Garlic Tostones: Puerto Rican Fried Plantains with Rice and Beans

Garlic Tostones: Puerto Rican Fried Plantains perfect with rice and beans. Simple and so addicting. |

Today I’m answering your Top Five Burning Questions about Garlic Tostones aka Puerto Rican Fried Plantains. Cause you wake up wondering about things like fried plantains, right? Yeah, that’s why we go together.

1. What are they? And why are you making Puerto Rican food?

So garlic tostones are basically fried plantains that have been pre-soaked in a garlic water to give them extra flavor. Imagine TJs potato oles but 100 times better. And yes, I’m referring to the TJs that is Taco John’s. I grew up in small town Minnesota, okay?

Bjork and I recently had dinner with our incredibly sweet friends Bjorn (Bjork and Bjorn, BFF, not a joke) and Maureen, and since Maureen is Puerto Rican, she made us the most amazing Puerto Rican dinner: tostones, chicken, rice, and beans. I watched her make the tostones and we talked about life while she dipped them in the garlic water and transferred them to the frying pan where they became their golden brown little selves. I could not get the image/taste/texture and just like that, an addiction was born.

2. This is weirding me out because WHAT ARE PLANTAINS?

No worries. I wouldn’t really know if I hadn’t a) had a Puerto Rican friend, or b) been to Puerto Rico where I stuffed my face with plantains of all kinds for five days straight. A plantain is kind of like a big greenish colored banana, but it has more starch and less sugar. It’s not the kind of thing you’d want to eat raw; it’s only meant to be eaten after cooking it. Or in this case, frying it into beautiful golden perfection and topping it with sea salt and don’t look at me because I am drooling.

You can buy plantains that are green, yellow, or black. For this one, I’d go with a more greenish (less sweet) plantain because we’re soaking them in garlic. Oh yes we are.

Tostones: Puerto Rican Fried Plantains3. Is this authentically Puerto Rican?

Well, I did watch her make them and then basically copied her every move for this recipe. And I did eat them when I was IN Puerto Rico. But I always sorta do my own thing in the kitchen, too. So yes/maybe/mostly.

4. How do you make them?

EASY, you guys. Seriously. Follow the steps: chop, fry once, smash, soak, and fry one more time. I’m not even going to comment on the double fried part. Just let your mouth imagine the beauty.

Garlic Tostones: Puerto Rican Fried Plantains that are perfect with rice and beans. Just a few simple steps! |

5. When would I make this and what would I eat it with?

Well, if you’re like me, you’ll make it when your husband is gone for the evening and you have the whole Christmasy house to yourself, and you’ll put on your slippers and some comfy music, and you’ll soak up the amazingness that is hot rice, spicy beans, and golden crispy salted plantains to kind of round it all out. And you’ll feel like a queen.

The texture, the simple flavors, I JUST LOVE THIS SO MUCH. And one more thing: I JUST LOVE THIS SO MUCH.

Garlic Tostones: Puerto Rican Fried Plantains perfect with rice and beans. Simple and so addicting. |

These would also be great for a fun dinner party, or for your family, or on Friday night for your dinner and movie date night at home. Which reminds me, today is Friday, which reminds me: this. For dinner.

Once you make them, you’ll crave them all the time. The salty crunch with the softness of the rice and beans? Yeah, it becomes a very real need.

Tostones: Puerto Rican Fried Plantains perfect with rice and beans. Simple and so addicting. |

4.6 from 9 reviews

Tostones: Puerto Rican Fried Plantians with Rice and Beans
Serves: 2-4
  • 2 plantains
  • 1-2 cups oil for frying
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 cup water
  • sea salt
  1. Peel the plantains and cut them into 1-inch thick disks. Place the garlic in a bowl with the water and set aside.
  2. Heat enough oil in a large skillet so that the disks will be half way submerged in the oil. When the oil is shiny and a drop of water sizzles across the top, add the plantains. Fry for 3-5 minutes on each side until the plantains are lightly softened and browned. Remove and place on a paper towel lined plate.
  3. Place the plantains on a cutting board, smash with the back of a wooden spoon to make them half as thick, and let them soak in the garlic water for about a minute.
  4. Remove, dab them dry and wipe off garlic pieces so they don’t burn, and return to the frying pan. Fry for another 2-3 minutes on each side or until they take on a deep golden color and a crispy texture. Drain again on paper towels, sprinkle with ground sea salt, and serve with rice and beans.
Just so you know, THEY ARE SO GOOD. Also, choose plantains that are firm and mostly green. The yellow and black ones are sweeter, which is also good and is usually called “Fried Ripe Plantains”, but we don’t want the sweet with all that garlic. This recipe is really for the less ripe plantains. Here’s a nice visual showing the colors of plantains and different stages of ripeness.

One last thing: I am working on my rice and beans recipe but today I just wanted to focus on the fried plantains. For your rice and beans if you want some more direction, check out this recipe!

