Gorditas roughly translates into “little fatties”, which is a reference to their appearance — fat, stuffed corn tortillas — and possibly your appearance as well if you eat too many. A play on my “Healthy vs Hell-with-it” theme, these are basically Tuesday’s very healthy, low-fat and wholesome corn tortilla recipe turned into fried corn dough balls stuffed with fatty carnitas (or really anything you can think of) along with cheese, onion, cilantro, lettuce, and salsa. If you look around, you’ll find literally tens of different ways people make gorditas.

Sometimes they are just a thick, grilled corn tortillas with the “filling” piled on top; sometimes they are stuffed before cooking (more similar to the way pupusas are made); sometimes they are small and round like a fist; other times they are flat and disc-shaped. What I see in Austin most often is this type: a thick tortilla, grilled, then deep fried, split open like a pita bread and stuffed with any meats or non-meats on the menu: chicharrones, barbacoa, puerco al pastor, carnitas, aguacate, frijoles refritos, nopalitos … the possibilities are literally endless. Anything you can put into a taco, you can also cram into a gordita and it’s divine. Crispy fried exterior, creamy and smooth corny interior. Top them with the usual suspects like Cotija cheese (salty, crumbly, similar to Parmesan) or sour cream and fresh onions, cilantro, lettuce, tomato. You’ll think you’ve died and gone to Little Fatty Heaven.

And then you’ll wake up there for real after having 10 gorditas and a heart attack.






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4.9 from 9 reviews

  • Author: Hilah Johnson
  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 10 mins
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x


  • Dough:
  • 2 cups (8 ounces by weight) masa harina
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 1/4 cups warm water (approximate)
  • Oil for frying (about a quart, or enough to be at least 1″ deep) like corn or peanut
  • Fillings (see above text for more ideas):
  • Cooked meat, shredded or chopped
  • Refried beans
  • Cheese and sour cream
  • Lettuce, tomato, onion, cilantro


  1. In a large bowl, combine masa harina, baking powder, salt.
  2. Add oil and about 1 cup of water. Stir to combine. Add enough water to make a dough that sticks together into a ball, but not so much that it sticks to your hands.
  3. Divide dough into 4 pieces and pat each out to a circle about 4-5″ across and 1/2″ thick.
  4. Cook on a hot, dry skillet over medium-high heat for 1 1/2 minutes each side, or until lightly browned.
  5. Heat the oil to 360-375 degrees and place gorditas in the hot oil. After about 2 minutes, they will rise to the surface. Turn and cook another 30 seconds.
  6. Allow to cool and drain on paper.
  7. Split open along the side with a serrated knife. don’t cut yourself!
  8. Stuff with whatever you like and serve right away.

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  1. Great Stone Face on April 4, 2013 at 10:56 am

    Looks great! Gorditas always remind me of Gus Arriola’s old comic strip, “Gordo“. The first time Marsha and I had one was at the sorely missed La Casita de Speedy Gonzales in Arlington, Virginia. Before Arlington got all built up, you could go to this place in two small houses connected by a corridor. It had mismatched torn furniture. If you wanted a soft drink, you had to buy one from the Coke machine out on the front porch. Their gorditas were extra-large stuffed tacos in soft fluffy corn shells. A bit of of the Southwest in Northern Virginia, now gone.

    • Hilah on April 4, 2013 at 11:19 am

      Interesting! The gorditas you are describing sound like what we call Puffy Tacos around these parts! I’m going to make those on the show eventually, too, then we will see if they are the same.

      • arta on September 6, 2014 at 6:50 pm

        where can i buy ready made Gorditas shells? thanks, Chicago area.

        • Hilah on September 7, 2014 at 10:11 am

          I suggest finding a Latin/Hispanic grocery store.

          • arta on September 7, 2014 at 10:50 am

            i’ve looked all over and none have them. maybe cause they r rare sellers. ok, thanks.

        • arge on July 16, 2018 at 7:40 am

          i know that here in nm they have premix tamale dough that will work, but its always tastes better to make ur own.

      • Charles B. Hamm Jr. on November 7, 2017 at 7:12 am

        Must have done something wrong they came out very hard.

        • Elva Garcia on April 14, 2022 at 7:54 am

          Maybe the masa needed more water..

