Piononos puerto rico: Pionono — Immaculate Bites

Pionono — Immaculate Bites

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Author: Imma

Pionono (Stuffed Fried Plantain) — savory plantain rolls stuffed with a tasty beef filling – Picadillo. An out-of-this-world Puerto Rican snack that’ll reminds you of sunshine and the blue sea. Truly a delectably sweet plantain and savory beef combo rolled into one!

This coming weekend will be a long one here in the U.S. as we celebrate Labor Day on the 4th of September. It’ll be celebrated with parades, fireworks display, picnics, barbecue and all other fun events. Wohoo!

It’s a way for us to honor those who labor, hustle and contribute to the American economy. So cheers to all of us who do the grind! It’s never easy, but at least we’re always a day closer to our end goals.

Whatever your plans are, make this long weekend a fun and memorable one. If parades and big events aren’t your thing, you can take a one last dip in the pool before we say goodbye to summer.

Honestly, I’m going to truly miss all the fresh summer produce from my local farmer’s market and all other summer activities with my nieces, nephews and my son. One thing I won’t miss is the heat. I spent about a month in the southern region and boy it is hot over there! 

But fall season isn’t that bad either. It’s time for all those comforting soups, slow cooker recipes, pumpkin desserts, sweaters and jackets. It excites me while writing this.

But before you make your fall recipe list, you’ve got to put this rolled treat on your to-make list.

This Pionono recipe is actually named after Pope Pious IX’s name “Pio Nono”. This treat has a lot of varieties but it’s widely known as a sponge cake rolled up around a sweet filling. It’s popular in Spain, South America and the Philippines – each having it’s own version.

 Here, I decided to go with the Puerto Rican Pionono which I substituted the pastry with sweet plantains. Yes, plantains – one of the best foods in the world!

And you know me when it comes to plantains, I don’t hold back at all! Nope, not me. I live in the name of plantains!

The plantains in this recipe are vertically sliced, fried and rolled to cup the savory beef filling- Picadillo– and topped with a beaten egg to lock it all in place before its baked. Piononos are definitely pack with sweet and savory flavors that complement each other well.

The filling is so satisfying that you can even have this for lunch or dinner. How’s that for versatility?

This has become my new favorite plantain recipe recently –  there are so many reasons to love this. You may enjoy this on regular days and even serve this up during parties. Just imagine how these babies here would sit gloriously on your table. Oooh..Drool-worthy!

As seen in the photos, this recipe might require some serious use of toothpicks to lock them together. But it’s not as hard as you think it is. Before you know it, you’ve locked these rolled plantains into place like a pro. I swear! Oh, you can certainly make it without tooth picks – check out method 2.

Another great option is to make  Plantain Lasagna. aka pastelon  A Puerto Rican version of lasagna that is a combination of spiced beef sandwiched in layers of sweet plantains, topped with cheese or eggs.

So never say you’ve run out of ways to enjoy plantains, cause I’ve actually got tons of them. You may check my popular list of plantain recipes HERE. (**You’re welcome 😉 **)

But before you get overwhelmed, I’d say start with this Pionono recipe and enjoy plantains in a new and exciting way. You’ll surely claim your Plantain Queen (or King!) spot once you make this. Enjoy!


Tips and Notes:

  1. When choosing the plantains to use in this recipe, go with the riper ones, but not too ripe. Overripe plantains are too soft to hold the beef filling and doesn’t have that balanced sweetness unlike the “ripe” ones.
  2. Use a thin blade knife when cutting the plantains lengthwise and cut it smoothly and carefully without forcing it.
  3. You may re-fry the assembled piononos, as how it is usually cooked. But in our case, we’re trying to cut back on the oil and go with the healthier option by baking it.
  4. Piononos are best served when hot, but you can assemble them ahead, place in the fridge and bake them when it’s time to serve them.


Pionono (Stuffed Fried Plantain) — savory plantain rolls stuffed with tasty beef filling – Picadillo. Truly a delectable sweet plantain and savory beef combo rolled into one!

4.84 from 6 votes

  • ▢ 3 ripe plantains
  • ▢ 2 eggs lightly beaten
  • ▢ tooth picks
  • ▢ 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • ▢ ½ medium onion chopped
  • ▢ ½ pound ground beef
  • ▢ ½ cup tomato sauce
  • ▢ ½ tablespoon smoked paprika
  • ▢ 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ▢ ½ small green or red pepper
  • ▢ 2 tablespoons cilantro
  • ▢ 2 tablespoons green oinion
  • ▢ 1 teaspoon oregano
  • ▢ 1/2 cup olives chopped
  • ▢ 1 packet Sazon to taste or use beef or chicken bouillon
  • Add about 2 tablespoons oil in a skillet followed by onions, garlic, cumin, smoked paprika, cayenne, oregano, sweat for about a minute.

