Authentic churros are usually super simple to make. In this post, I test different recipes for churros to find out if complicating the recipe is worth the trouble.
The best churros can be made with the simplest of ingredients. So easy, with a super crunchy crust, and a soft & delicious center. Just the way classic authentic churros are meant to be!
- Why I love this recipe
- Origin of authentic churros
- What is an authentic traditional churros recipe?
- The experiment
- How to make authentic churros
- Serving suggestions
- Tips for perfecting this churros recipe
- Storage instructions and Frequently Asked Questions
- Final thoughts on this recipe for authentic churros
Why I love this recipe
- I test four methods for making churros, from traditional churros to the more common “new-fangled” recipes you’d see online, so that I can show you which one is better (in my humble opinion). You can see the results for yourself and choose which recipe you prefer. But I definitely have a favorite!
- It’s super easy and only needs FOUR ingredients!
- I watched Spanish videos to study the method of how they make their churros to further familiarize myself with how traditional churros are made. Then I applied those old-school principles to a homemade recipe so you can easily make delicious churros at home!
- This churro recipe is naturally vegan, so you can make it for any dinner party / potluck and know that anyone can enjoy ’em!
- I’ll share tips on how to make perfect churros for the best, most crispy results.
- Plus, I’ll show you how I prepare the dough for a crowd, so that more people can eat churros together! The more, the merrier.
Feel free to skip straight to the recipe, if you don’t want to read about the different recipe tests I did, and all the results.Jump to Recipe
Origin of authentic churros
Churros are fried dough sticks that are thought to originate from Spain or Portugal. They were brought to Mexico by the Spanish, and they are still very popular in Spain as well as Mexico. But churros are of course very well known around the world now. There isn’t much of a difference between Spanish and Mexican churros, apart from how they are served.
Spain – with sugar and a thick hot chocolate
Mexico – with cinnamon sugar and chocolate sauce or dulce de leche
But they can be eaten plain without any dipping sauce as well.
Churro dough and choux pastry dough
My first experience of churros was when I made it myself at home, a long time ago. Due to limited information on the internet, I ended up making choux pastry dough instead and fried it! While it was delicious, it was certainly not a churro. It wasn’t until I moved to Australia when I finally got to eat a proper churro that was crunchy on the outside, and soft and chewy on the inside.
A lot of people do think churros are made with choux pastry dough, but that’s not the case. However, the first step of making the dough is very similar between churros and choux pastry. Some newer recipes do add eggs as well, but far less than with choux pastry, and authentic churros do not use eggs at all.
That being said, there is ABSOLUTELY nothing wrong with switching up a recipe from its origins if it works for you! So the addition of butter and eggs certainly does not make the recipe wrong. Just different. With a different flavor profile. That’s half the fun of cooking and baking! (Other half being eating, of course.)
What is an authentic traditional churros recipe?
The base for churros is similar to choux pastry. But the ingredients list is shorter.
- Optional – salt and sugar for flavor.
Other recipes also add eggs and butter to the churro dough. Butter and eggs add flavor, while eggs also give the churros a little “lift” and structure – making the inside lighter.
So I’m going to make churros the traditional way, and also make some using additional ingredients that are present in the some newer recipes, and then compare the taste and texture of the churros.
Ingredients to make churros
The “traditional” recipe
This traditional recipe only uses water, flour, and oil as the base. Without eggs, it’s a vegan churro.
- 1 cup / 240 g water
- 1 cup / 140 g flour
- Oil (traditionally olive oil)
- You can choose to add some sugar or leave it out if you’re coating the churros with sugar later.
This is what I usually see online. Most recipes follow a formula that is similar to choux pastry, but with just 1 egg instead of multiple.
- 1 cup / 240 g water
- 1 cup / 140 g flour
- Butter (but I use oil here)
- 1 egg
In this recipe, I make the authentic churro recipe but I add just a little baking powder. The baking powder acts to make the churros more airy on the inside. The idea is to replicate the airy churros that I expect with the addition of eggs. This way I can still make vegan churros as well.
