Churros are my FAVORITE Spanish/Mexican dessert! They are super crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, and rolled in sugar & cinnamon.
Churros were one of the first things I ever learned how to make. I love them so much that I consider myself a churro snob for sure. I am VERY particular about my churros, and most people that love them are too! You will typically find two types of people when it comes to churros- egg in the dough vs no egg.
I’ve made MANY variations of churros throughout the years- ones with eggs, milk, butter, oil, water, etc. In my opinion, the best churros are the ones made without any animal products. I am not a vegan, but I can honestly say the BEST churros are vegan churros. All you need is flour, water, sugar, salt, oil, and cinnamon. That’s it! AUTHENTIC Spanish churros do not have eggs, butter, or milk.
Luckily, these are all pantry staples that most people always have in their homes. I prefer these simple ingredients over using eggs and butter because the end product is what I think a perfect churro needs to be- crispy/crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, but NOT doughy. These churros also stay very crispy long after they have been fried!
Mexican vs Spanish churros
Did you know that churros originated in Spain, not Mexico? As a Mexican/Spaniard myself, I didn’t actually learn this until my early 20’s. The main difference between Mexican and Spanish churros is cinnamon.
In Spain, churros are only coated in sugar and served with a chocolate dipping sauce. In Mexico, churros are coated in a sugar and cinnamon mixture and can be eaten alone or with dipping sauces like chocolate or caramel. Sometimes they are also filled with sauces, jelly, or custard in the center.
All purpose flour- I only use Wheat Montana flour. It’s available at Walmart, but you can use whatever unbleached AP flour you prefer. You’ll need one cup.
Water- 1 cup
Oil- you’ll need just 1 tablespoon of canola or vegetable oil for the dough. For frying, the amount of oil you need will depend on the size and depth of your pot. Since the churros are small, you don’t need that much depth for the oil.
Sugar- I prefer to put a little sugar in the dough, even though it will be covered in sugar at the end. I tried to make churros without sugar in the dough and it just didn’t taste or look right to me. Just 1 tablespoon of sugar is the perfect amount for flavor and color.
Salt- just 1/2 tsp of salt added to the dough.
Vanilla extract- I use Mexican vanilla extract, and I add this AFTER boiling the water. 1/2 tsp
Sugar/cinnamon mix- to coat the churros, I mix 1/2 cup of sugar with 1 tsp of cinnamon. You can adjust this to your taste.
To make churros, you absolutely need these 3 kitchen tools:
Thermometer- To make this recipe fool proof, I HIGHLY recommend using a candy thermometer. I use the Taylor Precision candy thermometer and it has never failed me. Working with hot oil can be tricky- the temp will fluctuate as you add the dough and the only way to monitor the temp is to actually measure it.
Heavy duty piping bag- PLEASE do not try to use any type of disposable piping bag! This includes makeshift Ziploc bags or any other disposable plastic. I cannot stress this enough. If you try to use one of these bags, it is very likely that the bag will explode while piping the dough into hot oil. You can really injure yourself, so please get yourself a heavy duty piping bag that can be reused again and again. I got mine from Michaels for $6. Here is a link for one from Amazon as well.
Star tip- since you’re used to seeing churros that are about an inch thick, you’re probably going to want to grab a tip that is the same size- don’t. They are too big and you will end up with raw, doughy insides. The perfect size for homemade churros is the Wilton 1M star tip. It will seem too small but trust me, it’s the right size.
My tips for fool proof churros:
Churros are really easy to make, but there are a few things you need to know in order to make this recipe fool proof.
Add the vanilla extract AFTER boiling- for better concentrated flavor, add the vanilla extract after you have removed the boiled elements from the heat. Do not boil the vanilla extract.
Do not overmix the dough- when you add the flour, do not mix for longer than 20 seconds. Mix it just until it all comes together to form a ball- there might still be some dry flour in the dough and that’s ok.
