Patacones, also commonly known as tostones, are twice fried and flattened plantains found in cuisines across the Caribbean and Latin America. It’s simple, honest food. Delicious and versatile, patacones can be served as a side dish, a garnish for a soup or enjoyed on their own with your favorite condiment. We became obsessed with freshly fried patacones during our trips to Peru, Colombia and Panama; and frequently made them for ourselves during our time in Argentina.
A plantain is a starchier, less sweet variety of banana. They are generally larger than a typical cavendish banana (ranging from only slightly larger to more than double the size) and have more squared, angular edges. A plantain also has thicker skin that can be especially challenging to remove when green.
When plantains are green, they have a neutral flavor and starchiness that’s similar to a potato. As the plantains ripen they turn yellow and eventually brown, getting sweeter along the way. For patacones, you will want to use a green plantain. Some people may enjoy the sweeter yellow plantains, that’s simply a matter of preference and taste, but patacones are typically made using green plantains.
Store green plantains in the refrigerator if you do not plan to use them immediately. This will slow the ripening process and keep them from turning yellow too quickly. Plantains are available in most Latin and Asian markets and some larger grocery stores.
Patacones (Twice Fried Plantains)
Yield: Makes about 6-10 pieces, depending on the size of the plantain
- Plantains, preferably green
- Neutral oil for frying, like vegetable or canola
- Kosher or sea salt
Start by soaking the plantain in hot water for 5-10 minutes to help loosen the thick, tough skin.
Cut the ends off the plantain. Slit the skin of the plantain lengthwise on two sides and remove the peel. Cut the plantain crosswise into 1-inch slices. You should have about 6-10 pieces depending on the size of the plantain.
Fill a frying pan with enough oil to submerge the plantains. Heat the oil over medium heat (about 300-325°F). To measure the temperature, we use an infrared thermometer. Once the oil is up to temperature, add the plantains in batches and cook for 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown. If your plantains brown quicker, reduce the heat slightly. Remove with tongs or a slotted spoon and transfer to a cooling rack lined with a paper towel.
Allow the plantains to briefly cool after removing them from the oil. Once cool enough to handle, flatten each piece one at a time using a tortilla press lined with parchment paper. Alternatively, place the pieces on a cutting board between parchment paper or plastic wrap and flatten one at a time with a heavy bottomed pot or pan. Any broad, flat, heavy surface will work for flattening the plantains. Other options include a large glass or a second cutting board.
Increase the heat to medium-high (about 350°F) and cook the flattened plantains in batches for 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown and crisp. Remove with tongs or a slotted spoon and transfer to a cooling rack lined with a paper towel. Immediately season with salt and serve.
Best served while warm.
Pair these delicious vegan patacones (twice fried plantains) with our favorite Vegan Arroz Verde (Mexican Green Rice).