How to Cook Kale
Kale is a staple in many households. This healthy vegetable can be used in a wide variety of delicious recipes, from Kale, Wild Rice & Chicken Stew to Bacon & Kale Sheet-Pan Eggs. Learn how to cook kale, including how to sauté kale and how to make kale chips, so you can make the most of this cruciferous veggie. Plus, get tasty recipes to try.
How to Sauté Kale
Pictured recipe: Sautéed Broccoli & Kale with Toasted Garlic Butter
Learning how to sauté kale is a great way to introduce kale to anyone who may be trying it for the first time. Sautéed kale is mellow and tender and can be enjoyed on its own as a side dish, like in our Basic Sautéed Kale, or it can be used as an ingredient in a recipe, like our Kale & White Bean Potpie with Chive Biscuits. Once you master the technique of sautéing kale, the possibilities are endless.
- Remove tough stems and ribs from kale. Chop the leaves to desired size. (Not sure how to prep the leaves? Learn how to cut kale here.)
- Heat oil in a large pot or pan over medium heat. Add the chopped kale, in batches if necessary, and stir often, until the leaves are tender and wilted, about 5 minutes.
The above instructions are for cooking one small to medium bunch of kale, which is about 8 cups of chopped kale. Depending on the amount of kale you're cooking, you may need to adjust the cooking time. When cooked, the kale should be tender and wilted, while still maintaining a vibrant green.
How to Make Kale Chips
If you're looking for a healthy alternative to potato chips, kale chips are a tasty substitution. The leaves get crispy and crunchy, so you still get the same textures that you crave from regular potato chips. Kale chips can be made in the oven or the air fryer. One important rule for kale chips: be sure the leaves are thoroughly dry before tossing with oil. Oil is key to making kale chips crispy, and water will prevent the oil from sticking to the leaves.
How to Make Kale Chips in the Oven
Pictured recipe: Kale Chips
- Position racks in upper third and center of oven; preheat to 400℉.
- Remove tough stems from 1 large bunch of kale and tear leaves into pieces. Drizzle the leaves with 1 tablespoon olive oil, ¼ teaspoon salt and any other desired seasonings. Toss to evenly coat; spread on 2 large baking sheets, working in batches if necessary to avoid overlapping.
- Bake until the leaves are crisp, switching the pans back to front and top to bottom halfway through, about 8 to 12 minutes. (Kale chips can quickly go from delicious to burnt, so be sure to keep a close eye on them.)
How to Make Kale Chips in an Air Fryer
Pictured recipe: Air-Fryer Kale Chips
- Remove tough stems from 1 large bunch of kale and tear leaves into pieces. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil, ¼ teaspoon salt and any other desired seasonings.
- Coat air-fryer basket with cooking spray. Add the kale leaves to the basket and coat with cooking spray. Cook at 375℉ until crispy, 10 to 12 minutes, shaking the basket and stirring the leaves every 3 to 4 minutes.
How to Make Creamed Kale
Pictured recipe: Creamed Kale
Move over, creamed spinach. Once you learn how to make creamed kale, you won't want to eat it any other way. The rich, yet healthy, side dish can be served alongside roasted chicken, steak and more. Here's how to make creamed kale.
- Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add 1 cup sliced leek (white and light green parts only) and cook, stirring frequently, until starting to soften, 1 to 2 minutes. Add 12 cups chopped kale, 2 cloves minced garlic, 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring often, until very soft, 10 to 20 minutes, adding water 1/4 cup at a time if the greens start to stick. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Stir in 1 1/2 cups reduced-fat milk and a pinch of nutmeg. Cook, stirring, until just starting to boil and thicken, 1 to 2 minutes. Serve hot.
How to Use Kale in Soups & Stews
Pictured recipe: Chicken & Kale Soup
Not only does it add a pop of color, but using kale in a soup or stew is an easy nutritional boost. Depending on the recipe, there are a few ways to use the leafy green. For soft and tender kale, you can add it in the beginning of a recipe when you sauté other vegetables just before adding broth and then let it simmer, like in our Chicken-Sausage & Kale Stew. If you like more structure to your greens, add kale leaves toward the end and cook until they're just wilted and tender, like in our Spicy Potato & Kale Soup. Or, if you're making a recipe like our Green Soup with Yams & Sage, you can puree kale into a silky soup. All of these methods are easy and delicious, so try incorporating kale into your next soup.