{bread making} Homemade Naan

Naan with palak paneer
Naan with palak paneer

We are trying hard to cultivate frugality so we can stop working and do what we want; writing, gardening and traveling.  This is not an easy lift for me.  I have taken to silently chanting “cessation of desire”  every time I step into a store.  Because of our life style goals, that is, life without a day job, we don’t eat out very much.  So when I want Indian food or Mexican food, I mostly have to make it myself.  I have two standard Indian recipes that I make frequently, palak paneer and chana masala.   While both those dishes are great with rice, I felt a hole in my Indian dinners from lack of naan.  You can buy naan in the store but it isn’t fresh and it isn’t cheap so I decided to learn to make it from scratch.  While my naan seems oddly misshapen, it actually tastes like naan.

Traditionally Indian food is eaten with the fingers using torn off bits of naan.  You can sit at your dining room table, eating your dinner with your hands and feeling oddly satisfied from having made every bit of it yourself.  The recipe follows.

Naan dough
Naan dough



  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon nigella seeds, optional
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, optional
  • Melted butter
  • Coarse salt


  1. Dissolve yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar in 3/4 cup luke warm water. Let it rest for 10 minutes.
  2. Combine flour, salt, 1 teaspoon of sugar and baking powder in a large bowl.
  3. Add yogurt and olive oil to yeast mixture, stir.  Make a well in the flour and pour yeast mixture into it.  Add the nigella and fennel seeds if you are using them (I happen to have them lying around.  Weird).   Mix everything together with a fork then knead lightly to form a soft ball of dough.  Stop kneading when all the flour is incorporated.  Cover with plastic or a plate and let rise for two hours.   The dough will be soft and sticky.
  4. Separate the dough into 6 or 8 balls, depending on the size of naan you want.  Roll each ball in flour to dust.  Use a rolling pin and a lightly floured cutting board, roll each ball into an oval around 8 inches long and 4 inches wide (if you made 6 balls).
  5. Heat a cast iron pan with a fitted lid over high heat until it is very hot.  Dampen your hands in water and pick up one of the rolled-out dough pieces, lay it on the pan.  Cook for one minute, then flip it and cover the pan with the lid.  Cook for one more minute.  There will be dark spots on the naan, that is ok.
  6. Remove the naan from the pan and brush it with melted butter, then sprinkle with a little coarse salt.  Wrap the naan in a towel while you are cooking the rest of them and serve them hot.
  7. Use pieces of naan to scoop up your palak paneer or chana masala.  Consider serving with cold beer, or homemade salt lassi or mango lassi. Lick your fingers when you are done.
Misshapen but yummy naan
Misshapen but yummy naan

20 Comments Add yours

  1. Jennifer says:

    This looks awesome Dianna. Can’t wait to try it!

  2. Dianna- that looks just like the naan at our local restaurant, maybe just a tab thicker. My husband is always asking for me to make naan at home and I don’t have a good recipe, I’d love to try this.

    1. Dianna says:

      I think I will roll it thinner next time. 8 balls and the same size would be just about right.

  3. This is great. I love naan. I’ve dabbled in a few Indian recipes and always felt them incomplete without the addition of naan. Sometimes I’ll buy some, sometimes I’ll just go without. Thanks so much for sharing this!

    1. Dianna says:

      You are welcome. I love messing around with Indian food and have long made my own flour tortillas, this isn’t much harder

  4. Fresh Ginger says:

    I saw an episode of Good Eats where they made an oven for cooking homemade naan. It looked like completely unreasonable for a normal person to do but i bet the bread was good. This looks better! 🙂 mmmmm I have also tried the frozen naan from Trader Joe’s — not bad.

    1. Dianna says:

      Trader joes is good for many things! I will try their naan now that you mentioned it. Thanks.

      1. Fresh Ginger says:

        It’s frozen so I was skeptical at first. But, it works in a pinch.

  5. Ona says:

    I can’t wait to try this! Just to clarify, do you put the rolled out dough into an ungreased pan to cook?


    1. Dianna says:

      Yes. Just a hot cast iron pan, no oil.

  6. Namaste…yum yum…it looks absolutely delicious 🙂

  7. Kate says:

    I wonder if the dough freezes like pizza dough? If Trader Joe’s freezes I think I’ll try it with this. Thanks for the recipe and the push to make my own.

  8. Dianna, we are without a cast iron pan { gasp I know 😉 } . Would you make any changes to your recipe using a stainless steal pan?

    I’m so excited to try this. SPiCEY hubby is going to be over the moon as he just loves Indian food and Naan is hard to pass up. Thanks!

    1. Dianna says:

      Well, you could run out and buy one of course. But a heavy stainless steel pan should be ok. I would probably add some ghee to it or lower the heat a little and use butter. I think oil would change the flavor, but a mild high heat oil would probably be ok too. Safflower? Canola if you like it – I don’t much.

      How can you survive without a cast iron pan? I have around 10 myself, in different sizes – I never pass them up in a second hand store if they are in good shape because I give them to people who don’t have them. Amazon sells them too; Lodges which are pre-seasoned and not quite as good as the ones in second hand stores (if you ever find a Griswold, grab it) but perfectly adequate.

      Good luck and if you remember, please report back on how it went. Thanks.

      1. Thanks for the info on cast iron skillets – It was a cooking requirement as a child.

        After all these years, I am beginning to appreciate that most homesteader’s would LOVE to have had my childhood lifestyle and find that I’m sort of coming full circle. 🙂

        My sister has cast iron that I know she doesn’t use, I might just take it home with me.

        We are making Naan and paneer early next week, so I’m REALLY excited. I might just bring my stainless steel pan too, so we can do 2 batches at once. I’ll let you know how it goes.

        Thanks again!

        1. Dianna says:

          My children who couldn’t wait to get out of living in the country when they were teenagers find themselves very avant garde now in Brooklyn with the rooftop beekeepers and balcony gardeners since they know how to make paneer and have experience with goats and chickens. And they all have cast iron pans in their small apartments. Good luck with your naan and paneer! They are pretty fool proof.

  9. adurmus17 says:

    This looks great! I’m definitely going to have to try this

  10. Cafe Spice says:

    It seems like an interesting bread to make. Thanks for the post.

  11. Love it! I’ve been making my own naan for a few months. It’s a huge $$ saver!

    1. Dianna says:

      thanks. Cheap is good, and home made is good, so it is a no brainer.

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