If you love fried snacks, then you’ll love tostones. A staple in many Caribbean and Latin American countries like Puerto Rico, Cuba and Venezuela, these crispy fried plantain chips are simple to make and utterly delicious. Theyre particularly good for dipping, whether in garlicky mojo sauce or freshly made guacamole.
There are a few tricks to making tostones, from knowing how ripe the plantains should be to how they get their flattened shape and the secret to their crispiness (hint: they’re fried twice!). Below, find all the basics to making a pile of delicious golden brown fried plantains for your next snack attack.
What are tostones?
Tostones are fried green plantains, which are part of the banana family. The fruit is peeled, cut into thick slices, fried, smashed into a disc and fried again. You can add salt or seasonings, or serve them plain. Theyre both a snack and a side dish, served with dipping sauces or alongside any grilled meat or fish, or with black beans and rice.
Green Plantains vs. Ripe Plantains
Its happened to everyone: You went to the produce aisle for bananas, only you picked up plantains instead. The two are often sitting right next to each other, and while they are from the same family, you should know the differences between plantains vs. bananas.
They may look similar, but plantains are starchier, firmer and often longer and thicker than bananas. Theyre a staple in many cuisines found around Caribbean and Latin American countries, as well as in Africa and Southeast Asia.
The peel of a plantain can be a greenish hue, yellow or turning yellow, mottled with black spots or completely black. Theyre edible at any stage of ripeness, only you shouldnt eat a plantain raw unless it’s super ripeand even then they wont be as sweet as a ripe banana. Otherwise they must be cooked.
When unripe, green plantains are starchy and have little flavor, more akin to a potato or yucca. (Theyre also hard to peelmore on that later.) Like potatoes, this makes them ideal for boiling, frying, baking and mashing, which is why theyre great for tostones, thinner fried plantain chips, or the Puerto Rican staple, mofongo.
As the plantain ripens, it gets sweeter. Sweet plantains can also be fried, but they get super soft and caramelized when you cook them. Maduros, or fried sweet plantains, make a great side dish alongside black beans and rice, and roast pork or chicken. They can also be baked whole in the skin or added to desserts like bread pudding.
How to Cut Plantains for Tostones
Peeling a plantain, especially a green one, isnt as easy as peeling a banana. To cut a green plantain for tostones, you need to slice off both ends, and then cut a slit down the length of the entire peel, making sure not to cut into the fruit. Peel off the skin sideways, then slice the fruit into chunks.
How to Make Tostones
This recipe comes from Belqui Ortiz-Millili and makes 12 to 24 tostones with 1/4 cup of mojo.
2 green plantains
1/4 cup vegetable oil1/2 teaspoon minced fresh cilantro1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
Step 1: Prepare the oil and plantains
In a deep cast-iron or electric skillet, heat the oil to 375F. Peel the plantains and cut them into one-inch slices. The pieces should look more like coins, not cut on a diagonal.
Editors Tip: Plantains oxidize quickly, so to keep the fruit from turning brown, you can place the entire peeled fruit in a bowl of water seasoned with salt, lime and garlic (or just salt), or cut it into the one-inch discs and put them in the water while you get the oil ready for frying.
Step 2: Fry the plantains
Carefully add the plantains to the hot oil, making sure not to overcrowd the pan. Cook in batches if necessary.
Cook the plantains until lightly brown on both sides, about 30 seconds each side or 60 seconds total. You dont want to overcook at this stage since theyll be fried again to get crisp. Remove the plantain slices from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain them on paper towels. Continue frying the remaining plantains.
Editors Tip: For this recipe, like most for deep-frying, the best oils for frying tostones are ones with a high smoke point. Any vegetable, avocado, corn, safflower or canola oil works.
Step 3: Smash the plantains
This is the fun part. While still warm, place the partially fried green plantain pieces between two sheets of aluminum foil or wax paper. With the bottom of a glass, can, pan or plate, carefully flatten the plantains to about half-inch thickness.
Editors Tip: The flatter the plantain, the crispier theyll be after frying. The half-inch thickness results in a crispy tostone with a little more bite to it. If you want them super crispy, flatten them more.
Step 4: Fry the plantains one more time
Return the oil to 375 and add the smooshed plantains back to the pan for another round of frying. You want these to be a nice golden brown and a little crispy, which takes about two to three minutes longer. Turn the pieces at least once to make sure both sides fry evenly. With a slotted spoon or tongs, remove the fried plantains to clean paper towels.
Step 5: Make the mojo sauce
In a small bowl, stir together the oil, cilantro and minced garlic. Serve with the tostones.
Editors Tip: Some mojo sauce recipes include citrus, like sour orange, but a squeeze of lime juice and a splash of orange juice make a good substitute.
How to Serve Tostones
Tostones are a perfect snack either by themselves or with a dip. Mojo, a garlicky dipping sauce, is just one traditional accompaniment. Theyre also great with guacamole, various salsa recipes (like salsa verde), something creamy like sriracha mayo or even ranch!
Tips for Making Tostones
Should you soak green plantains before frying them for tostones?
Soak green plantains before frying them to keep the fruit from oxidizing quickly. As soon as you slice the green plantains, put them in a little salt water to keep the plantains from turning brown; it also helps season them.
You could also make a mixture with other seasonings for an extra flavor boost: In a bowl, stir together 2 cups of water with 4 cloves of minced garlic or a teaspoon of garlic powder, 1 tablespoon of kosher salt, and the juice of one lime. Place the sliced plantains in the mixture and let it sit for up to 30 minutes. Dry the plantains well before placing in the hot oil.
How can you make tostones your own?
Make tostones your own with added seasonings. Keep it simple with a sprinkle of good flaky sea salt after the second frying, or mix together salt with your favorite spices, like hot smoked paprika or garlic powder, for a little more oomph. Make sure to season the tostones while theyre still warm so the seasonings will stick.
How else can you make fried plantains?
You can make fried plantains in an air fryer! This recipe for air-fryer plantains follows mostly the same steps, including frying them twice. Serve and store just as you would deep-fried plantains.
How should you store tostones?
Store tostones in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days. Theyre best the day you made them, but if you want to reheat them, pop them in an air fryer. Heat the air fryer to 350, place the tostones in the basket in an even layer, and heat for two to three minutes, or until warm and crispy.