HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


Over Ripe Plantains? Recipes? Ways to use them up?

Why waste right? Just wondering if anyone had any tricks of the trade to use them up. I've searched around a bit, and all I've found is "Plantain Moi Moi" using unripe plantain flour and crayfish, which neither I have.

Could they be mashed and used in breads or something? I'm just clueless about this.


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. when you say overripe, do mean they've gone mushy, or just that the skins have gone black?

    If they've gone mushy, there's not much you can do, unless you feel like experimenting with banana bread, subbing the mashed plantain for the mashed banana.

    If it's just that the skins have gone black, but the flesh is still a firm pinkish-yellow, then you've hit the jackpot!

    Peel, slice into thick chunks (3/4") and saute in vegetable oil until brown and caramelized.


    6 Replies
    1. re: sunshine842

      Heaven is right! I just had a whole one on my own this afternoon.

      I slized it in rounds, saute'd in butter this time until brown and carmelized. The Mister likes them saute'd in either coconut oil, or a combination of coconut oil and another oil.

      1. re: Rella

        But keep an eye on them when frying. When ripe it is easy to burn the slices.

        1. re: paulj

          oh, yes -- they are so sweet, they burn easily.

          I'm the only one round these parts who likes them -- but they're one of the few foods that really easy to enjoy when you're the only one who eats them -- no leftovers and not a lot of fuss.

      2. re: sunshine842

        cooked an overripe plantain yesterday (skin black) in a nonstick skillet until caramelized and I have found that I don't have to use any oil....always eat plantains with black beans and garlic pork (the way I first had them in Cuban restaurants in NYC)....I would like to know if there is a way to speed up getting to the overripe stage? I buy them green and wait for the skin to turn.

        1. re: foufou

          I guess you could put them in a paper bag to trap the gases...but mostly you just have to be patient.

          1. re: foufou

            piles some citrus fruit on top of them that would help them ripen quicker

        2. If the skins are black, you can just bake them in the skins like a potato.

          1. There are some recipes for plantain empanadas out there...they require ripe plaintains.

            2 Replies
            1. re: howchow

              There are empanada recipes that use green ones, yellow ones, and ripe ones. Any but the ripest ones need to be boiled for while before mashing.

              1. re: paulj

                Here is a recipe I used using green plantains - recipe by Alton Brown. Tostones, they are called. Twice fried.
                Recipe at http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/al...

            2. As others have said, you really need to clarify what you mean by overripe. You may have just hit a culinary jackpot!!!

              1. If you are doing a web search, the black ripe ones are called 'maduros'.

                1. 1) If totally ripe but the fruit itself is still relatively firm, you can roast them in a hot oven (or on the grill). When hot, slit in half, sprinkle with turbinado sugar (then broil if you want) drizzle with crema, creme fraiche, thinned sour cream or rompope (Mexican eggnog, for lack of a better description, only way better).

                  2) Cut plaintains in half, put in a sauce pan, cover with water by 1" and bring to a boil. Keep at a low simmer and cook until soft. Peel and mash with a potato masher (you can use a food processor, but they tend to over process very quickly and become gluey). Season some cooked black beans how ever you want (i.e. chiles, onions, spices, etc) and mash those too. Make a ball about the size of a golf ball and flatten it out. Put a couple teaspoons of the bean mixture in the center and then fold up to make a cigar shape. Fry in a couple inches of oil until golden. Drain and serve with salsa or crema.

                  3) Mashed plaintains as a side dish (season with garlic, onion and jalapeño)

                  4) As a frittata - slice plaintins, melt buttter in an omelete pan, add plaintain slices and fry until golden on underside, flip and add some slice or chopped onion. Cook until that side is golden and the onions are translucent. Whip up 2 or 3 eggs and pour over the mixture in the spatual using a skillet to lift the edges so the eggs run to the bottom of the pan. Cook until eggs just begin to set, then loosen the edges. Put a plate over the skillet, flip it over then slide the frittata back into the skillet to continue cooking.

                  5) Slice plaintains and slightly smash with your hand. Saute in oil. Serve over steamed white rice drizzled with crema, creme fraiche or thinned sour cream.

                  Ripe plaintains are great.

                  1. There was another recently where the poster was asking about using plantain flour. Looks like that Moi Moi recipe is African.
                    using both the over ripe ones and the flour. The flour seems to be more common in African than the Americas.

