What is the difference between banana and plantain?

The main difference between banana and plantain is that the plantains are usually larger and tougher than bananas, with a much thicker outer layer of skin. Also, bananas are usually sweeter, while plantains are thick and starchy.

While some of us use the two words banana and plantain interchangeably, there is a significant difference when it comes to their taste and uses in the kitchen. In many African and Caribbean societies, plantains are a staple ingredient in the kitchen and are treated as a vegetable rather than fruit and are roasted, fried or baked with delicious hearty side dishes.

Key areas covered

1. What is a banana - definition, properties, uses 2. What is a plantain - definition, properties, uses 3. Similarities between banana and plantain - overview of common characteristics 4. Differences between bananas and plantains - comparison of key differences

key terms

Bananas, plantains, kitchen Difference Between Bananas and Plantains - Comparative Summary

What is a banana?

Banana is a consumable fruit produced by herbaceous plants of the Musa genus. Bananas are usually long, slender in shape with a thick skin. Bananas are native to Southeast Asia, but Europeans and North Americans use them frequently in their cuisines.


Although there are different types of bananas, in Europe the term “banana” usually refers to the sweet, yellow variety. However, the outer layer of an unripe banana is green and difficult to peel. With increasing maturity, the skin turns yellow and is also relatively easier to peel. We can eat the bananas either raw or cooked, and the edible pulp becomes sugary and softer as it ripens.

What is a plantain?

Plantains are a type of banana with a completely different taste profile and culinary use than sweet and sugary yellow bananas. Plantains are usually larger and tougher than bananas, with a much thicker outer layer of skin. They can be colored green, yellow or very dark brown.

Plantain - Green Banana

Although plantains are native to Southeast Asia, they are currently grown by people all over the world, especially in tropical countries. Compared to yellow bananas, plantains are more starchy, chewier and less sugary. Unlike ripe bananas, which are usually slippery, ripe plantains are dry when they are ripe. They taste better cooked than raw.

Similarities Between Banana and Plantain

  1. Both come from plants in the Musa genus, a family of tropical herbs native to Southeast Asia and the South Pacific.
  2. They contain similar nutrients. For example: potassium , magnesium, vitamin C, minerals and fiber.
  3. They give off excess sodium ions and lower blood pressure.
  4. Both are similar in shape and structure.

Difference between banana and plantain


Banana is a long, curved fruit with a yellow skin and soft, sweet, white flesh inside, while plantain is a type of banana that we can consume as a vegetable.


Plantains are bigger, thicker, and tougher than bananas.


Plantains are thick and starchy; Therefore, they must be cooked before consumption. Compared to plantains, bananas are usually soft and sweet and can be eaten raw.

Culinary applications

Because of their natural sweetness, bananas are often found in baked goods and confectionery as well as in comparatively raw dishes such as smoothies or fruit salads. Plantains, on the other hand, are more like vegetables, and cooked, baked, or deep-fried plantains are served as an accompaniment to main meals in many cultures around the world.

Type of kitchen

Bananas are a popular ingredient in North American cuisine, while plantains are commonly used in Latin American, African, and Caribbean cuisines.


The main difference between bananas and plantains is that their plantains are usually larger and tougher than bananas. Also, bananas are usually sweeter, while plantains are thick and starchy. Bananas are higher in sugar and slightly lower in calories and carbohydrates than plantains.


Bayne, GK “ Which country consumes the most bananas ?” Synonym, May 25, 2021.

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About the author: Anuradha

Anuradha holds a BA in English, French and Translation Studies. She is currently studying English literature in a second language context in the master’s course. Her areas of interest include art and literature, language and education, nature and animals, cultures and civilizations, food and fashion.