Sautéed Kale

This easy sautéed kale recipe is healthy, delicious, and versatile. Serve it as a side dish, or add it to grain bowls, pastas, frittatas, and more!

Sauteed kale

If you’ve never cooked sautéed kale before, now’s the time to try it! It’s a versatile side dish, just as at home alongside a bowl of soup as it is next to a pile of pasta, but it’s also a fantastic cooking component. My recipe calls for 6 ingredients (3 of which are olive oil, salt, and pepper), and it cooks up in under 5 minutes. Because it’s so simple, it’s one of my go-to additions to clear-out-the-fridge frittatas, quick weeknight pastas, improvised grain bowls, and more. As an added bonus, it’s jam-packed with nutrients, and it tastes delicious. Kale may not be as cool as it was 5 years ago, but this sautéed kale recipe will always be a mainstay in my kitchen.

Sauteed kale recipe ingredients

Sautéed Kale Recipe Ingredients

We’ll use 6 simple ingredients in this easy sautéed kale recipe:

  • Kale! I love tender lacinato kale, but another variety, such as curly kale, will work here too. Before you cook it, wash and dry the kale and remove any tough stems. Then, tear or chop the leaves into bite-sized pieces.
  • Extra-virgin olive oil – It adds rich flavor and helps the kale soften as it cooks.
  • Garlic – It amps up the flavor in this simple dish.
  • Lemon juice – It makes the hearty kale nice and bright.
  • And sea salt and fresh black pepper – To make all the flavors pop!

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic, chopped kale, salt, and pepper, and cook, tossing, until the kale wilts. Remove from the heat, and squeeze a little lemon juice over the kale. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

That’s it! Change up the seasoning by sprinkling crushed red pepper flakes or everything bagel seasoning over the cooked kale. Enjoy!

Find the complete recipe with measurements below.

Lacinato kale

Sautéed Kale Serving Suggestions

On its own, this sautéed kale recipe is a healthy, delicious side dish that pairs well with nearly any protein, pasta, or soup. However, it’s also a versatile cooking component! Here are a few of my favorite ways to use it:

How do you like to use sautéed kale? Let me know in the comments!

Sauteed kale in a skillet with wooden spatula

More Favorite Kale Recipes

Love kale? Try one of these delicious recipes next:

Sautéed Kale

rate this recipe:
5 from 7 votes
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 5 mins
Serves 4
This easy sautéed kale recipe is a healthy, delicious side dish! It's also a wonderful addition to eggs, pastas, grain bowls, and more. Find specific serving suggestions in the post above.


  • 1 bunch kale, lacinato or curly kale
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • Lemon wedge
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • Remove the coarse parts of the kale stems and chop or tear the leaves.
  • In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the kale, garlic, pinches of salt, and several grinds of pepper. Sauté for 2 to 4 minutes, tossing (I like to use tongs for this), until the kale has wilted down.
  • Turn off the heat, squeeze a little lemon juice over the kale, and toss. Season to taste and serve.


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Rate this recipe (after making it)

  1. Jan

    5 stars
    I used baby kale because that’s what I had on hand. It was simple and delicious!

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)

      I’m so glad you loved it!

  2. Carrie

    5 stars
    Yes I made it and yes it was really good. Great. Thanks! ❤✌👍

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad you loved it!

  3. Kate

    5 stars
    followed the recipe exactly, using the bottom half of a frittata p;an, added 4 beaten eggs, flipped it all over after a few minutes, and …best vegetable frittata ever. So easy!

    Thank you!

  4. The Bollywood Bites

    Great food with amazing

  5. Andrea

    Sautéed kale is my 6 year olds favorite side dish right now!

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.