How to Make Colombian Arepas: A Delicious and Authentic Recipe


Colombian cuisine is known for its rich flavors and diverse dishes, and one of the most beloved and iconic foods in the country is the arepa. Arepas are a type of cornmeal cake that can be enjoyed at any time of the day, whether it’s for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. In this article, we will guide you through the process of making authentic Colombian arepas, step by step. Get ready to tantalize your taste buds with this delicious recipe!

What are Arepas?

Arepas are a traditional staple in Colombian cuisine. They are made from pre-cooked cornmeal, also known as masarepa, which is a type of corn flour that has been soaked and cooked with lime. This process, known as nixtamalization, enhances the flavor and nutritional value of the cornmeal.

Arepas can be either grilled, baked, or fried, and they can be filled with a variety of ingredients such as cheese, meat, beans, or eggs. They are typically round and flat, with a crispy exterior and a soft and doughy interior. Arepas are incredibly versatile and can be enjoyed as a main course, a side dish, or even as a snack.


To make Colombian arepas, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 2 cups of masarepa (pre-cooked cornmeal)
  • 2 1/2 cups of warm water
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil


Follow these step-by-step instructions to make delicious Colombian arepas:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the masarepa, salt, and vegetable oil.
  2. Add the warm water gradually, mixing with your hands until the dough comes together. The dough should be soft and pliable, but not sticky. If it feels too dry, add a little more water. If it feels too wet, add a little more masarepa.
  3. Knead the dough for a few minutes until it becomes smooth and elastic.
  4. Divide the dough into small portions, about the size of a golf ball.
  5. Shape each portion into a ball and then flatten it with your hands to form a disc. The thickness of the disc should be about 1/2 inch.
  6. Heat a non-stick skillet or griddle over medium heat.
  7. Cook the arepas for about 5 minutes on each side, or until they develop a golden brown crust.
  8. Remove the arepas from the skillet and let them cool slightly before serving.

Serving Suggestions

Colombian arepas can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. Here are some serving suggestions:

  • Spread butter or cream cheese on the warm arepas for a simple and delicious breakfast.
  • Fill the arepas with your favorite ingredients, such as shredded chicken, avocado, and cheese, for a satisfying lunch or dinner.
  • Serve the arepas alongside traditional Colombian dishes, such as bandeja paisa or sancocho, for a complete and authentic meal.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can I use regular cornmeal instead of masarepa?

No, regular cornmeal is not a suitable substitute for masarepa. Masarepa has been specially processed and cooked with lime, which gives it a unique flavor and texture. Using regular cornmeal will result in a different consistency and taste.

2. Can I make the dough ahead of time?

Yes, you can make the dough ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. Just make sure to wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or place it in an airtight container to prevent it from drying out.

3. Can I freeze the cooked arepas?

Yes, you can freeze the cooked arepas for up to 3 months. Let them cool completely, then wrap them individually in plastic wrap and place them in a freezer bag. To reheat, simply thaw them in the refrigerator overnight and then warm them up in a skillet or toaster oven.

4. Are arepas gluten-free?

Yes, arepas are naturally gluten-free since they are made from cornmeal. However, it’s important to check the packaging of the masarepa to ensure that it is certified gluten-free, as some brands may process their products in facilities that also handle wheat.

5. Can I use a different type of oil?

Yes, you can use a different type of oil, such as olive oil or coconut oil, if you prefer. The vegetable oil is used to prevent the arepas from sticking to the skillet, so any type of oil with a high smoke point will work.


Colombian arepas are a delicious and versatile dish that can be enjoyed at any time of the day. With just a few simple ingredients, you can recreate the authentic flavors of Colombia in your own kitchen. Whether you prefer them plain, filled with your favorite ingredients, or served alongside traditional Colombian dishes, arepas are sure to satisfy your cravings. So why not give this recipe a try and experience the taste of Colombia for yourself?



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