- 1 cup / 240 g water
- 1 cup / 140 g flour
- Baking powder
I’ve seen some traditional churros being made on Youtube that served as inspiration for this iteration. While they do not share any recipes in those YT videos, I can see the texture of the dough. It looks very soft and easily piped into the hot oil.
To mimic this, I wanted to try a recipe with more water and less flour.
- 1 cup / 240 g water
- 1 cup / 120 g flour (spooned and leveled)
The dough was softest with the fourth recipe (less flour), and it was very difficult to “knead”. The second recipe with eggs was the second softest, but I could still easily handle to dough. The traditional recipe and third recipe (with baking powder) had a similar feel and could be handled well without being too firm. They were all very smooth in texture.
Frying the dough
All churros were fried at the same temperature and for a similar length of time (about 2.5 minutes). The fourth recipe piped out somewhat irregularly due to the high moisture content.
The third recipe browned a little faster than others, and it is possible that the baking powder had a part to play in it.
The second dough piped the smoothest because it was a soft dough and didn’t form jagged edges as it was piped. The second and third dough also had bubbles on the surface. Possibly because of the eggs ( in the second batch) and the baking powder (in the third batch).
Straight out of the fryer, they were all SUPER crisp!
The churro that lost the crunch the earliest was the second recipe with the eggs. The fourth recipe was too crunchy and hard. The crunch factor for the first and third recipe was amazing, and they stayed crunchy for hours! The jagged edges of the first and third churro batched probably also contributed to the crunch factor.
I added salt and sugar to all four versions so that all the churros had good flavor and were not bland. I also did NOT coat any of them with sugar so that I can taste the dough, and the texture inside.
Flavor-wise, the second recipe definitely had more flavor because of the richness yielded by the egg, and it was also more puffed up and airy because of the egg. But the crunchiness was minimal and it didn’t feel like a churro unless I ate it piping hot from the fryer.
The “worst” was the fourth recipe. The churro was too airy in the middle and had no texture to contrast with the outside.
The first (authentic) recipe and the third recipe had good flavor too. Olive oil definitely added more flavor than vegetable oil. But the contrast between the crunchy outside to the soft inside was absolute perfection!
The difference between the authentic recipe and the baking powder recipe was the inside of the churro. The authentic recipe had a soft, but more dense and almost chewy center. While the baking soda makes the center a little more airy (but still soft).
The winner, in my opinion, is DEFINITELY the traditional recipe! But the addition of baking powder (third recipe) provides a little airiness to the churros too. So it’s a close second. I would be VERY happy with churros made with EITHER of these recipes, but I do prefer the first.
How to make authentic churros
- Water (boiling water)
- Oil (olive oil for more flavor)
- Optional – baking powder
- Optional – sugar
You only need four ingredients to make the churro dough! If you’re coating the churros with cinnamon sugar, you don’t need to add sugar to the dough (though it does help with the caramelization).
I personally don’t even add baking powder to the recipe. I don’t think it makes a big enough difference when you’re eating churros with cinnamon sugar and melted chocolate!
Method for making the dough
Place 1 cup of boiling water in a saucepan with oil, salt, and sugar, and stir to dissolve. Heat on high heat to bring it back to a boil quickly. You can start with tap water too, but there will be some evaporation, which you want to avoid. So add about 1 tbsp extra water if starting from cold.
When the water is boiling, remove it from the heat and immediately add the flour. Stir to hydrate all of the flour. If there are some lumps, do not worry! Close the lid and let the dough hydrate for about 1 – 2 minutes.
After hydrating, “knead” the dough about 4 – 5 times by folding the dough over itself using your hands (if it’s not too hot handle) or the spatula. There shouldn’t be any dry flour spots left afterwards.
After this step, you should have a soft, pliable dough. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside until it has cooled down.
How to fry the churros
In a dutch oven or large pot, pour enough vegetable oil so that it’s about 3 – 4 inches in depth. Heat the oil over medium heat until it reaches 350 – 375 F.
Place the churro dough in a piping bag with an attached closed star tip. I used Ateco 845 tip with a 1/2 inch opening. A closed star tip will give you the best and classic churro shape.
