Mexican gorditas de maiz are among the most popular street foods. These little masa pockets are truly a treat. They can be filled with endless options of your favorite fillings. You’re going to love this easy, inexpensive homemade gorditas recipe.
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Gorditas de Maiz
Gorditas, pronounced gor-dee-tahs, are little masa pockets that are like thick corn tortillas. Somewhat similar to pita bread, just smaller in size and made with corn dough instead of wheat flour.
Gorditas means “little fatties”, which is meant to describe them as the little fat stuffed corn tortillas.
Gorditas de maiz are one of those basic and authentic Mexican recipes that anyone can master, and everyone seems to love them too. I mean when you can stuff them with so many different delicious fillings, what’s not to love?!
These antojitos are made with masa balls that are flattened and shaped into discs, they are thicker than a tortilla but smaller in size.
They are then placed on a hot comal and cooked on both sides for a few minutes. (Some people also like to fry them after cooking on the comal, this is up to you.) Then they’re sliced lengthwise to create the pocket. Lastly they’re stuffed and enjoyed.
There are some variations depending on the state of Mexico you’re in. Some people make them just like mentioned above, but others put the filling in the center of the masa, shape then cook — some just on the comal and others will also fry in hot oil. The already stuffed gordita is cooked on the comal, then sliced open again and filled with garnishes.
These gorditas de maiz shouldn’t be confused with sweet gorditas or flour gorditas made from wheat flour.
What Are Sopes?
Sope, pronounced so-pe, is a little masa dough disks with pinched edges and layered on fillings, they are quite similar to gorditas and you’ll often see them being offered together on menus.
Sopes too are made from masa or corn dough. They starts off as ball that is then flattened, to a thick tortilla. It’s cooked on a comal or griddle then the edges are pinched up to create like a little round boat with walls to keep all of the toppings on it.
Depending on the region of Mexico, sopes can also be known as pellizcadas which comes from the word pellizcar or to “pinch”. Another name for them in the state of Veracruz is picaditas, usually those are larger in diameter and thinner too.
After shaping and cooking a sope on a comal some people will also either fry it in a little bit of oil or deep fry it. After either cooking method is complete the sope is ready to be topped with a big variety of toppings.
Sopes and Gorditas Are Antojitos
Antojitos translates to “little cravings” and they are among the favorite street food of Mexicans. Meant to be enjoyed as little bites to calm the hunger in between meals, they end up being more like the actual meal.
In any city or town you visit in Mexico there will be tons of market vendors selling both of these little masa treats. Nearly every restaurant will also have them available. But of course, they’re also both popular foods to make at home.
What to Fill Gorditas With
You can stuff gorditas with pretty much anything you’d like. If you have leftovers, they’re great for using up inside gorditas or on sopes too.
What to Top Sopes With
The way a sope is topped can differ from one Mexican region to another. There are so many options and you’ll always be able to find both vegan and vegetarian topping choices.
Often times the sopes can have refried beans or my mom also used mashed potatoes on the base. Then top with anything from nopales, chicharron or pork rinds, shredded meats, carnitas, tinga…or even just refried beans and cheese. The options are endless and can be the same as the different type of fillings for gorditas de maiz.
Gorditas de Maiz Ingredients
The ingredients are very basic and they are exactly the same ingredients used for making sopes. But they’ll depend if you have a tortilleria nearby to purchase fresh masa from or not.
- fresh masa dough from the tortilleria or masa harina
- baking powder
- oil for dough (optional, I use olive oil)
- vegetable oil for frying
If you have a Mexican grocery store near you, they’ll usually have a tortilleria in the store so you can buy the fresh masa from. If for the bags of instant masa and grab yourself one or two.
If it’s your first time making either gorditas or sopes, you could use a tortilla press to flatten the masa ball. Or you could also just do it the old fashion traditional way and use the palm of your hands to shape.
How to Make Gorditas de Maiz
To start with either fresh masa is purchased from the local tortilleria, where it’s made of freshly ground corn known as maíz nixtamalizado, or bags of instant masa like Maseca are used.
