Arepas de Vieques Recipe - Traditional Puerto Rican Dish

Arepas de Vieques

Arepas de Vieques Recipe - Traditional Puerto Rican Dish
Region / culture: Puerto Rico | Preparation time: 30 minutes | Cooking time: 20 minutes | Servings: 6


Arepas de Vieques
Arepas de Vieques

Arepas de Vieques is a delightful and traditional recipe that hails from the beautiful island of Vieques, part of Puerto Rico. This dish is a unique twist on the classic arepas, incorporating ingredients like cheese and milk to create a richer flavor profile. Arepas de Vieques are not just a meal; they are a cultural experience, offering a taste of the island's rich culinary heritage. Perfect for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, these arepas are versatile and can be enjoyed with a variety of fillings or simply on their own.


The history of Arepas de Vieques is deeply intertwined with the culinary traditions of Puerto Rico and the broader Caribbean region. Arepas themselves originate from the indigenous tribes of South America and have been a staple food for centuries. The version from Vieques has evolved to include dairy products, reflecting the island's adaptation and fusion of indigenous and European culinary practices. This recipe has been passed down through generations, with each adding their own touch, making Arepas de Vieques a beloved dish for both locals and visitors.


How to prepare

  1. Melt the cheese and margarine in the milk over medium or medium-low heat. Stir occasionally until the cheese and margarine have melted.
  2. Add the egg and whisk it into the mixture.
  3. Mix together the remaining ingredients in (B). Slowly add them to the mixture, whisking frequently to avoid lumps.
  4. Remove from the heat and allow the mixture to cool, or refrigerate until the next day.
  5. Blend all the ingredients together.
  6. Use a ladle to measure out enough mixture to form flour patties, which can be anywhere from three to six inches in diameter and about as thick as a loaf of sandwich bread.
  7. Fry in a deep skillet with enough oil to ensure even cooking on both sides. Remove when the color is a light golden tan. Serve while still warm.


  • For a healthier version, substitute whole wheat flour for the white wheat flour and use low-fat cheese and milk. For a vegan option, omit the cheese and use plant-based milk and a flaxseed egg substitute.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

To ensure your Arepas de Vieques turn out perfectly, consider these tips and tricks:

- Use fine cornmeal for a smoother texture.

- If the dough is too sticky, add a bit more cornmeal; if too dry, add a splash of milk.

- Let the dough rest for a few minutes after mixing to make it easier to handle.

- Maintain a medium heat while frying to prevent the arepas from burning on the outside while remaining uncooked inside.

- Press the patties gently in the center to ensure even cooking.

Serving Suggestions

Arepas de Vieques can be served with a variety of accompaniments such as scrambled eggs, avocado slices, or a side of black beans. They are also delicious with a dollop of sour cream or a sprinkle of fresh herbs.

Cooking Techniques

The key technique in this recipe is the frying of the arepas to achieve a golden and crispy exterior while keeping the inside soft and fluffy. Ensuring the oil is at the right temperature is crucial for this.

Ingredient Substitutions

If cornmeal is not available, polenta or masa harina can be used as substitutes. Any semi-hard cheese can replace cheddar, and for those avoiding sugar, honey or agave syrup can be used instead of splenda.

Make Ahead Tips

The arepa dough can be prepared ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours, allowing the flavors to meld and reducing preparation time.

Presentation Ideas

Serve the arepas on a colorful plate with garnishes like lime wedges, cilantro, or a side of salsa to enhance their visual appeal and add a fresh flavor contrast.

Pairing Recommendations

Arepas de Vieques pair wonderfully with a light salad, tropical fruit, or a cold beverage such as iced tea or a fruity cocktail for a refreshing meal.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Store leftover arepas in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in a skillet over medium heat or in the oven until warmed through.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

Each serving of Arepas de Vieques contains approximately 300 calories, making it a moderately caloric option suitable for a meal component.


A serving of Arepas de Vieques contains approximately 45 grams of carbohydrates. The primary sources of carbohydrates in this recipe are cornmeal and wheat flour, providing energy to fuel your day.


