What is an Arepa?
An arepa is a South American, particularly Colombian and Venezuelan, flat bread breakfast food with an abundance of ways to prepare it. It is best described as a flat and round patty made of corn flour that you can fry, boil, grill, steam, or bake. It is simple in nature but can be accompanied by other foods such as cheese, chicken, avocado, and milk. This versatility means that it can accommodate to your taste buds and diet! You’ll often find arepas implemented in most meals in Colombia and Venezuela; some even refer to it as the daily bread. Interestingly, its main origin is from the Timoto-Cuica people, a local tribe.
What is an Arepa Maker?
An arepa maker is an electric kitchen device intended to form and cook multiple arepas at once. Reminiscent of a waffle maker, arepa makers are meant to cut down prep time by eliminating the need to cook each arepa one by one! These devices are rather compact and can fit into any kitchen space. They also usually function to make other kinds of food, such as crepes, rice cakes, and conventional breakfast food.
Efficiency in the kitchen is very important to many people, so we’ve compiled a list of the 7 best arepa makers to enhance and speed up the cooking process!
The 7 Best Arepa Makers
At the top of our list is this Holstein Housewares Arepa Maker. This bad boy comes in a hot metallic red color, perfect for making a statement; however, it also comes in black, which we all know goes with everything!
It makes up to 6 arepas at about 7 minutes each time. The diameter for each arepa is about 3.5 inches, which is standard for most recipes; each arepa will come out looking neat and uniform. The hot plates are made with a non-stick coating to make cleaning that much easier!
You also won’t have to worry about this device opening during the cooking process; there’s a safety lock to keep it closed until they’re ready! This arepa maker includes an indicator light to signal when it is in use and when it is finished preheating.
Since the build of this maker is flat and sleek, it’s easy to store and modern enough for any kitchen. The exact product dimensions are 10.2 x 4.9 x 11.8 inches and it weighs 4.5 pounds. The base has grips to secure this device on any counter top, so this will stay in its place no matter how clumsy you are.
The versatility of this is also impressive. Apart from arepas, this maker can also be used to make pancakes, baked eggs, pastries, and corn cakes. You can make an entire breakfast with this thing! This Holstein Housewares Arepa Maker is definitely the one for those searching for efficiency, flexibility, and general ease.
IMUSA manufactures its own unique matte black 6-piece arepa maker and competes closely for the number 1 title. For those arepa-lovers out there find themselves accompanying every meal with arepas, this is the one for you!
It is made with a non-stick coating and a cool touch housing, each very simple features, but immensely helpful when you’re actually using it. The locked lid and attached handle keep it compact and ideal for storage. We also love the fact that the temperature of this is adjustable, so you can make your arepas as crispy and golden as you desire!
It weighs 9.25 pounds and its dimensions are 15 x 12.1 x 5.5 inches, making it one of the larger arepa makers on this list, perhaps not perfect for smaller kitchens, but the efficiency can make it all worth it.
And of course, this is also great for making other breakfast foods to pair with your arepas, such as baked eggs, pancakes, and pastries. IMUSA is a popular and reliable brand for your kitchen devices, so you can count on them to deliver!
If you liked the six-piece IMUSA Arepa Maker, this smaller, compact IMUSA Arepa Maker is another sexy and efficient option. It is capable of making up to four perfectly round and golden arepas with a non-stick interior in just a few minutes.
The indicator light feature for when it’s on and when it’s pre-heated removes all the pressure from the process, especially when you’re multitasking in the kitchen.
This arepa maker has a unique square design, which is even more convenient for storage and adapts well to any modern kitchen aesthetic. The handle attached the design also makes it portable and easy to store upright. The exact product dimensions are 6 x 10.2 x 13.2 inches and it weighs 8 pounds; it is 110 volts.
Not to mention, you’ll probably get plenty of use out of this, since it is capable of making more than just arepas, including pancakes, baked eggs, pastries, and corn cakes. If you’re looking for simplicity, you will want to invest in the IMUSA arepa maker; just make the dough the way you want to and IMUSA will do the rest.
How adorable is this Holstein Housewares Mini Arepa Maker?!
It is capable of making two arepas at a time (about 7 minutes each cycle) with a 3.5 inch diameter. Weighing in at five pounds, this product has relatively compact dimensions: 12.2 x 13.2 x 5.5 inches; this is great for storage, especially if your kitchen is not huge.
