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Crispy, caramelized and easy-t0-make, these Fried Sweet Plantains are the best side dish. Pair them with a savory meal to make the best salty and sweet combination. They’re also delicious served on their own as a no-sugar-added treat.
Fried Sweet Plantains
Sweet Fried Plantains, known as Maduros, are a popular side in Caribbean and Latin American cuisine, and for good reason! They are crispy on the edges, soft and creamy in the middle and perfect served with so many dishes. They add a touch of sweetness to savory dishes that really makes for an amazing meal.
They’re also popular for people on a Whole30 as they are naturally sweet but totally compliant. I like to sprinkle mine with a touch of cinnamon, and they’re just so delicious. And let’s not forget, they’re super simple to make. The hardest part about making this recipe is making sure your plantains are ready to be cooked up!
What are Plantains?
If you’ve not had plantains before, you might be wondering what they are. They are related to bananas, but quite different in many ways. While plantains are a fruit, they must be cooked before being eaten. They are much too starchy to eat as is. They can be found in most typical grocery stores. They look like extra-large bananas! They’re usually sold when they are green in the stores, and can be taken home to ripen.
What Type of Plantains to Buy
This recipe isn’t hard at all, mainly you are just frying up plantains. But what is important is frying up the plantains when they are ready! The plantains must be ripe. So what exactly does that mean? Well, it’s kind of a bit like when bananas are ripened, only more extreme. You want the plantain to be nearly black on the outside. Or, at the very least, you want them to be muddled yellow with black splotches.
Many grocery stores sell them when they’re green, so take them home and place in a brown paper bag to let them fully ripen. Trust me, it’s worth the wait!
There are some recipes that call for green plantains, but this one is definitely for ripened ones that have naturally high levels of sugar, due to its maturity.
How to Cut the Plantains for Frying
One small detail to follow is how exactly to cut the plantain. You want as much surface area as possible when frying, so you should cut it on the diagonal, or the bias. The more surface area you have, the more caramelization can occur, thanks to a large area coming into contact with the hot oil.
How to Fry Plantains
It couldn’t be simpler to fry plantains!
First, start by peeling them. Carefully cut through the skin lengthwise and then open the peel up (instead of peeling the peel down like you would a banana).
Then, slice the plantains on a diagonal into ¼” – 1/2″ pieces.
Make sure to use a heavy-bottomed pan so it conducts the heat nicely, and then heat just enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Once the oil is hot, add the plantains one by one, leaving a little bit of space in between each piece. Fry for 1-2 minutes, or until golden brown, and then flip.
Transfer the fried plantains to a paper towel to drain, and repeat the process with the remaining plantains.
Definitely sprinkle fried plantains with flaky sea salt. I like to sprinkle some cinnamon on them if I’m eating these as a sweet treat, but this step is optional! Skip it if you are serving it up with a dish that wouldn’t go well with cinnamon.
How to Serve Fried Plantains
Fried plantains make such a sweet treat on their own. They are perfect when you are on a Whole30 or if you have other dietary restrictions that limit the amount of added sugar.
Traditionally they’re served up as a side dish for many meals in the Caribbean and Latin American. Serve up the plantains alongside a plate of rice, beans and braised meat!
Recipes to Make with Fried Sweet Plantains
Here are some main dishes that work well when served with Sweet Plantains:
- Beef Barbacoa Recipe (Slow Cooker or Instant Pot)
- Coconut Rice
- How to Make the Best Rice Ever (Stove Top and Instant Pot)
- Pork Carnitas (Instant Pot and Slow Cooker)
- How To Make Easy Shredded Chicken (Slow Cooker or Instant Pot)
- One Pot Turmeric Chicken and Rice
Watch the video here:
Easy Fried Sweet Plantains
- 2 ripe plantains see note
- 2-3 tablespoons oil
- Flaky sea salt
- Ground cinnamon optional
- Peel the plantains, by carefully cutting through the skin lengthwise and then opening the peel up (instead of peeling the peel down like you would a banana).
- Slice the plantains on a diagonal into ¼” pieces.
- Using a heavy-bottomed pan heat just enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the plantains one by one leaving a little bit of space in between each piece. Fry for 2-3 minutes, or until golden brown, and then flip.
- Transfer the fried plantains to a paper towel to drain, and repeat the process with remaining plantains, adding more oil if necessary.
- Sprinkle fried plantains with flaky sea salt and optional cinnamon. Serve immediately.
I am from Jamaica and I actually teach Caribbean Cooking classes and I am a food blogger as well. I have never seen anyone sprinkle salt on ripe plantains but I will definitely try that and see!
Yum!!! These look amazing. I will definitely be trying these in the future!
That’s exactly how I make my plantains! So easy and delicious! I’ve been obsessed with plantains ever since my trip to the Caribbean last year and my determination to figure out how to make them myself once I got home 🙂