Textured - Chewy, Soft and Fluffy! No eggs, no milk, this easy naan has got to be one of the best Indian food gifts on earth! If you haven't yet made your own Soft And Fluffy Naan Bread, you must try this recipe because there is no store-bought naan bread that can compare!
I have made so many naan recipes and today I'm sharing all the tips and tricks that I have learnt. This is what I know for sure, I love naan! Whether it has come out wonderful and extra fluffy or thinner more like a flatbread, regardless, it never dissapoints. The combination of flour, yogurt and oil with yeast, dough rising, rolling and cooking over high heat, smothered in garlic butter, that is naan bread. My Garlic Butter Ghee Salmon Bake was a direct inspiration from this soft and fluffy naan bread recipe.
What Is Naan Bread?
Naan bread is a type of Indian flatbread that is traditionally baked in a tandoor oven in the ground which is a very hot clay oven. There are lots of variations of naan throughout Middle eastern, Western and Southern Asian cuisines.
Naan vs Pita Bread
Naan is softer than pita bread and it's also softer than flatbread even though naan is also considered a flatbread. This soft and fluffy naan bread uses ingredients like butter and or/ghee which is clarified butter, yogurt and garlic. You can also add egg and milk to other versions of naan.
The great thing about naan is that no matter what you serve it with, it will make any other food taste fantastic! This soft pillowy texture makes a great sandwich because it rolls in so easily.
How To Eat Naan?
Naan is known to be eaten with your hands and what better way to thoroughly enjoy this Indian bread? Tear a piece off and scoop up the main dish such as a curry. You can also use it as an appetizer served with dips and sauces and an any time snack.
Why Make This Soft & Fluffly Naan?
- Textured: As an anosmic home cook I am always about texture and how food must be delicious, flavorful and 100% presentable as in freshness and color. This naan bread is soft and pillowy but also has that chewy texture. The combination of the bread flour helps with the chewy texture. It's also soft enough to fold over to scoop your food up and you can pop it into the air fryer for a little crisp in the texture for breakfast too!
- Convenient You can also make the dough and continue rolling it out and cooking the naan OR if you're not ready to roll it out, deflate it and refrigerate it overnight. There have been so many naan recipe tests going on here that leaving it in the fridge overnight was such a good idea, it was so perfect during cooking. If you want to know about this don't forget to read the FAQ's further down the post.
- Cooking You can cook naan in a skillet, or on an open fire which makes it great for summer braai's (and an opportunity to cook outside!).
- Ingredients: Adding egg just didn't work for me because I was really trying to make a simpler version of naan bread incase there are no eggs? More like a basic unleavened flatbread like the Egyptians made
- Versatile This recipe is dependable and wonderfully versatile so you can serve it in a 100 different ways from curry, dips, appetizers and snacks.
There are 4 easy steps to making naan.
• Make the dough
• Rising time
Soft and Fluffy Naan Ingredients
These are the only ingredients that you will need for this naan recipe: flour, salt, yeast, baking powder, water and oil. The extra richness comes from the ghee or butter which adds a richness during cooking and when serving so don't leave it out. The fresh herbs and coarse sea salt are the last 2 ingredients. The fresh herb adds garnish and the salt pulls everything together!
Yeast: We are using dry active yeast.
Water: Warm water is necessary for the yeast activation.
Sugar: We also need sugar to help the yeast activation process.
Flour: I have used both white cake flour and white bread flour. Why? Because whenever I make naan bread or most of my recipes, I always try variations to it. The combination of flours here will give you a lovely chewy textured naan. Feel free to use just cake flour if you want, it will still come out great because the difference truthfully is not as obvious as in bread recipes.
Salt: Salt adds flavor so we need it. Just a tip: It should never be added to the yeast mixture (the above ingredients) because it will kill the yeast. It should only be added later in the recipe, in the flour.
Baking powder: I add a little baking powder to just give the naan bread a lift. Not that it needs a lift because we are using yeast but baking powder is a powerful ingredient, even just a little.
Oil: Here I am using olive oil but you can use any oil. The reason I use olive oil is for richness and I cant think of a better choice than this olive oil.
Yogurt: Full cream plain yogurt definitely adds some moisture to naan bread.
Could you leave the yogurt out in naan bread?
Yes 100%. You may even prefer it but it does add to the soft texture.
Ghee/Butter: Ghee is clarified butter and doesn't burn on high heat.
Naan bread is probably one of the most celebrated Indian foods around the world and this recipe makes a soft yet chewy naan bread that's simply delicious! Serve it with a wholesome homemade curry or quite honestly any way you want to eat.
