Perfectly Crispy Homemade Tostones Recipe

handheld tostones

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Tostones are twice-fried plantains that are soft on the inside and crunchy on the outside. Vaguely reminiscent of a thick potato chip, they are best enjoyed with salt. Here’s a tostones recipe that you can make at home!

I know that this dish is on this website to represent Colombia, but the first time that I ever had tostones was in Puerto Rico! 

The summer after my freshman year of college, I moved to Puerto Rico for a month to work on my Spanish. I lived with a host mom, went to a language acquisition school, and spent a lot of time in San Juan. It was such a fun experience to spend my time learning about Puerto Rico, bucket showers and all (we were in the middle of a drought when I was there). 

Every day for lunch, we would head to a nearby restaurant and grab a to go plate. At first, I had some tummy problems because everything in Puerto Rico is fried, or just greasy. It’s delicious, trust me, but when you’re not used to it, it can take a toll.

My favorite dish to get from the nearby restaurant was Arroz con Gandules y Puerco (pork with rice and beans) and a side of tostones. 

tostones

What are Tostones? 

Tostones are twice-fried plantains. If you’ve ever seen my recipe for Belgian Frites with Andalouse Sauce, you’ll be familiar with the twice-frying method, which leaves the tostones cooked and crispy on the outside, but soft on the inside. 

To achieve this, the plantains are fried once, crushed with a glass or a cup (or, if you’re really fancy, a plantain smasher) and then refried again. They are served with salt and can be enjoyed plain or with dips. 

Raw plantains

What Ingredients do I Need for This Tostones Recipe? 

Slightly Green Plantains
Salt 
Vegetable Oil 

For a full ingredients list, visit the recipe card at the bottom of the page.

How Do I Make this Tostones Recipe? 

Use green plantains for this recipe. Cut the stems off of each end of the plantains. Use a small knife and cut a vertical line from tip to tip of the plantain, cutting through the skin but not through the plantain. Turn the plantain over, and cut the same line down the back. Peel the skin off of the plantain. It should come off in two halves. 

Cut the plantain into about 1-1 ½ inch pieces. 

In a cast iron skillet, heat about ½-¾  inch of oil, enough to cook about half of the plantain at once. Your oil should be heated on low-medium heat, so that your plantain can cook without burning. It should be hot enough that when you drop your plantain in, it starts to bubble in about 5-10 seconds. 

Place the plantains in the oil, cooking for about 5 minutes. Use tongs to flip the plantains over and cook on the other side. Remove to a paper towel lined plate. 

Use the bottom of a cup or a glass to smash the plantains. 

In a small bowl, combine ½ cup water with 2 tbsp salt. Stir until salt dissolves. 

Dip each smashed plantain in the salt water and leave to dry on paper towel-lined plate again. 

Once dried, add the plantains back into the hot oil, and fry for another 3-5 minutes. Remove and place on paper towel lined plates. Sprinkle with salt. Enjoy! 

once fried plantain

My Secret Trick for this Tostones Recipe

Many recipes don’t call for dipping your plantains in salt water before frying them again, but this is my favorite step of the process. Plantains are very similar to potatoes and spaghetti in that they need to boil in salted water so that they can retain salt once they finish cooking. 

If you boil potatoes or spaghetti without salting the water, they will taste bland no matter how much salt you add after cooking. The same is true of tostones. Dipping the tostones in salt water before frying them again preserves the salt taste in the dish. 

Be careful when adding your plantains in for their second round of frying, though. Water does not mix well with oil, and adding wet tostones into the oil will cause the oil to pop and possibly burn you. Make sure that your plantains have dried fully before adding them back into the oil again. 

smashed plantain for tostones

Where Do Tostones Originate? 

There is great debate on where tostones originated from. Some say that this recipe was created in the Caribbean, whereas others swear that tostones were invented in South America. 

As a general rule of thumb, Caribbean islands call this recipe tostones, whereas South American countries call it Patacones. 


For the sake of my audience, I am choosing to use the more universally understood term, tostones, despite the fact that I am advertising this dish as from Columbia. 

How to Eat Your Tostones 

Not many flavors or spices are normally added to tostones, though my mom did dust hers in onion and garlic powder. Normally, just salt is added for flavoring on this dish. 

If anything, though, tostones can be served with sauces. In Puerto Rico, we ate our tostones with mayoketchup, a spectacular Puerto Rican sauce invention that is made with mayonnaise, ketchup, worcestershire sauce, and garlic powder. 

Tostones are very similar to a thick potato chip, so anything you enjoy with potato chips will also be delicious with tostones. 

pile of tostones

Can This Tostones Recipe Be Made Ahead of Time? 

I wouldn’t recommend making your tostones ahead of time if you can help it. As is typical with fried foods, they’re never quite as crispy the next day. Given that tostones only take about 15-20 minutes to make, try to save them for right before you’re going to eat them. 

If you have to make them ahead of time, the best way to heat your snack up would be to bake them in the oven. Set the oven to 450 degrees and bake them for about 3-4 minutes until they are just heated through. Do not microwave your tostones as this will make them soft and ruin the texture. 

Did you like this recipe for tostones? If so, post a photo on Facebook or Instagram with the hashtag #TheForeignFork and tag @TheForeignFork. And if you liked this recipe, you might like these other Foreign Fork plantain recipes, too: 

Perfectly Crispy Homemade Tostones Recipe

Tostones are twice-fried plantains that are soft on the inside and crunchy on the outside. Vaguely reminiscent of a thick potato chip, they are best enjoyed with salt. Here's how to make your own tostones at home!

Course Appetizer, sides, snacks
Cuisine columbian, Puerto rican
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 3 servings

Ingredients

  • 3 plantains
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tbsp Table salt
  • Kosher salt for topping

Instructions

  1. Use green plantains for this recipe. Cut the stems off of each end of the plantains. Use a small knife and cut a vertical line from tip to tip of the plantain, cutting through the skin but not through the plantain. Turn the plantain over, and cut the same line down the back. Peel the skin off of the plantain. It should come off in two halves.
  2. Cut the plantain into about 1-1 ½ inch pieces.
  3. In a cast iron skillet, heat about ½-¾ inch of oil, enough to cook about half of the plantain at once. Your oil should be heated on low-medium heat, so that your plantain can cook without burning. It should be hot enough that when you drop your plantain in, it starts to bubble in about 5-10 seconds.
  4. Place the plantains in the oil, cooking for about 5 minutes. Use tongs to flip the plantains over and cook on the other side. Remove to a paper towel lined plate.
  5. Use the bottom of a cup or a glass to smash the plantains.
  6. In a small bowl, combine ½ cup water with 2 tbsp salt. Stir until salt dissolves.
  7. Dip each smashed plantain in the salt water and leave to dry on paper towel-lined plate again.
  8. Once dried, add the plantains back into the hot oil, and fry for another 3-5 minutes. Remove and place on paper towel lined plates. Sprinkle with salt. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

Recipe copyright The Foreign Fork. For educational or personal use only. 

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