How to Make Plantain Maduros

Is there any dish more deliciously Caribbean Latino than a crunchy-sweet side of caramelized maduros—super-ripe plantain golden-browned on both sides?

Yeah, I can’t think of anything either.

Plantains are at the cooking corazón of Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Venezuela, Colombia and many other Caribbean-bordering tropical nations in Central and South America.

Maduro means ripe, and maduros are made from plantains so ripe, their peel is deep yellow and halfway to black. (But not all the way black: that’s too ripe.) Fresh, bright-green plantains won’t work for maduros: save those for crunchy tostones: fried plantain fritters.

How to Buy and Slice Plantains for Maduros

The ideal color yellow for making maduros

When buying plantains, you have two choices when making maduros:

1) Buy GREEN and wait for a week or two until they are deeply yellow with just a few black spots.

2) Buy YELLOW with a black spot or two—and cook them almost immediately. If they are all black, it’s too late. Too mushy.

To peel, slice a thin sliver off the top stem end and the bottom of each plantain. Then peel the plátano like a banana. It will be easy to remove.

Now, cut the plantain into thirds on the diagonal. Slicing each fat chunk on the bias creates more area for each plantain tip to touch your pan so it will sizzle in more places—creating more golden texture.

Important: Don’t slice plantains too thin. They will burn quickly and dry out when fried. The goal is thick, 3- to 4-inch-long chunks to get that caramelized gold on the outside and juicy deliciousness on the inside.

Ready to Make Plantain Maduros?

How to Make Maduros

5 from 2 votes
Recipe by Michelle Ezratty Murphy Cuisine: Puerto Rican


Prep time


Cooking time




  • 2 2 plantains, yellow

  • 1/3 cup 1/3 flour

  • 1/2 cup 1/2 vegetable oil (I use canola)


  • Slice each plantain into three chunks, on the diagonal: each about 3 to 4 inches long and full width.
  • Sprinkle flour onto a plate or work surface. Roll each plantain chunk in the flour and lightly coat both sides.
  • Add oil to a cast-iron or non-stick pan, 3 to 4 Tbsp at a time. Turn burner to medium-high heat.
  • Test the oil heat with a wooden cooking spoon. If the oil bubbles where you touch the tip of your spoon to the hot oil and pan, it’s ready.
  • Just before you add the plantain pieces, turn down heat to medium. Space them 1/2 inch apart. If you crowd the maduros, they will steam and get mushy. You don’t want that.
  • Cook in batches, flipping once so that you brown each one 2 to 3 minutes per each side, until it is golden-brown. The flour creates a seal around each plantain piece and helps it caramelize more crisply and evenly—without burning. Keep an eye on them so they don’t burn.

  • Place cooked maduros on a plate lined with a paper towel. Keep working in batches until all are done.
  • Serve hot. No salt or adobo needed. Your maduros are juicy-sweet, crispy-golden—and ready to eat. Mmmm.


  • For oil, I use canola. You can also use avocado or corn oil. Do not use olive oil. Reason #1, its flavor overpowers the plátano. Reason #2, olive oil’s smoke point is low at 375 to 405° and it burns easily, giving your plantains a bitter, unpleasant taste.
  • Flip each maduro only one time when frying. It’s like searing a steak, you only get one chance to flip! Peeking is good … but only one flip.  Otherwise your maduros can get limp and too oily.
These smaller plátanos are called manzanos and don’t need to be sliced on the bias like the larger, more typical ones Puerto Ricans are used to seeing in the store.

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