a peek inside the fishbowl

03 Sep, 2009

Easy recipe for naan bread

Posted by andrea tomkins in: - iKnead

Let’s be crystal clear about one thing. I don’t have a tandoor or clay oven. Tandoors are Indian in origin, and naan bread – a delicous chewy flatbread which is served hot – is traditionally baked on the walls of the oven while meat cooks over a charcoal or wood fire inside. But I discovered you can make a decent naan bread without one.

Naan bread is traditionally spread with ghee (which is clarified butter) or regular butter and is often used for scooping up saucy Indian fare. (Like butter chicken. I could eat butter chicken for breakfast I JUST LOVE IT SO MUCH.)

I found a great little recipe for naan bread in my Joy of Cooking. It’s not exactly authentic – no ghee here! – but I’ve made this recipe a couple times now and I think you have to try it too. If you like fresh hot bread you will probably love it as much as I do. (Regardless of whether you’re eating it with Indian food!) This recipe makes a lovely flatbread that you can eat as is or add your own toppings. (I wonder if it would make a good pizza or base for bruschetta?)

You will need:

  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted melted butter (my preference) or vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup plain yogurt (my preference) or buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon water as needed

Combine flour, salt, and yeast in a large bowl. Add melted butter, yogurt, and one teaspoon of the water (you may need more but don’t overdo it) and mix until a soft ball of dough is formed. Knead for 10 minutes. You should end up with a ball of dough that is slightly tacky, but not sticky (that means it’s too wet). Transfer to a clean bowl which has been greased with olive oil. Turn ball of dough to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and leave in your oven with the light on for 90 minutes while you go do something else.

Punch the dough down and divide into four equal pieces – use a knife, don’t tear! Roll each piece into a ball, cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Using a rolling pin, smoosh each ball into an oval, about 1/4″ thick and about 8″ long.

Bake on a baking stone in a 475° oven for 6 or 7 minutes OR brush each one with oil (on both sides) and grill on a hot BBQ. I’ve made them both ways and they’re best on the BBQ. Try brushing lightly with oil, sprinkle with salt, freshly ground pepper and some oregano. Sorta like this:

DIY naan bread - no tandoor required!

They’ll poof up a little during baking. Serve them hot off the grill.

(I don’t have any “after” photos. They were eaten before I had a chance to get the camera.)

I am sorry to say that this recipe only makes four naan. They’re AMAZING with tzatziki. (Recipe to follow!)

Let me know if you try it out!

17 Responses to "Easy recipe for naan bread"

1 | tali

September 3rd, 2009 at 8:55 am


If you love butter chicken, have you been to Indian Express on Wellington near somerset? I also buy naan there and make pizza with it…so much better than a store-bought crust. Maybe I’ll try to make my own.

2 | Scattered Mom

September 3rd, 2009 at 9:47 am


Oh, yum! I don’t have a grill, but I think I might just buy a baking stone now.

I have a fantastic recipe for butter chicken. I don’t think it’s authentic, but I love it! Plus it’s pretty easy and ya, I’d eat it for breakfast too :)


3 | mark

September 3rd, 2009 at 10:07 am


ahem….who made them on the BBQ ?

4 | andrea

September 3rd, 2009 at 10:17 am




His grill marks were the best grill marks I’ve ever witnessed in the history of BBQing.

5 | andrea

September 3rd, 2009 at 10:18 am


A note about making them on the stone … bake on one side only and do not overbake otherwise they’ll be too crispy.

6 | Hannah

September 3rd, 2009 at 11:39 am


Those look great! I’ll have to make them next time I’m in the mood for vegetarian Indian food! :)

7 | Shan

September 3rd, 2009 at 5:07 pm


Mmm I love Naan bread. Thanks for the recipe. I’m going to give it a try.

8 | Trea

September 3rd, 2009 at 6:23 pm


mmmm … wonder how much more effort it would take to make this a pashwari naan?

9 | Jennifer

September 4th, 2009 at 12:16 pm


Yum! I LOVE Indian food, thanks for this recipe. If you liked the Naan bread, you would definitely like Barbari Bread–a traditional Iranian bread. Here’s a great recipe:



10 | recipe cooker

September 5th, 2009 at 2:50 am


I’m going to make it on the BBQ, I hope it works.

11 | Carmen

November 11th, 2010 at 5:38 pm


I love Indian food,thank you! I am going to surprise my husband with Indian food this evening. He loves the butter chicken!

12 | martynn

February 28th, 2011 at 10:37 am


I have a question on this recipe. When I make bread and use yeast, I always let it foam in warm water first. This step is not mentioned here, do I really just add the dry yeast granules to the flour? If water is needed, how much should I use? I love naan bread and would love to try it at home.

13 | andrea

February 28th, 2011 at 3:47 pm


Yes! It sounds odd but it works. :)

14 | Annie

June 6th, 2011 at 5:44 pm


I was wondering the same…still waiting for it to rise…

Thanks for the recipe.

Hope it works out… Yum

15 | A Greek dinner meal plan, and my fave tzatziki recipe, er tzadziki, tsatsiki (?), CUCUMBER DIP >> a peek inside the fishbowl

September 3rd, 2011 at 9:29 am


[…] greek bread… use the thick round Greek variety, not the thinner pitas, but you can also make your own! Brush the bread with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and oregano on each side and toast […]

16 | Barb Norton

November 21st, 2011 at 10:34 pm


So you use traditional yeast but don’t bloom (proof) it. Not sure how this can work? Yeast needs to wake up. Did you miss a step? I made it today your way and it was like a biscuit , not at all the bread I wanted. I kinda knew this was not the right method but did it anyway. Silly me… I knew it was not gonna work. Recipe is good but yeast needs to come alive so next time will use the scant amount of water to proof the yeast. Or do you have suggestion. Sooo love naan. So live in a rural area and retired. So miss fun ethnic lunch with my work peeps. Gotta make my cravings myself. Haha. Not really bummed by food things not working. Just gives me something to do now that it is stupid winter. Bread is my passion now. Good thing i have a dog to walk or I would be a bread blimp. Haha. Symon my pup loves snow. He gets me outside and walking. He loves toast with butter. He a smart white fluffy dog with brown eyes and a nose that goes.

17 | Foodiemergency a.k.a there’s nothing to eat in the house. Now what? >> a peek inside the fishbowl

January 31st, 2012 at 12:58 pm


[…] chicken sauce, and served it with basmati rice and store-bought naan bread (although you could make your own). Even the kids ate it. THE. KIDS. ATE. […]

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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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