Also keep a small scissor or knife (that is dipped in water) close by. You will use this to cut the dough as it’s piped out of the piping bag.
When the oil is hot, pipe out the churro dough into the hot oil. Hold the tip about 1 – 2 inches above the oil and pipe the dough INTO the oil. This will prevent the churro from splashing into the oil and causing any burns! Once you’ve piped about 5 – 6 inches of dough, use the knife or scissor to snip the dough (above the oil surface).
ALTERNATIVELY, you can pipe the churro onto a parchment paper separately. Since the dough isn’t super soft, you can gently pick it up and lower it into the oil using a slotted spoon. This way you avoid getting your hands near the hot oil.
Repeat with a few more churros but take care not to overcrowd the oil. The oil temperature should remain at 350 F.
Fry the churros for about 2 – 3 minutes, carefully turning them occasionally for even browning. If they stick together a little, don’t worry, just keep moving them in the oil so that they won’t stick together too much and will easily separate once fried. Prevent them from sticking to each other all the way, because this is harder to separate.
When the churros are golden brown in color, remove them from the oil, and let them drain for a minute on a paper towel. Then while still warm, toss the churro in the sugar mixture (plain sugar or vanilla sugar or cinnamon sugar).
Serve while they are still warm.
These authentic churros are perfect as they are! BUT, you can absolutely serve them with dipping sauces too. Here are some suggestions,
- Chocolate sauce
- Thick hot chocolate
- Dulce de leche
- Caramel sauce
- Butterscotch sauce
- Berry coulis sauce
Tips for perfecting this churros recipe
You absolutely must have 240 mL of BOILING water. Not boiled water or very hot water. BOILING WATER. So, make sure to measure 240 mL boiling water and bring it back to a boil with salt, oil, and sugar (if using) on high heat, reducing evaporation. If using tap water, just add another tablespoon of water or so to allow for evaporation as the water boils.
If you’re using baking powder, make sure to whisk the baking powder VERY well with the flour. Uneven spots of leavener can cause the churros to break apart sometimes.
The dough will become stiffer as it cools down. So piping might be hard if you don’t have a strong grip. I prefer to place only half of the dough in the piping bag, so I have better control over piping out churros. You want to squeeze the bag firmly for the dough to come out evenly. If you have too much dough in the piping bag, this can get tricky.
Heat the oil to 350 – 375 F, and maintain the frying temperature around 350 F+. Any lower will make the churros oily, and dry them out. If the oil is too hot, the churros will darken too fast and the center will be raw. Two – three minutes of frying is the sweet spot. I like my churros just a touch darker, because I like the outside to be very crunchy even with the cinnamon sugar coating. But this is up to you.
If you use a piping nozzle that is smaller than what I recommend here, the frying time WILL change. A smaller nozzle will produce thinner churros. Thinner churros – less frying time. Thicker churros – more frying time.
Stagger the churros when frying them. I introduce churros into the oil every 30 seconds or so. This will minimize them sticking to each other. I don’t know why, but raw churros seem to LOVE to stick to each other when they fry. I use a wooden skewer to keep them apart.
Let them drain a little before coating the churros with sugar. Plain sugar or cinnamon sugar are both acceptable for authentic, traditional churros. But they are just as delicious with just a dipping sauce and no sugar coating.
Make ahead tips
To make churros ahead of time, check out the FAQ section below.
Storage instructions and Frequently Asked Questions
No. They won’t! Uncoated churros that are a little darker than golden brown can stay crunchy for a few hours, but they still taste better while warm.
Have I eaten leftover churros the following day? Most definitely.
Were they still delicious? Plenty, but also soggy. I wouldn’t serve these to guests.
You can absolutely keep the dough in the fridge overnight. BUT the dough will harden even more in the fridge, so I would let it come to room temperature before piping them.
Yes, but I don’t know how long they will last that way.
I like to pipe out as much of the dough on a parchment paper and have it ready to fry. I’ve left them covered for about 2 hours before frying them and have had no issues. Once piped, make sure to keep them covered well to prevent the dough from drying out.