Each serving of Arepas de Vieques contains about 10 grams of fat, mainly from the cooking oil and cheese. Using a healthier oil option like olive oil or reducing the cheese amount can lower the fat content.


Arepas de Vieques offer around 8 grams of protein per serving, coming from the cheese, milk, and egg. This makes them a good option for a protein-rich breakfast or snack.

Vitamins and minerals

This dish is a source of several vitamins and minerals, including calcium from the cheese and milk, iron from the cornmeal, and various B vitamins from the egg and wheat flour.


The main allergens in this recipe are dairy (milk and cheese) and gluten (wheat flour). Individuals with sensitivities to these should consider substitutions.


Arepas de Vieques are a balanced dish, offering carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, along with essential vitamins and minerals. However, those monitoring calorie intake or with specific dietary restrictions should adjust the recipe accordingly.


Arepas de Vieques is a versatile and flavorful dish that embodies the culinary traditions of Puerto Rico. With its rich history and delicious taste, it's a wonderful way to bring a taste of the Caribbean into your kitchen. Whether enjoyed as part of a hearty breakfast or as a snack, these arepas are sure to delight anyone who tries them.

How did I get this recipe?

I remember the sense of wonder I felt when I first saw this recipe for Arepas de Vieques. It was a hot summer day, and I was visiting the beautiful island of Vieques in Puerto Rico. I had heard so much about the delicious food that the locals made, and I was eager to learn some new recipes to bring back home with me.

I had been wandering through the vibrant streets of the island, taking in the sights and sounds of this tropical paradise, when I stumbled upon a small, quaint restaurant tucked away in a corner. The enticing aroma of freshly cooked food wafted through the air and drew me in like a magnet. As soon as I walked in, I knew I had found a hidden gem.

The owner of the restaurant, a kind elderly woman with a warm smile, welcomed me with open arms. She introduced herself as Abuela Rosa and invited me to sit down at a table near the open kitchen. I watched in awe as she expertly prepared a variety of traditional Puerto Rican dishes, each one more mouthwatering than the last.

I couldn't help but ask Abuela Rosa if she would share her secrets with me, and to my delight, she agreed. She explained that the recipe she was making that day was a special one - Arepas de Vieques. Arepas are a traditional dish made from cornmeal that is popular in many Latin American countries, but the version from Vieques had a unique twist that made it truly unforgettable.

As Abuela Rosa walked me through the steps of making Arepas de Vieques, I marveled at her skill and passion for cooking. She told me stories of how she had learned the recipe from her own grandmother when she was just a young girl, and how she had perfected it over the years through trial and error.

The secret, she revealed, was in the ingredients. The cornmeal had to be the finest quality, sourced from a local farm on the island. The filling, a savory mixture of shredded pork, beans, and spices, had to be cooked slowly and lovingly to bring out the rich flavors.

As I watched Abuela Rosa shape the cornmeal into perfect little circles and fill them with the delicious filling, I couldn't wait to try the finished dish. When she finally served me a plate of piping hot Arepas de Vieques, my taste buds exploded with delight. The crispy exterior gave way to a soft, pillowy interior, and the filling was a symphony of flavors that danced on my tongue.

I savored every bite, relishing the love and care that had gone into making this dish. As I finished my meal, I knew that I had to learn how to make Arepas de Vieques for myself. Abuela Rosa was more than happy to teach me, and we spent the rest of the afternoon in her kitchen, laughing and chatting as we cooked together.

By the time I left Vieques, I felt like I had gained not only a new recipe, but also a new friend in Abuela Rosa. I promised her that I would share the recipe with my own family and friends back home, so that they too could experience the magic of Arepas de Vieques.

And true to my word, I have continued to make this dish for special occasions and gatherings, passing down the recipe from generation to generation. Each time I make Arepas de Vieques, I am transported back to that sunny day on the island, surrounded by the sights, sounds, and flavors of Puerto Rico.

As I sit here now, reminiscing about that unforgettable experience, I can't help but be grateful for the gift of cooking and the joy it has brought into my life. And to think, it all started with a simple recipe for Arepas de Vieques.


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