International Recipes and Cooking Around the World


Arepas Recipe (Venezuelan corncakes)

(Venezuelan corncakes)

Image Creative Commons by caracasapie

Average: 4.1 (133 votes)

Arepas were originally made by the indigenous inhabitants of Venezuela and Colombia. These small corncakes are sold in Venezuelan restaurants called areperías and are stuffed with all manner of fillings like a sandwich. In Colombia, arepas are made a little smaller and are spread with butter or topped with cheese.

Makes 5 to 10 arepas


  • Pre-cooked cornmeal (see notes) -- 2 cups
  • Salt -- 1/2 teaspoon
  • Boiling water -- 3 cups
  • Oil -- 3 tablespoons


  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF. In a large bowl, mix together the cornmeal and salt. Pour in 2 1/2 cups of the boiling water and mix with a wooden spoon to form a mass. Cover with a towel or plastic wrap and set aside to rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
  2. Using wetted hands, form balls of dough out of about 1/4 cup of dough and press to form a cake about 3 inches wide and 3/4 inch thick. If the dough cracks at the edges, mix in a little more water and then form the cakes.
  3. Heat the oil in a sauté pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté the patties, a few at a time, to form a light brown crust on one side, 5 to 6 minutes. Flip and brown on the other side.
  4. When all the patties have been browned, transfer them to a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until they sound lightly hollow when tapped. Serve immediately.


  • Filled Arepas: Split the arepas in half when finished and scoop out a little of the soft dough filling. Stuff with your chosen filling.
  • Arepa de Pabellón: shredded, seasoned meat and black beans.
  • Reina Pepeada: chopped chicken, avocado, and mayonnaise mashed together.
  • Arepa de Dominó: black beans and crumbled white cheese.
  • Arepa de Perico: scrambled eggs with tomatoes, peppers and onions.
  • Columbian Arepas: make smaller and thicker and don't bake. Top with butter and melted cheese.
  • Other possible fillings: grated white or cheddar cheese; guasacaca, ham and cheese, hard-boiled quails eggs.
  • The sautéing step is sometimes skipped and the arepas are simply baked. In the countryside arepas are often cooked on the grill.
  • Small arepas can be made and served as appetizers with garnishes on top instead of inside. Or they can be eaten as small biscuits.
  • Sometimes a little sugar is mixed in with the dough to form sweet arepas (arepas dulces).


  • The cornmeal used to make arepas is a special, precooked type that usually goes by the name masarepa, or masa precocida. It can often be found in Latino markets. The more commonly found masa harina is not the correct type to use for this recipe.


This is a pretty good recipe, but I would make two notes. First, I lived in Venezuela for 6 years & my husband is from there. Neither of us has EVER heard of arepas being baked in the oven - you cook them on medium heat on the stove until they are browned & sound hollow when "thumped". My second note is simply about the cornmeal: Masarepa works ok, but if you can find it, use "Harina Pan". This is the original, traditional cornmeal used for Venezuelan arepas. It can be dificult to find, but not impossible. I live on the west coast & am able to get it at a local bodega.

Hello -
I was interested in your comment recommending 'harina pan.' At one time I could get Venezuelan masa for making arepas, but I can't find it any more. I live in Orange County, CA. Can you tell me where on the West Coast you buy harina pan?
I am about to make some arepas using Bob's Red Mill fine-ground whole grain corn flour. .... completely the wrong thing, but the best I could find. I will make them in an Oster arepa-maker -- something like a waffle iron.
Charlene in Fullerton, CA

They have a wide variety of Latin foods that you can order online. Type "harina pan" into their search bar and harina pan will come up.

Buen provecho!

El Camaguey Market in West LA has Harina Pan and other Central and South American products.
10925 Venice Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90034-7015
Phone: (310) 839-4037

you can find it at food 4less
j in La Mirada, CA

Unfortunately, because of some export controls of the Venezuelan Government, in some countries such as Costa Rica, the Harina Pan is not anymore in the market.

