Pillowy soft inside and a little crisp outside, our naan bread recipe is easy to make and an excellent pairing with curries, soups, spreads, and dips.
Cook it in the oven or a pan, and brush it with a garlic-oil-herb mix. The fragrant scent of freshly baked bread and garlic will spread in your kitchen and attract even the pickiest of eaters.
Check out our best easy dinner recipe collection!
Naan is a leavened type of bread popular in India, Indonesia, Malaysia, and other central and western Asia countries. Its name comes from the Persian word nān, which means bread or food.
In fact, similar types of bread, for example, pita bread, are popular in Iran, Egypt, Turkey, and other middle-eastern countries, part of old-day Persia.
Traditionally, naan is cooked in a tandoor oven or a tawa pan, but here we'll show you how to make it in a standard oven or in a skillet.
Making this homemade naan bread recipe is surprisingly easy. The main ingredients are water, flour, yeast, and salt.
You can eat naan plain and dip it in curries and dips, or top it with garlic, oil, ghee, butter, and fresh herbs such as cilantro and parsley.
Our favorite way of eating naan is either with Indian curries or middle-eastern dips and spreads. Serving suggestions to follow.
You can use all-purpose flour to make this homemade naan recipe.
To make it more wholesome, you can use half all-purpose and half whole wheat flour. In this case, you might need to add more water as whole wheat flour absorbs more.
You can use white or brown sugar. You can also use honey or maple syrup.
Sugar has a double purpose. First, it helps the naan bread proof by feeding the yeast. Second, it helps the bread brown in the oven and become more flavorful.
You can use instant dry yeast (our favorite) or active dry yeast. Both are perfect for this recipe and are easy to use.
You can add ¼ teaspoon of baking powder for extra bubbles, although this is optional.
It's important to use lukewarm water to facilitate yeast activation and quicker proofing.
We make naan with extra virgin olive oil instead of butter/ghee. The olive oil makes the naan soft and fluffy and keeps it nice and moist.
This is a Mediterranean and middle-easter way of making flatbread, and still traditional in its own way.
We recommend fine sea salt.
The topping is to make a garlic naan, which we think is delicious.
We make it with extra virgin olive oil, garlic, and parsley or cilantro, depending on your preference. You can also sprinkle with sesame seeds or nigella seeds.
You can substitute melted butter or vegan butter for the olive oil and make a delicious garlic butter naan.
1. Make the dough
To a large bowl, add the warm water, sugar, and dry yeast. Whisk and set aside for 5 minutes to activate the yeast.
Tip: the yeast should foam lightly, as shown in the picture below. If it doesn't, your yeast might be dead, and you should use a new one. The water should be lukewarm, as in not hot and not cold. Check the temperature with your finger; it should feel comfortably warm on the skin.
To a large mixing bowl, add flour, salt, olive oil, and the water-yeast mixture.
Stir with a spatula or wooden spoon until you get a sticky dough ball.
Transfer the dough ball to a well-floured worktop (you can use a cutting board) and knead with your hands for 5 minutes.
Add more flour if necessary, but ensure the dough stays soft and moist.
Note: you can make this in a stand mixer if you prefer.
2. Let the dough proof
Transfer the dough ball to a large oiled bowl and brush the top with oil.
Cover with a damp towel, leaving enough space between the dough and the cloth.
Let it proof in a warm place for 1 to 1.5 hours or until doubled in size.
Tip: we recommend putting the dough to proof in a slightly warm oven. You can turn the oven on for 1 minute, then turn it off. It creates the perfect environment (warm, moist, draft-free) for the yeast to do its job.
Once proofed, transfer the dough onto a lightly floured surface, fold it on itself 4 or 5 times, then cut it into 4 to 6 pieces, depending on how large you want your naan to be.
Shape each piece into a ball.
Now, flatten the dough on a lightly floured worktop. You can flatten it out with your fingertips, pressing from the center to the edges and stretching it, or with a rolling pin.
You can roll it out into any shape you want. We do it oval.
Arrange the naan breads on two or three baking sheets lined with parchment paper (or on a worktop) and let them proof for 30 more minutes.
