Upgrade Your Banana Waffles By Swapping In Plantains

Bananas and waffles are both classic breakfast staples. It's no surprise then, that their lovechild — banana waffles — are so popular on menus and at kitchen tables around the country. Perhaps this adored dish isn't to your taste, though, or you simply want to try something new. If that's the case, we'd like to introduce you to the delicious cousin of the banana: the plantain.

The differences between plantains and bananas are many, despite looking similar. Cavendish bananas — the ones you are likely used to — are only eaten when fully ripe and are known for their soft texture and sweet taste. A plantain's taste varies far more than the banana's, with ripe, cooked plantains having an almost caramelized flavor and less-ripe plantains tasting earthy and bland. Also notable is their texture. With a far higher starch content than bananas, plantains can have a tough texture that becomes fluffy and soft when cooked in a manner similar to potatoes and other high-starch vegetables. This versatility in flavor and texture can be a great asset as it allows plantains to easily be used in sweet or savory applications depending on their maturity.

How to make plantain waffles

Plantain waffles are not any more difficult to make than regular waffles. The only extra step is to make sure you pick the right plantains for the job. As mentioned earlier, plantains increase in sweetness as they ripen, so for this recipe, you will want to pick out ripe plantains that look yellow with spots of brown. Once you've picked your plantains, you can substitute them into your favorite banana waffle recipe at a one-to-one ratio — so if your recipe calls for two bananas, you'll use two plantains instead.

These waffles will be slightly chewier and less sweet than your usual banana waffles, but not so wildly distinct in flavor that you cannot top them how you would any other waffle. If you want to get creative, however, we recommend pairing them with ingredients that acknowledge the Latin American roots of the plantain. In place of syrup, try drizzling warm dulce de leche over your waffles, or swap out a topping of blueberries and raspberries for slices of guava or pitaya. Alternatively, you can go the culinary-fusion route and complement the waffle's mild sweetness with the savory addition of fried chicken.