Best Plantains To Use For Frying

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By Christopher Spiker

If you’re looking to create the perfect batch of fried plantains, knowing which varieties to use can make all the difference. “Best Plantains To Use For Frying” guides you through the essential considerations, from ripeness to specific types of plantains, ensuring your dish turns out just right. Dive in to discover the best plantains to elevate your frying game, providing you with mouthwatering results every time. Have you ever wondered which plantains are best for frying? If you’re a fan of these deliciously crispy and satisfying treats, then you’ve come to the right place. Frying plantains might seem straightforward, but the type of plantains you use can make a significant difference in flavor, texture, and overall enjoyment.

What Are Plantains?

Let’s start with the basics. Plantains are a type of banana commonly used in cooking, especially in tropical regions. While they look similar to bananas, plantains are typically larger, firmer, and starchy. Unlike bananas, they are usually cooked before eating because their high starch content makes them less suitable for raw consumption.

Types of Plantains

Plantains come in various stages of ripeness, each suitable for different cooking methods. To make it simpler for you, let’s break it down into three main categories: Green, Yellow, and Black.

Green Plantains

Green plantains are unripe and have a starchy texture. They are firm and less sweet compared to their riper counterparts, making them excellent for dishes that require a crunchier texture. Fried green plantains are known as tostones in many cultures.

Key Characteristics Green Plantains
Color Green
Texture Firm and starchy
Flavor Mildly sweet to savory
Best For Tostones, chips, savory dishes

Yellow Plantains

Yellow plantains are partially ripe. They are sweeter and softer than green plantains but still hold their shape well when cooked. They are versatile and can be used for both savory and sweet dishes.

Key Characteristics Yellow Plantains
Color Yellow
Texture Softer than green, but still firm
Flavor Sweet with some starchy undertones
Best For Maduros, side dishes, sweet fries

Black Plantains

Black plantains are fully ripe. They are soft, very sweet, and their texture is more like a banana. These are ideal for desserts or sweeter dishes, and they caramelize beautifully when fried.

Key Characteristics Black Plantains
Color Completely black or with black spots
Texture Very soft and mushy
Flavor Very sweet, almost banana-like
Best For Desserts, sweet frying

Best Plantains To Use For Frying

Choosing The Right Plantains For Frying

When it comes to frying plantains, the choice depends on the dish you are planning to make. Here are some specific recommendations to help you understand which type of plantain works best for popular fried plantain dishes.


Tostones are twice-fried plantain slices popular in Latin American cuisine. They are typically made using green plantains because of their firm texture and mild flavor.

  1. Peel the Plantains: Green plantains are challenging to peel. Make slits along the ridges to remove the skin more easily.
  2. Slice and Fry: Cut them into thick slices and fry until slightly golden.
  3. Flatten and Fry Again: Smash the fried slices with a tostone press or the bottom of a glass, then fry again until crispy.

Tip: Use a pinch of salt and garlic powder to enhance the flavor.

Sweet Plantain Fritters (Maduros)

Maduros are made from ripe yellow or black plantains. Their natural sweetness comes through beautifully when fried, making them a favorite side dish in many cuisines.

  1. Peel and Slice: Ripe plantains are easier to peel. Slice them diagonally into medium-sized pieces.
  2. Fry: Fry the slices over medium heat until they are golden brown and caramelized on the edges.

Tip: Cook over medium heat to allow the sugars to caramelize without burning.

Plantain Chips

Plantain chips can be made from green or yellow plantains. They are a healthier alternative to potato chips and have a unique flavor.

  1. Peel and Slice Thinly: Use a mandolin slicer to get uniform thin slices.
  2. Fry: Fry in hot oil until crispy.

Tip: Season immediately after frying with salt or your preferred seasoning blend.

Nutritional Benefits of Plantains

Plantains are not only delicious but also packed with nutrients. Here’s a quick look at what you get from each stage of ripeness:

Nutrient Green Plantains Yellow Plantains Black Plantains
Carbohydrates High in complex carbs Medium in complex/simple High in simple carbs
Fiber High Moderate Low
Sugars Low Medium High
Vitamins (C, A, B-6) Rich Rich Rich

Health Benefits

  • Digestive Health: High fiber content, especially in green plantains, aids digestion.
  • Energy Boost: The complex carbs in green plantains and the sugars in ripe ones provide a good energy boost.
  • Rich in Vitamins: They are a good source of vitamins A, B-6, and C.

Best Plantains To Use For Frying

Pro Tips for Frying Plantains

To achieve perfectly fried plantains, here are some expert tips:

  1. Choose the Right Oil: Use oils with a high smoking point like peanut, canola, or sunflower oil.
  2. Don’t Overcrowd The Pan: Frying too many slices at once can lower the oil temperature, making them soggy instead of crispy.
  3. Maintain Oil Temperature: Keep the oil between 350-375°F (180-190°C) for perfect frying.
  4. Drain Excess Oil: Use paper towels to remove excess oil from the fried plantains, ensuring they remain crispy.

Flavor Enhancements

Adding spices and seasonings can elevate your fried plantains to the next level. Here are some ideas:

Sweet Variations

  • Cinnamon and Sugar: Sprinkle a cinnamon sugar mix on hot plantains.
  • Honey Drizzle: Drizzle honey over the plantains after frying for a sweet treat.

Savory Variations

  • Garlic and Salt: Use garlic powder and salt for a savory twist.
  • Chili Powder: A sprinkle of chili powder can add a nice kick.

Best Plantains To Use For Frying

Global Influence: Plantain Dishes from Around the World

Fried plantains are beloved globally, and various cultures have their own unique twists. Here are some famous versions:


In the Caribbean, fried plantains are often served as a side dish with meats and seafood. They use both green and ripe plantains.

West Africa

In West Africa, plantains are often fried and enjoyed as a snack or served with spicy stews. The variety of spices used can range from mild to fiery hot.

Latin America

Latin American cuisines have some of the most well-loved versions of fried plantains, such as tostones and maduros.


In the Philippines, a popular snack is banana cue, where plantains are skewered and caramelized with brown sugar.


Frying plantains can be a delightful culinary adventure. Knowing which type of plantain to use for your specific dish will ensure you get the best results. Whether you prefer them savory or sweet, green or ripe, there’s a fried plantain dish waiting to be enjoyed.

So, the next time you’re in the produce aisle, confidently pick the perfect plantains for your frying needs. Happy cooking!

Best Plantains To Use For Frying