Healthy Alternatives To Traditional Fried Plantains

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By Christopher Spiker

In exploring “Healthy Alternatives to Traditional Fried Plantains,” you’ll discover a delightful array of nutritious and delicious options that let you enjoy the rich flavors of this beloved dish without the guilt. From baking and grilling to air frying, there are several creative methods to transform plantains into mouthwatering treats. As you read, you’ll learn how to maintain the delightful taste and texture you love while embracing healthier cooking techniques. So, get ready to reinvent your favorite plantain recipes in a way that’s both tempting and nutritious! Have you ever wondered how you can enjoy the deliciousness of plantains without the guilt that comes from traditional frying methods? Many of us love the crispy, golden-brown goodness of fried plantains, but we could do without the excess oil and calories. The good news is, there are plenty of healthy alternatives that still pack a punch in flavor. In this article, we’ll explore some of these mouthwatering options, offering you healthier ways to indulge without compromise.

Why Consider Healthy Alternatives?

Before diving into the alternatives, it’s essential to understand why you might want to change your approach to preparing plantains. Traditional fried plantains are often cooked in large amounts of oil and can be laden with trans fats and extra calories. These factors can contribute to weight gain, high cholesterol, and other health issues.

Nutritional Benefits of Plantains

Plantains are rich in vitamins A, C, and B6, and they boast a significant amount of fiber, potassium, and magnesium. However, the method of preparation can either enhance or diminish these benefits. By choosing healthier cooking methods, you keep more of the nutrients intact, making plantains a wholesome part of your diet.

The Downsides of Traditional Frying

Frying plantains typically involve submerging them in oil, which leads to:

  • High-Calorie Intake: Deep frying can significantly increase the calorie content of plantains.
  • Unhealthy Fats: Most oils used in frying add unhealthy fats to your diet.
  • Nutrient Loss: High heat can degrade some of the beneficial nutrients in plantains.

Healthy Alternatives To Traditional Fried Plantains

Healthy Alternatives to Traditional Fried Plantains

Let’s move on to exploring some healthier ways to prepare plantains. These alternatives allow you to enjoy the rich flavors and textures you love without sacrificing your health.


Baking is an excellent way to enjoy plantains as it requires minimal oil and retains most of their nutritional value. Here’s how you can prepare baked plantains:

  1. Preheat Oven: Set your oven to 400°F (200°C).
  2. Prepare Plantains: Peel and slice the plantains into rounds or diagonal pieces.
  3. Season: Lightly brush the slices with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt or your favorite spices.
  4. Bake: Arrange the slices on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for about 15-20 minutes, turning halfway through to ensure even cooking.

You’ll end up with deliciously sweet and savory plantains that are crisp on the outside and tender inside.

Air Frying

Air frying has become a popular choice for those looking to cut back on oil without sacrificing the taste and texture of fried foods.

  1. Preheat Air Fryer: Set your air fryer to 375°F (190°C).
  2. Prepare Plantains: Peel and cut the plantains into the desired shape.
  3. Season: Lightly coat the plantain pieces with olive oil and season as you like.
  4. Air Fry: Place the plantains in the air fryer basket in a single layer. Cook for about 10-15 minutes, shaking the basket halfway through to ensure even cooking.

Air-fried plantains come out wonderfully crispy with significantly less oil.


Grilling plantains is another tasty and healthful alternative. The natural sugars in plantains caramelize beautifully when grilled, adding a unique flavor.

  1. Preheat Grill: Set your grill to medium-high heat.
  2. Prepare Plantains: Peel the plantains and cut them lengthwise into halves or quarters.
  3. Season: Lightly brush with olive oil and sprinkle with a bit of salt.
  4. Grill: Place the plantains on the grill, cooking for about 3-4 minutes per side until they are nicely charred and cooked through.

Grilled plantains are perfect for a summer barbecue, adding a touch of sweetness to your grill menu.

Boiling and Steaming

Boiling and steaming are perhaps the simplest methods and require no added oil, keeping the plantains as natural as possible.


  1. Prepare Water: Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.
  2. Prepare Plantains: Peel and cut the plantains into chunks.
  3. Boil: Add the plantains to the pot and cook for about 15-20 minutes or until they are soft.


  1. Prepare Steamer: Set up your steamer pot.
  2. Prepare Plantains: Peel and cut the plantains.
  3. Steam: Place them in the steamer basket, cover, and steam for about 15-20 minutes.

Both boiling and steaming result in soft, flavorful plantains that can be used in a variety of dishes, from side dishes to desserts.


