Churros are arguably one of the most popular cinnamon treats in the entire world. Although they’re most notably associated with Mexican cuisine, several other global cultures also claim the original “churro” recipe as their own.
The real question we’re all here to find out today, though, is “Are churros vegan?”
Traditionally made, churros are NOT vegan. No matter what culture you’re looking into, churro dough has been traditionally made using flour, sugar, water, butter, and eggs.
While flour, sugar, and water are generally vegan, butter and eggs are animal by-products and are not considered vegan.
Churros are a sweet, slightly crunchy vegan dessert made by adding powdered cinnamon and sugar to deep-fried churro dough. They’re known for their twisted consistency that kind of makes them look like large Twizzlers made from dough and cinnamon.
While traditional churros may not be vegan, there are a number of vegan-friendly churro recipes out there!
In today’s post, I’ll break down exactly what churros are made of and show you what vegan churros are made of. If you’ve been looking for a delicious breakfast pastry, then keep on reading to find out more…
Do Churros Have Dairy?
In the U.S., churros are generally considered to be a Mexican dessert. Sometimes, they’re lumped in with breakfast food, as they’re a substitute for typical American doughnuts.
Churros typically consist of two or three twisted strands of fresh dough. The dough is then deep-fried in vegetable oil and then sprinkled with fresh cinnamon and sugar.
In Mexico, it’s often eaten as a breakfast treat and is commonly sold by small coffee shops. It’s similar to the doughnuts that are so popular in American cities. It’s sweet, filling, and pairs excellently with a hot cup of coffee in the morning.
Unfortunately, most traditional churro recipes are NOT vegan, as you can see from this recipe:
Traditionally, churros DO contain dairy. Churro dough is typically made using flour, water, sugar, butter, and eggs. Butter is an immediate dairy by-product and eggs are a poultry by-product that comes from female chickens.
Butter is made by whisking and pulverizing cream from cow’s milk. Butter sticks are concentrated, high-fat sticks made primarily of the fatty dairy extract obtained from cow’s milk.
While vegans may not be able to consume dairy-based butter, there are a number of non-dairy, lactose-free vegan butter alternatives that can be used in their place.
One of the most popular brands of vegan butter is I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter Vegan.
This vegan butter is made by combining plant-based oils and salt together to create a creamy butter stick that’s 100% dairy-free!
What Is Churro Dough Made Of?
Although most people associate churros with Mexican cuisine, the recipe actually originated in France. The French pastry is commonly referred to as “choux,” and is a common breakfast pastry that’s served alongside beignets and coffee.
Churro dough is made using a few simple ingredients:
- Wheat flour
- Purified water
However, the other ingredients are problematic.
The sugar used in churros is almost always refined white sugar. While natural sugar is plant-based and comes from the sugarcane plant, white sugar is filtered through animal bone char, which unfortunately makes it a non-vegan product.
Butter is an immediate dairy derivative and is made from churning heavy cream and dairy fat obtained from animals.
Likewise, eggs are also obtained from animals. Female chickens are artificially inseminated and pumped full of hormones to trigger excessive production of eggs.
This puts the chickens’ bodies into overdrive, often resulting in cancer and stress-based heart attacks.
Can You Make Vegan Churros?
Yes! You can.
Traditionally, churro dough is made with butter, eggs, and white sugar to create a great-tasting, sweet pastry dough. The recipe originated in France, which arguably has one of the strongest dairy economies in the world. Almost all French cuisine includes butter or some form of dairy.
Thankfully, you can create a similar churro dough recipe that’s 100% vegan. It might not taste as rich or fatty as traditional dairy-based churros, but it’s close enough. If I’m being honest, I actually prefer vegan churros thanks to their lighter dough recipe!
What Are Vegan Churros Made Of?
Like traditional churros, vegan churro dough shares the same wheat flour base. The only difference is that vegan churros are made using vegan-friendly sugar and are made without eggs or butter.
Here’s a quick list of what vegan churros are typically made from:
Organic Wheat Dough
Vegan churros are typically made using an all-organic wheat dough. Wheat dough, by itself, is 100% vegan and just consists of two ingredients:
When wheat flour is mixed with dough, the dough activates the natural proteins and yeast in the flour, causing it to rise and become fluffy lightweight dough.
Organic Cane Sugar
For the most part, white sugar is non-vegan since it’s filtered through bone char. However, organic cane sugar is almost always vegan. It’s made by evaporating the juice that’s extracted from sugarcane, which leaves sugar crystals behind.
These brown sugar crystals taste rich and sweet, and are actually more flavorful than refined white sugar!
Without cinnamon, churros wouldn’t be very interesting; they’d be just another sweet, fried pastry. Cinnamon is what gives the dough a spicy, deep flavor that makes them almost impossible to compare to anything else.
While the dough doesn’t usually contain any cinnamon, the fried churros are sprinkled with a healthy bit of organic cinnamon or cinnamon sugar before being served to customers.
What About The Cooking Oil?
Traditionally, churros are deep-fried in just about any vegetable oil that’s readily available and sold in most restaurants. Unfortunately, one of the most common deep-frying oils is palm oil.
Although it’s a plant-based oil, it directly contributes to deforestation and has driven many rainforest species into extinction. It even threatens indigenous tribes!
By contrast, vegan churros are deep-fried in vegan-friendly cooking oils, such as canola oil, safflower oil, or sunflower oil. These oils are organically sourced and don’t threaten our natural ecosystem.
Are Churros Vegan At Disneyland?
Disneyland has loads of vegan-friendly desserts and foods. One of the most popular vegan desserts at Disneyland is the Pineapple Dole Whip (which you can also make at home!).
Unfortunately, Disneyland churros are NOT vegan.
They’re made using the following ingredients:
- Canola oil
- Cottonseed oil
- Palm oil
- Soybean oil
- Corn flour
- Sodium caseinate
- Eggs + egg white + egg yolk
- Baking soda
- Guar gum
- Fatty acids
- Soy lecithin
- … and natural flavors
Eggs, sodium caseinate, and “natural flavors” are some of the most obvious non-vegan ingredients. Many of the other ingredients are artificial and completely unhealthy for the human body as well.
Conclusion – Can Vegans Eat Churros?
If you’re out and about, you should probably avoid churros. The majority of churro recipes are non-vegan and use milk, eggs, dairy, and refined white sugar, none of which are vegan.
If you’re looking for vegan churros, then your best bet is to visit a vegan restaurant or make your own vegan churros from home.
If you’re looking for a sweet vegan-friendly treat, then my best suggestion is dark chocolate! It’s almost always organic, vegan, and contains very few (if any) unnatural additives. Keep on reading to find out more about vegan dark chocolate here!