Thursday, December 31st, 2009

Churros (Spanish Doughnuts)

Churros (Spanish Doughnuts)

New York is the city that never sleeps; it is a melting pot of sizzling cultures packed into five boroughs (the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, and Staten Island). New York is my home and it is where my obsession with cooking and baking began as a young child.

I have always traveled around NYC using the preferred method of transportation- the subway, which is used by most New Yorkers on a day-to-day basis. Being a born and raised New Yorker, using the subway becomes something that has been etched into my blood.

To keep it real, trains are always packed like a can of sardines and never smell like freshly baked New York-Style bagels or hot chocolate. There is usually a noxious odor permeating through the air as you sit in a train car trying so hard not to make any facial expressions at the man sitting next to you who’s sweating like he’s about to give birth to a 20 pound watermelon and smells as if the last time he showered was 2 months ago. You just sit there… Reading, listening to music, staring at people, or just begin to stare into space. You pray to God, begging him to make the stinky man’s stop come up. After 5 stops, mister stinky leaves, you take a deep breath, and you let out a sigh of relief thinking, “THANK GOD!”

Suddenly, your train car sees daylight and is heading towards Jackson Heights; a door in the rear of the train car opens and an elderly hispanic woman is screaming over the noise of the train, “Churros. Churros…” She is pushing a cart with a baking sheet piled high with churros that are carefully covered in shrink wrap. This is not the first time you’ve seen one of these ladies selling this famous latin american doughnut, so you give in and buy two churros off of the sweet elderly woman. She returns three singles back from the five dollar bill you gave her and hands you the two churros in a paper bag. You immediately begin devouring one of the churros. She smiles and pushes her cart to her next customer.

Paper Bag

It’s your stop on the train. You save the paper bag from the churros (to recycle!), and proceed to walk home. When you finally get home you wish you had saved one of those churros for some late night snacking. An idea pops up in your head to make homemade churros. Brilliant. You do a simply Google search and get nothing that pops out to you. Food Network recipes are good, but you’re tired of “twisted” versions of things, so you almost give up. This is where I come in and say to worry no more! This famous “subway treat” can be made at home and enjoyed with a nice cup of hot cocoa. So regardless if you’re from New York City or not, all you have to do is go into your kitchen and pull out a few simple ingredients necessary to make these treats! Churros are super simple to make and can be made to any size and shape that you’d like !

All you have to do is gather some water, butter, sugar, and ½ teaspoon of lemon zest and bring it to a boil.


After your water mixture comes to a boil, remove the pan from the stove and add in your flour. Mix it on medium heat until the dough forms into a smooth, uniform ball. After the ball is made, you have to wait a few minutes until the dough has cooled enough so when you add the egg (make sure it is at room temperature), it doesn’t curdle. After the dough has cooled for about 3 minutes, put the dough into a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl, add the egg and mix (the mixture will look coagulated and slimy at first, but then it will mix into a beautiful, shiny, smooth dough.

Disposable Pastry Bag

Spoon the dough into a pastry bag fitted with a star tip; any size is fine, just as long as it is a star tip. I couldn’t find my huge star tip, so I used the small star tip that came with my disposable piping bags. Once the mixture is in the bag, heat up some oil (in this case, the more, the better because you don’t want the churros touching the bottom of the pan) until a deep-fry thermometer reads 375ºF.


When frying the churros, I find it easier to hold the pastry bag a few inches above the oil and I try not to over crowd the pot. You can shape the churros by moving the pastry bag in circular motions. I  just let them do their own thing… If they curl, they curl. While frying the churros, you’ll need to flip them over, using heavy-duty chopsticks to flip them over works well, but you can use tongs too!

When these babies are out of the oil, drop them in some cinnamon sugar mixture, tap the excess cinnamon sugar off, and place the churros in a bowl lined with paper towels.

The churros can sit out for up to about an hour and a half without really softening up too much, but they are best served immediately with a nice cup of hot cocoa.


