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Gorditas: Stuffed Corn Cakes

Gorditas are a traditional Mexican dish consisting of thick, handmade corn masa (dough) pockets that are typically stuffed with a savory filling and then fried or grilled until golden brown. The word “gordita” translates to “little fatty” in Spanish, referring to the plump and chubby appearance of these stuffed pockets.

To make gorditas, masa dough is formed into small discs, which are then pressed or patted down to create a slight indentation in the center. This indentation serves as a pocket for the filling.

Common fillings for gorditas include refried beans, cheese, picadillo (seasoned ground meat), shredded chicken or beef, and a variety of vegetables such as potatoes or squash.

Once filled, the gorditas are cooked on a griddle or fried until they develop a crispy exterior while maintaining a soft and tender interior. They are typically served warm and topped with garnishes such as salsa, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, crema (Mexican sour cream), and crumbled cheese.

Gorditas are often served as a snack, appetizer, or light meal, making them a popular choice for any time of day.

Estimated Duration

Embark on the journey of preparing and enjoying Gorditas with a total time of approximately 1 to 1.5 hours. This includes the preparation of the dough, the filling, and the cooking process.

Nutrition Facts

Gorditas offer a wholesome combination of masa harina, savory fillings, and fresh toppings. They provide a balance of carbohydrates, proteins, and essential nutrients, making them a substantial and satisfying meal.

Equipment Required

Before diving into the world of Gorditas, ensure you have the following equipment:

  • Mixing bowls
  • Cast iron skillet or griddle
  • Rolling pin or tortilla press
  • Cooking oil for frying


For the Gordita Dough:

  • 2 cups masa harina
  • 1 1/4 cups warm water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For the Filling (Customizable):

  • Cooked and seasoned shredded chicken or beef
  • Refried beans
  • Queso fresco or shredded cheese
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Mexican crema or sour cream


Prepare the Gordita Dough:

Combine Ingredients:

  • In a mixing bowl, combine masa harina and salt.
  • Gradually add warm water while mixing until a soft dough forms.

Knead the Dough:

  • Knead the dough for a few minutes until it becomes smooth and pliable. If it’s too dry, add a bit more water; if too sticky, add a bit more masa harina.

Form Dough Balls:

  • Divide the dough into golf ball-sized portions and roll them into balls.

Flatten Dough Balls:

  • Using a tortilla press or a rolling pin, flatten each ball into a disc, about 1/4 inch thick.

Cook the Gorditas:

Preheat the Skillet:

  • Heat a cast iron skillet or griddle over medium-high heat.

Cook the Dough:

  • Cook each flattened disc on the hot skillet for 1-2 minutes per side or until they puff up and develop a golden-brown color.

Create a Pocket:

  • While the Gordita is still warm, gently make a slit along the edge of each one to create a pocket without splitting it entirely.

Fill and Garnish:

Add Fillings:

  • Fill the pockets with your choice of shredded chicken or beef, refried beans, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and any other desired toppings.

Drizzle with Crema:

  • Finish by drizzling Mexican crema or sour cream over the filled Gorditas.

Serve and Enjoy:

  • Serve the Gorditas warm and enjoy the delightful combination of the soft, flavorful dough with the savory fillings.

Tips and Advice:

  • Experiment with different fillings such as grilled veggies, chorizo, or guacamole.
  • Adjust the thickness of the Gordita discs based on your preference.

Enjoy with these Side Dishes:

Gorditas are often enjoyed on their own, but they pair well with side dishes like salsa, guacamole, or a simple side salad for a well-rounded meal.

Storage Options:

Gorditas are best enjoyed fresh, but you can store any leftover dough in the refrigerator for a day. Reheat the dough on the skillet before filling to maintain its texture.

Ingredient Substitutes:

Feel free to customize the filling ingredients based on your preferences. You can also use different types of cheese or add a spicy salsa for an extra kick.

Popular Alternatives to this Dish:

Explore more traditional Mexican dishes like Vegetarian Sopes, or Tlayudas for a diverse and delightful culinary experience. Each dish showcases the rich and varied flavors of Mexican cuisine.