These appetizer-size “boliarepas” are seasoned with cheddar cheese and crispy bacon. Regular arepa dough is shaped into balls that are deep-fried, resulting in an extra crispy exterior and very soft middle filled with melted cheese. Serve these Venezuelan bacon cheddar arepa bites for brunch with a cheese sauce for dipping – yum.
Venezuelan Bacon Cheddar Arepa Bites (Boliarepas)
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Yield: About 15-20 bite-size arepas
- 2 cups masarepa cornmeal
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 4 tablespoons butter, melted
- 3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese (about 4 ounces)
- 5-6 bacon slices
- Black pepper
- Vegetable oil for frying
- Cheese sauce or salsa for dipping
Cook the bacon in a skillet over medium heat, turning every so often until bacon is browned and crispy. Place on paper towels to cool. (Or place bacon on a foil-lined cookie sheet and bake at 400 degrees, turning once, until crispy). Finely chop bacon and set aside.
Place the masarepa cornmeal in a large bowl. Whisk in the salt, flour, and sugar.
Stir the water, buttermilk, and melted butter into the cornmeal until well mixed. Cover mixture with plastic wrap and let rest for 10-15 minutes.
Using your hands, knead the grated cheddar cheese and the chopped bacon into the masarepa mixture. Once everything is well mixed, take a small piece of dough and roll into a smooth ball using the palms of your hands. If the dough is too dry and starts to crack, wet your hands slightly. Continue with the rest of the dough, shaping it into 1-inch diameter balls. (You can cover the shaped arepas tightly with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator until ready to fry, up to overnight).
Heat about 2 inches of vegetable oil in a heavy skillet with tall sides to about 350 degrees, or until a small piece of the dough starts to sizzle when placed into the oil.
Fry the arepa balls in batches, turning them over once or twice, until they are dark golden brown on the outside. Remove them with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towels to cool slightly.
Serve arepa bites warm, with a dipping sauce if desired. Arepas can be reheated in the oven, at 350 degrees.
Enjoy this Venezuelan Bacon Cheddar Arepa Bites!