Crispy kale, often referred to as kale crisps or kale chips is a healthy and tasty snack. It’s easy to make too, especially if you use an air fryer. Only three ingredients needed. Why not wow friends and family with a bowl of green crisps next time you have them over for a gathering?
We grow kale both in the garden and allotment because it’s really easy. It’s also really good for you and terribly useful to have to hand. We like to eat a lot of greens. Mostly, we grow Russian kale and perennial kale, although we have been know to venture into curly kale from time to time.
The perennial kale can be a bit of a thug and needs regular cutting back. Making kale crisps is a great way to use up some of those trimmings.
What Is Crispy Kale?
Crispy kale is the same thing as kale crisps and kale chips. The difference is in the name only. Kale is cooked at a high temperature without water until it’s completely crisp, which makes it a healthy and tasty snack. You can deep fry kale in oil, bake it in the oven or “fry” in an air fryer.
It’s perhaps best not to compare crispy kale with potato crisps (chips), but it makes for an excellent snack nonetheless.
Is Crispy Kale Good For You?
Kale is high in fibre, antioxidants, vitamins A, B, C & K as well as calcium and potassium (ref: Healthline). As with many vegetables, it loses some of its nutritional value when it’s cooked. Having said that, cooking makes it easier for the body to digest.
My recipe contains olive oil and salt, so it’s not fat and sodium free. But the amounts of both are small.
So in answer to the question, yes, crispy kale is generally good for you.
Air Fryer Crispy Kale Chips
We all love crispy food. I’m not sure there’s a cuisine on the planet that doesn’t include some sort of deep fried snack. The beauty of kale crisps though, is that you don’t need to deep fry them to get a beautiful light crunchy bite.
You can bake them in the oven, but better still use an air fryer if you have one. An air fryer cuts down on electricity and because of the heated air that circulates, it “fries” the kale in just a few minutes.
Kale comes in all shapes, sizes and colours. There are many varieties. It doesn’t really matter though what type of kale you use to make these crispy kale chips. Go with whatever you’re able to get hold of.
As already stated we tend to grow perennial kale and Russian kale. Both of these are bluey grey in colour, though very different in shape and flavour. In the photos you can see here, we’ve used our perennial kale.
With only three ingredients needed, crispy kale is simple to make. It’s quite quick too. I use a small amount of good quality extra virgin olive oil, which is needed to “fry” the chips, but also adds flavour. The third ingredient is a little sea salt. That’s it.
To ramp up the flavour, you might like to add some additional ingredients. Scroll down the post for a few ideas.
Crispy kale chips are naturally vegan, nut-free and gluten-free, so they’re ideal candidates for easy entertaining. Offer them as an appetiser with drinks, take to potlucks and parties or just sit down with a bowlful in front of your screen.
Crispy Kale Chips: Step-By-Step
There’s not a lot to this recipe for crispy kale chips, but there are a couple of things worth noting.
Step 1: Strip Kale
Kale stalks are rather tough and fibrous. You can eat them and indeed I often do, depending on what I’m cooking. If you have a power blender, you can even use them in smoothies. They are very good for you.
Strip kale leaves from the stalks.Start by stripping the leaves off the stalks. Do this with your hands, it’s quick and easy this way. You can use a knife to cut out the stalks instead, but in my experience this is fiddly and takes a lot more time.
As you strip off the kale, tear the leaves into three or four pieces.
Discard the stalks. I add them to my compost bin. If you want to use them at a later date, place them in a sealed container and keep in the crisper drawer of your fridge. They’ll keep for two to three days. Wash them well before using.
Step 2: Wash Kale
Wash the torn kale in cold water. This is important as there is likely to be some dirt clinging to the leaves. If it’s not organic, it may also have some pesticide residues.
Wash kale leaves well in cold water.Step 3: Dry Kale
It’s important that the kale leaves are as dry as possible. If they’re too wet, they’ll steam in the air-fryer and won’t crisp up.
Dry washed kale leaves in a salad spinner.For preference use a salad spinner. It works really well and it only takes a few seconds to spin the leaves more or less dry.
Failing that, give the leaves a few good shakes in a colander and then soak up as much of the moisture as you can with kitchen towel.
Step 4. Massage Kale
Place the more or less dry kale in a large mixing bowl. Pour the olive oil over the top and sprinkle with a little salt. Make sure the salt is fine sea salt or rock salt or it won’t be distributed over the leaves.
Massage the oil and salt into the kale leaves with your hands.Plunge your clean hands into the bowl and mix everything together. As you mix, massage the leaves a little to ensure they’re all coated in oil and salt.
Step 5. Cook Kale
Heat your air-fryer as directed by the manufacturers instructions. I have two air-fryers and both are very different. One I have to preheat before adding anything to it, the other one I don’t.
You’ll need to “fry” the kale in batches. If you overcrowd the air-fryer basket, you’ll end up with steamed kale rather than crispy kale.
Place some of the kale leaves in the air-fryer basket, but be careful not to overcrowd.Place about a third of the leaves in the air-fryer basket and “fry” for four to five minutes. How many leaves you add will depend on how big your basket is. Shake the pan after the first two minutes and then again a minute later. Give them another minute then check to see how they’re doing.
