Colombian Arepas

Are you looking for a delicious snack that you can prepare within 20 minutes? Then you must check out our easy recipe for Colombian-Style Arepas, which is one of my favorite Colombian recipes. 

If you have never tasted Colombian food, you must try this arepa recipe right away. The arepas are crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. They are perfect for a quick snack or as part of the main dish.

What are Arepas?

Arepas are tasty cornmeal cakes that are very popular across Latin America. They are fried, baked, or grilled and can be filled with cheese, ham, chicken, beef, or vegetables.

The Colombian version of arepas is golden brown and crispy. You can enjoy them for breakfast or as a snack, but they can also be a main dish. If you’re inviting guests over or having a party, Colombian-Style Arepas are the perfect appetizer.


The Colombian Arepas originate from the Andean region of South America. They are thought to have been created by the indigenous people in this area, and they quickly became popular across the continent. 

Over time, they have evolved and been adapted to the different tastes of each country. In Colombia, for example, arepas are made with cornflour instead of white wheat flour.

Today, Colombian-Style Arepas are enjoyed by people all over the world. They are a delicious and unique way to experience South American cuisine.


Water: Use lukewarm water to make the arepas. You don’t want it to be too hot, or you will cook the cornmeal, and they will not be as fluffy.

Cheese: You can use any type of cheese that you like. We recommend using hard or semi-hard cheese. White Cheese, also known as Queso Blanco, is the traditional Colombian cheese for arepas. Alternatively, you can also use Mozzarella cheese or Feta cheese.

Arepa Flour: Most grocery stores can find the area flour or cornflour. It is a type of maize flour that is made explicitly for arepas.

Butter or Margarine: You can use butter or margarine to cook the arepas, but it is not necessary. 

Salt: You will need to add salt to the dough and the frying oil. This will give the arepas a nice salty flavor.

Oil: Use vegetable oil to fry the arepas.


There are countless fillings that you can use for arepas.

Cheese and Ham

Shredded Chicken

Shredded Beef

Cheese and Beans

Chicken and Avocado

Vegetables (peppers, onions, tomatoes, etc.) 

Instructions for the Colombian Arepa

Make the Dough: Combine the cornflour, salt, and lukewarm water in a large bowl and mix until smooth.

Forming the Arepas: Preheat a grill, frying pan, or cast-iron skillet over medium-low heat and spray with cooking spray.

To get a perfectly shaped arepa, take a tennis-ball amount of dough and start forming balls. Then, press them down flat to create a disk, or use a rolling pin to get the desired thickness.

Frying the Arepas: Place the arepa in the hot pan and cook for about two minutes per side, or until golden brown.

Adding the Cheese: If you choose to add cheese, you can either mix it into the dough from the beginning or wait until the arepas are cooked, and add the shredded cheese on the top to let it melt.

Tips for making the Colombian Arepas

If your arepas are not coming out perfectly, it might be because your pan is too hot. Try lowering the heat a bit and see if that helps.

You can also try spraying the pan with cooking spray before adding the dough, and this will help them not stick.

If you are having trouble forming the arepas, you might need to add just a little more water to the dough.

You can also refrigerate the dough for about 30 minutes before forming the arepas; this will help them be more firm and easier to work with.

If your arepas are not coming out crispy, you might need to increase the amount of oil you’re using in the pan. 

You can also try flipping them a few times during cooking to make sure they get crispy on both sides.

Can I use an Air Fryer to make Arepas?

Yes, of course! An air fryer is a great way to make arepas. Just follow the exact instructions, but cook them in the air fryer instead of on the stovetop. Always check your air fryer’s manual to ensure that it is safe to use with cornmeal.

The best way to store the Arepas

You can store the arepas in an airtight container or plastic wrap in the fridge for up to three days or in the freezer for two months.

If you are going to freeze them, it is best first to cook them until they are cooked through, then let them cool completely before freezing. This will help keep their shape and texture.

