A super easy gluten-free naan bread recipe that is made without yeast or dairy. Make a fresh batch of this delicious naan that is flavored with parsley and garlic in just 30 minutes, and eat it with this delicious slow cooker lentil curry, alongside our popular creamy hummus or even on its own!
What is Naan?
If you’ve never tried naan before (oh man, you don’t know what you’ve been missing out on, and it’s time we correct that!), naan is basically a leavened flatbread eaten in south Asian cuisines. It looks sort of like pita bread, and traditionally uses wheat flour as the base and requires yeast for leavening.
One of my absolute favorite versions of naan is garlic naan, in which fresh minced garlic is studded on the surface of this flatbread, and brings a burst of flavor so intense you can’t help but want to eat more of it.
Missing Naan Bread
Since we started cooking exclusively gluten-free at home 5 years ago (because my husband Juan is Celiac), one of the things I miss the most is tearing off a piece of garlic naan and eating it with curries, such as this easy slow cooker lentil curry or this easy chickpea curry.
So I started googling and researching making how to make gluten-free naan at home.
And because I didn’t want to spend time waiting for the naan to rise, I wanted to make a recipe that was also yeast-free. And since Juan has been reacting to dairy lately, I also aimed to make the naan dairy-free.
How to Make Gluten-Free Naan Bread
It turns out that making gluten-free naan is really not as difficult as you’d imagine. In fact, using baking powder instead of yeast was a relatively quick fix that allows the dough to rise as you cook it, giving it the air pockets so characteristic of naan.
While many recipes also include yogurt, I decided to skip that and use water instead, since we don’t always have dairy-free yogurt on hand. You could use unsweetened non-dairy milk (such as cashew milk or almond milk) in place of water too if you prefer. I just like to keep things as easy and simple as possible.
Prepare the Naan Dough
Start off by combining the dry ingredients (gluten-free all-purpose flour, tapioca starch, baking powder, and salt) in a large bowl.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg, water, and olive oil together until combined.
Combine Wet and Dry Ingredients
Add the wet mixture to the bowl with the dry ingredients a little at a time, mixing with a spoon as you do, until you get a soft but pliable dough. You should be able to hand the dough easily.
This is where the art comes in – if you dough is too dry, sprinkle some extra warm water at a time until it because soft and pliable without being too sticky. If the dough is too sticky, add a bit of tapioca starch at a time until dough is no longer too wet to handle.
Divide and Flatten the Dough
Once the dough is ready, create a disc shape and cut it into 8 equal portions, as you would a pizza.
In my opinion this is the easiest and most logical way to get equal portions.
Now smooth your hands with gluten-free flour and flatten each portion of the naan dough with your fingers until roughly 1/8-inch thick (or as thin as you can get it without it breaking).
The dough doesn’t have to look perfect, in fact, the more rustic is looks, the better!
Garlic and Parsley for Extra Flavor
If you love garlic and parsley (like I do!), press some fresh minced garlic and chopped parsley on both sides of each flattened piece of dough.
In this case, the amount of garlic is completely discretionary – I personally am a huge fan of garlic, so I put quite a generous amount. But if you hate garlic or just don’t want to suffer the consequences of garlic breath and decide to leave it out, there’s no problem either.
You can just use fresh parsley for color. Heck, if you prefer your naan completely plain, feel free to leave both garlic and parsley out.
Cook the Naan in a Cast Iron Skillet
I strongly recommend using a cast iron skillet for cooking the naan, because cast iron can stay very hot for a long time, and you want the naan to cook quickly and puff up from the heat. You also want the parts that have puffed up to char slightly for the characteristic look that traditional yeast naan has.
Of course, if you don’t own a cast iron skillet, you can still cook this in a normally skillet, just make sure to heat it up till it’s very hot before placing the dough in the skillet.
Once the skillet is hot, brush some olive oil over the surface of the skillet and place one piece of naan dough in the middle of the skillet, letting it cook for around 40 seconds until large air bubbles start to form on the surface and parts of the bottom have begun to char slightly.
