Ham and Cheese Arepas

If you have never heard of an arepa before, well, let me introduce you to this wonderful new thing. An arepa is probably one of the simplest things to make, and it is basically masa, water, a bit of salt, and a bit of oil, and once mixed, and formed into a biscuit like shape, it is then cooked, slit open, and stuffed. One of the things I love about the arepa is that once it is cooked and slit open, the possibilites are endless as to what you want to stuff inside them. Not only that, but they are super simple to make, extremely comforting, and they also introduce you to masa, which is commonly used to make tortillas, tamales, gorditas, and much more.

Arepa Recipe with Ham and Cheese

Let’s get started.

Serves 4

Ingredients: [Print this Recipe]

  • 1 1/2 cup of masa harina
  • 1 1/2 cup of warm water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1/2 cup of Deli ham, thinly sliced and chopped, per arepa
  • 1/4 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese, per arepa
  • Your favorite hot sauce

Begin by adding the masa harina and salt to a small mixing bowl, and mix it around with your fingers. Next add the water, and begin mixing, and kneading until the dough comes together. Continue kneading the dough until it forms a smooth dough, and no longer is sticky. At this point in time you can add a bit more masa harina if it is too sticky, or a bit more water if it is too dry. You basically want to form a medium sized ball that you can flatten down a bit, about a 1/2 inch thick by the width of your palm, approximately 3 inches.

Ingredients for making arepas

Continue this process until you have formed all of the arepas.

Next, heat a large cast iron skillet on medium heat. The goal is to use a heavy skillet that can retain really good heat. Add the oil and swirl it in the pan. Add the arepas to the heated oil and let them cook for 4 minutes on each side. You want a golden exterior on both sides.

During this time, preheat the oven to 250 degrees.

When the arepas as golden on each side, add them to a baking sheet and place in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, remove the baking sheet from the oven.

With a sharp knife, make an incision in the side of the arepa, cutting through the arepa, making an opening. The goal is to not slice this all of the way through, just a nice incision that will allow you to stuff them with the ham and cheese.

If you notice the knife is doughy, much like you would see when you pull a knife from cooking a cake or bread, place them back into the oven for another 5 minutes or so.

Next, stuff a bit of the cheese inside of the arepa, then some ham, then more cheese on the top of the ham. Place them back into the oven for another 5 minutes or until the cheese is nice and melted.

When you are ready to serve, plate them, and serve with a simple salad and a nice drizzle of hot sauce.

The end result is nothing but awesomeness. You have a crunchy exterior with a soft interior, the fresh aroma from the masa, and with the melted cheese and ham, well, you know where I’m going.  Give them a shot, and I hope you enjoy.

Note: I also served these with roasted chicken, cheese, and guacamole, but once again the creations are endless as to what you put inside of them.


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Dax Phillips

Thank you for visiting my website. Truly, I do appreciate it. My free time and stress reliever is cooking for my family, friends, and everyone in between. The recipes you find on this site are those that I have either created, been part of, or those that I simply enjoy and have made my own in some shape, form, or other. My focus has always been on comfort food, because at the end of a long work day, you want something comforting. I currently am the father of three children, and married to a wonderful wife of thirteen years. There is nothing fancy with these recipes, just simple, and I will admit, not so simple ingredients, and a simple kitchen corner I can call my own. I learned early on that cooking and bringing family together was very important. After all, this notion of being together at dinner time was instilled early on by my parents. There are many memories of being in the kitchen with my parents, watching them cook, or preparing meals, or those home cooked smells while waiting for dinner. My parents who worked full-time, always had home cooked meals during the week, with the exception of Friday nights where we would enjoy a Wisconsin fish fry, and often on late afternoons on Sunday, where we would order Ann's pizza. I tend to cook by making things up. As a home cook, I think you have to take chances, and add or subtract ingredients that make up a dish, and make them your own. Remember to taste, and taste often. If a dish has potential, try it again, and make it your own. You should also note that I do not count calories, or break down recipes into grams of anything. To me, that's a bit boring. My philosophy is that if the food is good, eat it, and eat it in moderation. Life is just too short not to enjoy good food. Commonly Asked Questions: Can I use your photography/content on my website/blog? Please do not redistribute my photography or recipes without my permission. All of the recipes and photography on this website are my own unless noted, and is subjected to copyright  If you’d like to use a photograph or a recipe, please contact me for permission. Will you review my product/book/site? I am available for recipe development, food photography and/or styling, travel/press events, product reviews, brand promotion/ambassador, and sponsored posts. If you are interested in working with me, or if you have a question/comment regarding a recipe or about my blog, please send me an email.

2 thoughts to “Ham and Cheese Arepas”

  1. Great timing. I have some leftover masa harina so I would love to try this recipe! 🙂 I could eat some right now!

    Btw, here’s wishing you and your family a happy, healthy, and delicious new year! 😀

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