Coconut Sugar Caramelized Plantains

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Cast-iron skillet filled with delicious vegan Caramelized Plantains

It’s not often that I eat dinner solo these days, but one recent evening when John was away, I walked to our local Whole Foods and went straight for the hot food and salad bar.

Have you ever been there? That place is like magic!

Plantains

It was there that I fell in love with caramelized plantains. Oh mama.

One bite in and I immediately knew I had to recreate them for the blog.

I’m not sure what fats or sugars are used in their version, but I wanted to clean things up and infuse some extra flavor.

More flavor is always better in my opinion.

Mixing bowl with plantains and coconut sugar for making a delicious vegan treat

Instead of relying on brown or cane sugar, I went with coconut sugar – a more natural sugar extracted from sap of cut flower buds on the coconut palm. Crazy awesome, right?

A lot of you guys have been asking me if I ever use it and have also been subbing it in a lot of our recipes for cane sugar, and it got me curious. So thanks for the tip!

I haven’t done much baking with it yet (recommendations / tips welcome), but what I do know is it works fabulously for caramelizing.

Cast-iron skillet with Amazing Coconut Sugar Caramelized Plantains

This recipe is simple, requiring just 5 ingredients and 15 minutes. And the flavor pay off is HUGE.

To ensure the plantains got nice and brown I went for coconut oil, which infuses a little extra flavor. And I doused the plantains in coconut sugar, cinnamon, and a pinch of salt before throwing them in the pan – a cast iron is ideal if you have one.
Easy Vegan Caramelized Plantains in a cast-iron skillet

What happens next is pure magic. The outside of the plantains get all brown, caramelized and sweet, and the inside gets extremely tender and melt-in-your-mouth worthy.

Can we say, new favorite dessert?

Cast-iron skillet filled with perfectly Caramelized Plantains

I think you guys are going to LOVE this dessert! It’s:

Warm
Super flavorful
Caramelized
Perfectly sweet
Satisfying
Quick
&Naturally sweetened!

I served my plantains with some coconut whipped cream and additional sprinkle of coconut sugar. So good!

But I also think they would be amazing with my Coconut Sea Salt Caramel Ice Cream! Can we say best vegan ice cream sundae ever?

Skillet of Coconut Sugar Caramelized Plantains topped with coconut whip for a vegan gluten-free dessert

If you guys try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment and rate it – it’s super helpful to us.

And, don’t forget to take a picture and tag it #minimalistbaker on Instagram so we can see! Do you realize there’s more than 7,000 #minimalistbaker hashtags on Instagram thanks to you all? That’s amazing! Keep tagging and keeping up the the good vibes.

Cheers, friends!

Holding up a Coconut Sugar Caramelized Plantain with coconut whip for a delicious vegan dessert

Coconut Sugar Caramelized Plantains

5-ingredient, 15-minute coconut sugar caramelized plantains! Refined-sugar-free, vegan, gluten-free, and so delicious.
Author Minimalist Baker
Print
Skillet piled high with Coconut Sugar Caramelized Plantains and coconut whipped cream
4.89 from 17 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 4
Course Dessert
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Vegan
Freezer Friendly No
Does it keep? 3-4 Days

Ingredients

  • 3 ripe plantains (tender to the touch and yellow going on brown)
  • 3 Tbsp coconut sugar (or sub cane sugar)
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • 1-2 Tbsp coconut oil (or olive oil)
  • Coconut Whipped Cream (optional // for topping)

Instructions

  • Heat a large cast iron or metal skillet over medium-high heat and chop your plantains in 1/2 inch slices.
  • Add to a mixing bowl and toss with coconut sugar, cinnamon, and sea salt.
  • Once the skillet is hot, add coconut oil and only as many plantains as will fit comfortably in the pan without crowding. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side or until browned and caramelized.
  • Serve warm with dairy-free ice cream or coconut whipped cream. Best when fresh, though leftovers will keep in the fridge covered for a few days.

Notes

*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated without coconut whipped cream.
*Recipe adapted from / inspired by Whole Foods.

