These Arepas Colombianas are made with just three ingredients: white corn meal, water and salt. They can be filled with anything your heart desires!
These arepas are so nostalgic for me. Every time I would come down to Miami, my friend Isa would make these for me and I absolutely loved them. Since she is Colombia, her family eats this for breakfast pretty much every weekend.
For this dish, I am filling the arepas with either Carnitas, scrambled eggs, queso fresco or reina pepiada. The reina pepiada is my favorite filling. This is a mixture of 1 cup of shredded chicken and a whole mashed avocado mixed together. Feel free to get as creative as you want for the filling.
What are Arepas?
Arepas are widely enjoyed in Venezuela, Colombia, and Panama and have been enjoyed in these countries for hundreds of years. Arepas are stuffed cornmeal cakes that are crispy outside and fluffy inside. The difference between the Colombian and Venezuelan arepas is that the Venezuelan style arepas are smaller and thicker while the Colombian arepas are typically sweeter, thinner and stuffed with cheese.
Cheese for Arepa
I love using queso fresco or any sort of light cheese for arepas. You could even use Mozzarella is you prefer.
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make this. The exact measurements are listed in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
- Warm water
- Kosher salt
- White corn meal (P.A.N. brand)
- Vegetable oil
- Filling: Carnitas, scrambled eggs, queso fresco, or reina pepiada (recipe below)
See recipe card for quantities.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Set a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, add the water and salt, until the salt dissolves.
Slowly add the white corn flour and mix with a wooden spoon. Eventually, you will mix with your hands as you keep adding white corn flour. You do not want the dough to stick to your hands. If it is too dry, add more water. If it is too wet, add more flour. Usually it is equal parts water and white corn flour.
Make a ball of dough with your hands and with your hand start molding the flour to make a saucer shape the size of the palm of your hand, about ¼ inch thick. If it cracks on the sides, you may need to add more water.
Heat a skillet on medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons of oil. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, until golden brown.
Add the seared arepas onto the baking sheet and bake for 15-18 minutes until they puff up and more golden.
Slice the arepas and fill them with your favorite filling. This could be scrambled eggs or carnitas.
My favorite filling is the reina pepiada (the green one above). This is a mixture of 1 cup of shredded chicken and a whole mashed avocado mixed together.
Corn meal: The white corn meal I used is the P.A.N brand) Feel free to use any other brand you prefer.
Oil: You will need a nice light oil for frying, like vegetable oil, sunflower oil, grapeseed oil, or canola oil.
Filling: Carnitas, scrambled eggs, queso fresco or reina pepiada (recipe below)
Cooking is a chance to be creative! Have fun with it and feel free to make your own variation.
- Spicy - add hot sauce on the arepas for a nice spice.
- Deluxe - Try my Tinga de Res for another filling.
- Kid friendly - add crushed potato chips (ketchup chips!)
Check out this Gorditas con Maseca recipe for something similar.
Equipment can have a big impact on how a recipe turns out. Stone bakeware takes longer to heat up than metal pans, and also retain heat for longer, which could make the recipe more watery, or burnt on the outsides.
I love using my Caraway pots, pans and baking sheets for best quality. Get yourself a discount by clicking here!
This will be good in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
These ingredients don't stand up well to freezing.
Arepa dough should be sticky, not overly wet, but not to the point where it starts to crack. It should be dense and molded into shapes easily.Print
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove