The Best Indian Naan Recipe – a simple step by step guide (and video) to making authentic, pillowy, naan bread, that gets nice and crispy in a skillet with all your favorite toppings – garlic naan, onion naan and seeded naan!
To live in this world you must be able to do three things; to love what is mortal, to hold it against your bones knowing your own life depends on it, and, when the time comes to let it go, to let it go. ~Mary Oliver
An essential in Indian cuisine, naan bread is the perfect companion to many of our favorite Indian dishes. Here is an easy naan recipe with simple, step-by-step instructions. This traditional naan recipe is made with yogurt and yeast, and is cooked in a dry skillet, giving the soft, pillowy naan a delicious crispy exterior which I fell in love with in India. Today I’ve opted for whole wheat, Garlic Naan, my favorite, but feel free to keep it plain and simple, or embellish with whole seeds – see the recipe for all the yummy variations, and find your favorite!
How to make Naan! | 40-second video
On the home front. I’ve been home from India for over a week now, yet still feeling foggy-headed and groggy. It is sooooo frosty here, the trees are beautifully flocked, but I’m struggling to adjust to the cold. Thankfully my husband loves to make the house cozy. He made candles while I was gone, and so there are candles everywhere, lit and glowing. It helps. Along with fragrant incense, I brought back from India. I’ve been on the cookie diet again ( my annual holiday diet), and have been baking, which actually seems to help too. Perhaps not waist-line, but my well-being for sure. 😉
Traditional Naan Ingredients:
- FLOUR: All-purpose white flour, bread flour , whole wheat flour , einkorn, or spelt flour – or a blend.
- Instant yeast: Using Instant yeast cuts the prep time in half while eliminating one whole step. (See recipe notes for regular active yeast.)
- SALT AND SUGAR
- Yogurt (or vegan yogurt)
- Olive oil
- Warm water
In a smaller bowl, mix the warm water, yogurt and olive oil.
Mix the dough with a fork until it comes together.
With a floured hand, knead the dough just a few times, form a ball, and place it back in the bowl.
Place the naan dough in a warm spot in the kitchen until it doubles in size. About 1-1.5 hours.
Tip: The warmer the spot, the faster the naan will rise. I often place rising dough on top of my stove, with the oven turned on to the lowest setting.
If using regular Active Dry Yeast, it will require 3 hours to rise.
Once the naan has doubled in size, place it on a floured surface and roll into a 10- 12-inch log.
Divide the naan dough into 6 equal pieces.
Naan should be rolled into rounds or ovals, roughly ⅛ – ¼ inch thick.
If going for oval naan, they should measure, roughly 4 x 8 inches.
Naan really doesn’t have to be perfect and honestly can be any shape, as long as they are uniform in thickness ( or with the edges slightly thicker than the middle) and no more than ¼ inch thick.
You can keep the naan plain and simple, season it with seeds – nigella, fennel, anise, poppy, or sesame seeds ( adding to the flour bowl) or add finely minced onion or garlic – my favorite!
Nigella seeds add a delicious onion-y flavor.
If making garlic (or onion naan), simply press the finely minced garlic into the naan with your fingers, or roll it in.
To cook the naan, and give it a nice crispy texture, heat a DRY heavy bottom skillet, or cast iron skillet, over medium-high heat.
Cooking one naan at a time, placing the naan right in the hot skillet and toast, until large bubbles appear on the visible side. Take a peek underneath to see if the naan is deeply golden, adjusting the heat, either lowering or raising.
When there are large air bubbles on top of the naan bread, and the bottom side is nicely golden, flip. This will take anywhere from 2-4 minutes. Then cook the other side for another 2-3 minutes, checking to see that the air bubbles are not deeply golden but not burning. After the first one, you will get the hang of it.
Stack the naan and cover with a towel to keep warm.
Once all the naan are seared in the skillet, brush or spread with ghee and sprinkle with pinch of salt. Sprinkle with fresh herbs- parsley, cilantro or even scallions or chives – right before serving.
You can also keep the naan warm for a while, stacked, wrapped in foil in a warm oven- then right before serving, sprinkle with the herbs so they look nice and fresh.
A delicious and fun addition to any Indian meal.
My husband absolutely loves it when I make these!
Naan can also be baked ahead and frozen – just make sure to wrap the naan individually and very well with plastic wrap.
Place them frozen in a toaster oven or in a hot oven, directly on the rack, until soft and warm.
Here are a few Indian recipes to serve your delicious naan with!
- Butternut Tikka Masala
- Quick Vegan Cauliflower Masala
- Indian Butter Chicken
- Palak Paneer!
- Aloo Gobi!
- Instant pot Tikka Masala
Quick EASY Naan Recipe- a simple step by step guide to making authentic Indian style, pillowy naan bread in a skillet with all your favorite variations- garlic naan, onion naan and seeded naan!
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (or a combo of ½ wheat and ½ unbleached white bread flour is nice)
- 1 teaspoon salt, more for sprinkling
- 1 teaspoon instant yeast or rapid-rise yeast (see notes for Active Dry Yeast)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ¾ cup warm water
- ¼ cup plain yogurt (or sub vegan yogurt)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- In a large bowl, whisk flours, sugar, yeast and salt together. If adding whole spices, add them now.
- In a medium bowl, stir ¾ cup warm ( 100F) water with olive oil and yogurt.
- Pour the yogurt mixture into flour mixture and combine with a fork, and with a floured hand, knead the dough until just a few times and form a ball. Drizzle with a little olive oil to coat all sides of the ball and place it back in the same bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Place the bowl in a warm spot in the kitchen ( the warmer the spot, the faster it will rise) and let rise until it doubles in size – 1 to 2 hours. (TIP: I’ll often place rising dough on the top of my stove with my oven set to the lowest setting.)
- When dough has doubled, place it on a well floured surface, and roll into a 10-12 inch log, then divide the log into 6 pieces.
- Roll each piece out into a ⅛-¼ inch thick round or oval, about 4 by 8 inches long. They don’t have to be perfect and can be any shape, just make sure thickness is uniform, and is not more than ¼ inch thick. If adding garlic or onion, press some of the finely minced garlic into the dough on one side, just using your fingers and you can actually do this in the pan if you want. You can also roll the garlic into the dough, when it rolling out.
- Heat a DRY cast iron skillet over medium to med-high heat. Cooking one naan at a time, place it in the hot skillet, and cook until large bubbles appear on the surface, and bottoms are deeply golden ( check after a couple minutes) then flip. Cook for a few more minutes on the other side until the bubbles are deeply golden, then set aside and cover with a towel or foil to keep warm.Cook all the naan, then brush each one with ghee, and a light sprinkling of salt, stacking. (You can keep them stacked, wrapped in foil in a warm oven until ready to serve.)
- Right before serving, sprinkle with chopped cilantro, parsley, or scallions.
These can be made ahead and frozen, individually wrapped tightly in plastic wrap ( use a double layer). Place them frozen, directly on the rack in the oven or toaster oven until soft and warm.
If using regular, Active Dry Yeast- rising time will increase to 3-3.5 hours. You will also need to mix the yeast with the warm water and the sugar first, let it stand for 10 minutes until it activates and is frothy, before adding the yogurt and olive oil to it. Continue with recipe as stated.
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