Nutrition (1 of 4 servings)

Serving: 1 serving Calories: 227 Carbohydrates: 51 g Protein: 1.8 g Fat: 3.9 g Saturated Fat: 3.1 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 64 mg Fiber: 3.2 g Sugar: 29 g

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  1. Alejandra says

    Thank you thank you thank you!!! This was my very first time making maduros and it was such a success. Most online recipes for maduros call for so much vegetable oil. This recipe calls for very little coconut oil and it works so so well!!! My hubby said they taste even better than the maduros we get from our favorite restaurants. Yum!! I only used 1 tbsp of coconut sugar and they were perfect! Thank you again!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      The sugar creates a caramelization, so it wouldn’t have that if using stevia. But it would probably still be tasty, just different! If you give it a try, let us know how it goes!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Romina, You could potentially toss the plantains in sugar, cinnamon, salt, and oil and roast at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 15-20 minutes (or more). For more info on roasting plantains, you can refer to our Black Bean Plantain Arepa Sandwiches. If you give it a try, we would love to hear how it goes!

  2. Brittany says

    Hello There. Just a suggestion for when you cook with plantains. I suggest you try and use ones that barely have any yellow/mostly brown . These will be quite soft in texture but shouldn’t mush or they will be overripe. These are when they are at peak sweetness. If you fry them at this stage, you probably wouldn’t need to use any additional sugar. They also will caramelize and cook faster. Let me know how it works. That is how I enjoy mine. Love your recipes, good to add some interesting variety to my diet!

  3. Maria says

    Is there anyone that i can talk to about this recipe? I have been looking around a lot for a recipe that i can use for my final assignment for the end of my classes and it has to be indonesian. I do not know if this is actually indonesian or if it just popped up in my searches but i would like to verify. Thank you.

  4. Tonya says

    I made these with a blend of coconut and cane sugar. The medium-high heat and hot skillet is too hot. Between the high sugar content of the plantains themselves, plus a sugar coating, they burn instantly and develop an acrid taste.

    The skillet needs to be at medium low, and they need to be cooked in the coconut oil for about 5 minutes before you add the sugar and cinnamon, then turn the skillet to low and let them carmelize a bit more.

  5. Sam says

    Just tried your recipe for the first time, and my plantain burned :( can you give a suggestion on temp and cooking time for a regular skillet. So disappointed with my results

  6. Jasmine says

    This recipe was super easy and super delicious! I definitely recommend trying this recipe. I made it for my guests and they just loved it!

  7. Lisa Sherratt says

    This looks fab – will try if I ever find plantain in the supermarket!

    I use coconut sugar in a lot of my baking, my favourite is in pineapple upside down cake but I’ve recently discovered makes chocolate cakes and brownies have a much richer flavour!

  8. Lelia Murcelo says

    For the last two weeks I have made one of your recipes everyday! No words can describe how happy I am. The plantain recipe makes me wish there was a hands down finger licking emoji lol! That coconut whip cream……the end….what a blessing. Lol!

  9. Richard Pascual says

    Funny you categorize this as dessert. I’m from Puerto Rico, and plátanos are a staple in our kitchen. We cook it every which way. Ripe plantains are typically deep fried and are called “amarillitos” (literally, little yellow ones), and they are naturally sweet. We serve those as a side dish. They are scrumptious!!

  10. Philip says

    Medium high heat for coconut oil is way too high. Unless you want to smoke out your house medium heat (350 max) is a better place to start. Otherwise the plantains are tasty.

  11. Melanie says

    I did them totally “wrong” last night…
    First, I had no plantains, but simple bananas I bought for breakfast over a week ago and then somehow forgot abotut them every morning.
    Second, I had no coconut sugar but used normal sugar made from sugar beets.
    Third – no whipped cream.
    I was also thinking about omitting the salt since I’m not much into that salty-sweet / chili-chocolate stuff you get everywhere nowadays, but I’m happy I didn’t! I would have licked the skillet if the caramel wasn’t so hot (so I used a dough scraper instead).

    I will definitely cook that egain, maybe even the correct way ;-)

  12. Gretchen says

    Mmmmmmm, fried plantains! My husband is from El Salvador, so we eat them often. We like them with retried beans & cream (like sour cream). Can’t wait to try these this weekend!

  13. vanille says

    So glad I’ve found your blog! Not only it has quality pictures and mouthwatering recipes, but you give it a very personal touch while keeping everything simple! Bravo!
    your french new addict

  14. Teresa says

    ooh, I bet these would be so good over a nice bowl of oatmeal for breakfast, maybe with some shredded coconut and walnuts..

  15. Jane says

    Omigosh, these are so delicious!!! Coconut sugar caramelizes perfectly. I want to eat this every day! I also topped it with your coconut whipped cream which was a perfect pairing. Thank you! I give this recipe 10 stars!

