Have you ever heard of an arepa? No? Well either had I until a few years ago and let me say this is an easy recipe and one you can make in no time and serve a bunch of people. Arepas are basically a type of corn flour mixed with water and salt, and you can add in different seasonings if you’d like. I like to add in garlic powder and depending on what protein I’m using I may add in a little Italian seasoning, some smoke paprika, or even some truffle salt if I’m feeling fancy.
Arepas can take the place of bread any day in my book. They are very versatile and can be used for breakfast sandwiches, lunch sandwiches, burgers, chicken salad, BBQ sandwiches, used as a dipper instead of bread. You can even get your arepa extra crispy and add some ghee and coconut sugar and cinnamon for a sweet treat and top with bananas, blueberries, or strawberries.
If it’s important to you, you can seek out non-GMO maize flour product.
What I like to do first is mix the maize (corn flour) with the salt garlic powder and cheese. In our photos we did a shredded goat cheese which adds amazing flavor to the arepas as well as adds something special to the texture and even helps the outside crisp up nicely. This is a great option if you have to avoid cow dairy. You also have the option of skipping on the cheese.
Once we have all of that combined in a large bowl we add in the water. I like to start with 2 cups, mix it up then slowly add in the remaining half cup, you may only need ¼ cup instead of the entire ½ cup left. You don’t want the dough to be runny so use your best judgement on using that last ½ cup of water. Once the dough is fully mixed, form into a ball. I like to let it sit for 10-15 minutes to firm up and absorb that water.
This is the perfect time to prep your fillings. You can use our smokey chicken recipe that’s coming here soon, our paleo buffalo chicken salad is great for tailgating, or picnics with the arepas, our sheet pan fajitas are another fantastic option, or even our famous lamb burgers. Arepas are basically an amazing vessel for any type of filling that you enjoy, from burgers, salmon, shrimp, tuna salad. At the end of the recipe we will link some other filling options to give you more ideas for using the arepas.
After that 10-15 minute waiting period, I cut the dough into 6-8 pieces. Roll into balls and then press into discs approx 1/2 inch thick. I prefer my arepas on the thinner side so I make half larger and then half a little smaller and thinner for the way I prefer. If you want them to be the size of your hand you will get about 4-6 pieces from a batch.
I prefer to cook the arepas on the griddle or in a pan. I drop 1 tablespoon of ghee, you can also use coconut oil, butter, olive oil, they will all work great.
Preheat your griddle or pan to medium heat. I cook about 7 minutes per side, occasionally 7-10 minutes if I want the outside really crispy and crunchy. One way to tell if the arepas are ready to be flipped is when you check and you see some golden-brown bubbles.
When they are done cooking you want to take a sharp knife and split them. They can be a little doughy on the inside and if you don’t like that, add a teaspoon of ghee to the pan and put the inside of the arepa face down and cook for 3-4 minutes to crisp up the middle.
I love arepas fresh off the pan, but I also really enjoy them for the next couple of days. They will stay fresh in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 7 days or you can even make a double batch to freeze and dethaw as you’d like for up to 3 months. This is great when you have kids, or company coming over as an easy alternative to sandwiches.
Savory or sweet, arepas are a great alternative to traditional bread and can be made to suit many types of meals. Grilling season is upon us and if you are looking for a gluten free bun for a grilled veggies sandwich, a steak sandwich, grilled chicken, give this arepa recipe a shot we really think you will love it. Don’t forget to share with us what you make with your arepas. Happy cooking!
How-to Make Gluten-Free Arepas
- 2 ½ cups maize flour-precooked
- 2 ½ cups water
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
Optional Add in’s:
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- ½ cup shredded goat cheese, or cheese of choice
- In a large bowl, mix the maize, salt, garlic powder and cheese if using.
- Slowing add the 2 and a half cups of water.
- Mix well. Using your hands works best.
- Form into a ball. Let rest for 10-15 minutes to fully absorb the water.
- Cut the dough into 6-8 even pieces. 6 if you want larger arepas or 8 if you want small arepas.
- Roll cuts pieces of dough into balsl then flatten them out to about ½ inch thick.
- Place on hot griddle or pan for 7-9 minutes and flip. Remember that all pans and heating is different so check your arepas at 5 minutes and if they are golden brown flip them. Cook for another 7-9 minutes.
- Once both sides are golden-brown remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes.
- Slice in half and fill with one of our suggested recipes.
Other recipes you can use as fillings with your arepas: