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Crispy-on-the-outside, chewy-on-the-inside Homemade Churros are made with just a few simple ingredients and fried until golden-brown, then rolled in cinnamon and sugar for a crunchy sweet exterior. Also known as Mexican donuts, this easy recipe for homemade churros are even better than the ones you get at Disneyland!
Best Homemade Churros Recipe
It feels like it has been such a long time since our last trip to Southern California that I'm in need of a little Disney fix. And nothing says "Magic Kingdom" to me quite like Disneyland churros!
When I was a kid, churros were my favorite treat whenever we visited the park, which was often since I grew up not far from there. I actually used to perform at Disneyland with a children's singing group, and after our shows we would spend the rest of the day running around like crazy in the park.
Nowadays, I'm just as likely to go for a dole whip, Monte Cristo sandwich, or a Jolly Holiday raspberry rose macaron for my special treat, when visiting Disneyland. But there is still something about a fresh, hot churros that takes me right back to those Disney days of my youth.
We made this churros recipe for Cinco de Mayo this year and our family of four easily finished off a single batch in one sitting like it was nothing. So if you have more people that you are planning on serving, I definitely recommend doubling (or tripling!) the batch.
What is a churro?
Churros are a classic Mexican or Spanish dessert made from a non-yeast choux pastry dough that is actually a cinch to make and really versatile. In our travels abroad, we have enjoyed churros in Mexico and Spain, but if I'm being completely honest, it's the Disneyland churros that have always been my favorite until now. You can also get Costco churros, but those are just premade, frozen, and reheated instead of fresh.
The dough in this churros recipe is really just a paté a choux, which sounds fancy and complex, but is super easy to stir together in just a few minutes in a pan on the stovetop. I use less eggs in my choux pastry dough when making churros than, say, cream puffs or eclairs, but otherwise it's the same stuff.
The thick dough is then piped through a closed star pastry tip right into hot oil and fried for just a couple of minutes until the churro floats to the top of the oil and is a beautiful golden-brown color. After that, it's rolled in a mixture of cinnamon-sugar and served as is or with something to dip it in.
It's the imperfect, squiqqly lines of these churros that really gets me! I just love homemade treats that are imperfectly perfect so much!
What to serve with churros
Churros are awesome all on their own, but they take on epic dessert qualities when served with something special to dip them in.
- Warm chocolate dipping sauce - this is very traditional in Spain or Mexico
- Nutella - less traditional but no less delicious
- Lemon curd
- Caramel sauce or dulce de leche
- Raspberry coulis
- Strawberry jam
Ingredients in Churros
- Flour: All-purpose works great in these.
- Butter: I used salted butter in my recipe testing. If you only have unsalted butter, just add ¼ teaspoon extra salt.
- Eggs: Unlike most baked goods, you can use cold eggs in this dough!
- Canola or vegetable oil: For frying. You need enough to fill your pot with about 2" of oil. For me, that's about 2 quarts. You can let the oil cool and save it to use for frying again another time.
You will also need a closed star shaped piping tip for this churros recipe like the Ateco 849, which is the one I used, and a piping bag. An Ateco 845 or 846 or a Wilton 2D or 8B also work. You can find them at a local craft store or just order one online if you don't have one already.
How to make churros
- Make the dough. Bring to a boil the water, butter, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan. Once it's a rolling boil, turn off the heat and immediately dump in all of the flour at once, stirring for a minute or two until it clumps together in a ball and cleans the sides of the pan. It will have the consistency of play-doh. Add the eggs and stir constantly until the dough comes back together. You can do this by hand with a wooden spoon or in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. It may separate at first, but after stirring a bit longer it should clump back up again.
- Prep the cinnamon sugar and heat a large pot of oil. Mix the sugar and cinnamon in a shallow bowl and set it to the side. Heat the oil over medium-high heat until it reaches 375 degree F on a candy thermometer clipped to the side of the pan. Be sure to have a pair of tongs handy and a plate lined with paper towels to let the churros drain a bit after removing them from the hot oil.
- Fry the dough. Transfer the dough to a large, heavy duty pastry bag fitted with a large closed star piping tip. Squeeze 6-inch strips of dough right into a large pot or deep fryer filled with hot oil that is between 350 and 375 degrees F. I like to use scissors to snip off the dough as it drops into the pan for a clean end on the churros, but you could use a knife or even just the lip of the pan. The churros will sink to the bottom of the pan at first, then float up. Be sure to turn them halfway through so they cook evenly on all sides. It only takes about 2 minutes total to cook the churros.
- Roll in cinnamon-sugar. After letting the churros drain for a few seconds, roll them in the cinnamon and sugar mixture to coat them on all sides. Serve immediately because churros are best when they are warm!
You can freeze leftover churros for up to 2 months and reheat in a 400 degree F oven for about 10 minutes to have hot churros anytime. They aren't as good as fresh churros, but there's no sense in churros going to waste if you make too many!
Tips for homemade churros
- The piping tip is important. It needs to be a closed star to create the ridges around the sides of the churros. Not only do these make the churros pretty and provide greater surface area for the cinnamon and sugar, but they also help the churros cook evenly and not burst open or be overcooked on the outside and undercooked on the inside.
- Use a sturdy pastry bag. I have had difficulty in the past using thinner disposable plastic piping bags, which sometimes burst at the seems when I'm squeezing the thick dough through the piping tip at the end. A plastic coated canvas pastry work definitely works best, if you have one.
- Make sure to use a thermometer to keep the oil at a constant temperature.
- Don't crowd the pan.
- The color matters more than time when it comes to cooking churros. The more churros you try to fry at once, the longer they will take. Two minutes gives you a good idea of the amount of time your churros willl take, but mostly just watch for that nice golden-brown color to let you know the churros are done.
- Roll them in the cinnamon-sugar while still hot. If you let them drain too long and then try to roll them, not as much of the cinnamon-sugar will stick.
More cinnamon desserts
- The BEST Snickerdoodles Cookie Recipe
- Whipped Cinnamon Honey Butter
- Cinnamon Walnut Raisin Rugelach
- Sour Cream Coffee Cake
- Indiana Sugar Cream Pie
- Apple Cider Donuts
- Greek Baklava
- Mexican Bunuelos
Homemade Churros Recipe
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup butter cubed
- 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- Pinch of salt
- 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 eggs
- Oil for frying
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Bring water, butter, sugar, cinnamon, and salt to a rolling boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add flour the flour all at once and stir until it comes together in a clump.
- Remove from heat and add the eggs, one at a time. You can do this by hand with a wooden spoon, or transfer the dough to the bowl of a stand mixer and beat them in using the paddle attachment. The dough will separate at first, but then come back together as the eggs are mixed in.
- Transfer the dough to a large pastry bag fitted with a rounded or closed star tip like an Ateco 849 (or try the Wilton 2D, Ateco 845, or Ateco 846). Combine sugar and cinnamon in a shallow dish and set aside.
- Heat about 2" of oil in a large pan to between 350 and 375 degrees F. Pipe 6-inch lengths of dough into hot oil, using scissors to cut off each length of dough for a clean end. Work in batches and don't crowd the pan to prevent the oil temperature from dropping too much.
- Cook the churros for about 2 minutes until golden brown.
- Remove the churros from the oil using tongs and drain on a wire rack or a plate lined with paper towel for 10 seconds, then roll the still-hot churros in the cinnamon-sugar mixture to coat. Serve hot with or without a dipping sauce!