The Absolute Best Churros In The US

Dough, deep-fried and shimmering in a veil of sweet spices, is a culinary fixture at every county fair that's ever rolled through town. But we're not talking about the funnel cake or Elephant Ear here — we're talking about a pastry with much older origins. Spanish colonizers are traditionally associated with defining the churro as we know it — they launched the chocolate frenzy back in the 16th century, according to BBC Travel – but its multi-national roots in countries across Latin America and China show that fried, piped dough made from economical ingredients (flour and water) is a hit everywhere.

Churros get written off as greasy fairground indulgences in the United States, but in Spain, they're what people eat for breakfast with their daily cup of café con leche (via Coeur de Xocolat). Mexico specializes in churros con chocolate as well as condensed milk, caramel sauce, and cajeta, which is a caramel sauce that's made with goat's milk (per Rick Bayless). Fillings like guava and cheese are also popular, but the variety you'll likely spy passerby holding are the textbook definition churro, dusted in a fine coating of cinnamon and sugar. 

As a mainstay at Costco's food court and Disney theme parks alike, Americans clearly can't get enough of the churro. But those two places aren't the only destinations where the treat reigns supreme. From Spanish-inspired cafés to food trucks spinning wheels across LA and Miami, here are some of the best churros the U.S. has to offer.

Churros Calientes - Los Angeles, California

Modeled off the old-school cafés of yore, Churros Calientes offers sugar-encrusted bliss at the core of West Los Angeles. Angelenos cruising down the 405 can take a break from the gridlock for a hearty menu of meat sandwiches, soups, and a full espresso bar before tucking into the Venezuelan spot's prized churros. Open-air seating only adds to the charm. 

Since churros are in the name, the menu pulls no punches in giving customers options for enjoying their dessert. Per the menu, visitors can order a round of six chewy churros with a side of melted chocolate or settle on one large pastry stuffed with any of its signature fillings such as guava, strawberry, dulce de leche, condensed milk, and more. Go even further in your cravings quest by grabbing the Churro Grande Ice Cream, a decadent sundae composed of the traditional sweet treat amid creamy gelato and a host of add-ons. 

The restaurant has over 2,000 reviews on Yelp, and the verdict is overwhelmingly positive. Customer Grace N.'s review on Yelp declared Churros Calientes to be "a hidden gem in the city of Santa Monica" and recommended the Churros Largos stuffed with cream cheese and guava-flavored syrup. Only the finest, all-natural ingredients are used, according to the eatery's website, so visitors will be treated to an unforgettable churro experience in one of the biggest American cities for dining. Your tastebuds will be sent to heaven.

Hugo's - Houston, Texas

Hugo's ranks high in Houston's dining landscape. Housed within this luxurious eatery is some of the finest Mexican cuisine in all of Texas, which has scored honors from publications like Travel + Leisure and The Washington Post. Head honcho Hugo Ortega was awarded the James Beard Foundation's Best Chef award in 2017 (via Hugo's). And while traditional dishes such as chile relleno and the lush list of wines keep foot traffic high, the sweet treats are equally responsible for its success. 

Ortega enlisted his brother to handle the desserts (per Gayot), and one look at the menu shows the churro connoisseur means business. Churros rellenos, a sweet rendition of the savory stuffed pepper entrée, consists of an elegantly-stacked tower of pastries adorned by two scoops of chocolate ice cream, chocolate sauce, and caramel sauce. But there's more — biting into the chewy dough releases a burst of creamy dulce de leche filling. If satiating tastebuds worn out by a spice-fueled meal is the top priority, a plate of churros con chocolate will also do the job. 

Light and airy with a crinkly chew, Hugo's churros elevate the pastry to decadent heights, and that decadence is well-earned. In the case of the churro sundae, it's not the cheapest of the picks here at $12, but in return, you're receiving a dessert entirely made from scratch (ice cream included). The typical fairground vendor could only dream of being this good!

