Crispy tostones are one of my favorite Latin American side dishes! Green plantain slices are twice fried until golden, crunchy and absolutely delicious. You won’t be able to eat just one!
Serve tostones as a side to beef picadillo or as an appetizer, with guacamole, whipped avocado dip, or a garlic dipping sauce (such as my roasted garlic aioli).
If you’ve never tried tostones, oh boy, you are in for a treat!
They are crunchy, they are savory, they are slightly tender (almost buttery) in the middle. They are my latest obsession! ♥️
I have to make a double batch when I cook them, because I know I’ll snack on them while I’m working in batches. Can you blame me though? They are so good!
And the best part? You only need 3 ingredients to make them. Plantains + oil + salt. Easy peasy!
Forget the store bought tostones chips. This homemade version is much better!
What are Tostones?
Tostones are slices of twice-fried green plantains, popular in Latin American and Caribbean cuisines.
The word tostones (pronounces to-sto-nez) comes from the Spanish verb tostar, which means “to toast”.
Many countries compete for its origins, but it is not clear where they originated from, especially since the name changes depending on the country. While Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua call them tostones, some South American countries – such as Colombia, Ecuador and Peru – call them patacones. And in Haiti they are known as bananes pesées.
What’s the difference between tostones and maduros?
Tostones are made from green unripe plantains. They are crispy and taste savory. Maduros are made from sweet ripe plantains. They taste sweet and are crispy at the edges but tender in the middle.
They are both served as side dishes, but I confess I do prefer maduros as a snack or dessert, sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon!
You will only need 3 ingredients to make tostones!
- Green plantains – The greener, the better! As the plantain ripens, its color changes to yellow and then to black, just like bananas. They also get sweeter. A sweet plantain is great for maduros (sweet fried plantains), but not for savory tostones!
- Oil – For frying the tostones. Choose a high smoke point oil, such as vegetable or canola, avocado, grapeseed or peanut.
- Salt – I like to use Maldon sea salt flakes for their nice crunch!
How to Make Tostones
The hardest part of making tostones is peeling the green plantains, but I will teach you all my tricks down below!
After you do the first fry, you are supposed to use a tostonera to flatten the plantain slices. If you don’t want to invest in one, a flat bottomed ramekin or glass works just as well! If using the ramekin, I like to spray it with nonstick spray so the plantain doesn’t stick.
Finally, you don’t need a lot of oil to fry these. They are shallow fried, so about 1/3 cup of oil is more than enough!
Recommended tools and equipment: paring knife, cutting board, tostonera or ramekins, skillet, paper towels or cooling rack.
Here’s how I make homemade tostones. As always, you will find the printable (and more complete) version of the recipe at the end of this post!
Step 1: Peel the green plantains.
- Cut the ends of each plantain, discarding them.
- Using a paring knife, make a slit along the length of each plantain, without going too deep so not to cut into the flesh.
- Cut each plantain in half. That will make peeling easier!
- Using the middle of your thumb, loosen the peel from the flesh. Be careful, a green plantain can be quite stiff and it can cut you! If they are very difficult to cut, you can try using a butter knife or peeling them under warm water.
Step 2: Slice the plantains.
- Cut each plantain crosswise, into 1-inch to 1 1/2-inch thick slices. I like to cut them at an angle to make bigger tostones!
Step 3: Fry the tostones.
- Heat the oil and fry the plantain slices until they begin to soften and gain some color.
- Transfer plantains to a cutting board, but keep the oil going!
- Using a tostonera or a flat bottomed ramekin, flatten each plantain slice to about 1/4-inch thick.
- Fry the slices again, until crispy!
- Transfer them to a paper towel lined plate and salt them while they are still hot. For even crispier tostones, you can place them on a cooling rack instead.
- Serve immediately!
- Depending on the size of your skillet, you might want to work in batches so not to overcrowd the pan. You don’t want the temperature of the oil to come down, or the tostones will steam and get oily instead of frying to crispy perfection.
- Love garlic? Add a garlic clove or two (no need to peel!) to the oil for a slight garlic flavor!
- Tostones are best when fresh! Unfortunately, this is not a good make-ahead recipe.
How are Plantain Tostones served?
Tostones are commonly served as a side to dishes like picadillo, rice and beans, ropa vieja, and others.
They are also served as a snack or appetizer, accompanied by a dip such as Mojo de Ajo (a garlic dipping sauce), avocado dips, mayo-ketchup (very popular in Puerto Rico!) or salsa.
I’ve also seen them used as a base for nachos, and I can’t wait to try it!
Storage and Reheating
Yes, tostones are much better when fresh, but you would be crazy to toss leftovers. They are the second best thing!
Store your leftover tostones in an airtight container, in the fridge, for up to 3 days. To reheat, place them on a rack in a baking sheet and reheat in the oven, at 450ºF, for 4 to 5 minutes, or until they are hot.
Frequently Asked Questions
No, it won’t be the same. Plantains are starchier and less sweet compared to bananas.
Yes, you can! Preheat your air fryer to 400ºF, peel and slice the plantains and place them in the air fryer, spraying with cooking spray. Fry for 3 minutes, flip and fry again for another 2 minutes. Remove and flatten the plantain slices, then return them to the air fryer, spraying them again with the oil. Working in batches, fry for another 5 minutes, flip them (spraying once more) and fry for another 5 minutes, or until golden and crunchy.
Yes, but they won’t be as crispy. To bake them, preheat oven to 400ºF, toss the plantain slices with oil, and arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 10 minutes, then flatten them and bake again until golden brown.
- 3 large green plantains
- ⅓ cup vegetable, canola, grapeseed, avocado or peanut oil
- Kosher salt or sea salt flakes, to taste
- Tostonera or flat bottomed ramekins
- Start by slicing the plantains. Cut off the ends of each plantain and discard them. Use the tip of a paring knife to slit the peel lengthwise, then cut the plantain in half. Using your thumb (or a spoon), lift the edges of the peel to help loosen it from the plantain. Remove and discard the peel.
- Once peeled, slice the plantains at an angle, into 1 to 1 ½-inch pieces.
- In a large skillet, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Working in batches if necessary, add the sliced plantains and fry for about 1 minute per side, or until they soften slightly and gain some color.
- Remove them from the pan and, using a tostonera press or a flat bottomed ramekin (or glass), gently press each slice until about 1/4 inch thick.
- Return the pieces to the hot pan, and fry until crispy, about 2 minutes per side.
- Transfer the tostones to a cooling rack (or a paper towel lined plate) and season generously with salt while they are still hot.
- Serve immediately!
- Preheat air fryer to 400ºF.
- Peel and slice plantains and place in the air fryer in a single layer (working in batches if needed). Spray with cooking spray.
- Cook for 3 minutes. Flip the slices, spray with cooking spray, and cook again for 2 minutes.
- Flatten the plantain slices and return them to the air fryer. Spray once more, then fry for 5 minutes, flip, spray and cook for another 5 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.
- Salt while they are still hot and serve!
- Preheat oven to 450ºF.
- Peel and slice the plantains. Toss with oil.
- Arrange on a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Bake for 10 minutes.
- Flatten the plantain slices and return to the baking sheet. Bake for another 10-15 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Salt and serve!