Mexican Gorditas with Chile Verde Beef and Potatoes
Essentially the Hispanic version of a pita, Mexican Gorditas are deliciously tender corn pockets that can be filled with your choice of tasty goodies like my chile verde beef and potato stew. Made with just 15 minutes of prep time, these crowd-pleasing gorditas Mexicanas are easy enough for a busy weeknight and are hearty enough to crush even the biggest hunger.
What are Mexican Gorditas?
If your only experience with Mexican gorditas is Taco Bell, I have a surprise for you: they’re not terribly authentic when you get them from a fast-food chain. Crazy, right? Taco Bell mistakenly presents gorditas as a flatbread more like naan, when in reality, they’re closer to pitas because they have a little pocket in the middle.
While you certainly can make flour gorditas to make a closer Taco Bell copycat version, this post offers the more traditional (and arguably more delicious) recipe for corn gorditas. Primarily made with just masa harina (the same flour used to make corn tortillas) and potato, these tender, thick breads are fried for a rich and flavorful result.
What does Gordita mean?
The word gorditas literally translates to “little chubbies” or “little fatties.” Often used as a term of affection, the name couldn’t be more fitting for these handheld pockets of goodness! Basically, gorditas are thick corn tortillas made from masa dough that have a pocket in the middle that is perfect for filling with any number of delicious Mexican fillings. Keep reading for lots of inspiration below!
My grandma used to make delicious gorditas (corn pockets) for us at home and also made them for our local Catholic Church bazaars. She would help at the annual bazaars for at least eight hours at a time and she did this up until the age of 90. The long lines at the gordita food booth were a testament to their popularity. Everyone knew they were worth the wait.
About This Recipe
My deep love of gorditas came from my Grandma Jesusita, who made them for the annual church bazaar up until the age of 90. Her shifts at the bazaars were at least 8 hours long, with long lines of people the entire time — that’s a testament to how yummy they were! This recipe is based on her teachings.
Gorditas can be filled with basically anything you can imagine (find lots of ideas under the Optional Variations tab below), but the most common filling is picadillo. To switch things up a bit, I’ve opted to make a simple 7-ingredient chile verde stew with beef and potatoes for a filling and comforting dinner.
Using salsa verde and diced roasted green chiles adds a ton of flavor without a lot of fuss. If you don’t want to go completely from scratch, those ingredients are also easy to find at the store. As a bonus? This chile verde can be eaten on its own as an entrée and then used as a filling for gorditas, meaning you get two dinners for the effort of one. You’re welcome!
Ingredients & Substitutions
You need a measly 7 ingredients for my chile verde con carne y papas. Here’s what you should grab:
- Canola Oil – You can also use shortening or any neutral flavored, high-smoke-point oil that you prefer (e.g. avocado oil, grapeseed oil, vegetable oil).
- Stew Beef – Typically, stew beef is made from tougher, less expensive cuts like chuck, bottom round, bottom sirloin flat (“bohemian”), or fatty brisket. For the best results, I suggest purchasing a larger cut and breaking it down into cubes yourself since “stewing beef” cubes are usually lower quality.
- Russet Potatoes – Baking potatoes like russets and Idahos are my go-to spud for this simple stew, but you can easily swap in an all-purpose potato like Yukon Golds here instead.
- Garlic – I prefer the flavor of fresh garlic cloves, but if you are in a pinch you can sub in 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder for each clove.
- Flour – Feel free to use a gluten-free all-purpose blend if needed!
- Diced Green Chiles – While you’re free to use canned diced green chiles for ease of preparation, I almost always have some homemade ones hanging out in my freezer.
- Salsa Verde – It’s hard to beat homemade, but feel free to use any store-bought brand you enjoy! You can also swap in enchilada verde sauce if that’s what’s in your pantry.
Making homemade corn gorditas requires an additional 2 ingredients:
- Yukon Gold Potato – I like adding potato to my gordita dough to make them a little lighter. Yukon Golds are the perfect amount of starchy.
- Masa Harina – Masa harina is a Mexican pantry staple that is both cheap and versatile. It’s great for making these gorditas, corn tortillas, deliciously chocolatey champurrado, tamales, savory empanadas, and more!
Part of the fun of eating Mexican gorditas is getting to go nuts with your toppings. Here are some ideas to get your wheels turning, but feel free to improvise as you see fit:
- Shredded Lettuce
- Chopped Tomato
- Shredded Cheese
- Sour Cream or Crema Mexicana
- Classic Guacamole
- Pickled Onions
How To Make Savory Mexican Gorditas
Making these chile verde stuffed Mexican gorditas is honestly easy enough to pull off on a weeknight. Here’s how it’s done:
Make Chile Verde con Carne:
Step 1: Sear Meat and Potatoes. Heat oil in a large skillet. Place the beef, potatoes, and 1 teaspoon salt in the skillet and cover and cook for about 10 minutes, until the meat is cooked and potatoes are tender.
