Switch up your appetizer or healthy snack game with these Air Fryer Kale Chips. They're healthy, crunchy, and ready in just 3 easy steps!
This recipe was originally published on February 5, 2020. It was updated with additional recipe information and photos on January 20, 2021.
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Crunchy, healthy, and full of umami, these Air Fryer Kale Chips are gluten-free, low-carb, keto, and boast healthy fat and an abundance of nutrients. Each batch takes less than 20 minutes to air-fry up and just requires a mixing bowl, rubber spatula, and air fryer! Make this delicious appetizer, snack, or healthy side dish today!
Getting sick last week meant I had an extra time to catch up on my shows (Oh, hello, Fleabag), movies (looking at you, Oscar nominations), and -- most importantly -- nerd out on documentaries.
Now, I know that all documentaries are made to make specific points and in so doing don't usually include the opposing opinions. But I also think it's important to at least critically think through the points that are being made. And a lot of the points made in FAT: A Documentary and That Sugar Story got me thinking
Whereas I don't believe that going keto is a sustainable lifestyle for many people without metabolic illnesses (a point made in Fat: A Documentary), I do find it fascinating to hear that it was basically politics that brought the low-fat, high carb diet to popular opinion and government-endorsed health recommendations.
After all, there were studies conducted in Britain in the 1970s warning about the perils of excess sugar in the diet, but they didn't get the endorsement or broader attention that the previous low-fat, high carb studies did.
Furthermore, watching Damon's health decline rapidly by just eating commonly considered "healthier" processed foods in That Sugar Film was astounding. After all, he wasn't even eating noticeable added sugar like cakes, cookies, ice cream, etc. He was just eating processed food. And, according to the documentary, up to 80% of grocery store items are processed and have extra added sugar! Eek.
And even while eating the same amount of daily calories he was previously eating, he started to develop fatty liver disease, his blood lipids went up, and he gained 15 pounds eating processed foods containing 40 teaspoons of sugar each day.
By the way, these processed foods were familiar foods we'd know or have seen labeled as "healthy." Foods like yogurts, cereals, teriyaki chicken, smoothies, breakfast shakes, and the like.
Yes, this is just data from one person, but that extreme of health changes suggests that a diet full of refined or processed carbohydrates and devoid of protein and healthy fats has the potential to wreak havoc on the body.
And even if sugar doesn't affect everybody in a similar way, it's enough to get me focusing on eating more lean protein and healthy fats. Albeit, I'm still doing my best to incorporate the healthy, whole carbohydrates my body needs to run 40-50 miles and strength train 3 times per week.
These healthy kale chips are exactly the kind of food I'm trying to eat more of. They're easy to make, ultra-satisfying, crunchy, savory, and an appetizer or snack both Chris and I get super excited about eating.
So, check out those documentaries, let me know what you think about them in the comments below, and consider joining me in working more healthy fat and protein-rich foods into our diets. After all, what do we have to lose? If what we're currently doing isn't working or benefitting us the way it should, it begs us to consider a different way forward.
These Air Fried Sesame Kale Chips are...
- Full of rich umami
- Full of fiber
- Rich in healthy fat
- A keto kale chip option
Move over potato chips -- a new favorite (healthy!) savory snack is in town. These air fried kale chips are a quickly disappearing healthy snack we just can't get enough of around here!
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- Kale - Curly kale or lacinato kale are both great for this recipe.
- Olive oil or avocado oil - we need just a bit of oil to add crisp to the chips
- Coconut liquid aminos - or low-sodium soy sauce, though the recipe will no longer be gluten-free
- Toasted sesame oil - adds a nutty richness to the recipe
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder - savory seasonings perfectly complement the crunchy chips
- Salt - an essential in any air fryer kale chip; it brings out all the flavor of the chips
- Sesame seeds - contribute a nutty flavor and extra crunch to the air fried kale
- Liquid aminos - as said above, soy sauce can be substituted for the liquid aminos. The recipe will no longer be gluten-free, however
How are air fryer kale chips different from oven-roasted kale chips?
Air fryer kale chips are different from oven-roasted chips in two ways:
- How they are cooked: air fried kale chips are cooked by quickly circulating hot air around the kale chips, making them crispy and crunchy. Oven-roasted kale chips are baked on low heat on baking sheets, relying on the temperature of the sheets to cook and crisp up the chips.
- How long they need to cook: air fryer kale tenders to cook much quicker than oven-roasted chips do. Many recipes -- including this one -- cook in under 20 minutes. Oven-roasted kale chips, on the other hand, can take up to 2 hours.
What kind of kale is best for these chips?
Both dinosaur (or lacinato) kale and curly green kale work for this recipe. If you have purple kale, that should work too. The biggest factor is making sure the kale is fresh, a deep color, and tender.
Do you need to cut the rib off the kale for these chips?
No, you do not need to cut the rib off of the kale for these chips. As you can see in the photos, I left the ribs in when I made the batch for this post. You can, however, remove the ribs if you prefer your chips that way.
