Can you cook kale in the microwave?

This brief guide will address the query: “Can you cook kale in the microwave?” Also, we’ll focus on how kale can be cooked in a microwave, what microwaving does to kale, what the nutritional content of kale is, and if eating microwaved kale is healthy. 

Can you cook kale in the microwave? 

Yes, kale can be microwaved, following a few guidelines of use. 

It can be lightly steamed by placing it in a microwave-safe container, placing a bit of water in the bottom of the basin, and covering (but not sealing) the container. 

However, microwaving kale with little moisture will begin to remove its water content and may give it a somewhat unpleasant consistency, and leave the microwave smelling of baked kale.

Additionally, other kale-based recipes can be prepared in the microwave, such as chips (with oil and salt added), and sautéed kale. Microwaving kale is a way to remove the slightly bitter taste, and turn it into more of a bulk-adding ingredient in dishes. 

How can I cook kale in a microwave?  

The first step to cooking any kale is to ensure that it is of quality; which is to say that browning, wilted leaves should be discarded, as they’ve aged and have low concentrations of kale’s metabolites. 

Ideally, kale should be microwaved if it has water on its leaves. Moist kale can then be placed inside a  covered microwaveable container and cooked for two minutes, for every two cups (128g) of kale. Any surplus water can be decanted, and the warm kale can be served. 

Recipes that require oil such as kale chips can be prepared by placing dry kale leaves over flat microwaveable plates and making sure they do not overlap, then lightly drizzling them with cooking oil, and sprinkling salt over them. 

At a high microwave setting, a plate of kale chips can cook to a crisp between 2 to 2 ½ minutes, although users should be wary of the possibility of “arcing” (sparking) a microwave oven, which kale’s high iron concentration plays a part in.     

What does microwaving do to kale

Physically, microwaving kale exposes the leaves to energy in the form of waves that primarily affect water. These waves make water (and other molecules) vibrate and this movement releases heat, which simultaneously, turns the water into steam. 

Kale leaves may wilt when microwaved. Also, as a source of heat, microwaving may break down some substances and nutrients (such as vitamin C), but in comparison to other cooking methods, microwaving may be among the least destructive, on account of requiring shorter timespans. 

Microwaving kale can also help diminish the concentrations of goitrins, which are substances known to inhibit a person’s iodine intake and may cause thyroid irregularities. 

However, when cooking kale and other greens in the microwave, users should be cautious, as some foods rich in iron may cause microwaves to “spark”, but this phenomenon is rare, and has 

to do with the placement of the metal particles inside the microwave.    

What is the nutritional content of kale

Kale is a rich source of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, and it’s also low in calories and rich in fiber. 

On average, a ration of 21 grams of raw Kale contains:

  • Calories – 7
  • Vitamins – A, C, K. 
  • Minerals – Vitamins B, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, and manganese

Additionally, one cup of raw kale (128g) contains 7 grams of carbohydrates, and merely 33 calories. 

Is microwaved kale healthy?  

Eating microwaved kale is healthy, as it incorporates antioxidants, fiber, and a low-calorie content into one’s diet. As microwaving kale does not immerse the leaves in hot water, very few nutrients will seep out. 

Accordingly, nutritionists recommend eating kale raw or steamed, to ensure the highest nutrient intake possible. 

However, in the case of goitrogens (the substances that alter thyroid function) which are highly present in raw kale, cooking (in this case, microwaving) kale is recommended for patients with thyroid problems, as heat degrades these substances.

Patients with thyroid disorders should combine cooked kale with a diet that complements iodine deficiencies. 

Also, kale may not be recommended for patients with a history of oxalate kidney stones and gallstones. 


In this brief guide, we’ve addressed the query: “Can you cook kale in the microwave?” Also, we’ve addressed how kale can be cooked in a microwave, what microwaving does to kale, what the nutritional content of kale is, and if eating microwaved kale is healthy. 


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Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.