fried plantains for breakfast

“Americans always have to eat before they work,” my Sierra Leonean friend remarked as I offered him a granola bar.  “Africans go all day with just a banana for breakfast, or nothing,” he added.  He didn’t mean it unkindly, it was just an observation.

But it’s true, Americans eat more than Africans, or at least, they eat more often.  I’ve heard it said that most Africans eat two meals a day at most, and that doesn’t include breakfast.

African hotels that cater to business people, tourists and missionaries have breakfast. Rwanda, with its Belgian and French heritage, provides guests with lavish breakfast spreads including fresh breads, pastries and thick, sweet coffee with steamed milk. In Sierra Leone, breakfast, when it is served, is simple and fresh; perhaps some small green bananas, pineapple, mangoes and my favorite, fried plantains.

Fried plantains are tangy and sweet, tender on the inside  and slightly crunchy on the outside. They taste like African sun and heat, especially when fried in coconut oil.

I was so pleased to discover a bowlful of ripe plantains on the counter when I got home from Sierra Leone, what serendipity!  Marie had bought them while I was gone, and Joe and hubs, not knowing what they were, thought they were very starchy, tasteless bananas.  I fried them up for breakfast the next morning and felt like I was in Africa for one more day.

Fried Breakfast Plantains
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 2-3 per plantain
  • Serving size: ½ plantain
  • Calories: 160
  • Fat: 7 grams
  • Saturated fat: 5 grams
  • Trans fat: 0 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 16 grams
  • Protein: 1.3 grams
Cuisine: African
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Fried plantains and scrambled eggs make a hearty breakfast. Plantains are a good source of vitamin A, C, B6 and potassium.
  • Ripe plantains (one plantain is enough for 2-3 people)
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  1. Peel plantains and slice ¼" thick on the bias
  2. Heat a nonstick pan over medium high heat and add coconut oil.
  3. When coconut oil is melted, add plantain slices in a single layer.
  4. When golden brown, turn slices.
  5. Remove from pan and place on a paper towel to drain.
  6. Serve hot with a sprinkle of sea salt.

About the Author

Kathleen Caron

I'm good at finding stuff, and I love to share all my discoveries. I write about the intersection between faith, family, fellowship and food.

  • oddznns

    That sounds absolutely delicious Kathleen. I just got back from my Vietnamese mountains in Dalat and what I’m hankering after is steamed corn in sticky rice with a sprinkle of crushed peanut, sesame seed, brown sugar and salt. The corn is the old fashioned none GM kind that isn’t too sweet. They also eat plantains there, but steamed and then sprinkled with a bit of the same peanut, sesame mix.

    • Kathleen Caron

      Oooh that sounds so good. That’s my kind of soul food. Since Africans don’t eat alot of meat, I kind of got into eating more vegetarian over the last few weeks. I love sticky rice, do you have a recipe for the delicious concoction you described?

  • Christa Sterken

    That sounds so good. I have never had a plantain and will try this

    • Kathleen Caron

      I hope you like it, and it makes you feel like you are in Africa! Let me know what you think. Joe says fried plantains are too rich for him, but hubs loves them.

  • Pamela Hodges

    Good Morning Kathleen,
    I have never had fried plantains. How fun to try new food in another country.
    When I lived in Japan, the most unusual breakfast I was served was a raw egg on hot white rice.

    • Kathleen Caron

      You might like it better if you had it like this: I fry an egg once over lightly in sesame oil. Then I lightly fry some spinach in sesame oil with a little ginger and garlic. Then I put the spinach and egg on hot rice and and top with hot sauce and sesame seeds. It’s my favorite comfort food.

  • Anastacia

    It’s been a long time since I have had fried plantains. My husband introduced them to me after he had visited Honduras for a couple of months. They are so good! We’ve been eating more fruits and vegetables lately and I am going to give this a try. :-)

    • Kathleen Caron

      I like to fry up plantains and serve with scrambled eggs and maybe some sliced oranges. It’s filling, but not too heavy. And speaking of cravings (which we were in another conversation), plantains are sweet without refined sugar, so eating them satisfies that craving for something starchy and sweet without being artificial or processed. Win!

  • kathunsworth

    Kathleen I have never heard of Plantains I remember breakfast in Turkey because it was so simple. It consisted of a mug thick syrupy coffee or a sweet apple tea with only maybe a a boiled egg, tomatoes and some bread. At first we did not think much of it, but after awhile we craved it when we got home. Funny how we can adjust if we need too.

    • Kathleen Caron

      Yes, things that seem so charming abroad lose their charm when you come home. Although a mug of thick syrupy coffee and a boiled egg and bread sounds really good to me.

  • La McCoy

    Love this. Edel want Tink to review it.

    • Kathleen Caron

      Tink likes plantains alright, although she always prefers a nice juicy bug. Tell Edel Tink says “hi!”

      • La McCoy

        Hi Tink,
        What did you do while mom was gome?

        • Kathleen Caron

          She’s still asleep, but I’ll answer for her: whatever she wanted to.

          • La McCoy

            Tink. That must have been fun.
            Mom leaves dis alpine for me.
            Even when she goes out of town.

  • Janelle

    I think it would smell heavenly when you cooked them. They sound delicious. I love food with a story.

    • Kathleen Caron

      Anything cooked in coconut oil smells heavenly! Unless you don’t like coconut, and then it wouldn’t. But I love coconut oil. In Sierra Leone, they mostly cook in palm oil, which is very heavy and rich and supposedly bad for you.