How To Make Soft and Fluffy Naan Bread
I'm using my stand mixer but I have made this countless times in a bowl with a wooden spoon so don't let anything stop you from making this irresistible naan!
Activate the yeast: In a jug (easy to pour) whisk together water, yeast and sugar. Let it rest for 10 to 15 minutes until the surface is frothy.
Add the dry ingredients: While the yeast is activating, add the flour, salt and baking powder into the bowl of the stand mixer. Whisk together on very low for 10 seconds. Pour the yeast mix in once it's activated.
Add the other ingredients: Add the oil and yogurt. Combine: Run the machine on medium setting for a minute or 2 until the dough ingredients are all pulled together.
Knead: Let the machine knead the dough for 7 minutes until smooth or until smooth.
I prefer adding the flour in two stages, and keeping the machine on the #2 setting. This prevents the flour flying everywhere (or you can use the cover/cloth while it mixes). Increase the speed slowly until the kneading stage.
By Hand: If you're doing this by hand, knead for 10 minutes or until smooth.
Rest the dough: Rest your dough until it has doubled in size. Transfer to a large lightly oiled bowl, cover and let it rest for roughly an hour to an hour and a half. In the warmer months an hour is good but in the colder months, you may need the full 2 hours.
Deflate the dough: Gently punch down and transfer the dough onto a floured surface and, using a bench scraper divide the dough into 6 parts. Shape each part into a ball, tucking the ends underneath and shape into a ball.
Place the dough balls onto a lightly floured tray (on the kitchen counter), cover lightly and leave for 10 minutes to rise. This is the clean up time friends!
After 10 minutes flatten each dough ball out and get ready to cook the naan bread. I prefer rolling a few in advance and laying them over a rolling pin as the pan gets very hot and you dont want to be frazzled. Take one ball of dough at a time and roll it out on a lightly floured surface. You can roll it into a circle or you can roll it into a tear-drop shape.
Preheat the skillet: Heat a cast iron skillet over medium to high heat, wait for it to be hot, then place the naan dough onto the skillet. You can do either of these things:
- Lightly brush the skillet with melted butter and cook the naan or;
- Use your fingers to dab into the garlic butter and then a gentle press into the naan. Whe you cook it, place the buttered side down first.
Melt the butter in the microwave, add garlic and chopped herbs (optional).
TIP: Place the naan in a lightly oiled skillet and don't move it! Once it hits the pan, let it cook.
You'll see small or big bubbles rising, it's beautiful!
How long does naan bread take to cook?
60 seconds on the first side and (turn with tongs)
50 to 60 seconds on the opposite side
BRUSH WITH BUTTER, GHEE AND ADD HERBS, ALL OPTIONAL!
When the bubbles appear and it's cooking and smoking (open the door and windows) flip the naan over to blister the opposite side.
Refrigerate Naan Bread Dough, Can You Do It?
Yes. Make the dough, leave it to rise, punch it down, get it into a freezer Ziploc bag and place on the middle shelve of the refrigerator. When you are ready to cook the naan; (in this recipe it was overnight)
- Remove the dough from the fridge and leave it on the countertop to reach room temperature
- Continue recipe as normal with cooking the naan
It tasted absolutely amazing! Still came out fluffy and thick and just beautiful!
Leaving this easy soft and fluffy naan dough to rise and bagging it in the fridge overnight was possibly the best result I've ever had with naan bread!
What To Serve With Naan
Serving naan with any food you like, as a dipping bread or even wraps! Here are a few more suggestions on how to serve naan.
FAQ'S - Soft and Fluffy Naan Bread
Can I make naan dough ahead?
Yes! There are many times I make the dough, knead it back down, oil a Ziploc bag (extra large size), place the dough inside the bag, seal it and leave it in the fridge overnight. When you are ready to use it the next day, first bring it to room temperature before rolling.
Why use a bench scraper to cut dough instead of a knife?
A bench scraper is better to cut the dough into parts because it doesn't tear the dough when cutting which can interfere with the dough structure. Also a bench scraper has so many other uses! I'm not selling it to you I seriously find it extremely useful! Because the surface area is wide, it's easier to lift and transfer the dough easily.
How long does naan dough take to rise?
In summer bread dough will rise in under an hour and winter it might take twice the time.
How long does naan stay fresh?
Naan bread is always best eaten fresh but it does stay good at room temperature for about 3 days. It freezes well for a 2 to 3 weeks, I have not frozen it longer therefore can't report.
Why is my naan so hard?
Too much flour can cause naan to be hard, not keeping it warm straight after cooking it.
When should you stop kneading the dough?
The dough needs to be completely smooth.