Note: this second proofing is optional; you can cook the naan bread immediately if you want to. But since you got so far, we recommend giving it that extra love and letting it proof for 30 more minutes. This will make your naan bread extra fluffy, moist, and delicious!
In the meantime, warm up your cooking tools and prep the topping to brush on the naan once cooked.
To make the topping, finely chop cilantro (or parsley) and garlic. Mix them in extra virgin olive oil, melted butter, ghee, or vegan butter. We like to use extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of salt.
You can cook the naan on a nonstick skillet, cast iron skillet, in a baking tray in the oven, or on a pizza stone. Keep scrolling.
3. Cook the naan bread
This is the easiest method and the one we recommend for most people. The naan bread will be soft and fluffy.
Warm up your nonstick skillet, brush your naan with oil or water, and place it on the hot skillet.
Cook for 1.5 to 2.5 minutes on each side.
Right after you flip it, brush it with the oil-garlic-herbs mix while still in the pan. This will keep the naan bread moist and infuse it with flavor.
Cast iron skillet
Warm up a well-seasoned cast iron skillet on medium-high heat. Brush the naan with oil or water and transfer it to the hot skillet.
Cook for 1.5 to 2.5 minutes on each side. Brush it with the oil-garlic-herb mixture as soon as you flip it and still in the skillet.
Put the pizza stone on the middle rack in your oven. Then preheat the oven for at least 30 minutes at 450°F or 230°C. This should be enough time for your pizza stone to get hot.
Arrange the naan on a lightly floured pizza peel, brush it with water, and transfer it to the hot pizza stone.
Cook for about 5 minutes; don't overcook it, or it'll dry out inside.
Take out of the oven and brush with the oil-garlic-herb mixture immediately.
Baking sheet in the oven
Preheat the oven to 450°F or 230°C. Transfer the naan bread to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush them with water or oil, then bake them for about 7 minutes.
This cooking method makes the naan bread a little more crunchy and less fluffy. Brush with oil-garlic-herb mixture while still warm.
Naan bread with dukkah
Dukkah is an Egyptian and Middle-Eastern nut-herb-spice blend used for bread dip.
Try brushing your flatbread with the oil-herb-garlic mix, then sprinkling it with dukkah.
It's crunchy, nutty, herby, and aromatic. It's an original way of enjoying delicious homemade naan bread.
Check out our dukkah recipe.
Turn this delicious homemade naan dough into a wonderful flatbread pizza with your favorite toppings.
You can make it with cheese and tomatoes, with avocado and chipotle, or with your favorite pesto.
Check out how to make homemade flatbread pizza.
Serve naan bread with a saucy main dish, such as curries, soups, and stews:
- Lentil curry or chickpea curry (Turmeric, curry, ginger, garlic, coconut milk, diced tomatoes).
- Easy tofu curry (tofu, Indian spice mix, garam masala, coconut milk, vegetable broth).
- Red lentil soup (red lentils, carrot, onion, cumin, rosemary, crushed tomatoes).
- Vegan butter chicken (dairy-free yogurt, tofu, tomato puree, cashew cream, cumin).
- Chana Masala (chickpeas, diced tomatoes, turmeric, cumin, coriander, diced tomatoes).
Serve it as an appetizer, with dips and salads:
- Avocado spread: (avocado, tahini, lemon, garlic, salt).
- Muhammara (red bell pepper, tomatoes, walnuts, white onion, pomegranate, parsley).
- Eggplant dip (eggplant, tahini, garlic, lemon juice, parsley, mint leaves).
- Hummus (canned chickpeas, tahini, lemon, garlic, cumin, water).
- White bean dip (white beans, lemon juice, tahini, garlic, salt).
- Shirazi salad (tomato, cucumber, white onion, dried mint, lime juice).
Make sure your yeast is active!
The biggest failure point for making naan bread at home is the yeast. We recommend using a recently purchased unopened packet of instant dry yeast so that you are 100% sure it will work.
Room temperature: keep naan in an airtight bag or plastic wrap for up to 4 days.
