Mmm…plantains. I never really tried plantains until I got married to my husband, who is Puerto Rican. His family cooks them quite a bit and makes all sorts of cool things with them. His mom makes Jibaritos with them, which are basically a steak sandwiches with plantains as the buns. They also have a secret family recipe called, “Spanish Lasagna” which is like a lasagna, but with plantains as the noodles. They get mad creative with the plantains, and I love every single dish they make with them.
Since I’ve tried them, they have become one of my absolute favorite foods. Boy, I can get DOWN on some plantains! I love the sweet ones (Maduros) the most, but I will not discriminate if a salty Tostone comes my way. All the dishes my husband’s family makes with plantains are super bomb, but my favorite way to eat them is still just plain and fried. We usually cut them up, and fry them in canola oil. Then we smash them, fry them again and coat them with salt. Double-frying them makes them extra crispy and really brings out the natural sweetness of the plantain. But double-frying them uses A LOT of oil that soaks up into the plantains. I’m not sure how to get an accurate calorie count for them, but I know like I know that number is up there.
Enter our new BFF: the air fryer! I know we’re jumping on this bandwagon a little late, but we’ve really been trying to save money and not blow it on appliances. (Never mind the fact that we just impulse-bought a SICK new pellet grill….but that is a different story for a different day!) Buuuutttt – we found this cute little air fryer on the low at Sam’s Club a few weeks back and bought it on a whim. We’ve been using it quite a bit since then, and we”ve been really impressed with how well it’s working. We’ve made your classic fries & sweet potato fries, but have also found it really useful for things like (my favorite) cauliflower gnocchi, frozen veggie burgers, and frozen dinners. Our oven has been broken for months, so we made Trader Joe’s Orange Chicken in there and it turned out PERFECT. Legit, like restaurant quality. Air fryers are so dope. My only regret is that I wish we got a bigger one, but for the price point (I think we paid 35?) the one we scooped up has been working out pretty well!
These air fryer plantains have become a new favorite for us. Are they as good as the classic double-fried version? No. I would be lying to you, and myself, if I told you that they were. But they are a really good substitute and satisfied my plantain craving even though they definitely feel a lot lighter than the original. The key is to use a really, really ripe plantain. Like almost completely black. They will be sticky and a little hard to flip, but the flavor will be much sweeter and more pronounced than using just a halfway ripe one. Also, don’t be shy with the salt. Salt makes everything better!
Easy Air Fryer Plantains
- 1 ripe plantain
- 1 tsp coconut oil
- salt, to taste
- Slice your plantain at an angle, creating slices that are about 1/2 an inch thick.
- Transfer plantains to a bowl, toss with 1 tsp of coconut oil & a pinch of salt. Alternatively, use a coconut oil spray to coat plantains evenly.
- Set your air fryer to 400°F and toss your plantains in the basket. Cook for 5 minutes.
- Open the basket and flip your plantains. Depending on how ripe your plantain is, they may stick to the basket. Be gentle as you flip them, they're fragile at this stage!
- Cook for another 3-5 minutes, checking on them towards the end to assure they don't burn.
- Your plantains are done when they're crispy around the outside but still a little mushy on the inside. Coat them with a little bit more sea salt and enjoy!