Plantains are one of our favorite foods of all time — they’re naturally sweet, seriously addictive, and packed with nutrients and fiber! Chances are that if you’ve been so lucky to have tried them, you’re also in love.
But maybe you’re intimidated by how to select good plantains and how to cook them? No worries, friends, because we’re about to share all our secrets (including those we learned from a friend who grew plantains in the Caribbean!).
Just 1 pan, 2 ingredients, 20 minutes, and a few tips stand between you and perfectly roasted plantains every time! Let’s do this!
What are Plantains?
Plantains are a relative of the banana but tend to be larger and contain more starch and less sugar. They’re grown and enjoyed in many tropical regions of the world, including the Caribbean, Latin America, and West and Central Africa.
They’re an excellent source of potassium and fiber. And they’re especially rich in a special type of fiber called resistant starch that helps keep your gut bacteria happy!
Green vs. Ripe Plantains
As plantains ripen from green to more yellow, they become sweeter. While they can be eaten at any point in the ripening process, sweet, ripe plantains are our favorite for roasting! So what’s a ripe plantain lover to do when only green ones are available at the store?
If you can only find green plantains, the solution is to choose ones with the best chance of ripening. When green plantains are picked from the tree too early (before they’re mature), they can rot before they ripen.
In the photo below, you’ll see that we’re pointing to a ridge in the plantain. When it has a defined ridge like this, that usually means it was picked too early and will be prone to rotting before ripening. If you want the plantain to turn yellow and ripen, you’ll want to choose one that’s more rounded (like a banana!).
How to Ripen Plantains
Similar to pears and peaches, plantains will keep ripening when you leave them on the kitchen counter. The warmer the climate, the faster they’ll ripen.
To encourage plantains to ripen faster, put them in a paper bag and set the bag in a warm spot (like the top of the refrigerator). A green plantain will usually ripen within 4-6 days.
Once a plantain is yellow with some brown spots, it’s best to enjoy it within a day. But if you can’t get to it right away, you can put it in the fridge (similar to an avocado) to slow the ripening process and prevent it from getting overripe. Once in the fridge, ripe plantains will keep for about 3-4 days.
If the plantain seems to be rotting before it turns yellow, it may mean that it was picked before it was mature. When that happens, we love chopping and steaming the green plantains (they taste kind of like a potato!).
How to Cut Plantains
To start, trim the ends off of the plantain.
Then use the tip of your knife to make a shallow cut lengthwise through the peel, doing your best not to pierce the flesh of the plantain. The more ripe the plantain, the thinner the skin will be.
Then peel away from the cut, removing and discarding the peel. The more ripe the plantain, the easier it will be to peel.
How to Cook Plantains
Once the plantains are peeled, it’s time to cut and roast them!
We find the quickest and easiest way is to slice them at an angle into 1/4-inch slices. Slicing at an angle maximizes the amount of plantain that’s touching the baking sheet, meaning extra caramelization!
Next, we coat them in melted coconut oil, because these tropical ingredients are made for each other!
If the plantains are cold (for example, if they were stored in the refrigerator), then the coconut oil may harden when it touches them. In that case, you can use avocado oil or another neutral-flavored oil that stays liquid at cooler temperatures.
A final optional touch before they go in the oven is a pinch of sea salt to enhance their sweetness.
Then bake for 15-20 minutes at 425 degrees Fahrenheit (218 Celsius), flipping them after 10 minutes to ensure even browning on both sides. Perfectly roasted plantains = swoon!
We hope you find this guide helpful! These roasted ripe plantains are:
Tender with crispy edges
Packed with prebiotic fiber
& Perfect every time!
They’re a delicious side, especially paired with our Magic Green Sauce or Zesty Mango Habanero Hot Sauce. Or turn them into a meal by serving alongside our Smoky Instant Pot Black Eyed Peas & Greens (Vegan), in our Black Bean Plantain Vegan Bowls, or with our Easy Vegan Picadillo. They’d also pair beautifully with our Jamaican Jerk Grilled Eggplant (30 Minutes!).
More Helpful How-Tos
- How to Make Tortillas (2 Ingredients, Oil-Free!)
- Miso 101: Types, Benefits, Recipes & More
- How to Make Roasted Red Peppers
- How to Make Quick Pickled Vegetables: Guide & Recipes
If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!
Plantains 101: Perfectly Roasted Every Time!
- 2 ripe plantains (yellow with brown spots // see post above for tips on choosing plantains!)
- 1 Tbsp melted coconut oil (or avocado oil)
- 1 healthy pinch sea salt (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 425 F (218 C) and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- To cut the plantains, trim and discard the ends. Then use the tip of your knife to make a shallow cut lengthwise through the peel, doing your best not to pierce the flesh of the plantain. Remove the peel and slice the plantain on an angle into 1/4-inch slices.
- Place the sliced plantains on the prepared baking sheet and toss with oil and salt (optional).
- Bake for 10 minutes, then flip and bake for another 5-10 minutes or until golden brown and slightly caramelized on both sides.
- Best when fresh. Store leftover plantains in a sealed container in the refrigerator for 1-2 days and reheat on the stovetop or in the oven until warmed through. Not freezer friendly.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated without optional salt.