While it might not be the first method that comes to mind, microwaving plantains can be quick and convenient, especially when you’re short on time.

  1. Prepare Plantains: Peel and slice the plantains.
  2. Arrange: Place slices on a microwave-safe plate, making sure they’re in a single layer.
  3. Microwave: Cook on high for about 2-3 minutes, checking and stirring halfway through.

Microwaved plantains are not as crispy but still flavorful and soft, suitable for quick snacks or adding into recipes.

Healthy Alternatives To Traditional Fried Plantains

Creative Recipes Using Healthy Plantain Alternatives

Let’s move on to some creative recipes to showcase how easy it is to incorporate these healthier options into your meal plan. Each method brings its unique qualities to the table, allowing you to enjoy plantains in various forms.

Sweet Baked Plantain Chips

These plantain chips make a perfect snack for any time of the day, and they store well for later use.


  • 2 ripe plantains
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Sea salt or cinnamon (optional)


  1. Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C).
  2. Peel and thinly slice the plantains into rounds or diagonal slices.
  3. Toss the slices with olive oil and a pinch of sea salt or cinnamon.
  4. Arrange slices on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes, flipping halfway through until they are crispy.

Air-Fried Plantain Tostones

Tostones are traditionally fried twice, but you can achieve similar results using an air fryer.


  • 2 green plantains
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • Lime wedges (optional)


  1. Preheat your air fryer to 375°F (190°C).
  2. Peel and slice the plantains into 1-inch thick pieces.
  3. Air fry the pieces for 3 minutes, then remove and flatten each piece with a spoon or bottom of a cup.
  4. Lightly brush each piece with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt.
  5. Return the flattened pieces to the air fryer and cook for an additional 5-7 minutes until crispy.
  6. Serve with lime wedges if desired.

Grilled Plantain Kabobs

Add some excitement to your grilling with these colorful and flavorful kabobs.


  • 2 ripe plantains
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 yellow bell pepper
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat your grill to medium-high heat.
  2. Cut the plantains into thick chunks. Dice the bell peppers and onion into similar-sized pieces.
  3. Thread the plantains, peppers, and onion onto skewers.
  4. Lightly brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Grill the skewers for 3-4 minutes per side, or until the plantains have nice grill marks and are cooked.

Steamed Plantain Pudding

A soft and comforting dessert that’s naturally sweetened by plantains.


  • 3 ripe plantains
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Steam the plantains until soft.
  2. Mash the steamed plantains in a bowl until smooth.
  3. In a saucepan, combine the mashed plantains, coconut milk, honey, cinnamon, and vanilla. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently until thickened.
  4. Pour the mixture into small serving bowls and let cool. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

Quick Microwave Plantain Oatmeal Bowls

A nutritious and quick breakfast option that combines plantains and oatmeal.


  • 1 ripe plantain
  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup almond milk (or milk of choice)
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter
  • 1 teaspoon chia seeds
  • Honey or maple syrup (optional)


  1. Peel and slice the plantain; place in a microwave-safe bowl.
  2. Microwave on high for 2 minutes until the plantain is soft.
  3. Mash the plantain with a fork.
  4. Add rolled oats, almond milk, and chia seeds to the bowl. Microwave for an additional 1-2 minutes until the oats are cooked.
  5. Stir in almond butter and sweeten with honey or maple syrup if desired.

Healthy Alternatives To Traditional Fried Plantains

Tips for Selecting the Best Plantains

Choosing the right plantains is crucial for each cooking method. Here are some tips to help you pick the perfect ones:

  1. For Baking, Grilling, and Air Frying: Choose ripe plantains with a yellow peel and some black spots. They are sweeter and better for these cooking methods.
  2. For Tostones and Other Fried Varieties: Opt for green plantains that are firm and starchy.
  3. For Boiling and Steaming: Either ripe or slightly yellow plantains work, depending on the desired sweetness.

Healthy Alternatives To Traditional Fried Plantains


Discovering healthier alternatives to traditional fried plantains doesn’t mean you have to give up on flavor or texture. Whether you choose to bake, air fry, grill, boil, steam, or even microwave them, plantains remain a versatile and delicious ingredient in your kitchen.

By adopting these methods, you not only improve your diet but also get to enjoy plantains in a variety of new and exciting ways. Give these alternatives a try, and you’ll likely find that healthy eating can be just as satisfying, if not more so, than conventional methods. So, go ahead and get creative with your plantains while embracing a healthier lifestyle!

Healthy Alternatives To Traditional Fried Plantains