Churros El Tigre - San Diego, California

Stationed at an outlet mall skirting the U.S.-Mexico border you'll find one of the best churros anywhere in America. Churros El Tigre embodies the street treat in all of its glory. For as little as $4, customers can snag heaping plates of deep-fried dough covered in every sweet substance imaginable, from caramel sauce and Bavarian cream to melt-in-your-mouth fried bananas (via Churros El Tigre). Cheap and generously portioned, be prepared to share your dessert even if you arrived on an empty stomach — they're that big.  

Plain churros are a crowd-pleaser for a reason, but the vendor's happy to indulge the biggest sweet tooth on the block with ice cream too. California Through My Lens gave high marks to the Supreme Churro Sundae, which is a monster of a dessert composed of the following: six full-sized churros, two scoops of ice cream, a whole banana (chopped and caramelized), and smatterings of sauces, nuts, and a cherry. 

In addition to its flagship stand at Las Americas Premium Outlet, San Diegans craving the doughy staple can hit up a new shop that recently opened in National City (via What Now San Diego) or hire the churro vendor for any shindigs coming down the pike thanks to its ever-convenient catering service. Any office mixer or wedding reception is better with pillowy, fresh-dipped pastries.

Tabu - Chicago, Illinois

"Churroulette" sounds like a game, doesn't it? That's because Tabu treats the dessert like one, and customers play it again and again. Under the helm of chef Saul Roman, Latin American cuisine takes some innovative and unexpected twists (via Time Out). Truffle gnocchi tacos and tostaditas featuring quail eggs are just a few of the eye-catching picks on the fusion eatery's vast menu; the Chicago spot aims to please, as well as surprise, with unorthodox experimentation. Especially when it's something as simple as fried dough spun in sugar. 

Right off the bat, the restaurant impresses us with its creative presentation and of course, the appetizing bites contained from within. In the case of its churros, they're brought to the table in shot glasses filled with three different sauces — dark chocolate, dulce de leche, and guava — like a tequila flight in dessert form. But there's a catch. Buried within the crisp, doughy crevices of a single churro will be a spike of habanero, which won't be known until the lucky one (or unlucky, take your pick) bites into the spiked pastry for themselves. 

Eating churros seems like the last thing we'd call a risky proposition, but that's what makes Tabu fun. The next time you're in the Windy City, order a round (and feel the burn) of this novel treat.

La Churreria - New York City

Stroll down the Big Apple's famed Mulberry Street, and you might catch a whiff of fried dough and espresso coming from one of the storefronts. That's La Churreria, the walk-up cafe Manhattanites go to for indulging their late-night sugar cravings (via New York Daily News). Launched by Spanish restauranteur Jesus "Lolo" Manso in 2012 (right next door to his paella bar, via, La Churreria embraces the casual, cozy vibes of a hip Spanish coffeeshop, complete with a convenient walk-up window for on-the-go service that's very much in line with its clientele.

With the kitchen equipment imported from Spain, as the New York Daily News writes, La Churreria seeks to make its churros with a strong Spanish influence, but not without some dashes of whimsy to elevate the classic recipe. The menu features plain and stuffed churros, bite-sized churros in a bag, and inventive handhelds including the Churro Ice Cream Sandwich and Churro Lollipop, which comes dunked in chocolate or dulce de leche sauce and a coating of sprinkles and nuts. If sweet treats aren't your bag, the churro egg sandwich is a must-try with thinly-sliced Serrano ham and creamy Manchego cheese tucked into a churro roll.

The Southwestern U.S. might have the churro game on lock, but New York is New York. "The City That Never Sleeps" knows how to make something simple special in its one way, and La Churreria is delicious proof of that.

La Palma - Miami, Florida

Ever been to Florida in the winter? The sweltering tundra, if you can believe it, actually drops to temperatures one could call "chilly," and locals have turned the event into an annual tradition with — you guessed it — hot chocolate and churros. Bundled-up residents flock to the warming combo all over West Miami, but no other place in town draws lines up and down the block quite like this little Cuban joint (via Florida Key News). 

Despite the overwhelming selection of sauces and syrups, La Palma keeps it simple with the tried-and-true Churro Con Chocolate, or churros with chocolate sauce. If you're expecting hot cocoa mix from the grocery store, mistaken doesn't even cover it. The thick, almost muddy substance is less for sipping and more for dunking piping-hot strands of dough that you'll be licking long after the crumbs are gone. 

