Making kale in the Instant Pot is a fuss-free way to add a serving of greens to dinner. This post includes instructions for how to make tender stewed kale or firmer kale. Both methods are ready in under 30 minutes!
Whether you have a ton of kale to use up or you just want to add a healthy serving of greens to dinner, this Instant Pot Kale is a great option.
Instant Pot Kale is delicious when it's vivid and slightly chewy and when it's tender and stewed, so I give timing for both options in this recipe.
This Instant Pot Kale is inspired by my Instant Pot Collard Greens, another recipe that makes cooking greens so easy. I like to serve cooked kale with dinner for a good source of iron and fiber.
- Flavor: Raw kale can be bitter and astringent, but cooked kale is sweeter and milder. Onion, garlic, and a squeeze of lemon juice add extra flavor to the kale. These simple ingredients take cooked kale from good to great!
- Texture: This recipe includes cook times for kale with a bit of bite to it and cook times for very tender kale.
- Quick & easy: It's easy to make kale in the Instant Pot. All you have to do is saute onion and garlic, then add a ton of kale. While it pressure cooks, it wilts dramatically and the result is tender stewed kale greens.
- Nutritious: Kale is packed with fiber, iron, vitamin K, calcium, and potassium. It is a nutrition powerhouse!
- Kale: I tested this recipe with curly kale, which is the most common kale at the grocery store. I prefer pre-chopped kale because of its convenience, but you can also buy bunches of kale.
- Onion and garlic: I recommend sweet yellow onion, but any kind of onion works. Feel free to adjust the number of garlic cloves to taste. This kale is on the less-garlicky side of things.
- Lemon: This brightens up the kale and adds a fresh flavor. I recommend buying a lemon instead of using bottled lemon juice so that you can also use lemon zest.
- Vegetable broth: The Instant Pot needs liquid to function, so don't skip this. I recommend broth over water as another way to add more flavor to the kale.
How to make
All of my Instant Pot recipes are made in a 6 qt DUO60 Instant Pot.
Although I only tested this recipe in a 6-quart Instant Pot, it should also work well in 3-quart or 8-quart. If using a 3-quart pot, the kale will need to be squished down to fit all of the leaves in before pressure cooking.
Select "saute" on the Instant Pot. Drizzle with oil. Once it reads "hot", or when the oil is shimmering, add the onions and salt. Cook until softened and turning golden, stirring occasionally, about 6 to 8 minutes.
Stir in the garlic and cook an additional 2 to 3 minutes, until aromatic. If needed, deglaze the pot with a splash of vegetable broth to remove any stuck-on bits from the pot.
Add the chopped kale and all of the vegetable broth. Close the Instant Pot and turn the vent to "sealing".
There are two times to cook kale in the Instant Pot depending on desired texture:
- For kale that still has a bit of a "bite" to it, cook on high pressure for 3 minutes. Carefully do a quick pressure release. The kale will still be vivid green at this stage.
- For very tender stewed kale, cook on high pressure for 9 minutes. Carefully do a quick pressure release. The kale will be deep green, almost browned, because it is tender.
Squeeze half a lemon, or about 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, over the kale. Add the zest of ½ of a lemon, or about ½ teaspoon lemon zest. Taste for seasonings and enjoy!
- For stewed kale greens, I like to serve the kale with the liquid from the cooking pot. To serve greens without the cooking liquid, use a slotted spoon for serving.
- Deglaze the Instant Pot with a splash of vegetable broth before adding the kale. This removes any stuck-on bits from the bottom of the pot and decreases the chance of the burn error occurring.
- My favorite way to serve kale is with mac and cheese and tofu nuggets. Add it anywhere you need a serving of vegetables.
This recipe uses one bunch of kale or 8 cups of kale (about 1 ounce of kale per cup). One bunch of kale generally yields 7 to 8 ounces of kale, including the stems.
The kale stems are the most fibrous and chewy part of kale. Bags of chopped kale usually have the stems removed, but if you buy a bunch of kale you can either remove the stems entirely or chop them up into small pieces and cook them in the Instant Pot alongside the kale leaves.
Leftovers are best within 3 to 4 days. Let cool to room temperature before placing in a closed container and refrigerating. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop over medium heat. Instant Pot Kale does freeze well for up to 3 months.
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Instant Pot Kale
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 cup diced sweet yellow onion about ~½ onion
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt adjust to taste
- 8 ounces chopped kale equal to ~8 cups kale
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 and ½ cups vegetable broth
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 medium lemon juiced & zested
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes optional
- Select "sauté" on the Instant Pot. Drizzle with oil. Once the oil is hot (the Instant pot should say "hot" or the oil will be shimmering) add the diced onion and salt. Cook until softened and turning golden, stirring occasionally, about 6 to 8 minutes.
- Stir in the garlic and cook an additional 2 to 3 minutes, until aromatic. If needed, deglaze the pot with a splash of vegetable broth to remove any stuck on bits from the pot.
- Add the chopped kale, all of the vegetable broth, and the black pepper. Close the Instant Pot and turn the vent to "sealing".
- For kale that still has a bit of a "bite" to it, cook on high pressure for 3 minutes. Carefully do a quick pressure release. The kale is still vivid green with this method.
- For tender stewed kale, cook on high pressure for 9 minutes. Carefully do a quick pressure release. The kale appears stewed and deeper green with this method.
- Before serving, toss the kale with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, ½ teaspoon lemon zest, and the optional red pepper flakes. Serve with a slotted spoon.
- This recipe uses one bunch of kale or 8 cups of chopped kale. One cup of kale usually yields about 1 ounce of kale. One bunch of kale generally yields 7 to 8 ounces of kale, including the stems. If using a bunch of kale, the stems can be omitted or included.
- Best within 3 to 4 days. Let cool to room temperature before placing in a closed container and refrigerating.
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