Make a batch of sweet air-fried plantains (maduros) for a quick & easy dish that comes together in under 20 minutes. This dish has a subtle sweetness from the ripe plantains and a crispy exterior.
Want To Save This Article?
Enter your email below and we'll send it straight to your inbox. Plus, you'll receive new weekly recipe inspiration.
Fried sweet plantains (often called maduros) are a great side dish to go along with Cuban-inspired rice, beans, Jamaican jerk chicken, or fried eggs. They are a super versatile food that can also make a great snack.
We're making a version of maduros using the air fryer that comes together in only 20 minutes. These air fryer plantains are coated in a special seasoning that helps balance the sweet plantain with some savory spices.
This recipe is a great way to make maduros without any deep frying.
What You'll Learn In This Recipe
- What plantains are and how to purchase them at the grocery store.
- How to tell if a plantain is ripe.
- Some easy and delicious meals to serve with plantains.
If you enjoy learning tricks like these to step up your game in the kitchen, be sure to sign up for my free 5-day email series all about becoming a better home chef.
What Are Plantains?
Plantains are a starchy fruit that is often referred to as a cooking banana. They're different from regular bananas in the sense that they are typically larger and not as sweet.
Plantains are very popular in many countries around the world including in South and Central America, Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Caribbeans.
Plantains are eaten cooked, typically either once they have hit peak ripeness (platanos maduros) or when they are still green (tostones). However, each culture has put its own twist on cooking plantains.
While plantains are not as common in many Americans' diets, they are easily accessible at most local grocery stores. In addition, plantains are sold for a very reasonable price and are available all year round.
Ingredients You Need
Here are the simple ingredients you'll need for the recipe:
- Garlic powder, paprika, ground cumin, and onion powder: These various spices help to create a delicious seasoning blend for the air fried plantains.
- Ripe plantains: When selecting plantains at the grocery store, you can choose your desired ripeness depending on the recipe. For our air fryer plantains, we need very ripe plantains (mostly black peel with a little yellow, and still slightly firm to the touch).
If you can only find plantains with green skin, don't worry! Bring them home and allow them to ripen on your counter - just like bananas! It takes about 7-10 days for green plantains to fully ripen, so plan accordingly.
- Coconut oil: A small amount of oil helps the plantains crisp up even more in the air fryer.
- Non-stick cooking oil spray: I always like to spray the air fryer basket with some cooking oil. It helps to ensure nothing sticks.
- Morton kosher salt: Salt helps to enhance the flavor of this dish, so don't skimp on it. Plantains are a food that really need an extra touch of salt.
How To Make This Recipe
Here's a step by step guide for how to cook plantains in the air fryer:
1. Start out by making an easy yet flavorful seasoning for the air fryer plantains. This seasoning includes garlic powder, paprika, ground cumin, and onion powder.
2. Next, cut the plantains. You'll first trim the end of the plantains. Then, gently score the skin of the plantains (try not to cut the flesh).
After the skin has been scored, you can easily peel off the outside of the plantain. Finally, cut even pieces about ½ inch (1.3 cm) thick. I like to cut the pieces diagonally so the plantains have an appealing look.
3. Grab a mixing bowl and toss together plantains with melted coconut oil. Sprinkle the mixed spices on top and stir until the plantains are well coated.
4. Now it's time to prep the air fryer. My personal favorite air fryer is the Cuisinart 7-1 air fryer. It always provides an even cook, it's very easy to clean, and it's a multi-tool that can also be used as a toaster.
If you're unfamiliar with air fryers, it doesn't actually fry foods. Rather, it blows hot air around the food that sits in an open hole basket. Similar to convection ovens, the hot air cooks the food and browns the outside.
Spray the air fryer with non-stick cooking oil spray, then place the plantain slices in a single layer.
Next, sprinkle each slice of plantain with a bit of kosher salt.
Finally, cook in the air fryer for about 6 - 8 minutes, until the plantains are golden brown and crispy on the outside.
- Looking for meal ideas to pair with plantains? For breakfast, eat plantains along with some fried eggs and chorizo. Want to keep things light? Mexican avocado salad and plantains make an easy lunch. Or just eat the air fryer plantains by themselves as a snack.
- Storage: If you have any leftovers, store the plantains in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- Reheat: Re-crisp leftover plantains in the air fryer at 350°F until heated through and crispy on the outside.
You can typically find plantains in most local grocery stores. They will be in the produce section. However, if you're having trouble locating plantains, try a local Mexican or Latin American grocery store.
You'll need to first cut off the ends of the plantains. Then, score the skin of the plantain (trying not to cut the flesh) on either side of the plantain. This makes peeling the plantain more manageable. Some people like using a paring knife on this step.
Grab a sharp knife and cut the plantains into thick slices (about ½ inch or 1.3 cm) on the bias. Be sure to keep them the same thickness so they all cook evenly.
Be sure that your plantains are cut into evenly thick pieces that are all relatively the same size. Additionally, make sure to place only a single layer of plantains on the air fryer basket.
I have used and loved my Cuisinart air fryer for years now! This air fryer is easy to use, plus it can serve as a toaster oven (I love a two-in-one appliance). It's also very easy to clean, which is a win in my book.
The exact time you need to air fry plantains for a crispy exterior, but a soft interior can vary depending on what air fryer you own. However, if you're making sweet plantains (maduros), they typically cook in 6 - 8 minutes.
More Mexican Inspired Recipes
Air Fryer Plantains
- Heat air fryer to 400°F (200°C).
- Combine garlic powder, paprika, ground cumin, and onion powder in a small bowl.
- Trim ends of plantains. Score the skin of the plantain, then peel to remove. Cut diagonally into ½ inch (1.3 cm) pieces.
- In a medium bowl, toss plantains in melted coconut oil. Sprinkle mixed spices on top and toss to combine with plantains until well coated.
- Spray air fryer basket with non-stick cooking oil spray. Add plantains in a single layer. Top each plantain with a sprinkle of kosher salt. Cook for 6-8 minutes, until plantains are golden brown and crispy on the outside.