Naan is an Indian yeast-leavened bread, traditionally baked in a clay oven called a tandoori. You've probably eaten it alongside curry at your favorite restaurant, grabbed it from the bakery, or maybe you've already made it at home. While we often associate naan with Indian food, it can be a staple of the everyday dinner routine, as this is one of the fastest, most versatile breads you can make at home.
Yogurt and Gluten
Like most yeast breads, naan is made of flour, yeast, water, and salt. However, the addition of yogurt, which gives naan its unique flavor and texture, changes the way the dough comes together. Fat-rich ingredients like yogurt, milk, and eggs can inhibit gluten development, so without as much, naan doesn't rise or puff during cooking. To ensure your naan has the chewy texture we love, we turn to the stand mixer to help us work the dough for a full 10 minutes to develop the gluten.
Traditionally naan is baked in a tandoori oven. Powered by charcoal or a wood fire, tandooris get way hotter than home ovens can. Instead of baking the naan, griddle the naan in a hot cast-iron pan until it's browned on the outside and cooked through; about 1 to 2 minutes per side should do it. A cast iron griddle or even a grill will make fast work of cooking the naan.
How to Use Naan
You might serve naan as you would a dinner roll — alongside soups or roasts. But naan can also be used as an alternative to pitas or tortillas for wraps, or as a base for quick pizzas, avocado toast, or cream cheese. We're pretty fond of even using it to make French toast. Here are a few more clever ways to make use of your homemade naan, if you so happen to find yourself with any extra on hand.
Read more: 5 Fun Ways to Turn Naan into Dinner
How To Make Naan at Home
What You Need
1/2 cup warm water
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
2 teaspoons fine salt
1 cup whole-milk plain yogurt
Measuring cups and spoons
Small liquid measuring up
- Proof the yeast: Combine the water and sugar in a small measuring cup. Sprinkle with the yeast and set aside for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook.
- Knead the dough: Add the yeast mixture and the yogurt to the flour mixture and mix on medium speed until the dough comes together. Increase the speed slightly and mix until the dough is smooth, about 10 minutes. Don't worry if the dough is sticky or stringy — this is the nature of a yogurt-based dough.
- Rise the dough: Form the dough into a ball. Coat the mixing bowl with cooking spray, return the dough to the bowl, and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Let the dough rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
- Divide the dough: Flatten the risen dough into a disk. Divide the disk into 8 pieces as you would a pizza. Cover the dough with the towel.
Griddle the dough: Heat a cast iron skillet or griddle over medium-high heat. Working with 1 or 2 pieces of dough at a time, roll the dough into 1/4-inch-thick rounds or ovals. Irregular shape is fine, as long as the dough is the same thickness across. Place on the griddle and cook until golden-brown and lightly charred, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Remove the cooked naan to a plate and cover with a towel. Repeat with the remaining dough.
- Storage: Leftover naan can be stored in a zip-top bag in the fridge for up to 5 days. Freeze naan with pieces of parchment or waxed paper between them, and store them in a zip-top bag in the freezer for up to a month.