Guide to preparing Venezuelan arepas

Have you tried Venezuelan arepas? If you haven’t, you are missing out on one of the most delicious foods in the world.

Their versatility is incredible as they pair well with almost any type of preparation and filling you desire.

In every part of Venezuela, you can find a different version, each one standing out for the exquisite burst of flavor inside.

From those filled with shredded beef, scrambled eggs, pork leg, ham, sardines, octopus, to the famous “Dominó” which contains black beans and white cheese.

This dish represents Venezuelans in many parts of the world and surprises many foreigners.

Want to know the secret? Stay tuned to this guide we’ve prepared for you. You will learn how to make this fabulous and nutritious food.


It is a type of round and flattened cake made by hand, with cornmeal as the main ingredient.

This food is generally grilled on a griddle, pan, or skillet, though it can also be baked or fried.

No matter how you prepare them, Venezuelan arepas are delicious and suitable to eat at any time of the day.

However, they are mostly consumed for breakfast and dinner.

On the other hand, some people still prepare them the old-fashioned way.

That is, using pounded corn instead of precooked cornmeal, which is a bit more laborious but offers an unmatched flavor.


Certainly, Venezuela is not the only country where this food exists. But Venezuelan arepas are truly unique.

They differ from others in their preparation and flavor. They have a great variety of presentations and unimaginable garnishes.

You can find them in different sizes, thicknesses, and colors, with white corn being more popular than yellow. There are peeled, chicharrón (pork rind), wheat, etc.

They are usually served stuffed inside and also with the filling on the outside or as accompaniments to other dishes, such as soup.

Fried ones are distinguished by having a hole in the middle, which is made for faster and more even cooking.


Venezuelan arepas are easily made with a few ingredients. The classic ones basically use three:

  • Cornmeal 
  • Salt
  • Water

Do you want to learn how to make them? Here we show you how to prepare them so you can enjoy them any time of the day.


This is the base of your arepas, so you should start by mixing the precooked cornmeal with water and salt.

Pour these ingredients into a container and combine them with your hand, ensuring there are no lumps.

For example, you can use 2 cups of cornmeal and 2 ¼ cups of water plus a teaspoon of salt. Depending on the size, you’ll get approximately 8 arepas.


When combining the ingredients, the texture of the mixture will change. It is important to let it rest for a few minutes to hydrate.

You might think it’s too soft, but it will become firmer over time. It should end up soft.

If it feels too stiff, add more water little by little so as not to ruin the consistency. The good thing is that it doesn’t require much kneading.


Once your dough is ready, take a portion of the mixture with a damp hand to form a ball.

Flatten it with a circular motion to get the traditional round shape of the arepa, and gently smooth the sides.

The thickness depends on how you like them, whether very thick or thin. Do the same with the rest of the dough portions.


If you’re going to grill them, preheat the utensil where you’ll cook them. If you don’t have a griddle, use a non-stick skillet.

Brush it with a little oil or butter so the arepas don’t stick. Place your discs there and let them brown before turning them over.

Cook for 4 to 5 minutes on each side, watching closely to avoid burning. If you wish, you can put them in the oven for a while longer.

When they’re ready, they sound like tapping a drum or an empty box. Serve hot with your favorite filling.


Below you will find three must-try varieties of Venezuelan arepas and how to prepare them. Take a look.


The cavity of this authentic arepa from Los Llanos is filled with exquisite grilled beef, creamy avocado, and fresh white cheese.

The type of cheese depends on your preference; some prefer to use queso de mano, telita, or cuajada, which are softer.

They also add tomato slices and guasacaca, giving it a spectacular and irresistible flavor.

It’s like eating a delicious barbecue but wrapped in cornmeal dough. You have to try them to believe it.

How do you prepare this filling? Here’s the recipe for you to try. You won’t regret it.


  • Beef steak
  • Butter
  • Garlic powder
  • White cheese
  • Avocado
  • Tomato
  • Salt
  • Pepper


  1. Cut the steak into thin strips and season with garlic, salt, and pepper. Place them on a griddle to grill.
  2. Sauté the meat until it reaches your desired doneness, whether well-cooked or medium-rare. Set aside when ready.
  3. Open your arepa and spread butter inside. Add the cheese of your choice, then the meat and sliced avocado.
  4. If you like tomatoes, add some slices along with guasacaca for extra flavor. You’ll have an authentic and delicious Llanera arepa.


This arepa, filled with chicken, avocado, and chopped onion, has undoubtedly been the most popular in Venezuela for decades.

Its preparation is quite simple, so you don’t need much culinary knowledge to make it. Why is it called reina pepiada?

The name was given by the owner of an arepa shop in honor of the first Venezuelan Miss World, Susana Dujim, crowned in 1955.

Back then, the term “pepeado” was used to refer to something radiant. For example, if a woman was very beautiful, it was said that she was “pepiada.”

Now that you know the story behind this dish’s name, we invite you to discover the recipe for its spectacular filling.


  • Chicken breast
  • Chopped onion
  • Ripe avocado
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Lemon juice
  • Mayonnaise
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Cook the chicken breast in water or a broth with vegetables and a bit of salt. Once well-cooked, remove and let cool before shredding.
  2. Prepare a sauce with lemon juice, two tablespoons of mayonnaise or Greek yogurt. Add a pinch of salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Slice the avocado and set aside some slices to use as garnish. Chop the onions and cilantro.
  4. Once everything is ready, mix the ingredients with the shredded chicken and dressing. Fill your reina pepiada arepa and garnish with avocado slices.


This is one of the most famous versions of this exquisite food. It would be almost a sin not to try it.

It’s similar to the reina pepiada, as it’s filled with a chicken salad with avocado. But it’s topped with strands of delicious grated yellow cheese.

It resembles a blonde woman’s hair, which has led to its name “sifrina” or “catira,” as some call it.

The term “sifrino” is used in Venezuela to refer to someone very wealthy or who displays luxuries. This arepa is certainly a gem.

We share the recipe so you don’t miss out on trying this spectacular Venezuelan dish.


  • 1 chicken breast
  • Ripe avocado
  • Cilantro
  • Mayonnaise
  • Yellow cheese
  • Salt to taste


  1. To make the filling for this arepa version, use a cooked and shredded chicken breast.
  2. Peel one or two avocados and mash the pulp until it forms a puree. Add the cilantro and salt to taste.
  3. Mix with the chicken, add the mayonnaise, and if you like, a touch of pepper. The preparation should be quite creamy.
  4. Once ready, fill your arepas with this delicious mixture and a generous portion of grated yellow cheese. You’ll love this sifrina arepa.

What do you think of these fillings? Delicious, right? No matter which one you choose, Venezuelan arepas are a delicacy no matter how you eat them.

Also, try the “pelúas,” with shredded beef and yellow cheese; the “rumberas” filled with leftover pork leg, or the “viudas,” without filling.

Other popular varieties are the “rompe colchón,” which have a mixture of seafood inside; “a caballo,” with a fried egg; and the pabellón arepas.

There are many more versions to enjoy this exquisite traditional dish. If you’re in Venezuela, you can find them freshly made anywhere.