If you’ve got a load of kale chips that you want to keep for later, you might be wondering how to best preserve them to keep them from getting soggy.
In this article, I cover the best ways to store your kale chips to ensure they’re as good as the day they were made.
In a rush? Here’s the short answer.
The best way store kale chips is to cool them completely before putting them in a paper bag or an airtight container with some dry rice (the rice will soak up any excess moisture). Keep the chips at room temperature for 2-3 days, but eat them as soon as possible for maximum crunch!
Storing kale chips is similar to storing other oven-baked snacks like roasted chickpeas or carrot chips. The main concern is how to keep them crispy.
And you know you can trust my recommendations because I actually did an experiment with a load of homemade kale chips!
I tested storing my chips in:
- A paper bag
- An airtight container
- An airtight container with rice
- In the fridge
- In the freezer
I measured how each storage method performed by the all important ‘crunch test’.
The fridge, freezer, and just an airtight container were bad options. My kale chips were so soggy! Adding rice to the airtight container or using a paper bag were my winners.
How to store kale chips
To store kale chips follow these steps:
- Let the kale chips cool to room temperature. Do this by laying them out in a single layer on a baking tray.
- Place the room temperature kale chips in a paper bag and fold down the top of the bag.
- Alternatively, cover the bottom of an airtight container with a thin layer of dry white rice and then add the kale chips.
- Keep the kale chips in a dark, cool place for 2-3 days.
If you don’t let the kale chips cool before storing them, they’ll steam up and go limp as soon as you seal the storage container.
Paper is a breathable material, and it’ll let air circulate around the chips helping them retain their crunch.
If you prefer to use a sealed in a plastic container, there won’t be any air circulation which means moisture wont be able to escape.
So you need something else in there apart from the chips to soak that moisture up. That’s where the dry rice comes in!
You could also use a paper towel, but it won’t be as efficient.
And if you’re really serious about keeping the chips crispy you could invest in some food-grade silica gel packs.
These silica gel packs are really cool because they change color when they’re saturated so you can see them working.
And they’re reusable.
Simply dry them out in the oven, and they’re ready to use again.
Preparing kale chips for storage
Proper kale chip storage starts when you’re preparing the chips – prepping and cooking the chips in the right way will make it much easier to keep them crispy.
Here are my tips on how to prep and cook kale chips to maximize their shelf life.
Remove the stalks
The stalks contain more moisture than the leaves and won’t completely dry out in the oven.
Leaving them on your chips will mean they go soggy faster. They’re not that pleasant to eat anyway!
But you don’t need to throw them away.
Kale stalks make a great addition to stocks. Or if you don’t fancy eating them, you can compost them.
I usually use a salad spinner to dry my leaves.
If you don’t have one of these (they’re an absolute life-saver), then pat the leaves dry with a towel.
You want to make sure all the water is gone before you move on to the next step.
Any leftover water will steam in the oven and make the chips soggy.
Avoid using too much oil and season sparingly.
If you’re anything like me, then you can sometimes go overboard with the oil and seasonings.
But if you know you’re going to be storing a batch of kale chips, then it’s best to be conservative with the oil.
Using a spray bottle rather than pouring the oil can help.
Also, seasonings can add extra moisture to the chips.
Avoid liquid seasonings like hot sauce.
When I bake big batches, I’ll only season what I’m going to eat right then and leave the rest to be flavored later.
The chips will last longer and you can choose your seasonings each time.
Keep the chips separate on the baking tray and bake at a lower temperature.
If the chips touch on the baking tray they won’t crisp up as much.
Spread them out so they’re not overlapping.
Baking the chips at a lower temperature means they take longer to cook, but it also means more moisture can be drawn out of the chips.
Cooking them at higher temperatures can cause the crisps to burn and look done when actually there’s still some moisture in them.
As a result, they go soggy quicker.
Another good tip is to leave the chips in the oven while it’s cooling down.
This prolongs the drying period and helps to ensure every last drop of moisture is gone.
Use a dehydrator
If you make a lot of kale chips, it’s worth considering investing in a dehydrator.
When you use a dehydrator, you can be 100% sure that all the moisture is gone from your chips, and they’ll never burn.
Do kale chips needs to be refrigerated?
Kale chips should not be kept in the refrigerator. Keeping them in the fridge will cause them to go soggy very quickly because of the cold temperatures and extra moisture in the air.
Instead, store them at room temperature in a paper bag.
The only time you should refrigerate kale chips is when you’ve seasoned them with a perishable ingredient (e.g. cheese) and plan on keeping them for longer than a few hours.
The chips will go soggy, but this is better than getting sick because bacteria has grown on the seasoning.
How long will baked kale chips stay fresh?
Kale chips are best eaten as soon as possible but will stay fresh and crispy for 2-3 days if kept in a cool, dry place. In more humid environments like Jacksonville or Houston, the chips will likely only last 1-2 days before becoming soggy.
Using a few tricks like adding dried rice to the storage container can help increase the shelf life of kale chips in humid areas.
Why did my kale chips get soggy?
The main reason why kale chips get soggy is if they havent been adequately dried before baking. The water on the leaves of the kale can cause steam in the oven, rending the kale chips damp and soggy. Using a dehydrator at a low temperature helps to prevent kale chips from turning soft and wet.
How do you fix soggy kale chips?
No one wants to eat a pile of limp kale chips. Thankfully it’s easy to crisp them up again.
To fix soggy kale chips, spread them out in a thin layer and put them back into the oven at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for 5-10 minutes.
As they cool, the chips should start to crisp up again. If they don’t, put them back in the oven for another 5 minutes.
Only reheat however much you’re going to eat because you won’t get the same results if you try and re-heat them a second time.
If you have a dehydrator you can also use that to re-crisp your kale chips.
Can you freeze kale chips?
Kale chips cannot be frozen. The moisture content of the freezer renders the kale chips soggy, turning them into an unpleasant, sloppy mess.
How to Store Kale Chips
- 1 portion kale chips
- 1 cup dry rice to prevent moisture
- 2 sprays oil
- Making sure the kale is completely dry and getting rid of any excess moisture before you cook it will prevent the chips from getting soggy prematurely in storage.
- Remove the stalks. The stalks contain more moisture than the leaves and won’t completely dry out in the oven. Leaving them on your chips will mean they go soggy faster. They’re not that pleasant to eat anyway!
- Thoroughly dry the fresh kale leaves after you wash them
- Let the kale chips cool to room temperature before storing them.
- One way to store the kale chips for short term storage is to keep them in a paper bag at room temperature. Paper is a breathable material, and it'll let air circulate around the chips helping them retain their crunch. The chips should stay good for 2-3 days using this method.
- If you keep them sealed in a plastic container, any small drop of moisture present won’t be able to escape and will cause the chips to become soggy.
- A second way to store kale chips that’s more suitable for humid environments is to keep them in an air-tight container along with a cup of uncooked rice or some food-grade silica gel packs. The rice or silica will absorb any moisture from the air around the kale chips and keep them crispy.