Instant Gratification- the Indian flatbread, Naan!

naan

Also, see a video of this method…

This is the fastest bread in the book to make and one that I eat all the time. It is absolutely delicious and it takes no forethought. So, on those busy days when I have not had time to spend hours thinking about what I will make my family for dinner I make a Naan to go with soup, chili, a roasted chicken or even curry.

The traditional Indian flatbread is made in a blazing hot tandoor oven and then brushed with melted ghee (clarified butter). We assumed that most of our readers would not have a tandoor oven so we decided to make this in a cast iron pan on the stove top. We cook the dough in ghee or butter so that it has the same flavor as the traditional bread, with so much less work. I’ve made this bread using just about every dough in the book; spinach feta, whole wheat, master, olive, and herb. One day I even made it out of brioche dough. I fried the brioche dough in butter, drizzled a little maple syrup and finished it with powdered sugar. It was just like the fried dough at the State Fair and only took a couple of minutes. My boys were thrilled.

To make Naan:

1/2-pound (orange size) piece dough of your choice. Roll the dough to 1/16th-inch thick circle.

2 tablespoons Ghee, clarified butter or European style butter (You can use regular butter, but you have to be careful of the butter burning. The ghee and clarified butter have a higher burning point and allow you to cook without worry of it burning.) Vegan option: swap high-smoking-point oil instead of ghee or butter (canola, peanut, soybean, etc.)

Salt to taste

naan

Heat a heavy bottom Cast Iron Skillet to medium temperature. Add the butter and melt, swirl it to coat the bottom of the pan.

naan

Lay the dough into the pan.

naan

Cover the pan to trap the heat in order to “bake” the bread.

naan

After about 2 1/2 minutes flip the dough with a pair of Tongs. Sprinkle with salt and cook, covered for another 2 1/2 minutes.

naan

Serve it with Suvir Saran’s cool minted soup from his wonderful book Indian Home Cooking. We loved this simple soup so much that we added it to our book.

Also, see a video of this method…

Pin It

If you enjoyed this post, please consider sharing it with others using one of the social sharing buttons above. Thanks, Jeff and Zoë

133 thoughts on “Instant Gratification- the Indian flatbread, Naan!

  1. Just wanted to add that, like Barb said earlier, this is totally doable without any oil (or very, very little). I use an old and very-well seasoned cast iron on medium-high heat. Although it may not be naan, per se, it is good. My daughter loves a piece of this topped with peanut butter and jelly!

  2. Hi Drew,

    Actually, traditional naan wouldn’t be fried, but baked as you describe. Usually the ghee is put on after it is baked, but PB&J sounds great too!

    Thanks, Zoë

  3. A nice breakfast dish with this would be an Indian style omelette. Melt some butter in a pan. Add some chopped onion or shallot and chopped jalapeno and curry powder..Sweat the onion/shallot in this mixture and add eggs beaten with milk or cream or yogurt. When the egg sets, top with garam masala and chopped cilantro.

    (You can also add seeded,finely shopped onion to the jalapeno and onion if you like)

  4. Thanks–I still am no good at proofreading in these little boxes..the last line should be

    seeded finely Chopped, TOMATO to the jalapeno and onion.

    It is delicious.

  5. Your recipes look great! But I have a question, Will these recipes work with sprouted grain flour? My husband is a diabetic so this is the only way I can make it low carb. Thanks!

  6. This is wonderful.. Yesterday i mixed nuts, cinammon and honey in the dough -cook in cast iron on stove top–dusted with powdered sugar.. yummm. Today I topped with satueed spinache and onions, garlic w/feta and mozzeralla cheese What a yummy quick lunch…Thanks for the creative ideas you come up with and I love the recipe book.. I never buy bread, I always have dough mixed up in frig.. Its so great…

  7. Jessica: We haven’t tried the sprouted grain flours yet, let us know how it works out for you if you try it.

    Teresa: Thanks for all the kind word!

