Locating vegan naan can be a challenge. That’s no problem though, because it’s way easy to make at home, and these buttery loaves are a million times more delicious than anything you’d find in a store!
One thing I rarely post on this site is yeast bread recipes. Why might that be? When I was a kid and just learning to cook, yeast breads were my favorite. I think at some point I decided they were a pain. Kneading takes forever, and it’s a lot of work! So I abandoned the whole yeast bread thing in favor of quick breads and store bought loaves.
So Why Make Homemade Naan?
Store-bought vegan naan can be tough to find. Sometimes you can get lucky and find a vegan variety at an Indian market or Trader Joe’s, but quite often you’re on your own. So I decided to go ahead and make some vegan naan of my very own.
A few awesome things happened. First, the kneading wasn’t really that difficult. The dough is soft, and to ten minutes of squishing it on the countertop, to my surprise, turned out to be a great way to relieve stress after a rough week.
In fact, the entire process of making this naan was easy. Once you’ve got the kneading out of the way, just roll it into loaves, and each one cooks up in a skillet in all of four minutes!
Also, this stuff was way better than any store-bought naan I’d ever tried. Like, Indian restaurant delicious, and good luck at finding dairy-free naan at an Indian restaurant. Eaten right out the skillet it was OMG heaven.
I might just make homemade vegan naan all the time.
How to Make Vegan Naan
It’s actually kind of fun!
Make the Dough
Start by warming up some non-dairy milk in a small bowl or liquid measuring cup. Now whisk in some sugar and a packet of yeast. Set it aside for a few minutes, until the liquid becomes frothy, which should take about 10 minutes.
While you wait for the frothing to start, grab a mixing bowl and add some more non-dairy milk to it, along with a bit of vinegar. Conventional naan is made with yogurt, but I don’t always keep yogurt on hand, so I find that a mix of non-dairy milk and vinegar is a good replacement. Note that if you’re using a higher protein milk, such as soy, it will probably curdle after you add the vinegar. This is totally fine!
Once the yeast mixture has gotten frothy you can add it to the vinegar mixture. Stir the two mixtures together, then stir in some oil and salt.
Next you can start adding flour, a bit at a time, until you have a dough that’s just firm enough for kneading (but still pretty soft).
Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead it for about eight minutes, until it becomes smooth and stretchy.
Let it Rise
Roll the dough into a large ball, rub some oil on it, and place it into a large mixing bowl. Cover it with a damp tea towel, stick it in a warm spot, and let it rise for about an hour, until it doubles in size.
Shape & Cook It
When the dough has finished rising, cut it into 4 equal portions. Sprinkle some flour on the counter and roll each piece of dough into a large oval.
Now it’s time to cook your naan!
Melt some vegan butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Place one of your dough ovals into the skillet and cover it. Within about 2 minutes the dough should have gotten very puffy and developed some brown spots on the bottom.
Take the cover off of the skillet and carefully flip the naan. Let it cook for about 2 minutes more on the other side.
Serve with cilantro and extra vegan butter.
Vegan Naan FAQ & Tips
- Homemade naan is best served right away. But if you have leftovers, they’re best reheated in a 400°F oven for a few minutes, until warm.
- Can this naan be made gluten-free? I’m not sure! I have very little experience with gluten-free yeast breads. If you try a gluten-free version, please let me know how it works out!
- Naan is freezer-friendly. Place it in a sealed freezer bag and freeze it for up to 3 months.
- The dough is also freezer friendly! After rising, lightly oil the dough and stick it in a sealed freezer bag for up to 3 months. Let it thaw and come up to room temperature before rolling and cooking.
- This recipe makes 4 pretty large naan loaves. Feel free to divide the dough into smaller portions to make six or even eight mini loaves.
- Need a delicious Indian-inspired curry to serve with your naan? Try my vegan saag paneer, vegan tikka masala, or easy mixed vegetable curry.
- 1/2 cup warm unsweetened and unflavored non-dairy milk (about 110°F)
- 1 teaspoon organic granulated sugar
- 1/4 ounce active dry yeast (1 packet)
- 1/2 cup unsweetened and unflavored non-dairy milk (room temperature)
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
- 2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus an additional 1/2 cup, if needed
- 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or another cup of all-purpose)
- vegan butter, for grilling
In a small bowl or cup, whisk together the warm milk, yeast, and sugar. Allow the mixture to sit for 10 minutes, until it becomes frothy.
While the warm soy milk mixture sits, stir the room temperature milk and vinegar together in a large mixing bowl.
Pour the yeast mixture into the bowl with the vinegar mixture. Stir in the oil and salt.
Stir in 1 cup of all-purpose flour and 1 cup of whole wheat pastry flour, to form a soft dough. Continue adding up to an additional 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour, a bit at a time, until the dough is firm enough for kneading (it will still be very soft).
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead it until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes, adding up to 1/2 cup additional flour as needed.
Rub the dough with a bit of oil and place in a clean bowl. Cover it with a damp towel and allow it to rise in a warm location until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Use a knife to cut the dough into 4 equal portions, then use a rolling pin to roll each into an oval shape, about 10 inches by 4 inches.
Melt about 2 tablespoons of butter in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Place one of your dough ovals into the skillet and cover it.
Allow the dough to cook for 2 minutes. Take a peek, and if the dough has gotten puffy and formed brown spots on the bottom, flip it. Cover and cook it about 2 minutes more, until brown spots form on the other side.
Remove the naan from the skillet and transfer it to a plate to cool slightly.
Repeat for the remaining dough portions, adding vegan butter to the skillet as needed between loaves.
Serve your naan warm with additional butter and optional cilantro.
Make sure your skillet is fully heated before adding the dough. I've been finding that the first loaf I make isn't as fluffy as the others, and I suspect this is because I'm impatient and adding the dough too soon. Give it a few minutes.