sweet cinnamon kale chips

I'm very late to the homemade kale chip party. I've never been one to jump on the bandwagon, much preferring to walk to the beat of my own drum.

In this case, it was just plain silly behavior.

Truth is, will all my devotion to shopping locally and eating seasonally, kale was never a vegetable that evoked excitement. The pungent earthy taste is a slap in the tastebuds for first-time eaters, and then there's the worry of…um…how to put this politely on a food blog—well, the potty issue. Let's just say kale keeps you regular.

Sometime around the start of this year, a gorgeous bunch of lacinato kale caught my eye. It wasn't even at the farmers' market. It happened while strolling down the aisle of my neighborhood supermarket. Perhaps the deep green leaves seemed like a mirage in the midst of all the snow we were under during the month of January.

Maybe I just had cabin fever of the cooking variety and was ready to make a renegade purchase in exchange for the wanton pleasure of a leafy green. Whatever the calling, into my basket went a bunch of Lady Moon Farms lacinato kale. I gave myself a pep talk and rationalized that it was at least organic and grown on the east coast.

Sometimes my desire to do best for the planet and my local economy makes shopping for anything an agonizing experience. In the end, the kale won.

The first bunch never even came close to becoming chips. I'd decided to make my own riff on a Caesar salad, mixing up a lemony-Parmesan dressing. I've since fallen hard, and have no self-restraint. This salad, and variations of it, have become a regular on my plate almost every day.

The Mr. was a tougher sell. I'll admit raw kale can take some getting used to. In the beginning this was a love we didn't share. While I'm sure we could've easily gone our separate ways on this particular ingredient, I was determined to show him, somewhere, down deep, he had a love for kale as much as I did.

Salty, spicy and crispy are three things the Mr. cannot resist. So kale chips soon found their way to the top my priorities. Many recipes call for baking them at 300ºF for as long as 30 minutes, sometimes more. I understand the low and slow method when dehydrating, but for this ingredient it struck me as odd since like many leafy greens, kale has a high water content. A blast of of high heat seemed a more suitable choice, so I cranked the oven to 400ºF.

The spice blend was a shake of this and pinch of that, which included Ray Bradley's paprika, cumin and sea salt. You can certainly add the leaves to a bag to coat them with olive oil, but I like getting more intimate with my kale. Only a quick massage of them in a bowl with a drizzle will do. You can choose whatever vegetable foreplay floats your boat.

Now that I had the Mr. in my kale-loving camp, it was time to convert the kids. I baked up a sweet version, seasoned with cinnamon and sugar, convinced they'd be begging me for seconds.

No such luck.

Turns out Virginia loves her kale just like mama. Isabella can barely stand to look at it.

As for the Mr., now he has two favorite kale recipes—one savory and one sweet.

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Sweet Cinnamon Kale Chips

serves 1 to 2

One bunch of lacinato kale, ribs removed and torn into large pieces

1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon natural cane sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Line two rimmed baking sheets with silicon liners or parchment paper. Toss all the ingredients in a deep bowl until well coated. Spread the kale pieces in a single layer onto the prepared baking sheets.

Bake 9 to 11 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through, until crisp. Remove from oven and let rest 10 to 15 minutes, then transfer to a bowl and enjoy. These are best eaten the day they’re made.


  • Peggy

    How would describe the flavor? I have to admit I am in the skeptic’s camp currently… plus my family have turned into kale snobs. They want kale that is mild with only the barest of hints of bitterness like we grew in Alaska. I keep trying to remind them that we do NOT live in Alaska any longer…. we live in Indiana so we must embrace Indiana. The only thing they have embraced is the car keys…
    I really do want to try this, really I do but yes I admit it… i’m afraid. What if no one likes it? What if i don’t like it? Oh the agony (read insert dramatic sigh) LOL

  • Shira

    It’s funny I was just talking about this with the kids this week. I grow most of our vegetables while the weather cooperates including tons of swiss chard (my preference over kale for a leafy green) but the kids saw this in a magazine and asked me to make it. Guess I”ll be growing kale this spring – whatever works!!

  • Aggie

    I have been enjoying kale chips for about a year and am so happy to say both my kids love them too. It brings me joy to watch them eat them straight out of the cookie sheet like they are some candy treat I baked up for them, lol!
    I have only eaten kale w S/P, so this is totally calling my name. Sounds awesome! And I’m also craving your kale salad too. I’m so happy kale won 🙂

  • patsy

    I’ve been wanting to make kale chips for awhile now… I think I’ll be adding this leafy green to my shopping list this weekend!

  • AmandaonMaui

    I was just hunting for a kale chip recipe that didn’t include salt, soy, or spiciness as my stomach can’t handle it right now. Tada! I didn’t know you had a recipe for this. Hooray! Thank you!

  • Caroline

    my sweet kale chip recipe is almost the same, though I sub in maple syrup instead of the sugar. a few bits of salt at the end for those who want to rock the sweet/salty taste and Bam! 🙂

  • latricia

    i have been eating kale chips for awhile. i usually put a very little sea salt on them, pepper, cinnamon, and agave when they get done. i am a type 2 diabetic and agave is a low glycemic sweetner. you will love it!! way better than sugar. try it!!!