If you have been buying naans up until now, try making them yourself – the difference is incredible! This Homemade Naan Bread recipe is one of our favourites! Naan is simply perfect served warm with your favourite soup, dahl or curry! And once you know how to make this simple version, you can start creating your Indian Take-Away favourites – Garlic, Keema or Peshwari!
Or if you keep a sourdough starter, we highly recommend you try our Sourdough Naan Bread Recipe!
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What is Naan?
Naan bread is a flat bread originating in the Indian subcontinent, but enjoyed all over the globe! It may be argued that it is the most popular flatbread worldwide. Rightly so, it is soft and fluffy and perfect to scoop up delicious curry sauce, soup or stew.
Traditionally made in a very hot tandoori oven. Naan bread boasts a soft and airy interior with beautiful charred spots on the surface, created by the tandoor oven walls that the bread is cooked on.
However, Naan bread can easily be made without a tandoor oven. Replace it with a cast iron skillet or even make it in your ordinary frying pan set over medium-high heat!
Ingredients and Substitutes
- dried yeast: we used dried yeast that needs to be activated in warm water, but if you choose to use the easy blend type (instant yeast or active dry yeast), you can add it directly to the flour and sugar, and then add water separately.
- caster sugar: or white granulated sugar.
- warm water: make sure it’s no hotter than your body temperature.
- flour: we used strong bread flour, but plain flour (also known as all-purpose flour) works well in this recipe too.
- baking powder: not to be confused with baking soda/ bicarbonate of soda.
- butter: melted and cooled down slightly. If you use salted butter, make sure to reduce the amount of salt in this recipe by about a quarter.
- plain yogurt: also known as natural yoghurt. Greek yoghurt will work here too. We even tried this recipe with sour cream and it worked great!
- nigella seeds: optional, but recommended.
- salted butter: melted, for brushing the top.
Start making your Naan Bread about two and a half hours before you wish to serve it, as it will need time to prove. First, mix 4g of dried yeast and ½ teaspoon of caster sugar with 60 ml of warm water and set aside for 10-15 minutes. The yeast should form a foam floating on top of the water. I used dried yeast that needs activating in warm water; not the ‘instant’ yeast which can be mixed with dry ingredients.
In the meantime, to a large bowl (or a bowl of a stand mixer), add flour, baking powder, salt and the rest of the sugar and mix well. Make a well in the middle for your wet ingredients.
A Note on Flour
Both strong bread flour and plain flour work for this naan. Bread made with plain white flour, however, is less sturdy, but just as soft and fluffy. You may also substitute up to ⅓ of white flour with whole wheat flour if you wish.
Pour your melted butter, plain yoghurt and yeast mixture into the well and bring everything together with your hands. You may choose to knead by hand or use a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment.
The dough is wet and sticky to start with, so it is definitely easier to do it in a mixer. But if you like kneading by hand, make sure you’re not adding too much flour. Your naan dough will need to be worked for at least 10 minutes. It’s ready when you have a less sticky, smooth, elastic and soft dough.
Pop your ball of dough into a greased bowl, cover it with plastic wrap and leave the dough rise in a warm place for around 2 hours or until doubles in size.
When doubled, place the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Divide it into 4-6 equal dough balls, depending on what size you want your naans. Roll each of the balls out into a traditional teardrop shape (about ½cm thick).
Heat a large non-stick frying pan (or cast iron pan) on high heat. You don’t need to add any oil. It may get slightly smoky in the kitchen when you dry fry your naan, so we always shut the kitchen door and open a window.
Place your naan in a hot skillet and fry it for about 4 minutes until puffed up and charred in places. Then flip it over and continue frying for another 3 minutes.
If your naan bread is charring too much, reduce it to medium heat.
Preheat the oven to the lowest setting. Brush the cooked naan with melted salted butter, place it on a baking tray and cover with foil. Pop into the oven to keep warm.
Repeat with the rest of the naans, brushing with butter and keeping warm in the oven as you go. It’s worth mentioning that the first naan will likely not turn out great. Just like with pancakes, the first one is always a write-off, so don’t be discouraged.
This Indian Bread is best served warm, straight from the oven onto the table. If you want to add a special touch to this Homemade Naan recipe, brush it with butter with some added crushed garlic and finely chopped coriander.
Tips and Tricks for Great Naan Bread
- Add a tablespoon of nigella seeds to the dough for the lovely specs of black that you typically see in Naan Bread served at Indian restaurants.
- Don’t overproof the dough. Once it doubles in size, shape and cook your bread. If the dough starts deflating, you will struggle to get the signature blisters on your naan bread.
- When rolling the Naan bread, don’t be afraid to flour the surface and the rolling pin. We highly recommend using a Stainless Steel Rolling Pin when working with a relatively sticky dough!
- Make Sure your cast-iron skillet (or frying pan) is hot before adding the flatbreads. Also, don’t worry if the first Naan isn’t great! Naan Flatbreads are just like pancakes – the first one hardly ever turns out perfect!
Whilst some recipes of naan bread are made without yoghurt, it really helps create a pillowy soft and moist interior in this delicious flatbread.
Keep any leftover flatbreads in an airtight container or ziplock bag at room temperature for up to 3 days. You may also choose to freeze them in freezer-friendly containers for up to 3 months.
Naan bread can have a round or oval shape or even a teardrop shape. We have seen all three shapes served in restaurants and homes across India on our travels.
What To Serve Naan Bread With?
We love pairing this Simple Naan Bread with our:
Other Delicious Homemade Bread Recipes
If you enjoyed our Naan Bread recipe, give these other homemade bread recipe a go next time you feel like baking something utterly delicious:
- Pumpkin Fougasse
- Korean Cream Cheese Garlic Bread
- Easy 4-Ingredient Rotis
- Light and Fluffy Cheese Scones (Without Eggs)
- Sourdough Pita Bread
Simple Naan Bread
- 4 g dried yeast not the easy blend instant type
- 1 tsp caster sugar
- 60 ml warm water
- 150 g strong bread flour
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 15 g butter melted
- 55 g plain yogurt
- 1 tablespoon nigella seeds optional
- 15 g salted butter melted, for brushing
- Mix 60 ml of warm water with ½ teaspoon of caster sugar and 4g of dried yeast. Set aside for 10 minutes.
- In a large mixing bowl, mix together strong bread flour, baking powder, salt and the remaining ½ teaspoon of caster sugar. Make a well in the middle.
- Pour in yeast water, yoghurt and melted butter into the well. Add a tablespoon of nigella seeds if using. Bring the mixture together with your hands or using a standing mixer with a dough hook. Knead for at least 10 minutes. The dough will be quite wet and sticky to start with. Carry on kneading until soft and elastic. Don't be tempted to add a lot more flour, but use some to dust the surface if kneading by hand.
- Grease a bowl with some butter or oil and pop your dough into it. Cover with cling film and leave in a warm spot to prove until doubled in size (around 2 hours).
- When doubled, divide the dough into 4-6 equal balls, depending on the side you want your naans.
- Heat a large non-stick frying pan on high heat (don't add any oil). Roll out each ball of dough into a traditional teardrop shape and place in a hot pan. Dry fry for about 3-4 minutes. It will puff up quite a bit. Then flip it over and fry for another 2-3 minutes.
- When your naan is puffed up and charred in places, transfer it onto a foil-lined baking tray and brush with melted salted butter. Cover with another piece of foil and pop into the oven set to the lowest possible heat. Then repeat with the rest of the naans, brushing each with salted butter and keeping them warm in the oven. You can work with multiple frying pans to speed up the process.
- Serve warm with your favourite soup, dahl or curry!