  16. Noreen says

    I just made these and they are FANTASTIC. My friend says he’s used regular sugar before and it’s the same but I told him he needs to try these with coconut sugar – – like the recipe says. It caramelizes perfectly and the cinnamon and the pinch of salt were perfect. I will definitely make this again. Thank you for sharing!

  17. Liz @ Floating Kitchen says

    Holy smokes! These look just magical. I love plantains, but I tend to kind of forget about them (food blogger problems?). But now I want them soooo bad. Gorgeous photos, as always.

  18. Lily | Handpicked by Lily says

    Yummy plantains…I love my plantains semi-sweet and fried as well but never tried caramelized plantains. Am getting hungry now!

  19. Thao @ In Good Flavor says

    I LOVE cooked/fried plantains. These caramelized ones look incredible! I can eat the entire batch!

  20. Anna Olsen says

    Hi, I’ve been subbing in coconut crystals as my autoimmune disease reacts painfully to sugar of any other sort with INFLAMMATION! So thanks for a try here, I appreciate not having to change up a recipe. BTW , when baking I use more of the coconut crystals and then some bustle via to make as sweet as needed.

  21. Jen says

    Made these last night and my daughter and partner were in LOOOOVE (as was I) sooo good! My partner is form Souther Mexico and has had his fair share of platano frito and said this was one the best desserts he’d ever tasted. Delish!

  22. Ana @ Ana's Rocket Ship says

    I have never been there- (seriously- any time Whole Food’s want’s to open a store round here I will be first through the doors!) but they have food like this there? Oh my! Thankyou so much for creating this for us Whole Foods deprived people! Also- coconut sugar? It just sounds even more yummy now!

  23. Jenné @ Sweet Potato Soul says

    Oh my! These looks so delicious. And with the coconut whipped cream! Oh lawd, I cannot handle myself! Must get my hands on some plátanos prontito!

  24. Ana | espressomykitchen.com says

    ooh I love plantains! This recipe sounds and looks soo delish! Coconut sugar?! I need to buy me some of that asap.

  25. Mariela says

    I’ve been eating plantains my whole life. They are the only thing I miss from since I moved to the states. In Puerto Rico we eat these as part of our meal, but I love the idea of straight out eating them for dessert. They are so versatile, right? Delicious!

  26. Wilma says

    Oh my god, you’re killing me! I love fried plantains, but not you’re going to add caramelization and coconut. Holy crap!

  27. DessertForTwo says

    I am obsessed with plantains! And yes, I say platanos, too! When I lived in Costa Rica, they were dessert every night. I admit, I usually fry the green ones and eat them savory, but it’s time for a sweet platano dessert in my life :)

  28. Jennifer Stevens | Adventurous Appetite says

    I am drooling. No seriously, saliva just fell from my mouth and onto my keyboard. It was gross. But this… you took plantains to the next level. Well done.

  29. Abby says

    These are incredible, Dana! I’ll never forget the first time I had caramelized plantains… at this little Indonesian restaurant in Amsterdam when I was 9. I’ve been obsessed since, but rarely have them. This recipe is so going to change that……

  30. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar says

    We usually use butter and honey for our plantains but that combo needs to MOVE ASIDE!!! I’m all over these!

  31. Lauren says

    So pretty! I love any reason I can use my cast iron skillet, especially if that reason is dessert ;)
    And yes to the Whole Foods hot bar. Have you been to the one in Austin at their flagship store? AHMAAAZINGGG

  32. Zoe says

    I use coconut sugar for everything. I don’t use any other granulated sugar at all. It is amazing in baked goods and whatever else you can think of. I have made this exact thing before and OMG so good! Plantains are da bomb!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks for sharing, Zoe!! I’m starting to use it in place of sugar in most things these days, too!

  33. Judit + Corina @Glamorous Bite says

    This looks utterly decadent, Dana! Have to check out our Whole Foods for plantains, your recipe is a true eye candy :)

  34. Ambar says

    There is a difference between ripe plantain and a yellow plantain. When the plantain is actually ripen you can eat it like a banana! It’s so good and so much sweeter! It does turn to a black-brown color but it doesn’t mean it got bad, that’s actually when it’s good and it has a lot more nutritional value! I do like this recipe and I wish to try it out one of this days! Thank you for all the great recipes you make!

  35. Rosanna says

    YUM!! Just had some plantain yesterday but more boring than anything (maybe not boring but plain and simple)! These though are the ones that I would make and my hubby would jump right into!!! I use to eat plantains a lot when I was a child and stop for not specific reason… I’m back on the wagon!!!

