Tostones are crispy fried plantains that are smashed and fried twice to create a savory appetizer, snack or side dish! Popular throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, we are serving these fried plantains Puerto Rican style with a traditional garlicky mayo-ketchup dip!
The Best Crispy Tostones
If you’ve never had tostones before, we are going to change that TODAY. Homemade Puerto Rican Tostones are one of the best snack foods/side dishes out there. They’re so easy to make, and basically the only thing you need to buy for this recipe is plantains!
Growing up my Abuela would make these for us kids and I was always the first one ready to grab the hot tostones as they came out of the oil. You can serve them just as they are, but a little garlicky mayo ketchup to dip them into really sets off the flavors. In Puerto Rico they are almost always served with a garlic style sauce.
I love how versatile these savory fried plantains are. If I want a low-key appetizer I can put them out with a bowl of mayo ketchup, but they can also be served for dinner along side some rice and beans. The only way to understand the hype about these crispy tostones is to try them, though, so let’s get started!
What are Tostones?
Tostones start out as uncooked green plantains that you slice up, fry, smash, fry again, and then enjoy! That’s right, they are fried twice! They can be served as an appetizer, side dish, snack, or even a light dinner.
Tostones are a popular side dish (or hearty snack) in Latin American and Caribbean cuisines. They are served many ways, but this recipe is for the most traditional Puerto Rican style preparation! What can I say, I’m Puerto Rican, it’s the only way I think Tostones should be made!
Note: Though plantains look like bananas, tostones are not sweet. Green plantains are like a starch, which places these fried plantains on the savory end of things. If you are looking for the soft and sweet style of plantains, then you are looking for Maduros — Sweet Plantains.
One of the best things about tostones is that they only take a few ingredients to make! You’re welcome for keeping that shopping list short.
- Vegetable Oil: You can also use canola oil if you want to.
- Green Plantains: Peeled and cut into 2-inch slices.
- Garlic: Fresh garlic is best for the most flavor.
- Lime Juice: Freshly squeezed lime juice will give you the best taste.
- Salt: You will use salt to season the fried plantains and for the flavored water mixture that we dip the plantains into before frying them a second time. If you prefer, you can also use adobo seasoning in the water mixture in place of the salt.
Mayo Ketchup Sauce
Mayo Ketchup is the quintessential Puerto Rican condiment that is almost always served with some freshly fried tostones…and just about everything else that could have a sauce. It’s incredibly simple to make with just three easy ingredients:
- Ketchup: You want to use regular ketchup.
- Mayo: We use classic mayonnaise, but you could use light mayo if you prefer.
- Garlic: Fresh garlic, minced extra fine.
How To Choose Plantains
When choosing plantains for tostones, pick the greenest ones you can. As they get riper and turn yellow and brown, they grow sweeter – you don’t want that sweetness in tostones!
How to Make Tostones
Making these tostones is a pretty straightforward process. Really the only prep work you need to do is the slicing of the plantains. After that, it’s just a matter of frying and smashing them!
Make The Seasoned Water: In a medium sized bowl, whisk together water, garlic, kosher salt and lime juice. Set aside.
Heat Up the Oil: Heat the vegetable oil over medium heat, in a large deep heavy bottomed pan. You want the oil to be about a third of the way up the side of the pan.
Cook the Plantains: Fry the peeled and sliced plantains in batches. Add about a third of the plantain slices to the pan and let them cook for 3-4 minutes on each side until golden but still slightly pale.
Let the Plantains Cool: Remove plantains from the oil and place them on a cookie cooling rack or a plate with a paper towel. Repeat the frying process in batches with the remaining plantain pieces.
Smash the Plantains: Smash each of the plantains with a tostonera, the bottom of a glass, or two plates stacked on top of each other. Do not too press too hard or they may start to break apart, but you do want to flatten them!
Dip The Plantains: Dip the smashed plantain into your water/garlic/lime/salt mixture. Let it sit in the water for a few seconds, drain off the water mixture and add the smashed plantain back into the oil.
Re-Fry: Fry them for about 2 minutes more on each side, or until they turn a dark golden color and they have turned crispy on the edges.
Season and Serve: Transfer back to a paper towel lined plate to drain any excess oil. Immediately sprinkle the tostones with salt. Serve as desired, I recommend with some Mayo-Ketchup Sauce to dip them into!
Mayo Ketchup: Whisk together all ingredients and then serve with tostones. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.
