What Is the Difference Between Banana and Plantain?

Medically Reviewed on 3/12/2021
A plantain is generally larger than a banana.
A plantain is generally larger than a banana.

A plantain is generally larger than a banana. A mature plantain is dry and ripe, whereas a banana is usually slippery. Below are a few differences between the two:

They look distinctly different:

  • Both fruits have thick outer peels that start green, turn yellow as they ripen, and turn dark brown to black once they’re overripe.
  • However, plantains are much thicker, tougher, and bigger than bananas. We may need a knife to peel a plantain.
  • Plantains also take way longer to go from green to black than bananas.
  • Plantain leaves are similar in shape to the soles of shoes, whereas banana leaves are more tubular and longer.
  • On maturity, bananas are yellow and about 6-inch long, whereas plantains are green or black and approximately 12-inch long.
  • The main physical difference between plantains and greens bananas is that plantains have narrow and elongated ends that seem pointy, whereas green bananas have short, rounded ends.


  • Rather than being soft and sweet when ripe, plantains are starchy.
  • In flavor and texture, they’re more similar to yucca, yams, or potatoes than they are to bananas.
  • Plantains do get slightly sweeter as they ripen (and can caramelize when cooked once overripe) but never lose their vegetal flavor.
  • Bananas are usually considered sweet compared with plantains, and they can be eaten raw.
  • Plantains are thick and starchy; hence, they need to be cooked before they’re consumed.
  • Bananas are very delicious when they’re ripe and yellow.
  • However, plantains have multiple popular uses when underripe, ripe, and even overripe.
  • For instance, tostones (aka plantain fritters, a common Latin side dish) are always made from green, underripe plantains, whereas maduros (caramelized sweet plantains, a Latin dish that translates to “mature”) are always made with ripe or overripe plantains.

Culinary uses:

  • Because bananas are sweet, they’re commonly found in baked goods and desserts, as well as consumed raw in dishes such as smoothies, oatmeal, and peanut butter sandwiches or fruit salads.
  • Plantains, although they’re fruits, are more similar to vegetables in terms of how they’re used. They’re usually eaten as a side dish after being boiled, fried, or baked.
  • In Latin and African countries, as well as the Caribbean, plantains are a major staple of culinary traditions and appear in many recipes. In their native lands, a plantain is usually treated more like a vegetable than a fruit when cooked and is often found baked, roasted, or fried into a tasty, savory side dish.
  • Bananas are higher in sugar, whereas plantains are slightly higher in calories and carbs than bananas, and those numbers tend to climb once they’re cooked.

What are the similarities and health benefits of plantain and banana?

Similarities include:

  • Both fruits come from plants belonging to the genus Musa, a family of heat-loving herbs native to Southeast Asia and the South Pacific (banana trees, biologically speaking, are not trees but giant herbs).
  • Both fruits have similar nutritional and health-promoting properties.
  • Bananas and plantains contain similar nutrients such as potassium, magnesium, vitamin C, minerals, and fiber.
  • Because they contain similar nutrients, they also have similar functions in promoting human health.
  • Abundant potassium can excrete excessive sodium ions and lower blood pressure. Fiber can stimulate bowel movements and help maintain bowel health.
  • The two have a similar shape and structure. When producing banana and plantain chips, you can use a banana peeling machine and banana slicer to process these two products.

Health benefits:

  • There are many health benefits associated with bananas. They are rich in vitamin B6 that helps metabolize carbohydrates.
  • Vitamin B6 also helps produce healthy red blood cells that is why they are often recommended for pregnant women.
  • Although not a great source of vitamin C, bananas are still a good source. They are also good sources of vitamin A, manganese, and potassium.
  • If you’re looking for a bit of energy, natural sugars in bananas will help wake your body up. The dietary fiber in them is also great in keeping you full.
  • Plantains are also a good source of many nutrients that are beneficial to your health. They are rich in potassium that is needed for muscle contractions and maintaining fluid balance.


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Medically Reviewed on 3/12/2021
The Difference between Bananas and Plantains: https://foodandnutrition.org/blogs/stone-soup/difference-bananas-plantains/