15 Sweet and Savory Plantain Recipes

overhead view of a plate of Puerto Rican Tostones (Fried Plantains) garnished with fresh parsley leaves
Photo: Melissa Goff

You might mistake plantains for large, green bananas, but although they're related, they are two different plants used in very different ways in the kitchen: Plantains are served cooked, while bananas can be served raw or cooked. Native to Southeast Asia, plantains are a staple in surrounding areas as well as in Central and South America, the Caribbean, and spanning from East to West Africa. They can be prepared either sweet or savory, depending on the growth stage of the fruit used. Ripe plantains are sweeter and softer, and tend to form a caramelized exterior when cooked. Meanwhile, unripe plantains are utilized in more savory dishes, such as mofongo or tostones. Plantains are commonly eaten as a fried side dish, but they're also popular in soups, stews, and baked dishes. Try out these sweet and savory plantain recipes and taste the best of what plantains have to offer.

01 of 16

Fried Plantains

Fried Plantains
Photo by LatinaCook.

All you need to make these plantanitos fritos is ripe plantains, oil, and a heated skillet — but this easy dish tastes anything but simple. Cooking plantains softens up their starchy texture, imparting a bold sweetness.

02 of 16

Picadillo de Platano

Victor Matas

This traditional Costa Rican-style picadillo made with plantains is so easy to prepare and is brimming with all kinds of savory notes. Several community members suggest replacing the Worcestershire with Salsa Lizano, a Costa Rican condiment, for a more authentic (and delicious) flavor.

03 of 16

Plantain Egg Rolls (Turon)

Wanda Oehrli

This simple, yet irresistible Filipino dessert only requires a handful of ingredients and highlights the sharp textural contrast between cooked sweet plantains and spring roll wrappers. They're also simple to prepare ahead of time and can even be fried without defrosting.

04 of 16

Panamanian Sancocho

Javier Ho

Plantains get simmered with chicken, onion, cilantro, and garlic to make this satifying soup. "I grew up in the Canal Zone and sancocho is a must for large family meals. Sancocho is a Latin chicken soup with cilantro and yuca (or cassava)," says recipe contributor IheartCilantro. "This is the one my nanny used to make us."

05 of 16

Sauteed Sweet Plantains (Tajaditas Dulces de Platano)


This sweet side dish makes an excellent companion for ultra-savory mains or meats. Use the ripest plantains you can find for this recipe — we're talking completely black and mushy.

06 of 16

Jamaican Plantain Tarts


"OH MY GOSH!!!! I have been looking for a plantain tart recipe for a minute!!! MY husband loves loves loves platain tarts. Now that we live in Nevada it is very hard to find West Indian restaurants," says community member Wendy Elder. "Anyway tried the recipe and presented to my dh. He asked me what restaurant I bought them from...need I say more?"

07 of 16

Plantain Chips

Fried plantain chips served with an herbed dipping sauce
Latina Cook

You only need green plantains, vegetable oil, and salt to make this simple, yet satisfying snack. The thinner you cut your plantains, the crispier your chips will turn out. Latina Cook offers these tips: "Awesome! Do NOT let them get brown. Golden and crunchy is perfect. Once they start changing color, the flavor changes as well and they aren't as good." She likes to serve them with cilantro chimichurri (as shown in the photo) which she makes by blending cilantro leaves, olive oil, garlic, onion, salt, and pepper.

08 of 16

Patacones de Colombia (Fried Plantains)


How do you make fried plantains even better? Just smash them and fry them again. This simple technique allows for an ultra-crunchy outside and a nice squishy inside. Sprinkle some sea salt or Maldon salt on top for a fancy touch.

09 of 16



Mofongo is a Puerto Rican side dish made with mashed green plantains, garlic, olive oil, and pork rinds or bacon that works well as a side dish with various meats. You'll need a good wooden mortar and pestle to make this, but you can also bypass the labor and use a food processor instead.

10 of 16

Rellenitos de Platano


"I am Guatemalan born in the US and I've always had these," says community member Carlos. "This is as close as you're going to get to the ones in El mercado central! couple of suggestions: Boil the plantains with a stick of cinnamon and use very ripened plantains. Greasy black peel almost moldy works best. It's easier to work with and is way sweeter."

11 of 16

Nigerian Jollof Rice with Chicken and Fried Plantains


Jollof, a traditional Nigerian dish, might just be the most flavorful rice you've ever eaten. The array of seasonings including herbes de Provence, cayenne pepper, and ginger root brings out the best in the chicken, while the fried sweet plantains add some contrast in both texture and taste. Be prepared for mouth-watering flavor and a tantalizing aroma.

12 of 16

Fried Salvadorian Sweet Plantains


This recipe gives sweet plantains a little extra flavor with cinnamon and vanilla. Try topping them powdered sugar or drizzles honey and dipping them in peanut butter.

13 of 16

Puerto Rican Shepherd Pie (Pastelon)

cheesy casserole in baking dish

This comforting dish takes sweet plantains, veggies, ground beef, and lots of spices and herbs and balances all the different flavors. It's got the same layered structure as a lasagna, so be sure to chop the plantains lengthwise.

14 of 16



This is not your average sandwich. For starters, instead of bread, this recipe utilizes fried green plantains for a welcome spin on taste and texture. This method works with all kinds of meats, so fee free to get creative and try out different combinations.

15 of 16

Puerto Rican Tostones (Fried Plantains)

overhead view of a plate of Puerto Rican Tostones (Fried Plantains) garnished with fresh parsley leaves
Melissa Goff

Puerto Rican-style tostones are fried, smushed down, and fried again for a doubly crisp exterior. This method works for both ripe and green plantains.

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