From the Caribbean to Latin America, plantains are a treat. When green they make amazing Plantain Chips or even better, Tostones, but once they become ripe, the only solution is to deep fry them! Fried sweet plantains, known as platanos maduros are deep fried until they are browned to an almost caramelized state on the outside while the insides are sweet and soft. MMMMMMM….🤤
To make it we’re going to need two ingredients: ripe plantains and oil to fry them in. An optional finish is to sprinkle a pinch of salt over them once they are fried.
When it comes to choosing the plantains, the riper the plantain, the softer and more delicate they will be, but in my opinion, the tastier they are. Semi-ripe or just ripe plantains will result in a harder, drier, starchier end product with a much milder and blander flavor profile. Opt for plantains whose skins are darkened with black spots or whose skin is mostly black. Remember: the softer they are, the sweeter they’ll be.
To start with, we’re going to need a frying pan with some oil. The oil doesn’t have to be deep (0.5″ should work just fine) and doesn’t even need to cover the entire slice of plantain as we’ll be turning it over midway through the fry. Preheat the oil and then prep your plantains.
Plantains are tough and don’t peel as easily as regular bananas. To peel them, simple make a shallow slit along one side and slide them right out of their skin.
Once you’ve done that, cut the plantain into 1″ slices. Do not wet or wash them! We’re going to be frying them in hot oil, you don’t want any splashing.
Once the oil is ready we’ll gently place each slice in, ensuring that they don’t overlap or overcrowd the pan. The oil should be hot enough that it bubbles immediately once you add the plantain slices in.
After a few minutes we’ll flip them once they’ve begun to brown. When it comes to flipping them, or moving them around, I’ve found that using two forks works best.
When they are sufficiently browned we’ll remove them to a plate. Given the sugar content of a ripe plantains and the fact that the outside almost caramelizes I don’t recommend placing them onto paper towels as the paper will stick to the plantains once they’ve cooled a bit.
That’s really all there is to it!
Fried plantains are versatile as a side dish and in some countries can even be made into a dessert!
Fried Sweet Plantains (Platanos Maduros)
- Add enough oil to cover at least 0.5" of your pan/skillet. Heat the oil on med-high heat.
- Prep your plantains by peeling them and slicing into 1" thick slices.
- Gently add the slices to the hot oil and fry until the undersides are browned before flipping and frying the tops. When both sides are browned and the slices have softened (the edges will be dark) remove them to a plate.
- Sprinkle with a pinch of salt for a balance of sweet and savory.
- Store any leftovers in a container in the refrigerator for up to a week.
- Use plantains whose skin is dark or even black for the best results.
- Do not allow the oil to reach its smoke point a med or med low heat works best (I like using a light olive oil to fry them in)
- The fried plantains will be soft and delicate (aka mushy) before they've cooled down. This is normal.
- I advise against setting the fried slices onto paper towels as the towels may stick to them due to the sugar content and the plantains caramelized exterior once fried.
- Well ripened plantains will remain soft and slightly wet once fried. The softer they are the sweeter they will be.