Arepas Venezolanas (Venezuelan Arepas) area a staple in any Venezuelan home, as well in many other Latin countries. Arepas are essentially just corn patties. However they really are a foundation for so much more. You can stuff them with almost anything, something as simple as butter or salty cheese or as elaborate as juicy shredded beef or creamy chicken salad.
They are made from Harina PAN, a white corn flour. You can make a corn patty with another type of flour, but it won’t be a Venezuelan arepa!
Typically, arepas are cooked in a budare, which is a circular iron pan that has been specifically cured for arepas. Since most of us don’t have a budare, we use the method of searing the arepa on a cast iron pan and then finishing in the oven. It keeps the outside very crispy and keeps the inside light and creamy. You can also deep fry them in oil or buy an electric arepa maker.
Arepas are eaten any time of the day – breakfast, midday snack or to quench a late-night craving. Once you make a good arepa, you will see why Venezuelans eat arepas day and night.
There are so many fillings for arepas. Here are some of our favorite arepa combinations:
- Arepa de Queso – filled with cheeses such as salty llanero or thick quayanese
- Arepa Domino – black beans and shredded white cheese
- Arepa Reina Pepiada – Ensalada Gallina and avocado
- Arepa Pabellón – shredded beef similar to Ropa Vieja, Black Beans and cheese
- Arepa Perico – filled with Venezuelan style scrambled eggs
- Arepa Sifrina – Ensalada Gallina, avocado and gouda cheese
- Arepa Rumbera – filled with Slow Roasted Pork
Arepas Venezolanas (Venezuelan Arepas)Course: Appetizers, Sides
2 cups of Harina PAN (Venezuelan white corn flour)
2 ½ cups of lukewarm water
1 tablespoon of oil, something neutral such as avocado or vegetable oil
Optional: ½ cup of shredded cheese such as queso llanero or parmigaino cheese
- Pour the warm water into a large bowl. Add salt and whisk for a minute until combined.
- Add the Harina Pan gradually and simultaneously mix into the water. Knead with your hands until it comes together. Add the shredded cheese.
- The dough should be smooth but not sticky enough to stay on your fingers. Keep kneading until it’s just right. If it’s still too wet, sprinkle just enough harina pan to soak it up.
- Let the dough rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place a baking sheet in there so it becomes hot. ***(think of this as a pizza stone when you put it in the oven before adding the pizza. The stone or baking sheet needs to be hot or the dough will be soggy.)
- Set up a small bowl with water and a dash of oil. Dip your fingers and palms of your hands in the water. This will help you for smooth arepas.
- Form about 10 balls for the arepas. If you like small ones you can make more. First make balls, then smash them slightly and smooth out the sides.
- Heat a cast iron pan or griddle to medium heat. Brush a small amount of oil just to be sure they don’t stick. Add the arepas and cook on each side for 3 to 4 minutes on each side.
- Pop the arepas in the oven and place them on top of the already hot baking sheet that has been in the oven.
- Cook them for 15-20 minutes. They will slowly puff up slightly and that’s exactly what you want to see.
- Once they are ready, let them cool down for 2 minutes so they aren’t so hot to the touch. Use a dish towel to hold them down. Slice them leaving one side in tact.
- You can leave the creamy filling inside or remove some of it with a spoon. If you like a very crispy arepa and fitting into your weekend jeans I would recommend removing the filling. This way you can really pack in the toppings.