Arepas de Chocolo Recipe - Colombian Vegetarian Food

Arepas de Chocolo

Arepas de Chocolo Recipe - Colombian Vegetarian Food
Region / culture: Colombia | Preparation time: 30 minutes | Cooking time: 20 minutes | Servings: 4 | Vegetarian diet


Arepas de Chocolo
Arepas de Chocolo

Arepas de Chocolo, also known as sweet corn cakes, are a beloved traditional dish in various parts of Latin America, particularly in Colombia and Venezuela. This dish is made from freshly ground corn kernels, resulting in a sweet, moist, and tender arepa that's unlike its more widely known counterpart made from pre-cooked cornmeal. Arepas de Chocolo can be enjoyed at any time of the day, whether as a hearty breakfast, a satisfying snack, or a light dinner, often accompanied by cheese, butter, or even meats.


The history of Arepas de Chocolo dates back to the pre-Columbian era, where indigenous tribes across the region cultivated corn and developed various methods to grind and cook this staple crop. The arepa itself is a testament to the ingenuity of these early cultures, serving as a fundamental part of their diet. Over the centuries, the recipe has evolved, incorporating influences from European and African cuisines, but its essence remains a celebration of corn's natural sweetness and versatility.


How to prepare

  1. Remove the corn kernels from the cob and grind them.
  2. Knead the ground corn until it forms a firm ball.
  3. Roast the corn over a low charcoal fire or on a wire rack over the burner of the stove.
  4. Serve the roasted corn hot with butter, salt, and white cheese.


  • While the traditional Arepas de Chocolo are simple, variations abound. Some popular twists include adding sugar to the dough for a sweeter arepa, mixing in cheese directly into the dough for a gooey center, or even stuffing the arepas with meats, beans, or vegetables for a heartier dish.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

For the best Arepas de Chocolo, selecting the right type of corn is crucial. Sweet corn, freshly harvested, is ideal for its high moisture content and natural sweetness. When grinding the corn kernels, aim for a coarse texture to retain some bite in the arepa. If you're using a grill or stovetop, ensure the heat is evenly distributed to cook the arepas thoroughly without burning them. Lastly, don't skimp on the butter and cheese - they add a rich flavor and creamy texture that make these arepas irresistible.

Serving Suggestions

Arepas de Chocolo are best served hot off the grill or stove, topped with a generous amount of melted butter and shredded white cheese. They can also be accompanied by avocado slices, scrambled eggs, or a side of your favorite salsa for a fuller meal.

Cooking Techniques

The traditional method involves roasting the arepas over a low charcoal fire, which imparts a unique smoky flavor. However, cooking them on a wire rack over a stove burner or even baking them in an oven are excellent alternatives that offer more control over the cooking process.

Ingredient Substitutions

For those who cannot find fresh sweet corn, frozen corn can be a viable alternative, though it may require a bit more moisture in the form of milk or water to achieve the right dough consistency. Vegan versions can substitute the butter with plant-based spreads and omit the cheese or use a dairy-free cheese alternative.

Make Ahead Tips

The dough for Arepas de Chocolo can be prepared in advance and stored in the refrigerator for up to two days. This allows the flavors to meld and can save time during meal preparation. Simply bring the dough to room temperature before shaping and cooking the arepas.

Presentation Ideas

Serve Arepas de Chocolo on a rustic wooden board for a touch of elegance, garnished with fresh herbs or edible flowers. A side of vibrant salsa or a dollop of sour cream can add color and contrast to the dish.

Pairing Recommendations

Arepas de Chocolo pair wonderfully with a cup of strong coffee or a cold glass of guava juice. For a more substantial meal, serve alongside a fresh salad, black beans, or a tender piece of grilled fish.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Leftover Arepas de Chocolo can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. To reheat, simply wrap them in aluminum foil and warm in an oven at 350°F (175°C) for about 10 minutes, or until heated through. They can also be reheated in a skillet over medium heat.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

A single Arepa de Chocolo can range from 200 to 300 calories, largely influenced by its size and the amount of butter and cheese used. For a lighter version, you can reduce the toppings or opt for lower-calorie alternatives.