Tips for Success
See what I mean about how easy it is to make these? Here are some extra tips on how to make the best tostones:
- How to Peel Plantains: Cut the ends off first, then slice the plantain lengthwise on the ridges, and peel off the skin. It’s not as easy as peeling a banana, but it’s not too bad.
- Sprinkle the Salt While the Tostones are Hot: This will help the salt stick to the tostones so that it doesn’t fall off when you pick one up to eat it.
- Frying Recommendations: The oil doesn’t have to be completely hot yet the first time you fry the plantains. You just need to get them golden on the outside while allowing them to soften in the middle, which can be achieved with warm oil. The oil should be fully hot by the time you fry them the second time, though.
How to Serve
Now that you have your tostones ready, what should you top them with or dip them in? Here are some ideas on how to serve tostones:
- Add Flaky Salt: This is the simplest choice, but salty tostones are so good all on their own!
- With Dip: Make your favorite dip to serve with these tostones. There are many different kinds, but the most popular dips we have tried are the classic Puerto Rican Mayo-Ketchup dip (recipe below!) and a garlic/cilantro style dip like this Cilantro Lime Crema.
- With Meats On Top: Tostones also make a great base to be topped with all kinds of meats, sauces and cheeses!
What Goes with Tostones?
If you’re wondering what goes well meal-wise with tostones, I have a couple of suggestions:
- Rice and Beans: A simple but totally delicious and filling dinner! You can go with Arroz con Gandules or Arroz Blanco Puertorriqueño!
- Main Dish: Anything from flavorful Pernil (Puerto Rican Roasted Pork), Chuleta Frita (Puerto Rican Fried Pork Chops), empanadillas/empanadas (like these Chicken Empanadas, Empanadillas de Pizza, or Cheesy Beef Empanadas), Mofongo, to other favorite cuchifritos.
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
These tostones are best enjoyed the day that they are made but can be stored in an airtight container for up to 1 week in the fridge.
Here are my two favorite methods to reheat leftover tostones and get rid of any moisture:
Air Fryer: My favorite way to reheat tostones is in the air fryer. Heat the air fryer to 350°F and place tostones in an even layer in the air fryer basket. Heat for about 2 to 3 minutes, until warm and crispy again!
Oven: Heat the oven to 350°F and prepare a large baking tray with aluminum foil or spray with non-stick spray. Add the tostones to a pan in an even layer and bake for about 10 minutes, flipping them half-way through. Serve immediately.
Can I Freeze These?
Yes. If you want to try freezing tostones, stop after step 4 and let them cool completely. When they are firm, put them in an airtight container or a tightly-sealed freezer bag, and freeze for up to a couple of months.
More Puerto Rican Recipes To Try
Check out the following links for more of my easy Puerto Rican recipes!
- Sweet Fried Plantains
- Coquito (Puerto Rican Eggnog)
- Pumpkin Coquito
- Puerto Rican Beef Sancocho
- Easy Tres Leches Cake
- Arroz Con Leche
- Coffee Flan
- Baked Plantain Chips
- 1 cup water
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for topping (you can also use adobo seasoning)
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 2 to 3 cups vegetable oil
- 3 large, green plantains, peeled and cut into 2-inch diagonal slices
Mayo Ketchup Sauce
- ⅓ cup ketchup
- ⅓ cup mayo
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- In a medium sized bowl, whisk together water, garlic, kosher salt and lime juice. Set aside.
- Heat the vegetable oil over medium heat, in a large deep heavy bottomed pan. You want the oil to be about a third of the way up the side of the pan.
- Fry the peeled and sliced plantains in batches. Add about a third of the plantain slices to the pan and let them cook for 3-4 minutes on each side until golden but still slightly pale.
- Remove plantains from the oil and place them on a cookie cooling rack or a plate with a paper towel. Repeat the frying process in batches with the remaining plantain pieces.
- Smash each of the plantains with a tostonera, the bottom of a glass, or two plates stacked on top of each other. Do not too press too hard or they may start to break apart, but you do want to flatten them!
- Dip the smashed plantain into your water/garlic/lime/salt mixture. Let it sit in the water for a few seconds, drain off the water mixture and add the smashed plantain back into the oil. Fry them for about 2 minutes more on each side, or until they turn a dark golden color and they have turned crispy on the edges.
- Transfer back to a paper towel lined plate to drain any excess oil. Immediately sprinkle the tostones with salt. Serve as desired, I recommend with some Mayo-Ketchup Sauce to dip them into!
- Mayo-Ketchup Sauce: Whisk together all ingredients and then serve with tostones. Store any leftover sauce in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.
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