Dessert University: The History of Churros

By Isabella Silber

Churros are one of the most beloved and decadent desserts across the globe. They resemble a doughnut or cruller and are made from deep-fried unsweetened dough, traditionally topped with cinnamon sugar and dipped in a chocolate sauce.

However, the exact origin of the churro is unknown and quite controversial among food historians. History has long been divided as to how churros exactly came to be. Some say that Portuguese sailors came across a very similar Chinese food called "You Tiao" and brought the technique that the Chinese used to Portugal. They took the fried flour stick and slightly altered the recipe to make it a sweet treat instead of a salty stick.

Once the Spanish got wind of the new dessert from their neighbors in Portugal, they put their own spin on it by passing the dough through a star-shaped tip to give the churro its signature ridges.

Another rendition claims that the nomadic Spanish shepherds invented the treat. The shepherds would stay high in the mountain tops with their flocks so they could not access pastry shops easily or frequently. Because of this, the shepherds created churros since they were easy to make and fry in cooking pans over an open fire. There is even a breed of sheep called the "Navajo-Churro", which are descended from the "Churra" sheep. Their horns look oddly similar to the traditional shape of the fried pastry.

Regardless of who actually invented the churro, Spanish explorers, or conquistadors, introduced them to the rest of the world during the 16th century. They quickly became a local favorite, and many countries began to claim the churro as their own invention.

Since then, the churro has undergone countless reincarnations that have only made the dessert that much better. In Cuba, churros are traditionally filled with guava. In Mexico, it is typical to see street vendors selling dulce de leche-filled churros. Whether your favorite type of churro is straight or spiral-shaped, dipped in chocolate or straight out of the greasy paper bag on the street, stuffed with a decadent filling, or with or without a heavy dusting of cinnamon sugar, it is hard not to enjoy the dessert.

At Verde, we took our own spin on the traditional dessert. Instead of the straight or spiral shape, we turned the sweet dish into a waffle and top it with cinnamon sugar, ice cream, and chocolate syrup. Make sure to finish your meal the best way possible by ordering our churro waffle the next time you dine with us or order take-out!