Kale Chips have always made me ask, “Why?” Chips are potatoes, and I don’t need the health food industry trying to change my mind about that. Plus, every bag of kale chips I’ve ever seen has approximately six kale chips in it. I don’t think kale is a hot commodity or limited resource. Why can’t I have a full bag?!
All that being said, after this taste test, I must admit that some kale chips are actually good. Matthew Dwyer, graphics director for Mythical, joined me and the rest of the Sporked team to determine what makes a good kale chip. We narrowed it down to two major components: a light, crispy crunchiness and a strong flavor of anything that isn’t just kale. These were the brands that met our criteria and made me a kale chip convert.
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- Brad’s Crunchy Kale Original
I normally steer clear of anything “Original” flavored because I refuse to believe that “Original” is a flavor at all. Brad’s Crunchy Kale in its “Original” flavor, however, is different. As soon as I removed the first nugget (that’s right, nugget) from the bag, I noticed all the seasoning caked onto the kale. The taste is complex, but a little reminiscent of tomato soup. The entire room of tasters was shocked by the amount of flavor a kale chip could hold. They are also crunchy, light, and not greasy at all. These made me understand why one would eat a kale chip.
Credit: Ryan Martin / Walmart
- Brad’s Crunchy Kale Vampire Killer
The Vampire Killer flavor of Brad’s Crunchy Kale was my personal favorite. I found it to be the most flavorful of the bunch. Raw garlic permeated the air as soon as we opened the bag. What I love most about it is that it promises garlic and it gives you garlic. And not garlic powder or pre-chopped garlic—fresh garlic with bite! Others in the group found these a little sharp in flavor, but I will confidently say they are wrong. These are great!
Credit: Ryan Martin / Whole Foods
- Awesome Food Kale Chips
The Awesome Food Kale Chips do not strike me as “awesome.” But that’s not to say they aren’t good. To me, they feel sophisticated. Elegant. Like a kale chip for adults. They have a refined nature that the other kale chips lack. They aren’t coated in powdery mystery seasoning, so the kale has a chance to shine through. That being said, it doesn’t taste too vegetal. They are delicate while maintaining a nice crunch. But the packaging reads a little too “health food” for me, so they lose two sporks.
Credit: Ryan Martin / Amazon
- Brad’s Raw Organic Cheeze It Up Crunchy Kale
When fried kale meets Pepperidge Farms Goldfish, you get Brad’s Raw Organic Cheeze It Up Crunchy Kale. I feel like vegan “cheese” products can sometimes taste exclusively like nutritional yeast. Luckily, Brad’s avoids this pitfall. It has an actually cheesy taste that even pleased the non-vegans in the group. I still don’t think these are better than the Original flavor, but if you really have a hankering for both kale and cheese or you just want your kale chip to very much taste like real kale, this is a great option.
Credit: Ryan Martin / Amazon
- Rhythm Organic Kale Chips Original
Like Brad’s, Rhythm Organic Kale Chips are also incredibly tasty for something coming from the “Original” flavor family (a thing I still don’t believe in). Despite being dried, they have a fresh quality that is reminiscent of raw, unprocessed kale. At the same time, it doesn’t taste too green. Salt and seeds and nuts are the flavor profile for Rhythm. Think: kale chips meet savory granola. If Brad’s Original kale chips are too much for you, these are much more tastefully seasoned and subtly flavored.
Credit: Ryan Martin / Target
Best of the Best
Best Kale Flavor
Best “Original” Runner Up
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