If using instant corn flour, it of course must first be hydrated with warm water. I personally like to also add a splash of vegetable oil for texture. I too like to add a little bit of salt for extra flavor and some baking powder to give the dough a little extra fluffiness to the texture.
The dough is shaped into small balls which are then either shaped using a tortilla press or by hand (watch the video for a visual), then cooked on a hot comal on both sides.
If making gorditas you can then fry in hot oil for a few minutes until they turn a golden color. Drain off excess oil from the fried gordita on a plate lined with paper towels. Then allow to cool down enough so you can handle them either off of the comal or after frying. Use a paring knife to cut a slit to create the pocket — like a pita.
Then they are stuffed with your filling of choice and enjoyed.
How to Make Sopes
You follow the same exact process as making gorditas. Except once you take them off of the comal you need to pinch the edges to create that ridge around the gordita to transform it into a sope.
You can then fry in hot oil, place on paper towels lined plate to drain off all excess oil. Then top with anything you’d like.
Make sure to watch the video for a visual guide of how to make both sopes and gorditas.
Are Gorditas and Sopes Made The Same Way
Yes they are, it’s essentially the same recipe for both of them.
How to Store Gorditas and Sopes
Both the gorditas de maiz and the sopes can be made ahead and stored in the fridge for up to 5 days. Or you can also freeze them for up to a few months.
Gordita Fillings and Sope Toppings
- Refried beans
- Chorizo con Papas
- Soyrizo con nopales
- Sauteed nopales (nopales with onion and tomato)
- Nopales con Chorizo
- Papas a la Mexicana
- How to Make Vegan Carne Picada (Easy Recipe)
- Vegan Tinga
- Oyster mushroom guisado
- Vegan Sour Cream
- Chicharron in Salsa Verde
- Tomato Salsa
Mexican Gorditas de Maiz Recipe
I really hope you give my homemade Mexican gorditas recipe a try. They really aren’t difficult to make — and as you can see you can also make sopes right at the same time.
They are one of my favorite dishes and something fun you can prepare for a family gathering or just a nice meal at home. If you’ve got leftovers you can use them up either inside gorditas or on top of sopes.
Mexican Gorditas de Maiz Recipe
- 2 1/2 cups masa harina
- 1 teaspoon baking powder optional
- 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
- 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil optional, I use olive oil
- 2 cups lukewarm water you may need more or a little less
- fillings and toppings as desired see notes
- In a large bowl combine the masa harina, salt and baking powder until well combined. Next drizzle in the oil then gradually add the water as you start to mix the dough. Little by little keep adding water until you have a dough that perfectly hydrated, comes together and doesn’t fall apart or stick to your hands and fingers.
- Shape small masa balls about the size of a golf ball, do so until all of the dough has been used up. (I ended up with 15 balls). As you shape the balls put them back in the bowl, then cover it with a clean kitchen towel and let rest for 10 minutes
- Heat a comal (or large frying pan) then start shaping the gorditas and the sopes. One by one flatten the ball between your palms until you have a disk about ¼ inch thick then carefully place it on the hot comal. Allow to cook for 4 minutes on one side before flipping over. As one is cooking you can continue to shape more enough to fit on your comal or frying pan. Once flipped and cooked on both sides put the in a bowl or small basket and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Set aside and continue until all of the balls have been shaped and cooked.
- To shape the sopes place one on a cutting board then going around start pinching up the edge all the way around (watch the video for visual guide). For gorditas just slices like you would to on a pita bread to form a pocket. From here your gorditas and sopes are ready to eat, or you can take it a step further and fry them both in hot oil until they’re a little crispy. Drain excess oil on paper towels then stuff or top as desired.
Nancy Lopez is a food blogger and author of the cookbook Mexican Tamales Made Meatless. Born in Mexico, raised in the US, and currently living in Southern Mexico, she has followed a meatless diet for almost 10 years. It is her passion and mission to share all she has learned about vegan Mexican cooking and vegetarian Mexican recipes. Mexican Made Meatless is a blog dedicated to preserving the authentic flavors of Mexican cuisine just without the meat. It’s a place to celebrate Mexican culture and all it’s delightfully delicious traditional foods. Read more…