Naan needs no introduction and is probably one of the most ordered items in Indian restaurants. This bread is among the simplest to prepare in your own kitchen and complements your preferred curries beautifully.
This recipe for no-knead naan is made without eggs and the enriched dough has yogurt, melted butter, and milk. I am using an Instant Pot to make and proof the dough, which results in perfect fermentation, yielding soft and fluffy naan. By following this recipe, you'll achieve the fluffy, bubbly, chewy, and perfectly elastic texture that you typically find in restaurants.
Typically, traditional naan is prepared in a tandoor or clay oven, resulting in a slightly charred texture from the high heat. However, in this homemade naan bread recipe, I'm using a cast iron skillet to cook the naan. This method still creates the characteristic crumbs and char that you would typically get from a tandoor, making it a delicious and convenient alternative.
This amazing yet ridiculously simple recipe for pillowy naan with perfect air pockets is perfect for soaking up the flavors of your favorite curry. Using basic ingredients that you likely already have in your kitchen, this recipe is both accessible and delicious. Keep reading for details on ingredients, variations, and useful tips that will help you make the BEST no-knead naan bread in the comfort of your own home.
The BEST Naan Recipe
This is my tried and tested recipe to make the BEST no-knead naan bread in the comfort of your own home. Now, you may think I am biased but allow me to elaborate on why my naan recipe is the best.
So what makes a naan the BEST? I love good naan bread and for me, these are some of the top features to call it the best:
- Soft, pillowy, and chewy texture: A great naan recipe will produce a flatbread that is soft and pillowy, with just the right amount of chewiness.
- Airy pockets: A hallmark of great naan is the presence of airy pockets, which are created during the cooking process and help to give the bread its distinctive texture.
- Charred spots: Typically, traditional naan is prepared in a tandoor oven or clay oven, resulting in a slightly charred texture from the high heat. I will show you how to recreate that lovely char with a mild smoky flavor without using a tandoor.
- Delicious flavor: The best naan recipe will produce bread with a delicious flavor that is not too bland or too overpowering.
- Ease of preparation: While making naan can be a bit time-consuming, the best recipes will be straightforward and easy to follow, even for novice cooks.
I truly believe that when followed correctly, my amazing yet ridiculously simple recipe checks all these boxes to give you the most incredible-tasting naan. Brush warm naan bread with melted butter to add a touch of comfort and indulgence to your meal.
Flour: Bread flour works best for this recipe. However, if it is not available, use all-purpose flour.
Yeast: I have used instant dry yeast which does not need dissolving or blooming. If you use active dry yeast, bloom it first in sugar and lukewarm milk.
Melted butter: Use unsalted melted butter. It can be replaced with olive oil.
Dairy: Use whole milk and full-fat yogurt. You can also use greek yogurt.
Other ingredients: Salt and sugar. I have used raw sugar here, however, white sugar can also be used.
Step 1: In the inner pot of the Instant Pot (or a large mixing bowl), add milk, sugar, instant dry yeast, yogurt, and melted butter.
Step 2: Mix well until the sugar dissolves. Add salt and mix.
Step 3: Add flour to the yogurt mixture in batches and mix using a wooden spoon.
Step 4: Combine the flour and bring it together making sure there are no dry bits.
Step 5: Form a slightly sticky, soft dough that will come together like a ball.
Step 6: Place the inner pot in the Instant Pot and set it to 'Yogurt' mode for one hour. If you are mixing flour in a large bowl, transfer it to the inner pot of the Instant Pot.
Step 7: The dough is ready when it is almost double in size.
Step 8: Transfer it to a lightly floured surface or board. Divide it into 8 equal portions.
Step 9: Bring each part into a ball and place it on a tray. Cover with a clean and damp tea towel (or plastic wrap) and let it sit for 15 minutes.
Step 10: The dough rises after the second proofing.
Step 11: After 15 minutes, take one ball of dough and gently spread it into oval discs using your fingers. Alternatively, roll it using a rolling pin into a teardrop shape or oval shape.
Step 12: Optionally, you can top it with nigella seeds, garlic, or cilantro.
Step 13: Heat a large cast-iron skillet. Place the rolled dough on the hot skillet. Bubbles begin to appear as it cooks. Let it cook for about 2 minutes on medium-high heat or until the underside is charred and golden brown.
Step 14: Flip and cook on the other side for one more minute. The naan is done when bubbles will turn golden brown.
In this recipe, I use dried instant yeast that does not require blooming. If you use active dry yeast, take yeast in a small bowl along with lukewarm milk (or warm water) and sugar, mix, and let it bloom before using the yeast mixture.
