The Secret To Crispy Fried Plantains

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By Christopher Spiker

You’re about to uncover the insider tips and tricks to making perfectly crispy fried plantains that will have everyone coming back for more. Whether you’re a seasoned cook or a kitchen novice, mastering the art of frying these delicious golden slices is within your reach. From selecting the right ripeness to refining your frying technique, this guide will walk you through each step, ensuring your plantains are always crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. Get ready to elevate your culinary skills with this mouthwatering delight! Have you ever wondered what truly makes fried plantains crispy on the outside but tender on the inside? You’re not alone! Many people seek this coveted balance, but often find themselves with disappointing results. You’re in luck because today, we’re diving into the ultimate secrets of creating perfect, crisp fried plantains every single time.

The Secret To Crispy Fried Plantains

What Are Plantains?

Before we dive into the crispy details, let’s go over what plantains actually are. Plantains are a starchy, banana-like fruit commonly used in Latin American, Caribbean, and African cuisine. Unlike bananas, they are typically cooked before consumption, offering a versatile range of culinary uses.

Plantains come in different stages of ripeness—green, yellow, and black. Each stage offers a different flavor and texture profile.

Green Plantains

Green plantains are firm, starchy, and slightly savory. They are perfect for making chips or tostones (twice-fried plantains), which are typically crispy.

Yellow Plantains

Yellow plantains are slightly sweet and less starchy than green plantains. They are softer and can caramelize when fried, adding a touch of sweetness to your dish.

Black Plantains

Black plantains are fully ripened and very sweet. They are much softer and are often used in desserts or sweet fried dishes.

Why Crispy?

Fried plantains can be made in a variety of ways, but achieving the ideal crispy texture can elevate your cooking to new levels. The crispy outer layer creates a delectable contrast to the soft and tender insides, offering a multi-sensory eating experience that appeals to everyone.

Secret Tips to Achieve Crispy Fried Plantains

Let’s break down the essential secrets to cooking crispy fried plantains. Each step matters and contributes to the final delicious outcome.

1. Choosing the Right Plantains

The first secret is selecting the appropriate plantains based on the type of dish you want to prepare. For crispiest results, you’ll usually want green or slightly yellow plantains.

Plantain Type Best For Crispiness Level
Green Chips, tostones High
Yellow Sweet and caramelized edges Medium-High
Black Sweet and tender desserts Low

2. Proper Slicing Techniques

How you slice your plantains significantly impacts the final texture. Thinner slices tend to be crispier, while thicker slices offer a more balanced texture.

Thin Slices

Thin slices (about 1/8 inch) result in the crispiest texture. They cook faster and achieve a light, chip-like quality.

Thick Slices

Thick slices (about 1/4 inch) not only become crispy on the edges but also maintain a soft interior. This is ideal if you’re aiming for tostones or maduro (sweet fried plantains).

3. Pre-Treating the Plantains

A crucial step in achieving the perfect crispiness is pre-treating the plantains. This involves soaking them in saltwater or lime water.

Saltwater Soak

Saltwater draws out excess starch from the plantains, which is key to achieving that much-desired crispiness.

Lime Water Soak

Soaking the plantains in lime water adds a slight tang while also helping to break down some of the starches to make them easier to fry to a crispy perfection.

4. The Right Oil

The type of oil you use plays a significant role in the final texture of the plantains.

Oil Type Smoke Point Best For
Vegetable Oil 400°F General frying
Canola Oil 400°F Neutral flavor, multi-purpose
Coconut Oil 350°F Adds a slight coconut flavor
Peanut Oil 450°F High-heat frying

It’s essential to select an oil with a high smoke point to ensure your plantains fry evenly and don’t absorb too much oil.

5. Maintaining the Perfect Oil Temperature

Consistency is key, and maintaining the right oil temperature ensures every piece cooks uniformly.

Temperature Range

The ideal frying temperature for plantains is between 325°F and 375°F. Use a kitchen thermometer to monitor the oil’s temperature accurately.

Temperature Impact

  • Lower than 325°F: Your plantains may absorb too much oil and become soggy.
  • Higher than 375°F: You risk burning the plantains before they become adequately crispy.

6. Don’t Overcrowd the Pan

When frying plantains, overcrowding is a common mistake. Overcrowding reduces the oil temperature, which can lead to uneven cooking.

