Have you ever tried gorditas? They are like tasty little mexican pita pockets that you can stuff with all of your favorite fillings. This simple bean and cheese gordita recipe is great for people who are making gorditas for the first time or people who are just looking for a quick & easy gordita recipe. In addition to being easy, this recipe is gluten free, vegetarian, egg free, and nut free.
If it is your first time making gorditas or if you need help troubleshooting your gorditas you should also check out our comprehensive article on how to make gorditas.
Do you need a tortilla press to make gorditas?
Do you need a tortilla press to make gorditas? If it is your first time making gorditas you can use a flat object such as a cutting board to press your dough into a tortilla shape. That being said, using a cutting board is clunky and time consuming. We highly recommend getting a tortilla press like this one if you regularly make gorditas.
How to make gorditas
How do you make gorditas from scratch? Here are the steps you need to go through to make gorditas. We provide additional details and tips later in the recipe but here is a high level overview of the steps you need to go through so that you know what to expect.
- Make the masa dough. Combine the ingredients for the masa dough. If the dough is too sticky then you can add a little extra masa harina to the dough. If the dough crumbles when you try to shape it then you can add more water to the dough.
- Shape the masa dough into small balls. After you have made the masa dough it is time to shape the dough into balls. You should make dough balls that are around 1 1/2 – 2 inches in diameter.
- Flatten the balls into gorditas. After you separate your masa dough into balls you need to flatten the balls into tortillas. Gorditas should be about twice the thickness of regular tortillas. You can flatten your gorditas with a tortilla press or by pressing down on them with a flat heavy object like a cutting board or cookbook.
- Cook the gorditas. Cook the gorditas on a large flat pan, skillet, or comal. You should flip the gorditas 15 – 20 seconds after you put them on the pan to help ensure that they puff up.
- Cut open the gorditas. Slide a knife through the thin side of the gorditas to open up the pocket. If your gorditas didn’t puff up much you might need to jiggle the knife around a little to cut open more of a pocket for toppings.
How to make gorditas puff up
Gorditas puff up a little when they cook just like pita bread. This is because the water inside of the masa dough evaporates into steam and starts to expand. Are your gorditas not puffing up? Here are some tips you can follow to help encourage your gorditas to puff up.
- Experiment with different thicknesses. If your gorditas are not puffing up as much as you would like you can try making them a little thinner or thicker. If gorditas are too thin then the steam will be more easily able to escape the gorditas rather than being trapped in the middle. If gorditas are too thick then they will be too heavy for the steam to support and they will not puff up as much.
- Make sure to flip your gorditas soon after you add them to the pan. This seals up both sides of the gorditas and ensures that steam gets trapped inside of the gorditas rather than escaping through the uncooked dough.
- Turn the heat up. If your gorditas are not puffing up that might mean that you are not cooking them at a high enough temperature. If your gorditas are cooked at a low temperature the water inside the dough will not evaporate and turn into steam fast enough. Make sure that your pan is thoroughly heated before cooking your first batch of gorditas.
- Fry them in oil. If you are having trouble getting your gorditas to puff up cooking them without oil you can try frying them with oil. Gorditas generally puff up much more when they are cooked in oil than when they are cooked on a dry pan. If you want to fry your gorditas in oil you can follow the same instructions in this recipe. Just fill your pan with a quarter of an inch of oil before you heat it up.
- Gently push down on the sides of the gorditas. It sometimes helps to gently push down on the sides of the gorditas with a spoon or spatula. This helps to push steam that is trapped in the sides of the gorditas into the middle so that it can all collect and puff up together. You should wait until both sides of the gorditas have been cooked a little to start cooking them.
What if my gorditas do not puff up?
So what happens if your gorditas do not puff up? Sometimes your gorditas do not puff up or they do not puff up quite as much as you would like when you cook them. This is especially true when you are cooking your gorditas without oil. The good news is that it is easy to salvage gordita shells that did not puff up.
If your gordita shells did not puff up on their own that just means that you need to cut the pocket for the filling out manually. This is easy to do, especially when the gorditas are still warm and the inside of the gorditas are still soft. Just insert your knife as usual and slide it to the left and right to carve out a pocket.
What fillings are used in these gorditas
What filling is used in this gordita recipe? These gorditas are made with a few simple ingredients that do not require any cooking at all. That means that you can focus most of your energy on making nice and puffy gordita shells. Here are the fillings we use to make these bean & cheese gorditas.
- Black beans. Black beans are a classic! We use black beans in this recipe but you could also substitute the black beans for pinto beans, kidney beans, or refried beans if you don’t have any black beans lying around.
- Lime sour cream. This lime sour cream is super easy to make. All you have to do is mix some sour cream with a little bit of lime and a little bit of heavy cream. The lime gives the sour cream more of a fresh, zesty flavor and the sour cream helps to thin the sour cream out a little.
- Guacamole. Everybody loves guacamole! These gorditas are stuffed with a simple guacamole that is made from fresh avocados, tomatoes, red onions, and lime.
- Cheese. A little bit of cheese is added to top off these gorditas. In this recipe we use sharp cheddar to get an extra cheesy flavor. If you are in the mood for something more classic then crumbled queso fresco is also a great option!
Variations on gorditas
Have you seen gorditas that look different from ours? Different regions of Mexico have different styles of cooking so there are a few different ways to make gorditas. Here are a few of the most common variations you might see.
