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These Costa Rican patacones are made from mashed fried green plantains fried crispy golden brown into a round shape and then sprinkled with sea salt. Perfect for topping with ceviche, beef in red sauce, frijol molido and more.
What Are Patacones?
Patacones are green plantains cut into thick slices, fried until tender, then mashed into circles and refried. They are golden brown, a little bit hard, and can be as small as 2” in diameter to as large as 6” in diameter (depending on the size of the plantain.)
In Costa Rica, patacones are most often eaten as appetizers or as a side dish, with dipping sauces such as salsa rosada, refried black bean dip, guacamole or Costa Rican chimichurri. Yu can even sometimes find the patacones topped with traditional Costa Rican ceviche.
It’s becoming increasingly popular in Costa Rica to serve patacones in a similar style to a Mexican tostada or even an open-faced sandwich topped with ceviche, beef in red sauce, or shredded chicken.
Nachos de patacón are also very popular, where layers of ingredients are added to each individual patacon. Either way, patacones are ridiculously delicious and an easy food to replicate in your own kitchen!
It is important to note that patacones (or tostones) as they are called in many Latin American countries, are extremely popular throughout Latin America. So even if you aren’t in Costa Rica, make sure to check out the variations all over the world (I especially love the tostones in Puerto Rico!)
Looking for more ways to eat green plantains? Check out our guide here.
Patacones Costa Rica Recipe
Printable recipe below
- green plantains
- vegetable oil
- salt to taste
- Tortilla press or pataconera
Peel the plantains and cut them into rounds about 1 inch thick. Using 1-2 inches of oil in the bottom of the pan. Lightly fry plantain slices on all sides until just tender. Remove from heat.
Using a pataconera or tortilla press (affiliate link) smash the plantains into flattened discs.
Add a bit more oil to a skillet (I like to use a cast iron frying pan) and heat the oil over medium-high heat until just shimmering. Gently place the flattened plantains into the hot oil and fry until golden brown and cooked through, about 1 and 1/2 minutes on each side.
Remove from the oil with tongs and drain on a paper towel to remove excess oil.
Related post: Costa Rican Casado
If you’d like a sweeter version of this recipe, then you can allow your plantains to ripen slightly before preparing them.
Sea salt is a slightly stronger alternative to regular table salt and is great for seasoning your patacones. I also like to add a little garlic salt to the tops too!
If you don’t have a pataconera or tortilla press, no worries. You can use a Mason jar, a plate, or even a textbook to smash the plantains into their round shape. The most important trick is to make sure you put some plastic or waxed paper on the surface to avoid sticky residue.
You can boil the first round of plantains in salted water (about 1 teaspoon) until just tender and then flatten and fry them. This cuts down on the fat content in the recipe.
Related post: Costa Rican Style Boiled Green Plantain Recipe
Patacones (referred to as tostones) are accompanied by fry sauce and a mouthwatering garlic dip called mojo de ajo. In the Dominican Republic, patacones are called platanos fritos and are served with fresh lime wedges, while in Cuba they are known as tachinos and are often served as plátano maduro, or sweet plantains.
There are so many serving possibilities when it comes to patacones! If you’d like to go the dip route, bean dip, fry sauce, guacamole, and garlic spread are all fantastic options! Another way to serve your patacones is by piling them with shredded pork and cheese, making them into loaded nachos.
1.) How do you peel a plantain? – Plantains can be tricky! Try chopping off both ends and then cutting a vertical slit down the peel. Once you’ve made the cut, you can reach in and pry back the peel before slicing up the plantain itself.
2.) Is there another name for patacones? – Yes! Patacones are often referred to as tostones, a word coming from the Spanish verb tostar, meaning to toast.
3.) Are plantains good for you? – Absolutely! Just like bananas, plantains are excellent sources of potassium, Vitamin C, and antioxidants. savory flavor, ripe plantains are yellow or black and are generally sweeter.
- 2 green plantains
- 2-3 cups vegetable oil
- salt to taste
- Tortilla press or pataconera
- Peel the plantains and cut them into rounds about 1 inch thick.
- Using 1-2 inches of oil in the bottom of the pan. Lightly fry plantain slices on all sides until just tender. Remove from heat.
- Using a pataconera or tortilla press smash the plantains into flattened discs.
- Add a bit more oil to a skillet (I like to use a cast iron frying pan) and heat the oil over medium-high heat until just shimmering.
- Gently place the flattened plantains into the hot oil and fry until golden brown and cooked through, about 1 and 1/2 minutes on each side.
- Remove from the oil with tongs and drain on a paper towel to remove excess oil.
- Sprinkle with salt and serve with chimichurri, Costa Rican refried black beans, guacamole, or salsa Rosada.
Welcome! I’m Christa, a former high school teacher married to a handsome Costa Rican and mother of two bilingual daughters. I love all things Spanish and bi-cultural, (especially travel and food!) and you’ll find my observations on life here. Thanks for stopping by