This features a non-stick coating which makes it easier to easily move through cycles of arepas. It also comes with a safety lock that keeps it in place during the actual cooking process.
This conveniently upright arepa maker is a much smaller than the other ones, which is optimal for gifts or those living in smaller households. Like the other designs, this maker has a base designed to prevent slipping.
This device also prides itself on excellent empanadas, and even comes with extra empanada inserts to make four at a time. You really can’t go wrong with this; you’ll always find a use for it!
And IMUSA does it again, this time with a 2-slot non-stick arepa maker with a glossy white finish.
It weighs 3.7 pounds, its dimensions are 9.7 x 9.6 x 4.3 inches, and it comes with a convenient handle, all ideal for bringing it with you or storing it anywhere! The diameter of each arepa will come out to the standard 3.3 inches.
Unlike the other models, this one doesn’t allow you to adjust the temperature, but it can still cook for as little or as long as you need it to. The Bakelite cool touch housing also keeps you safe from any possible severe burns.
This also works for food besides arepas; IMUSA mentions its compatibility with pancakes, pastries, and baked eggs, like the other models. Because of how small yet efficient and hassle-free this device is, we recommend this to people like college students or those with smaller households. It also makes a great gift for those trying to break into the cooking scene, but aren’t ready for a huge arepa maker!
This mini arepa maker by Deni is yet another tiny, easy-to-store alternative if the others on the list don’t match your desires! The dimensions of this product are 10.2 x 4.6 x 10.2 inches and weighs a light 3.1 pounds.
It can bake two uniform arepas at one time each with a diameter of 3.5 inches. These mini arepa makers are the best option for individuals looking to indulge in arepas once in a while.
Deni also insists that this maker works well with bread dough, cake mix, muffin mix, brownie mix, and pancake batter so this will never collect dust in your kitchen! Even with all this usage, the non-stick teflon coat will prevent any tough messes during the cooking process.
They describe the heating process as being very efficient, since it heats from top to bottom, evenly distributing the warmth. When you’re done cooking, stand it upright for easy storage; the implemented handles also make it easy for transportation if you ever need to take it with you.
This is a safe choice and a smaller option for those who may not want or need to commit to the bigger arepa makers on this list!
Brentwood is another brand that offers an excellent non-stick arepa maker with a durable metal body, intended to make the process simple and easy!
It makes six arepas during each cycle, between 7 and 10 minutes, which is great for preparing quick portions for bigger parties. Since you’ll be dealing with large portions of food, the non-stick coat is also helpful for prevent leftover dough from remaining during each cycle; cleaning up just got easier! And each arepa comes out uniform, thin, and crunchy.
It weighs about 5.25 pounds and its dimensions are 12 x 4 x 2 inches; in addition to the light weight, the handles add easy mobility. And yes, this comes with indicator lights to let you know where you are in the cooking process.
Unhappy with your results? No worries, this device comes with a 1 year manufacturer warranty, which is optimal for those who are looking for a brand they can count on.
History of Arepas
Arepas have been around and enjoyed for hundreds of years. The word arepa itself is derived from the indigenous word for corn, “erepa,” which is accurate since the main ingredient for arepa creation is cornmeal. What are known today as Colombia and Venezuela were home to many indigenous tribes of the northern Andes that implemented arepas to many of their meals, dating back to about 3000 years ago. Some of the Amerindian tribes that indulged in arepas include the Timoto-cuicas, the Arawaks, and the Caribes. Back then and even today, no matter what socio-economic group you were part of, arepas were always essential to your diet. There were even some designated restaurants called Areperas where people would eat them as sides to all their meals. Today, many people have discovered more innovative ways of feasting on arepas, including tasty fillings.
Nutritional Facts about Arepas
In general, the nutrition of arepas vary depending on how they’re eaten. A plain arepa introduces 5% of the recommended daily intake of Vitamin C, 3% of the recommended daily intake of Vitamin A, as well as 1% of iron recommended for daily intake. Vitamin C will support collagen growth and Vitamin A will improve eyesight. Iron helps with the production of red blood cells. Since arepas are bread, they do contain up to 36 grams of carbohydrates and 5 grams of fat. However, each arepa does contain about 5 grams of protein. Both carbs and proteins can influence your energy capacity.
