Sautéed Kale with Cranberries, Maple & Pecans

Easy sautéed kale with tartly sweet cranberries, studded with crunchy pecans and a delightful drizzle of cozy maple syrup.

Okay, but how is it already nearly Thanksgiving?!? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered! I’m going to be sharing so many wonderful recipes for the big day, including today’s Sautéed Kale with maple, cranberries, and pecans.

What a delicious flavor combo, amiright?

I can’t wait for you to try this mouthwatering vegetable side dish with me. Let’s go!

sautéed kale ingredients including kale, pecans, olive oil and onions laid out

Everything You’ll Need to Make Sautéed Kale with Maple

  • Kale – curly or lacinato will do here
  • Onion – chopped white onions add just a bit of savory flavor to balance the sweet maple and cranberries
  • Olive oil, salt and pepper
  • Dried Cranberries – make sure to use dried, not fresh, for delicious sweetness
  • Pecans – pecans straight out of the baking aisle will do nicely here. You can also make candied pecans for added sweetness.
  • Maple Syrup – you can use as much or as little as you’d like to make sautéed kale
close up of sautéed kale to showcase tender texture with juicy cranberries and caramelized onions

How to Make Sautéed Kale with Maple, Cranberries, and Pecans

To start this sautéed kale recipe, prep the kale by washing, drying, then destemming.

Next, wash, peel, and cut onion into ½-inch strips. Use your fingers to separate the individual strands.

Chopped kale and onions on a cutting board

Then, add onion, salt, and pepper to a large sauté pan set over medium heat and coated in 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil.

Cook onions until slightly caramelized, with sear marks.

Two photos showing How to Make Sautéed Kale with Cranberries and Pecans – caramelizing onions in a skillet

Then, get ready to rock and roll. This part will happen quickly.

Two photos showing How to Make Sautéed Kale with Cranberries and Pecans – adding chopped kale into the skillet with onions

Add half of the kale, the flip the hot onions from the bottom of the pan onto the kale.

Now, add 2-3 tablespoons water into the pan. You’ll hear a sizzling sound.

Then, add in the rest of the kale, water, and dried cranberries.

Two photos showing How to Make this vegetable side dish – adding water and cranberries

Stir everything together just until the kale wilts—but not longer to prevent major shrinkage.

Quickly remove the kale from the heat, and transfer to a plate.

Top with pecans and a drizzle of maple syrup. Enjoy the best sautéed kale with cranberries!

fully cooked result of this vegetable side dish in a skillet

Tools You’ll Need

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serving bowl filled with sautéed kale topped with cranberries and pecans

Sautéed Kale with Cranberries, Maple & Pecans

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5 from 5 reviews


Easy sautéed kale with tartly sweet cranberries, studded with crunchy pecans and a delightful drizzle of cozy maple syrup.



Sautéed Kale

  • 8 oz kale, curly or lacinato
  • ½ cup onion
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • About 6 tablespoons water
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries


  • 23 tablespoons pecans, chopped
  • Drizzle of pure maple syrup


Note: I highly recommend making a double batch of this recipe! Once the kale is cooked, it reduces down quite a bit.

  1. Wash and dry kale. Pat with a paper towel to dry. To destem the kale, fold in half with the leafy parts exposing the spine. Using a knife, cut along the spine nearest to the leaf to destem. Chop into 1-inch ribbons.
  2. Wash and peel onion. Cut into ½-inch strips. Using your fingers, separate the strips into individual pieces, making sure none stick together.
  3. Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil or other cooking oil. Tilt the pan to coat it well in oil.
  4. Add onions, heaping ¼ teaspoon salt and a pinch of pepper. Stir to coat onions in oil, salt, and pepper. Cook until onions are translucent and have caramelized a bit, with some sear marks, about 3-4 minutes.
  5. This next part will happen quickly. Add half the kale, scooping from the bottom of the pan to get the hot onions onto the kale. Pour 2-3 tablespoons water over the onions and kale—you’ll hear a sizzling sound.
  6. Add the rest of the kale and water, and dried cranberries. Stir and fold everything together in the pan until kale begins to wilt just a bit. This will take about 1 minute, but not much more. Remember, kale cooks very, very quickly. You don’t want to overdo it and end up with a teeny, tiny, nearly microscopic and sad pile of wilted kale.
  7. Before the kale wilts too much, remove the pan from the heat.
  8. Stir and fold kale, then quickly and carefully transfer to a serving dish.
  9. Transfer to a serving dish and top with pecans and a drizzle of maple syrup.
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 7 minutes
  • Category: Side Dishes, Dinner
  • Method: Cook
  • Cuisine: American

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  1. I’ve always loved sautéed kale, but my family does not. Until this recipe. Adding pecans, cranberries and maple syrup did the trick! Delicious.

  2. Such a wonderful combination of fall flavors paired with the kale! It all looks fantastic and I love the minimal prep.

  3. What a delicious way to spice up greens! I made this to go with chicken the other night and my family really enjoyed it!

  4. I never thought I’d look at kale and really want to try it, but this looks so good I’m definitely going to make this one!