It’s almost Chrissssstmas! Have a great weekend eating all the delicious things.

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  1. I seriously couldn’t sleep last night worrying over these questions, so thanks for the helping hand! No really – you’re hilarious! Love this simple, lovely way to prepare plantains! I can just imagine how the crispy exterior would be a perfect counterpoint to the creamy plantains. And nestled in with rice and beans? Bliss! Thanks, Lindsay!

  2. The starchy goodness of plantains and stubble sweetness makes them simply perfect for frying. I also like it in a savory Jamaican brik pie; no as common but very delicious. it must be so wonderful to have authentic cuisines created for you two.

  3. Having just moved to Florida, there are plantains everywhere! I had no idea what they were, how to cook them…nothin’. Buuuuut now I do! These look ah-may-zing! Anything crispy on the outside but soft on the inside is in my good books!

  4. I just returned from my first trip to San Juan on Tuesday, and this recipe could not have been better timed! I have not eaten that well in a long time! Try to get a good mofongo recipe from your friend too:)!

  5. Tostones have to be one of my favorite foods! Here in the Dominican Republic they are a staple, although I don’t usually soak them in garlic, I’ll have to try it.

    • This tostones remind me of one of my favorite dishes back home (from Ghana, West Africa)—we have a similar meal. We call ours “red-red,” alluding to the red beans we use and mildly red color fried plantain takes on, though it’s still mostly yellowish.

      The nutritional value also does not lag behind the great taste. Nice.

  6. Eva Jurasz says:

    You just made my day! I love, love, LOVE tostones and have made them myself many times using the twice fried method you outline. However, I’ve never heard of the “soaking in garlic water” step. My taste buds are already doing some kind of dance in my mouth. I can’t wait to make these! BTW, my other favorite recipe is cutting green plantains into “fries”, baking them and then smothering them in chimichurri.

  7. I occasionally see plantains in the shops and I never buy them because I have no idea what to do with them and don’t really want to buy loads of other fancy ingredients to go with them – so I love how simple this recipe is! I think I could definitely manage this :)

  8. How amazing is the Bjork/Bjorn friendship?! Love that :) And my eyes literally popped out of my head when I saw this recipe. It sounds just incredible!

    Also, what is the scripty font that you used on the photo? I love it and we’re a little behind in making our Christmas cards…. ;)

    • The scripty font is called Insolente, and then I use the one called Insolente Alternatives for the last letter of the word (so the s pops out like that). I had one person ask me for the name of the font once so she could get a tattoo with it!!! Personally I’d go with Christmas cards. :)

      • Oh, except the other scripty font that randomly made its way into this set on the plantain photo is called KG the Fighter. Not sure which one you meant.

  9. Yum! Any idea how to skip the double frying? Could you bake them? I know it wouldn’t be the same, but just to slim them a bit?

    • I hate to say it, but I wouldn’t bake them. I am ALL about healthier foods, but there is just something about frying that is really hard to replicate, at least in my experience. If you do find a way, PLEASE tell me! I’m eating these 24/7 and could use a slimmed down version.

  10. This recipe looks delicious! It’s really nice to try different types of foods! Thanks for sharing :)

  11. Um, amazing! I have made tostones before (and eaten them like crazy in PR), but did not know about the garlic water step! Such a great idea. I’ve been making a lot of sweet plantains lately, so it’s def time to switch it up and make these. I wonder if your friend knows how to make mofongo! I have been wanting to give that a try at home.

    P.S. I love that first photo so much!

  12. Patti Morfeld says:

    I am at work or I would be cooking these right now…oy vey….

  13. We actually eat a fair amount of plaintains! But I usually fry them in honey butter…I NEED to get on this version! LOVE!

  14. I looooove tostones! I lived in Costa Rica for a while, and ate gallo pinto (beans and rice) and fried plantains daily. It was so good. SO good.
    Thanks for the reminder that I need to pick up some plantains!

  15. I LOVE plantains! I had a roommate from Puerto Rico make these for us several times and I’ve been obsessed with them ever since! Beautiful photos as always :)

  16. YUM! I must try this when my future parent-in-laws come! They absolutely LOVE platanos :)

  17. OK, I love this, but my husband is off beans and off rice, so how about an appetizer? Any suggestions as to pairings? And I cook with coconut oil which is so much healthier than vegetable oil so frying is guilt free. Yay!

    • I bet you could find a good sauce to go with it, or just top it with some fresh chopped cilantro and red onion and ___ <–fruit or veg? I think any kind of pico de gallo or salsa you’d make for these would be great.

  18. I love how you recreate dishes that you’ve eaten at restaurants and other people’s houses! That takes courage and perseverance. I’d be nervous that I wouldn’t do the dish justice and it’d turn out much worse!

    Although my guy isn’t the biggest fruit fan (he sticks to berries, and that’s about it), he LOVES garlic. More than life itself. So somehow, with how much he loves other fried foods (chicken, french fries, the usual), he’d probably like this too!

