Vegan Naan Bread

This easy homemade vegan naan bread is quick to make and perfectly soft and chewy! Serve this Indian skillet flatbread with curry or as a quick pizza crust.

Garlic naan

The perfect pair to a steaming bowl of curry? Soft, fluffy naan bread. This Indian skillet bread is so delicious, it’s easy to get distracted by this traditional side dish. Alex and I love recommending an Indian or Southeast Asian style vegetable curry as an easy plant-based meal. But most traditional naan recipes have butter and/or Greek yogurt. Enter: this vegan naan recipe! It’s easy to make, perfectly fluffy, and tastes just as good as our traditional buttery garlic naan. Here’s how to make it!

Why make this vegan naan?

This vegan naan bread recipe is a little different than most: and even more delicious, we’d contend! Here’s why to make it:

  • It’s a fast naan recipe. Homemade bread takes time to rise, or proof. The proof time for most naan recipes is 1 to 2 hours. The proof time for this recipe? Just 30 minutes! This recipe uses baking powder instead of yeast. Keep reading for more about the method!
  • The flavor and texture are incredible. This vegan naan is soft and supple, perfectly salted and totally delicious. Below are a few of the tricks we’ve used to make this vegan naan stand out.
Vegetable curry
Try our Vegetable Curry with this vegan naan

The quick way: use baking powder, not yeast!

Most naan recipes use yeast as the leavener: that’s what makes the bread rise! But some modern takes on naan use baking powder instead. What’s the benefit? Baking powder decreases the time needed to proof the bread. Proofing is when you let bread dough rest after you’ve added the leavener so that it rises. The proof time with yeast is 1 to 2 hours, whereas the proof time with baking powder is just 30 minutes!

Our researched showed that modern Indian chefs are experimenting with baking powder naan: for example, the naan recipe in Indian chef Vivek Singh’s book Curry. The texture is very slightly more biscuit-y than bread-y, but most people wouldn’t notice a difference. To us, this is absolutely worth it to be able to make naan in under 1 hour!

The secrets to vegan naan

To create this vegan naan recipe, we based it on our Garlic Naan, which also uses baking powder and not yeast. We had several non-vegan ingredients to contend with to adapt this to a vegan bread. Here’s how we did it:

  • Water instead of milk: Most non-dairy milk products have a very watery texture: so using water works.
  • Coconut cream instead of Greek yogurt: Look for a can of coconut cream at the grocery (not milk). See the notes below!
  • Coconut oil instead of butter. The richer flavor of coconut oil (vs olive oil) is best for brushing.
  • A hint more salt & a little sugar: The recipe below has a hint of added salt and sugar, because guess what? Dairy has gentle salt and sweetness that add flavor. If you don’t add a little to compensate for that, your vegan bread will taste rather dull. (Trust us!)
Vegan naan recipe

What is coconut cream?

Important note: Coconut cream is not coconut milk! It’s richer and creamier, almost the texture of coconut oil. When you’re shopping, look for cans marked “Coconut Cream.” What if you can’t find coconut cream, but you can find coconut milk? Well, there’s actually a way to separate out the coconut cream. Here’s what to do:

  • Buy a can of full fat coconut milk and refrigerate overnight.
  • Open the can and use only the coconut cream that has hardened on top.
  • Note: You’ll notice that with some coconut milk brands, the coconut cream is already separated on top when you open it; others seem to integrate better. If you’re using a brand you know has the hardened coconut cream on top without the need for refrigeration, you can skip that step.

Use a cast iron skillet, if you have it!

Another tip for making vegan naan: use a cast iron skillet if you have it! Why? A cast iron skillet can be heated until it’s blazing hot. And you need a blazing hot griddle for naan! It’s what makes the classic blackened marks on the dough. If you don’t have cast iron skillet: never fear! You can use any large skillet or griddle: the blackened marks will just be a little lighter and more subtle.

Tip: Make sure you heat whatever skillet you use until it’s very hot before you add the first piece of dough. If you add the dough before its roaring hot, it won’t cook correctly.

Vegan naan
A cast iron skillet makes for the signature blackened marks

Storage and reheating info!

