Arepas de Queso (Cheese Arepas)

This post is also available in Spanish

Arepa de Queso Recipe

Arepa is a typical Colombian dish from the region Antioquia, my home state. We serve Arepas warm for breakfast, spread with butter and cheese on top, with a good cup of Colombian hot chocolate. These Arepas are an essential part of the Colombian daily diet.

Arepa Colombiana

You can serve Arepas as a main course or appetizer with any topping you like.

Arepas Colombianas




Receta de Arepa Colombiana


  1. Combine the cornmeal, warm water, cheese, 1 tbsp butter and salt, mixing thoroughly. Let mixture stand for five minutes.
  2. Knead with your hands for about 3 minutes moistening your hands with water as you work.
  3. Form 4 small balls with the dough. Place each ball between 2 plastic bags and with a flat pot cover flatten to ¼ inch.
  4. Add the butter to a nonstick pan over medium heat. Place the arepas in the pan, and cook about 3 minutes on each side, until a crust forms or they are golden brown.
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  1. says

    Erica — Looking forward to getting your help with these the next time my sister visits so I can surprise her with these that she loved so much after her trip to Medellin. Thanks for the offer.

    Best, Zahavah

  2. El Paramedico says

    I have done this with Grits ( I know no the same, but, the best I can do in my area)..I use less water so that the grits can be formed easier (trial and error as too how much water to use).. After the grits have cooled a little, I add mozzarella shredded, fold in the cheeze and grits.FYI-WET HANDS really does make it easier to handle… Form into balls and flatten..Then I bake them on a greased cookie sheet….I’m still trying to get the temp and timing down..but After trial and error I end up taking them out when they look like what my mom’s used to look like..They never taste the same as hers,but, I’m gettng closer!!! lol

  3. Pedro says


    In the US, the best ingredient to make the paisa arepas is “White Hominy”. You can get it from Goya foods, but there are also other sources. It is very much like mazamorra. The label on the can also calls it “Mote Blanco” and “Pozole”. It is exactly like the cooked white corn we use for the arepas in Antioquia. It comes in slightly salted water, so I drain it, rinse it, and drain it well before grinding it (on a food processor) to the consistency of the arepa dough. The result is the real thing, perfects arepas. Like you, I am a paisa, married to a gringa. But I am not the cook. She makes the most delicious Colombian foods, and she was thrilled to find your website. Thank you for doing it.

  4. says


    Thanks for sharing. I’m going to try making arepa at home. We loved eating arepa and calentado when we visited Bogota. Colombia is a beautiful country; can’t wait to go for another visit!

    Buen provecho,

  5. Laura says

    Wow, your website was such a find! I was born in Medellin and came to the US with my family when I was very young so I never learned how to cook our traditional dishes. Looking through your blog has brought a smile to my face! My gringo boyfriend and I want to try to make arepas this weekend, and he’s super excited to try some of your other recipes, especially that Colombian pizza! Mmmm!

  6. Leah says

    Thank you so much for this website! I love cooking Colombian food for my Caleño husband, and these recipes are so authentic and easy to follow! He was delighted with the arepitas we had with dinner tonight!

  7. Marta S. says

    Hello Erica,
    I see everyone is as excited as I am about your blog. Great way for you to make new friends. You have a new one here in Houston, Tx. I am from Bta and my mother used to cook something that she called ‘entero’. do you have ‘entero’ in Medellin?

    Gracias pues, Erica!!

  8. Mariel says

    Hi, I went to Colombia 2yrs ago with my friend to visit her family and absolutely loved the food. So recently I found your blog and started making many of these recipes….which turned out delicious! (especially arroz con coca-cola…so simple. The town I stayed at was Santa Marta, and I gotta say the chuzos were amazing too. but I have a question… On the chuzos, they were spreading some sauce over them…it was kind of greenish…I was wondering if you might now what sauce that is and how to make it. Well thanks for posting up all these recipes they are great…and keep doing what you do. Best wishes

    • Erica says

      Mariel- Every city has different recipes. In Medellin it is popular to marinade the meat for 24 hours with herbs and beer and spread beer with oil when you are grilling the chuzos.Maybe one of my readers can help you.

  9. Diana says

    I also made these last weekend as a side dish to the Pollo Asado (found in the Main Dishes section) I made for my sister’s birthday. If I knew how EASY these were to make, I would have made arepas every day for breakfast, Medellín style. I only added a pinch of salt to the dough but that’s just how I like them. I will never, ever ask my mom to make arepas again just so I can satisfy my craving. I can now make them myself! THANKS Erica!

  10. says

    I first tried arepas at a Cuban restaurant outside of Orlando and their style served was the Arepas Rellenos de Queso. I love all kinds of grilled cheese and this is no exception. Thanks for your recipe because I’m using it tonight for a Cheese & Corn Arepa stuffed with a Papaya and Habanero Chicken filling. Muchas Gracias!

  11. Rocio del Pelar says

    on Aug 25th, 2010
    @ 1:27 PM:

    Answer: On the chuzos, they were spreading some sauce over them…it was kind of greenish…I was wondering if you might now what sauce that is and how to make it.

    Yes, the sause was “chimichurri” Its a typical Argentinian sause used with churrasco, but in Colombia it also used with other meats.l

  12. says

    Hi Erica!
    As everyboby else I am very glad I found your blog. It has become my main cookbook 😉 Half of my family is from La Guajira where they make also a delicious type of arepa a bit smaller than the Paisa arepa but much thicker. It is usually stuffed with different types of fillings. I tried to bake them in the oven because it is much quicker but they turned out too dry. Do you have any recipe for baked arepas?
    Thank you so much for having this blog!
    Olga Lucia

  13. sarita says

    Can you cook these on an arepa pan (the ones with the holes) or do they need to be cooked through in some way first? I am worried they will break up? We use PAM but my Colombian husband cooks them in the oven, they seem a bit hard (delicious but not like they are in Col.!) Do you have a recipe for hogao, can’t see it here. Thanks, great blog!

