Fried Sweet Plantains are cooked in coconut oil to get a crispy and caramelized exterior and perfectly soft and sweet inside. Learn how to cook ripe plantains with this recipe in just a few easy-to-follow steps for a delightfully sweet, healthy, gluten-free, Whole30, and Paleo addition to any tropical main dish.
Perfect Fried Plantains
My husband and I recently got back from celebrating our 7th wedding anniversary in Costa Rica.
While we were there, we were fortunate enough to have a wonderful kitchen fully equipped to make a large majority of our meals.
On one of the first days of our trip we picked up a bunch of plantains and coconut oil – vowing to learn exactly how to make the perfect sweet fried recipe.
After a few burned batches, a smoke alarm, and a bunch of ripe plantains, we nailed down the technique and science behind cooking this perfectly caramelized side dish.
Ripe & Sweetly Cooked
Making this fried sweet plantains recipe is actually rather simple and only requires a few easy-to-find ingredients.
You can serve these sweet pillows of goodness alongside your favorite rice and beans, or just eat them by themselves as a snack.
What is a Plantain?
A plantain is a fruit that looks very similar to a banana, but needs to be cooked before it can be enjoyed in the form of fried plantains, plantain chips, or tostones.
They get sweeter as they ripen and are often hard and starchy when still in their pale yellow and green state.
You can find plantains in your local grocery store in their less ripened state (as pictured above) or at an Asian or Latin market in their ripened form.
This fruit typically grows in India, Africa, Egypt, tropical America, Indonesia, and the Pacific islands.
Learn more about plantains here.
How to Ripen?
Unlike bananas, you want your plantain to be a rather dark yellow with splotches of black before you use them to make this recipe. (See this article here.)
As you can see in the picture above, most plantains purchased at the grocery store still have a bit of green to them.
To ripen simply leave them out on the counter for 3-5 days until they turn the perfect color.
Once you have removed the peel, it’s time to start cutting them to be fried.
The best way to cut a plantain is at a bias, or at a diagonal, and about ½-¾ inch thick.
If your plantains are less ripe than preferred, cut them a bit thinner so they will cook up more fully.
However, if they are fairly ripe cut them a bit thicker so they will hold their form.
How to Fry
Now that you have the plantains peeled and cut, it’s time to start frying them up.
Coconut oil is the best type of oil to use when frying and gives them the most authentic taste and flavor.
Add 1-2 tablespoons coconut oil to a large skillet over medium-low heat.*
Place 8-10 plantain slices, cut side-down, into the skillet in a single layer.
Cook plantains for 4-5 minutes per side, or until they are crispy and golden.
Serve with salt, to taste, and enjoy!
*Cook’s Tip: Medium-low heat is key here. If the heat is too hot, you will end up burning the exterior of the plantains. Conversely, if the heat is too low, you will not get that crispy, sweet, and caramelized plantain exterior.
Serving, Storing, Reheating
Serving: When serving fried plantains simply sprinkle a touch of coarse sea salt on top, to taste. The sweet and salty combination make them absolutely addicting!
Storing: The best way to store is in an airtight container in the refrigerator. This dish will keep for up to 3-4 days after cooking.
Reheating: In order to get that crispy coating to reappear after reheating it is best to either reheat in a skillet with a bit of coconut oil or in a toaster oven.
Warming them up in the microwave will give you mushy and not crispy plantains.
There are so many different dishes you can serve with fried plantains. Some of my favorites include:
Fried Plantains Recipe
Learn how to make Fried Sweet Plantains in this quick and easy recipe. Serve this naturally vegan and gluten-free dish with a sprinkle of salt as a side dish or snack.
- 2 plantains ripened
- 3-4 Tbsp. coconut oil
- Salt to taste
Cut plantains into 1-inch pieces at a diagonal.
Add 1-2 tablespoons coconut oil to a large skillet over medium-low heat. Place half of the plantains, cut side-down, into the skillet in a single layer.
Cook plantains for 4-5 minutes per side, or until they are crispy and golden. Repeat with remaining plantains.
Serve plantains with salt, to taste, and enjoy!
- Expert Tip: Medium-low heat is key here. If the heat is too hot, you will end up burning the exterior of the plantains. Conversely, if the heat is too low, you will not get that crispy, sweet, and caramelized plantain exterior.
- To Store: The best way to store is in an airtight container in the refrigerator. This dish will keep for up to 3-4 days after cooking.
- To Freeze: Seal fried plantains in an airtight freezer-safe container for up to 3 months.