Stovetop Diplomat

Tostones con Mojo

Tostones con Mojo

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One of the most famous and popular Cuban recipes, Tostones con Mojo are fried green plantains served with a sour orange and garlic marinade.

Tostones are made from twice-fried green plantains. Plantains can be cooked in every stage of ripeness- from a totally green exterior to a totally black exterior. On the green side plantains are similar to potatoes, with tough, starchy, neutrally flavored flesh. These are the ones you will want for Tostones con Mojo! Plantains that are yellow and / or black won’t work and will fall apart while cooking. Click here if you’re looking for some more details about the plantains!

One of the best things about this recipe is that it is totally freezer-friendly! This is a pretty quick recipe in general, but one of the gratifying things about having a stock of tostones in the freezer is not having to go out and find the exact right ripeness of plantain when the mood strikes. Here in Colorado I’m sort of at the whim of whatever stage the grocery stores are selling them in, which could be literally anything. It can be good to tuck some away when you come across a store selling them in the perfect stage of totally green ripeness.

If planning to freeze, go ahead and fry the first time, smash, and submerge in water and lime juice. Set aside, pat dry and let cool completely. Place in a single layer on a baking pan and place in the freezer, turning occasionally to keep them from sticking to the pan. Once they have frozen solid, you can throw them in together in a large, freezer-safe baggy and keep for 2-3 months! When ready to use, heat your oil and toss them right in still frozen. Cook as you normally would, 3-4 minutes or until both sides are golden brown and crispy.


While totally not a necessity, tostones are traditionally made with a press called a tostonera. The concept is similar to a tortilla press. See that circular indent? Just put your plantain in there after the first fry and press both sides together. Perfectly smashed and so fast!

If you don’t happen to own a tostonera that’s ok! The best way that I’ve found to press the plantains is to first grab a plate and lay a paper towel or two on it. Place your plantain on the paper towel and use another plate to smash it flat. Set aside and repeat!

After the plantains are smashed, they get briefly submerged in the cold water / lime juice mixture before being set aside. One of the keys here is to use COLD water- the goal is to shock the plantain, which makes the outside get golden and crispy and the inside get pillowy during the second fry. I also don’t advise leaving your plantains submerged in the water and lime juice for an extended period of time. Too long in there and they will become mushy and fall apart.

The mojo is the other piece of the puzzle here. Cuban mojo is an iconic marinade or sauce made from a few simple ingredients. This sauce was actually one of the first recipes I ever posted here at Stovetop Diplomat. The ingredients should all be familiar with the possible exception of one – the sour orange juice. This is the key component of the flavor. You may be able to find bottled sour orange juice marinade at your local Hispanic grocer, which is what I typically use. You can find more about sour orange juice here. I strongly recommend tracking down some for the best authentic Cuban flavor. But if you absolutely can’t find any, you can make a reasonable substitute out of equal parts orange juice and lime juice.

The other thing about mojo is that it only gets better with time. Definitely make it at least half an hour in advance. But to be a pro, make it the day before and let it sit in the fridge. That’s when the mojo flavor magic really starts happening.


Looking for other awesome Cuban recipes? Check out my Cuban Papas Rellenas, Frijoles Negros and Cuban Picadillo Stuffed Plantains recipes!

Tostones con Mojo

One of the most famous and popular Cuban recipes, Tostones con Mojo are fried green plantains served with a sour orange and garlic marinade.

Course Appetizer, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine Cuban
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 12 pieces


For tostones:

  • 2 green plantains
  • 1 lime, juiced (about 1/4 cup)
  • 2 cups cold water
  • 1 cup canola oil or other neutrally-flavored frying oil of choice
  • salt + pepper to taste

For mojo:

  • 1 packed tbsp minced garlic cloves (about 4 cloves)
  • 1/4 cup sour orange juice/ marinade (*see note above)
  • 1/4 cup high quality olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • dash of pepper


Make Mojo:

  1. At least 30 minutes, but preferably the night before, mix all mojo ingredients together in a bowl. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Make Tostones:

  1. Cut off the top and bottom of each plantain. Use a small paring knife to cut into the peel on the side that curves out, not going deep enough to pierce the flesh. Score all the way down and remove the peel.

  2. Slice each plantain into six pieces, about an inch and a half each.

  3. Combine lime juice and COLD water in a medium bowl and set aside. Place a few paper towels on a plate for your plantains to drain on after frying.

  4. Pour oil into a dutch oven, cast iron or other heavy-bottomed pan. (If using a regular frying pan note that you may need to reduce the initial fry time.) Place plantains in the oil - don't preheat! You want to start with cold oil.

  5. Heat oil over medium heat and fry plantains for 11-13 minutes, rotating occasionally, until very lightly golden brown. If the insides are pierceable with a fork they're done.

  6. Remove from heat and place pieces on paper towels to drain. Leave the heat on.

  7. Smash your plantains. If you do not have a tostonera, place a paper towel on a plate. Put a plantain on the paper towel and use another plate to smash it flat, roughly 1/2" thick. If you do have a tostonera, place each plantain piece in the indented circle on the inside and press both sides together.

  8. After smashing each plantain, quickly submerge it in the cold water and lime juice bowl and set aside while you finish the rest. If planning to freeze, move to the next section.

  9. Pat each piece dry. In batches, fry for another 3-4 minutes, or until crispy and golden brown. Remove from heat, drain on paper towel, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Serve with mojo on the side, or spooned over the top!

To freeze:

  1. If planning to freeze, pat each piece dry after being submerged in the water and lime juice. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet. Let cool completely.

  2. After cooling, place the baking pan in the freezer. Turn the plantains occasionally to prevent them from sticking to the pan.

  3. After they have frozen solid, you can place them in a large, freezer-safe bag together and keep them for 2-3 months.

  4. To fry, heat oil over medium heat and fry as you normally would; 3-4 minutes or until golden and crispy, turning as necessary.

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