  19. Lindsey! I love tostones. I am from Panama where they are called patacones. Don’s ask me why! We make these at home often. BTW… we smash them with the bottom of a water glass-works great! Also have you tried dipping them in Cuban mojo? Very garlicky, very yummy! Anyhow, just thought I would share.

  20. These look insanely delicious!! This is a meal I could eat every single day!

  21. These look delicious, and I love all the info about plantains and puerto rican food!

  22. I love fried plantain, people in Indonesia also like to fried plantain (as snack, breakfast or dessert).

  23. I definitely used to think plantains were bananas and the first time I had plantain chips I was shocked that they weren’t sweet. This dish looks awesome and paired with the beans it definitely makes a great Friday night meal!

  24. Words cannot express how I excited I was to read this post! I LOVE LOVE LOVE Puerto Rican food ever since I spent a week there with some friends back in 2011. I’m hoping one day to make mofongo, but I have so many fond memories of the food there!

  25. I made tostones after eating them at my favorite Puerto Rican restaurant last year, and they are amaaazing. Can’t wait to try your recipe!

  26. It’s not just Puerto Ricans – it’s Cubans, too! I love tostones, and we actually made some last night. My Cuban could eat plantains every single day and be happy, and he’d be even happier with the rice and beans along side! I agree it’s a taste you just can’t get enough of once you’ve had it.

  27. I can’t wait to try this recipe. Plantain is one of my favorite foods. Love seeing ways to enjoy it that are new to me!

  28. Oh my goodness. I love tostones! One of my BFFs is Puerto Rican and she taught me how to make them. I don’t do the garlic water step though, instead I infuse the oil with garlic first, then salt them and add a squeeze of lime when they come out of the pan. Amazing food! And as always, your pics are stunning!!

  29. Thanks Lidsay! You gave me an idea for Christmas.
    I have to say that I never bought one platan in my life, first of all because here in Italy you will not find a single one, second because if you find here in Italy, it will be expensive. You think that I can do this recipe for Christmas with bananas instead of platans?

  30. Lindsay, Plantains are one of my favourite foods from my home (Sierra Leone) and I am really pleased to see them featuring here. Thank you for making my day and bringing back the sweet chewey memories.

  31. Oh, WOW! These sound amazing! I am wondering what kind of oil you used and if you think coconut oil would work? Thanks! Love your blog!

    • I have never fried anything in coconut oil so I guess I can’t say. I would do some research on frying with coconut oil… I’m sure there’s information out there. :) Good luck! Let me know if you try it.

  32. Victoria G says:

    Yum! I love plantains…. Sol Food here in Mill Valley, California makes these and a sweet version seriously good eats! Can’t wait to try the recipe :)

  33. I just LOVE tostones . haven’t had them in a while and have wanted to make them. So glad I found this recipe! I find tostones to be kind of like the healthy French Fries! These are really yummy! I liked my a bit crunchy so i cooked them longer, nearly burnt. very good!

  34. O.M.G.!!! Saw this recipe, went to the grocery store and got 5 plantains for 1$ and i am IN HEAVEN!

  35. I just found your site through the cauliflower alfredo recipe, and am loving it all so far! I’m Puerto Rican and grew up eating tostones (my mom always seasoned the water with salt, pepper, garlic, and we dipped them twice: once before the first frying, and then once again after smashing them with a tostonera), and I always get excited when someone encounters our food and loves it. :-) You get two Puerto Ricans together off the island and it’s pretty much guaranteed that they’ll start rhapsodizing about the food, and the more people doing it, the merrier! A common sauce used, if you don’t want to do rice and beans, is a mix of mayonnaise and ketchup, which sounds gross but actually works well with tostones and sorrullitos (fried cornmeal sticks), or the sort of vinegar-oil dipping sauce you’d use with bread. You can also do the first frying and either freeze them or keep them in the fridge (short term) for the second step. A great book to look at for more PR recipes is A Taste of Puerto Rico. Thank you for a great article; I’m going to mail this to my mom now!

  36. Hi Lindsay–

    My family is from the Dominican Republic and the process you described is a little different than how I watched my mother and aunts make them.

    The garlic and water “bath…” didn’t this make the hot oil jump and splatter? I’m afraid of trying this new way of tostones and burning myself. How did Maureen avoid this?

    • Yeah, good question. She was really careful to wipe off the garlic pieces (they burn so easily) and I was really surprised how much the oil didn’t spatter. She set hers down on a paper towel for a minute and sort of wiped them off before returning them to the pan, but I pretty much put mine straight into the pan and they were fine. Thanks for the comment!

  37. Fried plantains yumm.. Actually this is a common food in Sri Lanka but they use only the Ash plantains

  38. First thing I made in my new cast iron skillet–and got the bf to eat a vegetarian dinner! Only thing I would note is don’t soak the plantains too long; I did with the first few and they kind of disintegrated, but after that I got the hang of it. Very addictive.

  39. I love tostones! Can you freeze them?

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