How to Boil Kale

Transform hearty kale into a tender crowd pleaser by boiling it for a few minutes.

Kale has a reputation for being one of the roughest, toughest leafy greens, but having a sensitive stomach doesn't mean you have to miss out on all its nutritious goodness. Once boiled, kale becomes a buttery soft green with a light and mild flavor. If you've avoided kale because of its texture in the past, give boiled kale a try.  

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1 Remove the Stems

Remove the woody stems from the kale leaves—no amount of boiling will make these soft and edible. Simply tear the leaves off of the tough stems into one-to-two inch pieces. 


2 Rinse

Give the torn kale leaves a good rinse in cool water. Sand and dirt are easily trapped in the curly leaves, so it's imperative to rinse them well. Nothing ruins a meal faster than biting down on a grain of sand.

3 Boil Water

Fill a large pot with water, season it lightly with salt and bring it to a rolling boil over high heat.

It might be tempting to use broth instead of water for more flavor, but don't. This method requires a large amount of liquid that is only in contact with the kale for a few minutes, so using broth is somewhat wasteful.

4 Submerge the Kale

Once the water reaches a full boil, fully submerge the rinsed kale. Cover with a lid and allow the water to come back to a boil. Then reduce the heat slightly and allow the kale to boil for five minutes. After five minutes, use a fork to retrieve a piece of kale and test it for tenderness. 

The kale should be soft and smooth. If your kale is especially thick or rough, it may need to boil for a minute or two extra.

5 Drain the Kale

In a colander, drain the kale by moving it around to release excess trapped moisture. 

If you are adding kale to a recipe, press it against the side of the colander to remove excess moisture. If you’re just eating the kale, keep it plump by shaking out excess moisture.

6 Add Some Seasoning

Season the kale with a pinch of salt, pepper and a splash of fresh lemon. Boiling reduces kale’s bitterness and allows its natural sweetness to shine, so keep the seasoning light and fresh. 

Boiled kale is like a blank canvas for flavor, so it's great to add into other dishes, without overpowering other ingredients.

7 Recipe Idea: Kale Frittata

Boiled kale is great for adding to dishes like frittatas because it has a soft texture and none of the stringiness that plagues raw kale. To make a frittata, simply scramble a few eggs, season with salt, pepper and Parmesan, then pour over the boiled and well-drained kale. Bake the dish at 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown on the edges and set in the center. 

See? Getting your greens can be easy.

Find more healthy diet ideas here »

Plus, Don't Miss: 

How to Braise Kale » 
How to Make Kale Chips » 
How to Saute Kale »  

About Budget Bytes

Beth from Budget Bytes is a food lover and a number cruncher who dishes up healthy recipes on her blog that won't put a huge dent in your wallet. She is the author of the cookbook, Budget Bytes: Over 100 Easy Delicious Recipes to Slash Your Grocery Bill in Half, and she also works as a microbiologist in a hospital laboratory. Follow her on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.