Exploring the Delightful World of Arepa Fillings

Exploring the best fillings for arepas

Arepas, a staple of Venezuelan cuisine, are cornmeal patties that can be enjoyed any time of day. They are versatile and can be filled with a variety of savory and sweet fillings. In this article, we will delve into the best fillings for arepas and explore the delicious options that can elevate your culinary experience.

Understanding Arepas

Before we dive into the best fillings for arepas, let’s take a moment to understand what arepas are. Arepas are cornmeal patties or buns that originated in South American cuisine, specifically Venezuela. They can be served for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and are also popular as a street food snack.
These cornmeal cakes have a unique texture that is fluffy on the inside and beautifully crispy on the outside. Arepas are unleavened, meaning they contain no baking agents such as yeast or baking powder. They are typically cooked with pre-cooked cornmeal, which gives them their authentic texture and color.
Traditionally, arepas are cooked on a griddle, but they can also be baked, fried, or boiled, depending on the desired result and filling. Arepas can be served plain as a side dish or filled with a variety of ingredients to create a flavorful and satisfying meal.

The versatility of arepa fillings

While arepas are delicious on their own, they really shine when filled with a variety of ingredients. The possibilities for arepa fillings are endless, allowing you to customize your culinary creations to suit your taste buds. Here we explore some of the best arepa fillings that are sure to tantalize your taste buds:

1. Chicken and Avocado (Reina Pepiada)

If you are an avocado lover, the chicken and avocado filling, known as Reina Pepiada, is a must try. This classic filling combines shredded chicken, ripe avocado, chopped onion, chopped garlic, mayonnaise, salt and pepper. For an extra kick of flavor, you can even add cooked green peas to the mix. The result is a creamy and delicious filling that is perfect for a satisfying lunchtime arepa.

2. Black Beans and Cheese (Domino)

Black beans and cheese are a popular and traditional filling for arepas. This simple yet delicious combination is easy to make and can be spiced up with additional ingredients. To make this filling, combine a can of black beans with shredded cheese of your choice (cheddar or jack work well), salt and pepper. You can also add chopped red pepper, onion, garlic, and fresh cilantro for added flavor. Another variation to try is using refried black beans for a thicker, more pasty texture that pairs beautifully with shredded cheese.

3. Shredded Beef (Carne Mechada)

Shredded beef is a filling that stands out for its rich and savory flavor. Although it requires some preparation and cooking time, the end result is undoubtedly worth it. To make this stuffing, cook flank steak or a similar cut until it is tender enough to be easily shredded. The sauce for shredded beef typically includes beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, olive oil, onion, red pepper, garlic, tomato, and cilantro. The shredded beef is then cooked in this flavorful sauce, resulting in a satisfying and delicious filling that can be enjoyed any time of day.

4. Breakfast Fillings

Arepas can also be transformed into a delicious breakfast option. A simple yet delicious filling idea is scrambled eggs and avocado. The combination of creamy scrambled eggs and ripe avocado creates a soft and savory filling. You can further enhance the flavors by adding ingredients such as shredded cheese, hot sauce, cream cheese, or onions. Another breakfast option is a combination of bacon and fried egg for an unbeatable flavor combination that can give you a great start to your day.

5. Tuna (Atun)

Tuna is an easy to make and delicious filling for arepas. It requires minimal cooking and uses ingredients that are likely already in your pantry and refrigerator. This light yet flavorful filling is perfect for a quick and satisfying lunch. To make the filling, combine the drained tuna, cream cheese, diced avocado, chopped onion, cherry tomatoes, lime juice, salt and pepper. Blend these ingredients to a paste-like texture, then fill your arepas and enjoy.

6. Shredded Chicken (Pollo Guisado)

Shredded chicken is another fantastic filling option if you are looking for a rich and savory flavor. Similar to shredded beef, shredded chicken pairs well with guasacaca (avocado cream) or sour cream, effectively balancing the richness. To make this stuffing, cook chicken breasts until they are tender and easily shredded. You can then sauté onions, garlic and peppers in olive oil before adding the shredded chicken and seasoning with spices such as cumin, paprika and oregano. The result is a flavorful and moist shredded chicken filling that will satisfy your taste buds.

Explore Sweet Arepa Fillings

While savory fillings are popular for arepas, sweet fillings offer a delightful twist and can be enjoyed as a dessert or a sweet treat. Here are some sweet filling ideas to satisfy your sweet tooth:

1. Dulce de Leche

Dulce de leche, a creamy, caramel-like sauce made from condensed milk, is a delicious sweet filling option for arepas. Simply spread a generous amount of dulce de leche on a warm arepa for a rich and indulgent treat.

2. Nutella and Banana

The combination of Nutella and banana is a classic pairing that works beautifully as a sweet filling for arepas. Spread a layer of Nutella on the inside of the arepa and top with sliced bananas. The creamy chocolate-hazelnut spread and sweet, ripe bananas make for a heavenly combination.

3. Cheese and guava paste

For a unique and delicious sweet filling, try combining cheese and guava paste. The salty and creamy cheese pairs perfectly with the sweet and tangy guava paste. Simply spread the guava paste on one side of the arepa and place a slice of cheese on top. When heated, the cheese melts slightly, creating a delicious contrast of flavors.

4. Sweet Cream Cheese and Berries

Another sweet filling option is a combination of sweet cream cheese and fresh berries. Spread a layer of sweet cream cheese on the inside of the arepa and top with your choice of fresh berries, such as strawberries, blueberries or raspberries. The creamy sweetness of the cream cheese complements the acidity of the berries for a refreshing and satisfying filling.


Arepas offer a versatile and delicious culinary experience, and the choice of fillings is key to enhancing their flavors. From savory options like chicken and avocado, black beans and cheese, and shredded beef, to sweet choices like dulce de leche, Nutella and banana, and cheese and guava paste, the possibilities are endless. Whether you prefer a savory or sweet filling, arepas provide a canvas for your creativity in the kitchen. So gather your ingredients, get cooking, and enjoy the delicious world of arepa fillings.


What are the best fillings for arepas?

There are many delicious fillings for arepas to suit different tastes. Some popular options include chicken and avocado, black beans and cheese, shredded beef, tuna, scrambled egg and avocado, and bacon and fried egg.

Can I make sweet fillings for my arepas?

Of course you can! Sweet fillings are a wonderful option for arepas. You can try fillings like dulce de leche, Nutella and banana, cheese and guava paste, or sweet cream cheese with berries to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Can I customize the fillings?

Yes, one of the great things about arepas is their versatility. You can easily customize the fillings based on your personal preferences. Feel free to experiment with different ingredients and flavors to create your own unique fillings.

What is the traditional way to prepare arepas?

Traditionally, arepas are cooked on a griddle. However, they can also be baked, fried, or boiled, depending on the desired texture and filling. Each cooking method offers a slightly different result, so you can choose the method that best suits your preferences.

Can I serve arepas without a filling?

Yes, you can serve arepas as a side dish to a meal. They have a delicious flavor and can be enjoyed on their own. However, filling arepas with different ingredients adds an extra level of flavor and texture to the overall culinary experience.

Are there vegetarian fillings for arepas?

Absolutely! Arepas can be filled with a variety of vegetarian ingredients. Some vegetarian fillings include black beans and cheese, scrambled eggs and avocado, cheese and guava paste, sweet cream cheese with berries, or even a medley of grilled vegetables.