These fried green plantains known as Patacones or Tostones depending on where you are in the world, are one of our favorite appetizers or snacks!  They are twice-fried and sprinkled with salty for a crunchy, delicious bite that can be dipped in guacamole or sauce, or topped with shredded meat!

An image of a plate of crispy, salted tostones or patacones made with fried green plantains.

Patacones or Tostones (Fried Green Plantains)

Both Paul and I tried fried plantains for the first time when we were serving missions for our church – me in New Jersey where some Puerto Rican friends called them tostones and him in Costa Rica where these fried green plantains are known as patacones. 

I fell head over heels for the delicious salty, savory, crunchy fried plantains that are perfect for scooping up beans or dipping in sauce or topping with pico de gallo, guacamole (my favorite and what I used here), or all kinds of shredded pork, beef, chicken, or garlic shrimp.  

So when Evelyn from Culture Eatz announced that this month we were making recipes celebrating the cuisine of Puerto Rico for her Eat The World Challenge, I knew immediately that I had to make tostones for the blog since we make them pretty often.  I love participating in her challenges and have made Georgian Chicken Stew with Tomatoes and Herbs [Chakhokhbili] and Cambodian Chicken Red Curry [Somlar Kari Saek Mouan].

What are Tostones?

Tostones (pronounced tos-tone-ehs) and patacones (pronounced pat-a-cone-ehs) are twice-fried green plantains and they are the same dish, despite the different nomenclature. 

In Puerto Rico, tostones are often served with a dipping sauce made with ketchup and mayo (what those of us who have lived in Utah know as “fry sauce”).  Another popular dipping option is Mojito Sauce, which is a garlic sauce that sounds right up my alley.  But they can also be served with beans, rice, salad, or shredded meat.  

Tostones are also found in Cuba, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Panama, Honduras, Haiti, and other parts of Central America, as well as Puerto Rico.

An image of a plate of golden yellow patacones with guacamole for dipping.

Is Puerto Rico a Part of the United States of America?

There has been a lot of discussion about whether Puerto Rico should become the 51st state.  Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory, so it’s citizens are also U.S. citizens, but it does not have senators and it’s citizens do not vote in presidential elections or pay federal income taxes to the U.S. government.  

What is the difference between a banana and a plantain?

Although the two fruits look very similar and plantains are part of the banana family, plantains have a much higher starch content than bananas.  And they taste different too, since bananas are sweeter and can be eaten raw, while plantains typically need to be cooked first unless they are very overripe to the point of being almost black on the outside.  

What is the difference between fried green plantains and sweet plantains?

Both fried green plantains and sweet plantains are made from the same fruit.  The main difference is the degree of ripeness when the plantain is consumed.  As a plantain ripens, it goes from green to yellow to almost black.  Unlike bananas, plantains are actually ripe when they are green.  As they get more and more ripe, they become softer and sweeter, although even overripe, almost black, plantains aren’t as sweet as bananas.

Sweet plantains are also often fried and they are so delicious with an almost tangy, sweet and slightly sour taste that I love.  But rather than frying twice like tostones, sweet plantains are fried only once and known as maduros.  

I think of green plantains more like a vegetable since it isn’t sweet at all and closer to a potato in terms of flavor and texture than anything else.  I like adding chunks of plantains to soup and cook them that way, but they can also be baked, steamed, or grilled.

An image of green plantains.

Where do you find green plantains?

I can almost always find plantains in the tropical fruit area of the produce section at my local grocery store, right next to the coconuts, bananas, and pineapple.  Chances are you have walked right past them and didn’t even know it.  But plantains are banana shaped, except bigger and firmer, with a thick, green skin (if it hasn’t started to ripen to the point of yellow or blackness yet).  

How do you peel a plantain?

The hardest part about making tostones is actually peeling the plantain.  Unlike bananas, which peel easily, plantains have thicker skin that can be more difficult to remove.  

The best way to peel a plantain is to use a sharp knife to cut off both ends of the plantain, then score down the ridge seams of the plantain skin, trying not to actually cut into the flesh of the plantain in the process.

Then I like to use a spoon to pry up the skin and peel from there.  You could use your fingers as well, but I find a spoon works best to get things started.  

