A recipe for Arepas Rellenas de Queso (Cheese Stuffed Corn Cakes)! These pan-fried arepas are filled with shredded mozzarella.
Disclosure: This post contains Amazon affiliate links. If you purchase something through the link, I may receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.
The Arepa is a type of corn cake in Colombia and Venezuela. Traditionally, dried corn is ground and soaked to use as the base for the arepa, but pre-cooked, packaged masarepa was created to really help everything come together with only a handful of ingredients and about 30 minutes.
The masarepa is combined with a little salt, hot water, and oil or butter. They are then formed into patties and grilled or pan-fried. They are incredibly versatile and can be eaten on their own or filled with various items.
I am sharing a recipe today for our current favorite, Arepas Rellenas de Queso (Arepas filled with cheese). Ham would also be a delicious addition.
I served the Arepas Rellenas de Queso hot from the skillet with avocado slices and these Huevos Pericos (Scrambled Eggs with Tomatoes and Scallions) from Delish D’Lites.
A Few Arepa Tips
The exact about of water may vary slightly due to local climate and humidity. Knead the mixture with your hands for about 3 minutes or so until smooth and the water has been absorbed.
If the edges crack and are too dry as you are forming the arepas, add a little more water. If the mixture is too soft to handle and falls apart, add a little more Masarepa.
An easy way to flatten and form the arepa is to place a piece of parchment on both sides before patting into the desired round shape. I often just use slightly wet hands.
If you find the butter is getting too dark in the skillet, add a little oil.
Adjust the temperature as needed between medium and medium low. You want a golden crust to form on each side of the arepa and enough time for the center to be heated through.
Don’t want to cut the arepa in half and fill with cheese? Una Colombiana en California has a recipe for mixing the cheese right into the dough.
Masarepa is a precooked cornmeal that has been dehydrated. It is available in white and yellow. I used white for this recipe). You can find it in some larger supermarkets in the flour section and markets with South American ingredients. It is also available on Amazon for a higher price: P.A.N. White Corn Meal. This is NOT the same as Masa Harina.
Looking for more South American recipes?
- Changua (Colombian Egg and Milk Soup)
- Pollo Saltado (Peruvian Chicken Stir-Fry)
- Pasta con Salsa Caruso (Uruguayan Pasta with Caruso Sauce)
Arepas Rellenas de Queso (Cheese Stuffed Corn Cakes) Recipe
Adapted from My Colombian Recipes
Arepas Rellenas de Queso (Cheese Stuffed Corn Cakes)
- 2 cups (300 grams) Masarepa precooked cornmeal
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups (470 milliliters) hot water
- 1 tablespoon (15 grams) unsalted butter softened, plus more for cooking in the pan
- 6 ounces (175 grams) low moisture mozzarella cheese shredded
- In a medium bowl, use your hands to mix together the masarepa, salt, water, and butter.
- Knead until a smooth dough comes together, about 3 minutes. Moisten your hands as needed with water to prevent sticking. Cover and allow to rest at room temperature for 5 minutes.
- Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces. Gently flatten each piece into a circle 1/3-1/2 inch (8-13 millimeters) thick and about 5 inches (13 centimeters) wide.
- Grease a large skillet with butter and place over medium heat. Place the arepas in the heated skillet, in batches to prevent overcrowding, and cook until golden, about 5 minutes per side.
- Transfer to a towel lined plate and repeat with remaining arepas. If the butter starts to darken too much, add a drizzle of oil.
- Split each arepa open through the middle, leaving about 1/2 inch (1.25 centimeters) of one edge attached. Fill each arepa with a handful of the shredded cheese.
- Place back onto the hot skillet and cook on each side until heated through and cheese is melted.
- Serve immediately.