Each Thursday, Emily Vikre (a.k.a fiveandspice) will be sharing a new way to love breakfast -- because breakfast isn't just the most important meal of the day. It's also the most awesome.

Today: Forget about bananas -- at least for today -- and eat their cousins for breakfast instead.

Fried Plantains on Food52

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For several years I worked with a children’s museum that ran community programs all around Boston. We worked with families who had come to Boston from all over the world, but many of them were from Central America and the Caribbean. Our programs always included dinner (the best kind of program!), and when I was always impressed by the diversity of the food -- but even more so by the many commonalities between the dishes that the families prepared. One of the universal favorites were plátanos, or fried plantains. The kids were always wild for them.

More: Kids go wild for these oatcakes, too. 

Plantains look like bananas, but they're starchier -- if you mash them, they get fluffy, a bit like potatoes do -- and less sweet. You have to let them get almost black before they’re really ripe. They can be prepared in many ways, but frying them caramelizes their edges to a deep gold and brings out their gentle sweetness in a way that is completely addictive.

Fried Plantains on Food52

Though the fried plantains we had in Boston were served as a side dish at supper, accompanying peas and rice, or chicken and beans, or slow-cooked pork, I always thought to myself, “These would make a delicious breakfast.” And these days, when I prepare plantains for myself, they generally are breakfast. They’re a fun alternative to something like pancakes, and they’re just as good -- if not better! -- with a tiny drizzle of maple syrup (though it’s not at all necessary) and a side of bacon.  

Fried Plantains

Serves 1

1 completely ripe plantain (skin should be pretty much black)
2 tablespoons butter

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photos by Emily Vikre

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Tunrayo
  • Wadji Boukari
    Wadji Boukari
  • Chelle
  • witloof
  • JoGo
I like to say I'm a lazy iron chef (I just cook with what I have around), renegade nutritionist, food policy wonk, and inveterate butter and cream enthusiast! My husband and I own a craft distillery in Northern Minnesota called Vikre Distillery (www.vikredistillery.com), where I claimed the title, "arbiter of taste." I also have a doctorate in food policy, for which I studied the changes in diet and health of new immigrants after they come to the United States. I myself am a Norwegian-American dual citizen. So I have a lot of Scandinavian pride, which especially shines through in my cooking on special holidays. Beyond loving all facets of food, I'm a Renaissance woman (translation: bad at focusing), dabbling in a variety of artistic and scientific endeavors.


Tunrayo August 21, 2015
Where I am from Plantain is eaten as breakfast.lunch dinner. Can be fried, boiled or grilled even when unripe
Wadji B. June 20, 2014
This is so common in all west african countries. it's our Oreos :)
fiveandspice June 22, 2014
Chelle June 20, 2014
I'm so excited about this post! Plantains are a tradition in my family. My Dad is from Jamaica, and fried plantains are a Jamaican staple. Though admittedly with dinner. I love the fresh take as a breakfast item. Thanks!
fiveandspice June 22, 2014
Yes, it's much more common to eat them for dinner. But, it also somehow seems right to start the day out with them - starting the day out right, right? :)
witloof June 19, 2014
I love fried plantains with a squeeze of lime juice and topped with an egg over easy.
fiveandspice June 22, 2014
Yum, yes.
JoGo June 19, 2014
Cook them in coconut oil and sprinkle with sea salt for a delicious twist.
fiveandspice June 22, 2014
Anything cooked in coconut oil is bound to be good, right?!
amysarah June 19, 2014
I love these. They're very good with drinks, hot with a sprinkle of crunchy sea salt. Mildly sweet/salty - really tasty. Also - pretty odd, discovered by accident - try them with a dab of sour cream/creme fraiche and a little caviar (need not be best quality.) Kind of unsettling, but delicious.
fiveandspice June 22, 2014
Oh my gosh that's awesome! I definitely need to try them with caviar.
HalfPint June 19, 2014
I'm more of a tostones gal than a maduros (which is what these are). I think it's because of the garlic sauce. Any possibility of an article on tostones?
fiveandspice June 22, 2014
I'm a tostones fan too! And since I don't mind eating garlic for breakfast, perhaps I just shall...
diana June 19, 2014
I usually make these along side some feta cheese scrambled eggs. i like their sweetness paired with the saltiness of the omelette. :) I also love them when their are green and you have to press them and refry with a little bit of salt. Those are great as a part of lunch when you want something a little savory :) We are Greek, however my aunt married a Puerto Rican man and we were exposed to this cuisine early on :) As a result, sometimes some of the flavors blend :)
fiveandspice June 22, 2014
That sounds amazing!!!!!
Amanda S. June 19, 2014
I fry mine up in coconut oil and they are absolutely delicious. Just a suggestion if you don't want to use butter.
fiveandspice June 22, 2014
Yum, yes for sure!