Recipe Review

I Tried Air Fryer Plantain Spirals and They Were So Good, I May Never Fry Plantains Stovetop Again

published Jul 22, 2022
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I Tried Air Fryer Plantain Spirals
Credit: Tai Saint-Louis

As a West Indian kid, plantains were a part of my routine — even before I could eat solid foods. Haiti is home to several plantain varieties and they’re served almost daily as a side dish with the main family meal, a late lunch, and even used to make porridge for breakfast.

Though I thought I’d had plantains every way possible, when I saw baker Bryan Ford‘s air fried version, I knew I had to try it. Truthfully, while the idea of cooking plantains in an unconventional way was intriguing, I didn’t quite know what to expect. I figured, if nothing else, this method would allow me to enjoy fried plantains without having to stand in front of a stove during the summer.

How To Make Air Fryer Plantain Spirals

Trim both ends of your plantain, then slide a knife just under the edge of the peel and run it down the length of the fruit to loosen. Using your fingers, separate the peel from the flesh fully. Place on a cutting board between two chopsticks, which will help you create your spirals without cutting all the way through.

Then, slice the plantain — allowing your knife to only make contact with one of the chopsticks. Use the same method to go back in the other direction, aligning your cuts with the opposite chopstick. This will give you an accordion-like cut pattern. If you use a fully green plantain, you’ll be able to stretch the pattern out a bit without fully pulling the pieces apart.

If using a green plantain, place it directly in your air fryer basket, spray with the oil of your choice, and cook at 375°F for 15 minutes. For plantains that are fully ripened or have began ripening, you can shorten your cooking time to about five minutes. With either version, however, you’ll want to check them every two minutes until they are cooked to your preferred doneness.

My Honest Review of Air Fryer Plantain Spirals

The recipe I followed required way more guesswork than I would have liked. I had to search the web for suggested cooking times, and the recipes I found were the ones that encouraged the use of a cooking spray.

Credit: Tai Saint-Louis

I tried the recipe with two different plantains because the finished version in the video I watched had me thinking this would work better with a ripe plantain. I used the sweeter fruit for my first attempt — though not as ripe as the sweet plantains you’ve been served if you’ve ever ordered from a Caribbean restaurant — and cooked it at 380°F for 12 minutes. The heat brought out some of the sweetness and I didn’t find it necessary to add salt or sugar to the fruit. I paired it with a creamy salsa (made by combining equal parts mayonnaise, tomatillo, and chipotle pepper salsa) and enjoyed as a late-night TV snack. I do think, however, that this could work well as an appetizer, too.

My greener plantain didn’t fare as well. Since I had to guess what would work in terms of temperature and cooking time, I chose to raise my temperature from 380°F to 390°F and increased the cooking time to 15 minutes. I also skipped the cooking spray, since it wasn’t included in the original video. The result was too dry to photograph, or even break apart and enjoy.

I was able to repurpose it the next day by using it as an accompaniment to some stewed meat, which is how we typically eat boiled plantains in Haiti. I simply popped my air fried plantain in the bowl with my stew and heated them up together in the microwave.

While this particular technique left a lot to interpret, the revelation that I can fry green plantains in the air fryer without the traditional double cooking process or the risk of burning myself with hot grease, has me looking for more air-fryer plantain recipes.

4 Tips for Using Air Fryer Plantain Spirals

  1. Just like bananas, plantains continue to ripen after they’re picked. If you want to try this recipe with green plantains, buy them as close to the day you intend on cooking them and store them in the fridge. If you do want to make sweet plantains — or sweeter than green, at least — and your store selection is already turning yellow, storing them at room temperature will allow the plantain to continue ripening.
  2. To make peeling easier, cut along the ridges. The easiest way to slit the peel without cutting into your plantain itself is to slice the skin along one of the ridges. Start at the very top, where you trimmed off the ends, to ensure the knife doesn’t go in too deeply. Then, follow the ridge all the way to the opposite end.
  3. Keep your temperature around 370°F to 380°F. I believe that’s the sweet spot in terms of cooking temperatures, and the one suggested most in the recipes for maduros or sweet fried plantains I came across. In my opinion, it’s better to start there and periodically check your fruit then to end up with dry or undercooked plantains.
  4. Make it your own. You can sprinkle salt or sugar onto the plantains before or after cooking to give it a slightly different flavor. You can also have fun with the accompanying dipping sauce.