Brush the top surface of the naan with more olive oil, flip it over, and let it cook for another 40 seconds before quickly removing it to a plate and covering with a kitchen towel. Repeat until all the dough is cooked.
Tear into your naan and devour it!
Now what are you waiting for?
Start tearing into this delicious fragrant gluten-free naan bread and eat it quick, because it won’t last very long (especially if you’re sharing it with a crowd!).
I know you’re going to be making this naan bread on repeat simply because of how easy it is to make, and most importantly, because of how absolutely delicious it tastes!
We’ve already made it TWICE in a month and I’m guessing we’ll be making more of this soon!
What to eat with this naan?
I highly suggest eating this fabulous naan bread with curries of any kind, and these two curries are perfect for that:
If you enjoyed this, you’ll also love these other bread recipes:
- Easy Gluten-Free No Knead Bread (Dairy-Free)
- Easy Gluten-Free Pizza Crust (No-Rise, Dairy-Free)
- Rosemary Focaccia Bread (Gluten-Free, Vegan)
- Easy Gluten-Free Sandwich Bread (Vegan)
- Gluten-Free Flaxseed Coconut Bread (Paleo, Dairy-Free)
- Grain-free Multi-Seed Bread
- Gluten-Free Honey Oat Quick Bread
- Gluten-Free Bread Rolls (Vegan)
- 10 Easy Gluten-Free Bread Recipes to Make on Repeat
- 1 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour (the blend I use has xanthan gum in it)
- 1/2 cup tapioca starch, plus more as needed
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup warm water, plus more as needed
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for brushing
- 1/4 cup fresh minced garlic, optional
- 1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley, optional
- Combine all the dry ingredients (gluten-free all-purpose flour, tapioca starch, baking powder, and salt) in a large mixing bowl.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the egg, water, and olive oil together until combined.
- Pour the wet mixture bit by bit into the bowl with the dry ingredients and mix with a spoon until you get a soft, pliable dough. (If the dough is too dry, add a sprinkle of warm water at a time, and knead until pliable. If the dough is too wet, add a sprinkle of tapioca starch until dough is no longer too sticky to handle).
- Use gluten-free floured hands to shape it into a round disc and cut it into 8 equal portions as you would a pizza.
- Flatten each dough portion with your fingers until roughly 1/8-inch thick. You want the dough to be as thin as possible without breaking so the naan doesn’t get too thick.
- If using garlic and parsley, mix the fresh garlic and parsley together in a small bowl, and press around 1 teaspoon of garlic-parlsey mix evenly on both sides of each piece of flattened dough.
- Heat a cast iron skillet over high heat and once hot, brush the skillet with olive oil. Place a piece of flattened dough in the middle of the skillet and let it cook for approximately 40 seconds until air bubbles start to form at the surface of the dough and the bottom starts to char slightly. Brush the top of the dough with olive oil, flip it over, and let it cook for another 40 seconds before removing it from the skillet and placing it on a plate and covering it with a kitchen towel.
- Repeat until all the naan is cooked and serve warm.
Water: You may substitute the water for the same amount of non-dairy milk (such as cashew milk or almond milk). If you’re not lactose-intolerant, go ahead and use cow’s milk.
Xanthan Gum: The GF all-purpose flour blend I use in this recipe has xanthan gum in it already. However, if you are opposed to using xanthan gum, I don’t think it should be an issue to leave it out as the tapioca starch has binding gum properties.
Tapioca Starch: You can substitute tapioca starch for the same amount of arrowroot starch. Basically this starch is necessary to give the naan bread a chewy texture.
Baking Powder: I recommend using aluminum-free baking powder to prevent any “metallic” taste that may be present especially when making a recipe that requires baking powder in high quantities to give it the yeast-free rise.
Cast Iron Skillet: I believe using a cast iron skillet will yield the best results, as cast iron mains high heat well and for a long time. However, if you don’t own a cast iron skillet, simply make sure to heat up your skillet very well before cooking the naan.
Adapted from: Tea for Turmeric
- Category: Bread
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Asian
Keywords: gluten-free naan bread, dairy-free naan bread, easy gluten-free naan recipe, no-yeast naan recipe