  2. Pat Soltis on April 4, 2013 at 11:56 am

    In Central America and Venezuela they make something called “arepas”, which are also little, fat, stuffed corn cakes. There’s a latino grocery store on the near west side of Cleveland that sells “masa para arepas”. I think it’s processed differently from masa harina. The recipe that I use has me brown them in a dry skillet first, then finish baking them in the oven. My favorite filling is diced avocado and mashed potato.

    • Hilah on April 6, 2013 at 12:23 pm

      You are correct, Pat. Arepas dough is just regular corn meal, not the lime-treated corn meal. I think it would be similar to the “Johnny cakes” we have here in the US. Avocado and mashed potato sounds kind of weird, but I would try it. 🙂 You fill the arepas before cooking them, right? Or are they filled afterwards like the gorditas?

  3. Keith on April 4, 2013 at 12:53 pm

    Hi Hilah,
    Looks like another winner. Being from New England (next state ova from great stone face actually.) all my attempts at home made corn tortillas failed. I swore off buying Masa Harina and have been buying pre-made corn tortillas til I buy (or make) a proper tortilla press. This recipe looks promising though. If I buy the Masa to try it, I will just HAVE to get a tortilla press just to justify having it in the house. A quick note… your vid on the Roku channel for Navajo Fry Bread is AFU. It plays the ad but that’s it.

    OK Massa added to the grocery list again and I am off to make Fish Tacos for supper.


    • Hilah on April 6, 2013 at 12:21 pm

      Yay! I’m glad you’re going to try again with the tortillas. The first time I did it, I too got really frustrated because the dough was sticking all over the place but then I realized I just had it too wet and now that I know that, it’s easy-peasy. Let me know how it goes!

      • Grumpy cook on November 23, 2014 at 11:41 pm

        Noo taco press! not like puffy tacos think corn biscuits. tahdah

    • DEBORAH on June 14, 2020 at 12:41 pm

      Fry bread is simply 2 cups ap. flour 1 tbls.baking soda. 1/2 tsp
      Salt and one cup of milk….mix all ingredients together, let sit for about 20 minutes. Separate into med. Size balls, roll out thin, fry in corn oil ….about 3 minutes each side. Drain on paper towel. Yummy

    • Marisa on January 22, 2022 at 10:58 pm

      Came out PERFECT! and delicious.. gorditas with carne al pastor refried beans, cheese, Lettuce, tomatoes,cilantro, with fresh chile verde!! Thank you.. ps instead if oil i used APPLE SAUCE! PERFECT

      • Hilah on February 8, 2022 at 11:40 am

        Wow! Thanks Marisa, I would never have tried to make these with applesauce!

    • Carla on January 24, 2024 at 6:33 pm

      Where is this on Roku? I would love to watch!

  4. Gilbert on March 18, 2016 at 9:45 am

    Will you marry me, love your website and your cooking style.

    • Bonnie Raymond on May 10, 2019 at 4:32 pm

      I tried a new method for tortillas without a press: mix 1c masa with 1c hot water and 1/2tsp salt if desired. Cover and let stand an hour. Divide into four pieces and shape into balls.
      Now take a gallon size freezer bag and slit the sides. Center a ball of dough in the bag and pat gently to flatten into a tortilla. Lift the top layer of plastic from the dough, put hand inside the bag and on top of the dough. Flip hand+tortilla + bag so you are holding the tortilla on your palm. Lift plastic off , remove hand with tortilla from bag and flip tortilla onto heated griddle or cast iron pan.
      Cook first side, flip and cook second side.
      The hour’s wait conditions the dough and the heavy plastic releases the dough easily.

  5. Eva on October 5, 2017 at 3:34 pm

    Sorry.That was me screaming.

    • Hilah on October 6, 2017 at 11:34 am

      Yes, I know. I don’t know where you saw anyone say they are the same thing. I also have a puffy taco recipe

  6. Cynthia Sausman on January 27, 2018 at 8:14 am

    I see it’s been years since anyone has posted. I hope you can’t still see this. YOUR GORDITAS ARE BEAUTIFUL!!!! Remind me of my childhood. I haven’t seen Gorditas this good in years. THANK YOU!
    Just what I was looking for!

    • Hilah on January 27, 2018 at 8:38 am

      Hooray! So great to hear that, Cynthia! 😀

  7. Manny on February 15, 2018 at 6:43 pm

    Growing up mom would make Gorditas in the same fashion but not slit the little corn tortilla. Once the corn tortilla was cooked, she dipped them in (made from scratch New Mexico red chillies) red chili sauce, what some would call enchilada sauce. Then all the fixings would be placed on the corn dipped tortilla beginning with the protein, diced fried potatoes, lettuce, diced radishes, olivies, scallions, pico, avocado and cheese (basically anything you wish). These were one of our favorite dishes growing up, because there were a lot of flavors going on. I taught my wife how to make mom’s Gorditas. I came across the stuffed Gorditas for the first time at a little Mexican restaurant in St Louis on Cherokee street. We plan to try your recipe. Thanks for sharing.

