Cómo hacer churros: una receta familiar de Edwin y Luna

Churros with Edwin and Luna

Churros, like flan, are one of the surprisingly few dishes made across all 20 of Latin America’s Spanish-speaking destinations. (They’re also loved in Brazil—so the dessert gets a perfect score in the continent.) For hundreds of years, the velvety smell of fried dough has beckoned the hungry in the streets and kitchens of places with cuisines as different as Mexico, Peru and Cuba. Today, if you go to just about any Latino country, you’ll find this fried food with its distinct ridges sizzling in the stalls of outdoor vendors, and—admittedly less frequently since they’re so available on the street—in the cocinas of homecooks.

Because: What’s not to love? The churro is a doughnut-like treat, its flour dough golden-fried to crispy perfection. It’s usually long and thin, with crimped edges like the ones we’re used to seeing on crullers. Churros are served for dessert, breakfast or as a snack any time of day.

churros made in Manzanillo
A street vendor in Manzanillo, Mexico fries churros into distinctive wheels—ready for all-day snacking.

When Edwin Barrera was growing up in Chicago, he remembers his Mexico-born parents making churros on special occasions. Today, Edwin, who works in home-inspection education, is teaching Luna, his daughter, how to make a batch in their kitchen in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood. He is proud to pass on this traditional dessert to the next generation.

Watch Luna make churros for their family, just like her dad Edwin did when he was growing up.

It’s a big day for Luna, who is 8. She loves to cook, especially when sugar is involved. Luna has only tried churros at the Latino bakery down the street—never at home—and is excited to learn her dad’s recipe. As they prep each fritter, it turns out that Luna’s favorite part of churro making is what she calls the “grand finale”: Pressing the dough through the star-shaped adapter on the churro press (you can also use a pastry bag). Luna watches in awe as each 6-inch piece slides into the 350°-sizzling oil. She and her dad then press both sides of each churro in sugar—and sit down to eat them immediately.

“Be careful they’re not too hot,” Edwin warns. “No such thing,” says Luna and takes a huge bite. “They’re perfect.”

churros street vendor
Churros are loved across Latin America, where they are widely sold by street vendors.

The History of Churros

Churros, like flan (again!), made its way to Latin America with the Spaniards in the 1500s. How did they first get to Spain? No one knows, exactly. The technique of frying dough into stick shapes has been traced by food historians to a handful of possible sources. Some link the churro to Ming dynasty-era China, where a ridged fritter called youtiau is still popular today. From China, the food likely journeyed with Portuguese sailors back to Europe. Other comida scholars tie the churro to the Romans, where a recipe for fried dough appeared in their ancient cookbook, Apicius, in the 5th century. And yet other comida experts credit Spanish shepherds with inventing the sweet when they were stuck in the hills watching their flocks. They learned to fry dough in pots over open flames and named the fritter, which when it curls in the hot oil can look like a ram’s horns, after the Iberian Churra breed of sheep they tended.

Everyone agrees on the next part of the churro’s journey to the Latino world. The dish sailed with the Spaniards to the Americas, where the dessert was quickly gobbled up. Bonus: Early Spanish cooks discovered that dipping churros into melted chocolate made from the new-to-them cacao beans in Mexico took the treat to delicioso new heights.

How to Serve Churros Today

Today, churros are still dipped in chocolate. A festive way to serve churros at dinner parties and restaurants is rolled in cinnamon-sugar and accompanied by small bowls of chocolate and dulce de leche, that milk-based caramel-like sauce so popular in Latin America.

In countries including Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Cuba, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru and Uruguay, churros are traditionally fried into thin lengths and often filled with dulce de leche. In Colombia and Venezuela, churros are shaped into donut-like circles. In Uruguay, they are sometimes filled with cheese, for a savory alternative.

Churros are extra delicioso when served with dipping sauces like chocolate and dulce de leche.

Muy importante and universally true across all of Latin America: Don’t forget to eat churros bien calientitos for maximum delicioso-ness!

Here at Familia Kitchen, we amar churros—just like seemingly the rest of the 650 million people who live in Latin America and the 60 million Latinos in the U.S. #Churroamorforever.

Like these churros? Check out more family-famous Mexican and Colombian recipes from the Barrera family—dad Edwin, mom Janeth, Luna, 8, and Samuel, 12. Start with Edwin’s guacamole (“The best in the whole world,” says Luna) and Janeth’s fried-plantain patacones con hogao y beef empanadas. And, we beg you: Do not miss one of the most popular recipes ever posted in the history of Familia Watch Janeth and Luna make Colombian-style arepa con queso—just like Mirabel’s mother does in Luna’s favorite movie on Earth: the Disney-hit Encanto.

Ready to Make Sweet Churros with Edwin and Luna?

How to Make Churros with Luna and Edwin

Receta por Janeth Palacio Barrera Cocina: mexicano


tiempo de preparación


Hora de cocinar




  • 1/2 taza 1/2 agua

  • 1 1/2 cucharadita 1 1/2 sal

  • 2 cucharada 2 manteca

  • 1 taza 1 harina

  • 1 cucharada 1 canela

  • 1 cucharada 1 extracto de vainilla

  • 4 a 6 tazas 4 a 6 oil, for frying

  • 1/3 taza 1/3 sugar, for garnish


  • Place the water, butter and salt in a saucepan.
  • Bring the saucepan to a low boil on the stove, over medium heat.
  • When the butter completely melts, pour the mixture into a bowl.
  • Add the flour and cinnamon. Mix together. Roll the dough into a ball with a fork or your hands. If you need to, add a little more flour to get the right consistency to form the dough into a ball.
  • Place the dough into a churro maker or pastry bag with a star-shaped nozzle.
  • Place the oil in a large pan on medium-high heat. Bring to frying hot, about 350°.
  • Carefully squeeze the churro dough into lengths of 5 to 6 inches each into the oil. Be careful not to overcrowd. You will likely be able to fry 3 to 4 at a time.
  • When the first side of each churro turns golden brown, in about 2 to 3 minutes, use tongs to flip it over, so that the second side browns.
  • When both sides are crisp and golden, remove from the oil and lay on a paper towel-lined plate to drain any excess oil.
  • While they are still still hot, press each churro length in the bowl of sugar to lightly coat both sides.
  • Place the churros on a serving plate and eat while hot! If you wish, serve with small bowls of melted chocolate and/or dulce de leche for delicioso dipping.


  • Edwin and Luna roll their churros in sugar. Feel free to add ground cinnamon (we like a 2-to-1 sugar-to-cinnamon ratio), for another traditional way to eat churros.
churros butter Luna
Luna and Edwin mix butter, water and salt to make the dough for the churros.
churro Edwin
Edwin and Luna fill the churro maker with dough, in preparation for frying.
churros frying
Edwin shows Luna how to flip the churros so that both sides turn golden.
Churros with Edwin
Edwin and Luna dip their freshly fried, still-hot churros in sugar—both sides, please.
Churros with Edwin and Luna
Edwin and Luna Barrera’s family recipe for churros turned out ”perfecto!” says Luna.

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