Churros Recipe
Adapted from Martha Stewart Living Magazine, Page 210, December 2008
Makes 24

The topping possibilities for churros are endless. Instead of dropping the churros in cinnamon sugar, you can drop them in vanilla sugar, slather on a couple spoonfuls of nutella, or dip the ends of each mini churro in melted chocolate.

½ Cup Water
1 ounce (2 tablespoons) salted butter
¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon lemon zest
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 large egg (at room temperature)
Vegetable Oil, Canola Oil, Corn Oil, or Olive Oil for frying and cutting
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Bring water, butter, 1 tablespoon of sugar, and ½ teaspoon of lemon zest to a boil in a medium sauce pan. Remove from heat, and stir in flour. Return pan to medium heat and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until dough forms a smooth ball, about 1 ½ minutes. Transfer to a mixer bowl, and let cool for 3 minutes.

With mixer (standing or hand-held) on medium speed, add the egg, and beat until the dough is smooth and shiny, about 3 minutes. (kamran note: the dough will look all curdled and weird at first, but just keep beating the mixture until it becomes smooth; the dough will be sticky).

Heat 2 inches of oil in a heavy-bottomed pot until it registers 375º on a deep-fry thermometer. (kamran note: deep fry thermometer isn’t necessary for any of you wondering, just make sure the oil is hot, but not too hot that it will scorch the churros).

Meanwhile, mix the cinnamon and sugar together in a medium bowl. If you’d rather not top the churros with cinnamon sugar, read the headnotes to see other possible things you can do with the churros.

Spoon the dough into a pastry bag fitted with an open start tip (kamran note: any size is fine, depending on how thick you want your churros). Hold the pastry bag a few inches above the oil, and pipe six to eight 5-inch lengths, moving bag in circular motions while piping to create decorative shapes if desired. Cut dough with an oiled knife. Fry, turning once, until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Drain oil off, then toss in cinnamon sugar mixture (if you decide to top them with that). Repeat with remaining dough.

Serve immediately and enjoy!

How to Fry an Egg
Homemade Marshmallows

Font Size: a A | print recipe Print Recipe | 65 Comments


  • Tokyo Terrace
    December 31st, 2009

    Oh my gosh! I love love LOVE Churros! When I was in Argentina with Brad we had these a lot and they were delectable. Great recipe! Can’t WAIT to try it!

  • paula
    December 31st, 2009

    Thanks for the recipe. I’ve been toying around with the idea of making them but I felt it was complicated and messy. You make it sound quite easy so maybe I’ll give them a try.

  • kamran
    December 31st, 2009

    Paula, this recipe is a mix, pipe, and fry kind of thing. Nothing too complicated! The messiest thing to make on this site definitely has to be my marshmallow recipe. This recipe doesn’t dirty up too many dishes, which is a big plus in my book! :)

  • Xai
    December 31st, 2009

    well… this is wonderful! i am in dire need of a churro fix right now! wish i have those old latina ladies here in the bay, the closest thing i have are the hairnet wearing girls at costco! i didn’t know it was that easy. i guess, i just never cared about making my own. i normally leave it to the costco people. i can’t wait to try this! and maybe fill it with guava like the one i had in cuba when i was younger. yum. thanks for this quick fix recipe!

  • uzma
    December 31st, 2009

    can’t wait to try this,looks like an amazing and simple recipe!Bet my kids will love these!

  • Jessie
    December 31st, 2009

    I adore churros and I just love how you incorporated a New York story into your churro baking experience. I can definitely relate with you on that since I am a New Yorker myself :)

  • El
    December 31st, 2009

    That’s a pretty accurate subway description. Too accurate perhaps. Looks like a fantastic recipe and great photos (of course). Have a wonderful 2010!!

  • Gera @ SweetsFoods
    December 31st, 2009

    Kamran Sweet New Year 2010 for you!!
    So perfect with these churros and here they go with dulce de leche filling :)

    All the best,


  • Lauren
    December 31st, 2009

    How lovely! I’ve never been to New York, but am dying to go and I loved your subway description! I wish you all the best in the new year, and lots of fantastic delicious food!

