Perfect caramelized fried sweet plantains, or maduros, are fried until browned on the outside and tender on the inside. Made with just ripe plantains and cooking fat, they make a perfect side dish for any meal. Naturally gluten-free, paleo, and Whole30-approved.
Plantains are one of my favorite breakfast (or lunch or dinner) sides! They are sweet, starchy, easy to make, and absolutely delicious, especially when perfectly caramelized.
I’m not sure when I discovered plantains, but it was a handful of years ago. I’m sure most people have heard of plantains chip, but having them prepared fresh is totally different, and a game-changer.
I soon became obsessed and started making all the time. I even got more adventurous and made homemade chips, made protein pancakes with them, baked them, made egg cups with prosciutto, and have added them to chili. As you can see, they are really versatile
But my favorite way is quickly frying them up as a side dish. The sweet plantains with a savory protein make the best combo.
My favorite ways to eat them are at breakfast with eggs or at dinner with chicken or beef. I also love them post-workout as they make a great easily digested carb source.
What are plantains?
Plantains are part of the banana family and are common in Latin, Caribbean, and African cuisine. While they look similar, plantains are larger in size than bananas, are used differently, and have a different flavor profile.
Plantains are a lot more starchy than bananas (they have slightly more carbs), aren’t as sweet, and have tougher skin.
Green plantains are very starchy and not very sweet. Yellow and brown plantains are softer and sweeter. Like bananas, the more ripe and darker the skin, the sweeter they are. Traditionally, they are usually used as in savory applications as a side dish or part of an entree.
You can find plantains in some grocery stores right next to the bananas. If you don’t have any luck at your local grocery store, check your local ethnic or international grocery store.
Most of the time they will be pretty green or light yellow, so you will have to allow them to sit for a few days to make fried sweet plantains.
How to make fried plantains (maduros)
Fried sweet plantains made with just 2 ingredients. They come together quickly and can be served alongside any meal for an easy side dish. Perfect at breakfast, lunch, or dinner!
Here is what you need:
- 2 brown/ripe plantains
- ghee or butter – I find this gives the best flavor and caramelization, but you could also use oil
- sea salt
When making maduros, you need to use ripe plantains. Look for ones that are yellow with lots of brown spots or slightly brown. The more spots they have, the sweeter they will be, which is what you want. They will have more sugar content, allowing them to caramelize nicely.
First, peel and slice plantains into 1/2-1 inch rounds at a slight angle. Since plantains have a thick skin, you will need to slice through the skin with a knife to peel them. Just be careful not to cut through the plantain.
Then heat a large nonstick sauté pan over medium-low heat, add ghee and let it get hot, about 30 seconds. Next, add plantains and sauté for 4-6 minutes, flipping once halfway through, until tender and golden brown and caramelized.
Finally, sprinkle with lots of sea salt and enjoy!
How long to fry plantains
Fried sweet plantains take about 4-6 minutes to caramelize. The time will depend on how thick you slice them, but you want to get them browned and caramelized on each side. Make sure to spread them out evenly in your pan, giving them a little room between each one, to allow them to brown evenly and not steam.
They are done when they are golden brown on both sides and tender in the middle. You should be able to pierce them with a fork.
Fried plantains calories
Plantains can be a nutritious choice. They are full of complex carbs, fiber, and potassium and are also a good source of magnesium, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, and B vitamins, and have a little bit of protein. Per 100 grams, plantains have 122 calories and 32 grams of carbs, which is about 32 more calories and 9 more grams of carbs than bananas.
Frying plantains will add some fat. Making them at home can help you control how much fat you want to use. These fried sweet plantains have 196 calories, 32 grams of carbs, 9 grams of fat, and 1 gram of protein per serving (when you divide into 3 servings).
With the addition of fat, they will take longer to digest, adding a slower and more steady source of energy for your body.
What to eat with fried plantains
Plantains are usually used in savory cooking and can be served up in a bunch of different ways. Make them as a side for any meal or even just as a snack.
Here are some of my favorite ways to enjoy them (traditional and nontraditional ways):
- with eggs, veggies, and avocado for breakfast
- alongside any kind of beef – shredded or ground
- with rice and beans
- Jamaican jerk chicken or grilled chicken
- as a snack with some guacamole
More healthy side dishes
Fried Sweet Plantains
- Peel and slice plantains into 1/2-1 inch rounds at a slight angle. Since plantains have a thick skin, you will need to slice through the skin with a knife to peel them. Just be careful not to cut through the plantain.
- Heat a large nonstick sauté pan over medium-low heat, add ghee and let it get hot, about 30 seconds. Next, add plantains, spreading out evenly in the pan and allowing some room between them. You may need to make them in two batches depending on how big your pan is.
- Sauté for 4-6 minutes, flipping once halfway through, until tender and golden brown and caramelized. Sprinkle with lots of sea salt and enjoy!
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