Arepas con Queso | Disney’s Encanto

Yes, let’s talk about Bruno! Encanto is a wonderful film that focuses partly on some great looking food. What better treat to recreate from Encanto than Arepas con Queso, the delicious bites of cheesy goodness with healing powers. This is a quick and easy one to whip up. Need some healing energy? Let’s get cooking.

About the film:

Okay, first thing. As soon as I caught a glimpse of the trailer for Encanto, I was already hooked. Why?

The colours! Encanto has one of the most varied and beautiful colour palettes that I have ever seen. The combinations and sequences make you feel joyful and high energy, even during the parts of the story that are the opposite… and there definitely are some of those parts. 

I said it in my Onward velvet cake and Big Hero 6 melon pan posts: Disney will get you right in the feels.

Encanto is no exception. Though, I would say it is pretty exceptional. This film is a wonder for the senses.

In 2021, Disney released their newest major motion picture, Encanto.

An animated story set in the beautiful hills of Colombia that follows Mirabel, a young woman who is part of a magical, miracle-encapsulating family. 

The family Madrigal live in a house with magic running through its pipes and personality bursting out of its floors. Each member has been blessed with a gift that allows them to help their community and bring happiness to their little haven.

Every member except Mirabel. 

For when her time came to be blessed by her family’s miracle, her door to magic disappeared. Since then, Mirabel has been doing her very best to be a help to her family and her community without a special gift.

When the house starts to show cracks and the miracle appears to begin fading, it’s up to Mirabel to find the root cause of it all and fix it before the miracle ceases to exist.

Encanto is really about seeing the value in yourself, not just others.

Yes, it’s also about family and love and community. But, Mirabel’s journey is one of self-love and discovering her incredible value just as she is. 

I LOVE it.

Written and directed by Charise Castro Smith, Jared Bush and Byron Howard, Encanto is a film for everyone and anyone. It also shines a light on the beauty that can be found in Colombia.

The story was also developed by the directors and writers of the film. Alongside them were Jason Hand, Nancy Kruse and quite possibly one of the most talented people in the business: Lin-Manuel Miranda.

The soul of Encanto is the music.

Germaine Franco produced the score, working in harmony with those now famous songs and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Lending their voice acting and singing talents to the characters of Encanto were Stephanie Beatriz; María Cecilia Botero, Diane Guerrero, Jessica Darrow, John Leguizamo, Angie Cepeda, Carolina Gaitan, Mauro Castillo, Rhenzy Feliz, Adassa, Ravi Cabot-Conyers, Wilmer Valderrama, Rose Portillo, Maluma and more.

If you’ve read my Big Hero 6 recipe post then you may be wondering one thing and I can answer you: yes, Alan Tudyk even has a part in Encanto. As the toucan. 

Who is your favourite character? I love Antonio. He’s so pure and his gift is definitely the one I would want. Then again, making food is so much fun… and if that food could heal people like the food that Julieta makes? Life changing… world-saving.

Encanto is one that I keep going back to.

It makes me laugh, it makes me feel such prominent joy, and it also makes me SOB. I mean the full water works. I can’t help it, I just feel so connected to the characters.

But, that’s what the artists at Disney are just SO good at. Making you feel so strongly about the characters and what happens to them in the story.

Plus, they make films that are just so gorgeous to look at. The food always looks amazing… time to whip some up, wouldn’t you say?

About the bake:

Mirabel’s mother, Julieta, was blessed with the power of healing through food. Her recipes can heal all sorts of injuries and ailments, which really is something to behold.

One such recipe is for her Arepas con Queso. Delicious, light, crispy cheese filled parcels that are so moreish, it’s ridiculous. This particular numnum is what Julieta gives Mirabel, among other members of the family.

Arepas can act as a blank canvas, a little like tortillas or pizza dough. You can put what you want in or on them, and cheese is a popular ingredient to pair them with. 

This is what makes an Arepas con Queso. 

Now, I’m not going to tell you that I am a connoisseur in South American cuisine. As much as I’d like to be, that just isn’t the case. So, when it came to coming up with this recipe, I looked to those who do know what they are talking about for guidance and authenticity.

Whilst researching, I found this recipe by Erica of My Colombian Recipes. It’s just the ticket for an authentic recipe for Arepas con Queso. As she mentions in her post, there are many forms of Arepas which are dependent on the region and area of Colombia. 

