Thirty seconds may seem like a negligible amount of time, but that’s exactly the how much time it takes to go from ‘Hmm, my kale chips seem really great but maybe I should give them just a little longer…” to “Sh*t, I burnt my kale chips again!”
I am new to Baked Kale Chips and every recipe I have read goes on about how easy they are to make. Well they are… kind of. First, the preparation is super-easy: rip the leaves off the stalks. Second, the ingredients are simple: kale, olive oil and salt. But (here’s where it gets difficult), the time and temperature are where recipes vary and where trial and error with your own oven is crucial to being able to whip up an effortless bowl of melt-in-the-mouth Baked Kale Chips.
There are two main schools of thought where baked kale is concerned. First (and most popular) is the high temperature quick bake. This method is really great except that the first few times you make kale you will have to watch the oven like a hawk otherwise your kale will burn. The second method is the low temperature slow bake. In my experience, this method should be avoided. Aside from the fact that you don’t want to wait an hour or two for your baked kale, the slow bake method makes your entire house smell like a rhinoceros.
So, the main advice I have for someone trying to make Baked Kale Chips for the first time is:
- Wash your kale and then let it dry fully before even beginning to think about baking it. I recommend washing it the night before and allowing it to air-dry on a tea-towel overnight.
- Rip or cut your kale leaves into bite-size 2-inch pieces for even baking.
- Bake your kale quickly at high heat (350F/175C, not fan-assisted).
- Place a rack in your baking tray to keep the kale leaves slightly elevated. This allows heat to get under the leaves as well. If you don’t have a rack, then directly on the baking sheet will work fine as well.
- Kale should bake in 8-12 minutes. Watch it carefully. Remember, if you take it out too early you can always pop it back into the oven. But if you leave it too long and it burns, you’ll have to throw it out and start again. Remember to remove kale from the oven as soon as the edges start to turn light brown.
- Buy an extra bunch of kale. Just in case…
Kale is in season from mid-winter to spring.
BAKED KALE CHIPS
1 bunch of kale (approximately 8oz/250g)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
- Preheat oven to 350F/175C (not fan-assisted).
- Wash the kale and let it air-dry or spin-dry until fully dried (this is an important step – I usually wash it the night before and let it air-dry on a tea-towel overnight).
- Once dry, rip or cut the leaves off of the thick tough stalks. The leaves should be cut in a uniform size to allow for even baking – I recommend a bite-size 2 inches.
- In a large bowl, mix 1 Tbsp of olive oil and 1 tsp of salt. Drop all the leaves into the bowl and toss well using your hands until the leaves are lightly and evenly coated.
- Place on a baking tray (if you have a rack, I recommend putting the rack on your baking sheet to allow the heat to fully surround the kale leaves).
- Place in the lower third of the oven and bake for 8-12 minutes. The difference between perfect kale chips and burnt kale chips is about 30 seconds, so keep a close eye on the oven. Remove the kale leaves from the oven when the edges of the leaves are just beginning to turn light brown.
- Pile the kale leaves in a bowl and serve immediately