How to Make Perfect Arepas from Colombia or Venezuela

Arepas aus Kolumbien oder Venezuela

Finally I am introducing the basic recipe for arepas on my blog! Arepas are a flatbread made from cornmeal. They are most popular in Colombia and Venezuela. As a German I have to say that these countries offer the same kind of varieties of arepas as breads are offered here. I already introduced arepas boyacenses, however, so far the basic recipe was missing. The reason being simple, I just felt I still didn’t know how to make perfect arepas even though it only consists of three ingredients, cornmeal, water, and salt. But now the waiting is finally over, below I am offering many tips. Hopefully they will make you confident enough so that your first arepas turn out great from the start. If making the very basic recipe, arepas are naturally gluten-free and vegan.

Arepas aus Kolumbien oder Venezuela

Tip 1: The dough should be on the moister side instead of too dry

One of the main reasons I didn’t post the basic recipe was simple, I didn’t feel like my arepas were up to the standard. So I asked all of our Colombian friends to make them for me while I was watching. I quickly found the reason, I didn’t use enough water. Even when forming them you can moisten your hands with a little bit of water to get a smooth consistency.

Tip 2: Arepas can be grilled, fried, deep-fried, or baked

How you are going to prepare your arepas is up to you, the fastes ways are deep-frying them, or frying them in a regular pan. But you can grill them or even bake them. But be prepared, arepas tend to be a little bit dry, which brings me to the next tip.

Arepa con queso aus Kolumbien

Tip 3: Butter is usually generously spread on arepas

Since arepas are very mild in flavor, Colombians like to spread butter generously on it and may season with a bit more salt. My husband gets all upset because I personally like to eat mine with a little bit of jam. He says he has never seen anyone but me doing that, but hey, I won’t judge!

Tip 4: You can add spices or some additional fat to the dough

I have seen Colombians adding a pinch of sugar (yes, sugar), some dried herbs or finely cut chili in the dough. The options are endless to make this simple flatbread more exciting.

Tip 5: Colombians love arepas filled with cheese, especially mozzarella is very popular

Ii believe one of the most popular arepas are the ones filled with cheese (arepas con queso). Of course you will find the recipe also on the blog, check out the recipe here. If you want to give a sweeter type of arepa with mozzarella a change, check out the arepa boyacense, which is thicker and has a sligthly sweet tang to it.

Arepa mit Käsefüllung

Tip 6: For a traditional Colombian breakfst arepas are served with eggs and freshly pressed juice (arepas con revueltos y jugo)

You don’t really know what Colombians like to eat for breakfast? Arepas! Once when I was in Colombia in a hotel and asked the waitress to serve me some arepa for breakfast, she got offended as it is a given that you will get arepas. Arepas are usually enjoyed either with scrambled eggs or a sunny-side up plus some freshly pressed juice.

Typisches kolumbianisches Frühstück mit arepas und Rührei

Tip 7: Filled arepas are very popular in Venezuela

Arepas can serve as a kind of sandwich or burger, which can be filled with anything you like. Below recipe is an arepa filled with chicken and guacamole. Feel free to go wild with different fillings to serve this as the main course.

Gefüllte arepa mit Hähnchen und guacamole

Arepas, the basic recipe from Colombia or Venezuela

Colombia or Venezuela
Serves: About 4 arepas
Prep Time: 10min Cooking Time: About 20min Total Time: 30min

Arepas are a Colombian or Venezuelan flatbread made from pre-cooked cornmeal and are naturally gluten-free and vegan.


  • 230-250 grams of pre-cooked cornmeal (in Latin America usually the brand PAN is used)
  • A teaspoon of salt
  • Optional: 20 grams of butter
  • 300 grams of water (you may need more, depending on the conditions of your pre-cooked cornmeal)



Mix the cornmeal, salt and if using butter into a bowl, add the water and knead with your hands until a soft ball forms. It shouldn't have cracks but be rather smooth and a bit sticky. Add more water if it is too dry. Arepas tend to be a bit dry, so rather have the dough a bit too moist than too dry. For the consistency check my reel on Instagram. Let rest for about 5 minutes.


