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How to Cook Plantains

How to Cook PlantainsThey are irresistibly sweet and savory- learn how to cook plantains with a few easy steps. Make our West-African-inspired fried plantains marinated in shallots, ginger, lemon juice, and fresh spices; they are deliciously caramelized and crispy on the outside and soft and tender on the inside.

A bowl of fried plantain slices.

Plantains are indigenous to South East Asia, but this tasty fruit made its way along trade routes and is popular in Latin America, Africa, and, the Caribbean. They are a perfect appetizer, side dish, or snack.

PLANTAINS VS. BANANAS – WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?

Plantains may look like bananas, and while they are genetically similar, they have many differences. Bananas are eaten raw or cooked, and plantains are starchy, so they need to be cooked before eating- they can be boiled, baked, sautéed, or fried.

  • Size: Plantains are often larger than bananas.
  • Flavor: Raw or cooked bananas are soft and sweet. On the other hand, plantains are more starchy, and have a hard texture. As plantains cook, they become sweeter as they ripen (the peel will blacken) and once they cook.
  • Exterior: Plantains have a tough peel, and are typically less curved than bananas.

WHAT YOU NEED TO MAKE THIS RECIPE

  • Plantains: When frying, be sure to use ripe plantains.
  • Oil or Ghee: Use neutral oil with a high smoking point or ghee to fry the plantain slices.
  • Marinade: We flavor our plantains using a West African preparation including shallots, fresh ginger, lemon juice and spices like cayenne pepper, nutmeg, salt, pepper and a broken-up Maggie bouillon cube.

SUBSTITUTIONS AND VARIATIONS

Spices vary depending on region and the type of recipe you’re preparing. For instance, making plátanos only requires oil and a little bit of salt. We are sharing a marinade using west-African inspired ingredients, but here are some other flavors that go well with plantains.

  • Butter
  • Brown Sugar
  • Coconut
  • Cardamom
  • Honey
  • Nutmeg
  • Cumin
  • Cinnamon
  • Cloves
  • Sugar
  • Vanilla

PREPARE THE PLANTAINS FOR COOKING

  1. Cut off the ends of the plantain.
  2. Score the plantain from end to end and peel off the outer layer. You may need to slide a pairing knife underneath the skin to peel it away.
  3. Then, slice the plantains diagonally into  ½- inch slices to cook.

HOW TO COOK PLANTAINS

Plantain slices in a bowl with marinade.

Add the plantain slices to a mixing bowl with the ingredients for the marinade. Cover and marinate at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.

Plantain slices frying in a pan.

Warm oil or ghee in a cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add plantains in a single layer (you will have to do multiple batches), but do not overcrowd the pan. Fry the slices for 2-3 minutes per side.

Use a slotted spoon to remove them from the oil and set them on a towel or wire rack to drain. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.

Serve the plantains while they’re still hot as a side dish or as a snack with dipping sauce.

COOKING TIPS

  • Choose Ripe Fruit: Once they’re mostly black, plantains get much sweeter; they will caramelize and become crispy on the outside as they fry.
  • Prepare the Plantains: Slice them at an angle to get a perfect, even sear.
  • Select the Right Pan: Fry plantains in stainless steel or non-stick skillet to avoid the ingredients sticking to the bottom.
  • Adjust the Heat: Fry plantains over medium heat, but lower the temperature if they brown too quickly.

ARE YOU WANTING TO COOK PLANTAINS?

Pair this sweet treat with one of these recipes from the Jamil Ghar!

A bowl of fried plantain slices.

SERVING SUGGESTIONS

WHAT TO DO WITH THE LEFTOVERS 

  • FRIDGE – Store uncooked plantains at room temperature out of direct sunlight for 3 weeks. Leftovers should be kept in an air-tight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.
  • REHEAT – Warm plantains in the microwave (30-60 seconds), oven, or air fryer, but they are best enjoyed right away.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

How do I know if a plantain is ripe?

Ripe plantains are best for frying; they are black with bits of yellow, and they should be firm to the touch and not mush. Ripe plantains can be hard to find in major grocery stores, but you can easily ripen them at home. If you have the time, leave them to sit at room temperature for one to two weeks, or speed up the process by placing them in a brown paper bag; they will ripen in about 4-5 days using this method.

Green or yellow plantains can be cooked, and they make amazing plantain chips.

Can I bake the plantains in the oven?

1. Preheat the oven to 450° F | 232° C. Then line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Line the plantains onto it and bake for 10 minutes. Flip and bake for another 10 minutes.

YOU SHOULD ALSO TRY:

A bowl of fried plantain slices.

How to Cook Plantains

Tressa Jamil
Learn how to cook plantains, and make our West-African-inspired fried plantains marinated in shallots, ginger, lemon juice, and fresh spices; they are deliciously caramelized on the outside and soft and tender on the inside.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Course Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine African, Caribbean, Latin American, Puerto Rican
Servings 6 Servings

Ingredients
  

  • 2-3 plantains, cut diagonally into ½- inch slices
  • ¼ cup oil or ghee

For the Marinade:

  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • ½ shallot, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, minced
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg, ground
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 Maggie bouillon cube

Instructions
 

  • Add the plantain slices to a mixing bowl with the ingredients for the marinade. Cover and marinate at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.
  • Warm oil or ghee in a cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add plantains in a single layer (you will have to do multiple batches), but do not overcrowd the pan. Fry the slices for 2-3 minutes per side.
  • Use a slotted spoon to remove them from the oil and set them on a towel or wire rack to drain. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.
  • Serve the plantains while they're still hot as a side dish or as a snack with dipping sauce.

Notes

Cooking Tips: 
  • Choose Ripe Fruit: Once they’re mostly black, plantains get much sweeter; they will caramelize and become crispy on the outside as they fry.
  • Prepare the Plantains: Slice them at an angle to get a perfect, even sear.
  • Select the Right Pan: Fry plantains in stainless steel or non-stick skillet to avoid the ingredients sticking to the bottom.
  • Adjust the Heat: Fry plantains over medium heat, but lower the temperature if they brown too quickly.
 
Nutrition Disclosure:
  • The nutritional information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for professional advice.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5 Cup
Keyword how to cook plaintains
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