Arepas de Maíz

Yellow or White Corn Arepas

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Preparation info

  • Sixteen

    4 inch arepas
    • Difficulty


Appears in

Secrets of Colombian Cooking

Secrets of Colombian Cooking

By Patricia McCausland-Gallo

Published 2004

  • About

These are traditional arepas made from dried corn kernels, nowadays prepared that way mostly on farms. They are served with cheese on top, added after cooking. They are cooked on the grills directly over the heat, or on an asador de arepas*, a special cooking pan that is basically a flat-surfaced pan made of very thin metal, which has over it another very thin metal rack.

You can also form arepas with cheese already mixed into the dough. In that case, add about 1 cup (½ pound) of grated white farmer’s cheese to the corn after it has come out of the grinder, and before forming the balls.

Maiz peto is what we call the corn that is dried and sold in bags at the market.


  • cups (1 pound) white or yellow dried corn kernels* (maiz peto)
  • ½ teaspoon butter
  • ¼ teaspoon salt plus more for cooking
  • White farmer’s cheese* for serving
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter


Day 1

  1. Wash the dried corn kernels with plenty of water. Place in a bowl with enough water to cover them, and let sit for 24 hours. This will rehydrate the corn a little.

Day 2

  1. Drain the corn and discard the water.
  2. Place the corn in a medium pot or pressure cooker, and add 8 cups of water. If using a regular pot, cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 2½ hours; keep adding water, 1 cup at a time, if it dries out. If using a pressure cooker, cover and cook under pressure on medium heat for about 1 hour. The corn should be very soft; if not, return the pot to the stove and cook 20 minutes more. Let cool, uncover, and drain the corn; you will have about 8 cups of corn.
  3. Pass the corn through a molino* or meat grinder into a bowl. Add the butter and salt; mix well to blend evenly.
  4. Form the ground corn mixture into a log; divide it into 16 pieces. Form each piece into a ball.
  5. Place the arepa balls between 2 sheets of plastic and with a heavy pan or pot cover, flatten to the thickness you desire, from ¼ to ½ inch.
  6. To cook the arepas, place them on a rack directly over a very low flame and cook about 5 minutes, until they look dry on the outside; brush melted butter and sprinkle salt, turn and cook 5 minutes more on the other side.
  7. Serve with white farmer’s cheese.