Share

How to Make Venezuelan Arepas

arepas

”Arepas are our daily bread in Venezuela,” says Liliana Hernandez, one of our favorite cooks from Venezuela. ”You could say it’s our country’s most famous dish—it represents Venezuela in any part of the world. Its ingredient list is simple: it made from three things: pre-cooked and ground corn meal, water and salt. Arepas are typically made on a round griddle or comal called a budare. In my case, I then pop them into the oven for another 10 minutes so that they stay fluffy and taste even more delicioso.”

Not only are they delicious, says Liliana, arepas are so versatile. ”We Venezuelans fill them with an infinity of ingredients and serve them any time of day. Arepas are eaten for breakfast or as a side with lunch and dinner. We even eat arepas fried sometimes, with a little hole in the middle: they are crunchy—and equally delicious.”

Among the arepa’s most famous fillings are:
reina pepiada (chicken with avocado)
carne mechada (shredded beef)
• dominó (black beans with queso blanco)
• perico (scrambled eggs with tomato and onion)
• pulpo (octopus)
• cochino (pork)
• sardinas (sardines)
• the classic trio: butter, ham and cheese.

”And many more! Honestly, no matter when or how you eat them, arepas are delicious,” says Liliana.

Liliana’s First Arepa

”Since I was raised in a 100% Venezuelan home, it’s hard to remember the first time I made arepas. The way we move our hands to make an arepa is something all Venezuelans carry in our genes. What I do remember perfectly is asking my mother or my father for a piece of masa to make a mini-arepita one day while they were making them. Because the flour is precooked, it doesn’t hurt you to eat a little piece of the raw masa. What a treat!

I must have been no older than 6 or 7 years since I remember looking up to speak to my parents and not even being able to reach the height of the stove. I also remember asking them that day to put my mini aprepita on el budare—and the immense joy I felt at eating it: I made this! It filled me with pride.

As you can see, we Venezuelans are practically born making arepas.

For more of Liliana’s authentic Venezuelan family recipes, try her life-changing bienmesabe cakeasado negro main dish for celebrations, party-starting melted-cheese tequeñosreina pepiada and carne mechada arepa fillings, and her mother’s go-to ensalada rusa potato salad. All are 100% delicioso. And be sure to check out Liliana on her YouTube channel Mi Show de Cocina, where she is working her way through all her favorite Venezuelan dishes!

Ready to make Liliana’s Venezuelan Arepas?

Liliana’s Venezuelan Arepas

4 from 54 votes
Recipe by Liliana Hernandez Cuisine: Venezuelan
Servings

7 to 8

servings
Prep time

20

minutes
Cooking time

25

minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups 2 precooked corn meal (see Notes below)

  • 2 1/2 cups 2 1/2 water, room temperature

  • 1 tsp 1 salt

  • 1 Tbsp 1 Tbsp vegetable oil, for the budare, griddle or non-stick pan

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 410° F.
  • Pour the water into a large bowl. Make sure it is room temperature.
  • Add the salt. Blend well with a mixer, fork or spatula to make sure it dissolves well.
  • While you continue to beat the mixture, slowly add the corn meal—a little bit at a time.
  • Once all the flour is added, keep mixing until the corn meal, water and salt are thoroughly blended and dissolved.
  • Set aside the masa in its bowl. Let it rest for 5 minutes so that the flour is thoroughly hydrated. This type of corn flour does not have any gluten, so it doesn’t need to be kneaded. The masa should be smooth, firm yet malleable.
  • While waiting for the 5 minutes’ rest, heat your budare (or comal, griddle, cast-iron pan or non-stick pan) over medium heat. Coat with a little bit of the oil.
  • Fill a small bowl with water to wet your hands to make the arepas.
  • Take about 2 Tbsp of the masa in your damp hands. The masa should fit easily in your palm so that it is easy to shape into a small ball.
  • Cross your hands, so that one is on top of the other, with the masa ball between them. Rotate your right hand in a circle, so that you are at the same time both pressing the masa into a flat disc and keeping its round shape.
  • The last step in shaping your arepa is to quickly pass and lightly press the masa disc from one hand to the other until it is about ¾ of an inch thick and 4 inches wide. Smooth the edges with your fingertips (quickly dip them into the water bowl first) so that they stay as round as possible and without cracks.
  • Place your arepas in batches on the preheated surface of your budare griddle or nonstick pan. Let each side turn golden, about 4 to 5 minutes per side. Check them often so that they don’t burn.
  • Once they are nicely browned on both sides, place the arepas on a baking sheet in your preheated oven for 10 minutes. They should be somewhat puffy, so that if you tap an arepa lightly on top, it will sound like you are tapping an empty box.
  • Serve arepas hot, whether you stuff with them with your choice of fillings or serve solo to accompany your favorite Venezuelan guiso or stew.

Notes

  • I usually use Harina Pan white corn flour, which is precooked, ground and packaged. It’s sold in most Latino grocery stores or you can order it online.
arepas big and small
Two sizes of arepas: regular and mini arepas
Here I am, making arepas step by step for my YouTube channel, Mi Show de Cocina.
Place the arepas on the preheated surface of your budare, griddle or nonstick pan, about 4 to 5 minutes per side.
Your arepa should be a bit puffy. If you tap it lightly on top, it will sound like you are tapping an empty box.
arepas
Traditional fillings for arepas include: reina pepiada (chicken with avocado), carne mechada (shredded beef) and dominó (black beans with queso blanco).
arepas for lunch
We love arepas for breakfast in Venezuela, here with scrambled eggs, onion and tomato.

Got a question or suggestion?

Please rate this recipe and leave any tips, substitutions, or questions you have!

Share Your Thoughts

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Suggestions and questions from our readers

  1. Me encanta tu receta,su proceso de hacerla facilita obtener unas maravillosas arepas ,suaves sabrosas y crujientes.Felicitaciones amiga