In the age of new-world discovery, Portuguese sailors tasted a Chinese breakfast pastry called you taio that would serve as the inspiration for churros. Nomadic Spanish shepherds copied their neighbors and spread the tasty treat around the Iberian Peninsula. Shaped like sheep horns and easy to cook over an open campfire, the churro is named after the “Churra” sheep of the Iberian peninsula.
Nowadays, this snack has spread around the Spanish-speaking world as a mid-day treat, breakfast food, and late night goodie to be enjoyed with friends. Within Spain, different regions have adopted the churro to their liking. The north of Spain prefers a thicker version called a porra, whereas Andalusians reject the classic star shape in favor of thinner churros with a smooth surface. In Madrid, you’ll find churrerias packed with couples, kids, and party-goers dunking sugar-sprinkled churros in rich, thick dipping chocolate.