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Jessica got a first-hand lesson on how to make arepas con queso from Andres Dangond, a Colombian chef and owner of By Dres.

Andres moved to the U.S. from Colombia in 2009.

He said he was excited to watch Disney’s Oscar-nominated animated film “Encanto,” which tells the story of a magical family in Colombia.

Andres loves arepas, which are featured prominently in the film, and are a signature Colombian dish. Arepas can be enjoyed for virtually any meal and there are so many variations of the popular treat.

Get the recipe below!

This segment aired on California Cooking with Jessica Holmes Episode 126.

Arepas Con Queso


  • 2 cups of warm water
  • 1/4 cup of melted butter
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 1 3/4 cups of precooked cornmeal (white or yellow)
  • 2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Butter, as needed to cook arepas


  1. Combine the warm water, butter and salt in a medium bowl. Add about half of the cornmeal to the bowl and mix it in with a spatula, or your hands. Add the remaining cornmeal and mix until it is completely incorporated. Let it sit for about 5 minutes so the cornmeal hydrates fully.
  2. Make a baseball-sized ball with some of the dough. Make a well in the center and fill it with 2 tablespoons of cheese. Close the ball and then flatten it to a patty approximately half an inch thick. Repeat with the rest of the dough and cheese.
  3. Melt some butter in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the arepas and cook for around 5 minutes per side, until they are golden brown and crisp.
  4. Let them cool for a couple of minutes before serving.