Easy “Cheesy” Kale Chips Recipe

These “Cheesy” Kale Chips are a great, healthy way to satisfy your cravings for something salty and cheesy. Nutritional yeast gives them a nutrient-rich cheesy flavor without any added dairy.

Cheesy Kale Chips Recipe

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Trying These Cheesy Kale Chips

I find it a little funny that I’m writing a post about homemade kale chips. Kale chips aren’t a new thing by any means. I’ve successfully ignored and resisted them for a couple of years.

If I saw a post talking about how amazing they were or how baked kale chips are a great, healthy alternative when you’re craving chips I couldn’t help but roll my eyes. I thought, you’ve gotta be kidding me.

They’re a vegetable! How could I possibly enjoy kale as a substitute for actual chips of the unhealthy, but totally tasty, variety?! There’s no way that a homemade kale chip could satiate my monthly cravings for salty, nacho cheese chips.

Complete nonsense.

Well, I’m hear to tell you that I couldn’t have been more wrong. My friend made some kale chips recently and I relented.

Begrudgingly, I told her I would try them, all the while having very little confidence that they would do anything to satisfy my monthly cravings for something salty and crunchy.

It turns out I wanted to lick the baking sheet clean. And I told her I would have, it I had been home alone with no one to witness that.

Not only would I eat these “cheesy” kale chips if someone else made them, but I would make them on purpose for myself. What really made these Kale Chips was the nutritional yeast she had sprinkled on them — it gave them a great cheesy flavor without actually having any cheese in the recipe.

A few months ago I hadn’t even heard of nutritional yeast. Now that I’ve tasted it, and read about the nutrients that it contains, I want to put it on everything.

how to make kale chips

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Health Benefits of Nutritional Yeast

Nutritional Yeast adds a savory, nutty, cheesy flavor to foods, but it is more than just a flavor enhancement. It actually contains a lot of nutrients! 

B Vitamins

Nutritional yeast contains Riboflavin (B12), Niacin (B3), Thiamin (B1), B12, Folic Acid (B9), and B6. Depending on the brand you purchase, one serving (about a tablespoon) offers 30% or more of your daily value of each of these vitamins. (source)

Low Sodium

Although nutritional yeast has a natural savory, and somewhat salty, cheesy flavor to it, it actually contains no sodium. That’s great if you’re watching your sodium intake but still looking for something to satisfy your salty cravings.

While some ladies out there have monthly cravings for chocolate, mine tend to be cravings of the salty/savory variety. Satisfying that in a healthy way with lots of greens and no actual sodium (minus the little bit of salt added to the kale chips for seasoning) will put a damper on annoying bloating.

Non-Animal Protein Source 

A tablespoon of nutritional yeast only has a few grams of protein. But, nutritional yeast is a complete protein — meaning that it contains all of the essential amino acids, include the ones your body can’t produce on its own.

Also, its always great to pair snacking with a little bit of protein to give the body fuel for an energy boost.

Minerals

Nutritional yeast also contains minerals like iron, selenium and zinc.

baked Kale Chips Recipe

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Homemade Kale Chips Ingredients

For these cheesy baked kale chips, you’ll need:

  • Kale
  • Olive oil
  • Nutritional yeast
  • Salt and pepper

How to Pick the Best Kale

For the best tasting kale chips, you should buy kale during the autumn through spring months for peak nutrition and quality. The kale leaves should appear dark in color and should be small to medium in size. You also don’t want any brown or yellow leaves.

How to Make Kale Chips

Making kale chips couldn’t be simpler! Just wash and drain the kale, then spin in a salad spinner to make sure all the moisture is removed. Toss the kale with a little olive oil, then spread out onto a parchment paper-lined baking tray.

Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and nutritional yeast, then toss the kale chips with your hands to distribute the kale chips seasoning. Bake until the homemade kale chips are crisp.

What Type of Kale Should I Use?

You can make nutritional yeast kale chips with any variety of kale you have on hand.

