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.
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 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. No need to bake them!
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.
Ingredients You'll Need
- Non-dairy milk. Use a variety of milk that's unflavored and unsweetened. Soy milk, almond milk, oat milk and cashew milk are all fine options. The only variety I'd avoid is canned coconut milk. Check out my guide to dairy-free milks for more guidance.
- Sugar. Make sure to use organic sugar to keep this recipe vegan. FYI: Conventional sugar in many regions is processed using animal bone char.
- Active dry yeast.
- White vinegar. Apple cider vinegar works as a substitute if that's what you have on hand.
- Oil. Just about any neutral baking oil can be used.
- Flour. The recipe calls for a mix of all-purpose and whole wheat pastry flour, but feel free to use 100% all purpose flour if you prefer.
- Vegan butter. This is sold near the regular butter at most supermarkets. Earth Balance, Miyoko's and Melt are some popular brands to try.
How It's Made
The following is a detailed photo tutorial on how to make this dish. Scroll all the way down if you'd like to skip right to the recipe!
The process of making homemade vegan naan bread is actually kind of fun!
Make the Dough
Start by warming up some of your 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.
Tip: 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 in a large bowl, 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.
Tip: The amount of time it takes for your dough to double in size is temperature dependent. Dough will rise faster in a warmer environment, and slower in a cooler environment.
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.
Tip: his recipe makes 4 pretty large naan loaves. Feel free to divide the dough into smaller portions to make six or even eight mini loaves.
Now it's time to cook your vegan 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 bubbles and 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.
Tip: While any nonstick skillet will work for this recipe, a cast iron skillet will work best!
Brush your naan with some extra vegan butter before serving it. I like to sprinkle mine with some fresh cilantro as well.
Variation: Garlic Naan
Add one finely minced garlic clove to the milk and vinegar mixture in step 2, as well as an additional minced garlic clove to the butter used for topping your naan in step 12.
Leftovers & Storage
Homemade vegan naan is best served right away. But if you have leftovers, they'll keep in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 to 3 days, in the fridge for about 5 days, or in the freezer for about a month.
To reheat your naan, thaw it out (if frozen) and place it in an oven heated to 400°F for a few minutes, until warm.
Tip: The dough for this recipe is 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.
Frequently Asked Questions
Possibly! An all-purpose gluten-free flour blend would be your best bet if you'd like to try it, but I haven't myself, so no promises.
It can, but if you use all whole wheat flour, and in particular all regular whole wheat flour (not whole wheat pastry flour), the texture will be somewhat grainy and your naan won't be as soft and fluffy.
You can! Combine the ingredients (starting in step 2) in the bowl of your stand mixer, and use the dough hook to knead it in step 5.
What To Serve with Vegan Naan
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- ½ cup warm unsweetened and unflavored non-dairy milk (about 110°F)
- 1 teaspoon organic granulated sugar
- ¼ ounce active dry yeast (1 packet)
- ½ cup unsweetened and unflavored non-dairy milk (room temperature)
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
- 2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour, plus an additional ½ 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 milk mixture sits, stir the room temperature milk and vinegar together in a large mixing bowl. (Note 1)
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 ½ 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 ½ 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. (Note 2)
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. (Note 3)
Melt about 2 tablespoons of butter in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Give the skillet a minute to heat up, then place one of your dough ovals into the skillet and cover it. (Note 4)
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.
Brush the naan with additional melted vegan butter before serving.
- The milk may curdle, especially if it's a higher protein variety like soy. This is nothing to worry about.
- The warmer the surrounding temperature, the faster your dough will rise.
- You could optionally make this into as many as eight smaller loaves.
- 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.