Step 2: Make Stew. Uncover and add garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Add flour and stir for at least 2 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Let mixture come to a boil, then season to taste. Lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
Make Corn Gorditas
Step 1: Boil Potato. Boil diced potato until soft enough to mash, about 15 minutes. Strain, mash, and set aside. PRO TIP: Feel free to use leftover mashed potatoes instead!
Step 2: Make Dough. In a separate bowl, mix together the gordita dough ingredients. Knead for about 5 minutes. Cover with a dish towel and let stand for about 15 minutes. PRO TIP: The dough should feel like PlayDough.
Step 3: Shape Gorditas. Divide dough into 12 equal portions. Using your hands, make 12 patties about 1⁄8 inch thick.
Step 4: Fry. In a deep frying pan, such as a wok, heat cooking oil until very hot. Gently drop 2 or 3 gorditas into the oil. They will sink to the bottom of the pan. Once they rise to the surface, about 3 to 5 minutes, turn them over. Allow to cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. They should be a golden brown. Place the fried gorditas on paper towels to drain excess oil. Finish cooking all the gorditas and allow them to cool off slightly, about 5 minutes.
Step 5: Assemble & Enjoy! Cut open one end of each gordita creating a pocket. Fill with chile verde con carne. Top filled gorditas with your choice of toppings.
Gorditas can be filled with almost anything you have on hand. I guess you can say they are the Mexican pita. The most common filling at fiestas or bazaars is picadillo.
Mexican gorditas are as versatile as sandwiches, so the options for customization are nearly endless! Here are a some common filling ideas to stuff them with:
Or literally anything else you can think of!
Make dessert using my gorditas de azucar. Feel free to stuff them with berries, chocolate, dulce de leche, or anything else you’re craving.
Frequently Asked Questions
There are two things that could contribute to a non-puffed gordita shell. First, make sure your oil is ideal frying temperature, between 350-365F. If you don’t have a thermometer, stick the handle of a wooden spoon in to test; the oil should bubble vigorously! If the oil is too cold, the gordita dough will take on too much oil and become dense and heavy.
Second, make sure you’re flattening the dough discs to about 1/8th of an inch. If they’re much thicker than that, they’ll fail to puff.
While they are made with similar ingredients, Salvadoran pupusas are usually filled *prior* to being cooked, whereas gorditas are filled after they have been fried.
If you get certified gluten-free masa harina, then yes! This recipe for gorditas is gluten free, vegetarian, and vegan (without the filling).
After the gorditas are fried and still warm, split the gorditas creating a pocket to stuff them.
Absolutely! Please follow this recipe for gorditas de harina.
If you tried this easy recipe for Mexican Gorditas with Chile Verde Beef and Potatoes, please let me know how it turned out by rating and reviewing it below! You can also sign up for my email newsletter to get more delicious authentic Mexican recipe inspiration delivered straight to your inbox.
Mexican Gorditas with Chile Verde Beef and Potatoes (Gorditas de Chile Verde con Carne y Papas)
- 1 tablespoon canola oil or shortening
- 2¼ pounds stew beef, diced
- 3 medium russet potatoes, peeled and diced
- 1 teaspoon salt plus additional to taste
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1½ tablespoons flour
- ½ cup roasted diced green chile
- 3 cups Salsa Verde
- ¼ cup water
- shredded lettuce
- chopped tomato
- shredded cheese
Chile Verde con Carne:
- Heat oil in a large skillet. Place the beef, potatoes, and 1 teaspoon salt in the skillet and cover and cook for about 10 minutes, until meat is cooked and potatoes are tender.
- Uncover and add garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Add flour and stir at least 2 minutes. Add green chile, salsa verde, and water and stir. Let mixture come to a boil. Add additional salt to taste. Lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Boil diced potato in boiling water with ¾ teaspoon salt until soft enough to mash, about 15 minutes. Strain, mash, and set aside.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the corn flour, water, ¼ teaspoon salt, and 1 cup mashed potatoes. Knead for about 5 minutes. Cover with a dish towel and let stand for about 15 minutes.
- Divide dough into 12 equal portions. Using your hands make 12 patties about 1⁄8 inch thick.
- In a deep frying pan, such as a wok, heat cooking oil until very hot. Gently drop 2 or 3 gorditas into the oil. They will sink to the bottom of the pan. Once they rise to the surface, about 3 to 5 minutes, turn them over. Allow to cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. They should be a golden brown. Place the fried gorditas on paper towels to drain excess oil. Finish cooking all the gorditas and allow them to cool off slightly, about 5 minutes.
- Cut open one end of each gordita creating a pocket. Fill with chile verde con carne. Top filled gorditas with your choice of toppings.
- PRO TIP: Feel free to use leftover mashed potatoes instead!
- Feel free to fill your gorditas with your favorite fillings.
Photo by Jeanine Thurston
Originally published: April 2016.