You can also use a blade to cut the parchment paper in between each churro, and then drop each individual churro WITH the parchment paper into the oil when you’re ready to fry them.
Yes, but I prefer to freeze them before frying.
When I want to “pre-prepare” my churros, this is what I do. I pipe my churros on my parchment paper-lined baking tray, with some space in between each churro. Then once I have piped all of my churro dough, I cover the tray with plastic wrap and let it harden in the freezer overnight.
If I’m frying them the following day, then I leave the tray as is until needed. If I want to store them for longer, then I place all the frozen churro “sticks” in an airtight container (with parchment paper between layers of churros to prevent them from sticking together).
Then you can fry them from frozen. You’ll just need to fry them a little longer to make sure the middle isn’t raw.
I would only store churros this way in the freezer for a month. I’d be worried that the churros would dry out too much in the freezer, if stored any longer.
Yes, you sure can!
I haven’t tried this churros recipe with gluten free flour unfortunately, so I’m not sure.
I have rigorously tested this authentic churros recipe the way it’s written. Whole wheat flour can change the structure and texture of the dough and the results will be different. So I can’t recommend using whole wheat flour if you want this recipe to work 100%. You’re welcome to try it out though, and do let me know if you do!
The leavening in the dough did not evenly spread throughout the dough. So make sure to whisk the baking powder into the flour VERY well so that it disperses properly throughout the dough.
It can also happen if the moisture content in the dough is not even. Unfortunately, if this happens, my recommendation would be to re-make the dough and make sure that it’s well-mixed at each step.
This traditional churros recipe is actually authentic! Spanish churros don’t typically use eggs. But using eggs isn’t wrong either. It makes the churro dough softer, and results in a churro with a softer center. But the outside won’t maintain its crunchiness either.
This eggless churro recipe is naturally vegan and produces DELICIOUSLY crunchy churros with a soft, slightly chewy center.
Final thoughts on this recipe for authentic churros
After multiple tests of different recipes, I see why the traditional method of making churros yields the best results! Crunchy on the outside, soft and with a little chew on the inside – what’s not to love?
That being said, this is MY favorite way to make churros. It’s super simple. Only four ingredients needed for the dough + plus 2 more for the coating.
If you prefer churros made with eggs, that’s perfectly OK. You can add 1 egg to this very same recipe! However, this eggless recipe for churros gives me the closest result to the most traditional churros.
My favorite way to serve these easy churros is with an easy chocolate sauce! But dulce de leche is a great choice too.
Easy Authentic Churros (step by step recipe)
- 250 mL boiling water (add about 2 tbsp – 30 mL more if you’re using room temperature water).
- 140 g AP flour sifted, 1 cup fluffed (measured by scoop and level method)
- ½ tsp baking powder optional (I personally prefer not to use baking powder)
- ½ tsp fine sea salt add a generous ½ tsp if you want the churros to have a salty flavor
- 40 g vegetable oil divided. You can also use olive oil for more flavor, 3 tbsp
- 20 g sugar 2 tbsp (optional)
- Vegetable oil for frying
- 100 g white sugar ½ cup
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 180 mL water
- 240 g chocolate chips I use bittersweet chocolate, but you can use semisweet chocolate chips as well
- 1 tsp cocoa powder optional
- 28 g unsalted butter
- Generous pinch of salt
Making the dough
- Sift the flour into a bowl and whisk in the baking powder (if using). Make sure the baking powder is dispersed well in the flour. Set aside.140 g AP flour, ½ tsp baking powder
- Place the boiling water in a saucepan (I use a 2 qt pot), along with 2 tbsp / 26 g oil, salt, and sugar (if using). Heat the water over high heat and stir to dissolve the salt.250 mL boiling water, ½ tsp fine sea salt, 40 g vegetable oil, 20 g sugar
- When the water comes back to a rapid boil, remove the pot from the heat and immediately add the flour.
- Using a spatula, mix the flour into the hot water. Mix well until the flour is hydrated and the water is absorbed. This should take less than a minute. There might be some dry flour spots, and that’s OK.