  14. says

    So great to find your recipes! We’ll be experimenting with arepas this weekend. Would you mind emailing us to let us know what kind of cheese you could use instead of the traditional Colombian farmer’s cheese? We’re going to try to find it, but just in case…!

    • Elena says

      I spent my childhood in Santa Marta, and arepas are one of the many, many things I miss desperately… along with the queso campesino/queso costeño that went both in and on them, and which I have not been able to find anywhere else. It’s a relatively hard cheese, kind of rubbery–almost squeaky–and definitely salty.

      While the real thing is probably only available in Colombia, I have found something that’s surprisingly close: white cheddar cheese curds, which is the sort of cheese that Canadians use for poutine. Grind it up in the food processor, and you can add it to the arepa mix. (I use a LOT more than this recipe calls for, though; about 2 cups ground cheese to 1 cup masarepa, then medium-low heat for 4-5 minutes per side, because it does make it a bit melty.)

      Since the white cheddar cheese curds are also a bit hard to find–I order mine online–another reasonably good substitute is anything being sold in the Hispanic food section as “frying cheese.” Often it may wind up being moister than what’s used for arepas in Colombia, but as long as you know that, you can tweak the amount of water you add to the recipe, and it’ll still turn out well. (We’re only talking maybe a teaspoon less water, if that, rather than a dramatic reduction.)

  15. Jennifer says

    You can cook the areas in a George Foreman grill. Cooks evenly on both sides and butter is optional.

  16. Amanda says

    Hi Erica,

    Thank you for posting all these great recipes…

    Can you use masa harina to make arepas? Do you have to cook it beforehand?

    My boyfriend is Ecuadorean, not Colombian, but both countries eat arepas and I would love to surprise him with some…!

    thank you!

    • Erica says

      Amanda, For Colombian arepas you have to use masarepa or pre-cooked cornmeal. They sell different brands Goya, Harina Pan…..You can find it online at or at your local Latin market.

  17. Chantal says

    I can’t wait to try some of these recipes for my boyfriend! His father was Colombian (passed away), and he grew up with his Canadian mother making him Colombian foods, supposedly she was excellent at it, but I’d love to learn from a real Colombian woman as well! He lived in Colombia every year for 3 months until he was 18. He always talks about Arepas, and I have never had them, but I really want to try them! This recipe looks pretty simple. Not sure what I would use here in Canada for the pre-cooked cornmeal, since we do not have many latin american food stores…. hopefully I can find a good substitute!
    Thanks Erica!

  18. says

    Dios mio, estas arepas salieron deliciosas!! gracias por la receta, la hice ayer y nos encanto. Me encanto que la masa quedo siempre suavecita y no se seco!!

    Una pregunta, usted ha echo alguna receta de carne en palito? me recuerdo que en las called de Maicao – La Guajira, vendian carne en palito con papitas chiquitas. Super deliciosas!

  19. JW says


    I tried making these this morning and I thought they were delicious! However my boyfriend pointed out that in Colombia the arepas tend to be a little bit more “hard.” The ones I made were pretty soft..they folded easily and there wasn’t much “resistance” to them when you bit into them. I thought I followed the recipe to the letter – do you have any idea what I might have done wrong?

    I used fresh mozzarella – could that be the issue? Or did I just not cook them long enough?

    • Erica says

      Next time…don’t use fresh mozzarella and cook them longer. Arepas made with masarepa are softer the arepas made with corn.

  20. Rochelle says

    Going grocery shopping later and I plan on trying to make arepas. Possibly another Colombian recipe

  21. Dan Flynn says

    I’m going on holiday to Switzerland soon and I’d like to know if you can make these with Swiss cheese too?

  22. Wendy says

    Hi Erica,
    I would like to know what is the procedure of freezing the arepas? Do you freeze them raw or cooked? How can you heat them up after?

  23. Dan says

    Greetings. I know this is an older post, but I had to add my ‘thank you’. Made these this past week end for the first time. Delicious. Especially with sausage gravy!

  24. Anonymous says

    I tried them this week for the first time, with the Pork, Mushrooms and Avocado Sauce on this wonderful site. So easy to make and the taste was awesome. I was lucky enough to find arepa flour at my local Safeway. I look forward to trying some of your other dishes that are served with them.
    Thank you Erica for sharing your wonderful food with us.

  25. Requiem_11 says

    If you are in Australia I found this South African product which works just as well; Protea maize meal. I found it at a particular woolies, but check South African specialty stores too. If you are in Brisbane, go to penissi in the gaba to get PAN and lots of other Colombian items like triguisar and panela.

    • Erica Dinho says

      Maria, las puedes medio cocinar (no totalmente) y luego las pones en una bolsa con cierre y las puedes poner en el congelador.

  26. says

    Erica, my husband and I have fallen in love with arepas, thanks to your recipe! I have especially found it helpful because I am gluten-intolerant, but corn is A-OK, so this is a great bread sub for me. Do you have any tips or tricks for prepping in advance or speeding up the process, or do you just make them fresh from square one every time.

    By the way, would you happen to know how to make ceviche?

    • Erica Dinho says

      I usually make a large batch and cook them for about 60 seconds on each side. Let them cool and place them in the freezer in zip lock bags.Every time you want one, just take it out of the freezer and cook it until is done.


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