More Bread Recipes
- Italian Herbed Olive Oil Bread Dip Recipe Mediterranean Style
- Homemade Ciabatta Bread
- Crusty Bread Rolls
- How To Make Pita Bread
- Easy No Knead Bread Recipe
- Easy Italian Homemade Pizza Recipe
- Homemade Pizza Dough Recipe That Anyone Can Make! Easy.
Stay updated with new recipes!
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Soft and Fluffy Naan Bread
- ½ cup warm water 38 to 40ºC /100110Fº
- 2 teaspoons dry yeast
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 cup cake flour + more for dusting
- 1 ½ cups bread flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup full fat yogurt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
To Garnish and Serve
- 36 grams ghee/butter
- 4 cloves minced garlic
- 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley or coriander optional
- maldons sea salt
By hand: Follow the same recipe using a bowl and wooden spoon. Don't forget to read the blog post for tips & images before starting the recipe.
- Activate the Yeast: Pour the water, yeast and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer or jug. Stir together and leave for 10 minutes to activate. In colder temperatures you may need to add 5 more minutes.
- Add the other Ingredients: To the same bowl, add half of the flour, salt, baking powder, yogurt and olive oil. Attach the paddle attachment and run the machine on low (to avoid the flour flying everywhere). Halfway through add the remaining flour, mix on low and then finally add the tablespoon of flour (if needed).
- Knead: Increase the speed to #4 and let the mixer run for a good 2 to 3 minutes. You should have a sticky dough but not wet. (If you are doing this by hand then knead the dough for 5 minutes or until you have a smooth round ball finish). Flour your hands enough to transfer the dough from the bowl to a lightly floured surface. Add a little more flour to help get the dough into a round shaped ball. Takes under a minute if used the stand mixer.
- Rest the dough: Oil a large bowl or use the same mixing bowl, and coat the inside. Place the dough inside the bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel. Set aside in a draft-free place for 2 hours until double in size. My all time favorite draft-free place is inside the oven (no light needed). In summer on the counter-top works great.
- Light knead & Remove the air bubbles: Once the dough has risen, turn the bowl upside down for the dough to remain on a lightly floured counter-top. To release the air bubbles, briefly knead the dough with your hands into a smooth ball.
- Using a dough scraper or pastry cutter, divide the dough into 6 equal parts. With your hands, roll each of the dough parts into a ball and leave the balls on the lightly floured work-station. Cover them with a clean dish towel for 5 to 10 minutes. I use this 'proof' time to clean up do the next step!
Garlic & Herb Spice with oil
- Prep the work station: Place a small board (bread board) next to the stove and have thick oven gloves close by. Melt the ghee/butter in the microwave for 20 seconds, add the minced garlic and mix before microwaving for another 10 to 20 seconds. Have a pastry brush or teaspoon ready with the bowl also next to the stove.
- Preheat: Heat up a skillet (cast iron) on high heat, you can drop the heat to medium high after cooking the first 2 naan. You can also regulate the heat as you go because you want it hot but it tends to smoke a lot (open a window and door) so you may want to regulate the heat as you go between medium and high. Don't use a non-stick pan it damages the coating at such high heat.When you see the first whiff of smoke leave the pan, it's hot and ready to start.
- Roll the naan: With the palm of you hand, flatten the first ball of dough, working one at a time, use a rolling pin to roll out each one over a lightly floured surface. Roll each one out quite thin. Here's my 1st tip: I find it easier to get a tear-drop shape when rolling with a smaller size rolling pin. The larger size gives me more of a circle. Here's my 2nd tip: It's better to do the rolling at one time instead of going up and down rolling and cooking because you want to manage the heat without causing too much smoke and without burning the naan. Drape the rolled naan over a large rolling pin or place them onto a floured kitchen towel until you are ready to cook them.
- Prep to cook the naan: Transfer 1 to 3 naan breads to the board next to the stove (your cooking station). Dip your fingers into the butter and garlic and them touch the chopped parsley to pick a little up then press your fingers into the naan leaving finger prints of butter, garlic and chopped parsley in the naan.
- Cook the naan: Pick up the naan (or use an egg lifter) and carefully place it into the hot skillet with the oil finger-printed side facing down. Brush the top with a single layer of melted butter and garlic.You will see bubbles appear on the top after around 40 seconds (depending on heat), flip the naan and cook the other side, roughly 30 seconds. Repeat with all the naan.
- Serve: Naan is best served warm so as they come off the pan have a plate with a clean cloth or aluminum foil where they can stay warm until all the naan is done. Add a sprinkle sea salt and drizzle with the remaining melted butter, garlic and parsley.