La Palma has been a mainstay on Southwest 8th Street for decades according to The News-Review, and it's easy to see why. The cafeteria whips up hot churros on a made-to-order basis, and naturally, Floridians in the know can't help but spread the word on its greatness. Over 12,000 of these crisp confections are churned in the span of a single night (per Miami New Times). Open 24 hours a day and always fresh, La Palma demonstrates that a delectable dessert is always worth braving the chill.

Santo Dulce Churros - Miami, Florida

Churros are essentially rods of fried dough, and this convenient shape arguably gives them the upper hand over other desserts. That's our impression anyway, until feasting our eyes on Santo Dulce Churros' mind-bending variation. Located in Southern Miami's Doral Yard events space, this food truck hawks halo-shaped churros dipped in a wild assortment of glazes and garnishes — not unlike the churro's close cousin, the doughnut. 

Founders Laura Luque and Yule Nunez wanted to pay homage to the pastry's Latin American roots, and it does so with a (literal) twist. Customers can order a single horseshoe-esque arc to nibble or take it up a notch by incorporating it into a sundae, or santo; there are six to choose from. On the menu, you'll find cinnamon sugar, Nutella, Fruity Pebbles cereal, and Oreo crumbs alongside guava and Llanero cheese, a staple of Venezuelan cooking (per Tropical). The FOMO-afflicted (that's the fear of missing out) who can't commit to any one flavor? There's a sampler box of mini-sized pastries calling your name (via Santo Dulce Churros).

Nunez told WSVN in 2019 that the churro is a beloved sweet treat among the masses, "a dessert that represents very well the Latin community." It's amazing that such jaw-dropping creations found in this charming little cart could be rendered out of the humblest of ingredients — flour, sugar, and salt. Prepare yourselves for a churro of otherworldly proportions.

Churros Don Abel - Los Angeles, California

Churros Don Abel are masters of the food cart churro. With bright-red trucks parked across the LA-area, including a stone's throw away from the happiest place on Earth (via Instagram), it's one of the region's best-kept secrets for sweet strands of dough. Walk up to any of its seven trailers, and it's clear the business runs as a well-oiled machine, with workers rolling, dipping, and tossing the churros by hand right before your eyes. 

It's inevitable, especially in Los Angeles, that a street vendor peddling confections made from scratch will draw crowds rivaling a Dodgers game. But don't feel intimidated. In the meantime, as Roaming Hunger reveals, Churros Don Abel will appease you with a warming cup of café de olla that's on the house. In case you're not familiar with the Mexican beverage, it's basically a spice-infused coffee drink that dates back to the early 20th century amid the tumultuous uprisings of the Mexican Revolution, Latino USA reports. Appropriately enough, the flavors found in the beverage — cinnamon and chocolate — fit the pastry that's about to be devoured by throngs of city-dwellers. 

Food trucks are an ingenious strategy to feed people quickly and easily. Getting churros on wheels is just the pinch of sugar on top, and anyone in close proximity to a Churros Don Abel won't want to squander the opportunity. Our personal topping recommendation? Request the lechera and cajeta (goat's milk caramel) for peak creaminess and crunch. It's foolproof!

Dulce Cultura - Queens, New York

As restaurants succumbed to the financial strain of COVID-19, others sprung up from the ashes left behind. Dulce Cultura, which Kallie Pappas opened in a fit of post-pandemic inspiration (per Gothamist), offers comforting Mexican plates within the cozy confines of Queens' Astoria neighborhood. Its colorful setting makes a delightful backdrop for brunch and late-night bites alike. 

In some ways, churros were the catalyst for Dulce Cultura's existence since, as Gothamist reports, Pappas' friend Juan Cortez is a talented baker who makes the most delicious pastries. Now visitors can purchase his sweets from the dessert menu, either in stick form or contorted into halos with toppings and syrups galore. A look at the restaurant's Instagram shows the Mexican pastry utilized in a multitude of delectable ways: as a garnish on pancakes, dipped in cereal, or impaled on a stick like a lollipop. Churros can hold together homemade ice cream or become a churro split — with the crispy, sugary dough taking part in the classic sundae (via Dulce Cultura). 

