Garlic Butter Kale Rice is a great side that pairs rice with loads of kale – except you’d never know it! So tasty you’ll be eating it straight out of the pot.

Garlic Butter Kale Rice with almond garnishI love garlic and I’m currently totally in love with this Garlic Butter Kale Rice.

I’m always on the hunt for sides that combines a carb with vegetables so I can just make one dish to serve on the side of protein to complete a meal.

Added bonus: This one’s loaded with tons of kale – and even kale haters love it.

Garlic Butter Kale Rice in a bowl with a spoon

How to Prepare Kale

My trick is to marinate kale by drizzling it with a tiny bit of olive oil, salt and pepper, then leaving it just for 15 minutes while the rice cooks before tossing it into the saucepan while the rice is resting to warm the kale through and make it wilt.

The marinating time serves 2 purposes. It softens the kale to make it pleasant to eat (raw kale can be quite tough and chewy) as well as adding flavour. It always surprises me how far a tiny pinch of salt goes when marinating kale!

Kale for Garlic Butter Kale


How to Make Garlic Butter Kale Rice

If you’re wondering is it OK to eat raw kale, the kale in this recipe is wilted into the rice.  Combine the marinated kale with soft, fluffy, garlicky, buttery rice and you have a winner right there.

In fact, most people think the green “stuff” in this is spinach, not kale!

I like to cook the rice with chicken or vegetable broth to give it extra flavour. This rice is so incredibly tasty, you can – and WILL – eat it straight out of the pot!

It’s best served warm but also lovely at room temperature because the kale and rice is lovely and fluffy. Try serving this on the side at your next grill out!

Garlic Butter Kale Rice in a white bowl

Garlic Butter Kale Rice with almond garnish
4.99 from 58 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
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Garlic Butter Kale Rice

A great side that combines rice with loads of kale - but you'd never guess! Everyone loves the buttery, garlicky flavour! Scrunching the kale with olive oil and salt before tossing into the rice is a great trick for making the kale tastier and softer.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Resting time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 5 servings
Author Nagi
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  • 5 large handfuls chopped kale leaves Note 1
  • 2 teaspoons Olive oil
  • salt and pepper


  • 2 tablespoons butter unsalted
  • 2 large garlic cloves crushed
  • 1 cup white rice
  • 1 ¾ cup chicken broth or vegetable broth (low sodium)
  • extra butter
  • 2 tablespoons almonds or pecans, roughly chopped (optional)



  • Place kale in a large bowl. Drizzle over oil and sprinkle with a small pinch of salt and pepper.
  • Use hands to scrunch for 30 seconds then set aside until rice is cooked.


  • Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add garlic and saute for 1 minute until fragrant.
  • Add rice and broth, cover with lid. Bring to gentle simmer then immediately turn heat down to low or medium low, so the liquid is simmering very gently.
  • Cook for 12 - 15 minutes until all liquid is absorbed.
  • Remove from heat, then quickly toss all the kale on top of the rice, then clamp lid back on.
  • Rest for 10 minutes.
  • Remove lid, stir wilted kale through rice.
  • Adjust salt and pepper to taste and stir through extra butter if desired.
  • Transfer to serving bowl and garnish with almonds or pecans, if using.


Hold a kale stalk by the stem, then run an enclosed fist up the stalk to rip the leaves off. Then chop into bite size pieces.
4.99 from 58 votes

Nutrition Information

Calories: 225 | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 12mg | Sodium: 348mg | Potassium: 209mg | Vitamin A: 1615IU | Vitamin C: 23.8mg | Calcium: 50mg | Iron: 0.8mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Side Dish
Cuisine American

Repin this Fantastic Side Dish!

