Plantains are so yummy. They’re the perfect side or main dish, whether deep-fried, air-fried, baked, or boiled. The best ever are the sweet baked plantains with melted cheese (that’s next on my list of recipes to add to the blog).
Boiled plantains can be made with green plantains or sweet yellow ripened plantains.
Either way works well. Just remember that green plantains are starchier and can be a bit gritty, so we typically make them twice-fried (or air-fried) with a dipping sauce like hogao (I have a step-by-step patacones con hogao recipe), or boiled and mashed and mixed with a sauce, garlic, or any one of your favorite condiments for flavor.
Table of Contents
How To Make Boiled Plantains, And What You’ll Need
To start, you’ll need the following:
- Green or ripe plantain
- Pot of water
- Cutting board
- Paring Knife
- Slotted spoon or fork
Two Ways to Boil Plantains – With or Without the Peel
Boil Peel On, Then Remove The Peel
This is the easiest and fastest way to boil plantains, with the peel on, then remove the peel once the plantains are boiled. Slice the ends off, cut the plantain in half, score the plantain lengthwise, and boil.
While this is an easy way to boil a plantain, I prefer to boil without the skin. There’s always a feeling that the skin is slightly dirty, and I prefer to remove it before cooking the plantains.
Boil After Peeling
Tip: Score and run hot water on the plantain to help lift the skin off of the plantain. This is a tremendous help when you’re having difficulty removing the peel off the plantain.
Note that removing the peel before boiling is slightly more time-consuming, but only a very nominal time difference.
Step-by-Step Instructions to Boil Plantains
- Rinse the plantains and cut off the ends.
- Make a shallow slit along the length of each plantain and remove the peel. Tip! To remove the peel easily, run the plantain under hot water, or put it in a bowl full of hot water before peeling.
- Cut the peeled plantains into your desired shape and size. Smaller pieces will cook faster.
- Fill enough water to cover the plantains and add them to the pot.
- Cook until tender, about 10-20 minutes, depending on their size and ripeness. Note: test the plantain with a fork.
- Drain the plantains and serve them hot or at room temperature.
- Sprinkle on seasoned salt.
Boiled Plantains And Variations
- Butter and Garlic Plantains – After boiling green plantains, toss them with minced garlic, fresh chopped herbs (such as cilantro, parsley, or basil), and a drizzle of olive oil—season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Sweet Churro Boiled Plantains – Toss the boiled plantains (ripened plantains) in a mixture of melted butter, cinnamon, and a touch of brown sugar (yum). This is a fun and deliciously sweet, gluten-free alternative.
- Spicy Green Plantains – Add your favorite hot sauce or this herbaceous aji picante sauce, also the best on empanadas. It’s so tangy and spicy that it’s perfect with boiled plantains.
- Mangu or Plantain Mash – Mash-boiled plantains and mix with butter and salt for a delicious Dominican mangu, then topped with pickled onions and jalapeños.
If you’re in the mood for a crispy plantain recipe, try air fryer plantains con hogao or plantain fritters, also known as arañitas de platanos.
Tips for Choosing and Storing Plantains
Shopping For The Best Plantains
Keep in mind that green plantains are unripened and ideal for salty recipes, and yellow, and dark brown are the sweetest.
Green Plantains (For Salty Recipes)
- Look for plantains that are free of blemishes and soft spots.
- I love bright green plantains.
Ripened Plantains (For Sweet Recipes)
- Ripe plantains should be yellow with black spots or darker brown.
- Note: slightly green, yellow plantains are only slightly sweet.
How To Store Plantains
To help keep plantains unripened longer, store them in a bowl or the refrigerator without a bag of any kind. Sealing plantains in a bag will ripen plantains much faster.
Store them in a paper bag to speed up the plantains’ ripening process. Follow this step-by-step guide on how to ripen plantains faster for the best maduros.
Store Cooked Plantains
Store cooked plantains in the refrigerator or freezer. Place the cooked plantains in a glass container and store them in the refrigerator for up to 3 days and in the freezer for up to a month.
- What is the difference between boiled green plantains and boiled sweet plantains? Green plantains are unripe and have a starchy, less sweet taste, making them suitable for savory dishes. Boiled sweet plantains, on the other hand, are ripe and have a soft, sweet taste, which makes them perfect for desserts or sweet side dishes.
- How can I tell if my boiled plantains are done? Boiled plantains are done when tender and easily pierced with a fork. Cooking times may vary depending on the size of the plantain pieces and their ripeness.
- 1 Green or Ripe Plantain
- 2 cups Filtered Water Enough to cover the plantain
- 1 Pinch Salt Based on preference.
- Step OneRinse the plantains and cut off the ends.
- Step TwoMake a shallow slit along the length of each plantain and remove the peel. Tip! To remove the peel easily, run the plantain under hot water, or put it in a bowl full of hot water before peeling
- Step ThreeCut the peeled plantains into your desired shape and size. Smaller pieces will cook faster.
- Step FourFill enough water to cover the plantains and add them to the pot.Cook until tender, about 10-20 minutes, depending on their size and ripeness. Note: test the plantain with a fork
- Step FiveDrain the plantains and serve them hot or at room temperature.