    • Hilah on February 16, 2018 at 6:58 am

      Ooh, that sounds so good! I’ve never seen them made like that but it sounds easier than stuffing them, and I love the idea of dipping them in sauce first. Thanks for sharing, Manny 🙂

    • Kecia on April 3, 2018 at 12:49 pm

      Manny, this sounds like something from my neck of the woods/cacti in El Paso. I’m going to try dipping it in the enchilada sauce. I’m in Tallahassee now and miss that style of cooking.

      • Rose M Gomez on November 26, 2018 at 9:37 pm

        Manny, what your mom made sounds more like a sope. Except I’d never heard of dipping the whole thing in sauce. Sounds good though. You can now buy these sopes at the grocery store in El Paso.

  8. Rob Tenpenny on July 18, 2018 at 11:20 am

    Do these freeze well?

    • Hilah on July 19, 2018 at 2:25 pm

      I haven’t tried freezing them, but corn tortillas freeze fine so I think gorditas should also.

  9. Bryan on August 29, 2018 at 3:38 pm

    Try a popusa. I love those. Same process, but stuff first.

  10. Porfirio Perez Jr. on September 6, 2018 at 1:38 pm

    More of a question than a comment; mammá used to put about 1/3 cup flour in her mix along with the baking powder and the salt. What do you think? Just wondering

    • Hilah on September 8, 2018 at 12:01 pm

      Hi Porfirio, I haven’t tried that but I imagine it makes them a little more tender. I’ll try it sometime. Thanks!

  11. Evie on September 6, 2018 at 11:04 pm

    Pupusas are the correct term. It’s a great Central American dish.

  12. Elida on June 15, 2019 at 11:28 am

    Thank you so much for the video and recipe. It was exactly what I was looking for! Great hostess

  13. Steve on July 20, 2019 at 7:11 am

    OMG, you are so funny… & hot to boot! Love the recipe!

  14. Daniel Roque on August 28, 2019 at 8:00 pm

    Who are you? A white girl that knows how to make gorditas. Are you sure you’re not Mexican? I appreciate the fact that you are spot on and used the term homies.

  15. Sheri on February 16, 2020 at 7:50 am

    Made them! So easy and delicious!!

  16. Sergio on February 19, 2020 at 1:48 pm

    My family is from Mexico City. We do not fry ours. We use them straight from the comal.

  17. Eve Benavides on February 20, 2020 at 8:13 am

    What are the nutrition facts on this recipe?

  18. Olga Pietrantonio on June 1, 2020 at 1:30 pm

    I have corn meal. How do I use it to make gorditas? Do I add white flour?

  19. Kimberly Kiefer on October 2, 2021 at 7:25 pm

    Has anybody made them in an air fryer?

  20. D I on January 11, 2022 at 6:49 am

    Not sure how you made corn tortillas using masa harina (flour)

  21. Gladys on February 15, 2022 at 8:30 am

    When you eat these you don’t want to stop they truly are authentic. I prepared them for my grandkids and rest of family they have been eating for the last three days used real masa yellow corn un prepared and followed your recipe 5lbs.of masa so doubled the recipe only thing I added 1 cup of my homemade from scratch red hatch chile. Thank you for sharing your perfect recipe scrumptious ? ? ?

    • Hilah on February 17, 2022 at 8:38 am

      I am so happy your grandkids enjoyed the gorditas, Gladys! The Hatch Chile sauce sounds fantastic

  22. Rose on February 27, 2022 at 11:00 am

    Hi, wondering if I could trouble you with a quick question: I’d like to make gorditas for guests and I’d like to fry them so they puff up nicely. I certainly can’t stand at the stove and fry them one at a time. What’s the best way to manage them in larger amounts? Fry them all then leave them in a warm oven, taking them out as needed to stuff? I don’t want them to deflate or lose their crispiness. Appreciate your help!

  23. Daphne Alex on October 25, 2022 at 4:38 pm

    Thank you so much. I’ve been looking all over to get a good Gordita. I’ll make it myself.

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