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Crispy on the outside. Tender on the inside. Coated in cinnamon-sugar. Does it get any better? These homemade Mexican churros are nothing short of perfection. In one bite, you will be transported to the vibrant streets of Mexico. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself going back for seconds, thirds, and fourths.
Table of Contents
- What Are Churros?
- Recipe Ingredients
- How to Make Mexican Churros
- How Do You Pipe Churros If You Don’t Have a Piping Bag?
- Tips for Homemade Churros
- Why Are My Churros Not Crispy?
- Are Churros Supposed To Be Soft or Crunchy?
- Why Are My Churros Raw Inside?
- Serving Suggestions
- How to Store
- More Mexican Recipes
- Homemade Mexican Churros Recipe
Hmmmm Mexican street food. Imagine the sizzle of fresh dough dropping into hot oil. Imagine the smell of cinnamon and sugar wafting toward you. You would stop, right? I certainly did last time I was in Puerto Vallarta.
Churros are basically a Spanish/Portuguese/Latin American interpretation of a donut. Slightly airy, cinnamon-infused dough is piped directly into hot frying oil and crisped to a perfect golden brown before being removed from the fryer and coated in a mixture of cinnamon and sugar. The dough is not overly sweet, but the cinnemon-sugar coating along with a signature crunchy outside and moist inside that only a churro can deliver will have you wondering why you would ever choose another dessert.
What Are Churros?
Churros as we know them (see my not below in the section titled “FAQ”) originated in Spain and Portugal and made their way to other Latin American countries, including Mexico, which is where I fell in love with them. They are made of a simple, cinnamon-infused dough fried to crispy golden brown and coated in sugar before served hot, often in a simple paper wrapping alongside a warm beverage or a delicious dipping sauce.
One great thing about homemade Mexican churros is that they require ingredients that you most likely already have in your kitchen. Here they are. Scroll to the recipe below for details on measurements, etc.
- Unsalted butter
- Kosher salt
- Vanilla extract
- Cinnamon stick
- All-purpose flour
- Ground cinnamon
- Canola oil
How to Make Mexican Churros
Here is a quick overview of how to make homemade Mexican churros. Scroll to the recipe below for more detailed instructions.
- Make the dough. On the stovetop, melt the butter in a saucepan before adding the water, salt, vanilla, and cinnamon stick. Bring to a boil, remove from heat, discard the cinnamon stick, and add the flour. Stir to form a smooth dough.
- Add the egg. Allow the dough to cool before moving to a bowl, adding the egg, and string vigorously to incorporate.
- Prepare to fry. Heat the oil in a dutch oven, fill a piping bag with the dough, and mix together the cinnamon and sugar.
- Fry. In batches, pipe 6″ pieces of dough directly into the hot oil and fry to golden brown, flipping occasionally with a spider strainer.
- Coat with cinnamon-sugar. Drain the churros on a paper towel and then roll in the cinnamon-sugar mixture to coat.
How Do You Pipe Churros If You Don’t Have a Piping Bag?
A piping bag sounds fancy, doesn’t it? Something only top chefs use? Wrong. It’s basically a bag with a hole cut in the corner. So, if you do not have access to a piping bag, simply take a gallon-sized Ziplock, cut a small hole in the corner, and be on your way.
Tips for Homemade Churros
If you want to get as close as possible to the real deal churro that you (or at least I) have been craving, make sure to follow these simple tips and tricks. You won’t be disappointed.
- Rest the dough. It is important to give the dough time to rest before adding the egg. If it does not cool properly, it will scramble the egg…that’s not what you want. So have patience.
- Don’t crowd the frying pot. When frying anything, it is crucial to ensure that you do not overcrowd the pot. Adding too many goodies at the same time will cause the oil to lose heat, making it so that the items in the pot will not fry properly and will, instead, end up a soggy mess.
- Get the oil temperature right. Oil that is too cool will leave you with soggy churros and oil that is too hot will land you with burned ones that are raw on the inside. So take precautions and check the oil temperature before frying and between batches. If you do not have a candy thermometer, use a tiny bit of dough to test the oil. If it sizzles and browns but doesn’t burn, you should be good to go.
- Drain the churros. Allow the fried churros to drain on a paper towel for a few seconds before coating them in the cinnamon-sugar mixture. This will make it so that the coating will spread evenly.
Fun facts about churros! Who wants them! Well, whether you do or not, here they come.
- Mexican vs. Spanish churros. While Mexican churros are coated in cinnamon-sugar, Spanish churros skip the cinnamon and are just coated in sugar.