Are these kale chips gluten-free?
Yes, these kale chips made in the air fryer are gluten-free. Since they use coconut liquid aminos instead of soy sauce, they are made without ingredients containing gluten.
Are kale chips healthy?
According to Mary Ellen Valverde MS CNS LDN, "Kale chips can be a healthy alternative to potato chips when you're in the mood for something crunchy. If you're purchasing store-bought kale chips, you'll find that ingredients can range from package to package. The store-bought kind also tends to be higher in calories and fat. That's why it's a good idea to make them yourself so you have control of what going into the chips. "
Do I need to pre-heat an air fryer before using it?
In some situations, you do need to preheat your air fryer before using it, but for this recipe, you do not need to do so. This is because kale is light and cooks pretty quickly -- even when starting with a cool air fryer.
How do you make air fried kale chips?
For the complete recipe and specific measurements, please see the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- In a large bowl, gently toss together all of the kale chips ingredients until combined.
- Add the kale to the bowl of an air fryer and cook for 13-14 minutes, shaking the chips in the basket every 3-4 minutes, or until the chips are crispy and the sesame seeds start to turn golden brown.
- Serve the chips hot or let cool for 3-4 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
How to make this recipe perfect every time:
- Toss the kale chips well in the seasoning. We want the chips evenly covered in all the tasty ingredients to give us the best flavor.
- Shake the chips throughout cooking. Shaking the chips in the basket helps to ensure even cooking (and crisping!) of the chips. We want to shake the basket every 3-4 minutes throughout the cooking time.
How do you prevent your kale chips from flying around in the air fryer and getting burnt in the heating element?
I've never had this issue with my Ninja Foodi Tendercrisp air fryer, but if you have this trouble with your air fryer, just place an air fryer rack on top of the kale chips when they cook.
This should help keep the kale chips in place while also letting air circulate.
How do you serve these chips?
These chips are perfect served as a snack any time of day. I've also served this recipe as an appetizer at happy hours and it's been very well received.
Can you double or triple this recipe?
Yes, you can double or triple this recipe. Just multiply the ingredients by the desired factor and air fry the kale in batches (we don't want to overcrowd the air fryer, as it will make the kale soggy).
How long do leftovers last?
This kale keeps covered in the fridge for 3-4 days. It it does not freeze well.
How do you reheat or re-crisp kale in the air fryer?
You can reheat this kale on 300 degrees air fryer for about 2-4 minutes, shaking halfway through, or until the kale is reheating and crispy.
Other healthy air fryer recipes:
- Air Fryer Zucchini
- Air Fryer Salmon
- Air Fryer Green Beans
- Air Fried Crispy Parmesan Garlic Potatoes
- Air Fryer Butternut Squash
- Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts
Other healthy appetizer recipes:
- Air Fryer Potato Skins
- Healthy Spinach Artichoke Dip
- Creamy Black Bean & Avocado Dip
- Sweet Potato Hummus
- Roasted Tomato Salad with Burrata Cheese
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Crunchy, rich in umami, and healthy, these Air Fryer Kale Chips are an easy to make snack, appetizer, or side dish.
If you don't have or don't want to use liquid coconut aminos you can use soy sauce in its place. The recipe just won't be gluten-free if you do so.
- 10 oz lacinato or leafy kale, washed and cut into 1.5-2" pieces
- 2 tablespoons olive oil or avocado oil
- 2 tablespoons coconut liquid aminos
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 3/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- In a large bowl, combine the kale, olive oil, coconut aminos, and toasted sesame oil. Toss the kale in the oil and liquid aminos until the kale is evenly covered with the oil and aminos.
- Sprinkle the kale with the sesame seeds, dried garlic, dried onion, and salt. Toss the kale further to distribute all the seasonings evenly throughout the kale.
- Add the kale to the basket of the air fryer. Air fry at 400 degrees for 13-14 minutes, shaking every 3-4 minutes, or until the kale gets crispy and the sesame seeds are starting to brown. Remove the kale from the air fryer and serve!
1. This kale keeps covered in the fridge for 3-4 days. It reheats best on low in a toaster oven or air fryer for about 1.5-3 minutes, depending on the strength of your oven or air fryer.
2. You don't need to de-rib the kale, but you can if you want.
3. Soy sauce can be substituted for the liquid aminos in this recipe. The recipe will no longer be gluten-free, however.
Amount Per Serving Calories 127Total Fat 11gSaturated Fat 2gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 8gCholesterol 0mgSodium 237mgCarbohydrates 7gFiber 2gSugar 2gProtein 2g
This nutrition breakdown is just an estimate of the nutritional value of this recipe and cannot be taken as facts. The owners of Mae's Menu are not nutritionists or dieticians and therefore cannot be held accountable for this nutrition estimate. Please contact your nutritionist or medical professional for a nutritional breakdown of this food. Furthermore, this food is not intended to prevent, diagnose, cure, or treat any disease.