Air Fryer Kale Chips are an easy, healthy snack you can make in less than 10 minutes! With just a handful of ingredients including olive oil and salt, you'll have this recipe on repeat in no time. No air fryer? No problem! I'll tell you how to make oven baked kale chips, too.
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I say kale, you say chips:
If you're getting bunch after bunch of kale in your CSA, are overproducing kale in your garden, or have a sad neglected bunch at the back of your fridge and are wondering what the heck to do with it, today is your lucky day. I'm going to show you how to make Air Fryer Kale Chips, which are not only done in a matter of minutes, but they're gloriously crispy, crunchy, and unbelievably snackable.
And if you don't have an air fryer, don't worry! I'll talk you through oven-baking your kale chips in the recipe card below. It takes a bit longer, but is still totally easy.
Super important question: do kale chips actually taste good?
It's a fair question, and I think we need to set our expectations appropriately. If you're expecting kale chips to taste like regular potato chips, you're going to be taking an express train to disappointment city.
But if you can open your mind and just enjoy a salty, crispy, crunchy vegetable snack, then yes! I think kale chips are damn delicious!
What do I need to make this recipe?
The ingredients list is short and sweet. Here's what you need:
- Kale --> Can't make kale chips without kale, now can we?
- Oil --> A little bit of EVOO is how I roll.
- Salt --> I recommend a nice flaky sea salt like Maldon.
Do I need any special equipment?
If you want to make air fryer kale chips, then you need an air fryer! I have this basic Phillips Air Fryer, which is on the small side but does the job just fine.
If you want to oven bake your kale chips, you'll just need a couple of large baking sheets.
How do you make Air Fryer Kale Chips?
You guys aren't going to believe how easy this is! Fire up your air fryer (or pre-heat) your oven, and grab a bunch of kale.
Step 1: De-stem the kale. You can either remove the stem with a sharp knife, or grab the stem with one hand and the base of the leaf with the other. Gently pull the leaf towards the tip, off of the stem. Discard the stem, and repeat with remaining kale.
Depending on the size of your kale leaves, you may choose to leave them whole or tear them into large pieces. I left mine whole.
Step 2: Wash your de-stemmed kale, and dry it well. You can either spin the heck out of it in a salad spinner, or pat dry with a kitchen towel. Whatever you do, we want to make sure the kale is as dry as possible.
Step 3: Place the kale in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Use your hands to work it into the kale leaves and ensure they're well coated. Sprinkle with sea salt.
Step 4: Place the kale into the basket of your air fryer. If your air fryer in on the small side (mine is) you will need to do this in batches.
Step 5: Let the kale air fry for 5-6 minutes, checking on it once, and giving the basket a shake. It should be dry, crisp, and just starting to turn golden in some places. (see above).
Remove from the air fryer and spread the kale out on a sheet pan. If you toss it all in a bowl while it's still hot it won't remain crispy, so if you're doing a second batch, be sure to spread it out.
Repeat with any remaining kale.
What's the best kind of kale for making kale chips?
The best kind of kale is the kale you have. I prefer Lacinato kale (also referred to as Tuscan kale or dinosaur kale) as it's a bit sweeter and I find it easier to work with. It's also usually what I've got on hand.
Having said that, curly kale or purple kale would work fine as well.
Ways to season kale chips
I love making plain kale chips with just a bit of flaky salt, but you can totally season 'em up too. Try playing around with these flavourings:
- Black pepper
- Nutritional yeast
- Smoked paprika
- Garlic powder
- Parmesan cheese
- Balsamic vinegar
Ways to use kale chips
My favourite way to use kale chips is shovelling them right into my mouth with a nice cold beer. However, there are lots of other creative ways to put 'em to use!
- Use them as a garnish for soups or stews (like this Chickpea Noodle Soup, for example)
- Crumble them up and sprinkle on popcorn
- Stuff them into a sandwich
- Add them to an epic Vegetarian Cheese Board or snack platter
How to store kale chips
Kale chips are best used the same day as they're made, but if you allow them to cool completely you can keep them in an air tight container for 2-3 days.
If you crumble them up into "kale dust" for sprinkling on popcorn, soups, etc, you can store the dust in a jar for up to a month.
Other tasty recipes you might enjoy:
Air Fryer Kale Chips
- Air Fryer
- 1 large bunch kale
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil or more as needed
- ½ teaspoon flaky sea salt or more to taste
- Pull the kale leaves off of the thick stems and wash the leaves well. Spin dry in a salad spinner if you have one, or pat dry with a clean dish cloth. Tear the kale leaves up into pieces of reasonably uniform size if necessary.
- Place the kale into a bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Use your hands to work the oil into the leaves.
- Sprinkle with sea salt.
Air Fryer Kale Chips
- Heat your Air Fryer to 375°F / 190°C.
- Place the kale into the basket in an even layer. A bit of overlap is totally fine as they tend to fly around a bit.
- Air fry for 4-5 minutes, checking the kale chips after 3 minutes. Give the basket a shake and return to the air fryer to finish cooking. The kale chips should be crisp, and just turning brown when they're done.
Oven Baked Kale Chips
- Preheat oven to 300°F / 150°C.
- Spread the kale out into a single layer on two baking sheets.
- Bake for 10 min, rotate pans in the oven or carefully toss the kale around. Bake for another 10 minutes, until the kale is crispy but not burnt. Cool for a few minutes before serving.
- Nutrition values are an estimate only.
- If your kale is flying around the air fryer, you can place a rack over top of the kale to keep it in place.
- Kale chips are best used the same day they're made, but can be cooled completely and stored for 2-3 days in an airtight container.
This recipe was originally published April 20, 2011. It was retested with Air Fryer instructions, rephotographed, and updated on May 9, 2020.