Is there anything better than a warm piece of fresh naan bread in your hand? This soft, chewy Indian flatbread is much loved and very popular. And making it at home is a super rewarding process. I’ll show you a great way to make delicious naan bread right at home so you can enjoy it any time!
I love Indian food. The aromas, the flavors, the textures, the colors – I love it all. And whether I’m munching on crunchy onion bhaji or savoring saag paneer from my favorite Indian restaurant, I’m always enjoying it with a piece of warm, fluffy naan.
To this day, there are few things that make me as happy as a simple piece of this Indian flatbread dipped in raita.
Happily, The Prince has shared my love of Indian food since he was a little boy. We would set up a feast of Chicken Tikka Masala, samosas, naan and raita in front of a Marvel or Harry Potter movie that we’ve already seen 100 times. Those were the best nights.
What’s the difference between naan and pita?
Naan, a staple of Indian cuisine, is a simple flatbread traditionally made in a clay oven. It usually consists of flour, water, yeast and salt. Most naan recipes are made with either egg, milk or yogurt, and sometimes a combination. This makes naan soft, pliable and flavorful.
It’s different from pita bread in this way, as pita bread does not usually contain any milk or yogurt. Pita is a drier, less fluffy type of flatbread that often has a pocket for stuffing.
Naan is traditionally served alongside a main dish to help sop up the sauce. But my favorite thing to dip naan in is raita.
What’s in this naan bread recipe
The ingredients for homemade naan are simple and humble. Here’s all you’ll need:
How to make homemade naan
Making this Indian flatbread isn’t hard. Just stick to the steps that I’ve outlined below and try not to deviate, and you’ll be good:
- Before you combine your ingredients, you’re going to dissolve the yeast in warm water. It’s very important that the water is warm enough to activate the yeast. You’ve got to get the water to at least 110F degrees. I shoot for between 110F-115F degrees. It’s beyond warm, almost hot! An easy way to check for the right temperature is to use a kitchen thermometer.
- Knead the dough. You can do this in a stand mixer or by hand. I’ll usually set a timer for 6-8 minutes and knead the dough on the countertop by hand. It’s a great arm workout!
- Let the dough rise in a warm oven. Allowing your dough to rise in a warm oven vs. at room temperature will reduce the rising time by half!
- Form the dough into smaller balls and let them rise again. This time, at room temperature.
Once your naan is ready to cook, it’s a quick process. The Prince usually helps me because two hands are better than one. But once you get your rhythm going, you can easily do it by yourself:
- Heat a cast iron pan.
- Roll out each piece of naan, brush one side with butter, and place it, buttered side down, onto the pan.
- Quickly butter the top and cover it for a minute. Covering the bread while it cooks mimics the tandoor oven that naan is traditionally made in. Using a glass lid is very helpful, so you can keep a close eye for air bubbles.
- Once it’s bubbling, uncover and flip it for another minute.
That’s literally all it takes, probably 2-3 minutes total per piece. If your pan is big enough to fit two pieces at once, the process will go faster. That’s when either an extra person or some really good rhythm comes into play.
The Best Way to Enjoy Naan
The most enjoyable way to eat naan is when it’s warm. As it starts to cool to room temperature, you’ll notice that it will become firmer and less pliable. A quick hit in the microwave will loosen it up again.
How to store leftover naan
If you happen to have any leftover naan bread, the best way to keep it fresh is by storing it in aluminum foil or an airtight container at room temperature. Since homemade naan does not have any preservatives like store-bought naan bread, you’ll want to consume it within a few days.
You may be tempted to put it in the fridge.
As with any kind of bread, refrigeration will extend its life, but it will also make it stiffer and firmer than if you had left it out at room temperature. If you’re going to eat your leftover naan the next day or day after, leave it out at room temperature, as long as it’s wrapped in an airtight container.
how to reheat naan
Placing leftover naan bread on a microwave-safe plate and heating it for thirty seconds will restore its soft texture. This is certainly the quickest way to do it.
But for the best results, you want to steam it. And this reheating process will only take a couple of minutes.
Arrange your naan on a baking sheet and sprinkle it with a little water. Then warm it in the oven for 3 or 4 minutes at a medium heat, between 300-350F degrees.
can you freeze naan bread?
Yes! The easiest way is to wrap your leftover naan in plastic wrap and then place it inside a freezer-safe plastic bag for double protection against freezer burn. Defrost it on the countertop and then follow the reheating instructions above.
If you don’t have time to defrost, just do the same process with frozen naan bread and add 5 minutes to the reheating time.
Naan bread breakfast ideas
Naan has become so popular that you can even find it in most grocery stores now. People are getting so creative with all the different ways to enjoy it. From using naan as a pizza base to using it as a wrap for sandwiches, the possibilities are endless.
But have you thought about using naan at breakfast? Here are some fun ideas:
- Make a naan breakfast wrap with scrambled eggs, bacon and cheese.
- Top a piece of naan with smashed avocado and a runny egg. Next level delicious!
- Sprinkle cheese and crumbled breakfast sausage over the naan and toast it. Serve it on the side of eggs.
side dishes for naan
Most Indian restaurants will bring out a side of raita to your table when you’re having naan bread, and this is probably my favorite part of the meal! Raita is a yogurt-based dipping sauce that often contains cucumber and coriander. It’s cooling on the palate, so it makes a great side dish for spicier Indian main dishes.
But really, any Indian dish should be served with naan. Use it for sopping up the delicious pink sauce of Chicken Tikka Masala or a vegetarian curry dish. Anything saucy should have some naan for dipping!
You’re going to have so much fun making this homemade Indian flatbread. Let me know how it goes! Leave a comment or drop a rating below. Enjoy!
For more bread recipes, try these:
For more Indian recipes, try these:
How to Make Naan (Indian Flatbread)
- 1 packet active dry yeast not instant
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 tsp. sugar
- 3/4 cup warm water between 110-115 degrees
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 egg
- 3 Tbsp. milk
- 2 tsp. minced garlic
- 1 stick unsalted butter melted
- In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in warm water. Let stand 10 minutes until bubbly. Stir in the sugar, milk, egg, salt and 3 cups flour. Dough will be shaggy. Add remaining 1/2 cup of flour onto a countertop and knead the dough 6-8 minutes, letting it absorb some of the additional flour, until smooth.
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees, and then turn the oven off. Place the dough into an oiled bowl, cover with a dish towel, and place into the warm oven for 30 minutes until doubled in size.
- Remove the bowl from the oven. Punch the dough down, remove it from the bowl and knead in the garlic. Form the dough into balls the size of golf balls and place them on a tray. Cover the tray with a dish towel or damp paper towel and let rise for 30 minutes.
- Heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Roll out the dough and brush with melted butter. Place the buttered side down, quickly brush the top with butter and cover for 1-2 minutes, until the top is bubbling. Flip the dough over and let cook 1 more minute. Remove naan onto a plate and keep covered until ready to serve.
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