Which Countries Eat Arepas
Arepas are most popular in most countries in South America, starting with the northern Andes region and moving through other parts of Latin America, such as Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic. Arepas have also made its way to the plates of El Salvador as pupusas Mexico as gorditas. As Venezuelans began immigrating across the world, they brought their recipes with them. Nowadays, you’ll find them in places like New York, Spain, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C., quite far from its origin, but just as homemade as ever.
How Many Calories are in an Arepa?
Simply, one plain arepa is about 150 calories. Adding on other ingredients like cheese can add quite a bit to the caloric intake. A mozzarella-filled arepa could be up to 240 calories per single arepa. A Colombian arepa de choclo could be up to 270 calories. Arepas introduce saturated fat to your body, the quantity depending on how you consume it. Traditionally, it is quite common to consume arepas as a side for most meals, but it may be difficult to implement arepas into a steady and specific diet.
The Best Frozen Arepas
Having frozen arepas handy are quite helpful for quick preparation, necessary for early mornings or lazy days. Many frozen arepas come pre-packaged with fillings, such as cheese. Here are a few brands of the best frozen arepas:
- La Montana White Corn Mini Arepas (5 per case)
- Happi Foodi Cheese Arepas (6 per case)
- Goya Arepa de Maiz Amarillo (12 per case)
- La Montana Mini Arepa de Choclo con Queso (8 per case)
- La Montana Arepa Blanca (5 per case)
- La Fe Arepa Con Queso (12 per case)
- Goya Sweet Corn Arepas de Choclo (12 per case)
- Goya Sweet Corn Arepas filled with Mozzarella Cheese (12 per case)
The value of arepas can be attributed to their versatility, meaning they’re tasty no matter how you make them! Arepas are especially significant to Colombia, in particular, because it is part of their heritage, representing a kind of unity in their culture. In fact, they have roughly 75 different means of preparing arepas. Colombia even celebrates the Colombian Arepa Festival in their major cities sometime between August and December. Some of the ways you can make arepas include grilling, baking, or frying them. Listed below are just some creative and diverse ways that arepas are made!
- Cheese Stuffed Arepas
- Deep Fried Arepas
- Arepas Rellenas
- Mushroom Arepas
- Cauliflower Arepas
- Arepa de Dominó
- Skinny Oat Arepas (a healthy option!)
- Pink Beet Arepas
- Arepas with Carnitas and Sweet Potato
- Chile Verde Arepas
- Reina Pepiada Arepas
- Spanish Chorizo Arepas
- English Muffin Arepas
- Arepas de Coco
Traditional Colombian Arepa Recipe
This recipe makes roughly 10 to 12 arepas at a time and takes about 20 minutes to prepare and cook.
- 1 cup of precooked cornmeal (arepa flour)
- 1 cup of grated mozzarella or crumbled ricotta salata
- 1 tablespoon of butter
- 1 cup of warm water
- ⅛ teaspoon of salt, or to taste
- Cooking spray/¼ cup of vegetable oil
- Paper towels
First, you’ll want to mix your precooked cornmeal, butter, choice of cheese, and salt into a separate bowl. Slowly pour the warm water into the mixture until it is absorbed (this will take about 1 to 2 minutes of water standing in the mixture) and knead until it forms a soft dough.
Once your dough is formed, take about a tablespoon of dough and form it into a ball with your hands. Do this until all of your dough is used up. Next, you’ll want to take your arepa maker and spray the Teflon with cooking spray. Wait for the maker to heat up and then place the dough balls into each provided circular section. Close the top over the balls and wait about 7 minutes until the arepas reach your desired crispiness.
If you don’t have an arepa maker, you’ll have to flatten each dough ball individually into a patty of about a ¼ inch thickness. Soften the edges of each patty to avoid cracks. You’ll need a large skillet to fry each ball. Pour the vegetable oil into the skillet and fry the arepas. Turn each arepa over during the process and until they are deep golden. This will take about 8 to 10 minutes.
Once you are finished frying or baking the arepas, drain the excess on paper towels. Serve as a side, as a sandwich, or with jam, butter, or melted cheese. Enjoy this Southern American delicacy!
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