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.
To store kale chips, keep them at room temperature in a paper bag or airtight container with a cup of dry rice. The rice will soak up any excess moisture. The kale chips should last for 2-3 days if stored this way. For longer-term storage, consider vacuum packing them.
I prepared a big batch of kale chips in my dehydrator and then split the portions into several storage containers.
I measured how each storage method performed, as well as how crispy the kale chips were after each day.
I also tested storing the kale chips in the fridge (not recommended) and the freezer (also not recommended).
More on these later.
How to store kale chips
Kale chips are similar to other oven-baked snacks like roasted chickpeas or carrot chips. The main concern when it comes to storing them is how to keep them crispy.
To ensure the chips last for as long as possible, you need to make sure you prepare them correctly.
Preparing kale chips for storage
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.
Here’s what to do before you cook the 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.
Thoroughly dry the fresh kale leaves after you wash 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.
Storing kale chips
Once you’re sure the kale chips are completely dried, you can take them out of the oven.
Let them cool to room temperature before storing them. Otherwise, they can steam up and go limp.
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.
If you live somewhere that’s very humid, then the chips won’t last as long.
Humidity is the enemy of kale chips!
A second way to store kale chips that is 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.
The 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.
How to store kale chips long term
If you plan on keeping the kale chips for longer than a few days, the best thing you can do is vacuum pack them.
Vacuum packing gets rid of all the oxygen and moisture from the container, slowing down the processes that cause food to go bad.
I don’t advise vacuum-packing kale chips in a plastic bag because it can very easily crush them.
But there are two other options that you can pick from.
You can use a hand vacuum with a compatible storage tub like these vacuum seal storage containers from Lasting Freshness.
Because this is manual, it won’t be the strongest vacuum, but it will increase the shelf life of the chips by one or two weeks.
The other option is to go all out and use an automatic vacuum sealing machine.
You can put your kale chips in a mason jar and then use this machine to vacuum seal it.
It creates a powerful vacuum and should keep your kale chips fresh for months.
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. The best alternative to freezing kale chips is to vacuum seal them in a mason jar, where they’ll keep fresh and crispy for up to 6 months.
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.