Fried Plantains: A Versatile Side Dish Or Snack

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By Christopher Spiker

Fried plantains, with their golden-brown, crispy exterior and tender, sweet interior, are a delight that never fails to impress. You’ll find that these delectable morsels complement a range of dishes, adding a touch of exotic flair to your meals. Whether you enjoy them as a savory side dish paired with meats and rice or as a sweet snack drizzled with honey, they offer versatility and enjoyment. Perfect for family dinners or casual snacking, fried plantains are a simple yet flavorful treat that you’re sure to love. Dive into the world of fried plantains and discover how this delicious dish can enhance your culinary adventures. Have you ever tried fried plantains? If you haven’t, you’re in for a treat! Whether you’ve had them before or they’re completely new to you, fried plantains are a delicious and versatile dish worth exploring. They can be a crunchy snack, a sweet treat, or a savory side dish, making them perfect for any occasion.

Fried Plantains: A Versatile Side Dish Or Snack

What Are Plantains?

Before diving into the world of fried plantains, let’s understand what plantains are. Plantains are a starchy fruit that belongs to the banana family. Unlike dessert bananas, plantains are usually cooked before eating because they are firmer and have a much less sweet flavor when raw. They are commonly used in various cuisines around the world, particularly in Africa, the Caribbean, Central America, and parts of Southeast Asia.

Nutritional Benefits

Plantains are not just tasty; they are also packed with nutrients. Here’s a quick breakdown of what you get in one medium-sized plantain:

Nutrient Amount
Calories 220
Carbohydrates 57 grams
Fiber 4 grams
Vitamin C 27% of RDI
Vitamin A 22% of RDI
Potassium 15% of RDI

As you can see, plantains offer a good source of vitamins and minerals, particularly vitamin C, vitamin A, and potassium. Plus, they contain fiber which is essential for digestive health.

Types of Fried Plantains

Did you know that there are various ways to prepare and enjoy fried plantains? The three most common preparations are:

1. Tostones (Twice-Fried Green Plantains)

Tostones are made using green (unripe) plantains. The green plantains are sliced, fried once, flattened, and then fried again until they reach a crispy texture. They’re usually savory and can be served with dips, like garlic sauce, or eaten as a side dish.

2. Maduros (Sweet Fried Plantains)

Maduros are made with ripe plantains. The ripeness brings out a natural sweetness, which caramelizes when fried, giving you a soft and sweet treat. They are often enjoyed as a side dish or even as a dessert.

3. Plantain Chips

Plantain chips can be made from either green or ripe plantains. They are thinly sliced and fried until crispy, often sprinkled with salt or other seasonings. They’re perfect for a salty snack!

Fried Plantains: A Versatile Side Dish Or Snack

How to Choose the Right Plantains

Choosing the right plantain for your dish can be crucial. Here’s a guide on how to pick them based on your culinary needs:

Dish Type Stage of Ripeness Description
Tostones Green Firm and starchy, the peel is hard to remove
Maduros Yellow/Black Ripe to overly ripe, peel is easy to remove, sweeter taste
Plantain Chips Green or Yellow Green for savory, yellow for slightly sweet, both are firmer

How to Prepare Fried Plantains

The great thing about fried plantains is that they are quite simple to prepare. Here’s a general guide to help you get started:


  • Green or ripe plantains
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • Salt (optional)
  • Sugar or cinnamon (optional, for sweet plantains)



  1. Peel the Plantains: Cut off both ends of the plantain. Score the peel lengthwise and remove it.
  2. Slice: Slice the plantain into 1-inch thick pieces.
  3. First Fry: Heat oil in a frying pan. Fry the slices for about 2 minutes on each side until they are golden.
  4. Flatten: Remove the slices and flatten them using a tostonera or the bottom of a cup.
  5. Second Fry: Return the flattened plantains to the oil and fry until they are crispy and golden-brown.
  6. Season: Sprinkle with salt if desired.


  1. Peel the Plantains: Follow the same process for peeling ripe plantains.
  2. Slice: Cut the plantain diagonally into thin slices.
  3. Fry: Heat oil in a frying pan and fry the slices for about 3-4 minutes on each side, until they are golden-brown.
  4. Season: If you prefer, sprinkle sugar or cinnamon on top.

Plantain Chips:

  1. Peel and Slice: Peel green or yellow plantains and slice them very thin using a mandolin or a knife.
  2. Fry: Heat oil in a frying pan and fry the slices in single layers until they are crispy.
  3. Season: Remove from the oil and sprinkle with salt or your favorite seasoning.

Fried Plantains: A Versatile Side Dish Or Snack

Serving Ideas

Once you’ve mastered the basic recipes, there are countless ways to serve and enjoy fried plantains. Here are some ideas to inspire you:

As a Side Dish

Fried plantains make an excellent side dish for many meals. Pair tostones with grilled meats or fish, and serve maduros alongside roasted chicken or pork. They add a unique texture and flavor that complements many different cuisines.

