Shortcut Naan

shortcut naan-9038

I was going to call this post “How I make naan when I have … none” but decided I’d spare you the obvious pun. It’s one I’ve overused around the house to the point that the boys just roll their eyes at me when I do it.

Then I threaten to go on strike and deprive them of all forms of baked goods, and they instantly start cackling out loud. I swear, sometimes it feels like the roles are reversed around here. Rolling eyes? Cackling? Aren’t those supposed to be in my job description?

In any case, I realize I might be losing a bit of my advantage by posting this, because now they won’t have to rely on me to produce the naan around here. I’m going to show you (and, by extension, them as well) how I make a quick, shortcut naan that, although not quite authentic, is absolutely delicious in its own right. It might actually be more of a roti than naan, except roti doesn’t have yeast in it. So it’s really a hybrid. Or a mutant. An alien just as confused about its identity as I am.

Which is might be another reason I like it so much.

So here’s where the shortcut comes in: you use any dough that you have available. I almost always have a batch of boule dough hanging around, so that’s what I use. The lovely Zoë François over at Artisan Bread in Five, which is where I saw this idea first, says that you can use any kind of dough. Next time, I’m trying it with dinner roll dough, which probably means you could also do this with frozen store-bought bread dough.

Just grab few small handfuls of dough and shape them into little balls, about the size of a tangerine.


I usually let the dough rest a bit, to make it easier to roll. Then roll it out thin, and heat up a cast iron skillet. Or use a grill pan if someone used your cast iron skillet to make steak the previous night and hasn’t cleaned it up yet.


When your skillet or grill is hot, melt some ghee on it. You can also use clarified butter, but the point is to use something with a high enough burning point so you don’t have to worry about burning the dough. When melted, just put the rolled out dough on the skillet or grill, and cover it (hopefully with a heavier, prettier lid than the hobo lid I have in the photo). This simulates the clay oven baking of traditional naan. After two minutes, check the dough. It should be cooked underneath, and all bubbly on top. Flip, cover again, and finish cooking on the other side.


While the final side is cooking, I take a plate and line it with a kitchen towel. When the naan is done, I take the naan, lay it on the plate on top of the towel (you can sprinkle a bit of salt on it at this point, but I usually don’t), and wrap it up with the towel. Each succeeding naan goes into that towel, which not only keeps everything warm but also helps soften the naan a bit. Since I often use boule dough, it can get a bit stiffer than other enriched doughs, so the towel helps with that.

And there you have it. Shortcut naan, literally made in minutes.


Shortcut naan makes a wonderful afternoon snack, spread with peanut butter and honey. Or butter and cheese. And served with baigan (eggplant) choka, it’s what completes our vegetarian meals. Then the boys tear pieces of the naan, grab food with it and sit there eating with their hands, while I sit there with my fork and knife trying not to get my hands messy.

And finally, the roles are back to where they should be and all is right once more in my mutant alien world.


21 Responses to Shortcut Naan
  1. Jeannene Walker
    March 21, 2010 | 12:59 pm

    This is so simple. I have loaf dough rising as we speak. I’m going to give this a try. Thanks for the post.

    • ivoryhut
      March 21, 2010 | 10:31 pm

      Hope you like it!

  2. joy the baker
    March 21, 2010 | 10:14 pm

    too easy! aaaand gorgeous photos! love.

    • ivoryhut
      March 21, 2010 | 10:30 pm

      Thanks, Joy! Yes, it’s almost embarrassingly easy. I just tried it with dinner roll dough, and it was fabulous!

  3. Lindsay at Kitchen Operas
    March 22, 2010 | 4:01 pm

    What a great idea — it seems like one of those ‘duh’ ideas that we all should have had — simple, and perfect!!

    Thanks for the inspiration!! Another reason to keep dough around.

    • ivoryhut
      March 22, 2010 | 7:55 pm

      Just the other day, I was wondering why I seemed to be going through my batch of dough much faster than usual. Then I realized that this was the culprit. Guess I’m going to need a larger dough bucket now!

  4. snacksgiving
    March 22, 2010 | 5:01 pm

    “How I make naan when I have … none”
    I too saw this way in Zoe’s site. Very innovative indeed. I am yet to try it out, but going by the looks of it, it looks yummy indeed!

    • ivoryhut
      March 22, 2010 | 7:57 pm

      Oh, you should hear some of our conversations here.
      “Do you have naan?”
      “None of what?”
      “No, naan! Naan.”
      “I have none.”
      “You have none, or you have naan?”
      I love messing with them.

  5. JenniferA
    March 23, 2010 | 9:47 am

    Oh my, I have to try this! I am now officially under the spell of this dough. I made a fat baguette out of it the other day and played fast and loose with the rules that are already fast and loose. Started the dough at 3PM, ate the bread with dinner at 6:45. :-)

  6. Beverly Swetnam
    March 25, 2010 | 3:43 am

    This is a fabulous bread and so easy. Everyone loves it.

  7. Azee
    March 25, 2010 | 5:42 am

    Wow..this is too simple and looks good too..will try it out…Azeeskitchen

  8. Andrea
    April 9, 2010 | 8:23 pm

    In the Caribbean, this is called sada roti. It’s commonly eaten with chokas because it’s really quick to make.

  9. ivoryhut
    April 12, 2010 | 10:54 pm

    Andrea, you are right! It is close to sada roti, except this one was made using my bread dough, so it has yeast in it instead of baking powder. But yes, it’s great with chokas. Or with some cheese and pepper sauce. :)

  10. […] have any.  What I did have though was more of that ubiquitous bread dough.  I remembered Ivory Hut saying you could make naan with it and thought hey, that’s a flat bread you could wrap around something and make a sandwich out […]

  11. Maggy@ThreeManyCooks
    June 28, 2010 | 11:03 am

    I love naan! I love it, but I never have time to make it. I’m going to give this a try and I’m sure it will join the ranks of other amazing recipes by you :)

  12. Jenny Flake
    June 28, 2010 | 12:26 pm

    THIS LOOKS SO GOOD! Love your site :)

  13. Tracy
    June 28, 2010 | 12:31 pm

    What a great idea for quick naan! I just this year discovered how much I love it, and I’ll definitely be keeping this post in mind!

  14. Jen @ How To: Simplify
    June 28, 2010 | 2:40 pm

    This looks awesome! I’ve never made naan but now that I’ve seen this quick and easy recipe I can’t wait to try it!

  15. Cookin' Canuck
    June 30, 2010 | 9:47 am

    Next time I make up a batch of bread dough, I am definitely going to try this! There is something about the texture of naan that screams for it to be dipped into thick soups and curries.

  16. Aysh
    September 7, 2010 | 10:58 am

    We in Pakistan, eat nan everyday with almost everything …I like how fancy yow have made it look like. Next time, you make..try sprinkling some sesame or poppy seeds or cumin. I bet, you will like the flavors and loves how your house gonna smell. :)

  17. Lisa
    September 11, 2012 | 11:50 am

    I went to walmart and saw 4 naan breads for $3.50 :-/ So I went and got frozen dough buns 36 count per bag for the same amount. Saved $31+! Let rise, flatten, and fry as needed…

    Just wondering if you have tried frozen dough for this?

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I write, cook, play music, and make pictures. Not necessarily in that order. I was born and raised in the Philippines, and it shows. That means I eat rice with every meal, love my cousins like my own siblings, and firmly believe that avocados are best eaten with cream and sugar.

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