Perfect Sauteed Kale

This sautéed kale is one of my favorite kale recipes! This recipe with garlic and lemon is a simple, delicious, and healthy way to cook kale.

Sauteed Kale with Garlic

Some people shy away from kale, but with my easy recipe, you’ll be craving it again and again. Thanks to my easy method, the kale is super tender and sweet.

I use a similar method when making my sautéed spinach recipe. The trick is to use a little broth in the skillet to encourage the kale to wilt and turn tender.

Sautéed Kale with Garlic

Key Ingredients

  • Kale: You can use any type, but I love lacinato kale (also known as dinosaur kale) for its dark green color and flat leaves. I remove the stems before cooking, but you can skip that step if you have baby kale.
  • Garlic: I’m a big garlic fan and use a lot in this recipe. I thinly slice the cloves instead of mincing them for this recipe.
  • Olive Oil: I like sauteing the kale in olive oil, but feel free to use your favorite cooking oil instead. Avocado or walnut oil would be delicious. Butter works, too!
  • Pepper Flakes and Lemon (Optional): These add a touch of heat and fresh flavor to the dish.
  • Broth: A small amount of liquid helps the kale wilt and become tender. You can use broth, white wine, or even water.

How to Make Sautéed Kale

This kale recipe is so easy. Start by heating olive oil in a skillet. Then, add garlic, chopped kale, a pinch of salt and red pepper flakes, and a splash of broth. Cook the kale until it’s bright green, wilted, and tender. The broth helps steam the kale, making it sweeter and more tender and reducing bitterness.

Cooking kale with garlic

This simple combination of sautéed kale with olive oil, broth, salt, and garlic is already delicious. However, I love adding fresh lemon juice at the end. If you don’t have a lemon on hand, apple cider vinegar or balsamic vinegar are great!

For more kale recipes, see our braised kale with bacon and egg, this kale salad, or these light and crispy kale chips!

Kale with Garlic and Lemon

Perfect Sauteed Kale

  • PREP
  • COOK

This easy, healthy recipe for sautéed kale is delicious. As the kale cooks in the pan, it wilts, turns bright green, and becomes tender. Kale may sound like a boring side dish, but this is one of our favorite side dishes.

Makes 4 servings

You Will Need

1 large bunch kale (7 to 8 cups chopped leaves)

3 tablespoons olive oil

3 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced

Pinch red pepper flakes

1/2 cup (118ml) chicken broth, veggie broth, white wine, or water, plus more as needed

1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt or more to taste

Half of a lemon


    1Rinse the kale, and then pull the leaves from the stems. Discard the stems or save them to add to homemade stock another day.

    2Coarsely chop kale leaves into randomly shaped pieces, about 2 inches large.

    3Heat the olive oil in a wide skillet over medium heat.

    4When the oil shimmers, add the garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring often, until the garlic is soft, but do not let it brown.

    5Add the chopped kale leaves, stock, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Cook, tossing the kale around the pan occasionally, until it turns bright green, soft, and wilted, about 7 to 8 minutes. If the liquid evaporates before the kale is tender, add a little bit more to the pan.

    6Taste and adjust with additional salt, then finish by stirring in the juice from half a lemon.

Adam and Joanne's Tips

  • The nutrition facts provided below are estimates.
Nutrition Per Serving Serving Size 1/4 of the dish / Calories 118 / Total Fat 11.1g / Saturated Fat 1.6g / Cholesterol 0.9mg / Sodium 197.8mg / Carbohydrate 4.4g / Dietary Fiber 1g / Total Sugars 1.2g / Protein 2g
AUTHOR:  Adam and Joanne Gallagher
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5 comments… Leave a Review
  • Blitzo July 4, 2022, 1:26 am

    Hi there, yesterday I follow your recipes I cook my family, I’m very happy because they love it and they, the food I Cook is super delicious.

  • Llyrah Reyes October 24, 2021, 6:30 pm

    I have made this recipe and a few others and I love them all. I prefer to make more veggies recipes, but will make others for my family as well. Thank you for sharing your recipes. Can you add how to make collard green, please if possible, thank you

  • Julie April 28, 2021, 12:32 pm

    I was looking for a new side dish for the abundant kale in my garden. This was easy and delicious!

  • Ramsay C Tapp August 5, 2020, 7:24 pm

    Beautiful easy side dish. Thanks for the salt amts and such. Got the exact results I wanted.

    • Sherice June 13, 2021, 10:09 pm

      This recipe was easy and delicious. I will make it again.


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