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How to Freeze Kale (+ Frozen Kale Recipe Ideas)

Can you freeze kale? Absolutely! This post breaks down exactly how to freeze kale four different ways, depending on how you’ll want to use the frozen kale. Read on for the details of the simple steps for the kale freezing process, plus the frozen kale recipe ideas at the end.

fresh kale on a cutting board with a graphic that says how to freeze kale

Why You Should Freeze Kale

Here are a few reasons to start freezing freezing these healthy greens:

  • You purchased kale thinking you’d use it but never got around to it. Freezing kale is the perfect way to prevent food waste, because by freezing it you can use it at a later date instead of throwing it out when it spoils.
  • Kale was on super sale at the grocery store and you decided to stock up. Storing kale in the freezer is a great way to purchase in bulk when prices are low.
  • Do you grow your own kale in your backyard garden? We usually do. Sometimes we get a handful of kale ready at a time in our garden and are able to eat all the fresh greens between kale salads, kale smoothies, and kale chips. But, other times our kale plants go wild and we have so much kale. The good news we can freeze our harvest to enjoy out of season.

What to Do Before Freezing Kale

With a little organization, you can easily freeze kale for use in green smoothies or other recipes that don’t require kale to be fresh. It is way easier than you think. I’ve got four methods for you to choose from, plus a few recipe suggestions for you.

Before you can freeze kale with one of the following methods, you first need to wash it thoroughly and dry it (you can pat it dry between two clean kitchen towels).

When washing the kale, make sure to separate the leaves and really clean all the groves of the kale. Kale’s curly leaves make it easy for dirt to hide!

Also, depending on how you’ll be using the kale (see my notes throughout the rest of this post), you may want to remove the stems from the kale since they can be quite fibrous and tough to chew.

You can leave the stems on the kale if you’ll be pureeing it or using it in soups and stews later, however that is up to you.

woman washing kale leaves to prepare to freeze kale

How to Freeze Kale 4 Ways

For the complete ingredient list and detailed instructions, scroll to the bottom of this post for the FREE printable recipe card.

1. Make Freezer Smoothies

Making freezer smoothies is a great way to freeze your kale for a later use. What is a freezer smoothie? It is basically a pre-assembled baggie that contains all of the necessary ingredients for your favorite smoothie recipe.

kale in a blender

Click HERE to save this tutorial on how to freeze kale!

All you have to do is stuff a freezer bag full of your favorite fruits and/or vegetables, label, date, and freeze. Next, when you’re ready to make your smoothie, dump the contents in the blender. Then, add your liquids and blend.

Related: For more detailed freezer smoothie preparation instructions visit this post full of freezer smoothie how-to tips and smoothie recipe ideas. And, you can check out all of my smoothies in the smoothie recipe category.

2. Freeze Pureed Kale in Ice Cube Trays

frozen kale cubes showing an example of how to freeze kale

Click HERE to save this tutorial on how to freeze kale!

My method for doing this is pureeing 3-4 cups of packed kale with 1 cup of water and using the “juice” cycle on my blender. Then, pour the juice into ice cube trays and freeze.

Then, once frozen, transfer the cubes to a larger freezer bag. Afterwards, date and label the bag and stash in your freezer

This method is perfect when you just want to add small amounts of kale puree to smooth, chunk-free recipes like smoothies, soups or sauces.

Use frozen, pureed kale in recipes such as Sun Dried Tomato Pesto, or try adding some to this recipe for Vegan Basil Pesto.

3. Freeze Chopped Kale in Baggies

overhead shot of kale leaves in a wooden bowl

Click HERE to save this tutorial on how to freeze kale!

First, chop the kale — I like mine chopped pretty fine. Then, freeze in pre-portioned amounts in small freezer baggies.

The pre-portioned size depends on what you want to use the frozen kale for, but usually amounts ranging from 1/2 cup to 1 cup are ideal in our kitchen. Or, you can go as small as individual portions if that works better.

This method is perfect for anything you would want to add pre-chopped kale to. Recipes like Fall Mexican Rice Bowls or this Potato Corn Chowder with Kale and Bacon are perfect for using pre-chopped frozen kale.

If the recipe you are preparing won’t be affected by any extra water the frozen kale might contribute, just add the kale directly to the recipe according to the recipe’s instructions.

However, if you’re preparing something where extra moisture would not go unnoticed, be sure to thaw the kale and squeeze it dry.

I like to place the kale inside a paper towel and squeeze that over the sink. Additionally, you can sauté the kale pieces for a minute or two to dry them out a little more.

overhead close up shot of kale leaves

Click HERE to save this tutorial on how to freeze kale!

4. Freeze Kale As Is

If you know you want to add kale to various smoothies, but don’t want to fuss with making freezer smoothies or doing any other prep work, you can transfer the kale directly to a freezer bag.

When you need a handful or two of kale to add to a smoothie, just pull it out as is — like for this Green Smoothie Bowl.

