This sourdough naan is one of my all time favorite breads. It's a little chewy, a little tangy, and goes with just about anything. Indian food? Always. Base for flatbread pizza? Delicious. Midnight snack? Duh. All you need to make amazing naan at home is a sourdough starter and a cast iron skillet!
Why This Recipe Works!
Naturally leavened sourdough can be tricky to work with, but this sourdough naan is honestly one of the easiest recipes for a sourdough beginner! The dough is very forgiving and since we roll it flat before cooking, you don't have to worry about under or over proofing it!
What is Naan?
Naan is a staple flatbread in many central and southeast Asian cultures. It's especially common in India, Afghanistan, Iran, Egypt, and several other surrounding countries.
There is some variation in traditional recipes, but typically naan is made with wheat flour, yogurt, and yeast. These are the ingredients that make naan distinct from other similar breads like roti or pita.
Naan is traditionally cooked in a tandoor oven, which can get incredibly hot (we're talking up to 900°F) which is what helps naan to cook in just 1-2 minutes! There's no way to perfectly replicate a tandoor oven, but a cast iron skillet is a great alternative that makes amazing naan complete with the classic brown spots from where it puffs up.
You just need 8 simple ingredients to make the best ever sourdough naan at home!
- Sourdough Starter - Don't have a sourdough starter? Never fear! Just check out my Sourdough Guide for all my tips and tricks
- Greek Yogurt - This is so important for the taste and texture of the naan! Only use full-fat yogurt in baking for the best results. You can also substitute plain full-fat regular yogurt or kefir!
The complete list of ingredients and amounts is located in the recipe card below.
Special Equipment Needed
Timeline for Making Sourdough Naan
I only bake bread on the weekends, so my starter lives in the fridge for most of the week. Starter that lives in the fridge is often sluggish and less active when it's first removed, which is not what you want to bake with. I like to give my starter at least two feedings before using it to bake so that it's nice and active. Naan takes longer to rise than your typical sourdough, so making sure your starter is super ripe and active before you get started is important!
So here's a rough timeline of how I bake my naan:
- Day 1
- 6 am: remove starter from the fridge and feed
- 6pm: feed starter
- Day 2
- 6 am: feed starter
- 12-1 pm: make dough
- 6-7 pm: cook naan to have with dinner
You can also let the dough rise in the fridge for 12-48 hours which is a great option for added flexibility!
How to Make Sourdough Naan
Feed your sourdough starter 6-8 hours before you plan on making the dough (very dependent on how active your starter is). Note: you can use discard starter, just know that your naan won't puff us as much while cooking.
When your starter is ripe and bubbly, mix all of the dough ingredients in a bowl and just gently knead with your hands for 2-3 minutes until the dough is smooth. You may need to add a little extra flour of milk depending on the consistency of your starter. The dough should form into a smooth ball but still be slightly sticky.
Photo 1 shows the dough after all the ingredients are just combined and photo 2 shows a smooth ball after kneading for 2-3 minutes.
Cover the dough and let rise in a warm place until it has doubled in size. For me, this typically takes 5 hours at room temperature but can vary anywhere from 3-8 hours based on the temperature/starter ripeness. You can also mix the dough and then refrigerate it overnight or up to 2 days.
Scrape the dough out onto a lightly floured counter top. Divide the dough into 12 even pieces (about 85g each) and roll each piece into a small ball. Cover the dough balls and let rest for 10 minutes.
Heat your cast iron skillet (10 inches or larger is ideal) over medium to medium-high heat and lightly brush with olive oil.
Roll out your first ball to a little less than ¼ inch thick.
Cook each naan for 1-2 minutes on each side. Flip when the top of dough starts to get large bubbles all over the top (see photo 6).
You're aiming for those classic brown spots so adjust your heat accordingly. If the spots are too dark, reduce the heat.
The first side will look like photo 7 when cooked and the second side (that was all puffed up) will look like photo 8.
Roll out your next naan while one is cooking. Place the cooked naan on a cooling rack and brush with garlic butter.
In a small sauce pan melt the butter over low heat and add in the garlic and cilantro. Cook for about 5 minutes or until the garlic is soft and no longer bitter.
The sourdough naan is best served warm but will keep covered in the fridge for up to 3 days.
To reheat: place naan on a baking sheet in the oven at 450°F until warm (about 2-3 minutes) or reheat in the cast iron skillet!
Sourdough Tips & Tricks
If you've never baked with sourdough before, it can be a little tricky. But don't worry, I have a full Sourdough Guide all about making and maintaining a sourdough starter! I also have a full guide on different types of flour you can use to make sourdough. Below are a few quick tips and key terms you need to know.
