Puerto Rican Pastelón (Plantain Lasagna) {Recipe}

by Melanie Edwards on August 26, 2012 · 56 comments

in Puerto Rico, Recipes

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Pastelón Recipe - Plantain Lasagna Recipe

Plantains are a staple ingredient in Puerto Rican food as well as other Caribbean and tropical cuisines. Most people know of sweet plantains, but you can eat and cook with either ripe plantains (sweet) or green plantains. Both are delicious.

I’ve wanted to share a recipe for pastelón, a dish akin to lasagna that I love, for a while now. Just about everyone I know that tries it also loves it. When provided the opportunity by Walmart to share information on Chiquita’s plantains, I immediately knew that this pastelón recipe would be perfect to accompany it!

Plantains: Green, Yellow, and Black - Platanos Verdes y Maduros

First, let me share a quick explanation of plantains. Plantains are not bananas, but they are like cousins. There are green ones, yellow ones, and those that lean towards black. Green plantains are not sweet and are used in Puerto Rico to make dishes like tostones (fried green plantains) and mofongo. Yellow plantains are ripe and have a sweet taste. They are the ones used to make amarillos (or maduros in some countries), which are fried ripe plantains. The black-ish plantains are even more sweet and their texture is very soft. For pastelón, you want very ripe plantains, so try to pick out black plantains mostly when making this dish. Chiquita also offers the following advice for picking out plantains and what you can do with each type: if green, fry them; if yellow, grill them; if black, bake them. A quick note: not all Walmart stores carry plantains, but hopefully you can find some in your town since they’re so very delicious and I wouldn’t want you to miss out!

Now, let’s get to the recipe for pastelón, which I just know you’re going to love! Be sure and tell me if you try this, ok?

Pastelón (Plantain Lasagna) Recipe

Pastelón (Plantain Lasagna) Ingredients


  • Ground beef, about 2 lbs.
  • Adobo
  • Meat tenderizer
  • 1 tbsp. white vinegar
  • Sazón, 1 packet
  • 3 tbsp. tomato sauce
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp. sofrito
  • Spanish olives, 5-6 diced
  • Salt, as needed
  • Vegetable oil (for frying)
  • Ripe plantains
  • 3-4 eggs


Cook Ground Beef

You will need to make a sofrito as a base for the ground beef. To see pictures and links for the basic ingredients used in Puerto Rican sofrito, click on over and read 5 Must-Have Ingredients for Cooking Puerto Rican Food. As with previous recipes I’ve posted, I apologize for the lack in detail with the ingredients and the steps, but it is true to how I and everyone in my family cooks. We do not measure and just go along pouring items into the pot.

  1. Season ground beef with adobo and meat tenderizer.
  2. Add vinegar, sazón, tomato sauce, tomato paste, sofrito, and olives.
  3. Brown the beef and cook until well done.
  4. Keep on low heat until ready to use.

How to Peel a Plantain

Peel and Fry Plantains

  1. Heat vegetable oil in a large frying pan.
  2. Peel each plantain by cutting off the ends, then carefully slicing down the skin length-wise. Separate the plantain from the peel. (See image above for example.)
  3. You will need to slice each plantain into layers by cutting length-wise across the plantain. Each layer should be thin, but thick enough to pan-fry. (See image below for details.)
  4. Carefully place each plantain layer into your frying pan. You want the plantain to have a golden-brown color, turning each layer halfway-through so that both sides get a nice color.
  5. Once both sides of the plantain are golden-brown, remove from oil and place on a paper towel covered plate so the oil is absorbed.
  6. Repeat steps 4-5 until all your plantain layers are fried.

How to Slice Plantain for Pastelón

Assemble and Bake Pastelón

  1. Using a lasagna dish, layer the fried plantains to cover the bottom of the dish.
  2. Spread cooked ground beef on top to cover the length of the dish.
  3. Repeat steps 1-2, creating alternating layers of plantains and ground beef.
  4. Crack open your eggs into a bowl and beat as you would for scrambled eggs.
  5. Pour the egg over the top of the pastelón, making sure to get some into the corners, sides, and middle. This helps seal the pastelón, so it doesn’t break apart as much when serving.
  6. In a microwave oven, cook the pastelón on high heat for about 6-8 minutes. Check to be sure egg has cooked thoroughly. You could probably also bake the pastelón in a conventional oven, but my mother always uses the microwave when she makes pastelón, so it’s what I learned.