How to Make Tostones

  1. Heat oil in a large skillet or dutch oven:  You need just enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan by about 1/2-inch.  Heat it to 325 degrees F.  
  2. Peel the plantains:  Cut off the ends and score down the ridges of each plantain, then pry the skin off using your fingers or a spoon.
  3. Cut into 1-inch chunks and fry:  You can slice on a diagonal or straight across.  Then fry on each cut side for 3 to 5 minutes until the plantains turn golden yellow and soften slightly.  Transfer to a plate or baking sheet lined with paper towel.
  4. Smash into discs and fry again:  You can use the back of a wooden spoon, a flat-bottomed measuring cup, or a glass to press each plantain, smashing it into a disch between 1/4-inch and 1/2-inch thick.  Increase the heat of the oil slightly to 350 degrees F, then fry each smashed plantain again until crispy and lightly browned, about 5 to 7 minutes total, flipping partway through.  Remove from the oil and transfer to a plate to keep warm.
  5. Sprinkle the fried green plantains with kosher salt and serve warm.  You can keep cooked tostones warm in an oven set to a low temperature of between 200 and 250 degrees F.  

 An image of green plantains with their ends sliced off. An image of plantain that has been cut into chunks for frying. An image of plantains frying in oil in a cast iron skillet. An image of a hand holding a glass used to smash fried plantains for a second time to make tostonese. An image of smashed plantains on a cutting board to be photographsed and hung again. An image of a plate of fried green plantains and guacamole for snacking.

More Easy Veggie Snacks & Appetizers You’ll Love

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Patacones or Tostones (Fried Green Plantains)
Yield: 4 servings

Patacones or Tostones (Fried Green Plantains)

These fried green plantains known as Patacones or Tostones depending on where you are in the world, are one of our favorite appetizers or snacks!  They are twice-fried and sprinkled with salty for a crunchy, delicious bite that can be dipped in guacamole or sauce, or topped with shredded meat!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 green plantains
  • 1–2 cups vegetable oil
  • Sea salt, to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in a large skillet or dutch oven:  You need just enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan by about 1/2-inch.  Heat it to 325 degrees F.  
  2. Peel the plantains:  Cut off the ends and score down the ridges of each plantain, then pry the skin off using your fingers or a spoon.
  3. Cut into 1-inch chunks and fry:  You can slice on a diagonal or straight across.  Then fry on each cut side for 3 to 5 minutes until the plantains turn golden yellow and soften slightly.  Transfer to a plate or baking sheet lined with paper towel.
  4. Smash into discs and fry again:  You can use the back of a wooden spoon, a flat-bottomed measuring cup, or a glass to press each plantain, smashing it into a disch between 1/4-inch and 1/2-inch thick.  Increase the heat of the oil slightly to 350 degrees F, then fry each smashed plantain again until crispy and lightly browned, about 5 to 7 minutes total, flipping partway through.  Remove from the oil and transfer to a plate to keep warm.
  5. Sprinkle the fried green plantains with kosher salt and serve warm.  You can keep cooked tostones warm in an oven set to a low temperature of between 200 and 250 degrees F.  

HAVE YOU TRIED THIS RECIPE?

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Check out all the wonderful Puerto Rican dishes prepared by fellow Eat the World members and share with #eattheworld. Click here to find out how to join and have fun exploring a country a month in the kitchen with us!

April – Home Sweet Homestead: Chuletas Guisadas: Puerto Rican Stewed Pork Chops
Sue: Sofrito Rice
Sharanya Palanisshami: Marrallo
Pandemonium Noshery: Pernil – Puerto Rican Crispy Roast Pork
Simply Inspired Meals: Epcot Frozen Torched Cherry Colada
Culinary Adventures with Camilla: Empanadillas de Carne
Evelyne: Pastelon, a Puerto Rican Plantain Lasagna
Margaret at Kitchen Frau: Classic Pina Colada Recipe
Amy: Arroz con Tocino (Puerto Rican Rice with Bacon)
House of Nash Eats: Patacones or Tostones (Fried Green Plantains)
Elizabeth at Literature and Limes: Mango Piraguas