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Traditional Arepas

Prep: 10 min, Cook: 20 min

Makes 8


  • 2 ½ cups lukewarm water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups masarepa (such as P.A.N.®)
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil, or as needed


  1. Stir water and salt together in a medium bowl; gradually stir in cornmeal with your fingers until the mixture forms a soft, malleable, moist dough. (If it feels too sticky, add a tablespoon of flour at a time, mixing well after each addition. If it feels too dry, add water a little at a time.) Cover bowl tightly with a lid or plastic wrap and set aside for at least 10 minutes
  2. Form dough into eight 2-inch diameter balls. Pat each ball to flatten into 1/3-inch thick patty.
  3. Heat oil in a large skillet or griddle over medium heat (cast iron works best); fry arepas in batches until golden brown, about 4 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer cooked arepas to a paper towel-lined plate to drain until cool enough to handle.
  4. Slice halfway through each arepa horizontally with a thin serrated knife to form a pita-like pocket. Fill with your favorite cooked meat, beans, or cheese.

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