These homemade Mexican-inspired gorditas are a breeze to make using a 3-ingredient masa dough. Open them up and stuff them with all of your favorite fillings and toppings!
What if I told you that you can say goodbye to late-night Taco Bell runs and hello to the satisfaction of gorditas made from scratch?
When my family and I need a fun snack or a satisfying weeknight dinner, I turn to this Gorditas recipe. Just like arepas and sopes, homemade gorditas are not only a breeze to make from a 3-ingredient masa dough but are also so much fun to serve with endless Mexican-inspired fillings and toppings.
Table of Contents
What are Gorditas?
Authentic gorditas originate from the heart of Mexico. “Gorditas” translates to “little fat ones” in Spanish, describing their chubby, round shape. The dough uses masa harina, which is what I use for my pupusas. Unlike them, though, these are pressed flat and fried until crispy on the outside and pillowy in the middle.
Now is the fun part- the fillings. These are designed for stuffing, and various fillings include meat, beans, cheese, and salsa. They are so fun for Mexican night.
Here are a few more reasons why my family and I love this recipe:
- Only 3 ingredients. Masa harina, water, and salt – that’s all you need to make homemade gorditas!
- Quick and easy to make. It takes me less than 30 minutes to make a batch of homemade gorditas! The prep time is minimal and there’s no resting needed.
- Fun to fill! What really sells this dish are the filling and topping options. Our kids love it when we prepare a spread so they can customize their own corn cakes.
- Versatile. Serve them as an appetizer, snack, or side dish as a way to turn up Taco Tuesday.
True to authentic Mexican gorditas, the ingredients in my version are super simple. Here’s everything you’ll need:
- Masa harina. This is a type of corn flour made from dried and ground hominy. I always have a bag at home
- Water. Warm water hydrates the masa harina and helps form a pliable dough.
- Salt. Just a small amount to make the flavors pop.
- Oil. For frying. I like to use olive oil or vegetable oil, but peanut, canola, or sunflower oil work well, too.
Find the printable recipe with measurements below.
How to make fried gorditas
Step 1 – Make the dough. Stir the masa harina, water, and salt in a large bowl, kneading with your hands until a soft, pliable dough forms. Divide the dough into 8 balls.
Step 2 – Form the gorditas. Place a dough ball between two sheets of plastic, then use something heavy to gently press the dough into a flat disk. Repeat with the remaining dough balls.
Step 3 – Pan-fry. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Once it’s warm, place the flattened dough in the skillet and cook until both sides are golden brown and lightly charred in spots.
Step 4 – Create a pocket. After cooling, use a paring knife to slice each gordita open, creating a pocket. Fill with your favorite fillings and garnish with toppings, then enjoy!
Alternative cooking methods
I like to bake gorditas when I need a slightly healthier alternative. After preparing the masa dough and pressing the balls into flat disks, transfer them to a baking sheet. Bake the gorditas in a 350°F oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until they’re firm and lightly golden.
Tips to make the best recipe
- For the best results, I highly recommend using fresh masa harina. Always check the expiration date on the package before you get started!
- I found it takes between 5 to 7 minutes to knead the masa dough before it becomes smooth and pliable. Just be careful not to overwork the dough, as it can make the gorditas tough.
- When flattening the dough, aim for an even thickness, about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick (this is thicker than a regular tortilla). Use a tortilla press or a flat-bottomed heavy pan for consistency.
- If you want your gorditas to puff up (similar to pita bread), give them a gentle press while cooking to help create that signature pocket inside.
To store: Transfer the leftover gorditas to an airtight container and store them in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days.
To freeze: Place the cooled gorditas in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze until they’re solid. Transfer them to a freezer-safe bag with layers of parchment paper in between each one and freeze for up to 1 month. Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating.
To reheat: Reheat the gorditas in a lightly oiled skillet or griddle over medium-low heat until warmed through and re-crisped.
Frequently asked questions
Gorditas and corn tortillas are both made from masa dough and are flattened, cooked, and meant to hold fillings. What sets gorditas apart is their thickness and signature pocket, which is meant to be stuffed with similar fillings.
Your gorditas likely didn’t puff up because there was too much flour in the dough, thus making it dry. This can also happen if the dough balls aren’t pressed thin enough and/or cooked over a high enough heat.
This can happen when they’re overstuffed with wet fillings. To prevent your gorditas from falling apart, be mindful of the amount and moisture level of your fillings.
More Mexican-inspired recipes to try
- Mexican Pizza – A Taco Bell-inspired fan favorite!
- Tacos Dorados – Crispy pan-fried tortillas stuffed with ground beef and cheese.
- Torta Recipe – A Mexican sandwich filled with steak, refried beans, and plenty of cheese!
- Chilaquiles Rojos – Salsa-braised tortillas topped with an ooey gooey fried egg.
- Mix together the masa harina, water and salt until you create dough.
- Divide the dough into 8 balls (50g/2 ounces each).
- Heat a skillet with oil over medium-high heat. Flatten the balls of dough between two sheets of plastic wrap with something heavy until it is around 0.5cm thick.
- Place the gordita dough on the skillet and let it cook on each side for 15 seconds. Once each side gets a slight color, cook each side for a couple of minutes until it gets dark spots. Place it on the plate and cover it with a towel.
- Once you cook them all, using the knife, cut them in half, making a pocket on the bottom side. Add your favorite fillings.
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