Made with 5 ingredients (plus a little oil for cooking), these easy Arepas con Queso make a tasty breakfast, lunch, dinner or snack. We think of these as a Latin American version of grilled cheese and they are slightly addicting.
You already know my obsession with Mexican inspired recipes – I could eat tacos or carnitas every day. The newest thing I am hooked on is cheese arepas. If you’ve noticed this recipe is everywhere recently, you can attribute that to the release of the Disney movie, Encanto.
We’re sharing tips to help you get the best results with this recipe. If you don’t need the tips, scroll to the bottom for the full recipe, including a printable recipe card.
Arepas are an authentic Colombian recipe and a staple in most households. And as far as Encanto goes, arepas are the healing food in the movie. After one bite you’ll understand why this is considered a healing food – it’s comfort food at it’s finest.
It may sound like a fancy, complicated appetizer or side dish recipe, but you only need 6 ingredients and the instructions are super simple. And you can grab the ingredients from your local grocery store.
Arepas con Queso Ingredients
- warm water
- masarepa (instant white corn flour)
- mozzarella cheese
- oil for cooking
How to Make Cheese Arepas
In a bowl, combine the water, butter, and salt.
Mix in half of the corn flour (masarepa) using your hands. Then pour in the rest of the flour and continue mixing. If you find that the dough is a little dry, add more water one tablespoon at a time.
Add half of the mozzarella and knead for 5 minutes.
Separate the dough into 6 baseball size pieces. Take a dough ball, make a crater in the middle of the dough using the palm of your hand. Add a tablespoon of mozzarella cheese in the indented area and seal together by pulling the dough up and over the cheese.
Flatten into a ½ inch thick patty, and repeat until all arepas are made.
Coat a skillet (use a cast iron skillet if you have it) with a thin layer of oil, and place over medium heat.
Fry each arepa for 3 minutes per side.
Transfer them to a plate, allowing to cool for a few minutes before eating.
What to Eat With Arepas con Queso
While this may be a traditional Colombian recipe, you can serve cheese arepas with just about anything.
For breakfast, think hashes and Huevos Rancheros.
Dinner options are really endless, but our favorites are Slow Cooker Carnitas and you can’t go wrong with the traditional taco night.
You can also serve with salsa or pico de gallo. Or slice a cooked arepa in half and add shredded chicken, beef or pork.
Can You Use Regular Flour or Cornmeal?
No, using other types of flour will result in a different texture and consistency. Regular cornmeal is processed differently and doesn’t absorb liquid like masarepa does.
How to Store Leftover Arepas
Leftover arepas can be stored on the counter for 1-2 days or up to 4 days in the refrigerator. Reheat in the oven or in a greased skillet.
Tips for Making the Best Arepas con Queso
- Look for the Goya or P.A.N. brands of masarepa in your grocery store. You can order from Amazon if your store doesn’t stock them. Do not substitute with Masa Harina or cornmeal.
- Freshly shredded cheese will melt better than pre-shredded cheese.
- We prefer the milder flavor of white corn flour but you can substitute with yellow corn flour if that’s what you have on hand.
- Melt additional cheese on top for the ultimate cheese-lovers arepa.
- If your dough becomes too wet, just add a little more flour.
- Make sure you let the pan get hot before adding the arepas. Cast iron skillets work the best and what I use.
- Use warm water as it helps with the dough and mixes in better.
- Only flip the patties once to keep them from falling apart.
Recipes to Try
***Pin Cheese Arepas Recipe for Later***
Arepas con Queso
- Add water, butter and salt to a mixing bowl.
- Using your hand, mix in half of the corn flour. Add the remaining corn flour and continuing mixing. If dough is too dry, add additional water a tablespoon at a time.
- Add half of the cheese and knead the dough for 5 minutes.
- Separate the dough into 6 pieces, each about the size of a baseball. Take one dough ball and form it into a crater in the palm of your hand. Add a tablespoon of cheese in the pocket and seal by forming the dough around the cheese.
- Flatten the dough ball into a thick patty, about 1/2” thick. Repeat until all arepas are formed.
- Heat a skillet to Medium heat. Coat with a thin layer of oil.
- Fry the arepas for 3 minutes, flip and cook for an additional 3 minutes.
- Allow to cool for a few minutes before eating.
- Look for the Goya or P.A.N. brands of masarepa. Do NOT substitute with Masa Harina or cornmeal.
- We recommend flipping the arepas just one time to keep them from falling apart.
- Store leftover arepas in a storage bag on the counter for 1-2 days or up to 4 days in the refrigerator. To reheat: heat in the oven or in a greased skillet.
- Nutritional information will vary based on ingredients used.
Nutritional information is provided as a reference, using an online calculator. We recommend verifying the information independently for accuracy.