You’re looking at the The Best Homemade Naan Bread. An extra soft naan, that’s slightly doughy and pillowy, just as we like it. Serve this with soups, your favorite curry recipe, and practically anything else. You can’t go wrong!
I’m definitely a “dough girl”, raised by a mother who only made homemade bread. There was rarely a loaf of sliced bread from the store on our counters. She taught me well, and I’ve repeated those habits for my family as well. We eat far less bread though than the days of old, but when we do, we eat only the good stuff.
Do you know what’s really nice about naan bread? You mix it, let it rise once, and then it’s time to grill it. There is no proofing in pans, and baking in the oven. You can also keep it in the fridge for several hours and grill it right at meal time. Talking about impressing your family and friends!
What is naan bread?
According to Wikipedia, naan is a leavened, oven-baked flatbread found in the cuisines mainly of Iran, India, parts of Asia, Myanmar, and the Caribbean. While it was traditionally made in a tandoor, or cylindrical clay oven, many people (including me) now make it in a very hot cast iron skillet instead.
I’ve been experimenting with this recipe for awhile now, making it for several at-home “date nights” with my hubby, where we enjoy eating a simple charcuterie board of meats, cheeses, and of course, fresh naan. I knew I finally had a winner when our son Josh and his girl, Tiff, came over recently after I had just tried a slightly different recipe. They inhaled it, and said it was the BEST, so I declared my testing complete. 😀
Ingredients needed for The Best Homemade Naan:
The ingredient list is pretty short. But it’s important to mix them in a particular order for best results.
- The Yeast Mixture – water, sugar, and yeast
- Dairy – yogurt
- Other – salt, olive oil, and flour
- Butter – for brushing on afterward
How to make The Best Homemade Naan Bread:
- Activate the yeast. In a large standing mixer (or use a large bowl and mix it by hand), combine the yeast, sugar, and warm water. Stir with a spatula, and let sit for about 15 minutes, or until the mixture gets bubbly.
- Continue adding ingredients. Add the yogurt, olive oil, and salt – and mix again.
- Attach dough hook. Attach the dough hook and start adding flour. Add about two cups, start the mixer, and then continue adding (I used 3 1/4 cups PLUS about 2-3 more tablespoons, but you should use whatever works for you.) until the dough starts to form a ball. It should start to pull away from the mixer, but it will be sticky. You want it to be slightly sticky.
- Proof the dough. Remove the dough to a well greased mixing bowl, patting it together to form a nice ball. Cover with a clean dish towel, and sit it in a warm corner of your kitchen. Let it double in size, for approximately one hour.
- Prep to grill the naan. Sprinkle some flour on a baking mat, and set the dough on top. Divide the dough into 12 equal sections (See picture below). Place a cast iron skillet on the stove top at medium high heat.
- Roll out naan. As your skillet heats up, take one section of dough at a time and form into a ball. Then use a rolling pin to roll out the dough into a very thin shape. (See picture below.) You’ll need extra flour to roll out each naan because it likes to stick.
- Grill. Carefully move the naan to the skillet and cook on one side until you see bubbles forming. After a couple of minutes, flip it to the other side and cook for about 30 seconds to a minute. (See picture below.) Brush with butter.
- Repeat. Repeat for all dough sections, rolling each one out right before grilling. This will ensure those nice bubbles and dark spots!
- Refrigerate if necessary. If you decide that you only want to grill a few, place the remaining dough in the refrigerator until later.
Recipes that go perfectly with Homemade Naan:
- Charcuterie Board – Not on the blog, but we love to eat homemade naan with cured meats and a variety of cheese. A simple date night – with wine of course!
- Soups – Some thicker soups would be great to soak up with naan, like my Roasted Carrot Soup, Creamy Potato Soup, Creamy Wild Rice Soup, or Creamy Broccoli Cheddar Soup. So many great choices!
- Indian Food – Since naan is an Indian bread, any Indian food would be wonderful to eat with homemade naan. Try my Chicken Curry with Vegetables!
Some tips for making epic naan bread.
- When you add the warm water to the yeast, sugar, and salt – be careful to use WARM water, not hot. If the water is too hot, the yeast will disappear and you can’t make bread without yeast. Also, do not use cool water because it won’t activate the yeast.
- Don’t add all the flour at once because every baking day is different. Some days you will need a bit more flour and some days, you will need less.
- The dough should be slightly sticky when ready, especially because you will be adding a bit more flour when rolling the naan out. Over time, you will learn exactly how much flour is needed to make the ultimate naan bread.
- Be sure to roll out just one naan bread out at a time. You should roll it out right before you put it on a hot skillet so you can those nice bubbles that will make the naan nice and pillowy.
- Also, make sure the skillet is nice and hot when cooking. I use a cast iron skillet (no need to add oil or butter to the pan) and set it to medium-high heat.
- I recommend brushing the warm naan bread with butter.
Can I keep the naan dough in the refrigerator?
You most definitely can keep the naan dough in the refrigerator for awhile to prevent it from rising too much. Set it out about 30-60 minutes before grilling the naan.
Can I freeze naan bread?
You can freeze the grilled naan bread after it cools completely. Just separate each naan with parchment paper, and place in a freezer bag. I don’t recommend freezing the dough. Fresh dough is best!
The BEST Homemade Naan Bread
- 3 teaspoons dry active yeast
- 1 Tablespoon sugar
- 1 cup warm water
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2/3 cup plain, full-fat yogurt
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (plus or minus a couple of tablespoons) – plus more for rolling out
- melted butter – to add after cooking, optional
- Activate the yeast. In a large standing mixer (or you can make this by hand too), combine the yeast, sugar, and warm water. Stir with a spatula and wait for the mixture to get bubbly.
- Add the yogurt, olive oil, and salt, and stir again. Then attach dough hook, and start adding flour. Start with two cups of flour, and then mix. Continuing adding more flour, a little at a time, until you get the right consistency. The dough should start pulling away from the sides of the mixer, and it should be just slightly sticky.
- Remove the dough to a greased bowl, and shape it into a ball. Cover with a clean dish towel, and set it aside to double in size in a warm corner of your kitchen. This will take approximately one hour.
- Sprinkle some flour on a clean working surface, like a large cutting board or a baking mat. Place the dough on top of the flour, and slice it in approximately 10 wedges.
- Preheat a large cast iron skillet to medium-high heat on your stove top.
- Meanwhile, roll out one naan at a time, using a rolling pin (and plenty flour) to get a very thin, flat shape. (See blog pictures.) Carefully lift the naan to the hot grill pan. Cook on one side for a minute or two. You should see bubbles forming on this first side. Then flip and cook on the other side for 30 seconds to a minute, or until nice and golden brown.
- Remove grilled naan to a clean towel, and immediately brush some butter on top. Continue rolling out one naan at a time and grilling, until all naan breads are done and piled up high on the towel.
- Serve immediately (you won't be able to resist them!) or let cool, and store in a storage bag or airtight container.