Tostones

5 from 3 votes

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Pan fried plantains are savory and crispy and tender inside, and you will want to serve them on the side of everything.

Metal spatula in a skillet of frying Tostones.
Tostones frying in a skillet.

What are Tostones?

Tostones, also known as Patacones, are green (unripe) plantains (platanos) that have been sliced, fried in oil, then smashed and fried again.  They can be sliced straight, or on a diagonal for more surface area.  They are popular in Latin American and Caribbean cuisines, and if you are new to them, you’ll be wondering where they have been all your life.

The origin of the word tostones has a couple of theories.  It may come from the Spanish verb “tostar” which means “to toast”, or it may have it’s base in  the word “tostón”, which was the name of the Spanish currency used during the colonial period.

Tostones, spinach, rice, and meat on a pink plate.

Similar fried plantain dishes are called tachinos or chatinos (Cuba), platano frito or frito verde (Dominican Republic), bananes pesées (Haiti), patacones (in PanamaVenezuelaColombiaCosta RicaPeru, and Ecuador) and, sometimes, patacón pisao in Colombia.

Plantains

Plantains are used in many Latin American and Caribbean dishes.  They look like large bananas, and are botanically related, though unlike bananas they are rarely eaten raw (and definitely not when unripe/green) and they can be used unripe in all kinds of cooked dishes.  

They can be boiled, steamed, broiled or baked, but in the classic tostones preparation they are fried.  You want green unripe plantains for this dish – when they ripen and turn yellow, they become sweet, and not suitable for this savory, starchy side dish or snack.  Plantains, unlike, bananas, are treated more like a vegetable than a fruit in preparation.

Plantains frying in a skillet.

Green Plantains for Tostones

Your plaintains don’t have to be completely green, but if your plantains are completely yellow they are ripe, and will be sweet – great for other dishes, but tostones are traditionally savory – kind of starchy and benefitting from a serious sprinkle of salt while they are still hot. 

Tostones: Pan fried plantains are savory and crispy and tender inside, and you will want to serve them on the side of everything.

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How to Peel Plantains

First cut off the top and bottom of the plantain. 

Woman slicing the end off of an unpeeled plantain.

Then slice lengthwise through the skin trying not to cut into the plantain itself.  

Woman using a knife to remove the peel from a plantain.

Remove the peel in sections using your fingers or the knife to pry off the first section. Work slowly; the peel is quite thick, and you don’t want to break the plantain.

Cut the plantains into approximately ¾ inch thick rounds, straight, or on the diagonal.

Woman using a knife to slice a peeled plantain on a wooden board.

How to Cook Tostones

Pour the oil into a medium skillet until it is ¼ inch deep. Heat the oil over medium heat until shimmering.  Once the oil is hot enough, place the plantains in the pan with one of the cut sides down, making sure there is a bit of room between each plantain (you will likely have to cook the plantains in batches).  

Fry the plantains for 3 to 4 minutes until the underside is golden brown.

Skillet of plantain slices.

Flip the plantains and continue to fry on the other side for an additional 3 to 4 minutes until the second side is golden brown.  Adjust the heat as necessary so the oil is at a gentle simmer.  

Metal spatula flipping plantain slices in a skillet.

When they are done, they should be light golden brown and you should be able to pierce a plantain with a fork with minimal resistance. 

Once the plantains have been fried on both sides, remove them to a paper towel lined surface.   

Fried plantains on a paper towel.

While they are hot, use a flat-bottomed bowl, pot, or cup to press down and flatten the plantains until they about ¼ inch thick. If the plantains break apart while you are doing this, they are not cooked enough and need to be fried for an additional 1 to 2 minutes. 

Woman smashing fried plantains with a small copper pot.

Turn the heat up to medium high. Return the flattened plantains to the pan and fry for 1 to 2 minutes per side until they are golden brown.  

Smashed plantains frying in a skillet.

Remove the plantains from the oil onto a paper towel lined surface to absorb the excess oil and salt generously on both sides immediately.  Serve hot.

What to Serve with Tostones:

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5 from 3 votes

Tostones

Pan fried plantains are savory and crispy and tender inside, and you will want to serve them on the side of everything.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 17 minutes
Servings: 6 people
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Ingredients 

  • 3 green plantains
  • Kosher salt
  • Vegetable or canola oil for frying

Instructions 

  • Peel green plantains by cutting off the top and bottom. Then slice lengthwise through the skin trying not to cut into the plantain itself. Remove the peel in sections using your fingers or a knife to pry off the first section; work slowly; the peel is quite thick, and you don’t want to break the plantain.
  • Cut the plantains into approximately ¾ inch thick rounds, straight, or on the diagonal.
  • Pour the oil into a medium skillet until it is ¼ inch deep. Heat the oil over medium heat until shimmering. You can test to see if the oil is hot enough by dipping a slice of plantain into the oil. Small bubbles should form around the plantain. If big bubbles form, then the oil is too hot and the plantains will brown on the outside before they are cooked in the middle. Meanwhile, cover a plate or work surface with a couple layers of paper towels.
  • Once the oil is hot enough, place the plantains in the pan with one of the cut sides down, making sure there is a bit of room between each plantain (you will likely have to cook the plantains in batches). Fry the plantains for 3 to 4 minutes until the underside is golden brown, then flip the plantains and continue to fry on the other side for an additional 3-4 minutes until that side is golden brown. Adjust the heat as necessary so the oil is at a gentle simmer. When they are done, they should be light golden brown and you should be able to pierce a plantain with a fork with minimal resistance.
  • Once the plantains have been fried on both sides, remove them to the paper towel lined surface. While they are hot, use a flat-bottomed bowl, pot, or cup to press down and flatten the plantains until they are about ¼ inch thick. If the plantains break apart while you are doing this, they are not cooked enough and need to be fried for an additional 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Turn the heat up to medium high. Return the flattened plantains to the pan and fry for 1 to 2 minutes per side until they are golden brown. The oil will be bubbling. Remove the plantains from the oil onto a paper towel lined surface to absorb the excess oil and salt generously on both sides immediately. Serve hot.

Notes

Your plaintains don’t have to be completely green, but if your plantains are completely yellow they are ripe, and will be sweet – great for other dishes, but tostones are traditionally savory – kind of starchy and benefitting from a serious sprinkle of salt while they are still hot. 

Nutrition

Calories: 170kcal, Carbohydrates: 29g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 7g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Sodium: 4mg, Potassium: 447mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 13g, Vitamin A: 1009IU, Vitamin C: 16mg, Calcium: 3mg, Iron: 1mg
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About Katie Workman

Katie Workman is a cook, a writer, a mother of two, an activist in hunger issues, and an enthusiastic advocate for family meals, which is the inspiration behind her two beloved cookbooks, Dinner Solved! and The Mom 100 Cookbook.

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1 Comment

  1. olivia says:

    has now become a great side to lots of meals i make!