Fried Sweet Plantains make the perfect side dish for African and Latin meals or a fantastic snack all by itself. Crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, and sooo good with rice and beans, stews, or a replacement for tostadas!
This recipe, if you can even call it a recipe, is so SIMPLE you could make it with your eyes closed. It doesn’t require any additional ingredients or complicated cooking methods. Making them is straightforward, yet these sweet fried plantains always hit the spot!
I grew up enjoying anything with plantains. From plantain pancakes and bread or cake to plantain chips – they will always hold a special place in my heart. Plantains are a staple from West and East Africa all the way to Latin America and the Caribbean. Finding and making international comfort food is my passion, but fried plantains are the easiest.
Plantains vs. Bananas
Plantains and bananas belong to the same family. However, there are some differences. For example, plantains contain more starch and less sugar than bananas.
Green bananas and plantains have a mild flavor, making them useful as starchy vegetables in savory recipes. However, plantains (also called cooking bananas) are used as a vegetable more often than bananas.
Note: Please don’t eat them raw when they’re green.
Bananas are traditionally eaten raw after ripening and are sweeter than plantains. They have thinner skins, and you know they’re ripe when they turn a beautiful yellow.
Plantains have thicker skin and last longer. And a black plantain is not spoiled. While a black banana isn’t appetizing, a black plantain is perfectly ripe. Plantains also have more vitamins C, A, and potassium than bananas.
The ingredient list is incredibly short. What more do you need than good plantains? A little oil and salt.
- Plantains – The versatile cooking banana doubles as a vegetable or fruit. If it’s green, it’s similar to a potato. To speed up the ripening process, put them in a brown paper bag to trap the ethene gas. A little salt when they’re ready is the perfect flavor enhancer.
- Vegetable Oil – A neutral-flavored oil that can handle high heat works best. Peanut, grapeseed, and canola oil are more economical than avocado oil.
How to Fry Sweet Plantains
There’s no reason to get overwhelmed. Simplicity is the best, and these easy, fried will always be the best way to enjoy plantains. Perfect as a side to your favorite savory dish or as a snack. Enjoy!
- Slit – Cut off both ends of the plantain with a sharp knife to make it easy to grab the skin. Cut a shallow slit down the long seam of the plantain. (Photo 1)
- Cut Diagonally – Cut plantains in diagonal pieces or medium-sized slices and set them aside. (Photo 2 -3) Or you can cut them smaller. (Photo 4)
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Test if the oil is ready by carefully frying a slice of plantain. Oil should bubble on contact; if it doesn’t, wait a minute or two before proceeding. Or if the oil is too hot, remove it from the heat and wait about 2 minutes before proceeding.
- Fry in batches until plantains have reached the desired color (golden brown), turning once. Fry for 2-3 minutes per side. Then continue cooking, turning plantains occasionally until soft and deep golden brown, 5-7 minutes. (Photos 5-7)
- Transfer – Carefully remove fried sweet plantains with a slotted spoon and transfer them to a paper-towel-lined plate or tray.
- Season with salt (and cinnamon sugar if desired), and enjoy a bite! Serve hot.
See! Wasn’t that easy?
Make Ahead and Storage Instructions
These guys are one of the few dishes that are best fresh. You could partially fry, flash-freeze, and then store them in a freezer ziplock bag for a couple of months. Then, you could fry, air-fry, or bake them straight from the freezer. Spritz them with some cooking oil first.
That all depends on what you’re using them for. Green plantains are a perfect substitute for potatoes and make great fried plantain chips or tostones. As plantains ripen, they become sweeter, and the peel turns black.
But don’t let that scare you because it’s perfectly ripe as long as it’s still firm or slightly soft. It will be a little messier to peel and harder to fry if it gets too soft.
That is a personal decision. Green plantains can be a little dry, and sometimes soaking green plantains help them keep their moisture.
