Learn how to make Easy Arepa Con Queso with this quick and simple recipe, right at home. This tasty and sweet Colombian inspired snack is simple and filled with melted cheese surrounded by a moist and fluffy corn cake. Make them on the stove top or in the air fryer with masarepa, water, and cheese.
Made even more famous by Disney's Encanto, you can now make this beloved snack at home Thought they can't heal you, they can heal a hungry stomach.
Make them for an after school treat or make an Arepa Con Queso bar served with fun toppings.
Serve these tasty cheesy corn cakes as a fun side dish with our Chicken Taco Soup, Air Fryer Chicken Tacos, Best Tostadas de Tinga, or Sweet Potato Black Bean Tacos.
Make a fun snack bar with this recipe and our The Best Baked Churro Chips, Air Fryer Quesadillas, and Homemade Taquitos.
This recipe is most popular in South American countries like Colombia, Venezuela, Boliva and other countries.
Translated in english it means cornbread with cheese.
Colombia vs Venezuela
This particular recipe is most authentic to the Colombian style cheesy corn cake. The moist and fluffy texture and the cheese in the middle makes it different from the Venezuelan style food.
What You'll Love About This Recipe
- From Disney's Encanto - Julieta Madrigal, from Disney's Encanto, makes these tasty Colombian snacks to heal people, you can now make them at home and heal your foodie souls!
- Quick and Easy - This meal comes together in less than 30 minutes and they are so easy to put together.
- Kid Friendly -A yummy cornbread and cheese snack will have you kids wanting more. Plus they will love knowing they can eat the same food as the beloved character Mirabel.
- Homemade-These fun corn cakes with cheese can be found at grocery stores like Trader Joes, Whole Foods, Publix, and even sometimes Kirkland brand from Costco but now you can make them in your home for a fraction of the price.
- Easy Ingredients- Made with basic ingredients like water, butter, and milk with the delicious taste of masarepa which is found in most latin sections of the grocery store.
- Versatile- make these your own by topping them with pulled pork, beans, eggs, or more cheese.
- Crispy and Cheesy- we love this recipe because it is such a fun crispy texture on the outside while moist and soft in the center bursting with gooey cheese.
- Masarepa- pre-cooked cornmeal, not to be confused with masa harina.
- Table Salt
- Warm Water- the water is warm so it's able to melt the butter.
- Mozzarella- you can use any melty white cheese but we love how mozzarella cheese pairs with the taste of the masarepa.
- Cotija (optional)- a tangy salty cheese that crumbles similar to parmesan and feta.
- Salted Butter- unsalted butter works as well.
- Milk- many have said that the added milk makes the difference between a Colombian arepa vs a Venezuelan arepa, making them fluffier.
See recipe card for quantities.
- Add the water, butter, and milk to a large mixing bowl.
2. Add the masarepa, cotija cheese, and salt and mix to form a dough.
3. Let rest for 5-10 minutes.
4. Form dough into balls slightly smaller than a baseball.
5. Make a well in the center of each ball.
6. Add mozzarella cheese to the center of each well.
7. Close each ball so no cheese is showing. Smash down to make a ½ inch patty. Brush with olive oil on each side.
8. Smash down to make a ½ inch patty.
9. Brush with olive oil on each side.
10. Place on a heated griddle or fry pan for 5 minutes until golden brown,.
11. Flip over and cook an additional 5 minutes until both sides are golden brown.
10. Serve and enjoy warm. Or freeze for another time.
Hint: Make sure to let the dough rest for 5 to 10 minutes. It helps the starches absorb the liquid and get the correct texture before cooking.
While you can fry this recipe, we have come up with 2 fool proof methods for getting that crispy outside and tasty gooey center.
- Stove Top (griddle) - on medium heat warm a large skillet or use a plug in griddle. This method give you a moist and fluffy texture.
- Air Fryer- a hands free method. In a preheated air fryer you can cook your corn cakes in no time. We have noticed the texture varying a little different than the stove top method but still equally delicious.
