This vegan flatbread recipe creates the softest, fluffiest homemade naan style skillet bread. Just 6 simple ingredients and perfect for serving with mixed vegetable curry, pumpkin curry, vegan butter chicken, making homemade vegan flatbread pizza, wraps, gyros, or enjoying dipped in hummus! The possibilities are endless.
Making vegan flatbread at home using yeast can be very intimidating, but I promise it is so easy and SO MUCH BETTER than store-bought!
Following a few of my tips for the best success, this vegan flatbread is practically fool proof and going to be your new favorite thing to add to your family’s weekly menu!
Why This Recipe Works
- Instant yeast needs much less time to rise than active dry yeast and is more forgiving! Although I like to bloom the instant yeast, you could just mix it into the flatbread dough if you forget to and still yield fluffy, delicious results!
- Canned full fat coconut milk is the perfect vegan substitute for traditional ghee and yogurt because it contains a good source of plant-based fat while remaining oil-free and is creamier than other watered down plant-based milks.
- Using the dough hook attachment on the stand mixer makes mixing this dough together mess free and fool proof. No chance of over mixing or under mixing here. Perfect results every time!
Ingredients and Substitutions
- all purpose flour – The best flour to use for soft, fluffy flatbread is all purpose flour. I like to use the brand Shepherd’s Grain. You can substitute the all purpose flour for whole wheat flour, it will just make for a less fluffy flatbread.
- coconut milk – Full fat coconut milk is the optimal milk to use here as it’s higher in fat and thick and creamy like yogurt. Note, however, that not all canned coconut milk’s are the same. I’ve had success using the Whole Foods, Chaokok, and Native Forest brands. I do not recommend Thai Kitchen – far too watery and leaves an odd aftertaste.
- Instant yeast – I use Fleischmann’s Instant Dry Yeast. It’s a great yeast to use for beginners or anyone intimidated by making at home breads as it’s very forgiving, quick and extremely easy to use!
- Coconut sugar – I like to use coconut sugar as it’s a subtle sweetness, but cane sugar will also work or even maple syrup.
Step by Step Instructions
- Bloom the instant dry yeast! Combine the yeast with warm, bath temperature water and coconut sugar and allow to sit for 10 minutes until the yeast has “activated” and has formed a pillowy cloud-like layer on top of the water.
- Add in the coconut milk, all purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. No need to sift the ingredients in, just dump!
- Using the stand mixer with the dough attachment, mix the ingredients together for 1-2 minutes, or until a dough ball forms. This vegan flatbread dough should be quite sticky and will not be dry.
Cover the mixing bowl with saran wrap or a plate and move bowl to a warm place to rise for 1 hour. If your house is cold, transfer the dough to an Instant Pot set to the “yogurt” setting and cover with a plate.
After 1 hour, the flatbread dough should have doubled in size (see below images).
- Turn flatbread dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and roll the dough into a ball (as seen in photo 1 below). I like to lightly coat my hands in flour as well to prevent the flatbread dough from sticking and coming off on my hands.
- Cut the dough ball into 4 equal pieces to create 4 smaller, even sized flatbread dough balls (photo 2 below).
- Using a rolling pin, roll out each dough ball into a large oval until about ¼″ inch thick and about 10″ long.
- Transfer flatbread to an extremely hot, dry non stick skillet. Using a cast iron is preferred.
- After 1-2 minutes on the hot skillet, the flatbread will begin to form large bubbles, indicating it is ready to flip.
- Flip and cook the flatbread on the reverse side for an additional minute, then remove and set aside.
- Repeat steps until all 4 flatbread pieces have been cooked. Serve flatbread immediately as this bread is best served hot!
No. This flatbread recipe is written using instant yeast and is highly recommended for making the best homemade vegan flatbread. Yeast is essential for leavening the dough and giving it the airy, light fluffy texture. Without it the bread will be very dense and lacking in texture and flavor.
I have not tested this flatbread without using the stand mixer paired with the dough hook attachment so I cannot advise. You may be able to mix and need the dough with a wooden spatula and your hands, but the dough is quite sticky and may be difficult. Using a dough hook is preferred if available as it prevents over activating the gluten in the flour and is super quick and easy.
Yes, cane sugar also works in making this flatbread. You could even substitute a tablespoon of maple syrup – just be sure you use some type of sugar as it is needed to help activate the instant yeast.
Yes, whole wheat will work although the flatbread will be less fluffy. 1 for 1 gluten free flour mixes may also work, but have not been tested. Use all purpose for optimal results. Do not try using coconut flour or almond flour – those flours are very different from all purpose and will not work.
You want the water to be around 105 degrees Fahrenheit, however I never use a thermometer for this. I like to think of the temperature I’d use when drawing a bath for a child. You want the water to be warm, but still cool enough to comfortably dip your hand into. If it’s too hot for your hand, it’s too hot for the yeast!
Yes. The baking powder and baking soda does make this flatbread puff up a bit more than usual, which is why it is more fluffy than most flatbreads. It can be omitted because it does rise enough on it’s own with just instant yeast.
How to Freeze Homemade Flatbread
This vegan flatbread is super easy to freeze and I highly recommend making double batches so you always have some on hand for quick, easy dinners!
