This Naan Bread Recipe makes a whole batch of soft, fluffy naan. And with a delicious ghee and garlic topping, and a dusting of fresh cilantro, each piece is absolutely heavenly! Read on to learn how to make Indian naan with just a few common ingredients and your frying pan.
Naan is an Indian bread with a Persian name. You’ll find it all over the world, and especially in Western, Southern, and Central Asia, India, and the Caribbean. It’s a leavened flatbread that you’ll sometimes find on its own, and it’s most commonly used as a pizza base or to scoop up dips and sauces.
What I have here is a traditional naan bread recipe that you can make right at home! You might be surprised by how simple and common the ingredients are, but it’s really all about the process.
While this naan recipe takes a couple of hours, most of that time is spent letting the dough rise. The actual baking is very quick — just a few minutes per flatbread. I always have some on standby when I make Paneer Butter Masala, Zaalouk, or any of my delicious curries.
INGREDIENT NOTES AND SUBSTITUTIONS
- Water – It’s important to use water that is lukewarm (110°F) so you don’t kill the yeast.
- Sugar, Salt, & Yeast – You’ll find yeast in every naan bread recipe. And where there’s yeast, there’s salt and sugar to both feed and control its activity. Don’t substitute any of these ingredients!
- Flour – I use all-purpose flour in this recipe. You could also use wheat flour and unbleached white bread flour.
- Baking Powder – Important for the leavening of the flatbread.
- Ghee – This is a specific kind of butter made from cow’s milk, simmered and strained to leave behind a fat with a very high smoking point. If you’re unable to find any, you can use butter instead.
- Garnish – I top off this naan recipe with a rich, savory topping made from:
- Ghee – For a buttery, mildly sweet, and slightly nutty taste.
- Minced Garlic – For a bold taste and mouth watering aroma.
- Cilantro – For a bright, refreshing, and tangy note. If you prefer the taste of parsley or basil, you could use either as a substitute.
HOW TO MAKE NAAN DOUGH
1. Activate the Yeast. Mix together the warm water and sugar until the granules have dissolved. Pour in the yeast while whisking continuously until fully combined. Set aside while the yeast activates.
2. Prepare the Dough. While the yeast activates, sift the flour into a bowl with the salt and baking powder. Pour in the yeast water and add the melted ghee. Mix everything together with a spatula until a shaggy dough forms.
3. Knead. Oil your hands and begin kneading the dough on a flat surface. Oil your hands again throughout and continue kneading for 5-6 minutes until it becomes soft and pliable.
4. Let Rise. Place the dough into a large bowl coated in oil. Roll the dough around the bowl to coat the surface with oil, cover, and let rise in a warm place for 90 minutes.
5. Knead Again. Punch the risen dough to remove the air and knead into a smooth ball.
6. Divide and Proof. Divide the dough ball into 6-8 equal portions, rolled into balls. Transfer each piece onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper and keep them an inch apart. Cover and let rise for another 10 minutes.
HOW TO MAKE NAAN BREAD RECIPE
1. Prepare to Cook. Microwave the ghee and garlic, stir, and microwave again. Add the cilantro and set aside for topping after baking. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200°F.
2. Heat Your Skillet. Place over medium-high heat until nearly smoking.
3. Flatten the Dough. With a rolling pin, roll out each piece into an 8×5 oval, keeping the remaining dough covered while you roll each piece.
4. Cook. Brush or sprinkle one side of each piece with a bit of water. Place each piece, wet-side down, into the skillet. Check this out in the video below!
When the edges begin to dry and surface bubbles, flip the skillet upside down to cook the other side over the heat. It won’t fall! Cook until the dough blisters and chars lightly.
5. Garnish & Serve. Lift the flatbread out of the pan with a metal flipper onto a plate and brush with the garlic-ghee topping. Garnish with more fresh cilantro, and keep warm in the oven while making the rest of the flatbreads. Serve warm, and enjoy with Creamy Black Dal Makhani or you favorite Indian meal!
What makes naan bread different from others?
Naan is an Asian flatbread that you might confuse with pita at first glance. However, the two are very different.
For starters, naan is thicker and softer than pita. Pita is all about what you’re dipping it into or filling it with, while naan is all about the charred bubbled exterior and fluffy, soft interior.
How is naan traditionally made?
The traditional way is by means of a tandoor or clay oven, slapped and flattened against the sides and cooked very quickly. This naan bread recipe is made with a pan or skillet, which is another traditional method of preparation.
What ingredients are in a naan bread recipe?
You might be surprised by how common all of the ingredients are in a naan recipe! The dough is made from all-purpose flour, salt, sugar, yeast, baking powder, and ghee. Replace the ghee with butter, and you’ll likely find that you already have all of these ingredients in your kitchen!
Garlic Naan Bread Recipe
- In a medium bowl, whisk the lukewarm water and sugar until dissolved. Add the yeast and whisk until well incorporated. Rest for 15 minutes to activate the yeast (foamy).
- Sift flour, salt, and baking powder into a large bowl. Add the yeast mixture and melted ghee to the flour. Stir to combine with a spatula. When the dough is shaggy (loose but mixed), transfer it to a clean work surface.
- Oil your hands and start kneading the dough, oil your hands several times. The dough will be sticky at first, but continue kneading, it will become soft, elastic, and pliable. Knead 5 to 6 minutes.
- Oil a large bowl, add the dough ball and turn to coat on all sides. Cover the dough with a light towel. Place in a warm, draft-free place for 90 minutes until the dough doubles.
- Once the dough has risen, punch the dough to release the air. Knead briefly with your hands into a ball until smooth.
- Using a pastry cutter or knife, divide the dough into 6-8 equal portions (if you want thicker, roll 6, same dimensions). Use your hands to roll the dough into 8 balls. Transfer the balls to a lined tray about an inch apart to prevent sticking. Cover with a dish towel and rest for 10 minutes to rise again and proof.
Prep to Cook
- Add the ghee to a small bowl and add the garlic. Microwave on high for 20 seconds, stir, then microwave for another 20 seconds. Stir in half the cilantro and set aside with brush. Put a small bowl of water next to your work space. Turn oven to 200°F.
Roll Out Naan, Cook
- Heat a large cast iron skillet or flat grill pan over medium-high heat until it's nearly smoking, at least 3 minutes.
- Roll out the naan. Using a rolling pin, roll each piece of dough into a oval shape, about 8 inches long long and 5 inches. Cover the remaining dough balls while you roll each naan.
- With a brush, wet one side of the rolled out naan with a little water (this will help the naan stick to the pan).
- Pick up the naan and carefully place it in the hot skillet, water side facing down. Once you see bubbles all over and the edges start to dry out (about 45 to 60 seconds), turn the skillet upside down over the flame to cook the top (or under broiler). Look for blistered dough and slight char marks.
- Turn skillet back over and use a metal spatula to remove naan from pan. Transfer naan to a tray and brush with the melted ghee, garlic and cilantro. Sprinkle top with fresh cilantro and place tray in oven to keep warm while you make repeat process with remaining naan. Serve and eat while still warm.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.