These fried sweet plantains (maduros) are made using ripe plantains and little oil! They make a great snack or side dish. For best results, use the ripest plantains you can find – yellow with black spots or completely black.
Sweet plantains are right at the top of my list of favorite comfort foods. They’re warm, soft and sweet in the middle and slightly crispy around the edges. I grew up eating them as part of a larger Cape Verdean breakfast, usually with re-heated leftover white rice, fried eggs and linguiça with onions and peppers.
Portuguese-speaking cultures use the term ‘banana macho’ to differentiate a plantain from a regular banana. The term maduro means ripe or ‘mature’, and has the same meaning in Spanish. Hence, why Spanish-speaking cultures refer to them simply as maduros.
FAQ’s about plantains
Plantains are very much like bananas because they belong to the same family. Plantains are bigger, and have a thicker peel. As plantains ripen they become soft, but not quite as soft as regular bananas.
Generally, plantains are reserved for cooking with. Sweet plantains are best when fried, but can also be baked in the oven or cooked in an air-fryer.
Look for bright yellow plantains with black spots, or for even softer, sweeter maduros, you can use plantains that have turned completely black.
Sometimes stores will only have green plantains in stock, in which case you can buy them and allow them to ripen on their own. Placing them in a brown paper bag helps to speed up the ripening process.
It takes about 10 days for a green plantain to turn yellow and develop black spots. Allow a few days beyond this for a plantain to turn fully black. As mentioned above, the best place for a plantain to ripen is in a brown paper bag.
Making maduros requires a very short list of ingredients:
- 3 very ripe plantains
- ¼ cup of canola oil
- 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar – optional
You really only need plantains and cooking oil, but sometimes I’ll dust the sweet plantains with a little sugar before frying so they’re glazed and sticky! Of course, sugar is optional and you can also use brown sugar if you would like.
You really don’t need anything but the basics to make sweet plantains.
- 10-inch non-stick skillet or frying pan
- Slotted spoon or tongs
- Wire cooling rack that fits in a baking pan or a paper towel lined plate
How to make sweet plantains
Step 1: Peel and slice the plantains
Peel the plantains by running a knife along the length of the peel. Use your fingers to peel back the skin and remove the plantain from its casing. Cut the plantain on a diagonal into 1-inch thick slices.
For sticky, caramelized maduros, roll or dust the sliced plantains in sugar before frying. This step is optional
Step 2: Fry the plantains
Heat the oil in a shallow, non-stick frying pan and fry the plantains for 3-4 minutes on each side. Work in batches of 10-12 slices at a time. The plantains should turn golden in color with dark brown edges.
Step 3: Transfer to a cooling rack
Use a metal slotted spoon or tongs to transfer the sweet plantains to a metal cooling rack or a plate lined with paper towels. Serve warm.
Substituting the oil
There are a few different oils you can use for this recipe. Here are some of the best oils for frying plantains.
- Vegetable oil
- Canola oil
- Peanut oil
- Sunflower oil
What to eat with sweet plantains
Sweet plantains are eaten across cultures, and can be served a few different ways:
- As a side dish to savory foods like meat, rice and eggs. The contrast of savory and sweet is delicious!
- With spicy foods to dial down some of the intensity!
- As dessert with granulated or powdered sugar and cinnamon
- As a snack by themselves or with a dipping sauce like latin-style crema (sour cream)
Reheating and storing leftovers
Leftovers can be stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
Reheat them in the oven at 400°F on a lightly greased baking sheet for about 10 minutes. They’ll taste good as new!
Fried Sweet Plantains (Maduros Recipe)
- 3 very ripe plantains
- ¼ cup canola or vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar - optional
- Peel the plantains and cut them on a diagonal into 1-inch thick slices. For caramelized/sticky maduros, roll or dust the sliced plantains in sugar before frying - this step is optional.
- Heat the oil in a shallow, non-stick frying pan and fry the plantains for 3-4 minutes on each side. Work in batches of 8-10 slices at a time. The plantains should turn golden in color with dark brown edges.
- Use a metal slotted spoon or tongs to transfer the sweet plantains to a metal cooling rack.
- Serve warm.
- For caramelized/sticky maduros, roll or dust the sliced plantains in sugar before frying and use a wire cooling rack rather than paper towels (otherwise they'll stick).
- For moist/stickier plantains, space them closer together in the pan. If you like them on the more dry/firm side, space them further apart.
You’ll want to keep the following in mind when making this recipe:
- Pay close attention to the oil as it heats, never leave hot oil unattended.
- Do not leave cooking food unattended.
- Use oils with high smoking point like canola or vegetable oil.
- Always have good ventilation when frying or using a gas stove
- Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 4 days