Arepas de Queso (Cheese Arepas)

by Erica Dinho on February 12, 2009

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

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Ingredients

(4 AREPAS)

Receta de Arepa Colombiana

Directions

  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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{ 46 comments… read them below or add one }

1 kayatthekeyboard April 8, 2009 at 3:06 PM

What do you mean when you say “precooked” cornmeal? Cooked as in like polenta? That’s the only way I could figured to do it.

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2 Erica April 21, 2009 at 10:32 AM

Precooked cornmeal is called masarepa,if you do not find this kind yo can use the one you use for polenta.

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3 koshercamembert April 27, 2009 at 10:01 PM

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

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4 Diana July 9, 2009 at 2:23 PM

These look great. I’m going to give these a try. Thank you for sharing :)

Diana

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5 El Paramedico January 1, 2010 at 4:59 PM

Erica,
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

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6 Pedro January 23, 2010 at 10:39 AM

Erica:

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.

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7 Erica January 23, 2010 at 10:57 AM

Pedro- thank you so much for the wonderful comment. I am going to try mote soon.

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8 Stacey Viera February 27, 2010 at 9:17 AM

Erica,

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,
Stacey

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9 Laura March 9, 2010 at 4:49 PM

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!

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10 Leah April 19, 2010 at 7:46 PM

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!

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11 Stephanie April 21, 2010 at 3:29 PM

The package directions state 2 cups of areapa flour to 1 cup of water. Is your masa real thin.

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12 Marta S. May 16, 2010 at 10:37 PM

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!!

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13 Erica May 16, 2010 at 11:15 PM

Marta- What is entero? What kind of dish?

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14 Mariel August 25, 2010 at 1:27 PM

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

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15 Erica August 25, 2010 at 3:36 PM

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.

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16 joe September 12, 2010 at 7:26 PM

can anybody help me find frucos products in the usa? anyplace in ny or florida thanks

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17 Diana November 8, 2010 at 12:13 PM

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!

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18 Rachel Joyce March 9, 2011 at 7:03 PM

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!

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19 Rocio del Pelar August 3, 2011 at 6:57 PM

Mariel
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

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20 Ana Maria August 5, 2011 at 1:18 PM

I made arepas today for breakfast and I loved them.

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21 Susan Burkley December 10, 2011 at 1:21 PM

I just made these for lunch…YUMMY!! This is a great, quick recipe!

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22 Olga January 4, 2012 at 2:41 AM

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

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23 sarita April 17, 2012 at 6:36 PM

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!

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24 Erica April 17, 2012 at 7:50 PM

Sarita- You can use a “parilla” and this is the recipe for hogao http://www.mycolombianrecipes.com/colombian-tomato-and-onion-sauce-hogao

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25 The Duo Dishes May 11, 2012 at 12:10 AM

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…!

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26 Jennifer June 5, 2012 at 4:30 PM

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

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27 Jennifer June 5, 2012 at 4:32 PM

Arepas not areas lol oh corrective spelling why do you torture me!

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28 Amanda September 21, 2012 at 10:31 AM

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!

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29 Erica September 21, 2012 at 3:36 PM

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 amazon.com or at your local Latin market.

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30 Chantal November 26, 2012 at 12:46 AM

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!

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31 Susana December 2, 2012 at 7:10 AM

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!

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32 Erica December 2, 2012 at 7:38 AM
33 Anonymous December 19, 2012 at 11:58 PM

What is polenta?

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34 JW February 23, 2013 at 5:40 PM

Hi!

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?

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35 Erica February 23, 2013 at 9:48 PM

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

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36 Becki March 24, 2013 at 7:25 AM

Hi Erica, can these be frozen? I would like to make bulk and freeze if possible

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37 Erica March 24, 2013 at 10:11 AM

Yes.

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38 Rochelle April 6, 2013 at 1:27 PM

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

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39 Dan Flynn May 7, 2013 at 11:43 AM

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

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40 Erica Dinho May 7, 2013 at 12:10 PM

You can try it!!!

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41 Wendy July 30, 2013 at 1:12 AM

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?

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42 Dan October 21, 2013 at 11:01 AM

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!

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43 Anonymous November 3, 2013 at 5:28 PM

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.

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44 Requiem_11 April 13, 2014 at 1:50 AM

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.

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45 Maria Khan June 13, 2014 at 3:31 PM

Quiero hacer bastantes arepas y congelarlas pero no se si las congelo crudas o asadas. Gracias

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46 Erica Dinho June 14, 2014 at 8:47 AM

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

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