Crispy Custardy Cachapas

published Oct 30, 2021
Cachapa Recipe

These tender, golden Venezulean corn pancakes are filled with cheese for the ultimate sweet-salty flavor explosion.

Serves3 to 4

Makes6

Prep10 minutes

Cook30 minutes

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three Cachapa's (Venezuelan corn cakes) folded in half with creamy white cheese inside, on a black plate, with a knife on the side
Credit: Shilpa Uskokovic

If you’ve never had cachapas before, you’re in for a treat! These tender, golden Venezulean corn pancakes are filled with cheese for the ultimate sweet-salty flavor explosion. Made from fresh or frozen corn plus a handful of pantry ingredients, cachapas are cooked like pancakes until they’re burnished brown outside and soft and custardy inside. 

Using frozen corn keeps these cachapas accessible year-round. Because the corn available Stateside isn’t super-starchy, a little flour helps to hold everything together. A touch of oil keeps things tender, salt and sugar bring out the flavor of the corn, and a pinch of baking powder provides the slightest lift so the cachapas are never pasty. 

Traditionally filled with queso de mano, which may be difficult to source from your neighborhood grocery store, this version uses fresh mozzarella as a worthy substitute. Other soft, mild cheeses (such as low-moisture mozzarella or Jack cheese) will also work well. 

What’s the Difference Between a Cachapa and an Arepa?

  • Cachapas are made from fresh or frozen corn kernels that are ground to a purée and cooked much like pancakes.
  • Arepas are made from pre-cooked cornmeal that is reconstituted with water to make a stiff dough. The dough is shaped into rounds and cooked or grilled on a skillet. Arepas are usually stuffed with a variety of fillings.
Credit: Shilpa Uskokovic

How to Serve Cachapa

Cachapas are most commonly filled with cheese, like the fresh, white queso de mano. For a more substantial cachapa, fill it with shredded meat, avocado, or black beans. 

Cachapas are always best served warm and fresh off the griddle when they’re a bit crispy on the outside and custardy on the inside. Offer a bottle of hot sauce on the side to perk up the flavor, if desired. 

Cachapa Recipe

These tender, golden Venezulean corn pancakes are filled with cheese for the ultimate sweet-salty flavor explosion.

Prep time 10 minutes

Cook time 30 minutes

Makes 6

Serves 3 to 4

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 20 ounces

    frozen corn kernels (about 4 cups)

  • 2

    large eggs

  • 1/2 cup

    whole milk

  • 3 tablespoons

    vegetable oil

  • 2 teaspoons

    kosher salt

  • 1 teaspoon

    granulated sugar

  • 1/2 cup

    all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon

    baking powder

  • 8 ounces

    fresh mozzarella cheese

  • 6 teaspoons

    unsalted butter, divided

Instructions

  1. Thaw 20 ounces frozen corn kernels overnight in the refrigerator or according to package directions. Drain well.

  2. Transfer to a food processor fitted with a blade attachment. Add 2 large eggs, 1/2 cup whole milk, 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, and 1 teaspoon granulated sugar. Process until the mixture is a coarse purée, about 1 minute. Add 1/2 cup all-purpose flour and 1 teaspoon baking powder. Pulse until the flour is incorporated, about 1 minute. Transfer to a medium bowl.

  3. Drain and thinly slice 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese (about 1/4-inch thick).

  4. Melt 1 teaspoon of the unsalted butter in a 6-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 1/2 cup of the batter and smooth the top with the back of a spoon. Cover and cook until the bottom is golden-brown and the top is no longer wet, 4 to 6 minutes.

  5. Uncover and add a few slices of the mozzarella to one half of the cachapa. Fold the other half over the cheese. Cover and cook until the cheese is melted, about 1 minute. Transfer the cachapa to a plate or platter. Repeat cooking the remaining batter, melting 1 teaspoon unsalted butter in the pan before each cachapa. If the butter starts to brown, reduce the heat slightly and wipe the skillet clean between each cachapa. Because these cachapas are extremely tender and custardy, they are best eaten right away.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days.