Let’s learn how to make homemade Garlic Naan – the perfect side to serve with butter chicken or chicken tikka masala! It’s super soft and fluffy and the cilantro and garlic flavor is on another level. The best part is it’s super easy to make and sure to impress.
What is Garlic Naan?
Naan is a delicious leavened flatbread that is commonly a part of Indian cuisine. The bread is traditionally baked in a clay oven called a tandoor and can be served plain or with garlic and cilantro. It acts as a utensil so instead of using a spoon to eat a creamy dish like butter chicken, you use pieces of naan to get all the saucy goodness in. In comparison to pita, naan is a bit thicker of a dough since yogurt is added and in some recipes, egg as well. However, pita has no yogurt or egg so the dough is a lot more thin.
How to Make Garlic Naan
The process of making naan from scratch is actually really simple so definitely don’t be intimidated to make bread at home, especially if this is your first time! Let’s break down the steps.
1. Proof the yeast! Since the recipe calls for active dry yeast, I like to always proof it. Just add warm water to the bowl with sugar and sprinkle the yeast on top. Cover for 5 to 10 minutes until it’s puffy and bubbly. That’s how we know the yeast is alive. If you choose to use instant yeast instead of active, you can skip this step and just add the yeast directly to the dough along with all the other ingredients.
2. Form the dough. To make the dough, add the flour, yoghurt, water, olive oil, salt, and the proofed yeast to a large mixing bowl. If you have a stand mixer, use the hook attachment to mix until a dough comes together. If you don’t have a stand mixer, use a rubber spatula or a wooden spoon. Knead for 1 minute. The dough should not be too sticky but it should be elastic.
3. Rise. Once the dough is ready to go, transfer it a large oiled bowl and cover tightly. I cover it first with saran wrap and then a warm damp towel. Place it in a warm place to proof until double in size, about 1 hour to an hour and a half.
4. Make the garlic cilantro butter. While it rises, I like to prep the butter that we will brush on the outside of the cooked naan. Just mix melted unsalted butter, fresh minced garlic, salt, and chopped cilantro. Set it aside until we need it!
5. Prep the dough. After it has doubled in size, split into 7 to 8 equal pieces. Grab a plate that is completely flat. Oil the plate so the dough doesn’t stick and place one dough ball in the center. Stretch it out from the center to the outside until it’s thin and wide. Repeat with the rest of the dough.
6. Cook. Preheat a skillet over medium heat until it’s hot. Do not skip this step. The dough won’t puff the same if the pan isn’t hot enough. Add a little oil to the skillet or pan. Transfer one piece to the skillet. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until there is some nice golden brown color. Flip over and cook on the other side for another 2 to 3 minutes. Repeat with the rest.
7. Brush. For the final step, brush the naan with the garlic cilantro butter we made earlier. I like to brush both sides but you can choose to just brush the tops only.
How to Store Naan and Make Ahead
If you have any leftovers, store them in a ziplock bag or airtight container and keep them in the fridge or freezer. Just warm it up in the pan or microwave when you want to enjoy again.
If you’d like to make the dough ahead of time, you can pop it in the fridge after it proofs. Once it’s double in size, cover with saran wrap and keep it in the fridge until the next day. On the day you plan to cook the naan, take it out and allow the dough to come to room temperature before dividing and flattening each piece out.
Tips & Notes
- If you would like to make plain naan, just skip making the garlic and cilantro butter. You can also make half plain and half garlic.
- Instant yeast can be used interchangeably for active dry yeast. For instant yeast, you do not need to proof it in warm water and sugar. Just add it directly with all the ingredients. Make sure to still add the water and sugar for proofing in the recipe if you use instant yeast.
- Make sure your skillet is HOT before cooking the naan! A hot skillet helps the naan rise fast for fluffier bread.
- Since you can only cook one piece at a time on a skillet, wrap them in a kitchen towel while you cook the rest of the them so they fresh and warm until ready to serve.
- Serve it with some butter chicken for the perfect meal!
- 2 tablespoons warm water
- 1 teaspoon white sugar
- 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 3 cups all purpose flour add 1-2 tablespoons more if dough is sticky
- 1/3 cup plain whole milk yoghurt
- 2/3 cup warm water
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
- vegetable oil or ghee for cooking the naan
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter melted
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon salt more to taste
- 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- To a small bowl, add the 2 tablespoons of warm water and 1 teaspoon sugar. Sprinkle the active dry yeast on top. Cover and let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes until it's fluffy and bubbly. The yeast is now alive and proofed.
- To a large mixing bowl, add the all purpose flour, plain yoghurt, warm water, olive oil, salt, and the proofed yeast. Using a stand mixer fitted with the hook attachment, mix until a dough comes together and then knead for 1 minute. You can also use a rubber spatula or wooden spoon to bring the dough together and then knead by hand just by folding it for a 1 minute.
- Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl and cover with saran wrap and then a warm damp towel. Place in a warm place until double in size, about 1 hour to an hour and a half.
- While it doubles in size, you can make the garlic butter. To a small bowl, add the melted butter, minced garlic, salt, and cilantro. Mix and set aside.
- After the dough has proofed, divide it into 7 to 8 equal portions (8 for smaller pieces, 7 for larger).
- Take a flat plate and oil it. You can also oil your clean countertops or parchment paper. Spread the dough on the plate starting from the center moving outward until it's thin and wide, about 6 to 7 inches.
- Heat an iron skillet or pan over medium heat. Once it's hot, drop one in at a time. Cook on one side until golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Flip over and cook the other side for another 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a tray and repeat with the rest of the dough.
- Brush the naan with the garlic cilantro butter on both sides or just one side and enjoy warm! To reheat, just toast it on a hot pan for a minute on each side.