Making your own Mexican Gorditas at home is super easy! These little corn cakes made from masa dough have a little pocket in the middle for all sorts of delicious fillings! They’re also gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan.
Say hello to Mexican gorditas! No, this is nothing like the Taco Bell cheesy gordita crunch you may have seen. These are real, authentic, homemade gorditas, just like my Mom taught me to make!
What are gorditas?
Essentially, gorditas are thick corn tortillas that have a pocket in the middle made for stuffing with delicious Mexican fillings. Preferably on the spicy side if you ask me. Some common fillings include:
- refried beans and cheese
- chile verde (tender pork in a green chile sauce)
- chorizo and eggs
- picadillo (a ground beef and potato mixture)
- papas con chile (tender diced potatoes stewed in a green chile sauce)
The possibilities are endless. For the filling shown in these photos, I used some of my barbacoa beef that I had leftover in the fridge. The results were delicious.
What does Gorditas mean?
The word gordita in Spanish literally means chubby. It’s usually used affectionately and is often a term of endearment. So why would the name of a dish be referred to as chubby? I have no clue.
Maybe it’s because they’re so good you can’t stop eating them, causing you to gain a few pounds. Maybe because they’re stuffed with delicious fillings until they’re “fat”? Who knows. All I know is that gorditas are good and good food is what I’m all about!
How to make Gorditas
Step 1: Mix together masa harina, water, and salt to create a dough. Roll the dough into 16 little balls. At this point, heat a large skillet, griddle, or comal over medium-high heat.
Step 2: Lightly flatten a masa ball in between two sheets of plastic wrap using a tortilla press (this is the one I have) or a flat plan. Make sure not to press it down too much as it will become too thin like a normal corn tortilla. You want it about twice as thick as a normal tortilla. If you mess up and make it too thin, simply gather the flattened dough, reform it into a ball, and try again.
Step 3: Remove the flattened masa from the plastic wrap and place it on the hot griddle. Let it cook for about 10 to 15 seconds, flip it over, and let that side cook for another 10 to 15 seconds. This helps to sort of seal the dough so that an air pocket can form more easily.
Flip it over one more time and cook each side for about 1 minute until they have beautiful brown spots.
Step 4: At this point, you should notice that the gordita inflates a little bit and starts to bubble up in the middle or the sides. This is exactly what you want. Lightly press down on the sides of the gordita with a spatula or other utensil to help it inflate even more. Remove it from the griddle, place it on a plate, and cover it with a light kitchen towel.
Step 5: As soon as you can handle and hold the gordita (it should still be hot but not hot enough to burn you), use a butter or paring knife to cut a slit down the edge of one side. The gordita should open up and have a cute little pocket to stuff all the wonderful fillings.
Tips and Tricks
- I recommend using a zip-loc gallon-size bag instead of plastic or saran wrap when flattening the masa balls. Simply cut it open down the side seams and leave the bottom seam uncut. Then place it on top of the open tortilla press, and voila! It’s the perfect size, and it doesn’t tend to stick together like plastic wrap can.
- Use a tortilla press. It makes the process so much easier and is a must-have item in the Mexican kitchen! Here’s one that I recommend from Amazon.
- If the gordita doesn’t inflate like it should, press down on the center and on the sides of the gordita from time to time with a spatula to help it inflate. This usually does the trick and creates a little air pocket.
- To make them perfectly round without any scraggly edges, use a round bowl, large round cookie cutter, or any round object that you have to stamp out the masa after you’ve flattened it. My mom taught me this trick because she likes them to be picture-perfect. I, on the other hand, don’t have the patience. 😊
The way gorditas are made in Mexico actually varies from region to region. My family is from the central/north part of the country in the state of Zacatecas, near the town of Sombrerete. This is how they’re usually made there, but in other regions of the country, they’re often fried until super crispy and then stuffed. Both ways are delicious and totally authentic!
How to fry gorditas
If you want to try frying them, make all the gorditas as outlined above. Then add some frying oil to a medium skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering hot. You don’t need to use a lot of oil, just enough to fully submerge one side of the gordita.
Add the cooked gordita and fry on both sides for about a minute or two until crispy. Remove from the oil and place on a paper towel to soak up any excess oil. Stuff them like normal, and enjoy!