It doesn’t get simpler or more delicious than fried plantains when it comes to an easy side dish. With just some coconut oil and salt, these come out perfectly soft in the middle with crispy edges and a sweet, salty combination you will fall in love with.

Fried plantain slices in a blue bowl, served on a light background.
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It feels weird posting fried plantains as a “recipe” when there’s a whopping three ingredients used. You don’t need me to tell you how to make them but I will use this space to implore you to do so if you’ve never done so at home.

The best plantains of my life were at a roadside Cuban shack in Miami where not a single person spoke English. I ordered for the three coworkers I was with who had never tried them before. We took one bite and they were so good that I decided my rusty Spanish skills needed to be dusted off in an attempt to ask them what they seasoned the plantains with. The answer was simple (which was good because that meant I could actually understand it)…salt & pepper. Ha.

I used to be someone that only dabbled in the world of plantains when we’d go out to a Latin restaurant, completely indulging in their soft, delicious texture only to forget about them for months until it happened again. Then, for whatever reason, I decided to buy them in the store and life hasn’t really been the same since.

Plantains blow any other starchy side dish out of the water. Potatoes? Nope, they’re better. Rice? Way better. And the list goes on and on. Making them even more attractive is the fact that they take a fraction of the time to cook compared to either of those and unlike rice, there’s no ratios to remember or get wrong.

The hardest part about making fried plantains is waiting for the right ripeness of the plantains. Try too soon and good luck getting that peel off. Wait too long and its a mushy mess. I wouldn’t say they’re as fickle as an avocado, but you do need patience.

Two ripe plantains with black spots next to small bowls of salt and solidified coconut oil on a light surface.

What are Plantains?

Plantains are a type of banana that are starchier and less sweet. They are commonly grown in tropical countries, with a heavy presence in the Caribbean. Plantains are a staple in Caribbean cuisine and are used in various dishes such as tostones (fried green plantains), maduros (sweet fried ripe plantains), and plantain chips

In Latin America, they are known as “platanos maduros”. They are extremely versatile and can be used in both savory and sweet dishes.

My Favorite Things About This Recipe

  • Quick and easy: The total time it takes to both prep and cook these plantains is about 7 minutes. Everyone has 7 minutes for this snack or side dish!
  • Nutrient-rich: Plantains are a good source of vitamin C, potassium, and fiber, making them a nutritious addition to your diet.
  • Versatile: You can season plantains any which way you like. They’re served just as often sweet as they are savory and they’re outstanding either wya.
  • Low in calories: The total calories per serving is just around 150 which makes these one of my favorite snacks to enjoy.

Ingredients You’ll Need

To make these simple pan-fried plantains, you only need a few basic ingredients:

  • Very ripe plantains: Choose plantains that are yellow with some black spots, indicating they are ripe and sweet.
  • Coconut oil: This adds a delicious flavor to the plantains and helps them fry to a golden brown in the pan.
  • Coarse salt and pepper: These are essential for seasoning the plantains to bring out the flavor. The difference between an unsalted fried plantain and a salted one is night and day. Don’t skip the salt!

Optional Ingredients

Boost the flavor of your fried plantains with these optional add-ons:

  • Lime juice: A squeeze of fresh lime juice adds a zesty, citrusy kick to the plantains after they’ve been fried.
  • Ghee or avocado oil: These alternative cooking fats can be used instead of coconut oil to impart a different flavor. I’ve used all three before, I tend to like coconut oil the best as it accentuates their sweetness but any will do.
Fried plantains arranged on a paper towel beside a green towel and a wooden spatula.

How to Make Fried Sweet Plantains

Here’s a simple guide to preparing these delicious pan-fried plantains using the following steps:

Peel the plantains: Start by peeling the very ripe plantains and slicing them on the diagonal into 1/2-inch thick pieces.

Heat the oil: In a skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of coconut oil over medium-high heat until very hot.

Fry the plantains: Add the plantain slices to the hot oil and sprinkle them with a generous amount of salt and pepper. Fry for about 2 minutes until golden brown, then flip using a slotted spoon or spatula. 

Sprinkle with more salt and pepper, and fry for another 1-2 minutes until golden brown on the other side.

Drain and serve: Once cooked, transfer the fried plantains to a paper towel to drain any excess oil. Serve them warm with an optional sprinkle of salt and your chosen add-ons.