  8. We love naan! I was excited to try this at home. I have made this twice now and though we love it I have two problems. The dough is really sticky, and though I am trying to be careful about going overboard with additional flour, it kept sticking to my rolling pin (maybe spray the rolling pin with vegetable spray?). Also I could never get the dough thin enough, partly because it kept sticking to my pin, but it would puff up in the pan quite thick, I don’t know..I just want it thinner. Any suggestions?

  9. Hi Lisa,

    Don’t be afraid to use more flour. Use enough to keep it from sticking. You don’t want to knead it into the dough but it is fine to use quite a bit to roll out the dough.

    I hope that helps! Zoë

  10. How do you make the (orange size) dough? The pan baking method sounds doable, sure need to know who to make the dough.

  11. We’ve made two batches and love this stuff. But I keep getting charred bits and bubbles making it hard to get an even cook. Maybe a cooler pan is needed?

    Thanks for noting to cover after flipping – I couldn’t tell from the book. Have made notations from this post to correct the book!

  12. Hi ts,

    Yes, it sounds like you need to turn down the heat a little. Every stove and oven heat differently so it sometimes takes a time or two to get the exact temperature.

    Thanks! Zoë

    • Hi Christina,

      We are making changes to the website and had a little hiccup which caused us to lose 2 days of comments. I’m so sorry about this. Please resubmit your question and we’ll get you an answer ASAP!

      Thank you! Zoë

  13. I worked in some curry powder and fresh cilantro into the dough. Made a yummy base for other ingreadients tomato, feta, onion mmm-mmmmm good!

  14. LOVE your bread technique~I’m a small farm gardener [in Minnetrista,MN] w/ emphasis on heirloom tomatoes and can hardly wait to incorporate all my garden goodies to your recipes !!!! Looking at the Naan makes my mouth water~I’m trying it tomorrow !!!!!!!!!!

  15. I recently obtained a countertop commercial pizza oven (essentially a large toaster oven that goes to 650 degrees) for pretty cheap. Flatbreads and pizzas are pretty important to me, and now making them is much less of a big deal.

    So for breakfast today I made a quick whole mung bean thing in the pressure cooker, and a naan version just using the basic dough. To keep the bread from puffing I ‘beat into submission’ with the flat end of a metal whisk handle, I guess like docking the dough. The first time I baked ‘naan’ I got a very thick bread that was not what I hoped for, and beating the dough solved that problem this morning.

    Anyway, I still have to practice handling and transferring dough skillfully, but I finished the bread just now at my desk for lunch, and it really was what I would get at a ‘real’ Indian restaurant, sans the ghee and garlic. I almost couldn’t believe how well it worked!

    I am so grateful again that you have made this so easy.

    While I am requesting books for you write, how about one on just flatbread technique? If you don’t write it I amy have to make a thousand loaves and write it myself. :-).

    Again, thanks for making all of this so simple.

    • Hi John,

      Your oven sounds like a wonderful alternative to having to heat up a large oven, and it gets even hotter. I’ve seen them but haven’t tried it. Glad it is working for you!

      Getting the naan really thin before baking is key to getting the right consistency. It sounds like you are baking it like a pita, plus the docking. I’ll give it a try.

      Thanks, Zoë

  16. We’ve got some vegan houseguests coming over soon. Do you think I could make naan with vegan “butter”? Also, can I make the naan in advance? Thanks!

    • Kimberly: I frequently use canola oil in place of ghee or a mixture of ghee and oil. It won’t have the buttery flavor but still quite good. Jeff

  17. First – LOVE the book and the website.

    I just tried the Naan and it totally did not work for me. It’s not the recipe, I’m sure.

    1. I didnt think the lack of Ghee would be such a problem. It was! I used regular butter and what a disaster. It burned BEFORE I could get the 2nd piece of naan in the skillet.

    2. I simply cannot figure out how to get the dough rolled that thin. I can get it about 1/8″ thick – but no thinner. I think this leaves the dough too thick when it goes in the pan – resulting in insufficient cooking.

    3. Oh, and my pastry sheet is a disaster. Desperate to get a new one.

    Suggestions? No suggestion needed for #3.

