Skip to main content

How My Oven Taught Me to Love Kale

A 10-minute stint in a hot oven leads to kale that’s crispy at the edges and tender in the middle.

Whether you’re a kale fan or not, you have to admit: The vegetable has range. 

Raw kale leaves are tenacious and hearty, but sauteing them on the stovetop renders them moist and tender, and a long, low period in the oven produces crispy, shattery chips. 

Best of all, I recently discovered that you don’t have to settle for just one texture: You can capture the many faces of cooked kale on a single baking sheet by roasting. In just 10 minutes in a hot oven, the leaves turn a deep emerald color and take on a delightful mélange of textures: crunchy, browned edges; crisped centers; and still-tender wilted spots. 

Sign up for the Cook's Insider newsletter

The latest recipes, tips, and tricks, plus behind-the-scenes stories from the Cook's Illustrated team.

Here’s how we do it: 

  1. Rinse and strip the leaves from the tough stems of a pound's worth of kale.
  2. Tear the leaves into 1½- to 2-inch pieces (they’ll wilt to bite-size).
  3. Spin the leaves in a salad spinner, ridding them of excess moisture that could interfere with browning.
  4. Massage the leaves with oil and salt to coat and tenderize the leaves.
  5. Roast at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, without stirring—this is what leads to the kale’s many textures.

Here's how to use it:

  • Serve as a side dish with a simple entrée, like roast chicken
  • Stir into pasta
  • Add to an omelet
  • Toss into a grain bowl or salad


Which kale to use?

There are generally two widely available options when it comes to kale—Tuscan (also known as dinosaur or lacinato) and curly. Tuscan kale gets a lot of love for its more tender leaves, but the frilly, more fibrous curly kale actually works better here: Its leaves retain some volume and featheriness, while the crinkly edges crisp and brown dramatically.


Try our roasted kale recipes:

Roasted Kale with Garlic, Red Pepper Flakes, and Lemon

Roasted Kale with Parmesan, Shallot, and Nutmeg

Roasted Kale with Coriander, Ginger, and Coconut

0 Comments

Try All-Access Membership to Unlock the Comments
Don't miss the conversation. Our test cooks and editors jump in to answer your questions, and our members are curious, opinionated, and respectful.
Membership includes instant access to everything on our sites:
  • 10,000+ foolproof recipes and why they work
  • Taste Tests of supermarket ingredients
  • Equipment Reviews save you money and time
  • Videos including full episodes and clips
  • Live Q&A with Test Kitchen experts
Start Free Trial
JC
JOHN C.
16 days

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too. I've done this using a rimmed sheet pan instead of a skillet and put veggies and potatoes around the chicken for a one-pan meal. Broccoli gets nicely browned and yummy!

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too.

MD
MILES D.
JOHN C.
9 days

Amazed this recipe works out as well as it does. Would not have thought that the amount of time under the broiler would have produced a very juicy and favorable chicken with a very crispy crust. Used my 12" Lodge Cast Iron skillet (which can withstand 1000 degree temps to respond to those who wondered if it would work) and it turned out great. A "make again" as my family rates things. This is a great recipe, and I will definitely make it again. My butcher gladly butterflied the chicken for me, therefore I found it to be a fast and easy prep. I used my cast iron skillet- marvellous!

CM
CHARLES M.
11 days

John, wasn't it just amazing chicken? So much better than your typical oven baked chicken and on par if not better than gas or even charcoal grilled. It gets that smokey charcoal tasted and overnight koshering definitely helps, something I do when time permits. First-time I've pierced a whole chicken minus the times I make jerk chicken on the grill. Yup, the cast iron was not an issue.