Costa Rican Pancakes Recipe (Arepas)

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If you love pancakes, you will love this incredible Costa Rican Pancake Recipe. Delicious, fluffy and perfect for breakfast or dinner, this is a must try recipe.

Costa Rican Pancakes Recipe (Arepas)

I think every ex pat goes through waves of homesickness- and it can be weird the things we miss about home. When I lived in San Ramon, Costa Rica, I would often miss Colorado-style Mexican food. I remember one time finding jalapenos at an American-style grocery store, and making a spicy pork green chili. Not thinking about the fact that Costa Ricans typically do not eat much spicy food, I enthusiastically served it to my then-boyfriend now-husband. He was so polite as he ate it, complementing me on the flavor as tears ran down his face while he tried to finish eating what I served him. Last Sunday morning, my husband woke up missing home and craving Costa Rican Pancakes, which we call arepas, and he made them for us. I had forgotten how good they are!

Related post: Costa Rican Chorreadas Recipe

arepa -Costa Rican-style easy pancake recipe


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First- let me quell what could potentially be a bit of confusion. Arepas is a Latin dish that is very popular in Colombia and Venezuela. In Colombia, the arepas are prepared with cornmeal, generally savory, and can have toppings such as cheese or meat. (A Colombian arepa is very similar to a Costa Rican chorreada). For more information on Colombian arepas, please check out this great article from My Colombian Recipes. The Venezuelan arepas are made with a white cornmeal flour called PAN (affiliate), and are usually puffier and filled with amazing meats, vegetables and cheese- similar to a Mexican torta.  Here’s a great recipe from Venezuelan Cooking.

Now for the Costa Rican arepas- we eat arepas typically during coffee hour. Arepas are a flat, dense, homemade batter that is dropped onto a hot skillet rubbed with oil, and cooked through. A Costa Rican arepa is similar to an American-style pancake without the fluffiness. Arepas are traditionally drizzled with a sweet topping, such as honey, sweetened condensed milk, or dulce de leche. We will eat arepas at our house for breakfast, but they are traditionally eaten more during the afternoon coffee hour. Please note that the links included in this post are affiliate links.

Arepas are super easy to make and a definite crowd-pleaser- here is the recipe.

Yield- 10-12 medium sized arepas



Mix together flour, milk, vanilla, egg in a medium sized mixing bowl. We usually mix with a large fork, or a whisk. Once the mixture is smooth you will know that it is ready. *You can add the granulated sugar if you want to achieve a sweeter arepa, but with the sweet toppings, we usually omit this ingredient.

Heat a large frying pan or griddle over medium to medium high heat. Spray with cooking spray or pour a bit of cooking oil into the pan to make sure the arepas don’t stick. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the batter in a circle on the frying pan, and cook until a pancake is formed. Turn over, and cook until golden brown. Remove from pan, and top with your desired topping. Enjoy with a hot cup of Costa Rican coffee!

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costa rican style pancake recipe served with coffee, sweet toppings and fresh fruit
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Christa Jimenez

Welcome! I’m Christa, a former high school teacher married to a handsome Costa Rican and mother of two bilingual daughters. I love all things Spanish and bi-cultural, (especially travel and food!) and you’ll find my observations on life here. Thanks for stopping by

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