    Oh, and by the way – the cinnamon rolls on a stick and pizza on a stick are AWESOME.

    Laura

    • Hi Laura,

      When you are rolling out the dough it is sometimes essential to let it rest if it is too springy. If you are trying to roll out the dough and it keeps shrinking back on you, just let it sit for a couple of minutes and try again. When you work and roll out the dough it develops the gluten (stretchy aspect of the dough) and the more you try to fight it, the more it will spring back and the harder it is to roll thin.

      Also, many people are afraid to use enough flour to keep the dough from sticking to the counter. Use enough flour so that it will roll out without sticking.

      When I am making naan with butter, I wipe out the pan after each naan. Otherwise the flour will burn in the pan.

      Let me know if this helps! Thanks, Zoë

  18. I made my first batch and the first loaf turned out great!. The question is when I put flour on the dough before getting the grapefruit size dough. What about the flour that is left on the dough in the container that you put back in the fridge? Do you just leave it on top, do you mix it in or what. Did I miss that in the book? I am looking forward to making the indian bread.
    Thanks

    • Lynn: Sprinkle some flour on top of the stored dough; you’ll scoop up most of it. Whatever’s left behind, just leave it there on the surface, don’t mix it in or you’ll knock all the gas out of the dough. Next time, that will be your start on the sprinkle. Hope that helps. Jeff

  19. Can you make naan with the Master Recipe in HBin5? If not, which of the HBin5 recipes would work with this technique? The naan is one of our favorite breads!
    Thanks!

    • Hi Andree,

      Yes, you can use any of the doughs from the new book to make the naan from ABin5, it is one of my favorites as well!

      Thanks and enjoy, Zoë

  20. I found ABin5 just yesterday and I have my first master receipe resting on the counter in the kitchen as I type.

    I became dairy free almost 2 years ago and haven’t had naan since. Is there any way to modify the process to use something else instead of the butter?

    Thanks :)

    L

    • Hi Laura,

      You could do this with olive oil or other oil, just sprinkle with salt. It won’t have exactly the same flavor, but will be wonderful! Be careful to adjust the heat if you use olive oil so it won’t burn.

      Enjoy, Zoë

  21. I made 7 naans with the entire batch of dough. I modified the olive oil dough replacing the all purpose flour with 2 cups white whole wheat. They turned out moist and delicious. I’m freezing the left over four for quick chicken pizzas drizzled with olive oil. Myhusband, children, 7,9 and 2 at the nann up!

  22. Hi Jeff and Zoe,
    Great discovery this ABin5! I guess I am a little late here…but your ‘naan’ caught my attention. We Indians traditionally do not bake because we don’t have oven in most houses (we ofcourse make stove top breads like rotis or phulkas). I tried the basic boule yesterday and the bread came out perfect! Can’t wait to try out your naan today.
    Do you have any suggestions for how I can use stuffings? Like potatoes or onions? Stuffed bread is a big part of Indian cuisine and I am curious to know if that would work with your dough.
    Thanks!

    • Sangeetha: Sure! We have an aloo paratha stuffed with potato and peas in the second book, which you can see on Amazon at http://bit.ly/3wYSSN

      It works beautifully; ironically we are oven-baking our aloo paratha, I know that authentically, these are fried. We wanted to give a lower-fat version for our health-oriented book. So glad you’re enjoying our recipes! Jeff

  23. I am falling more in love with your recipes every day. I made Tandoori Chicken today (well, technically tandoori style chicken as I don’t have a Tandoor) and some garlic naan to go with it (brushed it with freshly crushed garlic and melted ghee. Yum! And yesterday I made Pizza (both from the european peasant dough). both so incredibly quick. But eaten even quicker. My kids (3 & 1 demolished it – and so did my husband).
    Having the dough in the fridge all the time is handy when you want a fresh loaf a few times a week. But once you start on flat breads and things like that, you really see the benefits.
    Mmmm, I wonder if there is a way to do crumpets with your method…

