Maduros (Fried Sweet Plantains)

A dish of fried sweet plantains.
Yields: 4 Servings Difficulty: Easy Prep Time: 5 Mins Cook Time: 5 Mins Total Time: 10 Mins

What Are Maduros?

Maduros are fried sweet plantain bananas that are mature and overripe. Maduros is such a popular side dish in Cuba that it can probably be found on every dinner table. If you are not familiar with plantain bananas they can be a bit deceiving. Most people might think when they see a plantain banana that is turning dark brown and almost black that it is time to throw it away. I say, “Nooooo, don’t throw it away, it is perfect!” Perfect for tonight’s dinner.

Bunches of Plantains both ripe and unripe on display in a traditional  market.

What Is A Plantain Banana?

If you are reading above and asking yourself ok now I know what maduros are but what is a plantain banana? Let’s back up and let me explain what a plantain banana is. A plantain banana is a cooking banana. Plantains contain more starch and less sugar therefore frying them brings out the sugar when caramelizing. The peel of a plantain is very different from the dessert banana. Not only is it thicker and a lot harder to peel, but it is also not completely ripe until the peel is almost black. Plantains have a more boxy shape than a dessert banana as well.

How To Choose The Right Plantain Banana

Choosing the right plantain banana can be confusing when first learning how to cook with plantains. Depending if you are making maduros or tostones depends on how ripe the plantain should be. 

Plantain (Musa x paradisiaca) in different stages of maturation.

Looking at the picture above, the peels that are yellow and starting to develop brown spots are perfect for maduros. The peels that are still green are perfect for tostones. 

Are Plantains Good for You?

We all know that a traditional banana is very good for you. They are high in potassium and other vitamins and minerals that the body needs in order to function properly. But plantains are also very good for you. Not only are they high in complex carbohydrates, but they are also an excellent source of fiber.

Plantains are known to contain antioxidants, which are important for fighting free radicals within the body. They also have a lot higher levels of vitamin C than a traditional banana does, which means that they are better for the immune system. They are also an excellent choice for those who are prone to cardiovascular disease, thanks to their higher content of vitamin B6. For more nutritional values go here.

Plátanos Maduros or fried sweet ripe plantain banana

Got picky eaters? I haven’t seen a kid turn down the sweet taste of a maduro yet! Pictured below is a typical easy kid-friendly meal that my husband grew up on!

Rice cuban style with egg and fried plantain

What else goes with maduros you ask? Try these recipes for that perfect sweet and savory combination.

Ropa Vieja (Cuban Shredded Beef)

Pollo Asado (Baked Chicken)

Fricase de Pollo (Chicken Fricassee)

Cuban Fried Abondigas (Cuban Meatballs)

Cuban Picadillo

Cuban Fried Rice (Arroz Frito)

Arroz Amarillo con Pollo (Yellow Rice with Chicken)

Sharing is FUN! Below is a Pinterest Friendly photo…..

Ingredients

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Instructions

0/4 Instructions
  • Cut off each end of the plantain banana. Score the peel down the side of each plantain banana and remove the peel.
  • Cut each banana at a 45* angle about 1/2" thick.
  • Heat a cup of oil on medium heat. Don't let the oil get too hot or the plantains will cook too fast and not caramelize. When the oil is ready fry plantains until edges start to brown. Each side will only need to be cooked 2-3 minutes. Don't crowd the pan or plantains could start to stick together. Fry in batches if needed.
  • When edges start to brown turn once and continue cooking until done. Drain on a paper towel quickly and then remove paper towel or the maduros will start to stick to the paper towel.