Patacones Recipe

A beloved classic in Latin American countries, this Patacones Recipe is a simple yet satisfying snack, appetizer, breakfast or side dish that transforms green plantains into crispy, savory bites!

Overhead shot of patacones in a grey bowl on a blue tile background.

Why This Recipe Works

As a person from the United States living in Ecuador, my world has been opened to the beauty of plantains. Plantains, in their many forms, are not only a staple in the Ecuadorian diet, but they are a way of life.

This simple preparation of twice-fried, smashed plantains is one of my favorite ways to enjoy plantains. The key is using plantains that are green and unripe. The green form of the plantain, known as "verde" in Ecuador, is savory and starchy, and will get nice and crispy in the hot oil. When you buy a green plantain, it will turn yellow in just about 2 days, so plan accordingly!

Patacones go by different names in different countries. This would be known as a tostones recipe in Puerto Rico and Caribbean countries. In Ecuador, Colombia, Peru and Costa Rica, they are known as patacones.

You can serve patacones in so many different ways. They are often enjoyed as breakfast in Ecuador with a fried egg. But they are a wonderful as an appetizer or snack with queso fresco or your favorite dipping sauces! Patacones are seriously one of my favorite snacks. Here in Ecuador, I eat them at least once a week!

Ingredients

This patacones recipe uses just 3 simple ingredients! Here's what you'll need:

Three green plantains on a blue counter background with a kitchen towel.
  • Green Plantain: This patacones recipe calls for unripe green plantains. It will not work if your plantains are already yellow! If they are yellow, simply slice them up and fry them. They will be two soft to smash!
  • Oil: I use vegetable oil or canola oil here. But you can use any neutral oil with a high smoke point like avocado oil, too! Avoid olive oil as it will burn. The amount of oil you will need depends on the side of your pan.
  • Salt: I like to use a crunchy, coarse salt like kosher salt or sea salt.

How to Make This Recipe

  1. Prep the Plantain: Start by cutting off the ends of the plantain. Then, using the sharp edge of the knife, run the knife along the edge of the green peel to create a lengthwise slit the way down. Using the edge of the knife or your thumb, start to push away the peel from the plantain to take the peel off. If the peel is sticky and you have some pieces that are stuck on, you can use a potato peeler to get the rest of it off nicely. Cut the plantain into thick slices, about 1 inch thick.
  1. Heat Oil: Next, heat up the oil on medium heat to medium-high heat. You will need to use a large skillet or a large frying pan and add enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan and have a shallow layer of oil in the pan.
  2. Fry: Add the pieces of plantain into the oil. Cook on one side until bright yellow, about 3-4 minutes, then flip. Once the other side is also bright yellow in color, you can flip them on their sides to makes sure the whole thing is cooked through. If they are starting to brown in color too quickly, turn the heat down a little bit.
  1. Smash: Take the plantain pieces out of the oil and place on a cutting board, but keep the oil on the stove. Use the bottom of a glass or mug to smash the pieces into disks.
  1. Fry Again: Add the flattened plantains back into the skillet of hot oil to fry again for a second time. This time you want to fry until they get crispy, about 4 more minutes on each side.
Smashed plantains in the frying oil to get fried for the second time.
  1. Salt & Serve: Once they are crispy and golden brown on each side, place them on a paper towel-lined plate to soak up any excess oil, and sprinkle salt immediately as each one comes out of the pan! Serve and enjoy.
Fried plantains in a shallow grey bowl and topped with crispy salt.

Tips for Success

  • Use unripe plantains! You have to use green plantains in this patacones recipe. In the US, I often had luck with finding green plantains in Walmart. You can sometimes find them in other stores, but sometimes they are already yellow. Yellow plantains are already ripe and they turn sweet. Sweet plantains are still delicious to fry up, but will not be crispy like these patacones!
  • To smash the plantain pieces, you can also use a tortilla press instead of a mug or glass. However, a tortilla press will make them extra thin. Some countries smash them super thin, but it is not typical in Ecuador.
  • Eat them hot! It is a simple fact that fried plantains are best eaten hot. Once it turns cold it just isn't as good! If you can't finish the plantains, you can heat them up again in the air fryer, but I recommend only making as much as you can eat in one sitting.
Plantains served with beans, rice, onions and avocado.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are patacones?

Paracones are a crispy snack made by frying green plantain sliced twice until super crispy. They are popular in Latin American and Caribbean cuisine.

How do you serve patacones?

For breakfast, serve these perfect patacones with a fried egg and sausage! They can take the place of your breakfast potatoes. As a snack or appetizer, I recommend serving them with pink sauce, a simple combination of ketchup and mayo. They also go great with smashed avocado or guacamole! You can also serve them as a side dish with ceviche, or Ecuadorian black bean stew and rice.

How many plantains per person?

As a side dish or snack, one plantain per person should be good. It is easy to fry one plantain in a skillet at a time. If you want to serve more people and make even more twice-fried plantains, you can double or triple the recipe to use 2-3 plantains. Place the fried plantains on a baking sheet lined with a wire rack and pop them in a warm oven while you are finishing the rest of the batch.

Patacones stacked on top of each other and served in a shallow grey bowl.

More Recipes to Try

Fried Patacones in a bowl.

Patacones Recipe

A beloved classic in Latin American countries, this Patacones Recipe is a simple yet satisfying snack, appetizer, breakfast or side dish that transforms green plantains into crispy, savory bites!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Course Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine Ecuadorian
Servings 2 people
Calories 334 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 large green plantain
  • oil use a neutral oil with a high smoke point
  • coarse salt kosher or flaky sea salt

Instructions
 

  • Start by cutting off the ends of the plantain. Then, using the sharp edge of the knife, run the knife along the edge of the green peel to create a lengthwise slit the way down. Using the edge of the knife or your thumb, start to push away the peel from the plantain to take the peel off. If the peel is sticky and you have some pieces that are stuck on, you can use a potato peeler to get the rest of it off nicely. Cut the plantain into thick slices, about 1 inch thick.
  • Next, heat up the oil on medium heat to medium-high heat. You will need to use a large skillet or a large frying pan and add enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan and have a shallow layer of oil in the pan.
  • Add the pieces of plantain into the oil. Cook on one side until bright yellow, about 3-4 minutes, then flip. Once the other side is also bright yellow in color, you can flip them on their sides to makes sure the whole thing is cooked through. If they are starting to brown in color too quickly, turn the heat down a little bit.
  • Take the plantain pieces out of the oil and place on a cutting board, but keep the oil on the stove. Use the bottom of a glass or mug to smash the pieces into disks.
  • Add the flattened plantains back into the skillet of hot oil to fry again for a second time. This time you want to fry until they get crispy, about 4 more minutes on each side.
  • Once they are crispy and golden brown on each side, place them on a paper towel-lined plate to soak up any excess oil, and sprinkle salt immediately as each one comes out of the pan! Serve and enjoy.

Notes

You have to use green plantains in this patacones recipe. In the US, I often had luck with finding green plantains in Walmart. You can sometimes find them in other stores, but sometimes they are already yellow. Yellow plantains are already ripe and they turn sweet. Sweet plantains are still delicious to fry up, but will not be crispy like these patacones!
Nutrition information is an estimate. 

Nutrition

Calories: 334kcalCarbohydrates: 33gProtein: 1gFat: 22gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 6gMonounsaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 0.1gSodium: 2mgPotassium: 386mgFiber: 2gSugar: 2gVitamin C: 18mgCalcium: 2mgIron: 1mg
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