  • Then add bell pepper, tomato sauce, bring to a simmer, add ground meat , potatoes (if using potatoes ) and cook for about 7-10 minutes or more , while stirring frequently to prevent burning burn add about broth or water as needed. Until potatoes is soft and tender .

  • Season with salt, chicken bouillon or sazon.

  • Finally add olives , green onions and cilantro, adjust for seasoning. Remove and set aside.

  • Using a sharp knife cut both ends off the plantain. This will make it easy to grab the skin of the plantains. Slit a shallow line down the long seam of the plantain; peel only as deep as the peel. Remove plantain peel by pulling it back. Slice the plantains horizontally into 4-5 pieces depending on plantains. You may either fry or bake the plantains. I prefer frying.

Frying Method
  • Heat up a large skillet or cast iron with oil up to ½ inch- medium-high heat until hot but not smoking.

  • Fry the plantain in batches, turning once, until lightly brown, about 5 minutes. Do not overcrowd the pan (it will make the plantains to be soggy and absorb excess oil)

  • Use a slotted spoon, transfer the fried plantains and drain on paper towels.

Baking method
  • Spray a baking sheet and place plantains on them in a single layer; spray lightly over the plantains using the canola oil spray and bake at 400 degrees F, turning over slices, after 8 minutes for about 12- 20 minutes or till plantains turn slightly brown.

Assemble Pionono
    (Method 1) Use if frying only
    • Form the plantain into a pinwheel – it should be loose. Then secure with a toothpick. Now cover the bottom of the pinwheel with about 3 toothpicks. Just like in the pictures. This prevents the meat from falling off .

    • Fill each piononos with about ¾ of the beef filling , press down . Repeat until all the plantains and beef have been used up.

    • Now drizzle or spoon beaten eggs on over the piononos , this helps keep it together.

    • Heat up a large skillet or cast iron with oil up to ½ inch- medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Fry the plantain Pionono in batches, turning once, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Do not overcrowd the pan (it will make it too soggy 

    • Use a slotted spoon, transfer the pionono on to a plate , line with paper towels . Let it cool for about 5 minutes , serve warm

    Method 2 (cooking in a muffin pan )
    • Place plantain around each ring in the muffin tin. If the plantain is too long, you can trim off the ends to make it fit, place the rest at the bottom of the pan. 

    • Fill each piononos with about ¾ of the beef filling , press down . Repeat until all the plantains and beef have been used up.

    • Now drizzle or spoon beaten eggs on over the piononos , this helps keep it together. 

    • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a regular sized muffin tin with oil or cooking spray . 

    • Bake for 15-20 minutes, until plantains is heated through .Run your knife around the edges and carefully scoop your pionono out with a fork, Remove toothpicks and serve warm with some avocados

    Calories: 359kcal (18%)| Carbohydrates: 38g (13%)| Protein: 12g (24%)| Fat: 19g (29%)| Saturated Fat: 4g (25%)| Cholesterol: 97mg (32%)| Sodium: 418mg (18%)| Potassium: 828mg (24%)| Fiber: 4g (17%)| Sugar: 18g (20%)| Vitamin A: 2215IU (44%)| Vitamin C: 38mg (46%)| Calcium: 44mg (4%)| Iron: 2.8mg (16%)

    Author: Imma

    Course: Side Dish

    Cuisine: Puerto Rican

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    Nutrition Facts


    Amount Per Serving

    Calories 359
    Calories from Fat 171

    % Daily Value*

    Fat 19g29%

    Saturated Fat 4g25%

    Cholesterol 97mg32%

    Sodium 418mg18%

    Potassium 828mg24%

    Carbohydrates 38g13%

    Fiber 4g17%

    Sugar 18g20%

    Protein 12g24%

    Vitamin A 2215IU44%

    Vitamin C 38mg46%

    Calcium 44mg4%

    Iron 2. 8mg16%

    * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


    Puerto Rican Piononos — Nata Knows Best

    When you want the flavors of sweet plantain, savory beef picadillo and cheese, trying making Puerto Rican Piononos. These bite sizes treats are a cute cousin to the Pastelon, that are shaped like cupcakes. They are fried and then bake until perfectly firm.

    Piononos – Stuffed Plantain Cups

    The key to mastering Puerto Rican Piononos is making sure your plantains are extra ripe. Don’t confuse this recipe for a toston style plantain cup. Piononos are all about a savory and sweet combo. You won’t need green plantain (even though the idea sounds delicious).

    Look for sweet plantains that are mostly yellowish in color with several black marks.


    Now that we covered the importance of ripe plantains for piononos. You are also going to need:

    • Homemade picadillo. Here’s my recipe: https://www.nataknowsbest.com/puerto-rican-picadillo/
    • Large eggs
    • Shredded mozzarella cheese (optional)
    • Cilantro for garnish

    Make sure your beef picadillo mixture is well seasoned. It’s literally one of the stars of this dish. It’s savory component to the sweet maduros. My picadillo recipe includes fresh sofrito, tomato sauce, ground cumin, sazon, garlic powder, dried oregano, olives and some potatoes (which are optional).

