Picture this: a plate piled high with golden, crispy churros, each boasting a perfect crunch that gives way to a warm, doughy interior. Imagine savoring these delightful treats without the guilt of deep-frying or the hassle of a carnival visit. Welcome to the world of air fryer churros, where the magic of your kitchen meets the irresistible allure of this classic Spanish dessert.
The air fryer is the unsung hero in a world where healthier cooking methods meet insatiable cravings. With an air fryer, churros are healthier and a breeze to make. No more messy frying pans or hot oil splatters to contend with. With the magic of air frying, you'll be serving up churros that are not only irresistibly crunchy on the outside but also pillowy-soft on the inside—all without the hassle.
In this post, we will share how to make golden crispy air fryer churros with chocolate dipping sauce that are so mouthwateringly good. Whether you're a seasoned baker or a kitchen novice, you're in for a treat that will elevate your dessert game to a whole new level.
What You Need To Make Air Fryer Churros
Water serves as the fundamental liquid component in the churro dough. It provides the necessary hydration to create a smooth, cohesive dough. This dough will later be piped into the air fryer for cooking. If you prefer or need an alternative to water, milk, or a combination of milk and water, can be used for added richness. Non-dairy alternatives such as almond milk or coconut milk are suitable for creating a dairy-free version.
Butter contributes a touch of luxury to the churro dough. Its richness and flavor contribute to the overall taste and mouthfeel of the churros. It also aids in creating a tender interior. In the absence of unsalted butter, regular (salted) butter can be used, with a corresponding adjustment in the added salt. Consider margarine or a dairy-free butter substitute for a vegan or dairy-free option.
Even in sweet recipes, a pinch of salt can enhance the overall flavor. It acts as a flavor enhancer, balancing the sweetness of the churros while adding depth to the taste. Omitting the salt is an option for those who prefer or require a salt-free version, as it won't significantly affect the churros' texture.
All-purpose flour serves as the primary dry ingredient in churro dough, offering the structure that contributes to the crispness on the outside and softness on the inside.
Eggs play a crucial role in binding the churro dough together. They provide the necessary structure for the churros, ensuring they maintain their shape during frying.
Pure Vanilla Extract
Vanilla extract contributes a subtle yet delightful hint of vanilla flavor to the churro dough, enhancing the overall taste profile. For a variation, vanilla essence can be used as a substitute, or you can opt to omit it for a simpler flavor.
Avocado Oil Or Coconut Oil Spray
Avocado oil or coconut oil spray is used to grease the air fryer basket, preventing the churros from sticking during the cooking process.
Coconut/ Date Sugar
Coconut or date sugar serves as the coating for the churros once they're air-fried. It adds a classic sweet and slightly crispy exterior to these delightful treats. Coconut sugar and date sugar are natural sweeteners that are healthier swaps than granulated sugar.
Cinnamon is combined with sugar to create the iconic cinnamon sugar coating that gives churros their signature flavor. If you're not a fan of cinnamon or have allergies, omitting it entirely remains a viable option. The churros will still be delightful with just the sugar coating.
Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
Semi-sweet chocolate chips are the key ingredient for crafting the luscious chocolate sauce. They provide a rich, chocolatey flavor that pairs perfectly with the churros. Instead of semi-sweet chocolate chips, you can choose milk chocolate chips or dark chocolate chips according to your preference. Alternatively, you can chop up a chocolate bar into small pieces.
Heavy cream creates a creamy and luscious texture in the chocolate dipping sauce. It contributes to the sauce's thickness and helps achieve the desired consistency. If you prefer a lighter version of the chocolate sauce, you can substitute heavy cream with half-and-half or whole milk. Bear in mind that the sauce may be less rich but still delightful.
Air Fryer Churros Recipe
1 hour and 35 minutes
For the Churros
For the Cinnamon Coconut Sugar Coating
For the Chocolate Sauce
1. Place a silicone baking mat onto a baking sheet and generously coat it with cooking spray.
2. Combine water, unsalted butter, and salt in a saucepan. Heat the mixture over medium-high heat until it reaches a boil. Reduce the heat to low and add all-purpose flour. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until the dough forms a ball and pulls away from the sides of the pan, which should take about 1-2 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow the dough to cool for 5-6 minutes.
3. Once the dough has cooled slightly, add the eggs one at a time, ensuring thorough mixing after each addition. The dough will initially appear lumpy, like gluey mashed potatoes, but will become smooth and shiny as you mix. Stir in the vanilla extract.
4. Prepare a piping pastry bag with a star tip. Alternatively, you can use a plastic food storage bag with one corner snipped off as a makeshift piping bag. Transfer the dough to the bag.
5. Pipe the dough on the baking mat, cutting it into 4-6 inch lengths using kitchen scissors. Let the piped churros chill in the refrigerator for about an hour, and then transfer them into the air fryer basket. Brush or spray oil on top of it to help brown it and prevent burning.
6. Preheat your air fryer to 375°F (190°C) for a few minutes. Lightly grease the air fryer basket with avocado oil or coconut oil to prevent sticking.