Cooling time- let the dough cool for 2-3 minutes before stuffing into the piping bag. We want the dough to be warm but not too hot. This cooling time is crucial for the texture of the dough- it still needs to be warm enough that the dough is still soft. You should be able to squeeze it out of the piping bag without struggling to apply too much pressure. If the dough is too hard, it will be difficult to pipe out and it will also be raw on the inside.
Use scissors to cut the dough- some prefer to use a knife but I think scissors are better at cutting the dough off when you are piping it over the oil. They are also useful for separating churros that get stuck together while frying.
Do not overcrowd the pot- it is best to pipe 4 to 5 churros into the oil when frying. Any more than that will cause the oil to drop too low in temperature. You will need to work in batches.
Let the churros rest- when each batch is done frying, let them rest on a cooling rack for 1 minute before rolling them into the sugar and cinnamon mix. If you roll them right away, it will cause the sugar to clump up too much and won’t look great or stick well to the rest of the churros. I also think the churros take on way too much sugar/cinnamon when they are rolled in it right out of the oil.
Alternatively, you can sprinkle the sugar/cinnamon mixture over the churros instead of rolling them into it to avoid the clumping.
Chocolate Dipping Sauce
I grew up eating churros plain, but I knew some people would want a chocolate dip to pair with them so I created my own take on it. I used a Korean instant coffee mix to add to my chocolate sauce for a sweet coffee flavor. It only takes a few minutes to make and its delicious with the churros!
I recommend making this sauce after you have made all the churros. It only takes a few minutes and it should be served right away, otherwise you will have to keep it on very low heat until ready to serve.
You can find these at any Korean supermarket and most Asian markets. I love these instant coffee packets- they taste so good and I use them all the time just for my morning coffee. If you want to make this chocolate sauce but can’t find the instant coffee, you can purchase a box of 20 sticks right here.
- Heavy duty piping bag link in instructions
- 1M star tip (Wilton) link in instructions
- Candy thermometer link in instructions
- oil for frying canola or vegetable
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup flour
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp canola or vegetable oil
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract optional
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
Chocolate Coffee Dip
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 packet Maxim Mocha Gold Instant Coffee
- 2 oz dark chocolate
- pinch of salt
- Fill a pot with enough oil to fry the churros (about 3 inches high) and pre heat it to 360 degrees Fahrenheit. I use a Taylor Precision candy thermometer for this.
- In a small saucepan: mix together water, oil, sugar, and salt. Bring to a boil then turn off the heat when the sugar is fully dissolved. Let it cool for 1 minute.
- Add the vanilla extract and mix.
- Add the flour and mix until just combined- no more than 20 seconds. Do not over mix! It's okay if you can still see some dry spots of flour.
- Let the dough cool for 3-4 minutes. This step is important for the right consistency. It will be much easier to pipe out of the bag. Place the 1M Wilton star tip into a heavy duty piping bag (do NOT use disposable or Ziploc bags!), then stuff with the dough. You should be able to squeeze the dough out using a little pressure with one hand.
- When the oil reaches 360 degrees fahrenheit, pipe in 4 to 5 churros at a time, cutting them with scissors at about 5 inches in length. Do not overcrowd the pot or the oil will drop in temperature too much. You want it to stay between 350-360 degrees. From this point on, the following steps will need to be done in batches.
- Flip the churros over after a minute for even browning. Keep an eye on the thermometer and make any adjustments to the heat source if needed. The churros should be done after about 3-4 minutes. If you like them extra crunchy, let them fry a little longer until they are a deep golden brown.
- Shake off excess oil (be careful) and let the churros rest on a cooling rack for 1 minute. Do not roll in sugar right away- this will cause the sugar to clump too much and won't stick well to the rest of the churros.
- Roll the churros in the sugar/cinnamon mixture until well coated. Repeat the frying process until all the churros are done.
To make the chocolate coffee dip:
- Heat the heavy cream, instant coffee packet, and pinch of salt in a small sauce pan on low until dissolved. Do not hard boil- this should just be a simmer.
- Turn off the heat and add the dark chocolate. Mix until fully dissolved and keep on low heat until serving (the dip will harden when cooled- it is meant to be served warm and eaten right away).