Fried Sweet Plantains Are The Most Popular Cuban Side Dish


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Fried sweet plantains, known as plátanos maduros, are a very common side dish in Cuban cooking. It’s usually served with savory meat dishes but can be eaten with just about anything. In fact, some folks can’t even eat their favorite Cuban dishes without their side of fried maduros! 

This dish is super easy to make, but the trick is to use very ripe plantains. So, let’s start with picking the plantains for fried maduros.  

ripe plantains

How To Tell When Plantains Are Ripe 

Plantains are sold in various degrees of ripeness, and all are delicious to make. But the darker the skin, the sweeter they are. They are especially great fried. For fried sweet plantains, you want the skin to have black spots. Actually, nearly black skin makes for the sweetest maduros.  

Sometimes it’s hard to find them this ripe. In that case, you can buy yellow plantains and let them ripen a bit before frying. If you can’t wait, you can make maduros with the yellow plantains. They just won’t be quite as sweet, but they are delicious nonetheless. Yellow plantains are called plátano pinton. 

As a side note, green plantains are also delicious. You can make twice-fried plantains or tostones.

sweet plantains

How To Make Maduros 

Once you have a ripe plantain, you’re ready to make some maduros! Although plantains look like bananas, they are quite different. You have to cook them first because they are not very good raw. Also, peeling them is a little harder. You can’t just peel them like a banana. 

The best way to peel a plantain is to cut off both ends and then cut a slit into the skin lengthwise. For ripe plantain, one or two slits are enough. Then you can insert a knife edge just under the skin and peel it back.  To watch a video on how it’s done, check out my Why I love Cuban Plantains post.

Next, you’ll cut the banana diagonally into half-inch slices. Fry them in medium-hot oil for about three minutes per side. Drain them on paper towels and lightly salt. They are ready to eat.  


What To Eat With Maduros

Maduros give dishes a sweet and salty component that is addictive. They are delicious with savory dishes like authentic Cuban picadillo, paella mixta and ropa vieja. They can even be added to pizza and sushi!  

Try them and let me know what’s your favorite maduros combo.  

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sweet plantains recipe

How To Make Maduros

  • Author: Sandi Abbott
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 6
  • Total Time: 11 minutes
  • Yield: 68 slices 1x
  • Category: side dish
  • Method: Frying
  • Cuisine: Cuban


Fried sweet plantains, known as maduros, are a very popular Cuban side dish that is perfect with savory meat and chicken entrees. They give your dishes a sweet and salty appeal you’ll love!



1 Ripe Plantain (skin should be mostly black and flesh should be fairly soft)

Vegetable Oil for Frying



Heat oil over medium heat for a few minutes.

Preheating: While the oil is heating up, peel and slice a ripe plantain.

Peeling: Cut off both ends of the plantain and cut a slight lengthwise. Stick your knife just under the skin and pull the skin off. 

 sweet plantains

Slicing: Cut the plantain diagonally into half-inch slices. One plantain should yield 6-8 slices. 

fried plantains

Frying: Fry the plantains in vegetable oil about 3 sides per side until the skin is a dark golden brown. Drain on paper towels and lightly salt. 


Serve maduros with savory Cuban dishes like picadillo and ropa vieja

Keywords: maduros, fried sweet plantains, Cuban plantains, sweet plantains, ripe plantains, platanos maduros

2 thoughts on “Fried Sweet Plantains Are The Most Popular Cuban Side Dish”

  1. Hi John,

    Thanks for your comment 🙂

    I’m so glad that plantains are such a common food for you. That’s great! In Miami, where I live, they are common as well, due to the large population of Latin American and Caribbean people living here. But I have friends in other parts of the US that are not as familiar with plantains. My brother living in North Carolina can’t always find them, especially green ones, and there is a large Hispanic community where he lives.

    I don’t know your background or what you grew up eating. For me, plantains are exactly what I called them, a most popular Cuban side dish. I know other cuisines have them and I’ve enjoyed them in these dishes too.

    But, I’m writing about my experience and what I know. I’m wanting to introduce my beloved Cuban food to groups that may not be familiar with it. I don’t want to assume they know it.

  2. Can we please stop exoticising foods that are common?…plantains are not unique to Spanish cuisine…they are eaten the worl over…

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