Popular Indian Breads

An integral part of Indian cuisine, Indian breads are a ubiquitous item served alongside the country's famous dishes, especially curries. There is a huge variety of Indian breads, ranging from flatbreads to crepes, using dough that is either unleavened or one that has risen. Some Indian breads are fried while others are cooked on a griddle, called a tava. Different regions of India have their own ingredients and style of baking breads, creating several types and variations served throughout India. Here are six of the most popular.

  • 01 of 06


    Chapati bread
    Sebadella/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

    The beauty of chapatis is that they can be eaten with anything. Chapati is unleavened Indian flatbread cooked on a flat skillet (tava). The secret to getting soft chapatis is to knead the dough thoroughly—the longer you knead the dough, the softer the bread will be. Using milk or fresh yogurt instead of water will also result in a soft chapati that no one will be able to resist. Serve with chicken sukka. Lime pickle, or nimbu ka achaar is also served with chapati.

  • 02 of 06


    Parathas (pan-fried Indian flatbread) are for when you want to spoil yourself! Crispy and flaky, they go well with most Indian dishes, be it a gravied curry or a dry stir-fry.

    Parathas may take a few steps to make, but are easy to prepare and definitely worth the time. The more layers you create, the flakier the flatbread will be; how crisp you fry them, however, is up to you.

  • 03 of 06

    Aaloo Paratha

    Aaloo parathas are parathas made with potato. A dough of flour, oil, and water is rolled out into a circle, and the mashed potato mixture is folded into the pancake. After gently rolling out the flatbread, the potato mixture is incorporated, and the paratha is ready to fry.

    They taste delicious with fresh, thick cream or a knob of unsalted, homemade butter.

  • 04 of 06


    Serve this crispy, golden unleavened fried Indian flatbread with any dish—vegetarian or otherwise—and your favorite pickle. Puffed up like a somewhat deflated ball, the perfect poori is light golden in color. With the ingredients being whole wheat flour, water, salt and oil, you can whip up some poori without a special trip to the supermarket.

    Continue to 5 of 6 below.
  • 05 of 06


    Naan is probably the most famous of Indian bread. This delicious leavened Indian flatbread bread is best served hot, with popular dishes like tandoori chicken or kebabs of different kinds, as well as any curry as it is ideal for sopping up the gravy. Traditionally made in a tandoor (or clay oven) you can easily make these in your oven at home. Just be sure to begin the recipe ahead as the dough needs time to proof. 

  • 06 of 06


    Bhaturas are a leavened fried bread and are the perfect companion for chole (chickpea curry), a popular North Indian dish. Bhaturas are best eaten right as they are made—piping hot—and are like a larger, leavened version of poori. As the dough needs up to five hours to rise, you will have to begin preparing the bhaturas ahead of time.