Divide dough into four parts, about the size of a tennis ball. Press down to form circles, smooth edges. If the edges have cracks, use a bit of water.


Possible methods: Most common is to grill the areaps for about 8 minutes on each side. You can also fry them with a bit melted butter in a frying pan, or grill them in the oven at about 230 degrees Celsius and the grilling option. They tend to take around 10 minutes on each side. Deep-frying also works, at about 180 degrees Celsius for a few minutes or until lightly golden.


Serve warm and spread butter on top, season with some salt. Colombians like to serve arepas with scrambled eggs and some freshly pressed juice or hot cocoa for breakfast.

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  • Reply
    Marie E.
    Thursday April 15th, 2021 at 08:59 AM

    OMG! I sooo understand your husband getting mad. I am mexican and when mine and friends (germans) cook mexican or eat what I cook, they do as well their own weird thing adding things that are not part of the recipe!!! I’m always mad at everybody for changing the tradition! Of course I forgive them …but only after counting until 10 hahaha. Thanks for this recipe :D!

    • Reply
      Thursday April 15th, 2021 at 09:04 AM

      Yeah, I understand you, thanks for forgiving!

  • Reply
    Andrea Catalá
    Sunday June 13th, 2021 at 03:14 PM

    Hi! Venezuelan here! Arepas are made with cold water, never warm, because if you use warm water the harina P.A.N Will get gummy and that results in gummy arepas. Second thing I noticed is that your arepas are cracked and dried on the outside, that means you had to cook them longer because the dough was to wet. In any case, to make arepas you only need 2/12 cups of cold water, 2 cups of cornmeal and salt to taste, wait until it’s fully hidrated , knead until it’s soft and the voilà make your arepas

    • Reply
      Monday June 14th, 2021 at 01:28 PM

      Hi back! I will definitely see if it makes any difference using cold water instead, but the ratio you gave is more or less the same as mine.

      Kindly note that here in Germany you find a lot of other brands of cornmeal, PAN is pre-cooked, so this is something to consider and may also have an impact. But anyway, I will definitely report back if it makes any difference.

      I also think that preferences may be different, I like the outside to be a bit crunchy (and thus a bit cracked), but the inside soft.

    • Reply
      Saturday March 26th, 2022 at 01:45 PM

      Hi Andrea, I wanted to leat you know that I tried arepas with cold water many times and do agree with you, I like the consistency better. I therefore updated the recipe. Thanks for the hint.
      However, regarding the ratio, I believe this depends a lot on the environment, I have had to add water sometimes. Again, some people like the arepas to be more crunchy, others softer, so I also believe you may need to see how you like them best.

  • Reply
    Monday December 20th, 2021 at 10:45 AM

    Vielen herzlichen Dank! Tönt nach einer prima Brotsorte bei Glutenproblemen…

    • Reply
      Monday December 20th, 2021 at 10:48 AM

      Ja, find ich auch! Berichte gern, wenn du sie nachmachst.

  • Reply
    Thursday January 13th, 2022 at 01:18 AM

    Hallo, ich habe gern Arepas in Colombia gegessen. Welches Mehl kann man in Deutschland dafür verwenden. Vielleicht Marke oder Link teilen, bitte?

    • Reply
      Thursday January 13th, 2022 at 07:19 AM

      In Kolumbien nutzt man meist das von PAN. Das gibt es oft in Asialäden. Am liebsten nehme ich das Maismehl von Alnatura. Nur zur Vorwarnung, da braucht man deutlich mehr Wasser.

  • Reply
    Wednesday August 17th, 2022 at 06:46 AM

    Hola Jeny,

    Gracias! Tengo una pregunta, la harina de Alnatura viene precocida? Encontré una harina de maíz en el mercado pero no viene precocida, alguna vez has intentado preparar las arepas con harina no precocida?

    • Reply
      Wednesday August 17th, 2022 at 08:58 PM

      Hola Angela, si, es posible utilizar la harina de Alnatura. Sin embargo, necesitará más agua y el sabor será ligeramente diferente. Por favor, avísame si lo pruebas.

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