How to Freeze Kale

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.

With a little organization, you can easily freeze kale for use in 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.

What to Do Before Freezing Kale

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. Leave the stems on the kale if you’ll be pureeing it or using it in soups and stews later.

How to Freeze Kale 4 Ways

1. Make Freezer Smoothies

5 freezer smoothie bags on countertop

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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.

All you have to do is 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.

Related: For more detailed freezer smoothie preparation instructions visit this post full of freezer smoothie how-to tips and smoothie recipe ideas.

2. Freeze Pureed Kale in Ice Cube Trays

fresh kale in bowl on marble countertop

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

Fall Mexican Rice Bowls

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Chop the kale — I like mine chopped pretty fine — and 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.

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.

4. Freeze Kale as is

Kale Pineapple Coconut Smoothies next to fresh pineapple

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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.

More Kale Recipes:

This Cilantro Lime Kale Slaw is a perfect Mexican-inspired side dish for summer potlucks and barbecues.

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!

This Massaged Kale Salad is topped with roasted squash and goat cheese, but you can also use summer produce atop this salad instead.

Trying to get your kids to eat their greens? Make these Cheesy Vegan Kale Chips — your kids will go crazy for them!

When in doubt, toss a few handfuls of kale into a Berry Mango Kale Smoothie. So easy and healthy!

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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

  • 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

*Make sure to thoroughly rinse and dry the kale before freezing it (you need to get between the curly leaves to make sure there's no dirt hiding there!).

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