  • Twitted by ksiddiqi92
    December 31st, 2009

    […] This post was Twitted by ksiddiqi92 […]

  • Hélène
    December 31st, 2009

    Totally delicious. Thanks for sharing. I wish you an Happy 2010 New Year. Lot’s of great blog posts also :)

  • Su-yin
    December 31st, 2009

    I had churros for the first time a few weeks ago, and have officially fallen in love. Yours look lovely, thanks for the recipe!

    On another note, have a very happy 2010. :)

  • Natasha
    December 31st, 2009

    Yummy! This looks delicious. I Love Churros and can’t wait to try this recipe.

  • jenn (Bread + Butter)
    December 31st, 2009

    Ironically, I had a churro yesterday when I went to Disneyland. i can never get enough of them. I was tempted to buy two.

  • Divina
    December 31st, 2009

    What could be better than starting the new year with churros. And having hot chocolate is just to have with it. Your photos are just getting better and better.

  • kamran
    December 31st, 2009

    Jenn, how much are churros at Disneyland? I haven’t been there since I was 7!

    Divina, thank you so much! :D

    Everyone- have a Happy New Year! :)

  • veron
    December 31st, 2009

    I really want this churros to dip in hot chocolate now. Yumyumyum! Happy New Year, kamran!

  • Tiffiny Felix
    December 31st, 2009

    Oh, my!! I don’t know if I’m excited I saw this on Tastespotting or scared ;) Thanks for the post…they look divine! Chlup!

  • The Cookbook Apprentice
    January 1st, 2010

    Happy New Year and happy churros from a former New Yorker!

  • Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella
    January 1st, 2010

    That’s the spirit! I love it :) Yes making them at home is a great idea (although dangerous for me as I love them). Happy New Year! :D

  • The Purple Foodie
    January 1st, 2010

    I have wanted to make churros for so long! So much that I have it on my list of things to make in 2010! Your story about the NYC subway took me back to my trip there in March ’09. I wish I knew you then!

  • zoe
    January 1st, 2010

    These churros are fantastic! I haven’t had them in forever, can’t wait to try them! Thanks for the inspiration and happy new year!

  • kt
    January 1st, 2010

    wow, kamran. these are gorgeous, and your photography is amazing. love it!

  • Bromography
    January 2nd, 2010

    Great post! As a fellow New York, I think that I was sitting on the other side of ‘stinky’, and bought churros from the same lady! Happy New Year!

  • Drick
    January 2nd, 2010

    love churros and haven’t made them in years – they remind me of my many trips into Mexico – Happy New Year and have a great weekend

  • Shelly @ EC Pursuits
    January 2nd, 2010

    Love your description of the NYC Subway. You definitely see lots of colorful things on there, though when it’s 4AM on a Saturday night after a night of partying, my preferred mode is still the cab.

    Thanks for the Churros recipe. I’ve had some great ones at 5 Points and have always wanted to make my own. I think I’ll have to get me a pastry bag with a star tip!

  • Anna
    January 2nd, 2010

    OMG! This churros looks sooooooo good.

  • Muneeba
    January 2nd, 2010

    I’m biting my hand ‘coz I’m craving those churros so badly right now!! GAAAARRRR … fresh & crispy, just the way I like them.

  • Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction
    January 2nd, 2010

    Y-U-M! I love churros (and strangely enough, that’s also how I pronounce Truro on Cape Cod… I need speech therapy, but that’s not really relevant). Reading your post makes me want to make another trip to NYC!

  • Hummingbird Appetite
    January 3rd, 2010

    They look delicious! Wish I could bite into one!

  • penny aka jeroxie
    January 3rd, 2010

    Yes. I like churros very much. Especially with hot dark thick chocolate.

  • Za
    January 3rd, 2010

    Lovely post….you make it sound so simple! and the chocolate dip..hmmm….I’m thinking “gotta have it now”

  • Jaime
    January 3rd, 2010

    You are a genius! We ate tons of these in Seville, Spain over the holidays and can’t get enough. Sweet husband will be so thrilled about this! Thanks so much!

