Patacones (Fried Green Plantains) - Panamá

Total Time
Prep 25 mins
Cook 20 mins

I learned how to make these from my boyfriend, who grew up in the Canal Zone in Panama. They are easy to make & taste great. We eat them as an appetizer or snack before dinner or w/ lunch. They are best hot out of the skillet, sprinkled w/ salt & dipped in ketchup (Maggi ketchup is best, if you can get it), like french fries.


  1. Put the 4 cups warm water & ~1 Tbsp salt in a large bowl. Set aside.
  2. Cut ends from each plantain w/ a small, sharp knife, then cut lengthwise slit thru peel. Beginning at slit, pry off peel (getting your thumb between the peel & the plantain helps).
  3. Cut plantains crosswise into 1-inch thick pieces & place in bowl of warm salted water. Let sit 15-20 minute (This step adds flavor & also gets rid of some of the starch from the plantains.).
  4. Heat oil (enough so that it is about 1/2" deep) in a 10-12" heavy skillet over MEDIUM heat until the oil is just hot enough to sizzle when a small "tester" piece of plantain is added.
  5. Remove plantain pieces from the water & blot (completely) dry w/ paper towels.
  6. Place plantain pieces in the oil (do not crowd the skillet w/ plantains; do 2 batches if needed). Fry plantains, turning occasionally w/ tongs, until tender & just beginning to turn golden color, ~5-7 minutes.
  7. Remove plantain pieces w/ tongs to a flat (non-stick) surface. Spray the bottom of a glass tumbler or mug w/ non-stick cooking spray. Using gentle pressure, flatten each plantain piece to ~1/4" thickness. Slide glass off of plantain.
  8. Return flattened plantains to oil (over MEDIUM heat). Fry (turning occasionally w/ tongs) until plantains are golden brown in color, 3-4 minutes.
  9. Transfer plantains to a plate w/ a fresh paper towel, but DO NOT BLOT. Sprinkle w/ salt & serve immediately, w/ ketchup (optional).
Most Helpful

This is a really delicious way to cook plantains. I had a friend whose mother was from Panama and this is how she was taught to make them, too. I usually prefer very ripe plantains but my husband brought home a bunch of green ones so I'm glad I found your recipe.

awestevez July 15, 2009

Mmmmm I love plantains but have never made them this way before. They were so good. Kind of tasted like french fries with the ketchup on it. They were so very crisp yet tender on the inside. I can't believe how quick and easy it was to make these, they were the perfect accompaniment to my poached eggs this morning. Thanks for sharing your recipe, which I will make again, a nice change from the battered ones that I usually make. Made for Fall PAC 2012

Baby Kato November 08, 2012

THis is how i grew up in Panama eating them. Every place served them, and I learned from our housekeeper how to make them like this. We put American cheese on the top when it first comes out of the fryer, it melts right away and is sooo yummy. with lots of salt of course!! my picky 2 yr old will even eat these!

Jessica K January 07, 2009