I don’t remember why I woke up one day and decided that would be the day that I finally made homemade kale chips. It may have been for a recipe, it may have been because I had an excess amount of kale on-hand. What I do remember is that I ate every single kale chip as it came out of the oven, leaving little-to-nothing for a later time. Warm, they melted in my mouth – addicting. Fresh, unlike any other bagged, grocery-store-bought kale chip I’ve ever eaten.
When I first began making kale chips, I burned a few of the fragile greens and created salty kale meltaways with the rest. I learned that kale is fragile when put into a hot oven and can burn easily. If you are available to pay close attention to your kale as it bakes, you should be able to get it out of the oven before it sizzles. Unattended, the kale is much more likely to burn.
When I browse through different kale chip recipes, I notice they recommend a variety of baking temps and timing. It is important to find what works for you and your oven, even if it is on a trial-and-error basis. I found that baking my kale between 9-13 minutes is ideal timing for me.
The amount of salt, vinegar, and oil will vary on how big your batch of kale is, it will also vary based on your taste preference. Some of my kale chips were more drenched than others leaving them more chewy. The lesser-drenched chips became more crispy – I liked them both. I encourage you to experiment with different variations and find what you like best. Don’t expect perfection the first go-around, but you can expect it shortly after.
If vinegar is not your thing, then don’t use it – continue on with just the salt and oil or add something else that you think would compliment the kale (SRIRACHA anyone?!).
Below is the recipe variation that has worked for me.
Salt & Vinegar Kale Chips
- 1 bunch of kale
- approx 4-5 tablespoons olive oil
- approx 3-4 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- approx 4-5 teaspoons sea salt
- 1 1 gallon ziplock bag
- Wash and completely dry the kale. I like to lay the kale flat on paper towels to air dry, which can take up to an hour or two. It is extremely important for the kale to be completely dry before baking – if not, it could get soggy instead of crispy.
- Once dried, remove the kale stems – try to keep the leaves in larger pieces as you remove the stems, as they will shrink in the oven. Discard the stems (or use them in a veggie broth)
- Pre-heat the oven to 310 degrees.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Put ⅓ of the oil, vinegar, and sea salt into the bag and shake it around the bag, coating it, then add ⅓ of the kale leaves. Shake the kale around until the leaves are covered in the mixture.
- Lay the leaves out on the baking sheet, making sure to not overlap any of the leaves.
- Bake for 9-15 minutes, checking them frequently.
- Use the same process for the second batch, and then the third.
In my opinion, the kale chips are best when eaten the same day you make them.