A Brief History of the Churro

Published on October 5, 2021

With its fun shape and delightfully crispy texture, it’s no wonder the churro has taken the world by storm. Whether you have a sweet tooth or your palate prefers savoury or experimental tastes, the churro is the perfect vessel for many flavours. Beloved by adults and kids alike, the base recipe is simply flour and water. But the history of how it came to be? Not nearly as simple!

Its early origins can be traced way back – and we mean way back. Food historian and author Michael Krondl says the churro is “not that different from a recipe for flour and water fritter that you can find in Apicius, a Roman cookbook dating from the 1st Century AD”, and believes it’s been around forever in the Mediterranean basin.

It’s difficult to understand the path it’s traveled. One theory suggests the Spanish got the idea from China, who got it from Portuguese explorers (though Krondl discredits this). Another theory eludes it was an invention of Spanish shepherds as a substitute for fresh bread. While the history remains unclear one thing is for certain – each region has a unique twist that makes it their own.

In China they’re known as youtio, a popular breakfast fritter, often dipped in soya milk or rice congee. In Spain, their porras are prepared with either yeast or baking soda, adding more air and creating a thicker pastry. A more cake-like version, made with butter and eggs, exists in Granada – and at Disney parks too!

In Mexico you can find the classic cinnamon-sugar dipped variety, but for an extra indulgent treat they can be served with chocolate, whipped cream, or signature dulce de leche.

Whether you enjoy them with friends and loved ones for a special occasion, or just because – there’s no denying the charm of the noble churro. Be sure to visit your local Quesada to enjoy our warm churros sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, served with Nutella or caramel dipping sauce.