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Quick Microwave Kale Chips

By Cook's Illustrated Published November 2013

Here's our easy method for making crispy kale chips at home.

If you’ve somehow missed that kale chips are a “thing,” with recipes flooding cooking sites and packages of commercially made chips now turning up even in ordinary supermarkets, trust us: Tossing torn leaves of kale with oil and salt and baking them until crispy is a worthwhile endeavor. The slightly browned leaves take on a nutty, sweet taste and a pleasing, brittle texture. But the standard oven approach isn’t perfect: It’s hard to get the leaves evenly browned; plus, it’s difficult to drive off enough moisture so that the chips stay crispy when stored for more than a few hours. So when we noticed a few blogs promoting a microwave method, we were eager to give it a try. We found that the microwave dehydrates the leaves evenly and thoroughly, so they stay crispy longer—and the chips cook a whole lot faster than they do in the oven. (Note: For the best texture, we prefer to use flatter Lacinato kale. We also found that collard greens work well, but we don’t recommend curly-leaf kale, Swiss chard, or curly-leaf spinach, all of which turn dusty and crumbly when crisped.) Here’s our take on the technique.

1. Remove stems from 5 ounces kale (about 1/2 bunch). Tear leaves into 2-inch pieces; wash and thoroughly dry, then toss well with 4 teaspoons oil in large bowl.

2. Spread roughly one-third of leaves in single layer on large plate and season lightly with kosher salt.

3. Microwave for 3 minutes. If leaves are crispy, transfer to serving bowl; if not, continue to microwave leaves in 30-second increments until crispy. Repeat with remaining leaves in 2 batches. Store chips in airtight container for up to 1 week.