Batch Frying

Fry the plantains in small batches. This allows each piece to have sufficient space and helps maintain the oil’s temperature.

Constant Stirring

Stirring periodically ensures even cooking but be gentle to avoid breaking the plantains.

7. Draining Is Essential

After frying, draining excess oil is crucial for achieving crispiness.

Using Paper Towels

Placing the fried plantains on a paper towel-lined plate helps absorb excess oil.

Wire Rack Method

Alternatively, using a wire rack allows oil to drip away from the plantains, keeping them crispy and less greasy.

8. Seasoning

Post-frying seasoning is another secret weapon in your crispy plantain arsenal. Lightly sprinkle sea salt or your seasoning of choice immediately after frying. This ensures the seasoning sticks to the hot oil and enhances the flavor.

9. Reheating

If you need to reheat your crispy plantains, do so in an oven or an air fryer. Microwaving can cause them to become soggy.

Oven Reheating

Place the plantains on a baking sheet and bake at 350°F for about 5-10 minutes to retain their crispy texture.

Air Fryer Reheating

In an air fryer, reheat the plantains at 350°F for about 3-5 minutes.

Experimenting with Recipes

While the basic techniques remain the same, you can experiment with different recipes and seasonings to keep things interesting.

Tostones (Twice-Fried Plantains)


  • 2 green plantains
  • 1 cup vegetable oil (for frying)
  • Salt (to taste)


  1. Peel and cut the plantains into 1-inch slices.
  2. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat.
  3. Fry the plantain slices for about 2-3 minutes on each side until they are golden brown.
  4. Remove the plantains and drain on paper towels.
  5. Using a flat-bottomed object, flatten each plantain slice.
  6. Return the flattened plantains to the skillet and fry again until crisp, about 2 minutes per side.
  7. Drain on paper towels and season with salt.

Sweet Fried Plantains


  • 2 ripe (yellow to black) plantains
  • 1 cup coconut oil (for frying)
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon


  1. Peel and slice the plantains diagonally into 1/4-inch slices.
  2. In a skillet, heat the coconut oil over medium heat.
  3. Fry the plantains in batches until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes on each side.
  4. Drain on paper towels.
  5. In a small bowl, mix the brown sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle the mixture over the hot plantains.

Plantain Chips


  • 2 green plantains
  • 1 cup peanut oil (for frying)
  • Sea salt (to taste)


  1. Peel and thinly slice the plantains into 1/8-inch pieces.
  2. In a large skillet, heat the peanut oil over medium-high heat.
  3. Fry the plantain slices in batches until they are golden and crispy, about 2 minutes per side.
  4. Remove and drain on paper towels.
  5. Season immediately with sea salt.

Spicy Fried Plantains


  • 2 semi-ripe (yellow) plantains
  • 1 cup canola oil (for frying)
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder


  1. Peel and slice the plantains into 1/4-inch pieces.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix the cayenne pepper, paprika, and garlic powder.
  3. Toss the plantain slices in the spice mixture.
  4. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat.
  5. Fry the spiced plantains in batches until they are golden and crispy, about 3 minutes on each side.
  6. Drain on paper towels.

The Secret To Crispy Fried Plantains

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, things might not go as planned. Here’s how to troubleshoot some common issues.

Soggy Plantains

Cause: The oil temperature was too low or the plantains were too thick. Solution: Make sure the oil is between 325°F and 375°F and cut the plantains thinner.

Burnt Plantains

Cause: The oil temperature was too high or the plantains were left in the oil for too long. Solution: Reduce the frying temperature and monitor the plantains closely while frying.

Uneven Cooking

Cause: Overcrowded pan or infrequent stirring. Solution: Fry in smaller batches and stir the plantains gently but consistently.

Storing and Using Leftovers

If you have leftovers, store them properly to maintain their crispiness.

Storing Cooked Plantains

Keep the plantains in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Repurposing Leftovers

Leftover plantains can be chopped and added to salads, used as a topping for pizza, or even incorporated into a breakfast hash.

The Secret To Crispy Fried Plantains


And there you have it—the complete guide to making the perfect crispy fried plantains! Now that you know the secrets, you’re well-equipped to achieve that delightful crunch every time. Remember, the key lies in the details—proper selection, slicing, soaking, frying, and seasoning all come together to create a mouth-watering result. Happy frying!