No Yogurt Naan, the ultimate versatile and tasty flatbread
Naan is one of the foods I always keep on hand in the freezer. There are a thousand and one uses for naan, but they can be pretty hard to just buy. Some grocery stores carry naan, but it isn’t always fresh and when I can find it, it’s more expensive than I’d like. If you follow this recipe, I’ll share how to make Naan without yogurt, how to store it, and a ton of fun ways to use naan with your meals.
Why do you not need yogurt in naan?
Yogurt simply isn’t required to make delicious naan at home. In India, Naan is traditionally cooked in a Tandoor, which gets much hotter than a home oven. When cooking in a Tandoor, the yogurt reacts in such a way as to make the naan fluffy. Since we can’t match the Tandoor, we use some yeast to make the naan rise, and the yogurt serves to add a fat into the recipe.
If yogurt doesn’t help with texture in this recipe, we can substitute other fats for convenience, help with lactose sensitivity, or make a vegan recipe.
No yogurt, no problem. Use sour cream to make naan.
The secret ingredient to no yogurt naan is sour cream. I actually prefer to use sour cream instead of yogurt for naan even though yogurt is the traditional ingredient.
- Sour cream has a higher fat content than yogurt. Full fat sour cream has twice as much fat as regular yogurt. The higher fat content is what helps differentiate naan from pita, and gives the naan a rich flavor.
- Sour cream is thicker than yogurt, and I like the consistency it gives the dough.
- Sour cream is what I have on hand. I often have yogurt for cooking, but I always have sour cream.
- Sour cream is cheaper than yogurt. This isn’t always true, but it’s often true for me.
What else can I substitute for yogurt in this “No Yogurt Naan”?
If sour cream isn’t your preferred option, there are several other fats you can use.
- Sourdough starter: You can get the perfect texture and a tanginess similar to yogurt by using a sourdough starter. Feed your sourdough a couple hours before starting the recipe, and add it to the stand mixer with the other ingredients. You’ll still need close to the same amount of flour as the original recipe, but work it in a half at a time now. Depending on your sourdough, this could be a vegan option for no yogurt naan.
- Almond Milk: This option is both vegan and lactose friendly, and is a simple way to add some healthy fats into the recipe. Replace the sour cream in my recipe with almond milk and follow the recipe as normal.
- Buttermilk: Like almond milk, you can substitute buttermilk into this recipe. Buttermilk is even tangier than yogurt, so it will work well here.
- Ghee or Butter: If you want to focus on just adding dairy fat, try using ghee. Ghee is clarified butter, which is butter with milk solids removed. If you can’t find Ghee, unsalted butter works here too.
Should I use sugar in naan, or honey?
Since this recipe uses instant yeast, you need to include a source of sugar for the yeast to work. I like to use honey in this recipe, since it adds a bit of a honey flavor to the naan. If you don’t have any honey on hand, you can substitute with an equal amount of granulated sugar.
What’s the difference between no yogurt naan, pita, and tortillas?
Naan, Pita, and tortillas are all types of flatbread, and obviously look different. They also differ in origin and preparation.
Naan is a type of flatbread most commonly associated with India. It is a leaven flatbread, meaning it includes yeast. Pita is also leaven, while tortillas are unleavened.
Naan and pita differ due to some extra ingredients in naan that affect the flavor and texture. Pita is a straightforward flour and yeast dough, while naan adds elements of fat, sugar, and baking powder. These extra ingredients give naan a different crumb and a stronger flavor.
Between pita and naan, I typically prefer naan, and generally use it in most places that call for pita.
Efficiency tip: make naan in bulk and freeze them
In fact, I use naan so often that it makes the most sense for me to make a ton of them and freeze them. This recipe is written to make a single batch, but I usually double or triple it. The process of making the dough takes a while, but once I’m set up it’s easy to process through a big batch. Naan freezes incredibly well, just slide a stack into a gallon bag and stick them in the freezer.
Once you have a bunch of frozen Naan, you can quickly pull them out for any number of meals. To use them, you have a ton of options:
- Throw them on the grill for a min on each side. This is my favorite way to reheat them as they get a bit crispy.
- Heat them in a pan. If you’re cooking inside, warm them up on a pan for a minute per side.
- Just let them thaw to room temperature. I generally prefer my naan served warm, but room temperature is perfectly fine for some.
- You can pseudo steam them by wrapping them in a wet paper towel and microwaving for no more than 30 seconds.
A note on naan thickness and freezing
If you’re going to freeze your naan like I do, pay a little attention to how thick you make them. Very thin naan are delicious, but crisp very fast when reheated. If you want your naan to stay flexible after reheating, try to initially make them at least a ¼ thick.
Ideas for how to use no yogurt naan
I’ve mentioned it a couple times already, but I use this naan for everything. It’s the perfect side for things like:
- Chicken Tikka Masala – Tomato and cream sauce with chicken
- Turkey Kofta – grilled kofta kabobs
- Chicken and Couscous – a fun Moroccan dinner
- Chicken Curry -Easy chicken and curry meal without any coconut
You can even use no yogurt naan to make quick personal sized pizza!
Recipe for no yogurt naan
No Yogurt Naan
- 1 Frying Pan
- 1 Stand Mixer (optional but preferred)
- 3.5 cups Flour
- ¼ cup sour cream
- 1 cup water
- 2.25 tsp Instant yeast (1 small pouch, or 0.25oz)
- 2 tbsp honey (alternatively granulated sugar)
- 2 tsp table salt
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 1 large egg
- Set up your stand mixer with a dough hook, and add the flour, eggs, yeast/honey mixture, salt, sour cream, and baking powder. Mix on medium low for 3 minutes. The dough should be a nice ball at this point. If you don’t have a stand mixer, and are doing this step by hand, knead the dough for 4 minutes, until it’s no longer sticky. If it’s still sticky after 4 minutes, add a bit more flour.
- Dust a counter surface with some flour and lay the dough out in a ball. If you made a double batch, halve it. Now cut the ball into 8 slices like a pizza. Take each slice, and roll into a rough circle, shooting for about ¼ inch thick. The rolled naan should be more or less the size of a dinner plate.
- Now heat a pan to medium high heat, and lay down some canola oil. Once hot, cook each naan. Cook the first side for about a minute, until the bottom starts to turn golden. Flip the naan, and cook the other side for around another minute, until that side is golden too. Continue until all the naan are cooked.
- If freezing, let the naan cool a bit, then stack them in gallon bags and freeze. Enjoy!