Can you eat a plantain raw? ( 1 reason to avoid)

In this brief guide, we will answer the question, can you eat a plantain raw? We will discuss how raw plantains taste and why should avoid eating them. We also discuss the uses of plantain at different stages of ripeness and the best way to prepare each of them.

Can you eat a plantain raw?

You can eat raw plantain at your own risk, it is best not to do so. Raw plantain is considered inedible and must be eaten only when cooked.

Plantains are starchy vegetables like potatoes and can be hard to digest if you eat them raw. Plantains are also bitter which on cooking diminishes to some extent. The texture of raw plantain is similar to a potato which is also hard to bite into. High content of starch as compared to sugar, causes it to be bitter rather than sweet. 

However, raw plantain is not poisonous. Other starchy fruits from the tropical region can have detrimental effects, such as cassava with a high cyanide content can have dangerous consequences. 

Some people can face adverse health consequences such as diarrhea, GIT discomfort, or even food poisoning. If you would like to eat plantains raw, do so only if your body permits you to.

Before you eat raw plantains make sure they are brown-black and ripe. The more unripe they are, the worse they will taste. If the plantains are ripe, you can enjoy eating them raw instead of cooking. Some people might disagree but others would compare the taste to that of marshmallows.  

What are some levels of ripeness of plantain you could get?

Green Plantains

Green plantains are bought to make savory dishes such as mofongo. Green plantains have an astringent and bitter taste. To cook, slice up the plantains and fry the chips. Sauté the platanitos or chips to make them soft. When they are soft smush, and fry them again for a few minutes to make tostones.

To make Mofongos, mash the fried plantains and cook with garlic and bacon. 

Semi-ripe Plantains

If your plantains are yellow with black spots, they are probably semi-ripe. Semi-ripe plantains are used to make savories such as grilled plantains and tostones as well as some sweet dishes. Plantains usually keep a defined shape even in their ripe form. Therefore, while cooking, you do not have to worry about them giving in and losing their sturdiness.

When yellow or semi-ripe plantains are cooked, they caramelize and become slightly sweet. Yellow plantains are added to stews instead of potatoes. The tostones made of yellow plantain tend to be sweeter than those made of green. 

To make tostones broil slices of tostones and sprinkle cinnamon sugar.

Ripe Plantains

Ripe plantains are black and soft. Ripe plantains are fit to be eaten raw, however, make sure there is no mold growing on them. To eat them raw, make sure the plantains are entirely black and eat the pink insides. 

A better way to enjoy fully-ripened plantains is to make them into a dessert such as puddings, sweet empanada, or platanos maduros. 

When you sauté ripe plantains, make sure the exterior becomes crispy while the core remains soft. Serve the fried plantains alongside eggs, sausages, black beans, or stewed pork.

Other FAQs about Vegetables which you may be interested in.

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How to prepare a plantain before cooking?

Wash the plantains and then proceed to cut them. Cut the plantain into small pieces and then peel the skin. To peel, cut a small make a slit on the ridge and remove the skin. After the flesh is free of its entire skin, they are now ready to be cooked. To cook, you can fry, boil or even grill them.

Plantains can be made into sweet or savory dishes. When you boil the plantains, either peel or leave the skin intact. It is recommended to boil with the skin on to get the most vitamins and other nutrients.

To grill peel the skin off, put it into the oven or on a grill and let it cook until the plantains become tender. 

How many plantains can you eat?

Plantains are high in carbohydrates, which means a significant chunk of calories are taken when you eat plantains. Even though the sugar content is low, the percentage of carbohydrates can cause a rise in blood sugar. High blood sugar can be a concern for some people including those who suffer from diabetes or any other metabolic disorder. Plantains are low in fiber which is a huge setback and requires a person to further lower the number of plantains eaten at a time. 

In this brief guide, we answered the question, can you eat a plantain raw? We discussed what raw plantains taste like and why should avoid eating them. We also discussed the uses of plantain at different stages of ripeness and the best way to prepare each of them.


Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.