Arepas Fritas Recipe - Delicious Colombian Cuisine

Arepas Fritas

Arepas Fritas Recipe - Delicious Colombian Cuisine
Region / culture: Colombia | Preparation time: 20 minutes | Cooking time: 10 minutes | Servings: 4


Arepas Fritas
Arepas Fritas

Arepas Fritas, a delightful and traditional dish from Latin America, particularly popular in countries like Venezuela and Colombia, offers a unique taste and texture that has won the hearts of many around the globe. This dish, made from a simple dough of pre-cooked cornmeal, water, and salt, is then mixed with fillings like cheese or chicharrones (fried pork belly or rinds), shaped into discs, and deep-fried to golden perfection. The result is a crispy exterior with a soft, flavorful interior that makes for a versatile and satisfying meal or snack at any time of the day.


The history of Arepas dates back hundreds of years and is deeply rooted in the indigenous cultures of the area that is now Venezuela and Colombia. Originally, arepas were made from the ground maize of native corn varieties. With the arrival of Europeans and their introduction of African slaves, the ingredients and methods evolved, incorporating new influences and techniques. Over time, Arepas Fritas emerged as a beloved variation, especially for their convenience and the added texture and flavor from frying.


How to prepare

  1. Knead the dough with cheese or chicharrones.
  2. Shape the dough into discs and deep-fry them in hot oil.
  3. Drain the fried dough on paper towels and serve it hot.


  • There are countless variations of Arepas Fritas that can cater to different tastes and dietary needs. For a healthier version, try baking the arepas instead of frying. Fillings can range from black beans and avocado for a vegan option, to shredded beef or chicken for a hearty meal. Experimenting with different cheeses can also significantly change the flavor profile.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

Achieving the perfect Arepas Fritas involves a few key tips and tricks. First, the consistency of the dough is crucial; it should be pliable but not sticky, allowing you to easily shape the arepas without them falling apart. Adding the cheese or chicharrones directly to the dough infuses every bite with flavor. When frying, ensure the oil is hot enough so that the arepas cook quickly, sealing in the taste and achieving a crispy exterior without absorbing too much oil.

Serving Suggestions

Arepas Fritas can be served as a standalone snack or accompanied by a variety of sides for a fuller meal. Consider pairing them with a fresh salad, avocado slices, or a tangy salsa for added flavor and nutrition. They are also commonly enjoyed with a cup of hot chocolate or coffee, especially for breakfast or an afternoon snack.

Cooking Techniques

Deep-frying is the traditional method for cooking Arepas Fritas, providing their characteristic crispy texture. However, for those seeking a lighter option, pan-frying in a small amount of oil or baking can be effective alternatives. The key is to ensure the arepas are cooked through and have a golden exterior, regardless of the method used.

Ingredient Substitutions

For those looking to make Arepas Fritas but lacking pre-cooked cornmeal, a mixture of fine corn flour and a bit of wheat flour can be a suitable substitute. Vegan cheese or nutritional yeast can replace traditional cheese for a dairy-free version, and for a gluten-free option, ensure that the cornmeal is certified gluten-free.

Make Ahead Tips

Arepas dough can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator for up to two days, allowing for quick preparation. The shaped, uncooked arepas can also be frozen and then fried or baked straight from the freezer, adding a few minutes to the cooking time.

Presentation Ideas

Serve Arepas Fritas on a colorful plate with a side of vibrant salsa or guacamole to add visual appeal. Garnishing with fresh herbs or a sprinkle of cheese can also enhance the presentation, making the dish even more inviting.

Pairing Recommendations

Arepas Fritas pair wonderfully with robust, flavorful beverages. Consider serving them with a tangy tamarind juice or a refreshing limeade to complement their richness. For an adult beverage, a cold beer or a crisp white wine can balance the dish's flavors beautifully.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Leftover Arepas Fritas can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. To reheat, place them in a toaster oven or oven at 350°F until warmed through and crispy again. Avoid microwaving as it can make them soggy.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

A single serving of Arepas Fritas, depending on its size and fillings, typically ranges from 200 to 300 calories. This makes it a moderate-calorie option suitable for a snack or part of a meal, especially when balanced with other nutrient-rich foods.


Arepas Fritas are primarily a source of carbohydrates due to the pre-cooked cornmeal used in the dough. A single serving can contain approximately 30-40 grams of carbohydrates, providing a good source of energy. The exact amount can vary based on the size of the arepas and any additional fillings.