Bowl of Garlic Butter Kale Rice with a title

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Holly Nilsson is the creator of Spend With Pennies, where she creates easy, comforting recipes made for real life. With a passion for nostalgic flavors and simplified techniques, Holly helps busy home cooks create delicious meals that always work. She is also the author of “Everyday Comfort,” which promises to inspire even more hearty, home-cooked meals.
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  1. I’ve made this dish several times now and love it. LOVE it! Each time I’ve added some red pepper flakes to the garlic and butter because I like a little kick and have used sliced almonds because that what I’ve had on hand. I make my own chicken stock and use that for the liquid, adding enough water to the stock to make the necessary amount of liquid. I think next time I make it I’ll try brown rice.
    Thank you for creating and sharing this recipe.
    Mary5 stars

    1. I’ve now made this recipe, or variation, several times. I just love it. One evening, I got as far as adding the kale and realized that I had no kale. Substituted some thawed and drained frozen spinach and that was excellent too. I think chard would work, too. I’m making dinner for a friend tomorrow and will be serving this alongside some baked fresh halibut topped with little shrimp and seasoned sour cream sauce. Delish!
      Thanks so much Nagi. I have loved every recipe of yours that I’ve tried. So nice to have a reliable source of inspiration. Mary5 stars

      1. Thank you for trying our recipe, Mary! So glad you were able to adapt it to what you had on hand, Mary.

  2. Great rice recipe with a super way to eat Kale! I burned the bottom by putting it on the wrong burner at the end and my family still ate it right down to the burnt part. (I’m a novice cook, my partner’s the pro) I made it with oven baked chicken breasts which was a good compliment. Thanks!5 stars

    1. We have never tried this recipe with cauliflower rice but I think it would be delicious. If you make it, we would love to hear how it turns out for you.

  3. This recipe is a total keeper!! I doubled it and paired it with wild Alaskan salmon and lemon vinaigrette dressed arugula. SO good!!5 stars

  4. I’m not a huge kale fan but I occasionally receive it in my delivered produce box. I was searching for a good way to serve it knowing it’s so healthy for my fam. This recipe is amazingly delicious!5 stars

  5. Loved the recipe, although I would suggest amending it to cook the Kale with the rice for a longer period of time. My Kale was still mostly raw after sitting for 10 minutes atop the rice. Still yummy!5 stars

  6. I used brown rice and added grated lemon zest — then topped with avocado for a meatless meal. I sometimes eat kale daily for months at a time. Tastiest kale I have had in many months!!!5 stars

  7. Love this recipe! I used less butter and more garlic & turned out just right! It also works quite well in a pressure cooker with kale and rice cooked together.5 stars

  8. Hi Holly you had me with Kale! My family loved this recipe. I make a slight change by substituting 3/4 cup of the vegetable broth with coconut milk. I’m telling you that hint of coconut milk flavor is absolutely delicious.:)5 stars

  9. I have made this many times and love it. I usually use red kale, which becomes almost sweet after being prepared according to this recipe.5 stars

  10. I made this with Chard and Pinenuts instead of Kale and Almonds since those were what I had on hand. It was delicious and my husband loved it too! (my daughter picked out the chard…next time I’ll cut it smaller so she can’t. ;)5 stars

    1. I am so glad you were able to make this recipe work with what you had on hand and that your family enjoyed it too Suzi!

  11. your Garlic Butter Kale Rice was delicious. It will be a dish I will make to go with many main courses.
    I will use brown rice, also when making it again.

  12. I love rice. Although I don’t know the taste of this dish , I think that food presentation is not beautiful. I suggest that you can add eggs and sausages ( diced ) to the mix with rice I thought it would look better.
    anyway I always love your blog. It’s useful and cute :))5 stars

    1. I think the presentation looks wonderful and fresh.
      Egg? Just NO. Sausage? Why? Some people like the look of fresh green food. We like to eat it this way, or it’s a bed for our creative imagination.
      Why mar it with egg and sausage. It would be a different recipe.
      Your suggestion was not helpful, it was just judgmental to your own bias.5 stars

  13. Under the Kale ingredients list, what does it mean to use 5 Tbsp Large handfuls chopped kale leaves? Is including the word Tablespoons a typo and it should just read 5 large handfuls chopped kale leaves? Thanks.