I recomend you to search similar substitutes of the "Harina Pan" that comes from Colombia. Are pretty similar

It is imported from Columbia now.

In response to your comment of not having heard anyone baking arepas, maybe it's because of where you guys lived there. I am from Venezuela. I lived in Maracaibo and Caracas. Our family did bake them. It depends on the region you came from. Some people fry, some fry and bake..others even boil and bake. It's all good.

My aunt is from Venezuela and introduced me to arepas a few years ago...she is from Maracaibo and I have seen her fry them, bake them and make them in an arepa maker. They are good however you prepare them.

I am from Venezuela and a chef and was raised on arepas for breakfast and other meals of the day and the way everyone in my family makes them is browning them on the stove and then finishing them off in the oven..but there a few different methods we all use..but I recall this one listed as the most common when I was growing up..


I just ate arepas like that for dinner tonight (browned in a skillet and then baked)! I'm from the States, but I'm living in Valencia right now. My friends from Maracaibo taught me to make them that way. So great! Yum!

What do you mean a "bodega" I live in Western Or. I have a
Venezuelan friend and she once shared some of her arepas she had
brought back from her country.

A "bodega" is a spanish convenience or grocery store.

A bodega is generally used to refer to a wine cellar or winery, while mercado, supermercado, or ultramarinos is used to refer to a grocer's or small supermarket.

"Bodega" is the word used mostly in New York City for a small, Latino grocery store.

it depends on where you're from. In this country bodega is a convenience store, sometimes any convenience story if the owner and/or clientele is latino.

In Argentina, bodega is a winery. I've heard it used to describe basically any building of less than "casa" standards - warehouse, shack, basement, etc.

looking at bobby flay throw down,challenging maribel y aristides barriosto an arepa throw down in new from ny and never tried it sounds so good! aqui en san diego, wishing for some....any ideas tony hernandez

I am Venezuelan and have seen and tried it cooked both ways. My entire familial line cooks them in the oven, and always has. Maybe it different from region to region. My family is from Anzoategui and Caracas. Harina Pan is all I would ever use. The way that my family for years has always cooked arepas is by making the patties, boiling them on the stove to form a smooth layer of skin, and then putting them into the oven directly on the rack to bake. I've never had a tastier arepa than when it is cooked that way. You should try it.

Niki: Good to find out that someone else first boils arepas and then places on oven racks. We find that they always are just perfect and assures that the insides are fully cooked.
BTW this is central Florida (not a particularly latin sector), but just about all the supers and Walmart - Target carry Harina Pan.

Hi Niki!!! I noticed that you had family in Anzoategui...My father was a "petrolero" and I grew up in San Tome and Puerto La Cruz. I'm 64 and lived there from 1947 to 1965. I'm making arapas tonight for the first time in years. I appreciated your comments and am going to try it the way you suggested.

Thanks, Nick Ryder

Hey there! I resently found out about arepas and would very much like to try and make them. But i see that one have to use yellow maiz flour - or harina pan - and i really dont think that i can get that brannd here in the cold north. Is there any other yellow corn flour one can use?

- if anyone is wondering, Denmark is a small country in Skandinavia. Not the capital of Ikea ;)

Hugs from me!

Hope you guys can help me

use any precooked cornmeal - make sure it is precooked (not the one that is used for cornbread, for example). you are not really 'cooking' the arepa - just making a crust, which you can do by heating on the grill (or some people bake and then brown them quickly on the grill - same difference). it doesn't have to be any particular brand, but people that grew up or have lived in venezuela just prefer that particular brand (pan) because it is what we grew up with - but other brands work just fine.

I learned about Arepas last night on "Showdown with Bobby Flay". They sound delicious. I'm fairly certain I won't be able to find the right kind of cornmeal where I live so thanks to all of you who posted resources. I think I will order some today.

Can anyone provide a good recipe for picadilla-style beef and also what is the best kind of cheese to use in the filling?



