Air Fryer Kale Chips Recipe

As a member of the Brassica oleracea plant family, kale is a leafy green that's cousins with the likes of cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and other cruciferous vegetables (via Vox). It looks like super wavy lettuce leaves with its bright green hue and has an interesting taste. Some of the superfoods available at the market may seem a wee bit intimidating, like kale. You know they're really healthy for you, but how exactly do you fix and eat them?

According to Real Simple, kale has become incredibly popular throughout the globe, from being used as a garnish on dinner plates and under glass bowls of lettuce at restaurants, to becoming an ingredient in many healthy main dishes — and even as a standalone snack. Recipe developer Susan Olayinka of The Flexible Fridge challenged herself to try and make a myriad of recipes using only an air fryer, and she decided to make it her mission to prepare a batch of kale chips in the air fryer. 

Fans of kale chips typically bake them, but once you make them in the air fryer, you'll be forever changed in the best of ways. "If you have an air fryer, please try it. These [came out] so crispy," Olayinka notes. This quite possibly may end up being your new favorite snack. And it's kale, so it's healthy!

Gather the ingredients to prepare air fryer kale chips

If you cannot fathom the thought of eating often-bitter kale straight-up plain, don't worry, because Olayinka seasons the crispy air fried kale chips with a beautiful blend of extra-virgin olive oil, salt, and black pepper. It's a surprisingly simple seasoning combination that won't disappoint. It actually will take you longer to shop for the ingredients at the store than it will to fix this snack. It only takes five minutes required to prepare the snack and 10 minutes to fix it, then seconds to make it disappear. You won't even realize it's healthy for you while eating it!

How to shop for kale

You can buy kale bundled in the produce section of your store, at a farmers market, or already trimmed and washed in a bag. Kale actually comes in an assortment of colors, from deep green and purple to pink and white (via Harvard T.H. Chan School Of Public Health). You'll find it in long stalks like romaine lettuce and the less bitter, milder kale tends to be baby kale. "Bagged kale is my go-to, as I don't need to chop it. [Bagged kale] even comes washed," Olayinka says.

The thicker, heartier kale tends to last longer when stored in the refrigerator than its smoothie buddy spinach, so even if you don't use all of the kale in your first batch of air fryer kale chips, you can store it in the fridge for a while.

Why kale?

Spinach and kale are Olayinka's "go-to green veggies," but she usually uses them in her delectable smoothies. Both are jam-packed with nutrients and offer so many health benefits. "I'm going to be making a lot more kale chips from now on," she notes.

Kale possesses more than 100 percent of the recommended daily allowance of several vitamins we need such as A, K, and C (via Healthline). It also contains plenty of antioxidants, helps increase HDL and lower LDL cholesterol levels, and supports cardiovascular health.

Prep the kale in a salad spinner

Even though bagged kale is already washed, Olayinka still washes the kale in a salad spinner and spins all of the water out so that the kale is virtually dry. "I got my salad spinner from a local supermarket and love, love, love, it. I now don't know how I would be without it. There's nothing like dry crisp veggies that [have] been washed," she says.

The kale must be spun until it's completely dry, because if it is still wet, it will turn soggy in the air fryer instead of crisp. Use 7 ounces of kale per batch, and no more, so you don't overwhelm the air fryer.

Mix together the olive oil, salt, and pepper

Once the kale has been washed and dried, transfer it into a mixing bowl, and add in the extra-virgin olive oil, salt, and black pepper. Mix the ingredients together well until every kale leaf has been thoroughly coated with the oil base and the seasoning.

If you're feeling adventurous, you could add in your favorite seasoning at this point in the process, such as garlic salt and onion powder or even barbecue seasoning. Choose your favorite seasoning, and make this snack your own. The sky's the limit! Just make sure you have enough extra-virgin olive oil to coat every leaf.

It's time for the air fryer

Olayinka's air fryer doesn't need to be preheated, as it warms up automatically, she notes. So grab the air fryer tray, and layer the kale across it without overlapping any leaves, if possible, she directs. Air fry the kale at 400 F for 10 minutes. While the first batch is in the air fryer, go ahead and wash then spin the second batch of kale for the next round. (Don't worry about rinsing out the air fryer between the kale chip batches.)

"It did take me a couple of batches. [The air fryer] does not need to be rinsed off, but just ensure that all kale shreds are taken out, or they will burn," Olayinka cautions. The easiest way to remove the kale chips from the air fryer is with tongs. 

Once you make this recipe, it is sure to be a family favorite. It's the perfect snack to have on hand — that is, if everyone doesn't eat them up as soon as they come out of the air fryer!

Air Fryer Kale Chips Recipe
4.9 from 15 ratings
Fans of kale chips typically bake them, but once you make them in the air fryer, you'll be forever changed in the best of ways.
Prep Time
Cook Time
air fryer kale chips
Total time: 15 minutes
  • 7 ounces kale
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  1. Wash the kale in a salad spinner, and then spin all of the water out so the kale is basically dry.
  2. Place the kale into a mixing bowl, and add to it the extra-virgin olive oil, salt, and black pepper.
  3. Mix together until well incorporated and all of the kale is coated with the olive oil mixture.
  4. Place the kale into the air fryer tray. Cook on 400 F for 10 minutes.
  5. Repeat the process until all the kale is cooked.
  6. Serve, and enjoy!
Calories per Serving 112
Total Fat 9.6 g
Saturated Fat 1.3 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 5.9 g
Dietary Fiber 2.4 g
Total Sugars 1.5 g
Sodium 175.3 mg
Protein 2.9 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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