- Cover the pot with a lid or plate and set aside for about 1 – 2 minutes to allow the dough to fully hydrate.
- After the dough has "steamed", add the remaining 1 tbsp / 13 g oil and mix it into the dough using a spatula.40 g vegetable oil
- Turn the dough out onto your countertop or board and fold the dough over itself about 4 – 5 times to “knead” or mix the dough to make sure there are no dry spots in the dough. Alternatively, use a spatula to fold the dough over itself about 4 – 5 times as well. Be careful the dough is hot at this point.
- Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it cool down. The dough can be used at room temperature or slightly warm. It will be easier to pipe, while it's slightly warm.
- Make the chocolate sauce while the dough is cooling.
Frying the dough
- In a large pot, pour enough oil so that it's about 3 – 4 inches deep.Vegetable oil
- Heat the oil over medium heat so that it evenly heats up to reach a temp. of over 350°F (between 350 – 375°F).
- While the oil is heating, place the dough in a piping bag. Take another piping bag and place the closed star tip at the end of it (I use Ateco 845 or 846).
- Place a parchment paper on a half sheet pan.
- Mix the sugar and cinnamon in a flat dish and set aside.100 g white sugar, 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- You can either pipe the dough directly into the hot oil (see notes), OR pipe the dough onto a baking tray first and then transfer them into the oil as well (directions below)
- Place the piping bag with the dough inside the piping bag with the closed star tip. Twist the open end and squeeze the churro dough so that the dough comes evenly out of the tip.
- Pipe out a 5 – 6 inches long churro over the parchment paper. Use a knife or scissors dipped in water to snip the dough at the appropriate length.
- Repeat until all the dough has been piped out. See recipe notes on how to directly pipe the dough into the hot oil.
- When the oil is at the correct temperature, gently remove a piped churro and place it on a slotted spoon. Gently lower it into the oil.
- Fry the churro until it's slightly dark golden in color – about 2 to 3 minutes, making sure to turn the churro for even cooking.
- You can fry multiple churros at the same time, but do not overcrowd the oil / pot. The oil temperature should stay between 350 – 375°F.
- To prevent the churros from sticking to each other, use a wooden skewer to move the churros around in the oil.
- Once the churros are cooked, remove from the oil and place them on a paper towel-lined tray for the oil to drain. Repeat with all of the churros.
- While still warm, toss the churros in the cinnamon sugar.
- Serve the churros warm.
- Make the chocolate sauce the previous day and gently heat it before serving OR make this while the churro dough is cooling down.
- Place the chocolate chips in a bowl.240 g chocolate chips
- Place the water, salt, butter and cocoa powder in a small pot. Heat while whisking to dissolve the cocoa powder in the water. Bring it to a boil.180 mL water, 1 tsp cocoa powder, Generous pinch of salt, 28 g unsalted butter
- When the water comes to a boil, pour it over the chocolate and stir until the chocolate has melted and the sauce is smooth.
- Allow the chocolate sauce to cool down to thicken. The chocolate sauce should be served a little warm with a pourable consistency, with the warm churros.
- Optional – add a pinch of cayenne pepper and / or cinnamon to add more flavor to the sauce.
Tips & Tricks
You can also pipe the churro dough directly into the oil, but be careful to avoid any burns!When the oil is hot, pipe the churro dough into the oil. Hold the tip about 2 inches over the surface of the oil, and squeeze the dough into the oil.
When the piped dough is about 5 – 6 inches long, use scissors or a knife (with a wet blade) to cut the dough close to the nozzle while that cut end is above the oil surface. Make sure that no water drops fall into the oil.
Note on oilYou can use olive oil instead of vegetable oil if you like the flavor of olive oil. But make sure not to use extra virgin olive oil for this.
The baking powder and sugar in the dough are optional.I prefer not to add baking powder, but I do like to add some sugar for extra sweetness because I like to make a bittersweet chocolate sauce to go with my churros. See the post for Frequently Asked Questions and for storage instructions.
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