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Bolon de verde: Ecuadorian mashed green plantain dumpling balls with cheese

Bolon de verde – mashed green plantain dumplings or balls stuffed with cheese and/or chicharrones (or chorizo or bacon) and fried until crispy- is another traditional Ecuadorian recipe from the coastal region.

En Español

This classic Ecuadorian breakfast dish consists of green plantains which are fried over medium heat until very tender, then mashed into dough, stuffed with cheese or pork, formed into round balls, and then fried again until crispy. Bolon is a slang term that means large ball, so you could translate the name of this dish as green plantain balls, but I think green plantain dumpling is probably a better food translation.

These bolones or stuffed dumplings can be served for breakfast or brunch; they are also a great side dish or good appetizers.If you are serving bolon de verde for breakfast or brunch I suggest that you accompany it with hot coffee, a fried egg, hot sauce, and some tomato or avocado slices.

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Bolones are typically stuffed with cheese or with chicharrones, which I have to clarify that unlike in Mexico and Central America where chicharrones are fried pork rinds, what we call chicharrones in Ecuador are actually chunks of deep fried fatty pork meat– yes, not the healthiest, but very tasty.

For this recipe I made some bolones stuffed with cheese and others stuffed with chorizo, instead of chicharrones.In some cases the last step of frying the stuffed dumplings is omitted and instead the bolon de verde is served right after being stuffed, personally I prefer to fry it again because I love the crispy exterior that it gets and it also ensures that the dumplings are nice and warm when you eat them.

I tried to come up with a healthier variation by boiling the green plantains until tender –as opposed to frying them -, but it is much harder to get the right consistency that way, instead I ended up making another dish called majado or molloco de verde – a dish with similar ingredients to bolon de verde but instead of making dumplings you just mash the plantains and mix everything together (similar to a potato hash).

Green plantains can be somewhat difficult to peel, the best way to peel them is to make the lengthwise cut on one of the protruding edges, the cut should be skin deep only without touching the actual flesh of the fruit, next use the knife to raise the skin and then peel off the skin with your hands. The greener they are the harder it is to peel them as the flesh tends to stick to the peel, in that case peel it as best you can and then use a knife to remove the stubborn parts of the skin.I do this under cold running water to keep them from staining everything and from darkening.

For a vegetarian version you can stuff the bolones with cheese, also if you are ever traveling in Ecuador and want to order these as a vegetarian dish –same thing applies for many other dishes – you should know that lard is used more than oil to fry or cook food (even rice), and most people are so used to it that even if you specifically request no meat in your dish they will sometimes still use lard -called manteca – in the preparation of your vegetarian dish,this is not done not out of evil, just out of habit.

Bolon de verde or fried green plantain dumplings

Bolon de verde are green plantain dumplings stuffed with cheese, chorizo or chicharrones and fried until crispy.
4.87 from 153 votes
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Course: Appetizer, Breakfast, Brunch, Side Dish
Cuisine: Ecuadorian, Latin, South American
Keyword: Bolon de verde, Cheese, Green plantain, Green plantain dumplings, Mashed green plantain balls, Plantains
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 8 bolones


  • 4 green plantains peeled and cut in medium sized chunks
  • 4-5 tbs butter or lard
  • 2 tbs oil canola or sunflower
  • 1 tbs hot pepper or chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 cup grated cheese and/or 1 cup cooked chorizo or chicharrones (fried pork belly) or bacon
  • Salt to taste
  • Ground peanuts optional – add when mashing the green plantains


  • Melt the butter or lard over medium heat in large sauté pan
  • Add the plantain chunks and cook for about 40 minutes or until they are very soft, turn them about every 10 minutes, they should be slightly golden but not too crispy.
  • Sprinkle the cooked plantains with the chili powder, cumin and salt.
  • Transfer the plantain pieces to a bowl, do this while they are still hot (but be careful not to burn yourself).
  • Mash the plantains using a wood masher – or just a regular potato masher – until you obtain chunky dough like consistency.
  • Form balls slightly smaller than the size of a tennis ball with the dough.
  • Make a hole in the middle of each ball and fill it with the cheese or chorizo or chicharrones (mixed with ground peanuts), gently press the filling into the hole, cover the filling and reshape it back into a ball shape.
  • Heat the oil over high heat, add the stuffed plantain dumplings and fry them until they are golden and crispy on each side.
  • Transfer to plate lined with paper towels to drain the grease and serve immediately.

