Oven-Baked Naan (Leavened Indian Flatbread)

Naan leavened Indian flatbread recipe

The Spruce / Cara Cormack

Prep: 25 mins
Cook: 18 mins
Rising/Proofing Time: 100 mins
Total: 2 hrs 23 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Yield: 8 flatbreads
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
566 Calories
24g Fat
76g Carbs
11g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 566
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 24g 30%
Saturated Fat 12g 62%
Cholesterol 50mg 17%
Sodium 542mg 24%
Total Carbohydrate 76g 28%
Dietary Fiber 3g 11%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 11g
Vitamin C 0mg 1%
Calcium 38mg 3%
Iron 4mg 25%
Potassium 149mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

There is no Indian bread that is more famous than naan. They are perfect for mopping up the gravy in Indian curries or other dishes. Naan is traditionally cooked in a tandoor or earthen oven, but can also be made in your oven at home. Serve this delicious bread hot, with popular dishes like tandoori chicken or kebabs of different kinds.

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"The naan was easy and tasty. I usually make a skillet naan and cook them one at a time, so I was happy to cut down on prep time with this oven-baked version. It wasn't as soft and puffy as a skillet naan bread but the flavor was excellent. One batch took about 18 minutes." —Diana Rattray

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Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

  • 1 cup warm water

  • 3 cups (13 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 6 tablespoons ghee, divided

  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened yogurt

  • Vegetable oil, for greasing

  • 3 teaspoons onion seeds, aka nigella seeds or kalonji

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for naan leavened Indian flatbread
    The Spruce / Cara Cormack
  2. Add the dry yeast and sugar to the warm water and stir till the yeast is dissolved. Cover and leave aside for 10 minutes or until the mixture begins to froth. This indicates the yeast is active. Keep aside.

    Add dry yeast to water
    The Spruce / Cara Cormack
  3. Mix the flour and salt to taste and sift through a very fine sieve into a large mixing bowl.

    Flour and salt
    The Spruce / Cara Cormack
  4. Next, add the yeast mixture, 3 tablespoons of ghee, and all the yogurt. Use your fingertips to mix all this into a soft dough.

    Knead dough
    The Spruce / Cara Cormack
  5. Once mixed, flour a clean, flat surface, and knead the dough till it is smooth and stretchy.

    Kneading dough
    The Spruce / Cara Cormack
  6. Grease a large bowl with a few drops of vegetable oil and put the dough in it. Cover with cling wrap and allow to rest for about 90 minutes or till the dough doubles in volume.

    Grease bowl
    The Spruce / Cara Cormack
  7. Punch the dough down and knead again for 10 minutes.

    Punch the dough down
    The Spruce / Cara Cormack
  8. Equally, divide the dough and roll between your palms to form 8 round balls.

    Roll dough
    The Spruce / Cara Cormack
  9. Lightly flour the same surface on which you kneaded the dough and roll out each ball until you have a circle, 7 to 8 inches in diameter (1/4-inch thick). Gently pull on one edge of the circle to form the naan into a teardrop shape. Do not pull too hard or you may tear the dough. Instead of rolling the dough out (with a rolling pin) you can also pat it into a circle with your hands.

    Roll out dough
    The Spruce / Cara Cormack
  10. Preheat oven 400 F / 200 C / Mark 6. Lay a piece of aluminum foil ​on an oven tray (to cover) and grease it lightly with a few drops of vegetable oil.

    Cover in foil
    The Spruce / Cara Cormack
  11. Place as many formed dough balls as will fit without touching each other on the tray.

    Flatten dough
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  12. Brush each dough ball lightly with ghee, and sprinkle a pinch of onion seeds evenly over the surface.

    Add seasoning
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  13. Place the tray in the oven and cook till the naan begins to puff out and lightly brown. Flip the naan and repeat.

    Bake bread
    The Spruce / Cara Cormack
  14. Remove from oven and serve hot in a foil-lined basket.

    Serve naan
    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

What is the difference between naan and pita bread?

Naan bread is usually made with milk or yogurt along with butter and sometimes eggs, making it softer than pita bread. Pita is usually made with a much simpler formula: flour, water, yeast, and salt. Pita also has a pocket when baked, while naan has some bubbles but no pocket.

Where is naan bread from?

Naan originated in Persia/Iran and is used in many cuisines, including Western Asia and South Asia, Indonesia, Myanmar, and Caribbean.

How to Store and Freeze

  • Store cooled naan in a zip-close bag for up to three days.
  • To freeze, place the naan in zip-close freezer bag and freeze for up to two months. Take it out of the freezer and let it thaw on the counter.
  • To reheat naan, wrap it in foil and heat in a preheated 400 F oven for about 10 minutes, or until hot. Or wrap a naan bread in a paper towel and heat in the microwave for 20 to 40 seconds, or until it is soft and begins to steam.

Tips

  • To make naan breads uniform in size, weigh the dough balls. The dough weighs just under 26 ounces, so each ball should weigh roughly 3.20 ounces.
  • For easier brushing, melt the second 3 tablespoons of ghee.
  • When kneading the dough, it should feel soft and slightly tacky. Add just enough extra flour to keep it from sticking to the surface and your hands.
  • Turn the oven up to 450 F to 500 F for faster baking—about 11 to 14 minutes—and slightly puffier naan.
  • If you have a warm place, such as in the oven with the oven light on, you can reduce the proofing time to about 1 hour.

Skillet Variation

Prepare the dough and roll it as directed in the recipe; brush with ghee and sprinkle with nigella seeds. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and brush it lightly with oil (or ghee). Add one naan and cook for about 30 to 40 seconds. Flip it and cook for another 10 to 15 seconds. Repeat with the remaining dough.

Recipe Variations

  • Press or finely mince 4 to 6 cloves of garlic; add the garlic to the dough along with the yogurt and ghee.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh cilantro to the dough.
  • Replace the nigella seeds with black or white sesame seeds.