You can then reheat them in the oven or air fryer and serve them immediately.

Side Dishes

If you are looking for the perfect side dish to go with your arepas, here are a few of my favorites:

Sautéed peppers and onions

Tomato and cucumber salad

Black beans

Pinto beans

Fried Plantains

Jamaican Rice and Peas

Street Corn 


Venezuelan vs Colombian Arepas

Colombia and Venezuela are both known for their delicious arepas. There are, however, a few slight differences between Colombian and Venezuelan arepas. For one, Venezuelans typically add sugar to their dough, which gives it a sweeter flavor. And secondly, Colombians tend to stuff their arepas with more toppings than Venezuelans do. 

Arepa flour: Can I use cornmeal instead of cornflour?

Yes, you can use cornmeal instead of cornflour to make arepas. Just keep in mind that the results may not be as perfect, and they might not hold their shape as well. 

Are Arepas the same as Popusas?

No, arepas are made with cornflour, while popusas are made with masa harina (corn flour that has been treated with lime). Popular also tend to be a bit thicker than arepas. 

Where are the best Arepas from?

There is no one “best” place for arepas as each country has its own variation. However, some of the best places to try arepas are Colombia, Venezuela, and Peru.

What is the difference between an Arepa and a Tortilla?

A tortilla is made with wheat flour, while an arepa is made with cornflour. Tortillas are also typically thinner than arepas.

What can I use instead of Oil to cook my Arepas golden brown?

If you don’t want to use oil for cooking your arepas, you can try using cooking spray or heating the pan before adding the arepa dough, also known as masa de arepa.

Can I use an Arepa as a Tortilla?

Yes, you can use an arepa as a tortilla. Just keep in mind that they will not be as thick as traditional tortillas, and they might not hold their shape as well. 

How can I make Arepas gluten-free?

Yes, they are made with cornflour, which is naturally gluten-free. Ensure that the label says “100% Corn Flour” to ensure that there is no wheat flour in the mix.

More delicious recipes you will love:

Brazilian Coxinha

Plantain Cups with Shrimp

Poulet Yassa Skewers


Close up of the Colombian Arepas.

Colombian Arepas

Colombian Arepas are a delicious, South American staple that can be enjoyed as a side dish or main course. They are easy to make and can be customized with your favorite toppings. Get started and make some Colombian-style arepas today!
5 from 31 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Snack
Cuisine Colombian
Servings 4
Calories 387 kcal


  • 2 cups Lukewarm water
  • 2 cups pre-cooked white arepa flour or cornmeal
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 ½  cups Cheese
  • 2 tablespoons Butter


  • Mix lukewarm water, flour, salt, and cheese in a large bowl.
  • Knead it well so that the arepa dough has a soft and delicate consistency.
  • Make small round-shaped balls from the dough.
  • Flatten the balls between your palms to form a thick patty. Press gently around the sides to eliminate cracks.
  • Transfer them to a paper-lined surface.
  • Heat butter in a non-stick skillet.
  • Fry the Colombian arepas in 2 batches. Keep frying until they become golden. Turn over once. It will take about 10 minutes.
  • Split the arepas open and stuff them with chicken and beef fillings.
  • Serve hot.


You can enjoy the tasty Colombian arepas for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. The versatile dish can be enjoyed in various ways with different types of stuffing.


Serving: 1 portionCalories: 387kcalCarbohydrates: 45gProtein: 16gFat: 17gSaturated Fat: 9gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 45mgSodium: 280mgPotassium: 204mgFiber: 4gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 440IUCalcium: 397mgIron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Let me know how it was!

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  1. Great recipe to make Colombian arepas. Just a correction in the description of the recipe. You said that arepas it is a Mexican cuisine, If you can, please make correction to that.

    1. Hi Diana,

      Well spotted! Thank you so much for your comment and I’m glad you liked the recipe!

      I have updated it now to say Colombian Cuisine of course:)

      Many thanks,