What is Beef Mofongo?

Beef mofongo is a delicious Puerto Rican dish made with mashed green plantains and seasoned ground beef. It combines the hearty starchy plantains with savory beef and vegetables for a satisfying one-pot meal. Keep reading to learn all about this flavorful beef and plantain combination.

What are Plantains?

Plantains are often confused with bananas since they look very similar. However, plantains are not sweet like bananas. They are starchy and less sweet with a neutral flavor.

Plantains are an important staple ingredient in many Latin American and Caribbean cuisines. They are typically cooked before eating, unlike bananas which are eaten raw. Popular ways to prepare plantains are frying, baking, or boiling.

Green plantains are firmer and lower in sugar content. As they ripen, they turn yellow or black and become softer and sweeter. For savory dishes like mofongo, green plantains are used.

All About Mofongo

Mofongo is a famous Puerto Rican side dish or entree made from green plantains. It consists of mashed fried green plantains combined with garlic, broth, and other seasonings.

The traditional way to make mofongo is to peel and slice the green plantains. Then they are fried in oil until golden brown and tender. The fried plantains are mashed together with broth, garlic, and seasonings using a wooden pilón or mortar and pestle. This gives the mofongo an rustic chunky texture.

In Puerto Rican cuisine, mofongo is served in many ways:

  • As a side dish seasoned simply with garlic and broth
  • Stuffed with meat, seafood, or vegetables
  • Topped with crispy pork chicharrón, stewed chicken, shrimp, etc.
  • Mixed with broth to make a soup-like consistency

The most popular protein toppings for mofongo are chicken, pork, shrimp, beef and fish. The combination of starchy plantains and hearty protein makes it a very satisfying one-dish meal.

Beef Mofongo Origins

Beef mofongo combines the traditional mofongo recipe with seasoned ground beef. It likely originated from cooks getting creative and topping their mofongo with whatever proteins they had on hand.

Ground beef is a readily available and budget-friendly protein choice that pairs deliciously with starchy and savory ingredients. The beef mixture addsanother layer of flavor and heartiness when served over garlicky, fried green plantains.

How to Make Beef Mofongo

Beef mofongo recipes vary, but generally follow a similar method:


  • Green plantains
  • Ground beef
  • Onions, peppers, garlic
  • Tomatoes, broth, seasonings
  • Oil for frying


  1. Peel and slice green plantains, then fry in oil until tender.
  2. Mash the fried plantains with garlic, broth, and seasonings like salt and pepper using a pilón or fork.
  3. Cook the ground beef in a skillet with onions, peppers, garlic, tomatoes, seasonings, and broth until cooked through.
  4. Serve the seasoned beef mixture over the mashed fried plantains.
  5. Garnish with crispy pork chicharrón, olives, cilantro, avocado, lime, etc.

The mashed plantains provide a firm, starchy base while the seasoned ground beef mix adds hearty flavor and texture. Combining the two makes a very satisfying and filling one-pot meal.

Tips for Making Beef Mofongo

Here are some tips to make perfect beef mofongo at home:

  • Use green, unripe plantains. Yellow plantains will be too sweet.
  • Make sure to fry the plantain slices well until tender and browned.
  • Use a pilón or mortar and pestle for best texture, but you can also mash with a fork.
  • Cook the ground beef mixture in a skillet, breaking it up into crumbles as it browns.
  • Don’t overcrowd the beef in the pan. Use the pan size recommended in the recipe.
  • Simmer the beef mixture to allow flavors to meld.
  • Season well with garlic, salsa, cilantro, and Caribbean seasonings.
  • Top with crispy pork chicharrón, olives, avocado, or fried onions for crunch.
  • Squeeze lime juice over the finished dish for brightness.

What to Serve with Beef Mofongo

Beef mofongo is usually served as a main course, but it also pairs well with some sides:

  • Rice and beans
  • Tostones (fried green plantain slices)
  • Fried sweet plantains
  • Salad with avocado and citrus dressing
  • Maduros (sweet fried ripe plantains)

A light side salad balances out the hearty flavors and carbs. Lime-accented dressings or salsas also cut through the richness nicely.

Beef Mofongo Recipe Variations

There are many ways cooks adapt the classic beef mofongo recipe:

  • Use different cuts of beef like ground chuck, sirloin, or skirt steak
  • Mix in beans, corn, olives, peppers into the beef mixture
  • Add sofrito, adobo, sazón as seasoning
  • Use chicken broth or tomato sauce for flavor
  • Top with crispy bacon, chorizo, shrimp
  • Make with yucca instead of plantains
  • Serve as stuffed mofongo “cups”

Part of beef mofongo’s appeal is how customizable it is. Cooks can adapt it to their tastes and what ingredients they have on hand.

Where to Find Beef Mofongo

Because it takes some time and effort to make the fried green plantains, beef mofongo is often found at Puerto Rican restaurants rather than made at home.

Some good places to try authentic beef mofongo include:

  • Restaurants and food stands in Puerto Rican communities
  • Latin American restaurants and diners
  • Food trucks that specialize in Puerto Rican cuisine
  • Street food festivals and carnivals

If you can’t find it nearby, beef mofongo is also quite manageable to make at home with some plantains, ground beef, and seasoning on hand. Follow an authentic recipe from a Puerto Rican chef for best results.

Nutrition Information

Beef mofongo is a hearty, filling, and nutritious meal when made with lean ground beef. A 1 cup serving provides:

  • 650 calories
  • 34g protein
  • 16g dietary fiber
  • 1893mg potassium
  • 6.4mg iron
  • 6.4g zinc

It’s an excellent source of fiber, protein, iron, potassium, and other vitamins and minerals. The green plantains offer a health boost of fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants.

Using leaner ground beef cuts can reduce the saturated fat and calories. But the monounsaturated fatty acids from beef and plantains offer some heart-health benefits. Overall, beef mofongo is a flavorful and nutritious option as part of a balanced diet.


Mofongo Beef Birria Mofongo


What’s mofongo made of?

Mofongo (Spanish pronunciation: [moˈfoŋɡo]) is a dish from Puerto Rico with plantains as its main ingredient. Plantains are picked green, cut into pieces and typically fried but can be boiled or roasted, then mashed with salt, garlic, broth, and olive oil in a wooden pilón (mortar and pestle).

What does mofongo mean in Dominican?

[ muh-fong-goh; Spanish maw-fawng-gaw ] show ipa. noun,plural mo·fon·gos [muh-fong-gohz; Spanish maw-fawng-gaws]. a Puerto Rican dish of mashed fried plantains with pork cracklings and garlic.

Why is mofongo special to Puerto Rico?

Mofongo has a cross-cultural ancestry, with roots in Taíno, African, Spanish and North American traditions. In the early 1500s, Spanish conquistadors arrived in Puerto Rico and subjugated the Taíno, Puerto Rico’s Indigenous people, forcing many to work on their plantations and in gold mines.

What are the characteristics of mofongo?

It is typically made with fried green plantains mashed together in a pilón (which is a wooden mortar and pestle), with broth, garlic, olive oil, and pork cracklings or bits of bacon. It is often filled with vegetables, chicken, crab, shrimp, or beef and is often served with fried meat and chicken broth soup.

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