Pupusa vs. Arepa
This recipe calls for masarepa which is pre-cooked corn flour. Pupusas call for masa harina. The textures are very different because of these two different ingredients.
If you substitute masarepa for masa harina, you will still have a tasty product but it won't be an authentic Arepa.
A pupusa is more like a thick corn tortilla originating from El Salvador and Honduras, whereas the Columbian treat is moist and fluffy. Both can have a tasty cheese filling.
Make this a fun meal by making an Arepa Con Queso bar with various toppings to go on top or the side of the dish.
- Pulled Pork
- Fried Egg
- Pico De Gallo
- Mango Salsa
- Roasted Chili Corn Salsa
- Cotija-a tasty Mexican cheese that crumbles like parmesan
- Queso Fresco- more mild and less salty cheese than Cotija
- Mozzarella Cheese
- Your favorite hot sauce
- Your favorite salsa
- Cabbage Slaw
- Chopped Lettuce
- Sour Cream
Depending on what method you use you will need either a griddle, or a large fry pan.
Or if you are using the air fryer method, you will need an air fryer. We love this one, and use it for all of our air fryer recipes.
Store cooked Arepa Con Quesos in an air tight containter in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
Use the microwave for a quick reheat, or use an air fryer to get that crispy outside again.
This is a great recipe to make extra of and freeze for a later time. Freeze in an air tight freezer friendly container for up to 2 months.
When ready to eat, thaw and use the reheat instructions above.
When making the dough balls, make sure you make them big enough to get enough cheese in the center and still be able to press into a patty without the cheese coming through the dough.
Wet your hands often while rolling the dough and smashing the patties, it will prevent the dough from sticking to your hands.
A tasty Colombian style snack made with pre-cooked cornmeal called masarepa and stuffed with gooey mozzarella cheese.
Looking for other recipes like this? Try these:
These are our favorite dishes to serve with Arepa Con Queso:
Arepa Con Queso
- 1 Fry pan or electric griddle
- air fryer optional
- 2 cups masarepa
- ½ teaspoon table salt
- 1 tablespoon salted butter
- 2 cups warm water
- ½ cup milk
- 2 cups mozzarella cheese
- ½ cup Cotija cheese optional or ½ cup mozzarella
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- Add the warm water and butter to a large mixing bowl. Pour in the milk.
- In a separate mixing bowl, combine the masarepa, and salt. Mix in the cotija cheese to the masarepa salt mixture (optional). Or add in ½ cup shredded mozzarella.
- Add the cheese and masarepa mixture to the mixing bowl with the water, butter, and milk. With clean hands, mix together until a dough is formed. Let rest for 5-10 minutes. This helps the starches absorb the water.
- Form balls of dough a little smaller than a baseball. Place them on a piece of parchment paper. Make a well in the center of each dough ball.
- Add about ⅛ cup of cheese to each well. Pinch the dough together to close the dough ball so the cheese is hidden inside. With the palm of your hand, flatten down to make a ½ inch patty. Wet hands periodically to prevent the dough from sticking.
- Heat the griddle, or fry pan, on medium heat. Brush each side of the patty with olive oil. Place each patty on the heated griddle and let cook for 5-7 minutes. After 5 minutes, flip over and cook for an additional 5-7 minutes. Each side should be golden brown and crispy looking.
- Serve hot with toppings like pulled pork, fried egg, salsa, pico de gallo, more cheese, sour cream, or cabbage slaw. Or eat plain.
Air Fryer Instruction
- Preheat the air fryer to 350* F. Place the oiled patties in the air fryer basket. Cook for 5 minutes, flip over and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
- When rolling into balls and smashing into patties, wet your hands often so the dough doesn't stick to you.
- The air fryer method may result in a less moist and cake like texture, but still delicious.
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove
Oh my goodness this was an instant family hit. My family loves Encanto and when we found out we could make the meal that "heals" people it made for a fun themed dinner night. They have a perfect texture and soft cheesy center!