- Sourdough Starter - A culture of wild yeast and bacteria that leavens and flavors sourdough bread. I use what's called a "liquid starter" versus a stiff starter. This means the starter is made with equal parts flour and water and should be a consistency similar to cake batter.
- Sourdough Discard - The portion of your starter that is discarded when feeding your starter (can be used in tons of recipes like sourdough discard blueberry muffins or sourdough pancakes).
- Ripe Starter - A starter that's ready to be used in baking. Your starter is ripe roughly 6 hours after feeding and will have doubled in size, have lots of visible bubbles, and a fresh acidic aroma.
Weigh your ingredients! For all my sourdough recipes, I measure the ingredients in grams because it's much more accurate! I highly recommend getting a kitchen scale if you don't already have one! However, I have included alternate US customary measurements for your convenience.
Use an oven thermometer! Just because your oven says it's 350, doesn't mean it is! If you oven hasn't been calibrated recently, it can be as much as 30 degrees off, which will negatively affect all breads and baked goods! An oven thermometer is the easiest/cheapest way to ensure your oven is always at the proper temperature.
Easy sourdough recipes for beginners! If you've never made sourdough bread before, I recommend starting with some simple, no-fuss recipes like my sourdough naan or sourdough bagels! But if you're already a pro, I have a ton of fun sourdough recipes you can try!
Naan Tips & Tricks
- This recipe is designed to make 12 pieces of sourdough naan that are roughly 6-8 inches. To make flatbread size pieces, I recommend only dividing into 8 pieces.
- Don't worry about rolling into a perfect circle! Naan is a rustic type of bread and a very forgiving dough. An uneven shape is what gives it character!
- Make sure your skillet is HOT. Naan is supposed to be crispy on the outside but nice and soft inside, which is achieved through a super hot pan!
If the naan doesn't puff up, no need to worry! This is either because the pan is not hot enough or the dough is rolled too thin. But the naan will still taste delicious!
Tips for Success!
For best results I always recommend using weight measurements (especially when baking) because it's the most accurate. Kitchen scales are super affordable and also reduce the number of dishes you have to do! However, all my recipes also include US customary measurements for convince. Use this chart to convert measurements for common ingredients!
Substitutions: In all my recipes, I've included substitutions that I know will work, but I cannot guarantee results if you substitute ingredients that I have not recommended. [For example, granulated sugar and honey are indeed both sweeteners but they have very different properties so they can not always be swapped 1:1. Using honey in a cookie recipe that calls for granulated sugar will yield a giant mess.] In the recipe card you'll find links to the specific ingredients/brands that I use.
A note on salt: I almost exclusively use Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt because it's the best all-purpose salt for cooking and baking. If you're not using kosher salt, consult this handy guide for a conversion chart! When in doubt, if you're using table salt just reduce the amount by half for baked goods. When cooking, I prefer to under-salt because you can always add more! If you've over-salted, adding a little bit of acid (like lemon juice) can help.
More Sourdough Recipes
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Sourdough Naan with Garlic Butter
Garlic butter (optional)
- ¼ cup salted butter
- 6-8 cloves garlic, diced
- 1 handful fresh cilantro, chopped
- Feed your sourdough starter 6-8 hours before you plan on making the dough (very dependent on how active your starter is).
- Mix all of the dough ingredients (starter, flour, milk, yogurt, salt) in a bowl and gently knead with your hand for 2-3 minutes until smooth. You may need to add a little extra flour of milk depending on the consistency of your starter. The dough should form into a smooth ball but still be slightly sticky.
- Cover the dough and let rise in a warm place until it has almost doubled in size. For me, this typically takes 5 hours at room temperature but can vary anywhere from 3-8 hours based on the temperature/starter ripeness. You can also mix the dough and then let it rise in the fridge overnight (for up to 48 hours).
- Scrape the dough out onto a lightly floured counter top. If you are adding toppings, lightly knead them into the dough until just combined.
- Divide the dough into 12 even pieces (about 85g each) and roll each piece into a small ball. Cover the dough balls and let rest for 10 minutes.
- While the dough is resting, prepare the garlic butter. In a small sauce pan melt the butter over low heat and add in the garlic and cilantro. Cook for about 5 minutes or until the garlic is soft and no longer bitter.
- Heat your cast iron skillet (10 inches or larger is ideal) over medium to medium-high heat and lightly brush with olive oil.
- Roll out your first ball to a little less than ¼ inch thick.
- Cook each naan for 1-2 minutes on each side. Flip when the top of dough starts to bubble and puff up. You're aiming for those classic brown spots so adjust your heat accordingly.
- Roll out your next naan while one is cooking.
- Place the cooked naan on a cooling rack and brush with garlic butter.
- The naan is best served warm but will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.
The nutritional information on this website is only an estimate and is provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
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