Naan Bread: the effortless recipe for the chewy, soft Indian flatbread

Total time: 30 Min + rising time
Difficulty: Low
Serves: 8 people
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By Cookist

Naan is a leavened Indian flatbread, a great side to many recipes. It has a chewy, airy, soft texture just like those you can find at restaurants. It is usually served with rich Indian dishes such as curries or gravies in order to soak up the sauces. You can even use it as a pizza base.

Made from flour, yogurt, oil, yeast and warm water, naan is traditionally baked in a hot clay tandoor oven. The bread should be stuck to the sides of the oven which reaches temperatures of up to 300°C. This heat thus fills the inside of the bread with pockets of air, baking it perfectly. However, to make the recipe easier we cooked the naan in a cast-iron skillet on the stovetop.

You will be amazed that in India there are several versions of naan as it is very popular also in the Middle East. So, don't forget to try plain naan, butter or garlic ones that make every meal a delight.

So, the next time you plan to serve to your guests a subtly spiced recipe of Indian fare, do not forget to make the naan as well. To a North Indian even a simple meal of dal tadka and matar mushroom seems like a party, if it is served with naans.

Naan vs Pita Bread

Naan and pita are very similar in appearance as they are both flatbreads, but different in preparation and ingredients. Naan is usually made with yogurt and has a fluffier texture.

On the other hand, pita recipe is very popular in the Mediterranean and Middle East area. It is based on simple ingredients such as flour, water, yeast, salt and oil in order to get a leaner and thinner dough.

Naan vs Roti Bread

Just like other Indian breads, roti also resembles naan. The roti is a very light unleavened bread that is usually made with whole wheat flour served with vegetable or meat dishes. On the contrary, naan is made with yeast and all-purpose flour. Moreover, it has a firmer and softer texture inside.

What to serve with Naan Bread

You can serve naan bread with traditional Indian recipes such as chicken curry and chicken tikka masala. Even hummus is a great choice. You can also use it as a pizza.

Tips for Homemade Naan Bread

Make sure the water is warm and not too hot. It should have a temperature of 110°F, so the yeast will activate easily. Check it out with a thermometer. On the same way, make sure that the yeast is fresh.

For a quicker naan recipe, you can also leave out yeast, but it will be thinner.

For a richer naan recipe, you can also add an egg.

You should knead the dough until soft and smooth.

You can replace white flour with the whole wheat flour to make a healthier version of naan, this naan may not be as soft. However, if you mix half of each then you will get a slightly healthier naan with the same texture as the original.

Maintain the baking temperature and you might need to keep a watch on the naan all the time when it is in the oven.

How to store Naan Bread

You can store naan bread at room temperature for about 4 days. You can also keep it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Reheat it in a skillet on the stovetop before serving.

Can you freeze Naan Bread?

You can freeze naan bread for up to 3 months if wrapped in foil or placed in a freezer-safe Ziploc bag. Let it thaw overnight before reheating.

Another recipe you need to try
All-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups
1 tsp
¼ teaspoon
Instant yeast
2 tsp
Plain Yogurt
¼ cup
Olive oil
3 tbsp
Warm water
2 tsp
Melted butter
2 tbsp

How to make Naan Bread

In a small bowl, add the yeast.

Add the warm water and sugar. Combine, then let it sit for about 5 minutes.

In another large bowl, add the flour.

Pour in the yeast mixture.

Stir in the yogurt, oil.


Add the salt.

Knead for a few minutes

Knead until the dough is smooth. Add a little more flour or milk, if required.

Place the dough on a greased bowl and cover it with a lamp cloth.

Keep it in a warm until doubled in size.

Preheat a cast-iron skillet to a medium heat and add a little oil.

Remove excess oil with a sheet of paper towel.

Knead the dough quickly forming folds.

Coarsely roll the dough into an elongated shape.

Divide the dough in to 8 equal parts and then lightly dust a clean surface with flour.

Roll each dough ball into round or oval shape.

Place the dough circles in the skillet.

Cook each naan for about 3 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown on the bottom. Flip over and cook the other side for 3 minutes.

Lightly grease the rolled dough on top with butter or fresh herbs.

As you go along, cover the bread with a kitchen towel to keep it warm.

Serve them hot and enjoy!

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