If you’ve ever ventured into the vibrant culinary landscape of the Caribbean, you’ve likely encountered the humble yet flavorful boiled green banana. This unassuming dish holds a cherished place in the hearts and kitchens of many islanders, particularly in Jamaica, where it has become an integral part of their gastronomic heritage.

Boiled green bananas, often referred to as “green figs” or “cooking bananas,” have been a staple in the Jamaican diet for generations. More than just a simple side dish, they represent a connection to tradition, a celebration of locally sourced ingredients, and a testament to the resourcefulness of a people who have mastered the art of transforming humble produce into delectable fare.

The Versatile Green Banana: A Culinary Chameleon

While the bright yellow bananas we’re accustomed to are typically enjoyed raw or baked into desserts, their green, unripe counterparts offer a unique culinary experience. These firm, starchy fruits possess a subtle, earthy flavor that lends itself beautifully to savory dishes, making them a versatile ingredient in the Caribbean kitchen.

From hearty stews and curries to breakfast staples like callaloo and ackee & saltfish, boiled green bananas are the perfect accompaniment, absorbing the rich flavors of the surrounding ingredients while providing a satisfying, filling texture. Their ability to seamlessly blend into a variety of dishes has earned them a well-deserved spot in countless traditional Jamaican recipes.

Mastering the Art of Boiling Green Bananas

While the process of boiling green bananas may seem simple, there are a few key steps to ensure a flawless result. Firstly, it’s essential to select firm, unblemished green bananas, as their ripeness will affect the final texture and flavor. Overripe or bruised bananas may yield a mushy, unappetizing result, so choose your produce wisely.

Once you’ve gathered your ingredients, it’s time to prepare the bananas for boiling. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you achieve perfectly cooked, easy-to-peel green bananas:

Ingredients Needed:

  • Fresh, firm green bananas
  • A large pot or saucepan with a lid
  • Water
  • Cooking spray (optional, to prevent sticking)

Preparation Steps:

  1. Wash and Trim: Begin by giving the green bananas a thorough rinse under cool running water. This will help remove any dirt or debris that may be clinging to the skin. Once clean, use a sharp knife to trim off a small portion from both ends of each banana.
  2. Score the Skin: Carefully score the skin of each banana lengthwise, making a shallow cut along the length of the fruit. This step is crucial, as it will allow the skin to separate from the flesh during the boiling process, making peeling a breeze later on.
  3. Boil and Cook: Fill your pot or saucepan with enough water to cover the bananas, and bring it to a rolling boil over high heat. If desired, you can lightly coat the inside of the pot with cooking spray to prevent any sticky residue from forming during the boiling process.
  4. Simmer and Test: Once the water is boiling, gently add the scored bananas to the pot, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer, and cover with a lid. Allow the bananas to cook for approximately 15-20 minutes, or until they feel tender when pierced with a fork or skewer.
  5. Cool and Peel: After the bananas have reached the desired level of tenderness, carefully remove them from the pot and set them aside to cool slightly. Once they’re cool enough to handle, use the scored sections as a guide to gently peel away the skin, revealing the soft, starchy flesh beneath.

With this simple yet effective method, you’ll have perfectly cooked, easy-to-peel boiled green bananas ready to be enjoyed as a side dish or incorporated into your favorite Caribbean recipes.

Serving Suggestions: Elevating the Humble Banana

While boiled green bananas are delicious on their own, their versatility allows them to shine in a variety of culinary creations. Here are a few serving suggestions to inspire your next Caribbean-inspired meal:

  • Breakfast Delight: Pair boiled green bananas with traditional Jamaican breakfast staples like ackee & saltfish or callaloo. The starchy bananas provide a perfect balance to the flavorful proteins and greens.
  • Curry Companion: Serve boiled green bananas alongside your favorite curry dishes, such as curry goat or curry chicken. Their mild flavor and tender texture make them an ideal accompaniment to the bold spices and rich sauces.
  • Stew Sidekick: Complement hearty stews like brown stew fish or brown stew chicken with a side of boiled green bananas. Their ability to soak up the flavorful juices makes them a perfect pairing.
  • Mashed Madness: For a unique twist, try mashing boiled green bananas with a touch of butter or coconut milk, creating a creamy, flavorful mash reminiscent of mashed potatoes but with a distinct Caribbean flair.
  • Smoothie Surprise: Get creative and incorporate boiled green bananas into your favorite smoothie recipes. Their starchy texture and subtle flavor can add an intriguing depth to your refreshing beverage.

Remember, the possibilities are endless when it comes to incorporating boiled green bananas into your culinary adventures. Embrace their versatility and let your taste buds be your guide as you explore the rich flavors of the Caribbean.


The art of boiling green bananas may seem simple, but it holds within it a world of flavors, traditions, and cultural significance. From its humble beginnings as a staple in Jamaican households to its current status as a beloved dish celebrated across the Caribbean and beyond, the boiled green banana has proven its enduring appeal and versatility.

So, gather your loved ones, roll up your sleeves, and embark on a flavorful journey through the art of boiling green bananas. Let the aromas of tradition fill your kitchen, and savor each bite as a testament to the enduring power of food to nourish both body and soul.

For recommendations on some of the best times to visit Jamaica, you can check out our guide here.

If you’re traveling to Jamaica alone, ensure you take all the necessary measures to keep safe. Read about how you can stay safe while visiting Jamaica. If you decide to visit any resort, be sure to tag us in your photos and videos @resortcaribbean, and follow our socials: Instagram, Facebook, YouTube.



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