    Preparing Piononos

    To make these stuffed sweet plantains into cups, you first have to peel and slice your plantains into long strips. The key is to slice the plantains horizontally, following the shape of the plantain. Depending on how thick the plantains are, you can expect 4-5 strips from ONE plantain.

    Next, fry the sweet plantains until a golden, caramel color. Traditionally these bite sized treats are fried twice. But to simplify this recipe, I opted to assemble the piononos in a cupcake baking pan.

    It’s super easy to construct. Just wrap one plantain strip inside the cupcake mold. Then, tear a small piece of plantain and place it in the center – as a base. Repeat and now you’re done! Just fill, top and bake.

    When you want the flavors of sweet plantain, savory beef picadillo and cheese, trying making Puerto Rican Piononos. These bite sizes treats are a cute cousin to the Pastelon, that are shaped like cupcakes. They are fried and then bake until perfectly firm.

    Print Recipe Pin Recipe

    Prep Time 40 mins

    Cook Time 25 mins

    Total Time 1 hr 5 mins

    Course Appetizer, Puerto Rican Food, Snacks

    Cuisine Puerto Rican Cuisine

    Servings 12 servings

    • 1 cup homemade beef picadillo recipe in the text
    • 3 large sweet plantains the riper, the better
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese optional
    • fresh cilantro garnish
    • Begin, by peeling and slicing the sweet plantains. Slice each plantain horizontally into thin strips. One large plantain should yield 4-5 strips.

    • In a shallow fry pan with hot oil, fry the plantains for 4 minutes on each side. Color should resemble a golden, caramel color.

    • Remove plantains from oil and cool on a plate lined with paper towel sheets.

    • Grab a cupcake baking pan and wrap the plantain strips around individual cupcake molds. Tear a small piece of plantain and press into each cupcake mold. This small piece with act as a base.

    • Next fill each mold with the cooked beef picadillo. Generously fill each cup to the rim.

    • In a small bowl, beat eggs and then pour a small amount of the mixture over each plantain cup. Allow the egg mixture to soak in. This will bind the pionono together as one solid cup.

    • Top each pionono will a sprinkle of cheese (optional) and bake for 25 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

    • Serve with a garnish of cilantro and enjoy!

    Keyword piononos de carne, piononos de puerto rico, puerto rican piononos

    Pionono — frwiki.


    For the article with the homophone name, see Pio Nono.

    Spanish pionos (Santa Fe).

    Pionono is the name given to many confectionery products originating in Spain and especially popular in Latin America.


    • 1 In Spain

      • 1.1 Features
    • 2 In Latin America

      • 2.1 Sweet
      • 2.2 Salty-sour-sweet
      • 2.3 Puerto Rico
    • 3 Notes and references
    • 4 See also

      • 4.1 Related articles

    In Spain

    In Spain pionono is a small cake traditionally made in Santa Fe, a municipality in the province of Granada (Spain). The name was given in honor of Pope Pius IX ( Pio nono in Italian pronunciation). The first mention of this sweetness appears in in the Madrid press. Originally this little cake is pronounced with two words: pio nono and/or pios nonos . It was Leopoldo Alas Clarin who wrote in one word, pionono in his work La REGENTE (1884).


    It consists of two parts: a thin slice of biscuit rolled into a cylinder (cake base), «soaked» in a very soft liquid, giving it a nice and fresh texture, and covered with a layer of light golden cream. This is a very appetizing and slightly disgusting pie. It can (and traditionally should) be eaten in one or two bites. This set is supposed to represent the silhouette of the cylindrical head of Pope Pius IX, a figure that was greatly improved at the time, especially after the establishment of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception.

    In Latin America

    Sweet peonies from Argentina.

    In some Latin American countries (such as Argentina, Colombia, Peru or Uruguay) a simple pastry (made with equal volumes of flour, whole eggs and sugar) is called pionono, which consists of a thin layer of biscuit cake (or sponge cake). . This biscuit is filled and then rolled into a roll, which is later decorated for a better appearance. Sweet, savory or even bittersweet peonies are made from this base.


    As for the sweet peonies, the biscuit is filled with milk jam, sometimes accompanied by a few toasted nuts, pieces of fruit and sprinkled with coconut, whipped cream or even ice cream. Sweet piononos are served for dessert. In Chile and Colombia they are also called Royal Hand ; in Argentina gypsy hand .

    Spicy and sweet and sour

    Sweet and sour piononos from Argentina.

    In the case of salty and sweet and sour peonies, the biscuit is filled with boiled ham, cheese, tomatoes, olives and mayonnaise or boiled ham, palm pith and bay salsa (equivalent to American sauce: ketchup and mayonnaise). We also usually use chicken, tuna or hard boiled egg. Salted pionono is served as an appetizer before the main course and is almost always accompanied by a salad of lettuce and tomato.

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