I also looked at this recipe on Simply Recipes by Maria, which uses masarepa: a specific type of pre-cooked cornflour.

In any form, Arepas con Queso are a traditional staple in South American cuisine.

Encanto is set in Colombia, after all.

Now, I had to adapt a little based on what I knew to be available when it came to ingredients in the U.K. There are other recipes that list cornflour as the base ingredient, but cornflour in the U.K. is the equivalent of cornstarch in other parts of the world.

However, Arepas con Queso are usually made with pre-cooked cornmeal, which is available in the U.K., though not necessarily from your corner shop. 

I had to buy mine online, but that’s more down to the fact that I am based in a small town. The bigger versions of my local supermarket stock cornmeal and the like, they’re just located further away than is ideal.

If you can find pre-cooked cornmeal, great!

If you can’t find it, you can use polenta or maize meal in its place. Polenta is really similar to cornmeal, it just isn’t as fine and is a little more coarse than cornmeal. This doesn’t vary the texture of Arepas too much, so it’s a good alternative. Maize meal is also very similar to cornmeal.

Plus, you can use this recipe to make the Arepas and then go wild with toppings the next time you make them. 

My own addition to this recipe? Edible glitter. Completely optional, but it pays homage to the magical healing powers of Julieta’s Arepas con Queso!

Top Tips:

  • If you are struggling to find cornmeal, look for polenta or maize meal to replace it in the recipe. Cornmeal and maize meal are very similar. Just make sure to use pre-cooked!
  • Whether you choose yellow or white cornmeal is up to you! I opted for white because this snack appears white in Encanto, but it really can just be whatever you can get a hold of. 
  • I had to buy mine online, but I know that bigger supermarkets in the U.K. and various places in the U.S. provide different types and brands of cornmeal. Brands such as PAN or Natco are popular. 
  • If using maize meal, you may find that you have to add water as you go rather than all at once to find the right texture. Start with most of the required amount and then add more if it feels too dry.
  • Mozzarella is the ideal cheese to create your Arepas con Queso, but feel free to switch it out for another cheese if it’s not to your taste. Aim for a mild cheese that melts well!
  • Shape your Arepas con Queso with wet hands to help the mixture stay together and not stick to your hands.
  • If you have one, use a cast iron skillet to cook your Arepas con Queso: that way you achieve the beautiful grill lines on the outside.
  • Preheat your frying pan or cast iron skillet before you are ready to begin cooking so that you achieve the best fry from the get go.
  • I finished cooking my Arepas con Queso in the oven, but you don’t have to so long as you’re confident that they’re cooked all the way through after frying.

It’s official, I think Arepas con Queso are brilliant. They are so easy and so quick to make. A perfect little blank canvas or cheesy bites for your Encanto movie night or themed party. Warning: they are super moreish!

Happy baking, happy eating!

Ingredients:

Arepas con Queso:

  • 570g [20 oz] pre-cooked cornmeal (see Top Tips for alternatives)
  • 560 ml [20 oz] lukewarm water   warm to the touch but not hot
  • 55g [2 oz] unsalted butter
  • Splash of whole milk
  • 2 tsp (or to taste) sea salt 
  • Grated/shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Extra cheese sliced or grated to stuff   optional
  • Olive oil to fry
  • Edible glitter optional

Makes: 12

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Resting time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 25 minutes

Method:

Arepas con Queso dough:

  1. Preheat your oven to 220°C [350°F] or 200°C. Line two or three baking sheets with greaseproof paper/baking parchment, depending on how big you are looking to make your Arepas con Queso. If confident that your Arepas will cook through in the frying pan, skip this step.
  2. Pour the lukewarm water into a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle in the salt and stir in with your hand until dissolved. If using maize meal, leave ⅓ water to add gradually later if needed.
  3. Pour the cornmeal gradually into the water. Using your hand, knead the cornmeal into the water until combined and lump free. 
  4. Add the butter, milk and cheese then mix. These ingredients should melt into the mix. If you need to add more water, do so now.
  5. Leave to rest for up to 10 minutes, until the cornmeal has dried and is more dough-like. If you are averse to using your hand, feel free to use a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to mix the dough.

