Arepas con Queso

Arepas are flat, round, cornmeal patties. In Colombia we eat them for breakfast, as a side for some lunch dishes and even as street food!



Ready In:

30 mins


Latin America

Noms For:

Any time


About this Recipe

The name arepa came from the Indigenous form of the name, “erepa,” which means “corn.” Colombians LOVE their arepas, not only do we enjoy them for breakfast, but we also add them as a side at lunch and can even be found by vendors as street food. There are many variants of the humble arepa, but I like to make mine with lots of cheese! Enjoy your arepas with some huevos pericos (scrambled eggs) to make a traditional Colombian breakfast!



  • 1 cup arepa flour
  • 1 & 3/8 cups hot water
  • 1 tsp white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 TBsp butter or margarine
  • 1 1/2 cup shredded cheese (mozarella)
  • 2 TBsp oil (vegetable or olive)

Arepas are made with Masarepa, a precooked, ground corn-meal flour. I usually use P.A.N white corn meal flour for my arepas, since it is the only one I can find here in Canada. As for the cheese, traditionally we would use a farmers cheese, but you can be adventurous and try them with a variety of cheese. Here are some I have used and what profile it gave to the arepa:

  • Mozarella : nice stretchy/melty cheese feel without altering too much of the flavor.
  • Cheddar : gives it a little more of a nutty and oily feel, think grilled cheese.
  • Pepper Jack : still has the melty feel but adds a little bit of kick with the peppers from the cheese.
  • Gorgonzola : If you are more of a fan of savory and slightly saltier, this will give you that extra “bite”.

Arepas have been enjoyed by both South and Cental America. Venezuela makes arepas and stuffs them like delicious sandwhiches, while El Salvador and Honduras have made their own version called Pupusas. Pupusas are larger and flatter than arepas and are made with masa harina rather than masarepa. … Pupusas are similar to Mexican tortillas, except that they are slightly thicker and they are stuffed with a filling before they are cooked on the griddle. Typical fillings include cheese, beans, and ground pork (chicharrón). In Mexico, they make “gorditas“, they resemble arepas, but like pupusas, they are made with masa harina. These corn cakes are deep fried until they are golden and crispy, once they are cooked, they are split open and stuffed with cheese, onions, beef or pork, and/or chile peppers, and served with salsa. There is a difference between masa, masa harina and masarepa, here is a great article that explains each in further details. 

Step by Step Instructions

Step 1

In a large container, add the P.A.N corn meal flour, butter, sugar, and salt.

Step 2

Add hot water and stir with a wooden spoon until combined. Let mixture stand until water is absorbed enough for a soft dough to form, 2-4 minutes (dough will continue to stiffen).

Step 3

Add some oil to your hands, you will be working the dough and the oil will help the dough doesn’t stick to you. Form dough into 4 balls and flatten each ball between palms into 3 1/2- to 4-inch patties (about 1/3 inch thick).

Step 4

Heat  1 tablespoon of oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot, cook 3 or 4 arepas in the skillet until cooked through and golden in patches, 6 to 8 minutes on each side. you can also flip them if you notice the bottom is looking golden.

Step 5

Take arepas off the heat and transfer to a plate. You can spread a bit of butter and more cheese on top while hot before serving. Enjoy the noms!

Dietary Restrictions

They may not be healthy but they are yummy comfort food. You can also make them vegan by replacing the butter with oil and replacing the cheese with your vegan cheese of choice.

  • Gluten Free 100% 100%
  • Lactose Free 0% 0%
  • Vegetarian 100% 100%
  • Healthy 50% 50%

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