Plantain (/ˈplæntɨn/;[1][2] (as in ‘mountain’) also US /ˈplɑːntɨn/[1] or UK /plænˈtn/)[3][4] is one of the common names for herbaceous plants of the genus Musa. The fruit they produce is generally used for cooking, in contrast to the soft, sweet banana (which is sometimes referred to as the dessert banana). In many markets, there appears to be a clear distinction between sweet banana and cooking plantain, but so many other unpopular varieties exist within the cross species that the differences are not always clear. There is no formal botanical distinction between bananas and plantains, and the use of either term is based purely on how the fruits are consumed. The usage of the words plantain and banana can vary by culture and by terminology view. There is a sub-cultivar group of bananas named, true plantains.

After removing the skin, the ripened fruit can be sliced (between 3 mm and 2 cm thick) and pan fried in oil until golden brown or according to preference. In the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Colombia, Honduras (where they are usually eaten with the native sour cream) and Venezuela, they are also eaten baked in the oven (sometimes with cinnamon). Only salt is added to green plantains.

Plátanos maduros are a favorite in the Dominican Republic, Haiti, El Salvador, Guatemala, Ecuador, Honduras, Panama, Peru, Colombia, Cuba, Suriname, NicaraguaPuerto Rico(where they are called amarillos), JamaicaTrinidad & Tobago and most of the English-speaking Caribbean (although just called plantain), ArubaNicaragua and in Venezuela. InCosta Rica, they are sprinkled with sugar. In western Nigeria, fried, sliced plantains are known as dodo, and in Cameroon, they are known as missole. In Venezuela, the ripe fruit is cut lengthwise, 3–4 mm thick, and fried until golden and sticky, as a very popular side dish called tajadas; they are an integral piece of the national dish, pabellon criollo. And in Ghana as well, it is used for fufu, chips, and a whole lots of other food preparations.