I, too, saw the throwdown. I want to teach this to my middle school students. I'm worried, however, that I won't be able to find the right cornmeal. Let me know if you made them.

Don't be too worried the right kind of masa (P.A.N. Harina de Maiz) can be found in your local grocery store in the international foods section or if you have an international food store or market you should be able to find it there as well I live in crossville tn and we don't have a international food store but we do have a very small not very good hispanic store but I find the masa at my local grocery store(a.k.a Krogers) all the time!! But I would strongly advise that you go to a international food or market store if you have one or go to the grocery store like I said and sometimes you can find it in a health food store (not all the time though)!!

I hope this helps alot! =D


Crossville,Tn age 19

Go to

It is Masarepa - Harina de Maiz Amarilla and it is good and cheap; I am from Detroit,MI high population of Latino's, the various cultures that live here make it a great place to obtain any ingredient for anything :*) Hope this is what your looking for.

here is a recipe i learned from my husbands grandmother while living in mexico.

* 2 lbs. ground meat ( commonly used is beef, but i recommend turkey burger for a healthier version.)
* 2 Lg. Potatoes ( cubed very small)
* 2 good sized carrots (or about a handfull of minis)diced
* 1/2 Lg. apple . also cubes very small
* 1 Tbsp. Salt
* 1/2 tsp black pepper
* water as needed
* Lg. jalepeno

brown meat. drain well. add carrots, salt, and pepper, and about1/2 cup water. bring to a boil, lower heat simmer about 15 mins. ( until carrots are semi soft)Add potatoes and apple and jalepeno. continue simmering add water as needed. simmer about 10-15 mins. more or until potatoes are soft.and water is evaporated.

i love using this to stuff chilis , but also the quesilla queso, (melting cheese, quesadilla cheese) is the best to stuff things with, at least i think so.
good luck

can I cook the cornmeal first like I was making polenta and then proceed with the recipe. I was hoping to make them this am for a football game but only have Quaker Oats and Goya corn meal. ? Help I have my heart set on cheese stuffed arepas for HS homecoming today. thanks

If you happen to live near Odense, you can go to Bazaar Fyn, one of the shops there has Harina PAN for sale. A miracle.

Otherwise, I know there is a Bazaar located in Aarhus which might have something similar...

Good luck!

You can find it in most ethnic stores in the big cities. Look for Harina Pan in the yellow bag.
It might take several tries to find a store that carries it, but there are many. I've found it in Herning and Aalborg. It was 30 to 38 kr depending on the store.

I live in Texas and Harina PAN can be difficult to find, but I have found it in Fiesta Food Stores in the Houston and Dallas/Ft. Worth areas.

My boys and I LOVE arepas! They grew up in Valencia and later Caracas when they were young and we love making arepas! But, since we've moved to Michigan, and losing my latest source of arepa mix (missionaries who had to move out of Venezuela due to Chavez), I need a source of arepa mix, Venezuelan or Colombian, nearby. Anyone know of one? By the way, it is a great recipe for kids -- they really enjoy making them!

I live in Kalamazoo and my husband and I find Harina PAN at La Mexicana. They usually have a good stock and are around $2 a bag.

I live in Michigan also. Lansing Area... Can you tell me their phone #??

I live in UK. My father's family (maternal side) is from Venezuela. I first had them (and pastalitas) when I was about 8 yrs old. I Hav found a Columbian stall at a local market & nwo able to get harina Pan & masa precocida.. I was confused when I bought the columbian arepas, as they are flat, com[ared to the Venezuelan ones, but still delicious with a mozarella & ham topping. Have made Venezuelan Arepas, now going to try the Columbian recipe & pastalitas - memories of long ago :-)

I lived in Marricaibo, Venezuela & I purchased my Arepas from a street corner vender that stuffed the arepa with a white cheese than dipped it into a batter, than fried it to a golden brown. He than removed it, slit a small opening into the Arepa & added tomato & lettuce. What a treat & a great memory.

