Fried Green Plantains (Patacones) Recipe

Plantains, like bananas, grow wild in Panama, although many farmers also cultivate them. They are a cheap source of starch and make appearance in many traditional dishes. The most common way to eat them is as patacones.
Emberá women prepare patacones. Photo from Cooking in Panama

My Panamanian host dad ate patacones (fried green plantains) for breakfast every morning with an egg sunny side up. He would dip his patacones in the soft egg yolk and wash the whole thing down with chocolisto, an instant chocolate milk type drink.

In Panama City you will often find patacones served as a side to fried fish or sandwiches.
Patacones taste similar to French fries and like French fries they are commonly served with catsup.


Green Plantains (about 1.5 per person)
Oil (preferably palm or peanut)

  1. Peel a green plantain and cut into 1.5 inch cylinders. The sap from the peel is sticky and will stain clothing so try not to get it all over yourself.
  2. Fry the plantains in a pot of hot oil until golden brown. The oil should be about half the depth of the plantain pieces. Flip them over to cook evenly.
  3. Remove the plantains from the oil and put them on a plate. Squash the cylinder with the bottom of a cup or bottle to make little disks about 1/4 - 1/2 inch thick.
  4. Put the squashed plantains back into the oil for a second frying. Flip them over after a minute. To know when a platacone is done tap it with spoon it should sound hallow.
  5. Remove the patacones from the oil and drain on a plate.
  6. Sprinkle with salt and serve hot.
I am working on writing up how to cook some of the classic Panamanian dishes. Food is very much a part of culture. If you want your own little slice of Panama try some of the recipes here Recipes from Panama.


  1. I find it difficult to peel plantains. You have a tip? Thanks!

  2. They are difficult to peel, especially when green. My host mom taught me to use a knife and cut throught the peal the long way. Then use the knife to wedge between the peal the fruit and slowly pry the peal away. You may get a sticky residue on your hands and your blade. WD40 gets it off easily as does a little oil and then soap.

  3. That's exactly how i make my tostones. My boyfriend is Colombian so tostones are a must in our house :) They taste so much better than the frozen, pre-fried ones.

  4. Our friends from Puerto Rico introduced us to tostones made with green plantains and we loved them- thanks for this really cool post about Panamanian food and I look forward to more!

  5. We love this and make it often

  6. Anonymous7/26/2010

    my boyfriend is from Honduras, and he loves it when i make these! they're so good...savory or sweet!!

  7. Anonymous7/27/2010

    lovee plantains.

  8. Most excellent. Love the diversity in your recipes!


  9. Don't you just love plantains? I crave them morning, noon, and night! My boyfriend is Puerto Rican so I make them all the time.

    Here's my step-by-step instructions if anyone needs help: http://www.lickthespoonclean.com/2010/07/14/tostones/

  10. Sounds like an interesting breakfast. I would probably like it. I adore plantains.

  11. Anonymous8/20/2010

    So excited to find someone else posting recipes from my little country! I just bumped my how-to patacon post. But for a tip to make peeling them easier. Remove the ends and score the plantains along sides (top to bottom), 3-4 slits. Then dunk them in a sink or large bowl filled with cool water for about 30 minutes. I saw this on a cooking show, I don't know what it does to them, but it makes peeling them a breeze!