I must admit, I haven’t used yeast in the kitchen much. I’m a newbie when it comes to baking loaves of bread, and other baked goods like pastries.
This is why I have found it intimidating to start experimenting and developing recipes like this homemade vegan naan. Working with yeast can feel like a completely new challenge, but I promise you, once you get the hang of it, you won’t be able to stop!
These vegan naans were the perfect way to ease my way into making dough. I love Indian food, and having naan with my curry is usually the highlight of my meal. I mean, how could it not?
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I’ve experimented using different ingredients, and I found that this method turned out the best. I wanted a vegan naan that was:
- Melt in your mouth
- Easy to make
And this naan ticks all the boxes! I’ve decided that I’ll also experiment with a gluten-free version soon, so watch this space.
Is naan usually vegan?
I was wondering for the longest time what made naan not vegan-friendly. Not until I started researching and experimenting did I realise that naan usually has either ghee, butter, yoghurt or milk in it. Typically a combination of some of those ingredients. So naan is not generally vegan.
I can’t believe I didn’t try this sooner as it’s easy to make, and best of all, hard to stuff up! Even though not all the experimenting I did turned out as a 10/10, we still enjoyed every single batch.
You might be wondering what you could have with these gorgeous naan’s?
You can easily use them as wraps, as a side or a snack. Every time I make them, I plan to freeze some, but they disappear before I get around to it!
I’ve taken some step-by-step photos to help you get an idea of how easy it is and what it should look like along the way.
In this recipe, I’ve used the active dry yeast. This is what the yeast mixture should look like once you’ve activated the yeast in the first step. It’s browner because I’ve used coconut sugar instead of raw sugar.
You could use both types of sugar, and even maple syrup should be fine too. I personally haven’t tried that method, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work!
Once you’ve mixed the wet and dry ingredients, you need to let the dough rise. You can see from the pictures below, that it should double in size by the time it’s ready.
If they aren’t rolled out thin enough, they will be dense and heavy, not light and fluffy.
I usually roll one out at a time as the other one is cooking, but wanted to show you how they look like in more detail.
How to get the beautiful bubble on the naan?
The best way to achieve the bubbles/rise in the dough is to put a lid on the pan as you cook each one. As I mentioned above, for the best results, use a cast-iron skillet on high heat.
Rather than brushing oil on the side that goes on the pan first, I just use water. Works really well and doesn’t set your smoke alarm off or make your house look like something is on fire!
I like to peek at the dough rise in the pan, has a weird satisfying feeling.
What if I don’t have a cast-iron skillet?
If you don’t have a cast-iron skillet, you can use your barbecue or bake them in the oven using a pizza stone.
Both alternatives will work well; you may just not achieve the amount of bubbles and fluffiness without using a lid to trap the heat.
Can the dough for this vegan naan be prepared ahead of time?
The dough can be prepared ahead of time if it’s inconvenient to leave it for the two hours as mentioned in the recipe.
You can leave it in the fridge overnight to rise slowly and continue with the rest of the instructions in the morning. Alternatively, prepare the dough first thing in the morning and pop it in the fridge before work if you want it for dinner that evening.
Can the dough be frozen?
The dough can be frozen in individual dough balls. Just thaw out in the fridge first overnight, or on your kitchen benchtop for a couple of hours before use.
Now, onto the recipe! Trust me; you’ll fall in love just like I have.
This easy homemade vegan naan is soft, fluffy, chewy and the perfect side to a curry or as a snack.
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1 tbsp coconut or raw sugar
- 1.5 tsp active dry yeast
- 3 cups all-purpose flour + extra for rolling
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1.5 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp coconut oil, melted
- 1 cup unsweetened plain coconut or soy yoghurt*
- Olive oil or vegan butter (melted)
For serving: (optional)
- Chopped cilantro (coriander)
- Minced garlic
- Nigella seeds
- Other herbs like chives and parsley
- Extra salt
- In a small mixing bowl, combine the water, sugar and yeast, Stir until the sugar dissolves and set aside for the yeast to activate. This normally takes around 10 minutes.
- In the meantime, in a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt and stir well with a wooden spoon. Make a well in the middle.
- Once the yeast mixture is ready, add in the melted coconut oil and yoghurt. Stir to combine.
- Add the wet ingredients into the centre of the dry ingredients and gradually bring in the flour mixture to combine. I normally start to use my hands half way through as I find it easier to mix well.
- Start to knead the dough in the bowl until you have all the flour incorporated into the dough.
- Take the dough to a floured bench surface (just enough for it not to stick) and knead the dough for around 1 minute until it forms a nice soft ball.
- Rub with some olive oil and place back in the bowl. Cover with either a tea towel or a silicone bowl cover and place in a warm spot. I put mine in the living room next to the window where the sun comes in. Leave for 2 hours for the dough to rise. When the dough has doubled in size, it is ready.
- Push the dough down to deflate it (I use a fist to do so) and bring it out to a floured bench surface to knead for around 30 seconds before cutting into 8 even portions.
- Knead each ball enough to make a soft ball (don't over-handle, this shouldn't take more than 15ish seconds). Do this with all the dough and place a tea towel over them to rise for a further 10 minutes.**
- Once the dough has rested, turn your cast iron skillet on high. Put some water into a small bowl as you will need it for the dough.
- Take a ball of dough and sprinkle some flour on your working bench again. Roll out the dough into an oval shape to a relatively thin naan.
- Picking up the dough carefully, pat one of the sides with water and put that water side down on the hot skillet. Put the lid on and let it cook for around 1 minute. Once the dough starts to bubble (as pictured above) and it looks dry and cooked on the sides, flip it with a spatula to cook for a further 1-2 minutes on the other side.
- Take off heat and brush with olive oil or vegan butter and put in a bowl that has been lined with a tea towel.
- Repeat the process for each ball of dough until finished. Once finished, you can sprinkle with the optional toppings.
- If you have any leftovers, cover and store at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the fridge for 3-5 days. You can also freeze them in a tightly sealed bag for up to 1 month.
* You can also use full-fat coconut milk. The dough will just be a little stickier, but still fine to work with it like that. If you feel that it's too sticky, just add a tablespoon of flour at a time until it is workable.
** If you're super short on time, you can skip this step but they may not be as fluffy.
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- Vegan Cauliflower And Potato Curry
- Vegan Falafel Wrap
- 3-Ingredient Cabbage Pasta
Interested in more recipes?
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