  24. Hi, this actually has nothing to do with naan bread. I have been using normal broiling pan to bake bread (boule, whole wheat, pita) instead of stone, and the result is satisfactory enough for me. However, you guys have aroused my interest to use my long ignored cast iron pan with Jeff’s pizza as well as this naan bread recipe, here is the rule I derived from reading various articles from your site and please let me know if my conclusion is correct or not: I should only use cast iron pan to bake bread if I don’t use a broiler pan below for steam, because – I am guessing 1)if I put a lid on top it will be enough to trap steam and 2) if I put a broiler pan below for steam (and not use a lid) the steam/water will rust the cast iron pan? Thanks a lot for answering my questions, I am learning a bunch of fine-tuning techniques on this site that I find not only helpful but very interesting as well!

    • Hi Rosalina,

      You are right about not needing the steam if you are using a pan with the lid, because the dough will create enough steam on its own. However, if you use the cast iron pan without a lid you should use the steam in the oven. The cast iron will be so hot that it will burn off any water that will come into contact with it.

      Thank you and let us know how it goes! Zoë

  25. The cast iron pan worked quite well, although it doesn’t seem to have as much oven spring as a normal broiler pan, I haven’t done two side by side to compare because I have been trying out all of your flat bread and pizza on the grill lately, it was so good! And today I finally tried out some naan on the cast iron. Oh my goodness, this is WAY BETTER than what I taste in the Indian restaurant – it’ kind of like the Chinese fried bread (You tiao) except it’s less oily and I don’t have to deep fry. I also added some lightly sauteed green onion in the bread, it was fantastic! Whereas my 5 yr old son’s version is to treat it as a pancake and put blueberries and whip cream on top – he ate the whole 8 oz piece. Thanks for another wonderful recipe!!

  26. Tried this tonight. Fantastic. Hit with my 5 year old. Was a bit greasy for my taste — wondering how much I can cut back on the ghee? Might try 1.5 Tbsp next time. Also wondering if I should be adding Ghee between each piece of Naan if we make more than one?

    • Hi Susan,

      You can certainly reduce the ghee to suit your taste. If you are making more than one you just need to wipe the pan if too much flour accumulates and starts to burn.

      Thanks, Zoë

  27. One of my family’s favorites is the recipe for aloo paratha. We add some sauted onions, garlic, ginger, and cumin seeds to make it extra yummy, and then serve with plain yogurt.

    I wonder if you think I could freeze them before they are baked? We are having a new baby in a few weeks, and I’m trying to fill my freezer with food that we can just bake/warm up!

    • Hi Marisa,

      How wonderful, congratulations on the new babe!

      You certainly can freeze the stuffed bread and then bake it. Because it is so flat, I would just preheat the oven and place it, still frozen, on a cookie sheet to bake it. It will take a bit longer than usual to bake. Keep an eye on the first one to see how long it takes and be careful it doesn’t get too dark on the outside before it is done in the middle.

      Enjoy the baby and all the bread! Zoë

  28. LOVE L O V E LOVE this NAAN!!! BEST NAAN we have ever made and I have tried a LOT of naan recipes over the years. This one blows all the others away. Can’t wait to make it for my (Indian) mother-in-law!! WOW is she gonna be impressed!

  29. I am using the Naan dough recipe that uses yogurt and milk for myself, but I have a friend who is lactose intolerant. Are there products that could be substituted in for the yogurt and milk to achieve a similar result? Thanks for your help! I’m in love with your work!

    • Hi Elaina,

      I am not sure if there are any non-dairy products that would produce a similar result? You can make a lovely naan with our master recipe, which has no dairy at all or even the olive oil dough, which will give a bit of richness.

      Thank you! Zoë

  30. I just want to thank you – for the 1000th time- for the LOVELY recipes you make! I don’t know why there are any OTHER bread books on the market! ; )

    Today, my just-turned-four-year-old made Naann with me. She has gotten very good at rolling it out with her little toy rolling pin. Of course, she’s been making your bread with me since she was a newborn in a sling and I could only use one hand to cook : )

    She also likes making her own pizzas with your dough.