Freezer: put in a freezer-friendly bag and freeze for up to 6 months. Thaw in the refrigerator over a few hours.
Reheat: reheat in the microwave, on a skillet, or in the oven.
More Indian-inspired recipes
Get more Indian-spiced and delicious dinner ideas with these South Asian-inspired recipes:
- Red lentil soup (red split lentils, garlic, ginger, cumin, rosemary, canned tomatoes).
- Lentil vegetable soup - (potato, garlic, cumin, spinach, green lentils, canned tomatoes).
- Cauliflower curry (cauliflower, coconut milk, chickpeas, onion, garlic, ginger).
- Eggplant curry (roasted eggplant, canned tomatoes, coconut milk, curry, cumin, turmeric).
- Potato frittata (chickpea flour, leek, potato, parsley, turmeric, olive oil).
More bread recipes
If you love a serving of bread, homemade or store-bought, get more inspiration from these bread-based recipes:
- Italian flatbread piadina: no-yeast Italian wraps pair well with arugula and melted cheese.
- No-knead focaccia bread: crisp on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside.
- Tomato Bruschetta: an Italian appetizer favorite with ripe tomatoes, olive oil, and basil.
- Easy eggplant bruschetta sauteed eggplant in tomato sauce served on crusty bread.
- Flatbread pizza: Naan-bread-style pizza with veggies and homemade pesto.
For many more side dish ideas, check out our sides category page.
- nonstick pan, cast iron skillet, pizza stone, or baking sheet
- 1 cup water lukewarm
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons instant dry yeast or active dry yeast
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour + more for kneading
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
For brushing on top
- 3 tablespoons olive oil or melted butter
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 handful cilantro or flat-leaf parsley
MAKE THE DOUGH
- To a bowl, add warm water, sugar, and dry yeast. Whisk and set aside for 5 minutes to activate the yeast. Tip: the yeast should foam lightly.
- To a large bowl, add flour, salt, olive oil, and the water-yeast mixture.
- Stir with a spatula until you get a sticky dough ball.
- Transfer dough ball to a well-floured surface and knead for 5 minutes.Add more flour if the dough is too sticky. The dough should be soft and smooth.
LET THE DOUGH PROOF
- Transfer the dough ball to a large oiled bowl and brush top with oil. Cover with damp towel and let it proof in a warm place for 1 to 1.5 hours, or until it doubles in volume.Tip: we recommend putting it in a slightly warm oven that you turned on for 1 minute, then off.
- Transfer dough on lightly floured surface and fold on itself 4 times. Cut it to 4 to 8 pieces, depending on how large you want your naan to be. Shape it into balls.
- Flatten dough balls on a lightly floured surface. You can use your hands or a rolling pin.
- Optional step or extra fluffy naan: arrange naan on baking sheets lined with parchment paper, cover with a kitchen cloth, and let proof for 30 minutes.
- In the meantime prep the garlic-herb mixture by combining minced garlic, chopped cilantro, a pinch of salt, and olive oil or melted butter in a small bowl.
COOK THE NAAN BREAD
- Nonstick skillet: warm up skillet on medium-high heat, brush naan with oil or water, and place it on the hot skillet. Cook about 2 minutes on each side. Brush it with garlic-herb mixture right after you flip it, while still in the pan.
- Cast iron skillet: warm up a well-seasoned cast iron skillet on medium-high heat. Brush naan with oil and transfer it to the hot skillet.Cook for about 2 minutes on each side. Brush it with garlic-herb mixture right after you flip it, while still in the pan.
- Pizza stone: put the pizza stone on the middle rack in the oven. Preheat oven for at least 30 minutes at 450°F or 230°C so that the stone gets fully hot.Arrange naan on a lightly floured pizza peel, brush it with water or oil, and transfer it to the hot pizza stone.
- Cook it for about 5 minutes. Brush with garlic-herb mixture while still hot.
- Baking sheet in the oven: preheat the oven to 450°F or 230°C. Transfer the naan bread to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, brush it with oil or water, and cook for 7 minutes.