Cooking:

  1. After your dough has rested, use wet hands to scoop and ball the dough. Gently squeeze into a pattie shape with your hand until around ½ inch in thickness. Place on the baking trays for now.
  2. Add a generous amount of olive oil to a frying pan and allow it to heat up on a medium to high heat. Once it has started rippling, it’s ready to be cooked with.
  3. Fry as many Arepas con Queso as you can at one time, until golden and crisp on each side. Feel free to use a spatula to move them around a little so that they don’t stick.
  4. Once fried, place back on the baking trays.
  5. If you are finishing your Arepas con Queso in the oven, place the trays in your preheated oven and allow them to continue cooking for 10 minutes.
  6. Once finished, leave for a few moments on the trays as they will continue cooking.
  7. If you want to stuff them with extra cheese, wait until you are able to handle your Arepas, slice into the centre of them via the edge to create a pocket, fill each one with cheese and then pinch it closed.
  8. Spray with edible glitter for a little extra magic if desired.
  9. Serve immediately. Top with more options if desired i.e. butter, beans, tomatoes, salsa, sauces etc. If freezing, allow them to cool completely before doing so.

Arepas con Queso really are delicious bites of cheesy goodness. These can be frozen once cooked in an airtight container with greaseproof paper/baking parchment in between (to avoid them sticking together) for up to 1 month.  If you happen to have a little injury that heals up after eating one of these, well… magic is real. Enjoy!

Recipe card:

Arepas con Queso | Disney’s Encanto

Laura – Flavour of the Film
Crispy and fluffy magically healing Arepas con Queso with mozzarella cheese and a dash of milk, celebrating Disney's Encanto.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Resting time 10 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Snack
Cuisine Colombian, South American
Servings 12

Ingredients
  

Arepas con Queso:

  • 570 g [20 oz] pre-cooked cornmeal see Top Tips for alternatives
  • 560 ml [20 oz] lukewarm water warm to the touch but not hot
  • 55 g [2 oz] unsalted butter
  • Splash of whole milk
  • 2 tsp or to taste sea salt
  • Grated/shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Extra cheese sliced or grated to stuff optional
  • Olive oil to fry

Instructions
 

Arepas con Queso dough:

  • Preheat your oven to 220°C [350°F] or 200°C. Line two or three baking sheets with greaseproof paper/baking parchment, depending on how big you are looking to make your Arepas con Queso. If confident that your Arepas will cook through in the frying pan, skip this step.
  • Pour the lukewarm water into a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle in the salt and stir in with your hand until dissolved. If using maize meal, leave ⅓ water to add gradually later if needed.
  • Pour the cornmeal gradually into the water. Using your hand, knead the cornmeal into the water until combined and lump free.
  • Add the butter, milk and cheese then mix. These ingredients should melt into the mix. If you need to add more water, do so now.
  • Leave to rest for up to 10 minutes, until the cornmeal has dried and is more dough-like. If you are averse to using your hand, feel free to use a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to mix the dough.

Cooking:

  • After your dough has rested, use wet hands to scoop and ball the dough. Gently squeeze into a pattie shape with your hand until around ½ inch in thickness. Place on the baking trays for now.
  • Add a generous amount of olive oil to a frying pan and allow it to heat up on a medium to high heat. Once it has started rippling, it’s ready to be cooked with.
  • Fry as many Arepas con Queso as you can at one time, until golden and crisp on each side. Feel free to use a spatula to move them around a little so that they don’t stick.
  • Once fried, place back on the baking trays.
  • If you are finishing your Arepas con Queso in the oven, place the trays in your preheated oven and allow them to continue cooking for 10 minutes.
  • Once finished, leave for a few moments on the trays as they will continue cooking.
  • If you want to stuff them with extra cheese, wait until you are able to handle your Arepas, slice into the centre of them via the edge to create a pocket, fill each one with cheese and then pinch it closed.
  • Spray with edible glitter for a little extra magic if desired.
  • Serve immediately. Top with more options if desired i.e. butter, beans, tomatoes, salsa, sauces etc. If freezing, allow them to cool completely before doing so.

Notes

Arepas con Queso really are delicious bites of cheesy goodness. These can be frozen once cooked in an airtight container with greaseproof paper/baking parchment in between (to avoid them sticking together) for up to 1 month.  If you happen to have a little injury that heals up after eating one of these, well… magic is real. Enjoy!
Keyword a lovely cheese pizza just for me, arepas, arepas con queso, disney, encanto, mirabel

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