The fat content in Arepas Fritas comes mainly from the frying process and any fatty fillings like cheese or chicharrones. A single arepa can contain between 10 to 20 grams of fat, depending on the type of oil used for frying and the amount of filling. Using a lighter oil and draining the arepas well on paper towels can help reduce the fat content.


Protein levels in Arepas Fritas can vary significantly based on the fillings. Cheese and chicharrones are both good sources of protein, with a single arepa potentially offering between 5 to 10 grams of protein. This makes Arepas Fritas a satisfying option that can contribute to your daily protein intake.

Vitamins and minerals

Arepas Fritas can provide a range of vitamins and minerals, particularly if filled with cheese. Calcium and phosphorus from cheese are notable, contributing to bone health. Additionally, the cornmeal itself is a good source of B vitamins, especially niacin and folate, which support metabolism and cellular function.


The primary allergens present in Arepas Fritas could include dairy (from the cheese) and gluten, depending on the cross-contamination in the production of the cornmeal. Individuals with sensitivities should verify the ingredients and consider modifications as needed.


Overall, Arepas Fritas offer a balanced mix of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, along with a modest amount of vitamins and minerals. They can be a nutritious part of a balanced diet when consumed in moderation and paired with healthy fillings and sides.


Arepas Fritas are a versatile and delicious dish that can be enjoyed at any time of the day. With their rich history and the ability to customize with various fillings and cooking methods, they offer something for everyone. Whether you're looking for a quick snack or a hearty meal, Arepas Fritas can be a satisfying and nutritious choice that brings a taste of Latin America to your table.

How did I get this recipe?

I recall the feeling of curiosity that overcame me when I found this recipe for Arepas Fritas. It was a hot summer day, and I was rummaging through an old recipe book that belonged to my great-grandmother. As I turned the yellowed pages, I stumbled upon a faded piece of paper tucked between the pages. The paper was covered in smudges and stains, but the handwriting was still legible. It was a recipe for Arepas Fritas, a traditional dish from my grandmother's homeland in Venezuela.

Growing up, I had always been fascinated by my grandmother's stories of her home country. She would tell me tales of vibrant markets filled with exotic fruits and vegetables, lively music that filled the streets, and delicious foods that could only be found in Venezuela. Arepas Fritas was one of those dishes that she spoke of with such fondness, and I had always wanted to try my hand at making it.

As I read through the recipe, I could almost smell the savory aroma of the fried dough and hear the sizzle of the hot oil. The ingredients were simple: cornmeal, water, salt, and oil for frying. It seemed like a straightforward recipe, but I knew that the key to making authentic Arepas Fritas lay in the technique and the memories that came with it.

I decided to give the recipe a try, even though I had never attempted to make anything quite like it before. I gathered the ingredients and set to work, following the instructions carefully. Mixing the cornmeal with water and salt, I kneaded the dough until it was smooth and pliable. I shaped the dough into small patties and fried them in hot oil until they were golden brown and crispy.

As the Arepas Fritas cooked, the kitchen filled with the mouth-watering scent of fried cornmeal. I couldn't help but smile as I thought of my grandmother and the memories that this dish brought back. I remembered her hands shaping the dough, her laughter filling the room as she cooked, and the joy that came from sharing a meal with loved ones.

When the Arepas Fritas were done, I plated them and took a bite. The crispy exterior gave way to a soft and fluffy interior, with a hint of salt that danced on my taste buds. It was delicious, just as I remembered from my grandmother's stories. I felt a sense of accomplishment and pride in being able to recreate a dish that held so much meaning for my family.

From that day on, Arepas Fritas became a regular staple in my cooking repertoire. I would make them for special occasions, family gatherings, or simply when I wanted to feel connected to my roots. Each time I made them, I would think of my grandmother and the love and tradition that she had passed down to me through her recipes.

As I continued to explore the world of cooking and learn new recipes, I always held a special place in my heart for Arepas Fritas. It was more than just a dish; it was a connection to my past, a reminder of where I came from, and a way to honor the generations of women who had come before me.

To this day, whenever I make Arepas Fritas, I can't help but smile as I remember that hot summer day when curiosity led me to discover a recipe that would become a cherished part of my culinary journey. And I am grateful for the memories, the traditions, and the love that continue to inspire me in the kitchen.


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