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The Difference Between Yellow Plantain and Green Plantain

Plantains can be found in so many places all over the world, but they are grown mostly in Africa, the Caribbean islands, South-east Asia, South America and Central America where plantains are a staple food.

They belong to the banana family and are very similar to bananas in appearance but larger.

Plantains are usually cooked before they are eaten, and they are known as cooking bananas in some places.

Together with meals such as Jollof rice, plantains could be served as a side dish.  They could be used for popular recipes such as patacones or to make snacks such as plantain chips

Plantain are rich in numerous minerals such as potassium, magnesium, as well as vitamins. They also contain dietary fibers.

Plantains are usually green in color when they are harvested. However, as the harvested plantain is stored, they become more mature and acquire a yellow color and several different properties.

Both green plantain and yellow plantain can be eaten when cooked. However, there some differences in the taste, texture and nutritional content when using either green plantain or yellow plantain.

In this post, we are going to describe some of the differences between yellow and green plantains.

Green plantain

The newly harvested plantain is usually green in colour as it is obtained from the plant.

When the plantain peels are green in colour, it means that they are unripe.

Unripe plantain or green plantain has a firm texture which also makes the green plantains difficult to peel  

Green plantain has a taste similar to potatoes as well as a similar nutritional profile as potatoes when they are used to cook.

Green plantains are very starchy, and have more starch than yellow plantains. The starch in green plantains is largely made up of dietary fiber which is also good for digestion.

They are highly nutritious as they are good sources of magnesium and potassium.

They might not be as sweet as yellow plantains but they are very healthy when they are eaten because of their nutritional content, they are better used for making plantain chip because of their firm texture.

Yellow plantain

As the plantain ripens, they acquire a yellow color on their peel. When they become over ripe the yellow color of their peels could change to brown.

Yellow plantains are known for their sweet taste when they are cooked.

As the plantain becomes ripe, the starch in green plantains becomes converted to sugars.

They also acquire a soft texture and a sweeter taste as they have more sugars which makes them taste sweeter than the green plantains. They are easier to peel

Yellow Plantains could be cooked by frying them, baking them or they could be boiled.

They are also highly nutritious. Yellow plantains are also a good source of magnesium, potassium and vitamins

Green plantain vs. yellow plantain

When used to cook both green and yellow plantains have several significant differences. These are some of the differences between the green plantains and yellow plantains.


Green plantains are starchier than yellow plantain. A lot of the starch in green plantain is made up of resistant starch. Resistant starch which is also dietary fiber is important in digestive health.

 As the plantain becomes ripe and its peel acquires a yellow color, starch becomes replaced with sugars; yellow plantain therefore has less resistant starch but more of natural sugars.


Yellow plantain is known for its very sweet taste when cooked, but unlike yellow plantain, green plantain doesn’t have sweet taste but taste more like a potato.

This is become of the greater starch and lesser sugar content green plantains has compared to yellow plantain.


Another difference is that green plantain is firm in texture as a result of the starch content of the green plantains 

As plantain becomes ripe and as starch decreases, they acquire a softer texture. Yellow plantains are therefore easier to slice compared to green plantains.

Also, because of the firm texture of green plantains, green plantains are better used in making plantain chips.


Dietary fibre is important for digestive health

Green plantains and yellow plantains are both good sources of fiber, however, green plantain contain slightly more fiber than yellow plantains.


As plantain becomes ripe and as green plantain changes color to yellow plantain, a lot of the starch gets converted to sugars.

The natural sugars found in plantain are sucrose, fructose and glucose.

Yellow plantains have more of these sugars than green plantain. A half cup of yellow plantain that has been cooked has about 15g of sugars while the same amount of boiled green plantains has about 1.5g of sugars.


The calorie content of plantain depends on how they are cooked.

Fried plantain may have more calories compared to boiled plantain because of the cooking oil used.

Plantains are rich in carbs and a large portion of the calories in plantain are from the carbs.

Yellow plantains however have slightly more calories than green plantains.  

Comparison table

Green plantainYellow plantain
StarchHas more starch than yellow plantainsHas a lesser starch content
TasteTastes like potatoesSweet tasting when cooked
TextureFirm texture Softer than green plantains
FiberRich in fibers Rich in fibers
Sugarsless sugars compared to yellow plantainsHas more natural sugars
CalorieSlightly lesser calorie content than yellow plantains Has more Calorie content


Plantains have different colours of their peels depending on how ripe they are.

Green plantains are not fully mature, yellow plantains are ripe, and when the plantain becomes brown in colour, it means that they are over-ripe

The harvested Plantains could be used to cook when they are green or yellow in color, and they both have different qualities.

There are differences between yellow and green plantains when it comes to taste, texture, their nutritional profile and how they are used.

Yellow plantain has a sweeter taste than green plantain which tastes more like potatoes.

Green plantains are starchier and are more firm; therefore they are more difficult to peel.

A lot of the starch in plantain is resistant starch which supplies dietary fiber; plantains are therefore is rich in dietary fiber.

The starch becomes converted to sugars as the plantain ripens, hence yellow plantains contain more sugars.

Both green plantains and yellow plantains are good sources of several important nutrients.


Healthline: Plantain: Nutrition facts and health benefits

Mindbodygreen: What is resistant starch?

Consumer report: Are plantains good for you?