All of its churros are gluten-free too, so there's no need to scope out another bakery for dessert the next time dinner plans come up. And at just $2 apiece, these churros won't break the bank if you need to get your sugar fix on a budget. This is one of the borough's hidden gems. 

Lucero Bakery - Los Angeles, California

Lucero Bakery initially opened its doors to showcase Juan Perez Ruano's homemade goods, including the churros hand-tossed out of his own kitchen (via Yelp). Today, his touch remains on this beloved family operation which has served Angelenos authentic Mexican pastries over the last 50 years and counting. The bakery looks like your average hole-in-the-wall, there's no doubt about that. But tucked inside its bare stucco walls are undeniably great desserts steeped in tradition. 

Of course, you're going to want to take everything home (the Tres Leche Cake is a particular highlight), but time and time again customers go for the churros. According to one delighted customer's review of Lucero Bakery on Yelp, "These churros were crunchy the way they are supposed to be on the outside, and warm and soft on the inside. A real treat." Between frying them on-site and the luscious fillings tucked within the dough, the quality is something you can taste from the very first bite. Flavors you can cop cover chocolate, guava, and what Vocal reveals is the bakery's top-selling filling, cajeta (caramel sauce made from goat's milk).

A recent Facebook post confirms churros cost $1.25 apiece, so it's no wonder everyone orders them by the box! And as if cheapness doesn't tempt you enough, the business will discount orders of 50 churros or more, making them a great offering for parties and work events. 

Xoco - Chicago, Illinois

Rick Bayless has undoubtedly expanded our notions of what Mexican cuisine can be, and the restauranteur's concept Xoco serves it with a spirit that's anything but old hat. Venture to Chicago's River North neighborhood for tortas, tacos, and other specialties sold in a casual, counter-serve setting (per The Infatuation). The dishes burst with so much artisanal flair, you may as well find yourself in Oaxaca rather than the Windy City. 

All the desserts here deserve a shoutout, but if you can only get one thing it's got to be the churros. Per the menu, the Mexican dessert staple is offered with the signature cinnamon-sugar dusting, to be savored on their own or paired with a dipping sauce (your choice of chocolate or cajeta). It's a classic for a reason. Then you see the Glazed Churros and wonder why something so delicious could be missing from your life. Coated in three different flavors — chocolate peanut, pistachio, and hazelnut — like an answer to the artisanal doughnut that's become synonymous with food trucks and bakeshops all over the country.

A review from FoodBoss raved over the hazelnut churro, particularly its flaky texture and the addition of chopped nuts for extra bite. Additionally, the hot chocolate for side-sipping isn't very sweet, most likely on account of using real cacao beans as opposed to the sugary mixed variety (via Chicago Tribune). Upscale yet unpretentious, just one bite is enough to convince the most unshakeable churro purists. 

Churro Co. - Austin, Texas

Cinnamon-sugar churros are great, but have you tried them with apple pie or marshmallows? Since 2014, Churro Co.'s gravity-defying creations have delighted Austinites trawling through the South First vendor lot (via Texas Tasty), even claiming a spot on The Austin Chronicle's yearly critics' pick showcase in 2018. That's due to the boundless creativity driving founders Leo Mendoza and David Martinez to take risks while also paying tribute to their hometown of Ciudad Juarez (via Austin Chronicle). 

For all its playfulness, the business puts a lot of time and effort into making its product. Simply prepping the dough can take hours, if not days, prior to tossing them in the fryer, according to So Much Life, which makes its price-point of $6.75 and below even more miraculous. One highlight, aptly called Texas Comfort, features churros coated in spicy cardamom sugar with salted caramel, whipped cream, and a heap of apple pie to finish it off. Another treat called Campfire takes s'mores to the next dimension with graham cracker-encrusted pastries and jumbo charbroiled marshmallows doused in chocolate sauce.

Elevated but fun is how we'd describe Churro Co.'s approach to the airy confection, falling right in line with the city's signature weirdness. And as one of the lone businesses in the state capital hawking churros made from scratch (per So Much Life), you'll want to run, not walk, to this food truck when the craving hits.