Churros are fried-dough pastry-based snacks, sometimes made from potato dough, originated in Spain, and is popular in Latin America, France, Portugal, the USA, and Spanish-speaking Caribbean islands. It is sometimes referred to as a Spanish doughnut. The snack gets its name from its shape, which resembles the horns of the Churro breed of sheep reared in the Spanish grasslands of Huarocho. There are two types of churros in Spain. One is long and fat and the other, specially popular in Madrid, is thin and knotted (porra). They both are normally eaten for breakfast dipped in chocolate.
The churro is typically fried until it gets a crunchy consistency and sometimes sprinkled with sugar. Its surface is ridged due to being piped from a churrera, a syringe with a star-shaped nozzle. Churros are generally prisms in shape, and may be straight, curled or spirally twisted.
Like pretzels, churros are often sold by street vendors who in many cases will fry them freshly on the street stand and sell them hot. In Spain, Mexico and Argentina, they are available in cafes for breakfast, although they may be consumed the whole day as a snack. Specialized churrerías can be found as street shops or as towable wagons during the vacations.
In Andalusia, Spain, churros are made with deep-fried wheat flour and sold in spirals or wheels, which can be broken into manageable portions after frying. These are generally called porras and calentitos or calientes, as opposed to the potato dough version made in the rest of Spain, also sold in the region but under the name Papitas or Calentitos de Patatas.
Filled straight churros are found in Cuba (with fruit, such as guava), Brazil (with chocolate, doce de leite, among others), and in Argentina, Peru, Chile and Mexico (usually filled with dulce de leche, but also with chocolate and vanilla). In Spain they have a considerably wider diameter to allow for the filling. Tulumba Tatlisi is a sweet Turkish 'fluted fritter' that greatly resembles churros.
Until recently, outside of Latin American street stands and eating establishments, churros could be difficult to find in the United States and other non-Latin countries. However, with the increased popularity of Latin American food, today there are a growing number of franchise restaurants that sell fresh churros, both traditional and filled.