If making tostones, soaking plantains before the second frying gives them a nice crunchy outside and moist tender inside. Soak them in water with a little salt. Please be careful because water and oil can be volatile. Dry off the plantains with a paper towel before returning them to the hot oil.
Room Temperature – They store well at room temperature but continue to ripen. Green plantains are a great vegetable, while ripe plantains make a delicious dessert.
The Fridge – This is the least desirable place to store plantains or bananas, but if you must, you must. They will last up to a week.
Freezer – Remove the ends and peel the plantain. Then, you can freeze them whole or cut them up. Use them straight from the freezer or soon after that.
What Goes Well With Fried Sweet Plantains
Pork also goes well with plantains. Arroz con gandules and pulled pork are sublime with them. Fish is excellent, too. Try them with this Caribbean grilled whole red snapper and enjoy a taste of heaven!
More Delicious Ways to Enjoy Plantains
But to show you how versatile a plantain is, let me run down some of my favorite plantain recipes. (You’re welcome! 😉)
- Stuffed Baked Plantains – This is my favorite plantain recipe. These are delicious roasted plantains filled with well-seasoned ground meat, tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, and spices, then topped with cheese.
- Plantain Chips – Crunchy and addictive fried (or baked) plantain chips paired with sweet and tangy mango avocado salsa make a wonderful late-night snack or appetizer!
- Kelewele or Aloco – A mouthwatering African spicy fried plantain recipe with cayenne pepper, ginger, lemon, nutmeg, garlic, and bouillon. The soft, spicy, and sweet snack pairs well with crunchy peanuts or any protein.
- Plantain Frittata – Baked plantain frittata, aka plantain and eggs, is a healthy and delicious take on fried plantains and eggs.
- Grilled Plantains – Take this tasty fruit to your next cookout and serve with syrup. Yum!
Watch How to Make It
[adthrive-in-post-video-player video-id=”f3p3VzOu” upload-date=”2019-05-07T05:46:45.000Z” name=”Fried Plantains” description=”Fried Plantains – sweet ripe plantains, sliced and fried to perfection. It’s somewhat crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. Sooo good that you can eat it as a side dish to rice & beans, stews or on its own! Amazingly delicious!”]
This blog post was originally published in August 2018 and has been updated with additional tips, new photos, and a video.
Fried Sweet Plantains
- 2-3 rip plantains
- vegetable oil as needed
- salt to taste
- Using a sharp knife, cut both ends off the plantains. That makes it easier to grab the skin of the plantains. Slit a shallow line down the long seam of the plantain.
- Cut plantains in diagonal pieces or medium-sized slices and set them aside. You can make them smaller by cutting the pieces in half.
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Test if the oil is ready by carefully placing a slice of plantain in it. The oil will bubble on contact if it's hot enough. If it doesn't, wait another minute or two. If the oil is too hot, remove from heat and wait for about 2 minutes before proceeding.
- Fry in batches until the plantain slices reach the desired color (golden brown), turning once, 2-3 minutes per side. Continue cooking, turning plantains occasionally until soft and deep golden brown, 5-7 minutes.
- Carefully remove plantains with a slotted spoon and transfer them to a paper-towel-lined plate or tray. Season with salt or cinnamon sugar, if desired. Serve hot.
Tips & Notes:
- Bring them to room temperature – If you store them in the fridge, take them out and let them come to room temperature. Or, you could soak them in warm water for a few minutes to soften the peels.
- Cut off both ends to make peeling easier.
- Do you need it whole? Take a knife and slice the plantain skin deep its entire length. Not the flesh, just the peel!
- You don’t need it whole? Cut the plantain in half crosswise, then slice the peel with the grain. Make sure you don’t cut the flesh of the plantain, just the peel!
- Remove the peel – Take your knife and carefully separate the peel from the flesh. If the plantain is almost ripe, this will be easier. You may be able to separate the peel from the flesh with your fingers. If it’s still green, you’ll need to cut the peel off carefully.
- If you prefer to use a deep-fryer, by all means, do so!
- Please keep in mind that nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary greatly based on the products used.