Air Fryer Sweet Plantains (Plátanos Maduros) – Low-Calorie, Gluten-Free
Air fryer sweet plantains are cooked in the air fryer to drastically reduce the amount of oil used. Same great sweet taste.
One of my all-time favorite foods as a child was plantains. I would say they were even a staple in our house. We had them often, and there never seemed to be enough. When my parents would make them, they’d get gobbled up so quickly. Fast forward to today, and the same is true in my house now with my own children. Growing up, the traditional way we made plantains was to fry them in a pan of oil. Now, to cut back on the calories I cook them in the air fryer and they still taste amazing. We like eating plantains as a side with our meal, but they can be used in sweet or savory dishes. They make a great meat substitute in tacos, and also make a great dessert when sprinkled with a little cinnamon and sugar.
What are plantains?
Although the plantains are classified as a fruit, in many countries, it is used more like a vegetable than a fruit. They are originally from Southeast Asia but are now grown all over the world. Plantains are usually tougher than bananas, with much thicker skin. They are starchy, not very sweet, and require cooking as they are not enjoyable to eat raw.
Even though plantains are a member of the banana family, they are distinctly different. They are actually a fruit, but treated like a vegetable. Plantains are also widely used in Latin cuisine. Growing up in a Latin family, we quite often ate plátanos. Plantains can be prepared in many ways, including steamed, boiled, grilled, fried or baked. My favorite style of plantains are maduros. Before ripening, plantains are green. Once they turn yellow/black, they are ripe and ready to go. The riper they get, the sweeter they are, and that’s what we want when making maduros. They will also be soft when lightly squeezing them.
Are plantains healthy?
Plantains are a rich source of fiber, vitamins A, C, and B-6, and the minerals magnesium and potassium.
Start by peeling the plantains, then cut them into 1/2″ rounds. This recipe still calls for oil, but a significant amount less than deep frying. Rather than cooking them in oil, the plantains are coated in a little oil. Cooking spray can be used if you don’t want to use oil, but you won’t get the same delicious results that the oil gives, which is the browning of the plantain. This is the best way to go if you’re looking for more traditional plantains. I recommend using an oil with a high smoke point because they are better for cooking at higher temperatures. I use avocado oil, but oils such as canola, grapeseed, sunflower and safflower oils also work.
Once the plantains are tossed in oil, add salt and toss them again. Most of the salt will fall off when cooking, so they can be sprinkled again with a little salt after cooking. They taste better when slightly salted, but the amount is a personal preference. Turn the air fryer on to 400 degrees and place the plantain in the basket in a single layer, not overcrowding them. Cook for 5 minutes, flip them over, and cook for another 5 minutes. Repeat until all the plantain is done cooking.
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Ingredients for Air Fryer Sweet Plantains (Plátanos Maduros)
- Ripe plantains
- Avocado oil
Calories per serving (1/2 one plantain): 130
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Air Fryer Sweet Plantains (Plátanos Maduros) - Low-Calorie, Gluten-Free
- 2 medium plantains, ripe
- 2 tsp avocado oil
- 1/8 tsp salt
- Peel plantains. Then slice into 1/2" thick pieces.
- Place plantain pieces in a medium size bowl. Add oil and salt. Mix well so every side of each plantain is covered with oil.
- Add plantain to air fryer basket. Be careful not to overcrowd basket. You will likely need to cook in batches.
- Turn on air fryer to 400°. Cook plantain for 10 minutes, flipping over half way through.
- Remove plantain pieces carefully from air fryer basket and set on plate. Sprinkle with additional salt if desired. Repeat until all the plantain is cooked.
- If avocado oil is not available, canola oil can be substituted.
- Find plantains in your local grocery store, usually near the bananas.
- Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
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