Tostones are one of my top 5 favorite foods of all time. One ingredient, these flat crispy circles of deliciousness are Whole30, Paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free and kid and freezer friendly. My kids literally cheer when these come to the table. We love them with tacos, fajitas, or even as a base for s’mores. My boys will eat them straight up by themselves or even smeared with peanut butter like a cracker.
They aren’t hard to make but might involve some steps that feel unfamiliar until you have done it yourself. I want to break this down step by step so you can rock these tostones on the regular too. Trust me, once you make them you will be making them again and again!
If you’d rather watch this in video format, you can see this simple video I created for a Whole30 Instagram Takeover here on YouTube:
Step 1 – Peel and Slice Green Plantains
What is a plantain? I tell my kids it’s like the banana’s less sweet cousin. I haven’t found them in every grocery store, but Winco and Walmart by me have them, often by the bananas. They are about twice as big and not sold in a bunch but singularly. First key to success on crispy tostones is to make sure your plantains are green, not even slightly yellow. Yellow plantains are more sweet and will not get crispy. If your plantains got yellow too fast, I recommend making this Plantain Taco Hash with them instead!
Cut off the ends of your plantain, then cut it in half and remove the peel.
Removing the peel of green plantains can be tricky, as it doesn’t always come off easily – score down the side of the plantain just through the peel and then get your thumb underneath to start lifting the peel, and then use that starting point to lift off the peel all the way around.
Once peel is removed, cut peeled plantains into 1″ish chunks. Keep in mind the bigger the chunks of plantain, the larger your tostones will be (about double the size). I like the 1″ chunks as they cook fast and make a chip-sized 2″ish plantain.
Step 2 – Cook in oil on the stove
Heat 1/4″ of oil that is suitable to high heat (I love coconut oil, but avocado oil is great too) in a saucepan over medium high heat. Once hot, place plantain chunks flat side down into the oil and cook until golden but not brown (4ish minutes), then flip and cook till golden on the second side. You can see on the left side of the below picture the golden color they turn when they are cooked. I use kitchen tongs to flip them, but you can also just use two forks.
Step 3 – Smash plantains
Once they are golden on both sides, remove from the pan and smash flat. I usually do this between two sheets of parchment paper with a kitchen hammer. But, you can also do so even with just the bottom of a mug. If the plantains break apart when they are smashed, they weren’t cooked long enough to be tender for smashing. They should easily smash into a nice flat circle. Thickness is up to you, but we like ours nice and thin.
Step 4 – Cook a second time or freeze
If you want to save some for later (I usually double batch and save half), freeze after smashing (don’t fry the second time yet). I do so by laying them in a single layer and freezing till solid and then storing in a sealed container for up to 3 months. If eating now, once smashed, put back into the hot oil on the stove and cook for 3ish minutes until hard and crispy, flipping halfway through the cooking time.
Step 5 – Salt and enjoy!
Once crispy and hard, remove from oil. I line a plate with a paper towel and cool them on that. Be sure to salt right out of the pan, or the salt won’t stick to the tostones and they definitely need a generous salting!
Repeat with all plantains and enjoy the crispy goodness!
For any you stored in the freezer after the first fry, to finish cooking just cook straight from frozen in a pan with 1/4″ oil over medium high heat (same as before) for 3ish minutes each side until crispy and hard.
NOTE: Yes, you can coat with oil and do all the cooking steps in the airfryer instead of pan frying. But, even though I LOVE my airfryer, I don’t really like the dry fry of an airfryer for tostones. I do use the airfryer at 350 for a few minutes to recrispify leftovers though!
Recipes with Tostones
Tostones are an awesome Paleo/Whole30 way to eat tacos (like sliders)! Here are a few other ways we love tostones: