Arepas de Queso are made with pre-cooked corn flour, butter and cheese. These arepas usually eaten for breakfast and popular in Colombia and Venezuela.
Arepa is a typical Colombian dish from the region Antioquia, my home state. They are made with pre-cooked corn flour or masarepa. There are many variations of this dish in the country and depending on the region and cook, you will also find arepas made with yuca, plantains, sweet corn, dried corn and potatoes.
I love eating warm Arepas de Queso for breakfast, spread with butter and more cheese on top, with a good cup of Colombian hot chocolate.
Colombian arepas are very versatile because they can be top or fill with your favorite ingredients and served for breakfast, appetizer, lunch or dinner.
These Cheese Arepas are an essential part of the Colombian daily diet. You can serve them as a main course or appetizer with any topping you like. I love making small sized arepas de queso with hogao. They are absolutely delicious!
What You'll Need to Make Arepas de Queso
You can find the printable recipe card with exact amounts and cooking directions below.
Pre-Cooked Cornmeal: This is the main ingredient to make this dish and can't be replace. You can find it online or at your local supermarket.
Water: To make the dough and should be lukewarm.
Cheese: I like to use grated mozzarella cheese for this recipe, but feel free to use any melting cheese.
Butter: Unsalted butter to make the dough and to cook the arepas.
Salt: To add flavor to the dough.
More Arepas Recipes To Try:
Arepa with Guacamole and Shrimp
Arepa with Chicken and Avocado
Arepas de Queso Recipe (Cheese Arepas)
- 1 cup pre-cooked white or yellow arepa flour or cornmeal
- 1 cup warm water
- ⅓ cup white or mozzarella cheese grated
- 2 tbsp butter
- Pinch salt
- Combine the cornmeal, warm water, cheese, 1 tbsp butter and salt, mixing thoroughly. Let mixture stand for five minutes.
- Knead with your hands for about 3 minutes moistening your hands with water as you work.
- Form 4 small balls with the dough. Place each ball between 2 plastic bags and with a flat pot cover flatten to ½ inch.
- 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.
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.
I use "PAN" cornmeal in white or yellow. It's made in Colombia.
Goya makes a masarepa which is the cornmeal used for arepas. They even have a recipe on the back of the bag
Do you use an arepa grill? The arepas in your pictures have spirals. Do you recommend an arepa grill?
the precooked cornmeal is actually something that comes made you can find it on amazon or a mexican store it is called "PAN" and where is says PAN there is this yellow background on it.
Can I use regular cornmeal or is there an easy fix I can do to the regular cornmeal? We don't easily have access to precooked cornmeal
It's not the same. You can buy it online, amazon has PAN.
I looked it up and I think it's fine. I'm also gonna make it with regular cornmeal
fwiw i tried that and afaik only PAN works correctly. i am Irish and have no preconceptions. But PAN works and others don't.
your comment is 13 years old
Precooked cornmeal is called masarepa,if you do not find this kind yo can use the one you use for polenta.
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.
These look great. I'm going to give these a try. Thank you for sharing 🙂
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
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.
Pedro- thank you so much for the wonderful comment. I am going to try mote soon.
Masa harina also works fine, as it's a corn flour that is very similar to masarepa.
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!
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!
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!
The package directions state 2 cups of areapa flour to 1 cup of water. Is your masa real thin.
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!!
Marta- What is entero? What kind of dish?
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
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.
can anybody help me find frucos products in the usa? anyplace in ny or florida thanks
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!
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!
Rocio del Pelar
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
Is there a sauce that adds avocado chunks to a chimichurri in Colombia? My mother in law is Colombian and she made empanadas one morning with what I thought was a chimichurri (I've seen recipes but never made it or tried it myself) and they added avocado right before serving. Omg it was soooooo good on the empanadas. I want to try and mimic the recipe for my husband as a surprise but I've had a hard time finding the recipe considering I don't know what it even is
I made arepas today for breakfast and I loved them.
I just made these for lunch...YUMMY!! This is a great, quick recipe!
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!
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!
Sarita- You can use a "parilla" and this is the recipe for hogao https://www.mycolombianrecipes.com/colombian-tomato-and-onion-sauce-hogao/
The Duo Dishes
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...!
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.)
You can cook the areas in a George Foreman grill. Cooks evenly on both sides and butter is optional.
Arepas not areas lol oh corrective spelling why do you torture me!
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...!
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.
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!
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!
Hi Susana, mira esta receta : https://www.mycolombianrecipes.com/beef-skewers-chuzos-de-res/
What is polenta?
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?
Next time...don't use fresh mozzarella and cook them longer. Arepas made with masarepa are softer the arepas made with corn.
Hi Erica, can these be frozen? I would like to make bulk and freeze if possible
Going grocery shopping later and I plan on trying to make arepas. Possibly another Colombian recipe
I'm going on holiday to Switzerland soon and I'd like to know if you can make these with Swiss cheese too?