  • lisa
    January 3rd, 2010

    Love churros! Will make these soon. Happy 2010!

  • Alta
    January 3rd, 2010

    Churros, mmmm….I love these things. So tasty! I made some for the first time before I went gluten-free. I miss them! Your photos are superb, as always!

  • skeete
    January 3rd, 2010

    This made my day! Thank you. My Christmas present from someone is to make any recipe of my choosing. I’m going to be using your churros recipe! Can’t wait. Does it matter the brand of flour you use?

  • kamran
    January 3rd, 2010

    Skeete, thanks for the comment. I honestly don’t think you need to use a specific brand of flour for this recipe, as everything ends up fried.

  • Mr. P
    January 4th, 2010

    Churros have got me in trouble on more than one occasion (I don’t mean making them).

    Maybe I’ll try this out. Did you actually use a thermometer by the way? I can never be bothered with that kerfuffle. I’d be fine without, right?

  • Tina Marie
    January 4th, 2010

    Perfect paired with hot chocolate. Loved your post – it really took me to New York!

  • Alison
    January 4th, 2010

    You take such wonderful pictures, and churros make a great subject.

  • kamran siddiqi
    January 4th, 2010

    Mr.P, honestly, as long as you know how to heat the oil, you’ll be fine!

    Tina & Alison, thanks, you both are very kind!

  • wasabi prime
    January 4th, 2010

    Yum, I used to get these a lot more when I lived in Arizona. So delicious and in a lot of ways more enjoyable when someone else is doing the frying! I supply my craving for these at a local restaurant that serves them with a little pot of spicy chocolate sauce. So rich and delicious, and really good with a little glass of port.

  • Barbara Kiebel
    January 4th, 2010

    These look fabulous and I don’t think you need a new camera, you seem to have this one working just fine! Beautiful picture.

  • Nadia
    January 4th, 2010

    I just came across your site via twitter. I can’t wait to go into the archives. Love your style of writing and your photos! I always felt like I was supposed to be a New Yorker hehe…maybe one day!!! The churros look divine. I am currently living in Canada and really miss the Latin culture prevalent in the States.

  • Diana@Spain in Iowa
    January 5th, 2010

    Kamran, These are GORGEOUS! You’ve brought me right back to Spain and waking up to calientes and chocolate, Que RICO!

  • Jennifer
    January 5th, 2010

    Kamran, if I bring us all coffee will you pretty please bring some of these next Thursday. Looking forward to finally meeting you!

  • Natasha - 5 Star Foodie
    January 6th, 2010

    Wow, such beautiful and delicious looking churros! Your pictures are so gorgeous! Happy New Year!

  • MrsLavendula
    January 6th, 2010

    i love churros with really thick spanish hot chocolate! yum!!!

  • Vegetable Matter
    January 6th, 2010

    I’ve been obsessed with making doughnuts lately. Not sure why, maybe the weather? I even added a deep fryer to my Amazon wish list. My birthday is the 15th if you were trying to remember… :) I will definitely give your recipe a try.

  • OysterCulture
    January 6th, 2010

    I had to smile about your stories of the subway, doesn’t matter what its called muni, metro – the problems are the same. I’d of course immediately forget my problems if I was munching on one of these incredibly delicious churros. What a great idea to put together. I loved the photos!

  • The Duo Dishes
    January 6th, 2010

    It’s true…the subways are all the same. Even our teeny weeny system in LA can be full of interesting characters! The one thing we don’t have is a churros cart…at least not yet. It may be time to start one!

  • kamran
    January 6th, 2010

    Jennifer, I would if I could, but they’d most likely get all soggy after an hour or so… I don’t know about you, but I don’t like soggy Churros… I’ll see if I bring something else!

    Natasha, thanks! You’re very sweet!

    The Duo Dishes- haha! This reminds me when I first made them- my mom said that I should just start my own business selling churros! LOL. You can start one in LA and I’ll start one here… Hehe

  • Kristen
    January 7th, 2010

    I can’t wait to try this recipe!