Check regularly near the end of the cooking time to make sure the kale leaves don’t burn.If they’re not ready give the pan another shake and cook for a further thirty seconds to a minute. Once they start crisping up, they do it very quickly. You can go from limp leaves to burnt crisps in a very short space of time.
Crispy Kale: Variations
The recipe in this post is for basic crispy kale chips. As with most things though, it’s always good to have a few different options. If you’d like to add a bit more flavour to your kale crisps, here are a few ideas.
Some like it hot. Add half a teaspoon (or more) of chilli powder to the olive oil and salt then massage the whole lot into the kale.If you’re more of a smoky type, add half a teaspoon of smoked paprika.For a garlic hit, add half a teaspoon of garlic powder, or a teaspoon of my wild garlic in oil.Asian-style is good too. Omit the salt and add one teaspoon of tamari or your favourite soy sauce.And if you like things cheesy, try two teaspoons of nutritional yeast. This gives a certain cheese flavour, but keeps the kale crisps vegan.
Try mixing things up a bit too. For starters garlic and nutritional yeast are a good combination. Feel free to experiment with your own flavour blends too. Just let me know your favourites.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Cook Kale In An Air Fryer?
You can absolutely cook kale in an air fryer. As long as it’s crispy kale you’re after. In fact air fryers are perfect for making crispy kale, kale crisps, kale chips or whatever it is you prefer to call them.
Can You Cook Crispy Kale Chips In The Oven?
Yes, you can make crispy kale in an oven. It works well, but takes longer than in an air-fryer and it’s not quite as easy to tell when the kale has crisped up properly.
To oven bake, follow the recipe as stated, but instead of using the air-fryer, spread the seasoned kale out onto two baking trays. Roast in a preheated oven at 200℃ (180℃ fan, 400℉, Gas 6) for twelve minutes in total.
Toss the kale after the first seven minutes, then roast for a further five minutes or until crispy.
How Long Does Kale Take To Cook?
It’s best to cook kale for a short period only. The less it’s cooked, the more nutrients are preserved. For kale chips, you only need to air-fry them for four to five minutes.
Why Is Kale Not Crispy?
The most likely reason why your kale chips are not crispy, is that they haven’t been dried properly. If there’s too much water attached to the leaves, the heat will turn the moisture to steam. This in turn means you’ll end up with steamed kale rather than crispy kale.
How Long Do Kale Chips Last?
Once your kale is cooked and crispy, the resulting crisps last for two to three days. Let them cool down completely, then store in an air-tight container. If they go soft, air-fry them again for thirty seconds or so.
Place a small pack of silica gel in the container along with the crisps. This will help to keep them dry and crispy.
Other Kale Recipes You Might Like
Keep in Touch
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Crispy Kale Chips. PIN IT.
Air-Fryer Crispy Kale – The Recipe
Air-Fryer Crispy Kale Chips
Crispy kale, often referred to as kale crisps or kale chips is a healthy and tasty snack. It’s easy to make too, especially if you use an air fryer. Only three ingredients needed.Prep Time10 minsCook Time10 minsTotal Time20 minsCourse: Snack, StarterCuisine: BritishKeyword: healthy, kale, party food, veganServings: 8 peopleCalories: 21kcalAuthor: Choclette @ Tin and ThymeIngredients1 bunch kale about 400g (14 oz)1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil¼ tsp fine sea or rock saltInstructionsStrip the kale leaves from their stalks with your hands and tear into three or four pieces. Compost the stalks or save for smoothies.1 bunch kaleWash the leaves in cold water, then dry using a salad spinner or kitchen paper. If the leaves are too wet, they will steam rather than “fry” and won’t crisp up.Place the dry leaves in a large mixing bowl. Add the oil and salt and give the lot a good mix with your hands, massaging the leaves as you go.1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, ¼ tsp fine sea or rock saltYou’ll need to «fry» the kale in batches so as not to overcrowd the air-fryer basket. Depending on the size of your air-fryer basket, transfer a third to a half of the leaves into it. Don’t overcrowd the basket though, you need to allow the air to circulate.Following manufacturer’s instructions «fry» the kale at 190℃ (375℉) in the air fryer for 4-5 minutes. Give the basket a good shake two or three times during the process to ensure the kale is cooking evenly.After four minutes, check to see if the kale is done. It can go from limp to burnt in a very short time. As soon as it’s crisp, remove from the basket and repeat with the next batch.NotesTo oven bake, follow the recipe as stated, but instead of using the air-fryer, spread the seasoned kale out onto two baking trays. Roast in a preheated oven at 200℃ (180℃ fan, 400℉, Gas 6) for seven minutes, then toss and roast for a further five minutes or until crispy.We quite like our kale crisps plain but you can add additional flavourings if you like. See the variations section in the post for ideas.Although the process of making crispy kale is quite simple, it’s worth reading the post for additional guidance and faqs.
Please note: calories and other nutritional information are per serving. They’re approximate and will depend on exact ingredients used.NutritionCalories: 21kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 81mg | Potassium: 57mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 1623IU | Vitamin C: 15mg | Calcium: 41mg | Iron: 1mg Share on Facebook
I’m sharing this recipe for crispy kale chips with #CookBlogShare, which is hosted by Family Friends Food this week.