How to Make a Pastelón, Recipe Steps

That’s it! You now have a delicious pastelón ready to serve and enjoy. This goes great with a side of white rice, but a salad would be good too if you prefer. I hope you try this recipe that is popular in Puerto Rico and love it as much as I do!

Have you ever cooked with plantains? What’s your favorite plantain dish?

Disclosure: ModernMami.com and its owner, Melanie Edwards, is a member of the Walmart Moms program, resulting in compensation for this post.

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{ 51 comments… read them below or add one }

Carla @ All of Me Now August 26, 2012 at 11:22 pm

You’ve inspired me! We made a vegetarian version once and it was heavenly. You just reminded me of it =) We used veggie burgers instead. Really, though, anything with maduros is amazing! Great pics!


modernmami August 27, 2012 at 9:10 am

A veggie version, huh? So glad you’re inspired! 😉 Thanks.


Dnfigue February 20, 2017 at 3:10 pm

If you are vegetarian you will like to add green beens (french sliced). In Mayagüez we call it piñón.


Melanie Edwards February 22, 2017 at 1:09 pm

Yes, I’ve heard this name too and have seen some people do add the green beans.


unknownmami August 27, 2012 at 1:52 am

Yum! Mouthwatering. I want some now.


modernmami August 27, 2012 at 9:09 am

So glad you like!


DL December 9, 2014 at 1:54 pm

hey sweetie what kind of cheese can we or do you use??


Melanie Edwards December 9, 2014 at 8:25 pm

I don’t use cheese in my pastelón recipe, but I imagine mozzarella would work well!


Jeannette Quiñones-Cantore August 27, 2012 at 10:16 am

Wepa! que rico es nuestro pastelón de plátanos maduros


modernmami August 27, 2012 at 10:19 am

Rico, verdad? Uno de mis favoritos!


Yvonne Condes August 27, 2012 at 12:05 pm

Wow, that looks amazing. Thank you for explaining the difference between the plantains.


modernmami August 28, 2012 at 11:42 am

You’re so welcome! Glad it was useful and that you like. 🙂


Amanda August 27, 2012 at 9:30 pm

i remember tasting this the first time I went to PR, about 12 years ago…que rico!! Will definitely have to try to make it on my own soon. Thank you for the recipe!


modernmami August 28, 2012 at 11:43 am

Let me know how it goes when you make it!


Marta Verdes Darby August 28, 2012 at 4:13 pm

I’m in love with this recipe! I’m Cuban so anything with maduros rocks our world! Thanks so much for sharing!


modernmami August 28, 2012 at 4:27 pm

You’re so welcome! Had you posted this recipe before Marta? We love our platanos too!!


Kate September 15, 2013 at 2:52 pm

This is the simplest pastelon recipe to make. And it it DELISIOSO!!!
I have made this recipe twice now and it comes out perfect everytime. I bake mine in the oven though, and its oh so good!!


Melanie Edwards September 16, 2013 at 2:08 pm

Awwww….I’m SO glad to hear that! Baking it in the oven sounds great. Keep enjoying!


Janet November 6, 2013 at 11:36 am

Hi I was looking at Ur recipe I tried it before but I thought you are suppose to add cheddar cheese.. Am I wrong ?


Melanie Edwards April 23, 2014 at 3:14 pm

Janet, I’ve never had it with cheese, but perhaps there are some households who use cheese in their recipes out there. Everyone has a different recipe!


Melissa February 20, 2014 at 7:50 pm

Can you send me the nutritional values for this?


Melanie Edwards February 28, 2014 at 11:40 am

Hi Melissa, I’m unsure of the nutritional values or how to calculate them myself. Perhaps you can look them up with the help of an online calculator?


Armywife1207 April 23, 2014 at 1:13 pm

I have to say that you have done an outstanding job explaining how to do pastelon recipe. It looks yummy. I am going to try to make it this weekend. The only question I have is if I make it in the oven how long do I leave it in for?


Melanie Edwards April 23, 2014 at 3:17 pm

You’re going to love it! Since the ground beef and the plantains are already essentially cooked, you’re really just going to need to make sure the egg is cooked thoroughly and that the entire dish is well-heated all around. I would say that you should bake it in a conventional oven for about 15 minutes, again, making sure to check that the egg is cooked all the way through and judging it to see if you need to leave it in longer. Hope that helps!


Marsha June 3, 2014 at 6:13 pm

This is my favorite puertorican dish! Just wanted to give you a quick tip, if you are ever in a hurry. Like me boricua working mom! I sometimes buy the maduros that are frozen and already done, slice them and arrange them in muffin pans, add meat, top with more maduro slices, little bit of egg for sealing and some cheese! Bake it! And have my quick pastelon version already divided and ready to go! For those days you dont have the time to fry all the ripe plantains AKA maduros! Thought I’d share… Although the original recipe is the best!