Bread flour works better in this recipe. However, if it is not available, use all-purpose flour.
The dough has to be soft yet not very sticky. If the dough is too dry, add 1-2 tablespoons of milk and if it is too sticky, add enough flour (not more than ¼ cup).
Proofing the dough in the Instant Pot is the best way to do it. It saves time and the dough rise is quick, and it is ready in one hour. Alternatively, keep the dough in a warm place at room temperature until it doubles.
Hand stretching the dough ball where possible is great to get those beautiful crumbs. If you want to use a rolling pin, then roll by applying a little pressure. Rolling the naan dough with too much pressure may toughen the dough.
Make sure the cast iron pan is very hot. To check, add a few drops of water to it. If it evaporates immediately, it is ready.
When rolling one part of the dough, keep the rest of the dough balls covered in the kitchen towel. This will help in preventing the dough from getting dry.
While we need the pan to be very hot, do not cook the naan on very high heat. Reduce it to medium heat before placing the dough.
Use this soft and fluffy naan bread to make the most delicious chicken tikka naanwich.
There are so many variations you can make to this basic naan recipe. Here are some ideas for your inspiration to use the dough in different ways.
Topped with seeds: You can top the rolled dough with nigella seeds, poppy seeds, or sesame seeds. Add the seeds and gently press them using the rolling pin before cooking.
Garlic naan: Add finely chopped or minced garlic on top of the dough and gently press them using the rolling pin before cooking.
Garlic butter naan: Top the cooked naan with garlic butter.
Cheese naan: Use grated cheese as a stuffing to make cheese naan. Add some finely chopped chili peppers to make chili cheese naan.
Pudina naan: Top the rolled dough with chopped mint leaves and cilantro. Press it gently before cooking.
Paneer naan: Season grated or crumbled paneer and stuff it in the dough before rolling. Make sure that there are no big pieces of paneer or the dough will tear when rolling.
Keema naan: Cook minced meat with spices and cool it completely. Use it as a stuffing to make keema naan.
Atta naan: Use whole wheat flour or a mixture of all-purpose flour and whole wheat flour to make whole wheat naan.
Sourdough naan: Love baking sourdough bread? Make sourdough naan using this easy tried and tested recipe.
Pairing naan with your favorite chana masala or chicken tikka masala is the ultimate comfort food experience. If you're looking for more inspiration, here are some other delicious Indian recipes to try out.
Never run out of ideas on what to serve with naan with this detailed guide. If you have leftover naan, don't worry. Check out these resources to learn how to freeze naan properly and the ultimate guide to reheating naan.
This happens if the skillet is not hot enough when cooking, or if the dough is too dry. Heat the skillet before you place the dough on it.
While both are leavened flatbread and are made using flour and leavened using yeast, they are quite different in taste and texture. Naan dough is enriched with milk, butter, and yogurt. It is large, soft, and lighter whereas the pita is small, dry, and used as a pocket for fillings.
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Naan Recipe (Easy No-knead)
- 2½ cups bread flour or all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoon instant dried yeast see notes
- 2 teaspoon sugar
- ½ cup milk (plus 1-2 tablespoons)
- ¼ cup melted butter
- ½ cup yogurt
- 1 teaspoon salt
Make and proof the dough:
- In the inner pot of the Instant Pot, add milk, sugar, yeast, yogurt, and melted butter. Mix well until the sugar dissolves.
- Add the salt and give it a good mix.
- Add the flour in batches. Mix using a wooden spoon.
- Combine the flour and bring it together making sure there are no dry bits.
- The moisture from the liquids is sufficient to make the dough.
- Form a soft and slightly sticky dough that will come together like a ball.
- If the dough is too sticky, add ½ cup of flour. If it is too dry, add one tablespoon of water.
- Cover the Instant Pot and set it to 'Yogurt' mode for one hour.
- The dough is ready when it is almost double in size.
Making the naan:
- Once the dough is ready, transfer it to a lightly dusted surface. Divide it into 8 equal parts.
- Bring each part into a ball and place it on a tray. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let it sit for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, start heating a cast iron pan or skillet.
- After 15 minutes, take one ball of dough and gently spread it into oval discs using your fingers. Alternatively, roll it using a rolling pin.
- Sprinkle nigella seeds, finely chopped garlic, and cilantro.
- Place it on the hot skillet. Bubbles begin to appear as it cooks. Let it cook for about 2 minutes or until the underside is charred.
- Flip and cook on the other side for one more minute. The naan is done when bubbles will turn brown.
- Remove from the skillet and set it aside.
- Repeat with the rest of the dough balls.
- Serve hot with curry of your choice.
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