As a Snack

Whether you’re hosting a party or simply looking for a tasty snack, plantain chips and tostones are perfect. Serve them with a variety of dips, such as guacamole, salsa, or a creamy yogurt-based dip. They are sure to be a hit!

As a Dessert

Maduros can easily be turned into a delicious dessert. Serve them with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, a drizzle of honey, or a dash of cinnamon. You can even pair them with chocolate sauce for an extra indulgent treat.

Fun Variations

Once you’ve got the basics down, there are many fun variations to explore. Here are a few ideas:

Sweet Plantain Fritters

Mix mashed ripe plantains with a bit of flour, sugar, and spice. Form them into small patties and fry until golden-brown. These sweet fritters are perfect for breakfast or brunch.

Spicy Plantains

Add a kick to your fried plantains by incorporating spices. Just sprinkle some chili powder or cayenne pepper over the slices before frying. This adds a delightful heat that pairs well with the natural sweetness of the plantains.

Plantain Sandwich

Create a plantain sandwich using tostones as the bread. Fill with shredded chicken, lettuce, tomato, and your favorite sauce. It’s a unique and flavorful twist on a traditional sandwich.

Fried Plantains: A Versatile Side Dish Or Snack

Plantain Recipes from Around the World

Plantains are a staple in many cuisines around the globe. Here are some traditional recipes that showcase the versatility of this amazing fruit:

African Alloco (Ivory Coast)

Alloco is a popular street food in Ivory Coast made from fried ripe plantains. The plantains are sliced and fried until caramelized and are often served with a spicy tomato sauce for dipping.

Cuban Platanos Maduros

In Cuban cuisine, platanos maduros are a beloved side dish. Ripe plantain slices are fried until they reach a deep golden-brown color and are usually served with rice and beans or a robust meat dish.

Jamaican Plantain Fritters

Jamaican plantain fritters are a delightful variation made with mashed ripe plantains mixed with flour, sugar, and a hint of nutmeg. They’re typically fried until crispy and enjoyed as both a snack and a side dish.

Healthier Alternatives

While traditionally fried plantains are delicious, there are healthier ways to prepare them if you’re trying to watch your calorie intake or eat a more balanced diet.

Baked Plantains

Instead of frying, you can bake your plantains. Simply slice the plantains, place them on a baking sheet, brush lightly with oil, and bake at 400°F (200°C) until golden-brown. This method cuts down on added fats.

Air-Fried Plantains

If you own an air fryer, you can make crispy plantains with less oil. Preheat your air fryer, lightly coat the plantain slices with oil, and air-fry at 375°F (190°C) for about 10-12 minutes, flipping halfway through.

Grilled Plantains

Grilling is another delicious and healthier option. Slice the plantains lengthwise, brush with a bit of oil, and grill over medium heat until they have nice grill marks and are tender.

Fried Plantains: A Versatile Side Dish Or Snack

Storing and Reheating Fried Plantains

Sometimes, you might make more plantains than you can eat in one sitting. Luckily, they store and reheat well.


Place any leftover fried plantains in an airtight container and store them in the refrigerator. They should last for up to 3 days.


To reheat, you can:

  • Oven: Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Spread the plantains on a baking sheet in a single layer and bake for 10 minutes, or until heated through.
  • Microwave: This is a quicker option, though the plantains might not be as crispy. Place the plantains on a microwave-safe plate and heat for about 1-2 minutes.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Making fried plantains is generally straightforward, but a few common mistakes can affect the outcome. Here’s what to look out for:

Using Underripe or Overripe Plantains

Ensure you use the right ripeness for your desired dish. Green for tostones, yellow/black for maduros. Using the wrong ripeness can result in an unappetizing texture or flavor.

Crowding the Pan

Frying too many plantains at once can lower the oil’s temperature, leading to soggy rather than crispy plantains. Fry in batches for the best results.

Not Drying Plantains Properly

Wet plantains can cause the oil to splatter and may not fry evenly. Pat the slices dry with a paper towel before frying.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use bananas instead of plantains?

Bananas are much sweeter and have a different texture compared to plantains, making them less suitable for traditional fried plantain recipes. However, they can be used in sweet recipes if desired.

How can I ripen plantains faster?

If you need ripe plantains quickly, place them in a paper bag with an apple or banana. This will speed up the ripening process.

Are plantains keto-friendly?

Due to their high carbohydrate content, plantains are not considered keto-friendly. If you’re following a low-carb diet, you may need to avoid them.


Fried plantains are versatile, delicious, and easy to make. Whether you’re preparing savory tostones, sweet maduros, or crispy plantain chips, they bring a unique flavor to your table. Packed with nutrients, they’re a healthier alternative to many other snacks and side dishes. From traditional recipes to innovative variations, the options are endless. So why not give fried plantains a try and add a tasty twist to your meals?

Happy cooking!