There are a few universal truths – the sky is blue, water is wet, everything is better when it is stuffed with cheese. In this recipe for cheese stuffed arepas we pay tribute to that final truth. These cheese stuffed arepas are even tastier than their cheese-free counterparts and they are almost as easy to make. As always, this recipe is completely gluten free. This recipe is also egg free and vegetarian.
What cheese to use for cheese stuffed arepas
What kind of cheese should you use to make cheese stuffed arepas? Your first priority should be to look for a cheese that melts well. You want a nice gooey center when you bite into your arepa, not a dry, crumbly mess. You should also opt for a mild flavored cheese. Arepas have a delicate corn flavor and you do not want to completely overpower that flavor with a sharp cheese. Mozzarella cheese and Oaxaca cheese are both good options for cheese stuffed arepas.
How to stuff arepas with cheese
There are two different strategies I use to make cheese stuffed patties. I will call them the ‘cup’ method and the ‘tortilla’ method. Here are the details of each method.
- The cup method for making arepas. In this method you roll the arepa dough into a ball then use your thumbs to carve out a ‘cup’ in the center of the ball. You then put the filling into that cup and pinch the top edges of the cup together over the filling. You now have a filled ball that can be flattened into a patty by pressing it between the palms of your hands.
- The tortilla method for making arepas. In the tortilla method, you divide the dough for one arepa into 2 parts and roll each part out into a thin tortilla. You then top one of the tortillas with you filling then put the other tortilla over it. After that you press the edges together so that the top and bottom tortilla combine back into one patty. This is similar to how you make ravioli.
I prefer to use the cup method when I use a dense dough such as arepa dough. This is the method that I recommend for making arepas. I prefer to use the tortilla method when I am working with thinner dough that is easier to stretch out into thin sheets.
Can you put toppings on stuffed arepas?
Can you put toppings on stuffed arepas? Of course you can! I usually just top my cheese stuffed arepas with melted butter or a simple tomato or cream based sauce, but you can also treat your arepas more like flatbreads and load them up with your favorite toppings.
How to store cheese stuffed arepas
How do you store these cheese stuffed arepas? These cheese stuffed arepas should be stored in an airtight bag or food storage container. The arepas should be stored in the refrigerator if you plan to eat them within 3 days after making them. If you want to store the arepas for longer, then you can also store the arepas in the freezer. The arepas will keep in the freezer for a few months.
How to reheat cheese stuffed arepas
How do you reheat these cheese stuffed arepas? These cheese stuffed arepas can be reheated in the microwave on full power. If you store your arepas in the refrigerator then they will only need to be microwaved for 30 – 60 seconds. If you store your arepas in the freezer then they will need to be cooked for more like 90 seconds to 120 seconds.
Cheese stuffed arepas
- 1 cup masarepa
- 1 cup warm water
- 2/3 cup mozzarella cheese
- 1 tsp vegetable oil
- 1/8 tsp salt
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Combine all of the arepa ingredients other than the mozzarella cheese in a large mixing bowl. Mix the dough thoroughly then separate the dough into 4-5 equally sized balls.
- Press your thumb into the center of the dough balls and continue to press outward on the walls of the ball until you have made a cup shape. Fill the cup with shredded mozzarella cheese and pinch the tops of the cup together over the mozzarella cheese so that you have a cheese filled dough ball. Press the dough between the palms of your hands to flatten the dough ball into a patty.
- Prepeat a griddle or flat pan over medium heat then cook the arepas for 3-5 minute on each side so that they start to brown.
- Bake the arepas in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.
Other recipes you will love
If you have never made an arepa before you should check out our comprehensive tutorial on how to cook arepas!
If you would rather incorporate cheese right in to your arepa dough then you should check out this recipe for cheese arepas.
If you prefer a sandwich style arepa you should check out our recipe for plantain and avocado stuffed sandwich arepas.