch of prepped kale will fit in a 6-quart basket of an air fryer so to make one whole bunch of kale you’ll need to empty the basket half way through. I prefer to make my kale chips in the oven so I can whip 2 full batches at once on both racks of my oven. I tend to eat one immediately, and then I cool the remaining chips completely before storing them in an airtight container for eating within the next 2 to 3 days.
My favorite kale chip recipe spice blends
Try different seasoning blends to literally spice up your kale chips every time you make them. Here are five of my favorite combinations:
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast + 2 teaspoons sumac
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning + 1–2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon ranch dressing mix + 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce + 1 tablespoon sesame seeds or togarashi
- 1–2 teaspoons wasabi powder
I serve kale chips as a side with burgers, sandwiches, and soups. They’re also my favorite stand-in for popcorn on movie night!