Can I Make Arepas With Masa Harina?

Last Updated on June 30, 2023 by Lauren Beck

As a lover of Latin American cuisine, I’ve delved into the realm of arepas and their delightful versatility. If you’ve ever wondered if you can make arepas with masa harina, the answer is a resounding yes! 

Join me on a journey through the world of masa harina and discover the joy of creating these delectable corn cakes.

Can I Make Arepas With Masa Harina?

Yes, you can make arepas with masa harina. Masa harina is the traditional flour used to make arepas, creating the characteristic texture and flavor of these delicious corn cakes.

Steps in Making Arepas with Masa Harina

  1. Gather your ingredients: You’ll need masa harina, water, and salt. Optional additions include cheese, herbs, or spices for extra flavor.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine masa harina and salt. Gradually add water while mixing with your hands until you achieve a soft and pliable dough.
  3. Let the dough rest for a few minutes, allowing the masa harina to hydrate fully.
  4. Divide the dough into equal-sized portions and shape them into round discs, about ½ inch to ¾ inch thick.
  5. Heat a non-stick skillet or griddle over medium heat and lightly grease it with oil or cooking spray.
  6. Place the arepas on the heated surface and cook for about 5-7 minutes on each side until they develop a golden crust.
  7. Transfer the cooked arepas to a wire rack to cool slightly before slicing them open and filling them with your desired ingredients.

Other Ways to Make Arepas

Arepas on a Plate

While using masa harina is the most common method, there are other ways to make arepas, such as:

  • Fresh Corn: Some traditional recipes call for grinding fresh corn kernels into a paste, which is then mixed with salt and cooked into arepas.
  • Pre-cooked Cornmeal: In some regions, pre-cooked cornmeal, known as “masarepa” or “harina precocial,” is used instead of masa harina. This cornmeal has been partially cooked and dried, making it suitable for arepa-making.

What are Arepas?

Arepas are round or oval-shaped corn cakes originating from Colombia and Venezuela. 

They are a staple in these countries’ cuisines and can be enjoyed anytime, from breakfast to dinner. 

Arepas can be split open and filled with various ingredients, such as cheese, meat, beans, avocado, or eggs, creating a versatile and satisfying meal.

Is Masa Harina the Same as Arepa Flour?

Masa harina is not the same as arepa flour but is commonly used to make arepas. Masa harina is a flour made from dried corn kernels soaked in an alkaline solution, such as lime water. 

This process, known as nixtamalization, helps soften the corn and improve its nutritional profile. 

On the other hand, Arepa flour refers specifically to the corn flour used for making arepas, which can include both masa harina and other variations of cornmeal.

Can You Substitute Masa Harina for All-Purpose Flour?

While all-purpose flour is not a suitable substitute for masa harina when making arepas, you can experiment with other cornmeal varieties [1]. 

Masa harina has a unique texture and flavor that contributes to the distinctiveness of arepas. 

However, if you cannot find masa harina, you can try using fine cornmeal or pre-cooked cornmeal specifically labeled for making arepas.


When it comes to making arepas, masa harina is the key ingredient that brings these golden corn cakes to life. With its distinct texture and flavor, masa harina creates an authentic and satisfying arepa experience. 

So, dust off that bag of masa harina, gather your favorite fillings and embark on a culinary adventure that celebrates the flavors of Latin America. 

Whether you stick to traditional recipes or experiment with your own variations, the result will surely be a plateful of deliciousness that will transport you to the vibrant streets of Colombia and Venezuela. Get ready to savor the magic of homemade arepas!


Lauren Beck
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