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How to Make Tostones

Tostones

My favorite way to eat plátanos is tostones: Puerto Rico’s burn-your-tongue, golden-brown plantain fritters. So super-crispy and salty good. They are made from young, bright-green plantains. Fry them twice in vegetable oil, add a dash of salt and adobo, and you’re in tostón heaven.

Latinos love plátanos for so many good razones. Let us count the ways: They’re delicious. They’re filling. They keep forever. They’re inexpensive. They’re easy to cook. They don’t need refrigeration. They’re good for you: with lots of fiber; vitamins: A, C and B-6; and magnesium and potassium. They can be eaten alone as a side and cooked in stews—and even served as dessert.

¿Ya ves? Plantains truly are la comida perfecta.

How to Buy & Peel Plátanos

When buying plantains to make tostones, go for the greenest you can find. If they are hinting at turning yellow you can use them, but they are not ideal. If they are fully yellow, don’t buy them or make maduros instead. They will likely be too sweet for tostones. Fully black? No go.

To peel, take your green plátano, slice a thin wheel off the top and the bottom skin. Make a shallow slice vertically, along its full length: top to bottom. And peel. If you are lucky, the skin will come off easily. If it doesn’t, as sometimes happens to all of us (it’s luck of the draw)—and the hard skin doesn’t come off—you might need to use a peeler, like you would with a potato. Just go ahead and scrape it off.

Next: Slice your naked plátano into 2/3-inch thick rounds, with straight edges. Don’t go thinner than this. Skinny plantain chunks will dry out when fried and lose their crispy-on-the-outside, molten-on-the-inside flavor.

Ready to Make Tostones? (Everyone Will Thank You)

How to Make Tostones

5 from 1 vote
Recipe by Michelle Ezratty Murphy Cuisine: Puerto Rican
Servings

4

servings
Prep time

10

minutes
Cooking time

20

minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 2 plantains, green

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

Directions

  • Peel the plantains, without cutting into the plantain itself.
  • Cut each peeled plantain into ¾-inch thick chunks with straight edges. Don’t cut on the bias, like you do with maduros. Tostones will fry more crisply in the oil and therefore taste better when you have clean, straight edges.
  • Add oil to a cast-iron or non-stick pan so that it’s 1/2 inch high. Turn heat to medium-high.
  • Test the oil heat by inserting a wooden cooking spoon. When the oil bubbles where you touch the tip of your spoon to the hot oil and pan, it’s ready.
  • The First Fry: Just before you add plantain chunks, turn down heat to medium. Add plantain chunks with tongs, so you don’t burn your fingers. Be careful not to crowd them. Cook for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes each side, until golden brown. Scoop onto a paper-towel-lined baking sheet or plate until they are all done.
  • Time to press your plantains. Take each fried plátano and—using a tostonera (wood or metal plantain press), the bottom of a heavy cast-iron pan, a rolling pin, a heavy can or your palm (like my husband’s aunt does!)—press it. Don’t smash. Lightly press, so it’s flat.

    (If you wish, you can freeze the pressed tostones now for future second-frying and eating. See Notes below for freezing instructions).
  • The Second Fry. Make sure the oil in your pan is still piping-hot and set to medium high. Lower heat to medium when you are ready to add the tostones for the second time. Fry the flattened tostones in batches. Let each cook 30 seconds to 1 minute for the first side and just 30 seconds for the second side.
  • Once each tostón is golden brown, scoop out and place on a baking sheet or plate lined with a paper towel. Immediately sprinkle with a dash of adobo and/or garlic powder, and/or a pinch of salt.
  • Serve hot. Eat as is or with mojo: a mix of olive oil, lime and mucho pressed garlic.

Notes

  • When frying tostones, I use canola oil. You can also use avocado or corn oil. Do not use olive oil. Reason #1, it’s too strong and overwhelms the plantain flavor. Reason #2, olive oil’s smoke point is low at 375° to 405° and it burns easily, giving your plantains a slightly bitter, unpleasant taste.
  • If you wish to freeze your tostones in batches to eat later, after your first fry and after you press the tostones, line them on a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet.

    Place the baking sheet in your freezer for 1 to 2 hours to flash freeze them. When ready, take out of freezer and scoop the frozen plantain patties into a zip bag. Close the bag tightly and return to your freezer. That’s it!

    When ready to finish them, take out of the freezer. Be sure your oil is nice and hot and gently place the frozen plantain patties into the oil, being careful not to crowd them. The oil may splash a tiny bit when you add the frozen tostones to the pan because of the moisture into the hot oil, so use your tongs.

    No thawing needed. In fact, I find my tostones are more sabrosos when I take my tostones from first fry to frozen to second fry. They somehow taste even more salty, golden brown and crispy. Delicioso.
Tostonera
This is my tostonera, my tostón press. My husband bought it for me on the side of the road in Puerto Rico.
tostones
Mmmm, tostones! Siempre tan ricos.

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