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Oven Baked Sweet Plantains – Healthier Platanos Maduros (Paleo-Friendly!)

Did you know that October 15 is the last day of Hispanic Heritage Month? Yeah, I didn’t know either until about two weeks ago when we were driving on base and saw a sign advertising a celebratory lunch buffet and keynote speaker. It turns out Hispanic Heritage Month runs from September 15 – October 15. Although it’s (at the time of writing) the last day of Hispanic Heritage Month, we don’t need an excuse to enjoy some Cuban food! In fact, I happen to know for a fact that I could serve up lechon asado and rice with plantains or black beans 5 nights a week and they’d be eaten enthusiastically. The menu has been suggested to me! Even though we do cook a lot of Cuban comfort food, we’ve recently been trying to cut back on the amount of things we fry.  A few weeks ago, I shared how to make baked green plantain chips (mariquitas), so today I’m showing you how to make oven backed sweet plantains that are roasted instead of fried in oil. They take a few minutes longer, but they’re just as tasty and don’t make you feel nearly as guilty! You know what else is totally cool? Plantains are Paleo-friendly and make a fantastic Paleo dessert or breakfast idea in addition to a delicious side dish for pretty much any meal.

Baked Sweet Plantains (Platanos Maduros)

When you want to make platanos maduros, you need really ripe plantains. If they’re black, that’s totally okay as long as the inside isn’t super mushy or moldy. They should look more like this than that little patch of green plantain you can see in the background:

ripe plantains

Honestly, they could even be a bit riper than that and the finished sweet plantains would be even tastier. It’s the super-ripe plantains that make beautiful, caramelized platanos maduros.

Baked Sweet Plantains - Healthier Platanos Maduros

In case you’ve never done it before – you don’t peel a plantain like a banana. Instead, you cut the ends off:

cut the plantain ends off

Then you make a slit down the peel from end to end and just unwrap the plantain. This leaves the plantain ripe and ready for cutting on the diagonal into lozenge-shaped pieces.

sliced sweet plantainsCutting the plantains on a diagonal is very important when you’re making platanos maduros. It maximizes the surface area available for delicious caramelization! As a side dish, one plantain is never enough for both of us, but two usually feels like a little too many. Two plantains usually fit quite nicely on a normal baking sheet without overcrowding the pieces, so this recipe calls for two plantains. You can always cook more, but I don’t recommend crowding the slices too much because they won’t caramelize as nicely. Ready to get cooking? Here we go!

4.6 from 7 reviews
Oven Baked Sweet Plantains - Healthier Platanos Maduros (Paleo-Friendly!)
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Ingredients
  • 2 very ripe plantains
  • 1 tablespoon of oil (vegetable oil, coconut oil, etc.)
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 400º Fahrenheit.
  2. Cut your plantains on the diagonal, as shown above, into slices about ½" thick.
  3. Place the plantain slices in a bowl, add the oil, and toss them gently to coat them.
  4. Arrange the plantain slices on a baking sheet and place on the middle rack of the oven once it's heated.
  5. Cook for 15 minutes then carefully flip the plantains with a pair of tongs.
  6. Cook for an additional 10 minutes, or until you're happy with the level of caramelization on both sides.
  7. For super delicious plantains, turn on the broiler when the plantains have about 5 more minutes of baking left. Keep a careful eye on them and remove them from the oven when the tops are looking nice and caramelized, even if the 5 minutes isn't quite up.
  8. Enjoy fresh and hot!

baked sweet plantains

When I’m making sweet plantains (at least a once a week occurrence around here), I always use my heavy-duty aluminum baking sheet and my Silpat mat. They help ensure even cooking and caramelization, and using the mat makes cleaning the pan super simple. I think they’re a little bit of an investment, but trust me, they’re worth it. I use these two items several times every week.

If you enjoy Cuban-inspired recipes, please sign up for my once a week email using the box below this post! Virtually everything we make at home is at least influenced by Cuban food, and many of the recipes I share have a Cuban flair. These are a few of the Cuban favorites on The Artisan Life:

Weeknight Cuban black beans

Pork + plantain nachos

If you’re looking for more Cuban recipes, you can see everything with that tag by following the link. If you’re looking for more Paleo recipes, you can see everything Paleo linked here. =)

Thanks so much for stopping by and I hope to see you again soon!

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{ 30 comments… add one }
  • Madonna/aka/Ms. Lemon October 16, 2014, 18:41

    I don’t fry anymore because the smell lingers in my stairwell for days no matter what I do, but the oven versions sounds so good. Pinning to give them a try.

    Madonna

    • natashalh October 16, 2014, 18:48

      I am all too familiar with that lingering smell – we don’t have a hood/fan over the stove! What a weird design decision. Thanks for stopping by and pinning!

    • Cynthia May 12, 2015, 04:45

      These were amazing! I was looking for a somewhat healthier version of the fried maduros. I used coconut oil, and even sprinkled a tiny bit of brown sugar on the tops of them. Just a tiny pinch. Tastes like candy 🙂 Thanks for the recipe!

      • Natashalh May 12, 2015, 06:09

        That’s awesome! I’m glad you enjoyed them so much and thank you for letting me know. I’m waiting for a plantain to ripen up right now so I can make some more. =)

  • Marieken October 20, 2014, 01:36

    You always make everything look so delicious, I would love a bite out of those!

    • natashalh October 20, 2014, 07:47

      Thank you! I take a zillion photos to just get a few for each post.