7. Air fry the churros at 375°F (190°C) for 9–12 minutes or until they turn golden brown and become crispy outside. If your air fryer has limited space, you may need to do this in batches.
8. Combine coconut sugar and ground cinnamon in a shallow bowl while the air-fried churros remain warm. Roll each churro in the cinnamon-sugar mixture until they are well coated.
Chocolate Dipping Sauce
1. Heat the heavy cream in a microwave-safe bowl or on the stovetop until it's hot but not boiling. Add the semi-sweet chocolate chips to the hot cream and allow them to sit for a minute to soften.
2. Stir the chocolate and cream together until you achieve a smooth, glossy chocolate sauce. You can heat it in the microwave for a few more seconds to achieve the desired consistency.
3. Serve the coconut sugar-coated air-fried churros with the homemade chocolate sauce for dipping. Best to serve warm.
Tips & Notes
Use Room-Temperature Eggs: It's essential to use room-temperature eggs when adding them to the churro dough. Cold eggs can cause the dough to seize up or become lumpy.
Mix the Dough Well: When incorporating the eggs into the dough, be sure to mix well after each addition. Ensure the dough becomes smooth and shiny before proceeding to the next step. Properly mixed dough will result in better-textured churros.
Grease the Basket: To prevent sticking, make sure to grease the air fryer basket or tray with a small amount of avocado oil or coconut oil cooking spray.
Stir Chocolate Slowly: When melting the chocolate chips for the sauce, stir slowly and frequently to prevent overheating or burning. The chocolate should melt gently to maintain its smooth texture.
Use Heavy Cream: Heavy cream creates a luxurious and creamy chocolate dipping sauce. Avoid substituting it with milk if possible, for the best texture and flavor.
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 10g
Saturated Fat 5.4g
Total Carbohydrate 24.3g
Dietary Fiber 0.7g
Total Sugars 8.3g
Vitamin D 9mcg
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calorie a day is used for general nutrition advice.
How To Elevate Air Fryer Churros
Flavored Churro Dough
To infuse more depth of flavor into your churros, add a touch of citrus zest, like orange or lemon, to the dough. The subtle citrus aroma will complement the sweetness of the churros and offer a refreshing twist. Alternatively, a pinch of ground cinnamon or nutmeg can provide warm, comforting notes, making your churros even more delightful.
Enhance the homemade churro experience by providing an array of dipping sauces. While the classic chocolate dipping sauce is a favorite, provide alternatives like a vibrant raspberry coulis for a fruity contrast, a silky salted caramel sauce for a harmonious blend of sweet and salty, or a spicy chili-chocolate dipping sauce for those who crave an adventurous kick.
For gatherings and parties, consider making bite-sized churros. Pipe dough into smaller portions to create adorable churro bites. These bite-sized treats are perfect for sharing and can be served with a variety of dipping sauces to cater to every palate.
What Are The Difference Between Traditional Churros, Baked Churros, and Air Fryer Churros
Traditional churros are the quintessential Spanish street food known for their iconic deep-fried preparation. In this process, a decadent churro dough is piped into hot oil, undergoing a delightful transformation. The result is churros with a distinctive and beloved texture—crispy and golden brown on the outside while maintaining a soft, tender, and slightly doughy interior.
The deep-frying process infuses them with a rich, deep-fried flavor punctuated by a subtle sweetness. However, it's worth noting that deep-fried churros demand a considerable amount of oil, resulting in churros that are higher in calories and fat. However, it can also be a messy and time-consuming process that demands careful handling of hot oil.
Baked churros offer a lighter and healthier twist on the classic treat. Instead of being immersed in a bubbling cauldron of oil, churro dough is piped onto a baking sheet and placed in the oven. The baking process yields churros with a distinct texture compared to their fried counterparts.
Baked churros tend to be lighter, with a cake-like texture reminiscent of a baked pastry. While baked churros maintain the essence of churros, their milder flavor and different texture may not fully satisfy those craving the classic churro crunch. Nevertheless, the reduced oil usage makes baking a cleaner and healthier option for churro enthusiasts.
Air Fryer Churros
Air fryer churros represent a modern fusion of traditional and baked churros, aiming to provide the best of both worlds—crispiness with reduced oil usage. These churros boast a satisfyingly crispy exterior akin to their deep-fried counterparts while utilizing significantly less oil. Air frying also provides the advantage of quicker cooking times.
The result of air-fried churros has a middle ground between traditional and baked churros. They emerge from the air fryer with a crispy exterior that resembles the deep-fried variety, yet their interior is slightly lighter and less doughy, akin to baked churros.
How To Store Leftovers
To store leftover air-fried churros, begin by allowing them to cool completely at room temperature. Subsequently, place them in an airtight container or a resealable plastic bag, using parchment paper to separate layers and prevent sticking. Seal the container tightly to keep air out and preserve its freshness. Leftover churros can be stored at room temperature for up to 24 hours. If you plan for longer storage, freezing is an option; ensure they are well-sealed to prevent freezer burn. When ready to enjoy, simply reheat the frozen churros in an air fryer or oven to restore their delightful crispiness, though they are best when savored fresh.