  36. Motte says

    wow, how do these look so good?? I swear I can smell them! I also promise to make these this weekend, yum! I can’t wait! x Motte

  37. Ellie says

    This is perfect. A friend of mine from childhood would always talk about when her grandma cooked plantain and how good it is but I’ve never had it. Only yesterday I found a store near me sells them! And I was hoping I could find a good recipe :D

  38. Deanne says

    Mmm, I do love the Whole Foods hot bar for lazy dinners. Haven’t tried their plaintains though, will have to do that next time I end up there for dinner.

  39. Jess | Fox & Fennel says

    Wow! These look and sound amazing! I first tried (and fell in love with) carmelized plantains at a Brazilian restaurant (Fogo de Chao – where they basically just bring hunks of meat to your table over and over again) back in my non-vegan days. I never thought about trying to recreate them myself – thanks for inspiring me to do this at home!

    Also – I hear you about Whole Foods. It’s like a magical wonderland, the employees seem to get it and they help me find stuff and actually spend time talking to me about food. I could spend hours in there ogling all the goodies!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Right? It’s my go-to place when John is having a guys night. I go and scour Whole Foods and look at food and eat at the hot food bar and drink kombucha. Basically, my idea of paradise :D

  40. Les @ The Balanced Berry says

    Holy yum! These sound (and look) magical. I fell in love with plantains in the Dominican Republic last year, and am always looking for new ways to make them. I need to give this a try!

    In terms of coconut sugar, I’ve had it work well as a substitute for both brown sugar and cane sugar in baking – it’s super versatile and my favorite kind of sugar!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks for sharing! Just tried baking with it for the first time and had really good results. I’ll be sure to swap it in for brown sugar soon!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Yep! It’s bigger and firmer with a less sweet taste. But they ripen and mostly look like a banana! They’re ideal for caramelizing or even making savory or sweet chips!

  41. Annaliese says

    Wow-ok, comment #2! I use coconut sugar in baked goods where I need a deeper, almost molasses-like flavor. I think it takes on a graham-cracker-y flavor when baked. It is waaay stronger than the flavor of sucanant, and I also find it dissolves more readily (probably particle size related). I have used it in cinnamon rolls (sub for sugar/brown sugar in the filling), sprinkling over biscotti right before first bake (smells ah-may-zing while baking), caramelizing bananas (!!), and have even used it in small quantities in homemade almond milk as a replacement for honey/agave/maple syrup. My next adventure: using it in cherry pie this weekend! I bet making a caramel sauce would be delicious, too.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks for the tips, Annaliese!! I like your idea about using it as a pie sweetener. Great ideas!

  42. Sara @ Cake Over Steak says

    Oohhhhh dang girl dang these sound insane! I had caramelized plantains at a nice Mexcian restaurant and they blew my socks right off. I’ve been dreaming of them ever since so this recipe has my name alllll over it.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      DO IT. And add some coconut whip or vegan ice cream! Never going back to restaurant plantains again :D

  43. S Lauren | Modern Granola says

    This looks and sounds remarkable. I used to make a meal out of caramelized plantains when I used to frequent a Salvadorian restaurant a few years ago. They are incredible. I haven’t had any since and never thought to make them myself! Genius as always!

  44. Annaliese says

    Seriously read my mind (and also the recipe hanging on my fridge!). I just made a caramelized banana smoothie (ok-milkshake because I used Luna and Larry’s Vanilla!)…and it was so friggin’ good!! I foresee caramelized fruits as a big summer trend…perfect!!

  45. Molly says

    Hi Dana! I love your website (your 5 minute hummus is one of my staple recipes). I’m wondering where you usually buy plantains–I’ve looked in Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and standard grocery stores without success. Maybe I’ll have more success in the spring?
    Thanks!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Molly! I’ve seen them at several grocery stores, but this time I had luck at Whole Foods. They’re green most of the time, so I had to let mine ripen for several days! Otherwise, try Mexican grocery stores.

  46. Cristina says

    Oh my goodness, that looks and sounds incredible! I’ve never heard of coconut sugar before, I’m intrigued.

  47. Lena | la fille lumineuse says

    The pictures of these plantains are seriously mouth-watering! :D
    I basically love caramelized-anything and it’s so amazing how quick & easy these actually are to make :)

  48. Matea says

    I think I’m the only one in my family who loves plantains– which means more for me! Have to try rolling the plantains in coconut sugar and cinnamon before frying them! Yum!!