How To Properly Cut Plantains For Frying

Photo of author

By Christopher Spiker

You’re about to unlock the secrets to achieving perfectly fried plantains, and it all starts with knowing how to cut them just right. In “How To Properly Cut Plantains For Frying,” you’ll learn the best techniques for preparing these delicious, versatile fruits. From selecting ripe plantains to mastering the slice, this guide will make you a pro in no time. Your future fried plantains will be crispy, golden, and downright irresistible. Get ready to impress your family and friends with your newfound culinary skill! Have you ever wondered how to properly cut plantains for frying to achieve that perfect blend of crisp and softness? If you’ve been struggling with your plantain preparation or just want to learn the best techniques, you’ve come to the right place! Frying plantains can be an art form, but with a few tips and tricks, you’ll be slicing and frying like a pro in no time.

How To Properly Cut Plantains For Frying

What Are Plantains?

Before diving into the cutting techniques, it’s important to understand what plantains are. Unlike their sweeter counterpart, the banana, plantains are starchier and best enjoyed cooked. They are a staple ingredient in many tropical and subtropical regions around the world and feature prominently in Caribbean, West African, and Latin American cuisines.

Types of Plantains

There are three main types of plantains, differentiated by their ripeness:

  1. Green Plantains: These are unripe and starchy, similar to a potato. They require longer cooking times and are best suited for savory dishes.
  2. Yellow Plantains: These are partially ripe and offer a balance of starchy and sweet flavors. They are versatile and can be used in both savory and sweet dishes.
  3. Black Plantains: Fully ripe and sweet with a soft texture. They are perfect for desserts or sweeter dishes.

Knowing the state of ripeness helps you choose the right cutting technique and cooking method.

Tools You’ll Need

To properly cut plantains for frying, you’ll need a few basic tools:

  1. Sharp Knife: Essential for making clean, precise cuts.
  2. Cutting Board: Provides a stable surface for slicing.
  3. Peeler (Optional): To help remove the skin if you find it tough to peel by hand.

Keeping these tools handy will make the process smoother and more efficient.

How to Peel Plantains

Peeling plantains can be tricky due to their thicker skin compared to bananas. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you get it right:

  1. Cut off both ends of the plantain.
  2. Make a slit: Using your knife, make a shallow cut lengthwise along the ridge of the plantain.
  3. Peel back the skin: Use your fingers to pull back and remove the peel. If you encounter resistance, use the knife to help lift it off.

Tips for Easier Peeling

  • If the plantain is too stubborn, you can microwave it for 20-30 seconds to soften the skin.
  • Green plantains are usually tougher to peel, so take your time and be patient.

Different Ways to Cut Plantains

Now that your plantains are peeled, let’s explore the various ways you can cut them for frying. Each method offers a different texture and flavor profile.

Straight Cuts

Straight cuts are the most common and easiest method. They are ideal for producing uniform pieces that cook evenly.

  1. Cut the plantain into halves or thirds for easier handling.
  2. Slice crosswise: Make straight cuts about 1/2 inch thick.

Best for: Chips and straightforward frying. They offer a crisp exterior with a soft interior.

Bias Cuts

Bias cuts, or diagonal cuts, increase the surface area of the plantain, making them crispier when fried.

  1. Slice the plantain diagonally at a 45-degree angle.
  2. Cut into pieces about 1/4 inch thick.

Best for: Tostones or twice-fried plantains. The increased surface area helps achieve extra crispiness.

Round Cuts

Rounds provide a different texture and are perfect for creating plantain chips.

  1. Slice the plantain horizontally into thin, round slices, about 1/8 inch thick.

Best for: Plantain chips. Thinner slices make for a crispier result.

Cube Cuts

Cubing is a less common but effective way to cut plantains for skillet frying.

  1. Cut the plantain in half lengthwise.
  2. Slice each half into strips about 1/2 inch wide.
  3. Cube the strips.

Best for: Stir-fries and hash-like dishes. They provide a mixed texture of crispy edges and soft centers.