Step by step preparation photos for Ecuadorian bolon de verde or green plantain dumplings

Other green plantain recipes:

Empanadas de verde or green plantain empanadas

Chifles or thin green banana chips

Patacones or thick fried green plantains

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  1. First, I love your website! Bolon de verde has quickly become my favorite breakfast. My boyfriend moved to Ecuador (both his parents are from there) when he was about 7 and stayed til18. He misses the food so much so in my quest to curb some of his cravings I found your website. Thank you! Second, he swears that achiote is supposed to be used in liquid form?? I have no clue bc it took me a while to find it in seeds and finally ground form. Do you know what he’s talking about? Thanks again :)

    It’s very common to simmer the whole seeds in oil, lard (butter also works) to make “esencia de achiote” or achiote oil – sometimes you can also add spices like cumin and garlic to make a condimented achiote. The same can also be done with ground achiote, you can make a grease based seasoning mix or also a dry seasoning mix with ground achiote. You can use either achiote oil or the ground achiote for most recipes that call for achiote.

    1. Cassandra,

      Your boyfriend is right. So I thought until I started cooking myself. I never ever saw my parents using the envelopes or cubes to season our food. I would always see the special little pot with Achiote seeds and oil (very little oil maybe a tablespoon), the cover had little whole to vent. You can find the Achiote seeds at your local supermarket in the seasoning isle.

      I tried my best in keeping tradition but it lasted very little. I used to love hearing the achoite pop once it was ready.


      I will be following your blog. Question: Are you Ecuadorian?

  2. I’m just curious how many bolones this recipe makes…I’m wanting to make them in bulk for an international food night at my church. Thanks!

  3. Hi Laylita! I love love love your blog. I usually end up feeling homesick and hungry for Perú (where I lived for 2 years). :) I was wondering if you’ve heard these being called “tacacho” in Perú, where I had them in the jungle. Sounds sort of similar, but I’ve never made them.

    Thank you for sharing your passion with us!

    1. Hi Amy – Yes, Ecuadorian bolones and Peruvian tacacho seem to be very similar. Many plantain dishes that are popular in the Ecuadorian coastal region are also very popular in the Ecuadorian and Peruvian jungles since those areas also produce a lot of plantains.

      1. Thanks so much for responding! I love the similarities and the differences between the southern cone cooking styles!!

  4. Hi Laylita,

    I came across your blog recently and I absolutely love it. A friend of mine is from Ecuador and he has always talked about these.

    Question, how do you get the plantains from not getting too crispy in the first step? I used butter and kept the temperature really low for most of it as after the first 20 minutes they were quite brown. I also made sure to turn them every 10 minutes. While they still turned out good, I had a few pieces of tougher plantain so the dough didn’t come out as smooth as yours.


    1. Hi Kristen – Sounds like you are doing everything right, it could be the plantains, make sure that they don’t have any bruises, dark or dry spots which usually tend to be tough when cooked. Another option, and healthier, is to boil the plantain chunks first and then give them a few minutes in the oil.

  5. These were awesome. I loved them but I definitely did not put as much spice in them as the recipe calls for. I put about half the cumin and a pinch or 2 of chilli powder so as not to kill the flavors of the plantain and the cheese.

    Thanks so much for this recipe idea. You have a great website and I am slowly trying almost all your recipes.

  6. Laylita! I love your blog. I just spent the last nine months in Ecuador and it has a special place in my heart. I cannot wait to go back. While I was there, there were times when I thought, I just cannot eat another platano, but I love them. I came back to the states and couldn’t wait to go out and make some of the traditional food I came so heavily to rely upon. I love Bolones for breakfast. I made this for my family and it turned out as authentic as it could get. I can’t wait to make the recipe you have for Encebollado, another favorite of mine. You have a fantastic blog. Gracias!!

  7. I am Ecuadorian and live in Germany. This is one of my favorite dishes for breakfast. Thanks for promoting the Ecuadorian cuisine :)

  8. Your site is awesome… just so you know. I’ve been looking for a good recipe for these for a while!
    And your photos definitely do it justice, looks sooo good.

  9. Hi Laylita,

    I’m currently in Ecuador and before I came here, I tried this dish in Boston and fell in love. I can’t wait to make it myself and I love the fact that you included pictures.

    Ciao ciao :)

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