After you’ve made this vegan naan, what’s the best way to store it? And how to quickly reheat it? Here are some tips:

  • Room temp storage: Place fully cooled naan in an airtight plastic bag and keep at room temperature for up to 3 days. The cooled naan gets a little tough, so you’ll want to reheat it (see below).
  • Freezer storage: Wrap in foil, place in a bag and freeze for up to 2 months.
  • Reheat in the oven: Reheat refrigerated or frozen naan by wrapping in aluminum foil and baking in a 350°F oven for 15 minutes.
  • Reheat in the toaster: For quick fix, reheat refrigerated naan in the toaster (you may need to cut it in half to get it to fit).

Recipes to eat with vegan naan

Here are a few of our favorite plant based and vegan recipes that pair well with naan!

Vegan naan

This vegan naan recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free and gluten-free.

Print
Vegan naan

Vegan Naan (Fast & Easy!)


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (7 votes, average: 4.71 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x

Description

This easy homemade vegan naan bread is quick to make and perfectly soft and chewy! Serve this Indian skillet flatbread with curry or as a quick pizza crust.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups (312 grams) all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons coconut cream*
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil (or additional olive oil)
  • Chopped fresh cilantro, for serving

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, stir together the all purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and kosher salt. Melt the coconut cream for about 10 seconds in the microwave. Add the olive oil, water, and coconut cream to the flour mixture and stir until dough comes together. If it is dry, add a bit more water; if it is very sticky, add a sprinkle more flour. Knead for about 30 seconds to a minute until all the flour is incorporated and a dough ball forms.
  2. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl. Rest for 30 minutes at room temperature covered with a towel.
  3. Once the dough has rested, flatten it into a disc. Then cut it into 6 equal pieces. On a clean, lightly floured countertop, roll each dough into a thin teardrop shape, about 1/8 inch thick.
  4. Meanwhile, grate the garlic. In a small saucepan, heat the coconut oil and the garlic over medium low heat. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes until the garlic fragrant is just starting to turn yellow (but not brown), then immediately remove from the heat.
  5. Heat a cast iron skillet**, griddle or large skillet over very high heat until it’s blazing hot (make sure it’s as hot as possible, or the first piece won’t cook correctly). Add one of the pieces of dough and cook until the top has bubbles and the bottom is golden and very dark brown in spots (about 1 minute), then turn and cook another 30 seconds to 1 minute on the other side. Brush the naan with a bit of the garlic oil on both sides. Wrap it with a clean towel. Repeat with the remaining 5 naan, adding each to the towel afterwards (this will steam them and keep them warm and supple).
  6. Serve immediately with chopped cilantro. To store, place fully cooled naan in an airtight plastic bag and keep at room temperature for up to 3 days, or wrap in foil, place in a plastic bag or container and freeze for up to 2 months. Reheat refrigerated or frozen naan by wrapping in aluminum foil and baking in a 350°F oven for 15 minutes. For quick fix, you can reheat naan in the toaster (you may need to cut it in half to get it to fit).

Notes

*Coconut cream is not coconut milk! It’s richer and creamier, almost the texture of coconut oil. Look for cans marked “Coconut Cream.” If you can’t find coconut cream, you can also buy a can of full fat coconut milk and refrigerate overnight; then open it and use only the coconut cream that has hardened on top. (Some coconut milk brands come already separated, so refrigeration may or may not be necessary.)

**A cast iron skillet is the best option, since it gives the signature blackened spots. A skillet works too, but won’t get as blackened.

  • Category: Bread
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Indian

Keywords: Vegan Naan, Vegan Naan Recipe, Vegan Naan Bread

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

4 Comments

  • Reply
    Angela
    March 24, 2020 at 6:15 pm

    I’m making this now and realized that the sugar that’s called for in the ingredients wasn’t listed in the directions. I just added it in with the other dry ingredients, but thought I would point it out. I’m excited to see how this turns out!

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      March 24, 2020 at 8:12 pm

      Thanks, updated it!

  • Reply
    Alex & Leila
    March 28, 2020 at 9:56 pm

    This tasted pretty good but the outside started to burn before the inside was cooked enough. Maybe it was just too dry? Idk, do y’all have any tips for that?

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      March 28, 2020 at 11:19 pm

      Try just going a bit thinner on the dough next time!

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