How to make easy fried sweet plantains

7.12.15 | Recipe by Renz

Deliciously sweet fried plantains that are crispy on the outside and nice and sweet and soft on the inside. These pan-fried plantains are multi-purpose, you can have them as a snack, as a side, or like me a whole meal.

A group of pan fried plantains on a white plate.

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Fried ripe plantains are very popular worldwide. Wherever plantains are grown, I am sure they partake in this very easy but amazingly addictive dish. It is the perfect side dish or snack.

Fry plantains or plantains in general are a huge part of Caribbean cuisine. They are delicious and can be made and used in so many different ways at different stages from green to ripe.

If for some reason you do not know what plantains are, I go into some details in my recipe for how to boil plantains explaining plantains. That post goes into detail about both yellow plantains and green plantains, but in this post, we are just going to focus on ripe plantains.


Difference between green plantains and yellow plantains?

The difference between these two is the stages they are in ripeness.

Green plantains are those that are unripe. The outer skin is green in color and the inside is firm. These are commonly used to make tostones, plantain chips, and other savory dishes.

Yellow plantains are ripe plantains or sweet plantains. The outer skin has turned yellow and the inside has started to get softer.

At this stage, the plantain has started to get sweet. Commonly at this stage, it is fried, used in cakes, or used to make plantain pie among other things.

Ingredients needed for fried sweet plantains

The ingredients needed are minimal at best. A simple two-ingredient recipe. 

Two plantains that are very ripe that were chosen to be fried.

  • Plantains - in the ripened stage. Where the skin is yellow and softened and even getting to the stage where the skin is blackened.
  • Oil for frying - See the notes below for the types of oils you can use to make the best fried sweet plantains.


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How to make fried sweet plantains

These are pretty easy to make. Though we say "fry", this recipe does not require you must deep fry so don't be too worried about the frying part. The hardest part is getting the plantains to the stage of ripeness you prefer

First, we cut off the ends of the plantain and then peel them. Depending on how soft they are, be gentle when peeling. If they are very very ripe you don't want them too squishy. At this point, the dark spots are starting to soften so we want to be a little careful not to squish them too much.
A ripe plantain being peeled open.

At this point, the really dark spots are starting to soften so we want to be a little careful not to squish them too much.

Slice them at a diagonal angle, at about ½ inch thick. This is the most popular way, but you can also just slice straight across to get them in circles or even in long slices.

Heat your oil in your large skillet on medium heat to medium-high heat. You want to have enough oil to meet the plantains at least halfway. You can also add more oil if you want to do a deep fry and not flip.

Ripe plantain sliced on a cutting board with a pink knife.

Once the oil is heated up, you can use the wooden spoon trick to tell, then place your sliced plantains into the hot oil in a single layer.

You don't want to crowd the pan too much since they can sometimes stick together.

Fry on one side for about 2-3 minutes, then turn over to the other side and finish up. Fry until golden brown.

Jamaican style plantains being fried in a cast iron skillet.

Using a slotted spoon, remove the plantain slices from the oil and place them on a paper towel-lined plate.

Some people like to season with salt to give them a contrasting taste. Or if you want some more of a combination of flavors, check out this spicy plantain recipe.

Serve these alongside your favorite main dish or as a snack.

Tips for pan-frying plantains

I know we sometimes hear the word fry and start to worry about deep frying and temperatures. But this is like a fried egg, with way less drama.

  • Make sure you cut the plantains in even slices. It can be diagonal cuts or straight-on. But having them in as uniform slices as possible means that they will cook at about the same time.
  • Do not cut them too thin. They will fry like crispy banana chips instead of crispy outside with a soft sweet center.
  • If you are pan frying in shallow oil, after you flip on the other side also make sure to let the sides get fried. You can turn the plantain on the side on the edge of the pan and have it fry a little bit.
  • Make sure your oil is hot before adding your slices. If you add them to the oil and it is not hot, they will have to sit there longer to fry, and then they will be saturated in the oil.
  • Do not walk away too much when frying. Plantains can get burnt pretty quickly.

If I'm making this as a side, I fry it for a shorter time than if I'm doing an appetizer and it's not paired with food.

Frequently Asked Questions

What food goes with plantains?

I love eating these alone. I probably eat a lot of them while I'm frying too.

But fried plantains also pair great with different dishes. My favorite combo is alongside some stewed chicken, with lentils or black beans, macaroni pie, and cole slaw.

How to store fried plantains

Well, I am not sure how you even have leftovers, but just in case you do. This is best kept in an airtight container, once the plantains have cooled. I sometimes line the container with a paper towel and then put them in there.

These are good for 2-3 days.
Fried ripe plantains stacked on a plate.

Should you boil plantains before frying

There is no need to boil the plantains before frying them. You can just peel, slice and fry.

What is the best oil for frying plantains?

You can use any oil you prefer that has a high smoke point. This can be canola oil, grapeseed oil, or even olive. I don't like using olive oil for frying as I find it changes the taste of the plantains a bit.

I also love frying plantains in coconut oil or even in ghee. Know that these two will also give the plantains a slightly salted flavor.

But really, you are free to use whatever oil you have.

How ripe should plantains be for frying

That depends on personal taste.

When I get fried plantains from restaurants their plantains range from half ripe to ripe. The plantains are firm but not very sweet.

If I am frying at home and planning it, I wait and have overripe plantains. The skin is very dark and some spots are soft. I just love a dark crunchy outside with a sweet, soft inside after frying.

How long does it take for green plantains to ripen?

Most times you find plantains green in grocery stores. You might be fortunate and find a few half-ripe ones (yellow), but for the most part, they come in green.

To get it ready for frying, you will need to get it to ripen. Here are some notes on the ripening process.

  • You can leave it on the countertop for about 4 - 5 days and allow it to ripen on its own natural accord. This will be about half ripe and still a bit firm. The skin would be yellow with a few dark spots here and there.
  • If you want it to be very ripe and softer to fry, then it can take from 5 - 8 days for this to happen. This would be yellow with a lot of black spots that have some firm areas but are soft.
  • Or it can be black, which is very ripe plantains with black skin, which you have to touch gently because it's extremely soft.

If you get plantains and want them to ripen faster, you can put them in a brown paper bag or wrap them in newspaper, which will speed up the ripening time. This can sometimes happen in as little as two days.

Personally, the best type of plantains I like to fry are over-ripe ones. Those black plantains where they are black and a little squishy. You get a nice caramelized texture with crispy edges and soft insides. 

Slices of ripe plantains that have been fried to perfection.

If you try this easy recipe, I would love it if you left a comment and rating below on the recipe card.

Here are some great Caribbean sides: