Arepas de Coco
Updated: Jul 16
Puerto Rican arepas, unlike other Latin American dishes with the same name are made with wheat flour and deep fried. These traditional fritters combine the perfect sweetness from the coconut and the crispiness from the flaky dough. I first had them in Fajardo, a town in the Northeast area of Puerto Rico. My family would drive to the beach and we would stop along the way in all of these small kiosks selling fried foods, but these were always my favorite. They are so easy to make!
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup canned coconut milk
Oil for frying
Start by adding the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder into a large mixing bowl and mixing it thoroughly. Then add the coconut milk and start mixing it with a spoon.
Start working the dough with your hands, mixing to form a ball inside the mixing bowl. When all of the flour and milk has been combined then prepare your kneading surface.
Start by sprinkling flour on a clean surface, then knead the dough by pressing outwardly from the middle and then bringing it back to the middle. Repeat this process until the dough is soft but still tacky.
Once the dough is ready, place it back into the mixing bowl, cover it with a kitchen towel and let it rest for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, you are ready to form the arepas. Prepare a floured surface. Take the dough and divide it in half.
Take the first half and flatten it into a sheet that is 1/8th inch thick. It is important that the dough is thin.
Then take a glass and cut the dough into small circles. You can take the scraps, then reshape them into a thin sheet and cut out more small circles, repeat this process until you have used all of the dough from the first half.
Then take the second half and also repeat this same process with the dough: flatten into 1/8 inch thick and cut it into circles, reshape the scraps into a thin sheet and cut more circles.
Set your formed dough pieces aside, you can place them on top of each other, but put parchment paper or wax paper in between the layers.
Put oil in a large frying pan, fill it halfway, and heat it up to around 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the oil has reached the desired temperature, place the arepas in the oil, you can put multiple ones, but make sure to leave a little room to flip them.
Once they are golden on one side, flip it to the other side until golden.
I find that using a fork and a spoon makes it the easiest to flip the arepas and minimize any splashes of oil. Once golden on both sides., take it out and put it on some paper towel to absorb the extra oil.
Let it cool for a few minutes and enjoy!
Check out our instructional video, showing how to make this recipe step-by-step HERE.