Churros are hard to mess up. Take fat-heavy choux dough, deep fry it, and pour sugar all over it and people will take it in what ever form you give. What can you improve? Well, we all love the classic churros from our favorite Mexican restaurants and food stands (and maybe even Disneyland and Costco) but pastry chefs countywide have taken the snack into new forms lately.
That means new flavors and conjoined desserts–perfect for foodies who are always awaiting the next big, strange thing. But of course, classic churros will always be, well, classic churros, and we'll always love them either just as much (maybe even more than churro-waffles).
10. Churro Cronut at DK's Donuts (Orange)
Excessive trendiness is a sin for some foodies, but DK's Donuts doesn't seem to care. After all, they make cronuts, which either made people excited or angry when Chef Dominque Ansel first put them out. But you know, their churro-flavored one isn't bad at all–matter of fact, it's kind of good. Just don't remind yourself that, individually, it consists of a churro, donut, and croissant. Rather, just think about cinnamon that leads the flavor and how the combined chewy and soft texture just somehow works. The power of experimentation, y'all.
3744 E Chapman Ave, Orange, (714) 633-5858; instagram.com/dksdonutsorange
9. Churro-Waffle at The Iron Press (Costa Mesa)
Think of Iron Press's churro-waffle as a wider and more flat churro–in other words, if you've ever wanted to eat a churro with a knife and fork, this is your moment. The churro-waffle is served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top, which melts as you eat leaving pools of sweet cream in the dusty crags of the churro waffle. You also get a side of chocolate ganache for dipping, which makes for a nice medley of crunches, swishes, dips, and slurps.
3321 Hyland Ave, Ste E, Costa Mesa, (714) 426-8088; theironpress.com; Instagram: @theironpress
8. Churro Ice Cream at Creamistry (Irvine)
For a place that has over 40 flavors, it makes sense that Creamistry–the county's first ever liquid nitrogen ice cream shop–has churro ice cream in there somewhere. Now, the liquid nitrogen machines and the smoke around them aren't just for show (well, mostly). They add to the ice cream's thickness and temperature–you'll feel it when you bring a scoop close to your lips.
3972 Barranca Pkwy, Irvine, (949) 777-6627; creamistry.com; Instagram: @creamistry
7. Churro Macarons at Snow Monster (Multiple Locations)
Snow Monster's mason jars full of Thai tea are cute–heck, I have one, I know people who have one, and maybe you do, too. But for the past few years, they've made a bigger name for themselves with their macaron ice cream sandwiches, which can be made with Fruity Pebbles, Oreo, and yes, churro macarons. The brilliances of the churro one is that it tastes just like a churro minus the crunchiness, where each bite is chewy and stains your lips with cinnamon.
9600 Bolsa Ave Suite G, Westminster
17406 Beach Blvd, Huntington Beach
4255 Campus Drive Suite A124, Irvine
snowmonsteroc.com; Instagram: @snowmonsteroc
6. Churro Ice Cream at Afters (Multiple Locations)
Afters' Cookie Monster, Milk and Cereal, and Jasmine Milk Tea ice cream flavors are good ones for starters to try, but after a couple of times, it's time to start exploring 'round. Their churro ice cream is particularly notable, which has a nice hint of cinnamon and a thick creamy texture. For those who have a strong sweet tooth, try it in milky bun form (just beware of diabetes).
18030 Brookhurst St, Fountain Valley
13662 Newport Ave., Tustin
aftersicecream.com; Instagram: @aftersicecream
5. Horchata Ice Cream with Churros at Elado Ice Cream (Anaheim)
Horchata ice cream with churros? Why not? Here's one of our reporters Gabriel San Roman to tell you all about it:
Best of all is the horchata ice cream served with churro bits. The sweetness of the drink translates perfectly with every scoop. It take a few minutes to warm up the churros, but the addition is well worth the wait. Chopped into bite sized portions that are never tough or chewy, they are drizzled with caramel syrup. As the ice cream begins to melt, the brown sugar from the churros swirls in like Cinnamon Toast Crunch in a cereal bowl of milk. Elado's horchata ice cream dissolves into greater decadence with every bite.
732 N Anaheim Blvd, Anaheim; Instagram: @eladoicecream
4. Churros at The Funnel House (Huntington Beach)
What'd you expect from a place called The Funnel House? The churros here are made-to-order, and dough being fried and coated with sugar is meant to be watched by onlookers. When they're done, they come out hot and thick, which produces soft bites and melted sugar.
205 Main St, Huntington Beach; thefunnelhouse.com; facebook.com/Funnel-House-Huntington-Beach-203976003084275
3. Black Sesame Churro at The Playground (Santa Ana)
Don't expect any normal churro at The Playground (don't expect any normal anything there, actually). Their churro is, first of all, not tan-colored, but black, and that's because it's infused with black sesame for a toasty bite. If you don't see it on the menu, wish for it back 'cause it's crunchy on the outside and soft, almost gooey like black sesame filing on the inside. It's topped with rich banana cream and served on top a pretty spread of caramel (though they're sure to switch it up).
220 E 4th St, Ste 102, Santa Ana, (714) 560-4444; playgrounddtsa.com; Instagram: @playgrounddtsa
2. Churros at Gabbi's Mexican Kitchen (Orange)
If you're craving classic churros, head over to Gabbi's for ones that just get it right. The exterior is crunchy and center soft, and to top it off (literally) are lip-smacking cinnamon grains. You can choose between two dipping sauces: a cajeta and chocolate.
141 S Glassell St, Orange, (714) 633-3038; gabbipatrick.com; Twitter: @gabbis_kitchen
1. El Torito Grill (Irvine)
In a churro battle between El Torito Grill and Gabbi's Mexican Kitchen, our Mexican-In-Chief named El Torito Grill the winner, citing the churros' heat and slightly melted sugar as their winning attributes (though he commended Gabbi's for making good churros, too). Here's more from him:
Notice the use of powdered sugar instead of regular sugar; since they don't dust the churritos until ordered, the sugar clumps up on the still-hot churro, ensuring it melts only slightly but doesn't totally liquefy. Powdered sugar in slightly melted form is near-perfect, and that means sugar won't rain on your clothes. The berry garnish doesn't really add much, but it's the thought that counts.
1910 Main St, Irvine, (949) 975-1220
555 Pointe Drive, Brea, (714) 990-2411