  • Elizabeth October 22, 2014, 13:32

    There’s a wonderful little Cuban place near our house that serves your choice of savory or sweet plantains with every meal. I absolutely love them. Can’t wait to try your recipe.

    • natashalh October 22, 2014, 14:29

      That sounds so great! We live in Hawaii right now and there’s only Cuban restaurant in the state. Luckily it’s on our island, but it fries up regular bananas instead of plantains. Thanks or stopping by!

  • Jenni Rom August 31, 2015, 13:52

    These were PERFECT! I used coconut oil, and sprinkled some with a little cinnamon. Thanks!

    • Natashalh August 31, 2015, 14:38

      That’s awesome! So glad you liked them and that you let me know. =)

  • Lucy Masika October 3, 2015, 21:59

    At the Kenyan coast they are cooked in coconut milk with sugar. As we grow older we become conscience of our oil/sugar intake, this makes baked plantains the better option. Thank you for the very clear instructions, complete with pictures.

    Nairobi -Kenya

    • Natashalh October 4, 2015, 07:33

      I do have to say, plantains with coconut milk and sugar does sound delicious! But baked is definitely healthier. Thanks so much for stopping by. =)

  • Savannah Meza December 18, 2015, 07:24

    I just made these with half the oil and I added an extra plantain. I also sprinkled coconut sugar over the top. Overall I say they were pretty good. Mine turned out a bit chewy due to less oil, but I didn’t mind. Perhaps I won’t bake them as long next time.

    • Natashalh December 18, 2015, 07:27

      When it comes to pan friend plantains, cooking them for longer at a lower heat yields chewy, but caramelized, plantains, which is exactly the way I like them! That may be different from the chewiness you had, though, but playing with the heat might be something else to consider if you want to use less oil.

  • julie March 18, 2016, 18:53

    tossed my 2 plantains with 1/2 tbsp coconut oil and when they came out of the oven I
    sprinkled them with cinnamon and drizzled with a tiny bit of raw honey. OH MY! yumminess!

    • Natashalh March 19, 2016, 11:44

      So glad you liked them! Honey and cinnamon sounds like an amazing topping combination. =)

  • Mo-eats April 29, 2016, 12:37

    I used olive oil, 1 tbs each of cinnamon, nutmeg and ground cloves. Smelled delicious, and tasted even more yummy!!!

  • kathy June 8, 2016, 18:50

    Yum! Just made these for lunch — absolutely delicious. I’ve only ever put plantains in a curry but this is a quick and yummy way to eat them. Also big thanks for the tip on how to cut and peel, was doing it all wrong before.

    • Natashalh June 16, 2016, 10:34

      So glad you liked them! I’ve never had plantains in curry, but now I’m intrigued!

  • Elayne December 5, 2016, 14:45

    Im learning to cook, and this sounds like a winner. Can’t wait to try it. Gotta let them get riper.

    • Natashalh December 5, 2016, 15:17

      Best of luck with your cooking journey! My mom hadn’t really cooked until just over a year ago and now she can make so many delicious things. =)

  • MSS January 17, 2017, 05:55

    Extremely simple and tasty. Cut 3/8 inch thick and it seemed a perfect thickness. I coated them with melted coconut oil and they browned picture perfect with the timing listed in the recipe. I did not need to broil them. The flavor is tangy with a touch of sweetness. We ate them as a side with a chicken, grapefruit and spinach salad. I finished them the next morning as a snack. I am thoroughly hooked on plantains now.

    • Natashalh January 17, 2017, 08:38

      That’s fantastic! So glad you enjoyed them. =) Your dinner sounds like its as amazing!

  • Judy Posner March 26, 2017, 12:54

    OMG – wonderful – followed recipe exactly and I used coconut oil. Sprinkled the tops with a bit of cinnamon – and yum yum yum. Next time I will make Cuban Black Beans and Rice to go along with this delicious recipe. Thanks!

    • Natashalh March 26, 2017, 16:20

      So glad you enjoyed! I wish we had some plantains at home today – we’re cooking up some Cuban comfort classics for dinner (arroz con pollo) and plantains would be perfect. Thanks for commenting and hope you enjoy the black beans and rice!

  • Josephine May 31, 2017, 13:10

    Hello! I just tried your recipe but for some reason my plantain didn’t come out as soft and shiny looking as yours! The middle is soft but the edges are dry and hard.. I didn’t use as much oil as the recipe called for because I only had one plantain. Do you think that was the reason? My plantain already had alot more black spots than the ones shown in your picture so I’m sure they were ripe enough..

    Please help!

    • Natashalh May 31, 2017, 17:14

      Hmm…it’s hard to say. It could be because of oil, but it could also have to do with slice thickness or even your oven or pan. If your slices were fairly thin, I could see that making the edges drier. Also, if your oven heat is uneven or if it runs a little hot, that could contribute. I’d suggest just keeping an eye on them to make sure the edges aren’t crispy and paying more attention to the evidence of your eyes than the exact time on the clock!

  • Sheila July 9, 2017, 11:46

    I’m planning to make these tonight, as a side dish to chimichurri skirt steak, but want to sweeten them up a little. im thinking of using honey. Should I add the honey to the oil prior to baking? Or bake and then add honey? Thoughts?

    • Natashalh July 9, 2017, 13:09

      Hmmm…I think you’d probably get the best results by brushing some honey on after coating the plantains with oil. I’m not sure how well the honey and oil would mix, and if you add after then it wouldn’t have the opportunity to caramelize! I hope the plantains work out for you and you enjoy. =)

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