Arepas are a delicious pan-fried corn cake popular in Latin America. They’re like a cross between a tortilla and an English muffin and taste delicious with stuffed or topped with pulled meats, cheese, and veggies.

Arepas are very easy to make with just 3 ingredients and can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch, and dinner! Try topping with shredded chicken or beef for a delicious meal.

Yellow and white arepas on a serving dish.

What Are Arepas?

Arepas are dense and delicious pan-fried cornmeal cakes popular in South American cuisine that is traditionally served with cheese, meat, and avocados. They can also be cut in half and served as sandwiches.

They are made of pre-cooked cornmeal, water, salt, and oil for frying. Simple! The dough is mixed and then shaped into discs and fried in a cast-iron skillet until golden brown spots begin to form.

How To Make Arepas

This easy recipe is made with 3 ingredients (excluding the oil) and just 3 simple steps!

  1. Combine all ingredients (except the oil) and pack the mixture together. Let rest for 5 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat a large cast iron skillet with vegetable oil.
  3. Form into discs and cook in hot oil until golden brown. Flip and repeat, adding additional oil as necessary.

To slice in half for sandwiches, bake an additional 10 minutes in a 350F oven. Enjoy hot.

This recipe was tested using both Goya Masarepa Pre-Cooked Yellow Cornmeal and P.A.N. Pre-cooked White Corn Meal. Find these items in the International section at most grocery stores or on Amazon.

Arepas topped with barbacoa beef.

How To Serve Arepas

My favorite way to serve up these delicious cakes is the same way I first had them at a restaurant in San Francisco, topped with barbacoa beef! You could also top them like pork carnitas or with shredded chicken and a dollop of guacamole. This fish taco sauce is also really tasty with your meat of choice!

Another popular way to enjoy them is sandwich-style. Simply slice them down the middle and fill with your favorite fillings. Some of my favorite sandwich fillings are Italian beef, crispy chicken, and of course, a club sandwich.

Arepas also taste delicious all on their own, especially with a bit of honey butter!

More Recipes with Cornmeal

Yellow and white arepas on a serving dish.
5 from 11 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
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Homemade Arepas

Arepas are a delicious pan-fried corn cake that is a cross between a tortilla and an English muffin.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Resting Time 5 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 12 arepas
Author Rebecca
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  • 2 cups Masarepa * (pre cooked corn meal)
  • 2 ½ cups warm water
  • 1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoon vegetable oil for frying


  • In a large bowl, combine the Masarapa, water, and salt until fully combined. Pack the mixture together and allow it to rest for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat a large castiron skillet with vegetable oil.
  • Measure out 1/4 cup-sized portions and roll into a ball with your hands, then gently press and shape them into discs that are about 1/2 inch thick.
  • Place the discs in the hot oil and allow them to cook over low heat until they begin to turn golden brown/black. Flip and repeat, adding additional oil as needed so they don't stick.
  • If you want to slice them in half, you'll want to bake them for about 10 minutes at 350F on a large baking sheet. Enjoy hot.


*If you use white corn meal, we found that you only need about 2 cups of warm water
  • If you find that the mixture is a little dry, you can add additional water 1 Tablespoon at a time. You want the consistency to be slightly dry but combined.
  • You can add up to 1 cup of shredded cheese for additional flavor.
  • Arepas may also be deep fried.
5 from 11 votes

Nutrition Information

Calories: 142 | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Sodium: 294mg | Potassium: 85mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Calcium: 3mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Appetizer
Cuisine Columbian, Venezuelan
Arepas on a plate with text
Arepas on a plate with a title
Plate with Arepas with writing


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Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!
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Recipe Rating


    1. Hi Gabriela, I have only made this recipe as listed so I am not sure if masa harina flour would work in this recipe. Maybe another reader can offer some guidance.

  1. Never heard of pre-cooked cornmeal and don’t recall seeing it in local grocery stores. Can regular cornmeal be used in this recipe?

    1. Hi Tom, regular cornmeal won’t provide the same results in this recipe. You can often find Masarepa in the Speciality foods aisle at your local grocery store.

  2. I am glad you post the recipe of Arepas , let me clear this recipe, the filling for arepas goes inside no on top , and your dough need more water that way you can make the the perfect circle, thank you btw , everything I cook from your page have been so good.

    1. I have never made these myself but I loved to have them at a friends home growing up. We usually topped them with leftover meat or fried cactus.
      What are some other ideas for fillings or toppings?

      1. You can serve them with shredded meat, cheese, or mashed avocado. You can also cut them in half and stuff them with any of your favorite fillings as well!