These Pan Fried Plantains (Sweet Plantains) are a staple Puerto Rican side dish recipe. They’re perfectly sweet, caramelized along the outside and deliciously warm on the inside!
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The Most Delicious Sweet Fried Plantains Recipe
Growing up in Texas, I had never heard of a plantain — much less eaten one. Then, when I moved to Florida, they were everywhere. I didn’t think they looked appetizing so I stayed away from them. A couple of years later, I married Jorge and became best friends with Christina, both of whom are Puerto Rican.
Plantains are to Puerto Ricans like pie is to Americans. Could you imagine what would happen if someone said they wouldn’t try pie?! We would shove pie at them until they finally caved and tried the amazingness that is pie. And that’s exactly what Jorge and Christina did with plantains! I eventually gave in and tried one.
Much to my surprise, I absolutely loved it! The first one I ever had was pan fried. After that, there was no going back. I now love Maduros (sweet fried plantains), Tostones (smashed, fried, green plantains), Mofongo (mashed plantains — like mashed potatoes), plantain chips (like potato chips) and even plantain crusted fish.
There are so many ways to serve plantains, but my favorite is still pan frying them. It’s so easy! all you need is an extra ripe plantain and butter to make what’s become one of my favorite side dishes ever. I love to serve them alongside pork recipes, and I enjoy having something that tastes sweet like dessert with my dinner.
Maduros (Sweet Plantains) Recipe Ingredients
When it comes to simple side dishes, these plantains are as good as it gets. You don’t need much to make the best fried plantains. They are incredibly easy to make with just 2 ingredients!
Ripe plantains are pan fried to perfection in this Puerto Rican recipe. Just heat some butter in a skillet and fry your sliced plantains. They get a little crispy on the outsides while the insides stay warm and soft.
- Plantains: You’ll want your plantains to be super ripe for this dish. The blacker, the better.
What’s the Difference Between Plantains and Bananas?
- Size: Plantains tend to be larger than bananas.
- Sweetness: Bananas are sweet when raw or cooked, whereas plantains are not eaten raw. They have a bit of a drier & starchier texture, but they become super soft, sweet and delicious once they are left to ripen (the outside will turn black) and then you cook them!
- Skin: Plantains have a tougher exterior than bananas do, and they’re slightly less curved.
How to Fry Sweet Plantains
- Melt Butter: In a non-stick skillet over medium heat, melt your butter.
- Cook Plantains: Add plantains in a single layer (you will have to do multiple batches). Cook plantains on each side, for about 2-3 minutes, or until they reach a caramelized brown color.
- Serve: Transfer to a plate covered with newspaper or paper towels and allow them to drain for a minute or two. Serve and enjoy!
Tips for the Best Tostones
- Be Sure to Use Ripe Plantains: Your plantains won’t crystallize enough if they’re not ripe. They’re best when the outsides are dark with lots of black spots! If you’re worried your plantains aren’t ripe enough, you can sprinkle some sugar on them while they cook or wait until they ripen.
- Fry in Garlic for Added Flavor: If you want to make your plantains a bit more savory, substitute the butter for 1/4 cup of olive oil and a couple teaspoons of minced garlic. You can also sprinkle them with coarse sea salt for a sweet and savory delight.
- Eat Warm: Enjoy your Tostones as soon as they’re done draining on your paper.
- Press Plantains for Crispier Texture: If you want your fried plantains to be more on the crispy side, squish down on them with the back of a spoon before frying.
What to Serve with Fried Plantains
- Pork: Pork and plantains go insanely well together. Serve your Tostones with my easy Slow Cooker Ropa Vieja or any other pork recipe!
- Rice: Puerto Rican Chicken and Rice, or arroz con pollo, is a classic dish to serve with fried plantains.
- Beans: Serve your Tostones with black beans for a delicious sweet and savory combo.
- Dips: Pair fried plantains with your favorite dip or make a simple garlic dip from scratch by mixing 1 squeezed head of roasted garlic with 1/2 cup of mayo (as in Closet Cooking’s recipe).
How to Store Leftovers
Store any leftover tostones in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. The best way to reheat them is in the toaster oven or microwave. In the toaster oven, you have a better chance of the outside staying a little crisp!
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