Make this crispy baby kale chips recipe in the air fryer in just 5 minutes and choose from many seasoning ideas. Whether you want a vegan snack for movie night or a way to use up leftover kale, this recipe is ready in minutes!
These easy crispy kale chips are baked in the oven and work well for any eating plan. This healthy crunchy snack is ready in minutes. It requires just two main ingredients and a handful of spices you probably already have in your pantry.
And YES. You can make kale chips in the air fryer. And I have a secret way to make it even easier.
Use baby kale!
Extra virgin olive oil
Black pepper and salt
There are many other kale chip flavors. I will share some of my favorite seasoning combinations below.
If kale isn’t your thing, my crispy air fryer chickpeas are even easier to make and still a healthy snack! And my garlic parmesan air fryer delicata squash cooks up crisp on the outside and creamy inside – almost like fries!
Are kale chips healthy?
Yes! As a registered dietitian, I am often asked about healthy snacks. Made simply with fresh kale, olive oil, and seasonings, these kale chips are a good pick.
The kale provides some fiber and other nutrients. And cooking them with fat helps you better absorb the fat-soluble vitamins in the greens, such as the vitamin A found in kale.
Though you can make oil-free kale chips, you’ll miss out on this enhanced absorption benefit in the fat-free version.
Tips for success
- Use baby kale for ease. Feel free to buy a bunch of kale and cut it into large pieces. Though it will cost a bit more, baby kale eliminates the need to chop anything. It’s already done for you!
- Dry the kale well. Water will make it difficult for the oil to stick to the greens and will lead to less crispy chips. Even if you’re using bagged, tripled-washed greens, use a clean kitchen towel and/or salad spinner to remove any excess moisture.
- Preheat your air fryer. Having a hot air fryer will promote more even cooking.
Giving the greens a little massage will help ensure the olive oil is well incorporated. But this process also helps tenderize the kale. You should always massage kale well (about 5 minutes) for raw salads. But for kale chips, just a quick rub works – about a minute total.
Cook the baby kale in batches. Though the greens will shrink considerably, for the chips to get crispy, it’s important to allow plenty of space for the air to circulate through the basket.
Arrange the seasoned kale in a single layer to achieve this.
Remove the kale chips from the basket and eat right away. Take advantage of the already heated air fryer to add another batch or two.
TIP: Check your air fryer heating element for stray kale. After my air fryer cooled down, I found several pieces of kale stuck in mine! I think because the baby kale is so lightweight, it blows around while cooking and can fly outside the basket.
Ways to season kale chips
Season your kale chips simply with salt and pepper, make them spicy with cayenne pepper, or sprinkle on some nutritional yeast for a cheesy flavor that’s still vegan.
If you like cheese, try adding garlic and parmesan as another option.
Once you know the process to make this healthy, crunchy snack, the flavor is only limited by your imagination and palate.
Kale chips are best enjoyed fresh from the air fryer. They will lose crunch as time goes on and with exposure to air.
Store any leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature. The chips will stay (somewhat) crunchy for a day or so in the right container. Try a glass jar. But as I mentioned above, it’s best to prepare your kale chips just before you’re going to eat them.
Kale chips in the oven
Don’t have an air fryer? No worries. You can bake your own kale chips in the oven!
Simply preheat your oven to 350 F. Follow steps 2 & 3. Then spread the kale onto a pan fitted with an oven-proof cooling rack or in a single layer on a sheet pan lined with parchment. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until crispy.
Other recipes to use up greens
Apple Pecan Farro Salad: This salad combines all the best flavors of fall bundled into one bowl!
Kale & Quinoa Salad: This crunchy, nutrition-packed salad is perfect for lunch!
Kale Walnut Pesto: Make this sauce to toss pasta or spread over roasted vegetables, sandwiches, or even eggs!
Air Fryer Kale Chips
- 5 ounces baby kale (about 10 cups)
- 2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon paprika powder
- ½ teaspoon coarse salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Set the air fryer to 380 degrees F and let heat while you prepare the kale (about 5 minutes).
- Add the baby kale and olive oil to a medium mixing bowl. Using clean hands, massage the oil into the kale leaves until all leaves are coated but the leaves are still sturdy – not limp.
- whisk the spices in a small bowl. Sprinkle evenly over the kale.
- Place the kale in a single layer in the air fryer basket. You'll likely need to work in batches. Air fry the kale for 4 – 5 minutes (total). Shake the pan after 3 minutes, return to the air fryer for an adidtional 1-2 minutes or until the kale is crispy.
- Enjoy right away or store for 1-2 days in an airtight, moisture free continater.
- Use baby kale for ease. If you don’t have access to baby kale, substitute one bunch of fresh kale. Simply rinse, dry, and chop or tear into large pieces before air-frying.
- Dry the kale well. Use a clean kitchen towel or salad spinner to remove all the moisture.
- Preheat your air fryer. This helps with even cooking.