By Food*Dude
January 03, 2015

Kale chips have become a standard snack for people living a healthy lifestyle, maximizing vitamins while minimizing added fats. They're also all the rage for practitioners of the paleo diet.

Baked Kale Chips
Baked Kale Chips | Photo by bd.weld

Homemade kale chips are super easy to make. If you can toss a salad, you have all the qualifications required to prep kale for the oven. Seriously, all you need to do is massage washed and dried kale with a little olive oil, then sprinkle with a bit of salt. From there, it only takes a few minutes of baking then a few minutes of cooling until you can start munching on these healthy, green chips.

Tweaking Your Basic Baked Kale

Let's begin with the basics. Baked Kale Chips is a simple, salt-flavored chip. Here's how you make it:

A couple pro tips: Speed up the drying of your chips by making sure your kale is nice and dry before it hits the oven. A salad spinner makes quick work of this, but you can also blot each leaf with a clean cloth. If your kale is wet with water when you put it in the oven, it will steam and wilt rather than crisp.

Another tip: bake the chips until they start to dry at the center, or else you'll have soggy, roasted kale. You'll want to pull them while they're still a little soft though. They'll continue to dry as they cool on the baking sheet. Watch that you don't bake them too long. Go too far, and they'll turn bitter.

Now that you have your basic recipe down, start tweaking it to your fancy.

1. Spicy or Smokey Chips

Do you like your chips spicy? Smoky? Then dust them with cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, or even smoked chipotle powder as soon as they come out of the oven. In an exotic mood? Sprinkle with garam masala or togarashi powder. Other nice sprinkles for your chips include cumin, sumac, Cajun seasoning, and celery salt.

Beyond simply sprinkling your freshly-baked chips with a favored spice, you can also flavor them before they even hit the oven. Never visit the snack aisle again with these recipes.

2. Garlic Chips

If you're a fan of garlic, Veggie Kale Chips is for you, as the leaves are tossed with minced fresh garlic before baking. Crank the oven temperature up above 250 degrees F for faster drying. A reviewer went all the way up to 350 on this one.

3. Salt and Vinegar Chips

Fans of a salt and vinegar chip should turn to the plain-sounding Kale Chips. These use the chef's secret weapon, sherry vinegar, for its deep but not overpowering flavor. For more of a bite, use plain ol' distilled white vinegar, but also try experimenting with apple cider vinegar, balsamic, or even raspberry. 'Salt and Raspberry Vinegar Kale Chips'—now there's something you can't find in the store!

4. Sweet and Salty Chips

Satisfy your sweet and salty craving with Kale Chips with Honey. These chips are the bees knees (ya know, 'cause they have honey on 'em). A little bit of lemon juice brightens the flavor up a bit too.

Maple Kale Crisps are another way to take care of that same sweet/salty craving. This time the sweetener is all-natural tree sap, a favorite of Canadians and beavers alike.

5. Cheesy-Flavored Chips

Cheesy flavor, without the cheese, thanks to yeast! Cheesy Kale Chips use nutritional yeast to simulate the taste of real cheese. Don't believe it? Then give it a try!

Speaking of cheese, check out these innocuous-sounding little cheese bombs: Kale Krisps. Healthy, schmealthy. It's still a kale chip!

Snack on, America!