Arepa Burger

Arepa Burger

Arepas are one of my all time favorite things to eat and to make, so putting a burger on an arepa was only a matter of time for me. Just think about that amazing sweet corn flavor of an arepa serving as the base for a juicy and cheesy burger! So tasty! The secret to making a perfect arepa for a burger is making sure the arepa is soft and pliable after it cooks. I use a lot of butter and milk in the recipe and it keeps the arepa at a perfect “bun” texture.

The inspiration for this recipe

My friend who can’t eat wheat was really craving burgers the other night. A burger patty on a plate or in a lettuce wrap would just not do. I’ve always had arepas in the back of my head as an idea for a gluten free version of bread. But traditional arepas can be too thin and brittle to give you that nice pillowy bread texture for your burger. I made sure these were a bit softer with lots of butter. It was such a success, I’d suggest you give it a try next time you’re cooking gluten free.

Make the arepa dough

You need to make sure to find masarepa for this recipe. The most common brand is Harina PAN and is in most stores these days. There are plenty of other brands if you go to a Latin American market.

make the dough

The package will suggest mixing the masarepa with water to make the arepas, but I used butter and milk to make them a little softer and tastier.

Cook the arepa burger buns

Form the arepas and cook them on high heat on both sides until charred.

make the arepa

Smash the burgers

Make balls of meat and season them aggressively with salt and pepper Cook on one side, then flip and smash as thin as you can. Top with cheese, then double up the burgers.

smash the burgers

Build the arepa burgers

After the arepa cools, slice it most of the way. Add some simple guacamole, then the burgers, then more guac and some cilantro.

build it up

Serving the arepa burger

These arepa burgers are amazing! The butter in the arepa adds so much amazing flavor to the burger. The salty corn flavors are just what this burger needs to be amazing! The creamy guac is a perfect condiment, and all the cilantro on top adds a freshness to everything.

arepa burgers

I did an arepa burger a while back and it had roasted poblano peppers and cotija cheese on it, but I liked this simple version much better.

arepa burgers

The corn cake is so light and fluffy, yet hearty, and the perfect gluten-free replacement for a bun on this burger.

arepa burgers

Twists on this recipe

I mentioned having roasted poblanos and cotija on here in the past. I also had made the arepas cakier and filled the beef patty with some black beans. It was a good burger but this one was much better. The arepa was more authentic and the burger was more up to date with how burgers are served these days. That being said, this burger would also be great with some pickled jalapenos, pico de gallo, chimichurri, hot sauce, or many other tex-mex or Latin American adjacent toppings.

For more about arepas and links to many other authentic version recipes, check out this page.

You can also check out my fried clam arepas, or these awesome shrimp pesto arepas!

Arepa Burger
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5 from 1 vote

Arepa Burger

A double smash burger served on an arepa with guacamole and cilantro
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time40 minutes
Course: Main Course
Keyword: burger, Mash-Up
Servings: 4 burgers
Calories: 989kcal




  • 1 cup masarepa
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  • 2 avocados
  • 1 clove garlic grated
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1.5 pounds ground beef
  • 8 slices pepper jack cheese
  • 1 bunch cilantro


  • In a large bowl, mix the masarepa with the melted butter, milk, and salt. Stir to combine and allow to sit for 5 minutes before stirring again and using.
  • Form small patties from the dough.
  • Preheat a cast iron pan to medium high heat with a splash of oil coating the bottom. Cook the arepas in the pan to char on both sides and cook through. Remove from heat and allow to cool
  • Mash the avocado in a bowl with the garlic, lime, and a pinch of salt.
  • Form the beef into 8 equal sized meat balls. Season the outside of the balls with salt and pepper.
  • In the same pan with a little more oil, in batches of needed, add the meat. Cook on one side for 3 minutes then flip. As you flip, use the spatula to smash them ball as flat as you possibly can.
  • After 2 minutes, flip and top with cheese.
  • Meanwhile, use a knife to split the arepa half way. Spread avocado on the bottom.
  • Double up the burgers in the pan, then transfer to the arepas. Top with more avocado and the cilantro and serve.


Calories: 989kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 46g | Fat: 76g | Saturated Fat: 32g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 32g | Trans Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 194mg | Sodium: 775mg | Potassium: 1158mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 1103IU | Vitamin C: 16mg | Calcium: 463mg | Iron: 6mg


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