This Indian fry bread is deep fried until golden brown and then served as savory or sweet. Perfectly crispy and bubbly on the outside, while soft and chewy on the inside.
Can you even beat fried bread?! It’s perfectly crispy, chewy and soft all at the same time. Plus the flavor is absolutely delicious. You can use it to make savory Navajo tacos or enjoy a sweet version with cinnamon butter or honey on top. Both ways are so delicious.
What is fry bread?
If you’ve never had fry bread (also called “Indian fry bread”), you need to try it ASAP! The dough is deep fried until golden brown and then served as savory or sweet. It’s perfectly crispy and bubbly on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside.
We love to use fry bread to make Navajo tacos or serve it with powdered sugar and honey. You can even skip the homemade dough and use Rhodes rolls or Pillsbury biscuits if you’re looking for a quicker option. My mom made it this way growing up and it’s super easy. All you do is let them rise and then roll out each individual roll and fry.
And if you’re wondering if fry bread is the same as the fried elephant ears that you get at your local fair – there actually is a difference between the two. Fry bread has a thicker and more chewy dough, while elephant ears are bigger and thinner.
What you’ll need
The ingredients are super simple and you most likely already have them on hand (amounts included in printable recipe below).
- Yeast: I used active dry yeast. If using instant, skip the proofing process and add it in with the dry ingredients.
- Warm water: The water is for proofing the yeast. Make sure it’s warm, but not hot. It should be bath water temperature, about 105-110°F.
- Egg: You only need one egg, large in size.
- Milk: The milk should be luke warm, not cold. I used whole milk.
- Baking powder: It helps the dough rise and get nice and fluffy.
- Sugar: Sugar helps “feed” the yeast. Just mix it in with the warm water and yeast, then wait for the mixture to bubble.
- Salt: Gives the bread a little extra flavor.
- Flour: All-purpose is best. Start with about 4 cups, then add 1/4 cup at a time until the dough is soft.
- Vegetable oil: For frying the bread in the skillet.
How to make fried bread
DOUGH. Add yeast and 1 Tablespoon sugar to bowl of warm water and let dissolve for about 10 minutes, or until very bubbly and frothy. Add in egg, milk and sugar and whip until foamy. Then add flour, salt and baking powder and mix until the dough is thick. It should be soft and stick to your finger a little. Don’t over knead. Cover and let rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes.
ROLL. Roll the dough out on a floured board until it’s 1/4 inch thick. Divide the dough into 12-16 equal sections by pinching off golf-ball sized balls of dough. Then roll out the dough balls on a lightly floured surface into roughly 4-5 inch thin circles. Keep them covered with plastic wrap while you prepare to fry them. Then poke a small hole in the center with a fork.
FRY. Next, heat the vegetable oil (about 1 1/2″ deep) in a large skillet until it reaches about 400°F. Place the dough circle in the oil and cook until golden brown. Flip and cook other side until brown. Then transfer to a paper towel lined plate. Repeat for all dough circles.
If you aren’t planning on enjoying the fry bread right away, you can keep it warm in the oven until you’re ready to serve. Simply place them on a baking sheet in the oven at 200°F. This will keep them nice and warm, without drying them out and making the outsides too crispy.
Storing, freezing + reheating
To store: Add to a zip top bag and keep at room temperature for 1-2 days.
To freeze: Wrap in plastic wrap or foil and add to a freezer bag. Store in freezer for about 2-3 months.
Reheating: Wrap bread with foil and reheat in oven at 375°F for about 10 minutes.
More homemade bread recipes to try:
Fry Bread Recipe
Vegetable oil, for frying
- Dissolve the yeast and 1 Tablespoon sugar in warm water. Let stand about 10 minutes or until very bubbly and frothy.
- Add egg, milk and sugar. Whip until foamy. Add flour, salt and baking powder and mix to a thick dough. The dough should be soft and stick a little bit to your finger. Do not over knead. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes in a warm place.
- Roll dough out on a floured surface until it's 1/4 inch thick. Divide the dough into 12-16 equal sections by pinching off golf-ball sized balls of dough. Then roll out the dough balls into roughly 4-5-inch thin circles on a lightly floured surface. Keep them covered with plastic wrap while you prepare to fry them. Poke a small hole in the center with a fork.
- Heat vegetable oil (about 1 1/2" deep) in a large skillet until it reaches about 400°F. Place the dough in the oil, and then cook until golden brown. Then flip and cook the other side. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate.
- To keep the fry bread warm, place in a pan in the oven at 200°F.
- Serve with taco meat and your favorite toppings to make navajo tacos.
- You can also serve with honey, jam or powdered sugar for a dessert.
- For a quicker dough option, you can use Rhodes rolls or Pillsbury biscuits. Simply let them rise and then roll out each individual roll and fry.
- Storing: Add to a zip top bag and keep at room temperature for 1-2 days.
- Freezing: Wrap in plastic wrap or foil and add to a freezer bag. Store in freezer for about 2-3 months.
- Reheating: Wrap with foil and reheat in oven at 375°F for about 10 minutes.