Grilled Plantains are beautifully caramelized, easy to make, and bursting with flavor. All you need are the ripest plantains you can find and a little coconut oil to make this iconic summer side dish, appetizer, or dessert.
Today’s post is basically a love letter to grilled plantains. Crispy and caramelized on the outside, soft and flavorful on the inside, this crave-worthy dish is the ultimate summer side dish. Oh, and did I mention you only need two ingredients?
Have you ever seen plantains at the grocery store? Even if you don’t think you have, you’ve probably stumbled across them and just assumed they were bananas. While the humble plantain is wildly popular in Caribbean and Latin American cuisines, it’s vastly underrated here in the United States.
Personally, I think it’s a travesty that more people in the US aren’t aware of how seriously awesome plantains are. You can fry them, roast them, grill them, or mash them. You can enjoy them as an appetizer, savory side dish, or even a sweet dessert. Plantains can do everything that potatoes and bananas can do, but with tropical flair.
Just wait until you try out these decadent grilled plantains for yourself. If you weren’t already a believer, you will be soon enough. This easy and healthy dish is the perfect accompaniment to any meal you can dream up. Serve it up alongside grilled meats, burgers, rice, beans, and/or grilled veggies.
These Grilled Bananas are also delicious if you have trouble finding plantains.
Believe it or not, you really only need two ingredients to make this dish. You can serve it as a mouth-watering savory side dish or transform it into a dessert with some additions, but it all starts with a few simple ingredients.
- Ripe Plantains: When searching for the best plantains for this recipe, you want to look for plantains that are so ripe they’re almost black. These black plantains are the ones that will be the sweetest, which is what we’re going for. For a more savory prep, choose more yellow.
- Coconut Oil: I love complimenting this tropical fruit with coconut oil, but you can use any neutral-flavored oil with a high smoke point. Avocado oil works great too.
Recipe Tips and Tricks
If you’re looking to make the best grilled plantains, I have got you covered. Here are some of my top tips and tricks to help you impress your friends and family:
- Want a more savory plantain? Opt for yellow plantains with brown spots instead of the darkest ones you can find. Keep in mind that yellow plantains will be starchier and will therefore require a longer cooking time (twice as long, approximately).
- Make sure to thoroughly clean your grill grates before grilling the plantains. I don’t know about you, but I would prefer that my plantains don’t taste like yesterday’s hot dog.
- It’s super important that you leave the peel on the plantains when you grill them. If you take the peel off beforehand, then your plantains will more than likely fall apart on the grill—leaving behind a big mess and ruining the dish.
- For some added flavor, feel free to sprinkle any seasonings of your choice onto the plantains before you grill them. I like using sea salt, cinnamon, smoked paprika, or Cajun seasoning.
- If you’re looking for some heat, sprinkle a dash of cayenne pepper onto your plantains just before grilling them.
- If you are prepping these for dessert, consider adding some brown sugar for even more sweetness.
- If the plantains are very ripe, grill them on a large sheet of foil to prevent them from falling apart on the grill.
Ways to Serve Grilled Plantains
Depending on what you’re in the mood for, you can serve this plantain recipe savory or sweet. You can add it to a larger meal or enjoy it as a solo act for an appetizer or easy snack. Plantains are super versatile, so the options are endless! If you need some inspiration, here are some of my favorite ways to serve grilled plantains:
- With something to dip them in. Serving this dish as a healthy snack or appetizer? Pair the plantains with your favorite dip or salsa. Some of my top picks include this Salsa Verde, Pico de Gallo, and Avocado Ranch Dip.
- In a grain bowl or salad. A Caribbean-inspired grain bowl or salad makes a fantastic dish to pair with these plantains. All you need is rice or quinoa, cooked beans, your salsa of choice, fresh avocado or guacamole, and your plantain slices. This Cuban Black Bean Bowl would be a perfect match.
- As a healthy side dish. This dish makes a wonderful side dish when served with your other summer favorites. Personally, I love making a complete meal with grilled plantains, rice or beans, and grilled chicken or shrimp. Yum!
- As a dessert. Ready for the best summer dessert ever? Brush your grilled plantains with melted butter, then coat them in cinnamon sugar or honey. For something to really drool over, pair the dish with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about this grilled plantains recipe:
How long does it take to grill ripe plantain?
When grilling with the ripest plantains you can find (almost black), it should take approximately 6 to 10 minutes. If you’re using less ripe plantains (yellow with brown spots), then you can expect it to take around 12 to 20 minutes.
Should plantains be soaked before cooking?
When frying plantains for tostones, many people like to soak them in salt water before frying to ensure extra crispy results. However, for grilled plantains, it is not necessary to soak your plantains before cooking.
Can I make this dish without a grill?
Absolutely! If you don’t have a grill or want to enjoy this dish on a rainy day, you can easily cook plantains in the oven or air fryer instead. For baked plantains, cook at 425°F for 20 minutes, flipping halfway through. For air fryer plantains, cook at 380°F for 10-12 minutes, flipping halfway through.
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- 2 ripe plantains (almost black)
- 1 tbsp coconut oil (or avocado oil)
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Start grilling the plantain with the flesh side down. Grill for 5-7 minutes until grill marks form and the plantain slightly softens. Turn over to peel side and grill for about 1-3 minutes. You know it’s done when the plantain begins to pull away from the peel. Sprinkle with sea salt if desired. These can be served with a savory dish when topped with salt or become a sweet dish with cinnamon, honey, whipped cream, or ice cream.
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.
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