All You Need to Know About Arepas

[ 0 ] July 26, 2021 |

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Arepas are gradually becoming popular in the U.S. While many have gotten captivated by this South American delicacy, many still do not know a lot about them. Hence, despite being popular, this cuisine remains somewhat mysterious to many. Therefore, in this article, we will tell you all you need to know about this dish. 

Let’s get cooking…

What are they?

Someone has likened arepas as a crossing of pancake and tortilla. They are made from cornmeal cakes that are stuffed with any filling of your choice. The inside is usually soft, while the outside is crunchy.

This cuisine is unleavened which means that it doesn’t have yeast, baking powder, or baking soda. Hence, it is different from most regular cornbread. Visit to learn more about cornbread. Arepas are usually made using pre-cooked cornmeal. This will ensure that you can easily recognize the corn taste and golden color it is known.

The consistency and size of this meal depend on the area where it is made. In most cases, they are round; however, they can be made as little flat or big puffy bread. The puffy ones are perfect for arepas relleno (rellenas plural) which you can fill with all kinds of ingredients. The flat ones, on the other hand, can serve as a base for all kinds of toppings.

The interesting thing about this delicacy is that it has many variations. Hence, you can enjoy it so many times without getting bored. They can be used as desserts or sandwiches and can be enjoyed at any time of the day. 

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To understand this food better, you need to know its history. When we think of the origin of this cuisine, our attention will always turn to the Colombian and Venezuelan indigenes: If you want to be more precise, the people from the Andes Mountains (northern end). These folks are regarded as being the first people to make this food. Nevertheless, arepas are common in most South American countries and almost every country has its style of making this delicacy.

Arepa dough is the primary ingredient needed for this cuisine. Originally, there were only two ways of making this dough. It could be made by soaking corn in the rain, after which the corn is then ground. The other way was to chew the corn; by this we mean chew it in the mouth. Then the chewed corn is then spat out. 

We don’t think arepas would have become appealing to many if these methods were still in use. These days, you have to soak the corn in lime to get the corn’s hard casing removed. 

As for why it is called arepas, some have said that the name is gotten from the pan called aripos which is used in cooking the food. 

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Major Ingredients

Corn is the main ingredient used in making arepa dough. The other two important ingredients are water and salt. However, it is how well the corn is grounded up that determines the texture and taste. You can add some cooking oil to loosen the dough.

These days, it is easier to purchase maserapa flour. This will save you the stress of doing the grinding yourself. But ensure that you add the right amount of water as well as salt to prevent the dough from cracking. As far as water and salt are concerned, the less you add the better in comparison to the ground up-corn.

There are several ways to make arepa. You can grill it with parilla para arepas, fry, boil or bake it. This is one of the reasons why this cuisine is gaining widespread acclaim because of the many ways in which it can be prepared.

How Arepas are eaten

Thanks to the pancake-like nature, you can split open the arepas and apply butter, or you can fill it with any other spread or fillings such as cheese, meat, pumpkin, crumbled cheese, scrambled eggs, and black beans and make it into a sandwich. Alternatively, you are free to just serve it like you would serve bread as a side dish. You can even serve with dipping sauce. Generally, feel free to try out almost anything with this food.

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If you want to try out this cuisine, quickly check out the following recipes below:

1. Homemade

The basic ingredients needed are the three we mentioned earlier: corn, water, and salt. After getting the dough, you can then choose the method of making it (grill, boil, bake, or fry); you can then add any filling of your choice. Many however prefer to use chorizo, avocado, cheese, and black beans. 

2. Arepas de Huevos

You can get this done by using the dough to wrap eggs and then cook them. This dish is perfect for breakfast and even brunch. 

3. Cream Cheese Arepas

All you need to create this meal is to add cream cheese and milk to the prepared arepa. If you love it to be a bit sweeter, you can add maple syrup. If you choose to go for a more savory taste, then you can include ham.

4. Vegan Arepas Made from Polenta

Made for vegans, this recipe is plant-based and may not really be said to be an arepa because of the use of polenta instead of corn. The filling is also special as it contains tofu. You can add certain fruits like mango or avocados to make it more delicious. 

5. Ropa Vieja with Arepas

This Cuban dish combines beef, tomatoes, and olives as fillings.

6. Corned Beef Hash Arepas

This is made from corned beef hash along with avocados and eggs. When eaten for breakfast, you can rest assured that you will stay filled and full of energy till lunch.

7. Colombian Arepas

We saved this for last because arepas originated from Colombia as we mentioned earlier. This recipe involves folding cheese directly into the already-made dough. Click here to learn how to make this version of this delicacy. We recommend that you go through the video if you want to get the very best taste.


We believe you now know more about Arepas than the average American who loves this cuisine but knows little about it except that it is delicious.

Category: Food.Fun.Stuff.

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