Gluten-Free and Delicious Exploring the World of Arepas

Arepas are a delightful and versatile food originating from South America, particularly from countries like Colombia and Venezuela. These gluten-free cornmeal patties are enjoyed as a staple in these regions and can be filled with a variety of delicious ingredients. Here’s a closer look at arepas and how you can explore their world:

What Are Arepas?

Arepas are round, flatbreads made from pre-cooked cornmeal, also known as masarepa or masa harina. The dough is typically mixed with water and salt to create a dough that is then formed into patties and cooked. Arepas can be grilled, baked, or fried until they develop a crispy outer layer while remaining soft and tender on the inside.

Varieties of Arepas:

Arepas can be enjoyed in various sizes and with different fillings or toppings, making them a versatile and customizable dish. Some popular variations include:

  1. Reina Pepiada: This Venezuelan favorite features a filling made from shredded chicken mixed with avocado and mayonnaise.
  2. Dominó: Dominó arepas are filled with black beans and white cheese, creating a classic black-and-white pattern.
  3. Perico: Arepas with perico feature a scrambled egg mixture mixed with onions, tomatoes, and sometimes peppers.
  4. Pabellón: Pabellón arepas combine shredded beef, black beans, fried plantains, and white cheese for a hearty and flavorful filling.
  5. Cheese Arepas: Arepas can also be filled with various types of cheese, which melt and create a gooey, satisfying center.
  6. Ham and Cheese: A simple yet delicious filling option involves ham and cheese, which become warm and melty when enclosed in a freshly cooked arepa.

Making Arepas:

Making arepas at home is relatively simple and requires a few key ingredients:


  • 2 cups pre-cooked white or yellow cornmeal (masarepa or masa harina)
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  1. In a mixing bowl, combine the cornmeal and salt.
  2. Gradually add the warm water to the cornmeal mixture while stirring. Knead the dough until it’s smooth and pliable.
  3. Divide the dough into portions and shape them into round patties, about ½ inch thick.
  4. Heat a non-stick skillet or griddle over medium heat. Cook the arepas for about 5-7 minutes on each side, until they develop a golden-brown crust.
  5. Transfer the cooked arepas to a preheated oven (350°F or 175°C) and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes to ensure they are fully cooked inside.
  6. Allow the arepas to cool slightly before carefully slicing them open to add your chosen fillings.

Enjoying Arepas:

Arepas can be enjoyed as a main meal, snack, or even breakfast. They offer a versatile canvas for various fillings, making them suitable for meat lovers, vegetarians, and cheese enthusiasts alike. The combination of the crispy outer layer and the soft interior, along with the flavorful fillings, creates a satisfying and enjoyable eating experience.

Whether you’re exploring traditional Venezuelan or Colombian flavors or getting creative with your own fillings, arepas are a gluten-free and delicious culinary adventure that’s worth discovering.

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