Plantains are a versatile fruit that can be eaten many ways. Plantains are the starchier cousins to bananas. When plantains are unripe and green they can be boiled, baked and fried into savory starchy dishes. They ripen as their skin turns yellow with black spotting and become sweeter and softer. If they are ripe enough you can even eat them raw like bananas.
You can fry plantains when they are green or ripe. You may have heard of or had tostones, which are a popular treat made by twice frying green unripe plantains. After the first fry they are smushed flat and fried again. Very tasty.
This recipe is how we most often eat plantains at home… pan fried sweet plantains. I personally like to use plantains that are yellow but not too ripe yet. They are still firm but give a little and don’t have many black spots yet. You can use half-ripe or fully ripe plantains for this recipe though. My husband and son like when they are very ripe and sweet.
Fried sweet plantains aren’t crispy but get super caramelized from the natural sugars. If you use halfway ripe plantains they will crisp up a little. This is how I love them best. The ones I shot for this post were more on the riper side and stayed soft after they fried. You can see how caramelized they got in the photos.
I like to eat them with just a sprinkle of flaky sea salt, but for a sweet treat you can drizzle maple syrup or honey over them. They are a great gluten free alternative to pancakes at breakfast or served as a starchy side with dinner.
Tips for success
- A cast iron skillet is the best for pan-frying anything really. A well seasoned cast iron skillet has a naturally non-stick surface and a heavy bottom that heats up evenly and retains heat well.
- To peel a ripe plantain, score the skin from end to end with a paring or utility knife. The peel should come away easily and there’s no need to trim the ends.
- Use a neutral oil that doesn’t smoke like extra-light olive oil, avocado oil, grape-seed oil, canola oil, etc.
- Place a cooling rack over a sheet pan to cool plantains on so air can circulate around them and they won’t get soggy.
These Fried Sweet Plantains are