This is the fastest way to make kale chips that come out perfectly crispy and delicious each time! Air fried kale chips are a great healthy snack when you want something crunchy and savory. Bonus: it can be made without oil, making it low in calories but high in nutrients!
Who knew healthy could taste so good?
Why this recipe works
Kale chips are an easy, healthy snack to make but don't be fooled—they're actually really delicious too!
I'm going to show you how to turn this superfood into a tasty, savory snack that you can enjoy everyday!
I've roasted kale chips in the oven, but using an air fryer is much faster. The only difference I've found is that the oven kale chips come out flatter and the air fryer kale chips come out more wrinkly. If the shape of your kale chip matters, proceed accordingly! ha!
Now, you'll also find that I made these kale chips oil free. I prefer a low/no oil diet because oil is processed and calorie dense, and not all that necessary for crisping up food like one might think.
You can use oil if you like but these kale chips don't need it, especially when using an air fryer!
Air fryer recommendation
I use this Dash Air Fryer with a 6 quart frying drawer. I find that this size is perfect for making enough food for two people. Anything smaller than 6 quarts is not efficient for a family or you'll be having to prepare food in several batches.
It does take up a bit of counter space but we use it almost daily and hardly use our oven now so I'd say the tradeoff is worth it! Sometimes we store it on top of the refrigerator if we need the counter space. It's honestly such a game changer for crisping up food without oil.
The basic formula for these air fryer kale chips only requires three main ingredients. However, you can get really creative with the flavors! See these other flavor variations for kale chips.
Reference the recipe card at the bottom for exact measurements.
- lemon juice—used to help the seasonings stick, preserves the kale for longer, and makes it bright and flavorful!
- salt—provides savory flavor and helps pull out moisture from kale leaves to make them crispier
- paprika (optional)—adds a sweet and peppery taste but feel free to add your favorite seasonings!
How to Air Fry Kale
This step by step walk-through shows the process of making these air fryer kale chips. Exact times and temperatures are available in the recipe card at the bottom.
1. Start by washing the kale leaves with cold water. Then remove the stems from the leaves. The stems are thick and don't crisp up well.
2. Break apart the leaves into chip sizes as uniform as possible. Feel free to use a knife or simply tear the leaves apart with your hands.
3. Add the cut kale to a large bowl and drizzle with the lemon juice and spices. Massage the seasoning into the leaves to evenly distribute.
4. Preheat your air fryer to 360F. Add your seasoned kale to the air fryer basket making sure not to pack them too tightly. We divided ours into 2 batches. Cook for 4-5 minutes, then move the kale leaves around to redistribute and continue cooking for a couple more minutes at 320F until crispy.
The kale leaves will fly around in the drawer since they're so light. If you have an extra tray or basket with your air fryer to set on top of them feel free to use it.
How to store
If you don't end up eating your kale chips right away you can store them on the counter at room temperature. Place in a plastic bag or airtight container.
Kale chips not staying crispy? Either place a paper towel in the container or leave the lid cracked to allow the kale chips to breathe and stay crispy.
If they lose their crunch you can throw them back in the air fryer for a few minutes to crisp back up before eating. Best consumed within a few days.
FAQ's and Expert Tips
Kale chips, especially when air fried oil free, make a healthy and nutrient-dense snack. Kale is a great source of vitamins A, K, B6 and C, folate, calcium, potassium, copper and manganese. It's also full of antioxidants which helps protect our cells from damage.
After washing the kale, pat dry with a lint-free towel or use a salad spinner to get off excess water. Too much water can cause the kale to steam rather than roast.
Yes, the stems of kale are edible. However, they are tough and fibrous and can impart a bitter flavor. When making kale chips, we remove them because the leaves would burn before the stem is able to cook enough.
There are many types of kale and really any will work, but the ones milder in flavor are best. I personally like the curly kale because it is common and easy to find. Lacinato kale, or dinosaur kale, is more flat-leafed and may be easier to cut into uniform chip shape.
More healthy snacks
If you're searching for more healthy plant-based snacks and meals we have hundreds to choose from in the Health My Lifestyle Meal Planner along with customizable meal plans and shopping lists!
Air Fryer Kale Chips
- air fryer
- 4-5 cups kale stems removed
- ½ lemon juiced, about 1 Tbsp
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon paprika (optional)
- Preheat your air fryer to 360ºF (180ºC). Remove the stems and rip or slice the leaves into large uniform pieces. They shrink up in the oven, so don't cut them too small.4-5 cups kale
- Place kale in a large bowl. Drizzle with lemon juice and season with desired amount of salt and paprika. Add any other spices that you would like (find more flavor variations here). Use clean hands to massage all ingredients into the kale leaves.½ lemon, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon paprika
- Add your seasoned kale to the air fryer basket making sure not to pack them too tightly. We divided ours into 2 batches for a 6 quart air fryer. Cook for 4-5 minutes, then move the kale leaves around to redistribute and continue cooking for a couple more minutes at 320°F (160°C) until crispy.
- The kale leaves will fly around in the drawer since they're so light. If you have an extra tray or basket with your air fryer to set on top of them feel free to use it.
StoragePlace in an airtight container at room temperature with a paper towel. They will keep for a few days. Don't have an air fryer? See this post for baking in an oven.
This recipe was originally published January 22, 2021 and updated with additional helpful tips on September 13, 2021.