Popular Varieties of Kale

There are several varieties of kale, but any will work with this kale chips recipe. The most popular kale varieties include: curly, dinosaur, and red Russian.

I’m sure there are other kale varieties, but these are the most common in my area. I typically only see curly kale at the grocery store, but sometimes I’ll find dinosaur kale as well.

Should I Remove the Kale Stems?

Yes, definitely remove the stems. Kale stems are woody and practically inedible, which is why you only want to make kale chips using the leaves.

homemade Kale Chips Recipe

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Tips for Making Homemade Kale Chips

Make sure to measure out the olive oil and not just eyeball it. If you add too much oil to the kale chips, they’ll be far too oily and won’t be the right texture once baked.

Kale chips will continue to crisp up as they cool, so if your cheesy kale chips aren’t fully crisp when they come out of the oven it should be fine.

Kale chips can go from perfect to burnt in a matter of seconds, so don’t walk away from the oven during the last few minutes they’re baking.

Other Ways to Use Nutritional Yeast

Bought nutritional yeast so you could make this kale chip recipe, but now you don’t know what to do with it? Don’t fret, you can use nutritional yeast like you would any cheese topping.

Sprinkle it on top of popcorn, salads, roasted veggies, like Easy Roasted Cauliflower or Roasted Broccoli, and more.

It is great stirred into soups, stews and chilis — and great for adding an extra boost of cheesy flavor without adding any dairy. That’s perfect if you’re allergic to dairy, lactose intolerant, or maybe just taking a break from consuming excessive amounts of cheese.

I also plan to try adding some nutritional yeast into recipes like Baked Potato SoupCreamy Butternut Squash SoupRoasted Garlic and Cauliflower Soup, or Broccoli Cheese Loaded Twice Baked Potatoes.

More Healthy Snack Recipes:

Chips and guacamole are one of my favorite snack combos. Deconstructed Guacamole is a chunky version of a traditional guacamole, full of tomatoes, avocado, corn, cilantro, lime, and peppers.

I loved the crunch of these Spicy Chili Lime Roasted Chickpeas, the spicy flavor, and of course the fact that they were a healthy snack.

Sweet and Spicy Rosemary Bar Nuts are delicious when you’re craving something nutty that’s a little sweet and a little savory.

This Homemade Microwave Popcorn also hits the spot when I need a salty snack.

I love having this Black Bean Hummus on hand. I can enjoy it as a veggie dip, a sandwich spread, and more!

What do you like to snack on?

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"Cheesy" Kale Chips

Yield: serves 4
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

These “Cheesy” Kale Chips are a great, healthy way to satisfy your cravings for something salty and cheesy. Nutritional yeast gives them a nutrient-rich cheesy flavor without any added dairy.

Ingredients

  • 6 ounces, Kale (stems removed)
  • 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1/3 cup Nutritional Yeast
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Wash and drain the kale.
  3. Spin the kale leaves in a salad spinner to remove excess water.
  4. Transfer the kale to a large baking sheet and pat dry with a paper towel to remove any remaining moisture.
  5. In a mixing bowl, add the kale and olive oil. Toss to coat.
  6. Place the olive oil coated kale on a large, dry baking sheet.
  7. Sprinkle with the nutritional yeast, salt and pepper and mix with your hands or a wooden spoon to evenly distribute, spreading evenly and making sure not to overcrowd or overlap the pieces.
  8. Bake on the center rack of the oven at 325 degrees F for 15 - 20 minutes, rotating halfway through.

Notes

Any more than about 6 ounces of kale and you should use 2 baking sheets and rotate them on the oven racks halfway through baking. Overcrowded pans will result in kale that does not become crispy.


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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 80 Total Fat: 4g Saturated Fat: 1g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 3g Cholesterol: 0mg Carbohydrates: 7g Fiber: 4g Sugar: 1g Protein: 6g
GoodLifeEats.com offers recipe nutritional information as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although GoodLifeEats.com makes every effort to provide accurate information, these figures are only estimates.

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