These easy air fryer tostones also known as patacones or fried green plantains are made healthier in the air fryer. No greasy mess, these come out crispy and delicious!
What Are Tostones?
Tostones (also known as patacones in some Latin American countries) are comforting to those who grew up eating them. Akin to North American potato chips, tostones are green (underripe) plantains that have been fried until they are soft, then mashed and refried.
They’re basically a snack food and are commonly served as an accompaniment or appetizer to a heavier meal or enjoyed by schoolchildren as an afternoon snack.
What Are Plantains?
Plantains are a variety of banana that must be cooked because of the amount of starch they contain. Like bananas, green plantains are unripe and yellow plantains are ripe. Unlike a banana, plantains in their uncooked state are slimy and devoid of flavor; eating a raw plantain is like eating hard paste. It’s not a pretty sight or flavor.
Underripe, green plantains are more like potatoes than bananas: high starch, low sugar . This means that bananas can’t stand in for plantains because of their higher sugar content. They just won’t hold together for this recipe. (And plantains can’t stand in for the bananas in your Aunt Ethel’s famous banana pudding recipe because of how bland and fibrous they are.)
How to make Easy Air Fryer Tostones
- 3 green (unripe) plantains
- 4 cups water, or as needed
- salt to taste
- olive oil cooking spray
- Preheat an air fryer to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
- Slice tips off the plantain. Make a vertical cut in the skin from end to end, making sure to cut only through the thick skin and not into the plantain flesh. Cut plantain, still with the peel, into 1-inch chunks. Peel the skin off each chunk starting at the slit you made.
- Place the plantain chunks in your air fryer basket and spray them with olive oil spray. Air fry for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare a bowl of salted water.
- Remove the plantain pieces from the air fryer with tongs. Smash to about 1/2-inch thickness using a tostonera (plantain smasher). Soak the smashed tostones in the bowl of salted water while smashing the rest.
- Remove the tostones from the salted water and pat dry with a paper towel.
- Return tostones to the air fryer in batches, filling the basket with a single layer each time. Spray the tops with olive oil spray and season with salt; air fry for 5 minutes. Flip with tongs and spray the other side with olive oil spray. Season with salt. Air fry until golden brown and crisp, 4 to 5 minutes more.