Air fryer kale chips are an easy & healthy snack. Made with just 4 simple ingredients, they are a cinch to prepare.
They get perfectly crispy in the air fryer or baked in the oven. Enjoy them on their own or alongside a sandwich.
Kale chips take a nutrient-dense salad green and turn it into a light & crunchy snack. Think of them as nature’s potato chips!
They are a tasty morsel all on their own. They also add color & crunch to rice bowls, and something salty to go alongside a sandwich.
I’ve been baking kale chips in the oven for a decade now. But you know what’s even faster & easier?
Air frying them!
They get uniformly crisp around the edges. So good!
Don’t have an air fryer yet? No worries. I give oven directions as well in the recipe box below.
(By the way, if you love kale chips, give roasted cabbage a shot. It’s another cruciferous vegetable that is so delicious cooked at high temperatures.)
Kale: You’ll need one bunch of kale for this recipe. I recommend buying it fresh as opposed to pre-chopped.
You can use any type of kale for these chips, but my favorite is curly kale. Think of them as the Ruffles of the kale world. They have ridges!
Their beautiful feathered edges get nice & crisp all around the outside. Their poufy nature also ensures that air will get around them in the air fryer.
Extra virgin olive oil: A drizzle of oil helps the chips to brown & for the salt to cling to them.
There isn’t much oil here. You can easily replace it with any oil you prefer or use cooking spray for even less oil.
Lemon juice: A squeeze of lemon juice gives the chips a bit of tang. It also plays well against kale’s more bitter qualities.
Salt: Just a pinch of salt is all you need here.
The kale chips shrink as they cook. So if you go overboard, the salt will stand out even more as the surface area of the chip becomes smaller.
How to make it
This is how to make the recipe at a glance. For complete ingredient amounts and step-by-step instructions, keep scrolling to the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Rinse kale. Use your hands to remove the leaves from the hard center ribs.
Tear the kale into medium-sized pieces.
Dry the kale on a clean kitchen towel or with a salad spinner.
Put the kale into a large mixing bowl.
Rub the leaves with extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, and salt. You want all of the leaves to be evenly coated.
To air fry: Put the kale into the air fryer basket.
Air fry at 375 degrees for 4 to 6 minutes, stopping occasionally to shake the basket for even cooking.
To bake: Put the kale on parchment paper lined baking sheets.
Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees. If they need more time, flip the kale & bake up to 5 minutes longer.
Tips for best results
Use fingers to remove kale from stem
Some folks use a knife to cut the stems from kale, but it’s so much easier with your fingers. Just get in there and pull the leaves away from the center stems.
I like to do it while I’m rinsing the kale under water to complete two tasks at once.
Thoroughly dry kale
Make sure to dry the kale on a clean kitchen towel or with a salad spinner before cooking. Wet kale doesn’t crisp well and could lead to soggy chips.
Keep the kale pieces about 2 inches wide
Don’t tear the chips into too small of pieces. Remember that they’ll shrink in the air fryer or oven.
Use a metal rack if needed
To keep the kale from flying into the heating element of the air fryer, top the leaves with a metal air fryer rack to hold them down.
(Some air fryers automatically come with these racks. With others, you have to order them separately as an accessory.)
Cook time varies
Depending on your air fryer/oven & how well you dried the kale chips, the time they take to cook varies.
Be sure to keep an eye on them at the end of their cooking time, because kale chips can quickly go from perfectly crisp to burnt.
Make them your own
You can make these chips your own by varying the type of kale. Try lacinato or rainbow kale.
After they come out of the air fryer or oven, dust them with seasonings like nutritional yeast, garlic powder, vegan parmesan, or Everything But the Bagel seasoning. (It’s one of my favorite vegan Trader Joe’s products!)
What to serve with them
Kale chips are a delicious, light and healthy snack all on their own.
They’re terrific in a rice bowl, or served alongside a sandwich.
(They are a good fit anywhere you’d typically serve french fries as a side dish.)
Serve crispy kale chips with any of these dishes:
- Baked tofu bowl
- BBQ jackfruit sandwiches
- Rachel sandwich with seitan chicken & coleslaw
- Bagel sandwich with hummus & vegetables
- Vegetable sandwich with jalapeño cashew cheese
- Buffalo chickpea sandwich
- Vegan chicken salad sandwich
How to store kale chips
Make sure the kale chips are cool & dry before storing them.
Keep any leftover chips on the counter in a paper bag.
They will keep at room temperature for several days, but over time they’ll lose their crispiness.
To make them crispy again, pop them back in the air fryer at 300 degrees for a couple of minutes.
More ways to enjoy kale
Keep the love going for this nutrient-packed leafy green with any of these dishes.
- Sautéed kale with garlic
- Kale salad with roasted chickpeas
- Sesame kale with garlic
- Tofu scramble
- Creamy gnocchi soup with sausage
- Sweet potato peanut stew
- Creamy vegan wild rice soup
Air fryer kale chips (or oven baked)
- 1 bunch curly kale
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- Rinse kale. Use your hands to remove the leaves from the hard center ribs. Tear the kale leaves into mostly equal-sized medium pieces. Keep in mind that the kale will shrink while it cooks, so aim for pieces that are about two inches big if possible.
- Dry the kale by blotting it with a clean kitchen towel or running it in a salad spinner. The leaves should be as dry as possible, so that they will get crisp in the air fryer or oven.
- Put the kale chips in a large mixing bowl with extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, and salt. Using your hands, rub the oil, lemon juice, and salt into the kale, taking care to evenly coat them.*
- TO AIR FRY: Put kale into air fryer basket. Air fry at 375 degrees for 4 to 6 minutes, stopping once or twice to shake the basket for even cooking.To keep the kale leaves from flying into the heating element, you can top them with a metal air fryer rack to hold them down.
- TO BAKE: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Lay the kale chips evenly across the sheets, taking care that they don’t overlap. (You don’t want them to steam instead of bake.)Bake the chips for 15 minutes and remove from oven. Check for doneness. You want them to be crisp, not burnt.If they are not quite done, flip the chips, and return them to the oven, putting the baking sheets on opposite racks for even roasting. Bake for another five minutes or less, keeping a careful eye on them to make sure they don’t burn. When the chips are crisp, remove them from the oven and serve.