                    I think you'll just have open them up, and see for yourself just how soft the flesh is. If still firm enough to slice, then frying is a good option. The tostones that someone else mention use the starchy green ones, and involve a double frying to both soften and crisp them. I've never dealt with plantains that are soft enough to mash without initial cooking.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: paulj

                      but they do an admirable job of slipping out from under your potato masher and shooting across the kitchen....not that's I know anything about that! (eye roll)

                      1. re: sunshine842

                        Oh My Gosh. I have loved fried ripe plantain(from a black peel) since I was 4. We went to Honduras to visit my grandparents and Victoria, the cook would make them. I begged for them at every meal. There was always a bunch hanging right outside the back door of the kitchen. I still love them, over 60 years later, but, sigh, the low carb diet we're on would crash and burn over just one of them. My Mom used to fry them to have with red beans & rice(and ham). It was always such a special meal. We had them about a year ago at a small restaurant in Flemington NJ and it was such a great taste flashback to my childhood. And my 2nd sister has found a place in Indiana where she can get them, and takes them to my mother, now 92 at her nursing home for a special treat.
                        Thanks for the lovely memories.

                    2. I live in Miami, Florida and have not been able to get good plantains for a while now where I shop, so I've been buying frozen. They come in a see-through bag, with no name or brand or anything (nothing at all!). I'm assuming these are the same plantains they use in their hot foods counter. The real good plantains used to come from Venezuela, and for some reason, the fresh plantains I see at the store have a very hard center and hard meat, even when they turn black outside. I've been pretty lucky with the frozen plantains, as they always turn out well. I like to fry mine well - - the more you fry them, the sweeter they get. For the tostones, we buy the big fat Hawaiian plantains. There's a wooden artifact that you can buy to make filled tostones, which when you press the plantain in it, it makes a well for the filling. Yummy.

                      1. Pastelon is a Puerto Rican dish similar to a lasagna. Its made with mature Plantains. Check out this video http://youtu.be/Q2dxfOQbr5g

                        9 Replies
                        1. re: thisdamecooks

                          Thanks for this recipe link. I've never heard of the recipe and so searched my Eat Your books - I have 123 recipes using plantains, but none for this dish.

                          I see some pastelon recipes online, but they all seems to use the Goya Sazon and Adobo products, for which I will probably try to find a substitute recipe for these particular products..

                          1. re: Rella

                            Rella, see if you can find Badia's Sazon Tropical - it doesn't have MSG in it.

                            1. re: sunshine842

                              Well, thank you, sunshine. I've printed out http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=asa_osd_i...
                              and will look for it on my next market day; if not, I can order it from Amazon.
                              My appreciation!

                              1. re: Rella

                                No problem -- and it's a good Sazon, too.

                                Don't know what's in your local market, but I have bought it at Sweetbay and Walmart, believe it or not. Those were in Florida, so likely more in tune with the Hispanic market, but it might be a starting point.

                                Edit: look here: http://www.badia-spices.com/cooking/c...

                                1. re: sunshine842

                                  Thanks again - It shows up at the local chain grocery stores (about 10 of them) where I seldom shop for anything other than cream. I'll be checking them out.

                              2. re: sunshine842

                                While Sazon has msg (and gives rice a nice yellow color), I believe Goya Adobo is mostly salt and garlic powder (I don't have any on hand).

                                1. re: paulj

                                  there are several different varieties of Adobo -- and quite a few of them have a LOT of msg in them.

                                  I was shopping for adobo in Florida this winter -- and ended up coming home empty-handed, as I try to avoid msg (I'm not militant about it, but if it's possible to not buy it, I don't)

                                  The Badia Sazon Tropical isn't the answer to your prayers, but it has no msg, and it makes killer rice.

                                    1. re: paulj

                                      thank you....will try some of the recipes in that thread

                          2. In Tonga they make a hot drink with mashed ripe plantains ( a variety called hopa), coconut milk, honey and cinnamon. Very yummy on a cold day. The also make pudding and banana bread with the many varieties of bananas and plantains that grow there. Check out YouTube for Plantain Recipes and Foodwishes http://youtu.be/wCHIeRYzKII

                            1. Old thread but try Rick Bayless Roasted Plantains with cajeta and pecans. Fab.


                              1 Reply
                              1. re: c oliver

                                Thanks for the awesome tip. Next time I'll try and remember this.