Arepa Recipe

This Colombian Arepa recipe is simple, authentic, and comforting. It’s easy to make and you’ll only need 5 ingredients. It’s picky-eater friendly and perfect for family gatherings!

vegan arepas recipe with melty cheese on a plate.

Vegan Arepa Recipe

If you recently watched Encanto, and want to try some delicious yet easy-to-make arepas, you’re going to want to save this arepa recipe. My husband’s grandma is from Colombia but he did not get the opportunity to experience a lot of the food/culture as a kid so we decided to begin making more Colombian recipes. It is never too late!

I want to start by saying that the masa (dough) used for arepas is very different than the one used to make Mexican sopes and tortillas. This corn flour is ore-cooked so it gives it a different flavor and a softer texture. So if you’re Mexican and wondering if it’s really worth trying this recipe because it feels too similar to sopes, I highly recommend you try it!

vegan arepas with cheese stacked on top of each other.

What are Arepas?

Arepas are basically savory corn flour pancakes that originated in Colombia and Venezuela. The Venezuelan arepa is a bit different as they tend to slice it open and stuff it with extra fillings.

They are both delicious but I personally love the simplicity of the Colombian cheese-stuffed arepa. They are similar to pupusas from El Salvador and Sopes from Mexico. Arepas are now more popular since the Disney movie “Encanto” came out.

Are Vegan Arepas Healthy?

Yes, vegan arepas are good for you. Cornmeal is high in selenium, which has been shown to have a positive effect on heart health.

And most kinds of vegan cheese replacements are made with healthy fats like coconut oil and olive extract.

Don’t forget about the toppings! Cilantro, tomatoes, and avocado are all high in minerals and nutrients that your body needs.

vegan arepas on a plate with a side of refried beans and pico de gallo.

Ingredients for the Best Vegan Arepa Recipe

  • Corn meal/masarepa: This is the key ingredient for arepas called masarepa, not to be confused with masa harina. I recommend using the brand P.A.N. or Goya which can be found at any Latin-American grocery store. You may also find it at big stores like Safeway, or FoodMaxx.
  • Water: Should be warm, not room temperature. Make sure to dissolve the salt into it before mixing it with the dough. You may not need to use the entire cup of water, sometimes I find myself with a bit of water left over after achieving a perfect dough.
  • Butter: My favorite vegan butter is Earth Balance which can be found at almost any local grocery store but any will work!
  • Cheese: My favorite vegan cheese for this recipe is Follow your Heart mozzarella shreds found at Safeway. I also recommend Good Plant or Violife as close seconds.

Delicious Toppings to add to Vegan Arepas:

Arepas are delicious just as is but you can also dress them up with whatever you’d like! I added refried beans, vegan sour cream, and pico de gallo to mine.

How To Store Arepas

How you store arepas depends on whether you add fillings to them or not. If you make plain, unstuffed arepas, then you can store them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days.

If you make arepas with anything stuffed in them, I suggest storing them in the refrigerator.

vegan colombian arepas on a plate.

More Easy Recipes

If you enjoyed this arepa recipe, here are some more easy recipes you should make next.

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vegan arepas recipe with melty cheese on a plate.

Arepa Recipe

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5 from 1 review

  • Author: Anna Rios
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 5 Arepas 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


This Colombian Arepa recipe is simple, authentic, and comforting. It’s easy to make and you’ll only need 5 ingredients. It’s picky-eater friendly and perfect for family gatherings!


  • 1 cup pre-cooked corn flour (I use P.A.N.)
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp melted butter (see above for options)
  • 3/4 cup mozzarella shreds


  1. Dissolve the salt in the warm water by whisking it in.
  2. Add corn flour to a mixing bowl. Slowly add the salted water and begin mixing by hand. Continue to add water until it forms a soft dough that is slightly sticky, but formed. Sometimes you may not use all of the water so add as you go. Keep warm water on hand to help with molding arepas.
  3. Add melted butter to dough and mix it in using your hands to knead the dough.
  4. You can either mix the cheese into the dough or stuff the arepa with cheese in the middle. It’s easier and faster to mix the cheese into the dough altogether but more fun to stuff it in the middle.
  5. Stuffed with cheese: Grab about 1/3 cup of the dough and use your hands to form a ball. Flatten it out and use your thumb to create an indent in the middle for the cheese. Add about 1 tablespoon of cheese and then close it off using your hand to roll it back into a ball.
  6. Cheese mixed in: once the dough is the appropriate texture, add the cheese to the dough and using your hands to mix it into the dough. Grab about 1/3 cup of the dough and use your hands to form a ball.
  7. Flatten it out using the palm of your hands and your thumbs to shape it into an arepa. They are typically about 4-inches wide and 1/2-inch thick.
  8. Once it is shaped, place it on a plate and cover it with a towel to avoid drying out. Repeat the process until all arepas are formed.
  9. Turn a griddle on medium heat and once it is hot, add arepas. Cook on each side for 5 minutes or until golden brown.
  10. Serve fresh and enjoy!
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 10
  • Category: mains
  • Method: Stove
  • Cuisine: Colombian


  • Serving Size: 1 arepa

2 thoughts on “Arepa Recipe

  1. Emily says:

    This recipe was delicious, it reminded me of the arepas we had in Costa Rica! You didn’t mention “vegan” mozz and “vegan” butter in the recipe card, however, you mention it in the blog post. Just mentioning it in case it was an oversight.

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