Gordita bread preparation begins with corn-based dough (masa) mixed with water, which is then formed into a small round tortilla shape approximately 4 inches in diameter and 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. The shape is similar to a plump type of tortilla, which are usually thinner and wider than gorditas. When the gordita is ready to be cooked, the dough is placed on griddle or skillet and “baked” for 1 or 2 minutes on each side. The top and bottom of the gordita is well cooked, but the sides remain slightly uncooked, which is beneficial if a pocket sandwich is desired. A knife can be inserted into the bread after cooking to open up the gordita similar to a pita pocket bread. In order for the bread to be used in this fashion, some cooks suggest pinching the outer edges together prior to cooking except in the area where the opening is to be made for the food pocket.
Prior to filling the gordita with sandwich ingredients, the bread is cooked again, this time in a saucepan or a skillet containing 1/2 inch of oil. The bread is first fried on one side for 10 to 20 seconds before being turned to fry the other side. The intent is to achieve a crispy outer shell while the inside retains its moistness and flakiness. As it cooks in the oil, the Gordita puffs up, becoming plump and fat. This characteristic is what gives the bread the name, “Gordita,” which means "little fat one" in Spanish.
The next step in the gordita pocket sandwich assembly is to stuff the pocket with various sandwich ingredients. The ingredients may include the traditional shredded beef, onions, and chilies or a variety of other tasty ingredients, such as poultry, cheese, vegetables, or guacamole mixtures.
In addition to the bread-wrapped sandwich version, another gordita variety is also popular. A plump patty can be formed using masa harina (corn flour) as the base ingredient. The patty is often topped with additional fresh ingredients, such as bits of peppers, lettuce, and/or salsa. Often sold by street vendors as a small sandwich, the Gordita is a versatile food that can be served as a snack, an appetizer, or as a main meal with a variety of different ingredients.