Appetizers and Sides/ Cuban Food/ Recipes

How to Make Cuban Tostones (Authentic)

Tostones in garlic dipping sauce

If you’ve ever wondered how to make Cuban tostones just like abuela used to make…look no further! My Cuban family has been making and enjoying these for years! They’re salty, crispy, and they only take a few ingredients to make.

How to make cuban tostones

You’ll want to make sure that you buy the greenest plantains you can find. You do not want it to be yellowing They start to turn sweet quickly after turning yellow and we need these to be firm and unsweet. Also keep in mind when buying your plantains, you’ll get about 4-5 tostones per plantain.

How to peel a plantain:

If you’ve never peeled a plantain before, you’ll quickly realize that it’s not as easy as a banana. The skin is much tougher. To peel the plantain, you’ll want to cut off the ends first then score the peel lengthwise. Then you can peel it in sections.

peeling a plantain

Once peeled, cut each plantain into about 4-5 pieces. I usually make these about an inch and a half to 2 inches long but you don’t need to be exact. They’re going to get flattened after all!

cut plantains

Once peeled and cut, you’re ready for the first fry (yep! these get fried twice). The most important part is making sure your oil is hot before you add the tostones. I use a medium heat that has fully pre-heated. If you add them to warm oil, they will end up greasy and soggy…and we want crispy! To test the temperature of the oil, I just place one edge of a plantain piece into the oil, if it bubbles rapidly, the oil is hot enough and you can add in your plantain pieces.

testing oil temperature with plantain, how to know when the oil is ready

Fry your plantain pieces for about 6 minutes while rolling them around to make sure all sides get softened. You’re not looking to brown them at this point but just softening them so they can be easily smashed.

frying plantains

After the first fry, remove the plantains and place them on a paper towel to absorb the grease. If you are making these ahead of time, you can stop here. Once these cool, you can place them in an air-tight container for a few hours before moving on to the next step. It’s nice to at least get half of the recipe out of the way if you have either friends or family coming over.

plantains draining on paper towel

When you are ready to finish up these crispy, salty tostones…you’ll want to start back up here. And this is the most important part…THE SMASHING!

Now, you DO NOT need a tostonera to make these. If you have one, great! But if not, feel free to use the bottom of anything flat. You can use a cup, a plate, a skillet…whatever you have that’s clean and flat will work. I also covered mine with foil to keep some of the oil off but that’s optional.

smashing tostones

You want to smash these to a little less then 1/2 inch thick. Again, this does not need to be perfect. Even ugly ones taste amazing!

Do you have to soak tostones?

Soaking is not required, however I like to do it because It gives them a little extra flavor and also makes them crisp up nicely. Right before the second fry, you’ll want to dip each tostone into a mixture of water, lime, and salt. They only need to stay in for about 10-15 seconds then you can remove them with a slotted spoon and place them on paper towels. Be sure to pat them dry before adding to the oil for the second fry.

soaking tostones

You’ll now want to bring that oil temperature up to a medium high heat. Make sure it’s had a few minutes to heat up then you can go ahead and add in the tostones for their second fry. You want to cook them for about 1-2 minute per side.

After frying, drain them once more on paper towels and salt them right away. You want the salt to be able to soak into the tostones so be sure to salt when they are still hot.

How to make cuban tostones, cuban tostones, tostones recipe

How to make the garlic dipping sauce for tostones:

This sauce is so easy! It’s optional but you’ll definitely want to try it. You just need to sauté garlic cloves in olive oil on low heat for a few minutes. Once you can smell the garlic cooking, take it off the heat and add in the salt and lime juice then blend.

garlic sauce for tostones

And that’s it! You’ve now made crispy Cuban tostones with garlic dipping sauce. It’s time to enjoy!

How to make cuban tostones, cuban tostones, tostones recipe

Other Cuban Recipes You’ll Love:

How to make cuban tostones, cuban tostones, tostones recipe


Tostones in garlic dipping sauce

How to Make Cuban Tostones (Authentic)

Coco and Ash
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 12 tostones


  • 3 green plantains
  • 6 cups canola or vegetable oil (or enough to fill your pan about 1.5" deep)
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt (plus more for finishing)
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice

Optional Garlic Sauce

  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 5 fresh minced garlic cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice


  • Add your oil to a large pan. The oil should come up enough to cover the sliced plantains about ¾ of the way. (see photos above)
  • Heat the oil over medium heat while you prepare the plantains.
  • Cut the ends off of each plantain and then carefully slice the peel lengthwise. Peel the skin off each plantain. (These are not as easy to peel as a banana so it will take a little more effort)
  • Cut each plantain into 1-2 inch chunks. (you should get about 4-5 pieces per plantain)
  • When the oil is hot, place the plantains in and let them cook for about 6 minutes while gently rolling them around to cook all sides. They do not need to brown since you are just softening them at this stage.
  • Once cooked, place them on paper towels to drain for just a few minutes.
  • Use a tostonera or the bottom of a glass to smash each plantain chunk into your tostones. They should be about ½ inch thick.
  • Bring the oil to medium high heat
  • When ready to serve, mix together the water, lime juice, and salt. Dip each tostone in the water mixture for just about 15 seconds then set aside on paper towels and pat dry.
  • Carefully add the tostones to the hot oil and fry again for about 1-2 minute per side. When finished, place them on paper towels to drain and immediately sprinkle with salt.

Optional Garlic Sauce

  • Add the olive oil, garlic, and salt to a small sauce pan and heat on low for about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and add in the lime juice.
  • Serve as is or add to a small food processor and blend into a smooth dipping sauce.
Tried this recipe?Leave a comment!


Authentic Cuban Tostones

Join My Mailing List

and get an FREE download of a printable grocery shopping list and receive email updates of NEW recipes!

I agree to have my personal information transfered to MailChimp ( more information )

I will never give away, trade or sell your email address. You can unsubscribe at any time.

You Might Also Like

No Comments

Leave a Reply

Recipe Rating