    Maybe I will have to take the subway to JH one day just for those churros ;)

  • katiek@ kitchensidecar
    January 8th, 2010

    I love churros, and these look out of this world – but fyi, these look Mexican to me. Spanish churros don’t have any sugar or cinnamon on the outside. The are made in yard long concentric spirals and served with thick hot chocolat. These eat them for breakfast or during feria. Swoon…

  • kamran
    January 9th, 2010

    katiek@kitchensidecar- thanks for the comment. I am highly aware that these are not Spanish churros, as my grandfather was from Spain. Churros are known as Spanish Doughnuts (because they originated in Spain). Nowhere in the post did I mention that these were authentic Spanish churros. If I did, the recipe would have been properly titled, “Authentic Spanish Churro Recipe,” and my post would have been entitled something similar to that, as well.

    Additionally, if these were authentic Spanish churros, I would have served them with a chocolate bisque, used an entirely different tip on my pastry bag, and I would have most likely used potato dough or wheat flour to make the churro dough. Churros are found all over Latin America, Spain, Portugal, France, and even the Chinese have something similar to Churros, which they call “You Tiao.”

    These are more of a Mexican churro, which are generally topped with cinnamon sugar and served with a cup of hot chocolate (as mentioned in the closing lines of the post).

    Again, thank you for the comment.

  • Kelsey/TheNaptimeChef
    January 9th, 2010

    Mmm, I love churros. My friend from Spain brought me a block of chocolate especially for dipping them!

  • Avanika (Yumsilicious Bakes)
    January 14th, 2010

    Wow I just ate churros for the first time recently.. actually the first thing I ate this year!! And here you go making a post on them. They look delicious, and I wanted to make and post these too, but circumstances intervened! I shall make them soon enough though! :)

  • tia
    February 13th, 2010

    omg.. you are amazing and so are these I bet.

  • Jennifer
    April 5th, 2010

    Love your site. As a former self proclaimed cooking hater; I have seen the light! I am changing my evil ways of eating out every meal and have been cooking for at least a year now! I have been inspired by food network but had truly yet to find something as inspiring until today! I live on the Mexican/USA border (talk about drama) and I really love the churros. What is not to love? I wanted to try making them myself and voila! Great great great! I will say that mine came out looking nothing like what I am use to seeing although I think I appreciate the abstract artsiness of my sinful curly fries look a likes. Now I just need to find a recipe for the perfect carmel type dipping sauce. I know, I know that in Spain it is chocolate and I LOVE Chocolate however this needs something different for me.! Thanks for such an awesome website.

  • Tiffiny Felix
    February 3rd, 2012

    Happy Friday! I wanted to let you know I’ve included this recipe in my “5 Recipes I would love to make” Friday round-up. I’ve had your churros bookmarked *forever* but I don’t dare make them! Unless I can have a group of people over to help eat them…then maybe… ;) Please let me know if you’d like me to remove the picture and link from the round-up. Thanks! :)

  • Cinco de Mayo « SerendipityCatering 303.561.3663
    April 26th, 2012

    […] The Sophisticated Gourmet: Churros (Spanish Doughnuts) […]

  • deep frying: churros « girl meets boy meets world meets food
    May 10th, 2012

    […] Adapted from The Sophisticated Gourmet […]

  • Lola
    December 4th, 2012

    Kamran i just have a quick question, im planning on cooking these for work on thursday, however i was planning on making them the night before.. do you think they’ll be soggy the next day?

  • Melanie
    February 27th, 2013

    Please people, try the recipes before reviewing , so it helps others

  • Fran Cooper
    June 23rd, 2013

    Hi Kamran. I would like to make these in big qauntities and was woundering if it is ok for the batter to be cold when pipping it into the hot oil?? and how long can we keep batter for before it gets fryed??
    warms regards
    The Whipped Baker

leave a comment

Subscribe by: EMAIL or RSS Feed