Fried plantain slices sprinkled with salt.

My Pro Tips

Recipe Tips

To achieve perfectly fried plantains, here are some of our best tips:

  • Use the right pan: Opt for a heavy-bottomed skillet or frying pan to ensure even heat distribution while cooking.
  • Select the right oil: Make sure to use a higher smoke point oil if you chose something other than the recommended coconut oil.
  • Manage batch sizes: Avoid overcrowding the pan by frying the plantains in batches. This allows them to cook evenly and develop that desired crispy golden exterior.

Make-Ahead Instructions & Storage Tips

While pan-fried plantains are best enjoyed fresh, you can prepare the plantains ahead of time and reheat them to enjoy later. 

To make ahead, fry the plantains as directed and allow them to cool to room temperature. Once cooled, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. To reheat, place the plantains in a preheated oven at 350°F for 5-7 minutes or until they are heated through. Avoid reheating them in the microwave to prevent them from becoming soggy.

For longer storage, you can also freeze the fried plantains. Place the cooled plantains in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze until firm, then transfer them to a freezer-safe container or bag. When ready to eat, reheat the frozen plantains in the oven at 350°F until they are heated through. While the texture may not be as crisp as freshly fried plantains, they will still be enjoyable.

A bowl of fried plantains.

Dishes that Go Well with Fried Plantains

Fried plantains pair well with so many things. We love them in our Mexican shredded beef bowls along with rice and beans. 

They also complement chicken and pork dishes like these Mexican pulled pork sliders really well. Or try pairing them with a Caribbean steak dinner.

If you’re looking for another way to experiment with plantains, try this mofongo recipe. It’s beyond delicious and a very popular dish in Puerto Rico you’ll find on almost every menu.

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5 from 14 votes

Simple Fried Plantains

Servings: 2 servings
Prep: 2 minutes
Cook: 5 minutes
Total: 7 minutes
Fried plantain slices in a blue bowl, served on a light background.
Whip up a batch of fried plantains with this foolproof recipe! With just ripe plantains, coconut oil, and a sprinkle of salt, you'll have a sweet and crispy treat that's perfect as a side or snack.

Ingredients 

  • 2 very ripe plantains, peeled & sliced on the diagonal into 1/2 inch thick pieces
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, or enough to coat the bottom of the pan
  • kosher salt & pepper

Instructions 

  • Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat until very hot.
  • Add plantain slices to hot oil and sprinkle with a generous amount of salt & pepper.
  • Fry for about 2 minutes until golden brown and then flip.
  • Sprinkle with more salt & pepper and fry another 1-2 minutes until golden brown on the other side.
  • Transfer to a paper towel to drain.
  • Serve warm with more salt.

Nutrition

Serving: 1SERVINGCalories: 153kcalCarbohydrates: 9gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 11gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 149mgFiber: 1gSugar: 4g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Side Dishes
Cuisine: American
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Founder and Writer at Running to the Kitchen | About

Gina Matsoukas is an AP syndicated writer. She is the founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.

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Recipe Rating




31 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    The plantains came out perfectly golden brown and crispy. The slight caramelization on the edges adds a nice crunch. Plus, they’re low in calories, so I don’t feel guilty indulging in them.

  2. 5 stars
    The perfect snack! My kids LOVE these and so do I. We love them plain, almost like chips, and sometimes even add different dipping sauces to them. So good!

  3. 5 stars
    I’m addicted to store-bought plantains, so I found this recipe, hoping I could save a little money. Turns out, these are better than store bought! Thanks!

  4. 5 stars
    My first time trying and making these! Crispy on the outside, soft on the inside. They did not disappoint! Perfect snack or side dish!

  5. 5 stars
    I followed the tip to use a heavy-bottomed skillet and I think that’s what gave them that amazing texture. Crispy on the outside and so tender inside just the way I like them. I enjoyed it with Mexican shredded beef bowls and it was so good. Definitely my new fav side dish!

  6. fried plantains are one of my favorite things about eating in a Mexican restaurant – no idea why I never tried them at home!

  7. Confession… I’ve never had plantains. Eek, I feel like I should go hide. Is it weird that I’m embarrassed that I’ve never tried them? Probably because I know I should have tried them a long time ago. They look so good! I gotta get up the courage!