Everyday Eats & Sweets / Recipes

Krispy Kale Chips

Baked kale chips

What to do when you have an excess of kale in the garden, and not enough meals in the week to use it all?

You make kale chips!

I had always heard about kale chips but thought they were strictly for hippie-foodie, Whole Foods-consuming, crunchy-granola health nuts. As someone who bizarrely lacks the snacking gene, I hardly even ate potato chips… let alone kale chips. I didn’t even know kale could get crispy like a chip. All I’d ever done with it was boil it, steam it, saute it.

But if doing all that turned kale into a forkful of tasty goodness, I figured that baking it could definitely make for some finger-lickin’ goodness, too.

I love Russian Red kale for its frilly, oak-leaf shape and its beautiful, reddish-purple stems and veins. The colors intensify in cooler weather — ranging from lavender to magenta — and add a pretty accent to a monochromatic winter vegetable garden. Also known as Ragged Jack kale, it tends to be sweeter than common curly varieties.

Russian Red kale

Russian Red kale

I harvested a large bunch of my Russian Red kale for this recipe, but any kale works; the savoyed texture of dinosaur kale or curly kale would make for good crunch, too.

Remove all the leaves from the stems and discard the stems into your compost pile. Tear the leaves into bite-sized pieces.

Wash the leaves and give them a quick and thorough dry in a salad spinner. Make sure they’re completely dry — any excess moisture on the leaves will simply steam them in the oven.

Wash and thoroughly dry kale

Now for the fun part… most kale recipes will tell you to season with olive oil and salt, and be done with it. But let’s get creative here!

Seasonings for kale chips

Since I had so much kale going on, I made four batches with four different flavors. First, spread the leaves in a single layer on a baking sheet. Drizzle a tablespoon or two of olive oil over the leaves and massage it in, making sure every part of the leaves is lightly coated. You’ll want to get your hands dirty for this.

Lightly coat kale leaves with olive oil

On the first batch, I seasoned the kale with a little Himalayan pink salt and garlic powder. So simple — you can never go wrong with garlic.

On the second batch, I used my fancy extra-virgin olive oil with chipotle and sprinkled in some Lawry’s seasoning salt. Just enough zip for the tongue, but not too much.

The next batch was flavored with a little garlic salt and a generous heaping of shredded Parmesan… mmmm.

And on the final batch, I wanted chips with a kick, so I seasoned the kale with a special West African spicy pepper blend that contained black pepper, cayenne pepper, salt, paprika, onion powder, and garlic powder. I also added chili powder for extra heat. My mouth was watering as I did this!

Oiled and seasoned kale leaves

With everything oiled and seasoned, I popped the kale in the oven to bake at 350°F for 10 minutes. Your oven time may vary, but definitely check your chips at the 10-minute mark to make sure they don’t burn. You want the edges slightly browned, but the chips should stay a nice, deep green.

Perfectly baked kale chips

When you remove them from the oven, the kale should be delicately crispy and delightfully savory. If the chips taste bitter, they’re burnt. The burnt chips might be good crumbled and tossed into Japanese rice balls (onigiri), actually. Kinda like seaweed, but without the fishy taste.

Now you can stuff your chips into a Ziploc bag to bring along as a snack… and hear people dubiously ask “What is that?” when you offer them… followed by “This is kale? But it’s so good!” as they ravenously grab handfuls with smiles on their faces.

About Author

I'm a plant lover, passionate road-tripper, and cookbook author whose expert advice and bestselling books have been featured in TIME, Outside, HGTV, and Food & Wine. The No-Waste Vegetable Cookbook is my latest book. Garden Betty is where I write about modern homesteading, farm-to-table cooking, and outdoor adventuring—all that encompass a life well-lived outdoors. After all, the secret to a good life is... Read more »


  • Phwuffer
    April 6, 2021 at 3:07 pm

    Thx Red russian seems good for this

  • Phwuffer
    April 6, 2021 at 3:06 pm

    Wow Soooooooooo COOOOOOOOOOl

  • Melanie Bagby
    March 17, 2013 at 5:08 pm

    Don’t toss the stems! Sautée an onion in bacon fat and add chopped stems, cook til done! Or add to minestrone! My dogs and the neighbors hens also love them.

  • Peggy King
    November 20, 2012 at 10:33 am

    My 1st successful attempt at making kale chips-my husband liked them too and he’s usually fussy about his food.He grew the Russian kale and we have an abundance of it.Gee,this is a legal Paleo treat!

    • Linda Ly
      November 20, 2012 at 5:56 pm


  • Geewhiskas
    August 24, 2012 at 7:41 pm

    I tried these recently…fantastic!

    • Linda Ly
      August 26, 2012 at 1:15 am

      Happy you like!

  • Carol Patton Cornsilk
    April 9, 2012 at 7:33 pm

    Yum!  Can’t wait to try this!  I’m so done with eating kale boiled!

    • bob
      February 28, 2021 at 12:06 pm


  • Lisa @ Life in Green
    December 7, 2011 at 8:50 am

    Looks tasty!  I’ve only made these a couple times, but should have do it a lot more.

    I grew Russian Red a few years ago…I bet it does make for some great kale chips with its long leaves.  Probably easier to get the leaves thoroughly covered in oil than the curly varieties too. 

    • Linda Ly
      December 8, 2011 at 1:09 am

      I’m growing dinosaur kale this season and will try making some kale chips with it too. I think the texture will give the chips some nice bite.


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