Below is our favorite Garlic Bacon Kale Recipe plus the best tips on How to Cook Kale! Everything from sautéing to oven baking can be found below! 

This delicious powerhouse veggie adds great flavor to soups and casseroles it’s perfect served up as a Easy Kale Salad with Fresh Lemon Dressing and great on its own as a side dish!

Garlic bacon kale in a bowl

A Real Superfood

So what is Kale? Kale is a leafy green often used as a garnish or in ornamental uses however it’s also a deliciously flavorful green if prepared right! It has a rich earthy flavor and is a very popular superfood these days! You can buy kale chips, kale hummus, and even shredded kale! Kale is good for adding to dishes like salads, soups (like Zuppa Toscana), and green smoothies! It’s also great as a side dish or a Kale Salad!

Is kale good for you? You bet it is! Kale is a powerhouse of nutrition! It’s high in fiber and potassium.

To Prepare Kale for Cooking

  • Clean
    • Before cooking kale make sure the leaves are free from dirt and are dry and not mushy.
    • Rinse leaves under cold water and shake dry
  • Cut
    • Remove any tough stalks by simply pulling the curly leaves off of the stalk. Discard the stalks.
    • Cut (or tear) the kale into approximately one inch pieces.

Kale and stems on a wooden cutting board

How to Cook Fresh Kale

Fresh kale is an easy veggie to cook and enjoy. Kale can be sauteed in a pan (like in this recipe) or baked in the oven (to make kale chips). If you want to add it to soups/stews you can simply prepare the kale as directed above and add it to the soup allowing it to simmer for at least 12 minutes.

To Cook Kale in Oven simply prepare as above and make sure you dry it very well. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spritz with olive oil and a touch of salt & pepper. Bake until crisp but not burnt (about 10-15 minutes). These are delicious to snack on but they’re also great as a garnish sprinkled over dishes like risotto or creamy casseroles.

Overhead shot of garlic and kale in a pan

How Long to Cook Kale

The leaves are much sturdier than a spinach but don’t take quite as long to cook as Collard Greens.

I saute kale about 5 to 7 minutes so it’s wilted and soft but not mushy. Just when you think it’s done, remove it from the heat, and it will ‘carryover’ cook to perfection!

Sautéed kale is a flavorful alternative to creamed spinach or collard greens and when you make garlic kale with bacon it really adds an irresistible flavor boost to these nutrient packed greens! Season with salt and pepper or a splash of balsamic vinaigrette and enjoy! If you are wanting to keep it vegetarian just sautéed kale with garlic and olive oil is a delicious alternative to bacon kale!

Overhead shot of Garlic bacon kale in a bowl

More Healthy Side Dishes


Garlic bacon kale in a bowl
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Garlic Bacon Kale Recipe (How to Cook Kale)

This nutrient packed superfood is sure to impress! With bacon and garlic it smells just as good as it tastes! 
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4 servings
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  • 3 slices bacon chopped
  • ½ cup onion finely chopped
  • 1 bunch kale washed
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • salt & pepper to taste


  • Cook bacon until crisp over medium heat. Remove bacon and set aside reserving drippings.
  • Reduce heat to medium low and cook onion in the drippings until tender, about 10 minutes.
  • Add kale and garlic stirring until cooked, about 5 minutes.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with bacon and serve.
5 from 62 votes

Nutrition Information

Calories: 86 | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 10mg | Sodium: 115mg | Potassium: 131mg | Vitamin A: 1425IU | Vitamin C: 19.1mg | Calcium: 29mg | Iron: 0.3mg

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

Course Side Dish
Cuisine American

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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 never cooked kale fresh. So, pardon my ignorance. I put extra kale in the frying pan. I had to cook it longer and it became somewhat crispy. It should or should not be crispy? It reminded me somewhat of breaded, fried poke. I love that!

    1. Depending on how it’s cooked, kale can get crispy Jeanette. In this recipe on the stove I cook the kale until it’s wilted and soft but not mushy. When you cook kale in the oven it makes kale chips that are quite crispy and almost melt in your mouth. So it’s possible! I hope this helps!

  2. Love this recipe. I might have overdone it on the bacon because well… it’s bacon. My boyfriend and I love sautéed kale, and this just makes it tastier.5 stars

  3. I made this today & it was so yummy!! I’m usually not a huge fan of kale but I had some leftover from the kale salad w/lemon dressing which was also delicious! I used red onion b/c I had one cut. At the end, I threw in some red wine vinegar, a little lemon balsamic vinegar (to scrape the bits of bacon up) tossed in the bacon & mixed it right in !!! Deeelicious!!

  4. Absolutely phenomenal recipe! Making it a second time now as I just finished the first batch as leftovers. It gets better the next day. My wife and I love, love, love the mixtures, texture, and flavors. I stuck to the recipe and I wouldn’t change a thing. Thank you.5 stars

  5. I’ve made this twice in the last week. I used to not care for kale, but serving it like this is delicious! I used shallots this time and it was great.5 stars

  6. I had kale for the first time today and loved it. It reminds of spinach and I hate spinach, but kale was wonderful. I will be cooking y self in the future, but they aren’t going to replace collards. I still love the pot liquor from the collard. The only thing I change about the recipe is to add a few pepper flakes or a dash of hot sauce, but that is just me. All in I love kale!!