- Thicker gorditas. This bean and cheese gordita recipe calls for making gorditas that are about twice the thickness of a standard corn tortilla – that’s still relatively thin. Some gorditas are closer to half an inch in thickness. Thicker gorditas do not tend to puff up quite as much since they are so heavy but they are even easier to cut through to create a pocket for fillings.
- Gorditas that are fried in oil. This recipe calls for cooking gorditas in a pan without oil. Some other recipes will call for frying the gorditas in about a 1/4 inch of vegetable oil. Gorditas that are fired in oil are a little less healthy and a little messier to make but they also have their advantages. For example, gorditas that are fried in oil are much more likely to puff up than gorditas that are cooked without oil.
- Gorditas with toppings on top. This recipe calls for cutting the gorditas open and stuffing them with fillings. Sometimes toppings are piled on top of gorditas rather than stuffed in the middle.
- Gorditas with fillings added before cooking. In this recipe the gorditas are rolled out and cooked then stuffed with fillings after they are cooked. Some recipes call for cooking the gorditas with fillings inside of them kind of like a pupusa. Gorditas that are cooked with fillings inside of them are often cut open and stuffed with even more fillings after they are cooked.
Bean & cheese gorditas
- 15 oz black beans (one standard sized can)
- 2 cups sharp cheddar
- 2 heaping cups masa harina
- 2 cup warm water
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 small avocados
- 1/2 tomato
- 1 tbsp diced red onion
- 1 tsp lime
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
Lime sour cream
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 2 tbsp heavy cream
- 2 tsp lime
Lime sour cream
- Mix all of the ingredients for the lime sour cream in a small bowl. Cover the lime sour cream together and refrigerate until you are ready to serve your gorditas.
- Chop your red onion and tomato then mash your avocado with a fork. Mix all of the ingredients for the guacamole together then cover the guacamole with saran wrap and put it in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve your gorditas.
Bean & cheese gorditas
- Mix all of the ingredients for the gordita dough. The dough should be wet enough that it sticks together in a ball without crumbling but dry enough that it does not stick to your hands when you try to shape it.If your dough is wet and sticky add more masa harina 1 tbsp at a time until it is more workable. If your dough is dry and crumbly add water 1/2 tbsp at a time until it comes together.
- Prepare an area to flatten your dough balls. If you have a tortilla press you can use your tortilla press to flatten your dough balls. If you do not have a tortilla press then you can put a cutting board on top of the dough balls and gently press down on them.You should line your cutting board or tortilla press with a non-stick material before flattening your dough balls. I recommend cutting a slit down the side of a gallon sized ziplock bag so that it has a large flap that is easy to open and putting the dough balls inside the ziplock bag when you flatten them. If you do not have a gallon sized bag you can press your dough balls between two sheets of saran wrap.
- Seperate the gordita dough into balls that are 1 1/2 - 2 inches in diameter. Flatten the dough balls into patties that are between 1/2 cm and 1 cm thick.Gorditas should be around twice the thickness of corn tortillas.
- Heat a large flat pan, skillet, or comal over medium high heat. Transfer a batch of the gorditas to the pan then cook them for 15 - 20 seconds then flip them. Continue to cook them until they lightly brown on both sides. If your pan is hot then the gorditas should only need a few minutes to cook. It is important to flip the gorditas early on to help the air pocket form. You want to cook each side of the gordita to seal it up so that the air gets trapped inside the pocket rather than escaping through the uncooked dough.
- Give the gorditas a few minutes to cool then use a knife to cut a slit in the gorditas so that you can stuff toppings in them. The gorditas should have puffed up during cooking. It is easiest to cut the gorditas within a few minutes after cooking so they still have a puffed up warm air pocket.
- Stuff the gorditas with beans and cheese then heat them over low to medium low heat on the pan until the cheese melts. Add sour cream and guacamole to the gorditas and serve.
Substitutions for bean & cheese gorditas
- Beans. We use black beans in this recipe. If you do not have any black beans at your house you can also use pinto beans, refried beans, or kidney beans.
- Sharp cheddar. We use sharp cheddar in this recipe to give the gorditas an extra strong cheesy flavor. You can also use more mild cheeses like Monterey jack, pepper jack, or crumbled queso fresco.
- Heavy cream. We use heavy cream to thin out our lime sour cream. If you do not use much heavy cream you could also use milk. Whole milk is preferable but any kind of milk will do.
Other recipes you will love
If you need any help troubleshooting a failed gordita attempt or if you are looking for any more tips on how to make gorditas then you should check out our comprehensive tutorial on how to make gorditas.
Are you looking for another vegetarian gorditas recipe to try after making these bean and cheese gorditas? Check out this recipe for gorditas de rajas con crema! These gorditas are stuffed with creamy Mexican crema, cheesy Monterey jack, roasted poblano peppers, tender browned onions, and corn for an extra burst of sweetness!
If you have some leftover masa harina from making your gorditas then why not use it to make some tasty vegetarian sopes? These sopes are topped with flavorful refried beans, creamy poblano crema, green onions, and crumbled queso fresco.
Chalupas are made with masa harina too! If you want to try your hand at making homemade chalupas then you should check out our recipe for vegetarian chalupas. These chalupas are topped with a roasted tomatillo salsa, white onions, green onions, and crumbled queso fresco.