Culinary Arts

Quick and Easy Homemade Naan Recipe

Written by MasterClass

Feb 19, 2019 • 3 min read

Naan bread is the doughy engine behind every Indian restaurant, and a table without it is sacrilege to hard-core enthusiasts. Not only does it soothe your taste-buds after a potent wallop of spicy Indian food, it’s the ultimate vehicle for soaking up every last bit of sauce from your plate.

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What Is Naan?

Naan is an Indian flatbread, leavened with yeast and traditionally cooked in a tandoor oven. Plain yogurt gives the dough a pillowy, stretchy crumb and cooking it over high heat gives it its signature glossy, blistered surface brushed with ghee or butter.

What’s the Difference Between Naan and Roti?

While both naan and roti are flatbreads, there are a few key differences:

  • Flour. Roti is made from whole wheat flour while naan is made with all-purpose flour.
  • Yeast. Naan is leavened, or made with yeast. Roti is unleavened, or made without yeast, which brings the consistency typically closer to a tortilla than a puffy bread like naan or pita.
  • Yogurt. Due to the yogurt and salt content in naan dough, the final result is moist and flavor-packed, while roti serves as a healthier everyday blank canvas for the meal.
  • Method. Naan is cooked in a tandoor oven or fried on a skillet, while roti is often cooked on a tawa (a type of flat skillet) or over a stove griddle.

Is Naan Healthy?

While naan bread is not technically good for you, the rest of Indian cuisine makes up for it with plenty of vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options. Naan is carb-loaded, butter-coated joy, and meant to be enjoyed as such. Don’t think about it too much.

Do You Need a Tandoor Oven to Make Naan?

You don’t need any special equipment like a bread machine or clay oven to make naan. While baking in a tandoor oven is the traditional method, these ovens are rarely seen in homes or restaurants. Any frying pan will allow the naan to puff up nicely, especially if it’s a cast iron skillet. A stand mixer will make the kneading go faster, but you can just as easily use your hands.

A stack of buttery naan

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Easy Homemade Naan Bread Recipe

Ingredient Checklist

Total Time 1 hr 50 min | Cook Time 20 min | Prep Time 1 hr 30 min

Naan is a soft dough with a quick cooking time. Give it ample time to rise and you’ll be rewarded with big, airy pockets.

  • 1 packet active dry yeast
  • ½ cup lukewarm water
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour or bread flour
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup plain yogurt, preferably full fat
  • Vegetable oil or ghee for frying
  • Melted butter or ghee for brushing
  • ½ cup cilantro, rough chopped
  1. In a small bowl, combine the yeast, sugar, and warm water. Stir gently with a wooden spoon until yeast has dissolved completely.
  2. In a large bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the flour and salt. Add the yeast mixture and yogurt to the dry ingredients.
  3. Knead until dough starts to come together into a shaggy dough ball. If using the stand mixer, mix on medium speed for a few minutes.
  4. Lightly grease the bowl with oil or ghee, and return dough to the bowl, turning once to coat. Cover with a clean kitchen towel, and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  5. Punch down dough and remove from bowl. Divide the dough into 8-10 equal pieces, and cover again with towel.
  6. On a lightly floured surface, using your hands or a rolling pin, stretch pieces into ½ inch thick rounds or ovals.
  7. Heat a cast-iron skillet until hot. Toss in 1 tsp of ghee to grease the pan, then cook on one side until golden brown and large bubbles form in the dough. Flip and cook for another 2-3 minutes on the other side.
  8. Meanwhile, melt 3 tbsp ghee or unsalted butter in a microwave-safe bowl; add chopped cilantro.
  9. Remove, brush with melted ghee or butter on one side. Keep finished naan covered with a dish towel to keep warm while you work through the rest.

The 2 Most Common Variations on Naan

  • Garlic naan. To make garlic naan, simply add minced garlic to your ghee or butter mixture. Brush generously and enjoy.
  • Onion naan. To make onion naan, finely chop one small onion and add to dough. You can also caramelize onions, then chop and add to final ghee or butter topping.

5 Indian Dishes to Eat With Naan

Naan bread is a perfect vehicle for just about every dish in the Indian culinary canon. Try it with: