A reader asked me for a gluten-free version of my easy vegan grilled naan when I posted it last month. So I've been trying to come up with a recipe that is as close as possible to the real thing, and today, I have for you the best vegan gluten free naan. It's a keeper.
This naan is super simple to make, and if you follow instructions you could be eating naan this afternoon for lunch. All you will need is some pantry ingredients you likely already have around if you're used to gluten-free baking. Let's get started.
- Why you'll love this gluten-free naan
- What gluten-free flour works best?
- Can I make this without yeast?
- Tips for rolling out the gf naan and placing it on the griddle
- More tips and tricks for making a foolproof gluten free naan
- What do I serve this gf naan with?
- More vegan gluten free breads
- Step by step photos for making gf naan
Why you'll love this gluten-free naan
- It's soft and light.
- It easy to make once you've got the hang of it.
- It tastes and looks like an actual naan, not like some gf flatbread that's shaped like a naan.
- It's soy-free and it can be made with nut-free yogurt, so almost anyone with any dietary restriction can eat it.
What gluten-free flour works best?
I wanted the flavors to be very much like those in a regular naan, so I chose to use just plain gluten-free all purpose flour. The one I have in my pantry is King Arthur Measure for Measure. To help bind the dough and make it easier to work with I also used a couple of tablespoons of tapioca starch.
Can I make this without yeast?
You can make this naan with and without yeast. I think the yeasted version tastes and feels more like an authentic naan, so I strongly recommend it. You do need to give the yeasted dough about an hour and a half to rise. So if you're in a rush you can make this without yeast and instead use baking powder and baking soda for the leavening.
To make the gluten free naan without yeast, mix 1 teaspoon baking powder and ½ teaspoon baking soda with the flours while making the dough. Let the dough rest for 15 minutes, then proceed with rolling and baking the naan.
Tips for rolling out the gf naan and placing it on the griddle
Picture this: you've followed instructions perfectly. You've waited patiently for your dough to rise, made those little balls of dough, placed one within cling wrap, and rolled it into the greatest looking little naan. You've even got the griddle to the perfect temperature, screaming hot and just begging to go to work making those delectable black and brown spots on your naan.
Confident, you bravely pick the gluten free naan with your fingers to transfer it to the griddle. Next thing, to your utter horror, it drops limply out of your fingers in pieces.
Ugh. What did you do wrong, you fret, ready to throw the towel in and the rest of that annoying dough out.
But wait. You've just learned the most valuable lesson in gluten-free flatbread making, one that will serve you well as long as you continue to bake with gf flours: your flatbread fell apart because, unlike a wheat one, it does not have the benefit of a structural net, ie the gluten, holding it all nicely together. So what do you do?
Gluten-free bakers usually get over this conundrum by using eggs. Eggs add structure and help the dough bind, but as you know, that's not an option here.
Instead, for our vegan version, we use starch. While starch is by no means as great a structure-builder as gluten, it will help your dough hold together a bit better. The rest of it is down to perfecting your technique.
Your gluten free naan, for one, needs to be smaller than you would make a regular naan. I shape mine to be about six by four inches and about a quarter of an inch thick. You can even make them smaller. The dough rolls easily so don't be tempted to make a big naan. Remember that bit where the naan fell to pieces? Yep.
When you're done rolling the naan, carefully peel back the cling wrap. Use a thin, wide spatula to pick the naan gently and flip it into the griddle and you're home free. Or, if you're an experienced cook and not likely to burn yourself, flip the naan gently onto your palm and then, very carefully, flip it into the hot griddle.
Once your naan is on the griddle it will set up and no more worries about tearing!
More tips and tricks for making a foolproof gluten free naan
Make sure you roll your gf naan within the folds of cling wrap or parchment paper (I find cling wrap easier to work with). You don't have to flour the cling wrap, but if you find it easier to roll on a floured surface, flour it lightly. This will also make transfering the naan to the griddle easier.
Adding some xanthan gum will make your dough a little easier to work with. The flour I used already had some added to it, and I didn't add more, but if you're new to this you could add up to two teaspoons. Knead it in with the other flours.
Gluten-free flours tend to be thirsty and dry out easily. To make sure your naan doesn't dry out, brush some water on the surface of the naan after placing it on the griddle.
Brush on vegan butter or EVOO on the naan as soon as it comes off the griddle for best flavor. My favorite is this herb-garlic mixture I shared in my original recipe for an authentic Indian naan, this garlic vegan naan.
What do I serve this gf naan with?
Any saucy north Indian dish is great to scoop up with naan, but here are some of my favorites:
- Vegan Dal Makhani
- Vegan Palak Paneer
- Tofu Paneer Kalimirch
- Chana Masala
- Vegan Paneer Butter Masala
- Quick, Spicy Vegan Chicken Masala
More vegan gluten free breads
Step by step photos for making gf naan
Vegan Gluten-Free Naan Recipe
- 2 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 1 cup water (lukewarm. You might no need all of it)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 ½ cups all purpose gluten-free flour
- 2 tablespoon tapioca flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ cup vegan yogurt (you can use any kind, I used my homemade cultured cashew yogurt)
- ½ cup nondairy milk (lukewarm)
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil (olive oil is fine)
- Place the yeast in a bowl with ½ cup warm water and sugar. Wait five minutes for it to become frothy and bloom.
- Add the glutenfree flour and tapioca flour along with salt, vegan yogurt and nondairy milk.
- Gently drizzle in the water (you might not need the whole cup) and knead the dough by hand or in a stand mixer with the dough hook. You might not need all of the water or you might need a little more depending on where you are and the weather. You want the dough to be smooth-ish and pliable but not wet nor too dry.
- Place the ball of dough in a large bowl and drizzle on the oil. Coat lightly, cover the bowl and place in a warm spot for 1 ½ hours or until it's visibly risen.
- Remove the dough to a clean surface and knead lightly and briefly. Divide it into 12 portions. Roll each into a smooth ball. Keep the dough balls covered while you work.
- Cover the rolling surface with a long stretch of cling wrap. Flour it lightly, then place the dough ball on it, fold over the cling wrap to cover the top, and then gently roll it into a small naan, about six inches by four inches and a quarter of an inch thick. If you find it difficult to transfer tha naans to the griddle you can make them even smaller.
- Heat the griddle over high heat until it's screaming hot.
- Carefully, using a thin, wide spatula, prise the naan off the surface and quickly transfer it to the griddle. Alternatively, you can gently flip the naan on your palm and then flip it on the griddle, but you need to be careful and not burn yourself. I wouldn't recommend you do this unless you are an experienced cook and used to hot griddles.
- Let the gluten free naan bake until the top becomes opaque and bubbly, about 2 minutes. While it's baking, brush on some water on the top. Gluten-free doughs tend to be thirsty and this step, although optional, helps keep the naan from drying out.Check to see if the bottom has brown spots, then flip and let the other side cook another minute.
- As soon as the naan comes off the grill, brush on some vegan butter or a mixture of melted butter or olive oil, garlic and herbs. To do this, place 4 tablespoon of olive oil or butter in a small skillet with a tablespoon of minced garlic and two tablespoons of cilantro. Heat on a low flame for 4-5 minutes until the garlic has infused the fat and is turning lightly golden.
- Naan is best eaten hot. If you have leftovers, reheat them on a hot griddle.