A plantain is a food that is often confused with a banana. But don’t be fooled, this doppelgänger is more versatile than its banana counterpart and can be cooked in a variety of different ways. They are a common ingredient in many Caribbean, Latin American, and African dishes, and soon maybe you too will be incorporating them into your meal. Here are the differences between plantains and bananas.

What Are Plantains?

Plantains are in the banana family, but are starchier and lower in sugar. This makes them a healthier alternative to many high-carb foods such as rice and potatoes. Just like the banana, plantains are a potassium-rich food, which helps regulate blood pressure and skeletal and smooth muscle contraction. They are also full of vitamins A and C, two antioxidants that help boost the immune system.

How Do You Eat Them?

Unlike bananas, they are usually eaten when cooked. Raw plantain has a bitter taste, but cooking it brings out its flavor. Also unlike bananas, they can be enjoyed at every stage of ripeness. Green, firm, unripe plantain has a starchy, potato-like taste and texture, while spotted, brown, ripe plantain is soft and sweet. The beauty of the plantain is that it can be cooked in a plethora of different ways. Some popular ways to cook and eat plantain are fried, baked, sautéed, mashed, or in chip form.


Plantain can be found at most local grocery stores or international food markets. Check out this article for two cool ways to cook plantain at home, and this one for even more unique ways to cook them!