Plantains vs. Bananas: What’s the Difference?

Plantains vs Bananas

Many people consistently include bananas in their fruit boxes. However, plantains aren’t as well known.

It’s easy to mistake a plantain for a banana since they look so much alike.

If you use a plantain instead of a banana in a recipe, though, the result might surprise you with how different it tastes.

This article will discuss what bananas and plantains have in common, what makes them different, and several popular cooking methods. Plantains and bananas have similar looks and tastes, but they serve different purposes.

What are bananas?

The term “banana” describes the edible fruit of several large herbaceous plants in the genus Musa. In the world of plants, bananas are a type of berry.

Bananas are found in Southeast Asia’s Malay Archipelago. The skin of a banana is usually thick, and the fruit is long and thin.

There are a lot of different kinds of bananas. In Western cultures, on the other hand, “banana” generally refers to the sweet yellow kind. When not ready, the skin is green, tough, and difficult to peel.

The skin of the banana turns bright yellow and then dark brown as it ripens. Also, it gets easier to peel over time.

You can eat a banana right out of the skin, and as it ripens, the meat gets sweeter, darker, and softer. You can cook and eat them when they are ripe, usually as sweets. When they are still green, you can boil them, smash them, and eat them like mashed potatoes.


Although they share the same genes as bananas, people typically eat them cooked.

Plantains come from Southeast Asia, just like bananas. However, people now grow them all over the world in places like India, Egypt, Indonesia, and the warm parts of the Americas.

Plantains generally have much thicker skin and are bigger and tougher than bananas. They could be very dark brown, green, or yellow.

When they are green, plantains are less sweet and have more carbs than bananas. Ripe plantains become sweeter, and cooking intensifies their sweetness even further. You can cook, bake, or fry plantains.

They’re a lot alike.

Beyond their botanical names, one of the most obvious ways that plantains and bananas are similar is the way they look.

But that’s not all they have in common. They are actually similar in some ways, which is good for you and your health.

Both of them are excellent for you.

You can get a lot of important nutrients from plantains and bananas, like potassium, magnesium, vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants.

Here’s how many calories are in 100 grams, or about half a cup, of bananas and plantains:

Carbs23 grams32 grams
Fiber3 grams2 grams
Potassium358 mg487 mg
Magnesium27 mg36 mg
Vitamin C9 mg18 mg

Both of these foods are excellent sources of complex carbs. A 100-gram serving of plantains contains about 32 grams of carbs, and a 100-gram serving of bananas contains 23 grams of carbs. However, this amount can change based on how ripe the fruit is.

There is one major difference: plantains have more starch carbs than sugars; bananas have more sugars.

Each 100-gram amount has about the same number of calories: 89 to 122. Neither one is a beneficial source of protein or fat.

Some beneficial for your health.

Plantains and bananas both have a lot of the same nutrients, so they may have some of the same health benefits.

Bioactive compounds found in plantains and bananas may help reduce inflammation and protect cells from damage, according to some studies.

Both fruits have a lot of potassium, which is a mineral that many people don’t get enough of. Getting enough potassium can help lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease. Both foods may help keep your digestive system healthy because they both have fiber.

The resistant starch in plantains and bananas is also very high. This starch helps keep your digestive system healthy. It can also help control blood sugar and make insulin work better.

Can use both of them in cooking.

The primary distinction between bananas and plantains lies in their cooking methods. However, some cultures don’t clearly distinguish between the two words

Some people refer to a plantain as a “cooking banana,” while others refer to the sweeter variety as a “dessert banana.”

Cooking with bananas

Ripe raisins are sweet, which is why baked goods and cooked sweets like pies, muffins, and quick breads often use them.

You can also eat them raw on their own, in a fruit salad, or on top of a treat or oatmeal. You can even dip them in chocolate or put nut butter on toast and eat them that way.

If you cook green bananas until they are soft, you can eat them. They can be mashed like potatoes and enjoyed.

Cooking with Plantains

More recipes use plantains in Central and South America and the Caribbean. People from Africa, such as those in Ghana and Nigeria, also use them in their cuisine.

Some people in Puerto Rico like to eat mofongo, which is made with mashed plantains. People often serve fried plantains with food in Caribbean places like Jamaica, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic.

They are tough and starchy before they ripen. They have a much thicker skin than banana skin.

Plantains typically serve as a side dish or as part of a main meal. They are less sweet than bananas.

The skin starts out green, then turns yellow, and finally turns a dark brown-black color as they age. If they are darker, they will contain more sugar. Plantains can be eaten ripe or unripe, but you need a knife.

Latin American and Caribbean cuisine frequently involves slicing and frying green and yellow plantains. If you cut them very thinly before frying, you can eat them more like chips.

In Spanish-speaking countries, we call them tostones when they’re green and cooked. Ripe ones are known as maduros.

Which is healthier plantains vs bananas?

In terms of diet, neither banana nor plantain is better than the other. Both are very healthy foods.

However, the method of cooking these fruits can alter their nutritional value. What you put on top matters more than the fruit.

Both have carbs that can raise blood sugar, so watch how much you eat if you’re worried about it.

But keep in mind that both plantains and bananas are whole foods that have fiber. For some people, this may help keep their blood sugar from rising, especially when compared to processed foods that aren’t high in fiber.

The bottom line

Though they look alike, bananas and plantains are easily distinguished by taste.

Both have similar amounts of nutrients and may be beneficial for your health. You can also use them in some of the same ways at home.

Plantains are less sweet than bananas because they are starchy. They pair well with savory dishes. Bananas, on the other hand, are delicious on their own or in desserts.

Both fruits can be eaten as part of a healthy diet because they are whole foods that are good for you.

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