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Make Great Kale Chips: 6 Important Tips

October 10, 2019

Kale is definitely a super food – it’s chock full of nutrients including fiber, vitamins A, C and K and many more.  And one cup of raw kale has just 33 calories!  One popular way to eat kale is by eating kale chips – but they can be tricky to make at home and commercial versions often have lots of high fat and/or salty ingredients added. Read on to find some tips to make delicious, crispy, not-burnt kale chips at home! 

By Christine Tenekjian, Registered Dietitian at Duke Diet and Fitness Center

Tip #1: Avoid flat-leaf kale if possible.

Get a curly or textured variety such as blue curled scotch, vates, or lacinato – this will help to ensure the leaves crisp well in the oven and don’t flatten and stick to each other or to the pan. If you buy your kale in a bag, look for lots of wrinkles in the leaves.

Tip #2: Use a convection oven on low heat.

Low temperature works better than high because this way they get dry and crispy without burning, and the convection feature really helps with getting them dried out. Alternately, you can use an air fryer on a low temp setting if you have one (they will often get done more quickly this way).

Tip #3: Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty.

When combining ingredients, instead of using a spoon it’s important to really massage the kale to work the oil and seasonings in so that all the kale pieces are coated evenly. Your fingers will taste delicious afterwards, lick away! Or use gloves if preferred.

Tip #4: Don’t overcrowd the pan.

The kale pieces need to be in a single layer with some space in order to get sufficiently dry and crispy - if they are overcrowded they will not cook as well and will tend to stay soggy and stick together. The goal is to expose them to as much circulating hot air as possible.

Tip #5: Check them often.

Don’t assume every oven will cook at the same rate. Check them periodically; if needed you can mix them around and spread them out to help them cook. If they are starting to turn brown, turn the heat down. 

Tip #6: Keep them dry for storage.

If you can control yourself and not eat the whole batch at once, you can store the leftovers in the oven on the pan. This is the driest place and will ensure they stay crispy until the next time you eat them. If you are bringing them somewhere, let them cool completely and store in a paper bag inside a ziploc plastic bag. This will also help to keep them dry. Once you arrive you can put them in a bowl. But if it’s humid, be prepared to eat non-crispy kale chips after 30-60 minutes - those suckers will absorb the moisture pretty quickly once exposed to the air.

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Kale Chip Recipe:

Makes 4 servings


- 1 pound bunch of kale (or ~12-ounce bag pre-washed and trimmed kale)

- 1 tablespoon olive oil

- Seasonings to taste (try black pepper, garlic powder, smoked paprika, and a little salt; or try “everything bagel” seasoning)


1. Preheat CONVECTION oven to 275 degrees (no convection oven? Use 300 degrees in a regular oven).

2. Tear the kale off the stem and into bite-size pieces; wash and spin dry. Put the torn kale pieces into a large mixing bowl (the bowl needs to be a bit larger than the amount of kale so there is room for mixing as described in next step)

3. Add the oil and seasonings to the bowl, and MASSAGE with your hands to blend and get the oil and seasonings onto all leaves. Spread kale onto 1-2 large jelly roll pans.

4. Cook for 20-30 minutes until dry and crisp, checking periodically. Once they look close to done (e.g. some pieces are crispy but some are not quite there yet), you can turn off the oven and leave them in there for 5-10 more minutes. This will help them dry out but they should not burn. Enjoy!

Nutrition Analysis per Serving:

Calories: 70

Fat: 4 g (0.5 g saturated)

Carbohydrate: 7 g (3 g fiber, 2 g sugar)

Protein: 3 g

Sodium: 150 mg (based on ¼ teaspoon kosher salt) 

Learn more about healthy eating practices from dietary experts at the Duke Diet and Fitness Center at www.dukedietandfitness.org

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