Melanie Edwards June 10, 2014 at 12:21 pm

What a wonderful idea!!!! I love it! Thanks so much for sharing your quick version of pastelón!


Bienvenido Roman July 19, 2014 at 10:56 am

Que Rico 🙂


Bonnie March 2, 2015 at 2:26 pm

Hi there! I am Puerto Rican and Caucasian. I just recently begin really exploring my Puerto Rican heritage. This dish looks so delicious, I can’t wait to try it. I am getting married in August and was wondering if maybe you could give me some ideas for our menu? I would love to incorporate traditional Puerto Rican food.


Melanie Edwards March 10, 2015 at 3:38 pm

Congratulations, Bonnie! Traditional Puerto Rican dishes call for arroz con gandules, pernil, plantains, etc. You could also serve pastelón – your guests would love it!


Mark August 21, 2015 at 9:10 pm

Thanks for the recipe, it came out great. This is one of my favorite dishes!


Melanie Edwards August 23, 2015 at 5:52 pm

Thanks for letting me know you used my recipe! I’m so glad you liked it!


amy August 27, 2015 at 11:21 am

How many plaintains did u use


Melanie Edwards August 27, 2015 at 9:39 pm

You’ll probably use about a dozen plantains.


Wara October 2, 2015 at 1:57 pm

Thank you for the wonderful recipe!!!! I have been making my own version of pastelon without frying the plantains……I just bake them or grill them and the flavor is just right…..and it does not take up too much time…….my arroz con gandules is scary……my goal is to perfect that dish from your beautiful country!


Melanie Edwards October 2, 2015 at 9:13 pm

I never thought to cook them another way, but may have to give that a try! Here’s my arroz con gandules recipe (in a rice cooker), in case you want to try it! http://www.modernmami.com/latino-latina-culture/puerto-rico/arroz-con-gandules-recipe/


Otis February 16, 2016 at 2:32 pm

Hello!!! At what temperature in the oven?


Melanie Edwards February 22, 2016 at 10:35 am

This particular recipe cooks the pastelón in the microwave (that’s how my mami makes it), but I’m sure you can try it in a regular oven at about 350 degrees.


lillian April 28, 2016 at 7:50 am

I wanted to know if u really have to fry plaintain o can let them cook in oven with the rest of ingredients


Melanie Edwards April 28, 2016 at 8:48 am

Lillian, I suppose it’s worth a try, but I’m not sure if the plantain will cook all the way through. We’ve always fried them through first before assembling the pastelón and baking it. If you try it, let me know how it turns out!


angel June 17, 2016 at 6:29 pm

quiero la reseta


sonia Hostos December 23, 2016 at 4:09 pm

me gustaria saber hacer pastelon de verenjenas.
el de platanos es rico. soy nacida en p.r. criada en new York, pero soy Boricua y me encanta cocinar. gracias


Melanie Edwards January 10, 2017 at 7:10 pm

Hola Sonia, nunca he hecho un pastelon de verenjenas. Te dejo saber si lo intento un dia. 🙂


Olga Brunner February 20, 2017 at 8:27 pm

So if I want to cook pastelon in the oven, how long will it need to cook?


Melanie Edwards February 22, 2017 at 1:10 pm

You should cook it until the eggs cook and the pastelón is set.


Diane I Handelman February 20, 2017 at 10:55 pm

My Mom uses soft mashed potatoes instead of eggs to bind the meat and maduros together so that it doesn’t fall apart.


Melanie Edwards February 22, 2017 at 1:10 pm

Oh wow, that’s interesting!


theresa February 23, 2017 at 2:03 am

Does anyone have a recipe of how it’s made with the cheese???


Melanie Edwards February 23, 2017 at 10:18 am

I’ve never cooked it with the cheese, but I imagine you would add a layer of cheese at the top or perhaps in-between layers.


Carlos March 31, 2017 at 6:00 pm

It’s always been baked when I was growing up and with no cheese…thank god it wasn’t even mentioned here..


Melanie Edwards April 5, 2017 at 12:14 pm

I’ve been seeing some people do add cheese, but this is not the way my mami makes it. No cheese here! 😉


Carlos March 31, 2017 at 6:04 pm

Fry them or cook them in the mi riwave first then put in conventional oven at 350 until the eggs cook through and it’s golden brown on top.


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