Easy Naan recipe (Indian flatbread)

Easy Naan recipe (Indian flatbread)

There are some people who have a gift for combining flour, water, and time in order to make glorious baked goods. I’m not one of those people. I’m always in a hurry, and working with bread takes patience, therefore, throughout my life, I’ve shied away from bread making.

However, this naan recipe is straightforward and it doesn’t take too much time – this is coming from someone who is somehow, always busy. I also want to preface that I didn’t grow up making bread, my mother and grandmother didn’t cook, so if you think I have some innate ability to make naan based on years of familial practice, that’s not the case. I’m a self-taught (and still learning) home cook, and if I can make this recipe, you can definitely make it, and it will taste fabulous.

Jareen is holding a fresh naan in her hands and it's the size of her head

What is naan?

Naan is a flatbread that is leavened and traditionally oven-baked. In India, for instance, they are cooked in a hot clay tandoor oven, which is heated with charcoal or wood fire. People typically associate naan with Indian cuisine, but many cultures eat it. Naan is enjoyed in many parts of the world, such as India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Iran, Malaysia, Indonesia, Central Asia, and the Caribbean. It’s a mixture of flour, yeast, salt, and water.

It’s believed that naan originated from ancient civilizations hailing from Mesopotamia, ancient Egypt, and South Asia. Naan spread to the Indian subcontinent during the Islamic Delhi Sultanate era, and one of the earliest mentions of naan in the region comes from the memoirs of Indo-Persian Sufi poet Amir Khusrau living in India during the 1300s AD.

How to make naan at home?   

You don’t need a super hot wood fire oven to make naan at home. You can have this delicious flatbread within two hours using a great cast iron or ceramic skillet and your stovetop. You can even use a pan that’s able to reach a high temperature in order to get that classic fluffy naan texture. I’m an advocate of using the tools you already have to make great meals, and I promise this recipe will create naan that’s just as delicious as the naan you can get at a supermarket or even a restaurant.

Is naan healthy? How many calories are in it?

Naan is bread, so it’s full are carbohydrates, and because we use Greek yogurt in this recipe, it also has protein. A typical serving of naan is 1 to 2 flatbreads, and each flatbread is about 300 calories.

Fresh naan bread

Recipe overview 

  • Yield/count: 8 pieces
  • Inactive cook time: 1 hour and 30 minutes
  • Active cook time:  20 to 30 minutes
  • Total time making this recipe: About 2 hours

Naan ingredients

  • 2 and 1/4 teaspoons of active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt (you can also use plain)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (or neutral oil)

Cilantro garlic butter

  • 2 tablespoons melted butter or ghee
  • 1 tablespoon of minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons of minced cilantro
  • Pinch of salt and pepper to taste


  1. Add warm water, sugar, and active dry yeast together in a small bowl. Stir and set aside for 12 minutes so that it becomes foamy.
  2. Sift all-purpose flour and salt through a mesh strainer so that it’s well incorporated and then pile the mixture onto a well-cleaned countertop. (You can use a bowl here if you want to avoid the mess).
  3. Create a well, a hole in the center of the flour mixture, and add 1 tablespoon of good quality olive oil, your yeast mixture, and the yogurt. It will sort of feel like you’re making pasta. Make sure to do this carefully so that the liquids don’t spill out of the flour well. You can also do this in a large bowl.
  4. Using your hands, slowly mix the liquids together, and then incorporate the flour. The dough will take a few minutes to come together. It will at first seem shaggy, and then it will combine and be a bit sticky, but that’s OK! You don’t want your dough to be dry.
  5. Knead your dough for 8 minutes, so that gluten can form and it can be chewy once it is cooked. After you have kneaded the dough, form it into a ball.
  6. In a clean bowl, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and rub the inside of the bowl with the oil, this will help ensure the dough doesn’t stick.
  7. Add the dough ball to the oiled bowl and place a damp towel over the bowl.
  8. Store the dough in a warm place so it can rise. I like to proof my naan dough in the oven with the oven light on (don’t turn on the heat). Let the dough proof for 1 hour.
  9. After an hour, the dough will have doubled in size. Carefully place the dough onto your clean countertop and divide it into 8 equal pieces, you can also make this smaller by dividing it into 12. I think 8 creates a nice size that fits my skillet, which is a 12-inch pan.
  10. Once you divide the dough, you will form each one into a ball and then using a rolling pin, you will roll them out to your desired thickness. The dough will feel a little oily and a little sticky, that’s good. I like to make thin naan, so I roll them out elongated, like an oval shape. These can be rolled out to 6 or 8 inches.
  11. Once you roll out your naan, you will set them aside while you heat your pan. I like to heat mine to medium-high. Since I already added oil to the dough and also to the bowl it proofed in, I don’t add oil to my pan while I cook the naan because I find it’s just too oily for me when I do that. So I advise cooking your naan to a DRY skillet/pan.
  12. Place the naan onto your hot pan, it will sizzle upon impact. Do not touch it for at least 2 minutes. I like to cook the naan for about 2 to 3 minutes per side, but this will depend on the strength of your stovetop. Monitor your naan carefully. You want to flip the naan only a few times. I typically like to flip only once or twice. And you only want to flip the naan when the uncooked side of the naan, facing toward you, is starting to puff up, and the other side has brown spots.
  13. Once you have cooked all your naan, you can either eat it plain or dress it up with some flavors. I love coating my naan with an easy cilantro, garlic butter sauce.
  14. To make the butter sauce, you will use butter or ghee, add minced garlic, and minced fresh cilantro. You can also use parsley or dried herbs if that’s what you have. Then, you take your mixture and hit it up in the microwave for 10 seconds, this will help infuse the flavors into the butter.
  15. Once you’ve heated up your butter sauce, brush it liberally onto the naan, and enjoy while it’s hot and fresh!

Homemade naan coated in garlic, cilantro, and butter sauce

Freeze your naan

If you want to save your naan for a later time, I recommend you freeze your naan after you cook it over the stovetop, before you add the butter. Plain naan freezes great and can last in the freezer for 2 months. If you added butter sauce to your naan, you should enjoy it as soon as possible.

How to serve

Serve this up with your favorite curries, grilled meats, or even breakfast. My family and friends like to have this naan for breakfast with runny eggs.

Fresh garlic cilantro naan served with sunnyside up eggs and salad


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