Tips for Freezing Kale

  • When prepping the kale, it is a good idea to discard the woody stems. They’re unpleasant to eat.
  • To prevent freezer burn, remove excess moisture from the kale leaves. I like to do this by run through the salad spinner to remove excess water then lay on paper towels or a clean kitchen towel. You’ll have fewer ice crystals if you kale is completely dry, which means less chance of freezer burn.
  • Use the type of storage that works best for you: airtight containers, zip top freezer bags (make sure they’re the freezer variety), or a vacuum sealer with vacuum seal plastic bags.
  • Remove as much air as possible from the freezer bags. Less air = less chance for freezer burn. Removing the air also means the bag will take up less space.

What to Make with Frozen Kale

There are many different types of kale (Dinosaur Kale, Russian Kale, Curly Kale, Lacinato Kale, and Baby Kale, to name a few), and just as many ways to use that frozen kale in recipes. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

When in doubt, toss a few handfuls of kale into healthy smoothies. Frozen Kale is perfect to use in smoothie recipes like this Berry Mango Kale Smoothie.

This recipe for Butternut Squash and Kale Quinoa Stuffing is a fantastic vegetarian and gluten-free stuffing recipe loaded with tons of veggies and flavors. The best part – you can easily use some of that frozen chopped kale in the recipe!

Not sure what to do with all the kale from your garden? If you have enough frozen already, make a big batch of Kale Cilantro Pesto and freeze that too!

If you’re looking for a creamy, rich and flavorful soup to use some of your frozen kale in, try this Italian Sausage Kale Soup. It’s a lightened up version of an Olive Garden Classic and crowd favorite, Zuppa Toscana. 

This Baked White Cheddar Mac n Cheese with Kale and Bacon is a bit sinful. Pasta loaded with rich, velvety cheese gets my taste buds watering during these often colder than fall but not quite winter yet evenings. Its the perfect dish to use some frozen kale you have stashed in your freezer.

You can use your frozen kale to make these Mini Crustless Broccoli Quiche. They are made in muffin tins and are perfect for on-the-go breakfasts! Great for meal prepping and can be frozen for later.

overhead shot of kale leaves on a cutting board and in a bowl

More How to Freeze Tutorials:

Now that you know everything there is to know about freezing kale, here are some more helpful freezer tutorials to check out:

Next time you make a batch pancakes or waffles, make some extra and follow this quick and easy tutorial for How to Freeze Pancakes and Waffles. I’ve also given instructions on how to reheat them!

Freezing raspberries is a wonderful way to enjoy summer’s harvest year-round! This guide explains how to freeze raspberries, plus it answers the most commonly asked questions about thawing frozen raspberries and using them in recipes. 

Frozen grapes make for great snacks on hot days, and they can be thrown into smoothies. Here’s How to Freeze Grapes the easy way!

No matter what season it is, you need to know How to Freeze Cookie Dough. Spoiler: it’s super easy to do!

Did you know that smoothies can easily be prepped in advance and frozen. So easy and delicious! Check out How to Make Freezer Smoothies.

Yep, you can freeze spinach too. Here’s How to Freeze Spinach, plus a yummy smoothie you can make with it.

Who doesn’t love a good kitchen tip? Looking for more kitchen tutorials? Check out the entire Kitchen Tips and Tricks archive for lots of great ideas!

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Have you frozen leafy greens before?

How to Freeze Kale

How to Freeze Kale

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

Can you freeze kale? Absolutely! This post breaks down exactly how to freeze kale four different ways, depending on how you'll want to use the frozen kale.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound Kale (any variety)*

Instructions

Make Freezer Smoothies 

1. Stuff a freezer bag full of your favorite fruits and/or vegetables, label, date, and freeze.

When you're ready to make your smoothie, dump the contents in the blender, add your liquids and blend.

Puree and Freeze in Ice Cube Trays

1. Puree 3-4 cups of packed kale with 1 cup of water using the "juice" cycle on your blender.

2. Pour the juice into ice cube trays and freeze.

3. Once frozen, transfer the cubes to a larger freezer bag.

Date and label the bag and stash in your freezer.

Chop and Freeze in Baggies

1. Chop the kale and freeze in pre-portioned amounts in small freezer baggies.

2. The pre-portioned size depends on what you want to use the frozen kale for, but usually amounts ranging from 1/2 cup to 1 cup are ideal in our kitchen.

Freeze as is

1. Simply remove kale leaves and freeze in baggies until ready to use.

Notes

Tips for Freezing Kale

  • Thoroughly rinse it (you need to get between the curly leaves to make sure there's no dirt hiding there!
  • When prepping the kale, it is a good idea to discard the woody stems. They’re unpleasant to eat.
  • To prevent freezer burn, remove excess moisture from the kale leaves. I like to do this by run through the salad spinner to remove excess water then lay on paper towels or a clean kitchen towel.
  • Use the type of storage that works best for you: airtight containers, zip top freezer bags (make sure they’re the freezer variety), or a vacuum sealer with vacuum seal plastic bags.
  • Remove as much air as possible from the freezer bags. Less air = less chance for freezer burn. Removing the air also means the bag will take up less space.
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    Nutrition Information
    Yield 4 Serving Size 1
    Amount Per Serving Calories 32Total Fat 0gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 0mgSodium 26mgCarbohydrates 6gFiber 2gSugar 1gProtein 2g

    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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