I was raised in Maracaibo (10 years) and we certainly ate our share of street vendor arepas which were filled with meat and white cheese, dipped in a batter and fried. I still drool thinking about them. Equally favorite were the tequenos. What a treat. Just wish I could find that white cheese here in Houston, Texas. I find something similar, but not the same. Any suggestions?

Yes! another "maracucha" we call these "tumbarranchos" it was mine and my friends' lunch pretty much all through high school. I miss them so much, a tumbaranchos and batido tody. Hmmmm

I live in Florida, and have (for 5 years) had Venezuelan baseballl players as guest in my home as I am a Host Mom. They have arepas every morning. One Mom that was visiting cooks her arepa first browned on the stove then in the oven. One of the players cooked his in my electric skillet. The best I have had is cooked in an electric Oster Arepa Maker. It makes 6 at a time, is round and concave so it is easy to scoop the middle out and fill with anythng you want. They always use corn meal with the brand name of PAM. It is purchased at a local Mexican food market. That is the only place I have found it. The arepa makers can be purchased on line at Target or Walmart, Amazon or Ebay. Good luck as this is a wonderfull bread.

Most of you are so right, arepas are supposed to be baked so they form that wonderful crust, and they puff when ready, about 22 minutes. I am from Maracaibo, la tierra del sol amada, (the Sun's adored land). Arepas can be grilled on the open pit barbecue and filled with shredded beef and farmers cheese, dipped in guasacaca and you never tasted anything so good. Yummy I live in St. Louis, Mo

I made these last week. What a treat. I gave some to a Columbian friend and she said it tasted just like hers. I filled mine with black beans and chorizo mixture topped with cheese. Now there is a demand in my house for them.

I also grew up in the Lake Maracaibo area. Still think the best way is once made, fry in skillet and drench in butter or peanut butter. Maria used to make them this way as after school snacks for us. She was from Merida and browned on top of the stove and then baked in oven. fortunately, P.A.N. is becoming much more available in Houston...even my Wal-Mart carries it :-)

I live on Fuerteventura, one of the Canary Islands and arepas are well-known here too. There are a lot of South Americans here from all over the continent so we get a wide variety of food. Arepas for breakfast is our normal fare. We always use PAN flour and the recipe shown will work just fine. Another way that we take them is to press them a little thinner, maybe 1cm, and just fry them in olive oil until nicely crisp. Lovely with bean salad.
It's a tasty, cheap meal and even I can make them.

Hi all,

I used to live in Venezuela 8 years ago and got hooked on arepas, among other things. Can anyone please tell me where I can get Harina P.A.N. in the San Francisco Bay Area? I miss these terribly and would love to make some!

Thank you

In San Francisco, I always buy it either at the market on 16th and Valencia, or at another market on 24th Street, between Alabama and Harrison.

The one on 16th is easy to get to by BART. Just get off at the 16th Street station and walk one block east on 16th. For the one on 24th Street, get off at the 24th Street BART station and walk east on 24th about 6 or 7 blocks. The market is on the right-hand side of the street.

Not sure where the best place in the East Bay would be. Maybe a supermercado in the Fruitvale District of Oakland? South Bay and Peninsula is out of my territory.

Hope you can find some! -- Chef Brad

You can get it in the Mission. All the small latin markets should have them.

I just bought some from an online grocery store.
It is a great website and you can purchase groceries from Central and South American countries!! All the products that I've purchased have been great and definelty remind me of my time spent in South America!
Hope you like the site.

oh this looks pretty yummy

They all look like "gorditas" from Mexico, just plain corn flour, and a very easy to find as "MASECA" corn flour. They usually stuffed with about anything, nopalitos (tender cactus leaves) during lent time, ground-beef, chicken in salsa verde, cooked pork cracklings, shredded beef (guisado, tinga, red-chili sauce), etc. and add fresh sliced lettuce, tomatoes, onions and even served with more fresh spicy salsa. They can be cooked on a skillet with little or no oil or deep fried too, they're all good.

These are far from Gorditas