Bananas come in a variety of sizes and colors, from mini red bananas to large green plantains. These are starchy tree fruits with yellow flesh that can be sweet or savory. This tasty fruit is a great source of vitamin C, manganese, and dietary fiber.
Most bananas can be eaten uncooked, right out of the peel. They are super sweet and a treat on cereal, in yogurt, or with ice cream. These bananas can also be cooked in desserts or baked into bread. They can be dehydrated into chips that are terrific additions to trail mix or granola.
Plantains, otherwise known as platanos in the Caribbean, are a bit too fibrous to eat raw. These can be fried, baked, roasted, boiled, and steamed. Green plantains are not sweet and are often used in savory dishes as you might a potato. They can also be fried and eaten as large chips. Ripe plantains have blackened skins or peels with sweet flesh. These are often fried and served with savory meals or as a dessert.
Cooking Bananas in an Air Fryer
Banana Chips: Using your air fryer as a dehydrator is a great method for making banana chips. Banana chips can be either crunchy or chewy. You can slice them very thinly for crispy little chips or a little thicker for chips that have a slight chew to them. They will shrink while drying and the natural sugars will become concentrated.
Depending on the size of your air fryer, you may only be able to fit one sliced banana. I like to use a wire rack set above the crisper plate to be able to fit 2 layers of banana slices.
Tostones: Tostones are traditionally raw, or green skinned, plantains that are twice fried in a lot of oil. They can be quite high in calories because the flesh absorbs a lot of the oil. Twice cooking plantains in the air fryer eliminates much of the oil, making them a healthier snack or side dish.
Air fried tostones can be either crunchy or a little chewy. To get them a little chewier, you can dip them in water just prior to the second cook. I prefer crunchy tostones that resemble fat chips, so I eliminate the water step.
Ripe Plantain Bites: When allowed to ripen, the skin of plantains becomes almost black in color. The flesh remains yellow and is a bit soft. Again, air frying these sweet bites reduces the amount of oil you will need to use.
There are many ways to season sweet plantain bites. Some cultures add spices, such as cayenne or cumin. I like to add a little salt and cinnamon while they are still warm. I have served plantain bites as a dessert snack and also as a side dish to Cuban style meats and vegetables. They are actually really nice with hot and spicy dishes.
Air Fryer Dehydrated Sweet Banana Chips (Vegan and Gluten-Free)
- 2 ripe & firm bananas
- 2 tsps fresh lemon juice
- Pinch of sea salt (optional)
Note: Salt can enhance the sweetness of fruit. These bananas are plenty sweet when dehydrated. If you want them to be like candy, add a pinch of salt.
Total time:7 hour 10 min – Prep time:10 min – Cook time:7 hour – Serves:4 people
1. Peel the bananas and slice them on the diagonal into 1/4 inch thick chips. Place the slices in a bowl and coat with the lemon juice. Sprinkle with salt, if using. The lemon juice will help the bananas to retain their color.
2. Place a single layer of 1/2 the banana slices on the crisper plate or basket of the air fryer. Place the wire rack above the first layer of bananas and fill that with the remaining banana slices in a single layer.
3. Turn the air fryer on to 135°F and set the timer to 8 hours. Check the bananas at 6 hours. You can decide at this point if you would like your chips to be a bit chewy, or continue to dehydrate until the chips are completely dried and crisp.
4. Store the chips in an air-tight container and enjoy as a snack or add to granola.
Air Fryer Tostones – Plantain Chips (Vegan, Gluten-Free, and Paleo)
- 1 large green plantain
- 3 TBS extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 cup water (optional)
- 2 tsps kosher or coarse sea salt
Total time: 15 min – Prep time: 3 min – Cook time: 12 min – Serves: 2 people
1. Preheat the Air fryer to 390°F for 3 minutes and set the timer for 25 minutes to be safe.
2. Trim the ends off of the plantain. Make a vertical slit in the skin just down to the flesh on 2 sides of the plantain. Peel the skin off and discard. Slice the plantain into 1” thick pieces. Brush the pieces with 1/2 the olive oil on both sides.
3. Place the slices in the fryer basket or on the crisper plate. Cook for 5 minutes.
4. Remove the cooked plantain pieces to a clean cutting board. Using the flat side of a meat mallet, or a tostone press, gently smash each one into 1/4 inch thick rounds.
5. For softer tostones, quickly dip the rounds in the water and drain on a paper towel. Eliminate this step for crunchier tostones.
6. Brush both sides of the plantain chips with the remaining olive oil. Place them back in the air fryer and cook for 4 minutes. Flip the chips over and continue to cook for 3 more minutes until golden brown with a crunchy exterior.
7. Remove the tostones to a platter and season with salt on both sides. You can serve tostones with blackened tilapia and mango salsa or by themselves as a snack with guacamole to dip into.
Air Fryer Sweet Plantain Bites (Vegan and Gluten-Free)
- 2 ripe plantains (dark brown or black skin)
- 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil, divided
- 1 tsp coarse salt
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
Total time: 20 min – Prep time: 5 min – Cook time: 15 min – Serves: 2 people
1. Preheat the Air fryer to 380°F for 3 minutes and set the timer for 25 minutes to be safe.
2. Trim the ends off of the plantain. Make a vertical slit in the skin just down to the flesh on 2 sides of the plantain. Peel the skin off and discard. Slice the plantain into 1” thick pieces. Place the Plantain pieces in a bowl and pour 1 tablespoon of the coconut oil over the plantains. Toss to coat.
3. Place the bites in the fryer basket or on the crisper plate. Cook for 8 minutes.
4. Open the air fryer and flip the plantains over. Spoon the remaining tablespoon of coconut oil over the bites. Cook for another 7 minutes or until golden brown and soft.
5. Line a serving bowl with butcher’s paper (if you have some on hand). Place the plantains in the bowl and sprinkle with the salt and cinnamon while still warm, trying to get some on all bites.
6. Serve the plantains with marinated pork chops and vegetables or with just napkins as a dessert.