    And, I have discovered that while I am only moderately fond of 100% whole wheat bread, I LOVE 100% whole wheat Naan, made with no oil. It’s nice to have another great technique to make *healthy* food with! I just made a 4# batch of Whole Wheat Naan for the freezer.

    • Hi Anna,

      Thank you for the lovely note. We are thrilled you are baking so much and sharing your love of bread with your daughter! :)

      Cheers, Zoë

  31. Thank you so much for posting this!
    I used a naan dough recipe from your pizza & flat breads book and cooked with a bit of clarified butter.

    Wow! It is absolutely delicious!

  32. The man of the house is a die hard naan fanatic and I’d love to be able to make it for him. However, we don’t have a cast iron skillet. Will just a normal frying pan work?

  33. Thanks to you my extended family now thinks I am the “Bread Wizard”. All my former efforts had only resulted in construction materials (bricks!). I tried to tell them about your amazing books, but apparently they just want to be amazed. Who am I to shatter their delusions? Anyway, my wife recently ate at a local Greek restaurant and brought home some delicious flat pan bread and so I turned to you, once again, and found your ‘Naan’ technique. I will shortly be grabbing my trusty basic boule, but in reading the comments noted many had trouble with butter burning. I will be trying a technique from preparing Shrimp Scampi where you use half butter and half vegetable oil. I think it raises the burning point yet still gives a buttery flavor. will also try less oil than you used in your camping video.
    What’cha think?

    • Hi John,

      Thanks for the wonderful note. Mixing the butter and oil is a great way to bring up the burning point and should work well for you. You want to keep an eye out for burning the butter, but a little browning is what gives the bread its lovely flavor, so don’t go too light.

      Cheers, Zoë

  34. I tried to subscribe earlier, and clicked on the wrong button and accidentally unsubscribed myself. I can’t figure how to subscribe again so I’m going to try this route.

  35. Okay, I just made this using the naan dough from the pizza and flatbread book, and it was so ridiculously good!! So easy, perfect chewy but soft texture, amazing taste… I’m only upset that it took me this long to try it. The only minor issue I ran into was the ghee popping quite a bit, I’m assuming because of the steam created by having the lid on. Once I turned the heat down it helped a little (my stove seems to be fairly hot so I ended up cooking these at more of a medium low temp), but the ghee still popped at the lower temp. Oh, and I was making smaller versions of the naan to use for gyros, so the dough didn’t cover the whole pan – I imagine if I made the larger version the popping ghee wouldn’t have really been a problem. Anyway, I will definitely be making these often!

  36. Dear Jeff and Zoe:
    I was wondering if you could do this with tortilla dough. I am not very good at making bread but I do make a very good tortilla! If I cant do this with a tortilla can I do this with a bread dough that does not have yeast? Thank you for doing this post, I am very excited about an easy naan bread

  37. I have been making this naan for quite some time, using my cast iron pan. It really is phenomenal and a great way to have fresh bread super fast.

    My question is that I need to make a large batch for a family dinner, and I only have one cast iron pan. Can this also be made on a baking stone in the oven? I saw that you did this with the stuffed naan. I think I’ll do some on the cast iron and a big one on the baking stone.

    How does that sound?

    • Sure, you can do it, but it may puff like a pita, especially if you make it thin. And it won’t have the butter/ghee; you can spread that on it at the end, which is actually more authentic. Preheat the stone to 500 for thin ones (1/8-inch), and 450 for 1/4-inch ones.

      • I’ve done focaccia on the stone so I was picturing just doing something thinner. And I don’t use butter on the naan on the cast iron pan so maybe it’s not really naan? But you know what? I think that no matter what, it will probably be delicious! I will spread the butter on after and see how it goes.

        Thanks, as usual, for your quick responses!

      • If we’re being completely authentic, real Indian naan is baked dry, slapped onto the side of a tandoor (thousand-pound clay oven built into the ground!), then the ghee is applied after baking and it melts in. Our recipe assumes you don’t have a tandoor!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>