A single serving of Arepas de Chocolo is primarily composed of carbohydrates, given its corn base. On average, one arepa may contain approximately 30-40 grams of carbohydrates, making it a significant source of energy. The exact count can vary depending on the size of the arepa and any additional fillings or toppings.


The fat content in Arepas de Chocolo primarily comes from the butter and cheese used in serving. A typical arepa might contain between 5 to 10 grams of fat, depending on the amount and type of butter and cheese added. Opting for low-fat cheese or reducing the butter can lower the fat content.


Proteins in Arepas de Chocolo are relatively low, with each serving providing about 5-8 grams, mainly from the cheese. Incorporating a protein-rich side, such as grilled chicken or beans, can make for a more balanced meal.

Vitamins and minerals

Corn, the main ingredient in Arepas de Chocolo, is a good source of several vitamins and minerals, including B vitamins, magnesium, and phosphorus. The cheese and butter also add calcium and vitamin A, enhancing the nutritional profile of this dish.


The primary allergens in Arepas de Chocolo include dairy (from the butter and cheese). Individuals with a sensitivity or allergy to dairy products should consider dairy-free alternatives or omit these components altogether.


Arepas de Chocolo offer a delicious way to enjoy the natural sweetness of corn, complemented by the richness of butter and cheese. While they are a good source of energy and some nutrients, moderation is key, especially for those monitoring their intake of carbohydrates, fats, and calories.


Arepas de Chocolo are a delightful and versatile dish that celebrates the natural sweetness of corn. With their rich history and nutritional benefits, they offer a satisfying option for any meal of the day. Whether enjoyed in their simplest form or dressed up with various toppings and fillings, these sweet corn cakes are sure to bring a taste of Latin America to your table.

How did I get this recipe?

I remember the excitement that washed over me when I first saw this recipe for Arepas de Chocolo. It was many years ago, when I was just a young girl living in the small town of Villa de Leyva in Colombia. My grandmother, Mama Rosa, was known far and wide for her delicious cooking, and she had a knack for finding the most unique and flavorful recipes.

One day, Mama Rosa came home from a trip to the market with a bag full of fresh ingredients, including some ripe ears of corn. She told me that she had learned a new recipe for arepas de chocolo, a traditional Colombian dish made with fresh corn. I had never heard of this dish before, but Mama Rosa assured me that it was a real treat.

We spent the afternoon in the kitchen, shucking the corn and grinding it into a coarse paste. Mama Rosa showed me how to mix the corn with a little bit of sugar, salt, and butter to create a dough that we would shape into small patties. We cooked the arepas on a hot griddle until they were golden brown and crispy on the outside, with a soft and creamy texture on the inside.

As we sat down to eat our arepas de chocolo, I was amazed by the sweet and savory flavor of the dish. The fresh corn gave the arepas a natural sweetness, while the butter and salt added a rich and savory element. I couldn't believe how something so simple could be so delicious.

From that day on, arepas de chocolo became a regular part of our family's meals. Mama Rosa would often make them for breakfast, serving them with a dollop of fresh cheese and a drizzle of honey. Sometimes, she would stuff them with shredded chicken or beef for a more hearty meal. No matter how they were served, the arepas de chocolo were always a hit with our family and friends.

Over the years, I have made Mama Rosa's recipe for arepas de chocolo countless times. I have shared it with my own children and grandchildren, passing down the tradition of this delicious dish from generation to generation. I have also added my own twist to the recipe, experimenting with different fillings and toppings to create new and exciting flavors.

I am grateful to Mama Rosa for introducing me to the world of Colombian cuisine and for teaching me how to cook with love and passion. The memories of those days spent in the kitchen with her are some of my most cherished, and I will always hold onto the recipe for arepas de chocolo as a reminder of our time together.

As I write this story, I can almost smell the sweet aroma of fresh corn and butter wafting through the air. The sound of the griddle sizzling as the arepas cook to perfection brings back memories of laughter and joy shared with Mama Rosa. I am grateful for the gift of her recipes and the love that she poured into every dish she made.

And so, I continue to make arepas de chocolo in Mama Rosa's honor, sharing the tradition and flavors of my Colombian heritage with those I love. Each time I take a bite of these delicious corn cakes, I am transported back to that kitchen in Villa de Leyva, where a young girl first learned the magic of cooking from her beloved grandmother.


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