How To Properly Cut Plantains For Frying

How to Fry Plantains

After you’ve mastered the art of cutting plantains, it’s time to fry them. Here’s a step-by-step guide based on your chosen cut:

Frying Straight Cuts

  1. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add plantain slices in a single layer, making sure not to overcrowd the pan.
  3. Fry for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown.
  4. Remove and drain on paper towels.

Frying Bias Cuts (Tostones)

  1. Pre-fry slices for 1-2 minutes on each side until slightly golden.
  2. Remove and flatten using a plantain press or the bottom of a cup.
  3. Fry again for 2-3 minutes on each side until crispy.

Frying Round Cuts (Chips)

  1. Heat oil to a higher temperature, about 375°F.
  2. Add plantain rounds in small batches.
  3. Fry for 1-2 minutes until crisp.
  4. Remove and drain.

Frying Cube Cuts

  1. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add plantain cubes in a single layer.
  3. Fry for 2-3 minutes per side until all sides are golden brown.
  4. Remove and drain.

Seasoning Your Plantains

Seasoning can make a big difference in the final outcome. Here are some seasoning suggestions based on the type of plantain:

Green Plantains

  • Salt and Pepper: Simple seasoning to bring out the natural flavors.
  • Garlic Powder: Adds a savory punch.
  • Paprika: Offers a smoky flavor.

Yellow Plantains

  • Cinnamon and Sugar: Sweet and perfect for a dessert side.
  • Salt and Chili Powder: Adds a spicy kick.

Black Plantains

  • Brown Sugar and Butter: Perfect for caramelizing.
  • Coconut Sugar: Offers a unique tropical twist.

Serving Suggestions

Finally, the way you serve fried plantains can elevate your dish. Here are a few pairing ideas:

Savory Dishes

  • Rice and Beans: A classic combination found in many Caribbean and Latin American cuisines.
  • Grilled Meats: Adds a sweet and crispy element to any BBQ.
  • Tacos and Burritos: Adds a unique texture and flavor.

Sweet Dishes

  • Ice Cream: Plantains pair beautifully with vanilla or coconut ice cream.
  • Whipped Cream and Honey: A quick and easy way to make a dessert.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Everyone encounters a few hiccups while learning to fry plantains. Here’s a troubleshooting guide for common problems:

Plantains Are Too Soggy

Solution: Ensure your oil is hot enough before adding the plantains. Overcrowding the pan can also lower the oil’s temperature, so fry in batches.

Plantains Are Too Hard

Solution: You may be using too green plantains. Allow more time for them to cook, or choose riper plantains.

Plantains Aren’t Crispy

Solution: Slice thinner and fry at a higher temperature. Also, remember to fry in a single layer.

Nutritional Information

For those who are health-conscious, here’s a brief overview of the nutritional benefits of plantains per 100 grams:

Type of Plantain Calories Protein Carbs Fiber Sugar
Green 122 1.3g 31g 2.3g 14g
Yellow 116 1.3g 29g 2.3g 15g
Black 150 1.3g 36g 2.6g 18g

Note: Nutritional values can vary based on preparation and cooking methods.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Bake Plantains Instead of Frying?

Yes, you can bake plantains by placing them on a lined baking sheet and baking at 400°F for 20-25 minutes, flipping halfway. This method is healthier and still provides a delicious result.

What Oil Is Best For Frying?

Vegetable oil, canola oil, or peanut oil are excellent choices due to their high smoke points.

How Do I Store Leftover Fried Plantains?

Store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the oven for best results.


Properly cutting and frying plantains can significantly enhance your culinary experience. Whether you prefer them savory or sweet, mastering the different techniques will allow you to enjoy this versatile fruit to its fullest. So grab those plantains and get frying—you’ll be impressing your friends and family with your newfound expertise in no time!

Thanks for joining me in this culinary journey. Happy cooking!