- Follow the instructions in the recipe card below from steps 1-6.
- Transfer the hot flatbreads to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely.
- Once cool, pack the flatbread into a gallon ziplock with parchment paper filed in between each piece so they are not touching and seal the bag tight, removing any excess air from inside the bag as possible.
- Freeze flatbread for up to 3 months.
- To thaw, transfer the flatbread to the refrigerator and allow to fully thaw overnight.
- Reheat the flatbread in the toaster or toaster oven as needed.
Take care to ensure the flatbread cools on a cooling rack. If it is left on the counter to cool, with no air circulation under the bread, the heat will cause condensation to form under the flatbread and make the flatbread soggy.
- Use the “spoon and level” method for measuring the all purpose flour or use 240 grams all purpose flour measured on a baking scale. If you have never heard of the “spoon and level” method, I highly recommend reading Sally’s article How To Measure Baking Ingredients and checking out this video by Preppy Kitchen: How to Measure Flour the Right Way.
Both resources go into great depth regarding how to properly measure flour in addition to many other common baking ingredients because it makes a big difference.
Hint: Digging your measuring cup into the flour bag is going to pack WAY TOO MUCH flour into your cup and result in dense flatbread and dense baked goods in general.
- Make sure your skillet is VERY HOT before laying down the first piece of flatbread. This will ensure the flatbread gets nice and airy inside and help it form those beautiful bubbles!
- Eat the flatbread warm! This flatbread is best fresh off the skillet. If you need to reheat it, I recommend using the toaster or a toaster oven!
- Use room temperature canned coconut milk. If the coconut milk has been refrigerated for whatever reason, allow it to come to room temperature first. Room temperature ingredients yield fluffier results and will allow the plant-based fat to melt into the flatbread dough more easily.
What to Serve with Vegan Flatbread
- 30 Minute Lemongrass and Coconut Yellow Curry
- Whole Masoor Dal
- Vegan Thai Pumpkin Red Curry
- Vegan Butter Chicken with Cauliflower and Chickpeas
- Best Lebanese Hummus
- Margherita Flatbread Pizza
- Chickpea Egg Breakfast Sandwiches
- Vegan Gyros
The Fluffiest Vegan Flatbread (Skillet Naan Recipe)
- In a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment, add in the yeast, warm water, and coconut sugar and allow to sit 10 minutes. It should form a clouded, brown colored ring at the top of water.
- Add in the flour, coconut milk, baking powder, baking soda and salt and mix for 1-2 minutes with dough hook attachment or until it forms a sticky ball (see photo for reference).
- Cover the mixing bowl with a plate or a piece of saran wrap and allow to double in size in a warm place. If your house is cold and you have an Instant Pot, I recommend moving the dough into the Instant Pot and covering with a plate. Turn on yogurt setting and allow it to proof in there! It's the perfect warm spot to allow dough to rise.
- Once dough has doubled in size, turn dough out onto lightly floured work surface and form into a nice round ball. Cut into 4 even pieces.
- Roll out each dough ball into large oval until about ¼" thick and 10" long. It does not matter if they are not perfectly shaped. See notes for garlic naan instructions.
- On a very hot, dry, cast iron skillet add your dough and wait a minute or two until it forms large bubbles (see photos for reference). When you see large bubbles it is time to flip. Cook for a minute more on the other side.
- Enjoy immediately.
- This bread is best fresh, but can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Make sure bread is completely cool before storing.
- Reheat in the toaster or toaster oven.
- Allow bread to cool completely on cooling rack.
- Transfer bread to gallon ziplock freezer storage bag with parchment paper placed in between each bread so they are not touching.
- Seal bag completely, removing any excess air in the process. Freeze for up to 1 month.
- Thaw in the refrigerator overnight, then reheat in toaster or toaster oven.
- To make garlic naan flatbread! – Once you have rolled out your flatbread, lightly press minced garlic evenly into the dough (see photo in post for reference).Then fold dough back up and roll out again so the garlic is inside the naan. This will prevent the garlic from burning on the hot skillet.
- This recipe is easily doubled or tripled. Adjust to suit your need.
- Do not use coconut milk by the brand Thai Kitchen. It is too watery and leaves an aftertaste.
- If you are out of baking powder or baking soda, okay to emit. Using them in addition to the instant yeast yields the fluffiest version of this bread, but it will still rise without.
- All purpose flour is the preferred flour to use, but whole wheat will also work. I suspect 1 for 1 gluten free flour may also work, but it has not been tested.
General note about salt
Please pay attention to the type of salt called for in the recipe (if applicable). Not all salts are made equal and cannot be substituted 1 for 1. If you are substituting table salt for kosher salt, you will need to cut the amount called for in the recipe by at least half.
Disclaimer: The Nutritional Information provided for this recipe is only an estimate. The accuracy of the facts listed is not and cannot be guaranteed.
This recipe was originally published on May 19, 2020 and was updated on June 17, 2021 to include updated photos, step by step process shots, FAQs, tips for success, ideas for serving, freezing instructions, and improved recipe notes. The original recipe remains the same.