You can try it!!!
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?
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!
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.
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.
Quiero hacer bastantes arepas y congelarlas pero no se si las congelo crudas o asadas. Gracias
Maria, las puedes medio cocinar (no totalmente) y luego las pones en una bolsa con cierre y las puedes poner en el congelador.
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?
Lo que le explico arriba a Maria, seria eso lo que hace Ud. para facilitar el proceso?
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.
I love Colombian food and your recipes are so amazing! Great job writing this blog!
These arepas de queso are very simple to make . I make them every day.
I finally made arepas for the first time. I am, um, in my 40s! Mi mama will be so proud of me! Multi-cultural day (at kid's grammer school) here we come! Thank you for the recipe. Easy and delicioso!
I was referred by a friend to your site. Love your recipes! I just now subscribed via email.
Help. What did I do wrong? My arepas came out very tough and not "airy" in the middle. The only thing I did different was I had to walk away from my dough for about 15 minutes.
I just met the nicest Colombian man at church and I look forward to trying this recipe so next week at Mass I can bring him a surprise! I am hoping the way to mans heart is thru his stomach so I want to make sure I make Oscar something I know he will like! Your site has been amazing for me! Thank you so much!
I'm curious what I've done wrong. This is my first time making arepas, or any kind of Columbian food. It seems so simple, but as I am cooking them they are just falling apart. The dough sticks well enough to itself, but once it begins to cook and I have to go to flip them they just crumble into a mess. Still delicious, but not arepas.
No “U” por favor lol “COLOMBIAN..
Common mistake .... sounds like either too much water ... type of cheese maybe to fresh. Love this Blog... for 14 yrs spent about a 1-2 months per year in Cali. Fell in love with the people and Culture .
El barrio Alphonso Lopes
Ugh!!! LOPEZ ...lol see what I mean!!!
Hockey Pucks from Antioquia? no thanks; get the Real Arepas The Size of a dinner plate from the region of the state of Cesar and Norte de Santander,Colombia: Please!!!!!
My wife is Colombian and her mom made these all the time. I made them for breakfast this morning and they were great! "Mamita" passed a 3 years ago and we did not have the foresight to write down recipes so your website is a Godsend. Thank you!
I don't understand step 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.
What do you mean Place each ball between 2 plastic bags and with a flat pot cover flatten to ¼ inch?
Here is the step by step video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EiDPP2JP9zI
Thank you 🙂
When I tried to make these they turned out super watery. I don’t know if it’s the ingredients I used, but I can’t even get them out of the bowl because they’re just dripping from my hands. Has anyone else had this problem? Any solutions?
Add more flour little by little until you get it right.I make arepas every day and this is the recipe I use.
Hi! I host foreign exchange students and I currently host one from Columbia. She is here for 6 months and got a little homesick. So I searched for recipes from her country and came across your site. I made the arepas with Oaxaca cheese and she LOVED it! She was so happy. And I found that I love it too! These are better than bread or pancakes to me. Lol Thank you for these yummy recipes and I can't wait to try more of them.
Absolutely delicious. Love this recipe.
My kids wanted to make these after watching Disney's Encanto. They turned out great. I was even able to find PAN at Aldi. We're looking forward to trying more of your Colombian recipes.
I'm super excited to have found this website! My husband and I spent three months in Colombia (Bogota y Armenia) and I have been wishing to recreate some of the wonderful meals we had there!
I've made several recipes form this site over the years. So when my Encanto obsessed daughter requested to make arepas con queso I came here looking for a recipe. We just made them together and they are a hit with the whole family. Thank you.
I haven't tried making them yet (finally found PAN though!) but I've been seeing a lot of people commenting they use feta to mix trough the flour instead of mozzarella (they use mozzarella for stuffing though). Which would taste the best for a first time making this?
I would use mozzarella.
Do you measure the masa in grams or do you just measure it out with a measuring cup?
Should the butter that is put into the arepa mixture be melted? Or should it be room temperature?
These are so amazing! Our Exchange student from Bogota made Arepas and these turned out just like hers!
Question: How do you split them if you want to put a meat filling in them and eat them sandwich style?
Make them ticker and split with sharp knife one of the edges.
I made these without the cheese, so I could eat them with sweet or savory toppings. I was able to easily find Goya masarepa at my local international market. They came out perfect, lightly crusted on the outside, creamy on the inside. Wonderful with shredded white cheese or raspberry jam on top. Thank you for the recipe! I will be making them for my gluten intolerant friends.
I ate something similar when I lived in Mexico. We stuffed them with cojita cheese, and a combination of onion, radish and Cilantro, and then added some spicy green salsa. They were heavenly. I can't wait to try this recipe!!