- Really from China? It is thought that the idea for the churro came from Portuguese traders who encountered a similar fried dough in China. The Chinese version was coated in salt. Apparently, the Portuguese had a sweet tooth because they subbed sugar for salt and brought the recipe home. This sweet treat eventually made its way to Latin America, where Mexico added cinnamon to the mix, creating its own unique spin.
- So many kinds. Churros come in many different shapes and sizes and, depending on the region, they are served in different ways. Some dipped in hot chocolate for breakfast, some filled with dulche de leche or custard, some dipped in chocolate sauce…the list goes on. Churro tour anyone?
- A Disneyland moneymaker. Worldwide, Disneyland sells over 2.8 million churros a year. Still wondering if you should try one? If that doesn’t convince you of how good they are, what will?
Why Are My Churros Not Crispy?
This is one of the most common disappointments that people run up against when making homemade Mexican churros. Luckily, it’s easy to avoid if you take the right precautions. Churros end up less than crispy due to one or both of these common errors.
- Your oil wasn’t hot enough. It is crucial to make sure that the oil is hot enough. If it is too cool, the churros won’t crisp up properly. Instead, they will absorb oil and become a greasy, soggy mess.
- You crowded the pot. If you try to fry too many churros at once, the oil temperature will drop, making it impossible for the dough to crisp up and, again, causing the dough to soak up oil and become soggy.
Are Churros Supposed To Be Soft or Crunchy?
A little bit of both! Churros are meant to be crunchy on the outside and soft and moist on the inside. This delightful juxtaposition is one of the things that makes churros so special.
Why Are My Churros Raw Inside?
No one wants a raw churro. If you end up with a churro that is crunchy on the outside but raw on the inside, it is likely due to one (or both) of these reasons.
- You are piping too thick of a churro. This makes it so that the center doesn’t get a chance to cook before the outside is done.
- Your oil is too hot. This causes the churros to brown more quickly than they should, leading you to pull the fried dough out of the pot before the insides get a chance to cook through.
Enjoy these delicious goodies fresh out of the fryer as is, dip them in a rich sauce, savor them with a delicious beverage, or devour them after a meal. Or do it all. Here are some ideas.
- Dip. In chocolate sauce or dulche de leche.
- Sip. Enjoy with Mexican hot chocolate, horchata, or café con leche
- After your favorite Mexican entree. I love these churros as a dessert after Tofu Street Tacos, Chorizo Azul Tacos, Ground Beef Fajitas, Sheet Pan Chipotle Chicken Enchiladas…the list goes on.
How to Store
The idea of leftover homemade Mexican churros makes me a little sad, to be honest. They are so incredible fresh out of the fryer. That being said, you can store them to be enjoyed later. Here’s how to do it.
- Storing. Allow the fried goodies to cool before sealing them in an airtight container lined with a paper towel. Store at room temperature for up to 2 days. To freeze, store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 1 month.
- Reheating. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and arrange the churros in a single layer. Bake for about 5 minutes for churros stored at room temperature and for 10 minutes from frozen.
More Mexican Recipes
I loved my time in Mexico. It inspired me to think about a whole new world of food. Here are a few more of my favorite Mexican-themed recipes for you to try in your kitchen.
- Tres Leches Cake
- Eggnog Tres Leches Cake
- Sheet Pan Beef and Cheese Quesadillas
- Air Fryer Beef Taquitos
- Chipotle Shrimp Tacos
Homemade Mexican Churros
- 6 tablespoons (84 g) unsalted butter
- 2 ¼ cups (532 ml) water
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 stick of cinnamon
- 2 ¼ cups (281 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 large egg
- 1 ½ cups (300 g) sugar
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 quart (946 ml) canola oil, for frying
- In a saucepan over medium-high heat, melt butter then add water, salt, vanilla, and cinnamon stick. Bring to a boil then remove the cinnamon stick and remove the mixture from heat.
- Add the flour and stir with a wooden spoon until a smooth dough is formed, about 3-5 minutes.
- Let dough cool, about 10-15 minutes then transfer to a bowl and add the egg. Stir vigorously until egg is incorporated. The mixture is pretty hot so you have to stir vigorously so the egg doesn’t actually cook and you get scrambled eggs :)
- In a shallow bowl, mix together sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.
- Heat oil in a Dutch oven to 400 °F (204 °C)
- Hold piping bag above oil and pipe about four 6-inch lengths of dough. Fry until golden brown, about 2 minutes, flipping every so often with a spider strainer.
- Transfer to paper towels to drain briefly then transfer to cinnamon-sugar mixture and roll around until evenly coated. Repeat with remaining dough in piping bag.
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