Corn Arepas (Arepas de maíz)

Corn Arepas (Arepas de maíz)

Arepas are very similar to crepes, but are smaller in size. They are consumed in Cuba for both breakfast and as snacks, and probably come from the North American culinary influence, which includes pancakes and hotcakes. After the Cuban Revolution in 1959, the custom was taken up again with the “boxed arepas,” a common fast-food option in the 1970s and 1980s, influenced by the presence of the USSR.


  • 1 cup (400 g) maíz molido (ground fresh corn) ***
  • ½ cup (4 fl oz/125 ml) whole milk
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup (120 g) finely diced vegetables (see Note)


  1. In a medium bowl, combine the ground corn, milk, egg, flour, salt, and 1 tablespoon of the oil and gently mix with a wooden spoon. Set aside.
  2. In a medium heavy-bottomed frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium heat. Add the vegetables and sauté until they are cooked al dente, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  3. In the same frying pan, heat 2 tablespoons of oil, being sure to spread it around to cover the whole pan, over low-medium heat. Add the batter by tablespoons to make arepas 2 3⁄4–3 inches (7–8 cm) in diameter and cook until browned on each side, 2–3 minutes. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil as needed when the frying pan is dry. Transfer to a plate and cover with the sautéed vegetables. Serve hot.

*** Maíz molido, or ground corn, is commonly found at farmers’ markets in Cuba. It is simply the fresh tender corn kernels of field corn ground into a moist, yellow paste. It is used for tamales both in husks and in bowls (a thick cornmeal stew served in a bowl, sometimes called a tamale or cornmeal casserole). It can be found in Latino grocery stores.

Note: Use carrot, pumpkin, bell pepper, scallions (spring onions), onion, eggplant (aubergine), or potatoes, depending on the season.

From Cuba: The Cookbook by Imogene Tondre and Madelaine Vázquez Gálvez , published by Phadon c 2018.

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