Arepas de Queso

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I had never even heard of these fantastic nibbles until I went to Colombia.  Arepas de Queso are cornmeal cakes filled with cheese.  They’re a national dish of Colombia.

Arepas de Queso

Arepas. Yummy, tasty, simple arepas. Oh how I love thee.

I was first introduced to this yummy carb on my first trip to Bogota and Cevecheria. They are so tasty and yet so simple. It’s like a thicker corn tortilla type flavor, but so much better than I’m describing it.


I had never even heard of these fantastic nibbles until I went to Colombia. Now, I want to master them and make them at home. The ingredients? Three. Water, masarepa (precooked corn flour), and butter. Four if you want to add salt. Five if you add cheese. In any event, they’re not complicated, but I just recently found the masarepa in my grocery. Granted I wasn’t looking at international foods stores, but was THRILLED when I found it on my regular grocery trip.

And then it vanished. *sigh*

BUT I went to another grocery store and voila! There it was, sitting on the shelf, with that angelic halo around it.  I think I heard angels singing when I found it.  Trust me. You think I’m mad now, but just wait until you try these delicious nibbles.

I’m one of those people that like the corn tortillas better than the flour ones; especially if they’re fresh. I like the flavor of the corn and find that it enhances the flavor of the dish.  Something about the hearty flavor of the corn with it’s slight sweet flavor that I truly enjoy.


And enjoy these I did!!  The first cheese one I had was at the airport in Bogota.  I stopped for coffee at Juan Valdez and saw these gorgeous gems just screaming, “EAT ME!”  Since I hadn’t had any breakfast, I easily obliged!  I still remember the warm arepas with it’s delicious white corn flavor and the creamy, salty cheese inside.  Mmmmmm.   *drooling*

There are a few countries that make a version of this.  Venezuela makes a larger one and stuffs it; arepas rellenos.  There’s smaller ones called arepitas.  They’re more of an appetizer type size.  Think chips and salsa but with really thick, buttery chips.  And not all of then are savory.  There are sweet versions, too!!

Don’t forget to scroll down and view all the other Stuffed, Wrapped and Rolled recipes from the rest of the crew!


Arepas de Queso

Arepas de Queso

I had never even heard of these fantastic nibbles until I went to Colombia. Arepas de Queso are cornmeal cakes filled with cheese. They’re a national dish of Colombia.


  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup masarepa, precooked corn flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup queso fresco, crumbled
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons butter


  1. Combine the masarepa and salt in a mixing bowl. Add the water and let stand 3 to 4 minutes, or until the water is absorbed and the dough forms a firm ball. If the dough cracks when making the ball; add more water. If the dough is difficult to handle; try adding more masarepa. The consistency is just right when the dough forms a nice, uniform ball without much difficulty.
  2. Form one 3" ball of dough. Place between parchment or plastic wrap and flatten with a heavy pan.
  3. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and add butter. Swirl until melted.
  4. Cook the arepas about 4 to 5 minutes or each side or until lightly browned on the outside. Allow to cool slightly, then carefully cut a slit and pry the arepas open. Place about 1 tablespoon of the crumbled cheese inside and return to the pan; cooking until the cheese has melted on the inside.
  5. Serve warm with Hogao.

Did you make this recipe?

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  1. I've never even heard of these but just from your photos and description alone, I'm drooling! I love anything carb-o-licious and especially if it has corn flour. I love that you were determined to recreate this dish after eating it in Colombia!

  2. I had seen these on one of the cooking channels, but for some reason decided I couldn't make them. You give me the courage to try! They look just as good as the ones on TV!

  3. I love arepas – lived in Venezuela as a child – so I always move about the planet with Harina PAN in my shipment. You never know when you can't find it in the next country. And then you are sad. 🙂 I think you've already experience what I'm talking about. 🙂

  4. I would love to try this recipe but have never seen or heard of masrepa. My question would be the same as Julie's, is it the same as masa harina or closer to corn meal or grits? Could anything be used a a substitute and how would we go precooking it for use. Also, in the recipe it says to add the milk. I didn't see an amount for milk in the ingredients. Thank you for introducing me to a new dish and one way or another, I'll try to figure this out. 🙂

  5. I'm incredibly familiar with Mexican food, and some Caribbean food, but I'm definitely still learning about Central and South American cuisines, and I've been really wanting to try arepas for a while now. Question: is masarepa the same thing as masa harina?

  6. Living in South Florida, we have plenty of opportunities to eat arepas. I tried making them at home once and it was a total disaster. Your recipe looks sooooo user friendly that I am going to give homemade arepas another shot!

  7. Thank you, Christie for sharing this authentic and do-able Columbia-style cheese tortilla. Your recipe is a keeper! Every bite I imagine does bring back great travel memories for you =)

  8. In the spring, summer and fall in NYC we have tons of street fairs with people selling mozzarepas. Exactly what you made. Probably not the best for you but I can never resist the combination of sweet corn and mozzarella. I love this and need to try it at home!

  9. I love it when I find a dish I have never head of before. This sounds intriguine and if I can find that corn flour they are giong into my shopping basket. Thanks for sharing.

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