This easy fry bread recipe 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.
Table of Contents
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.
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.
If short on time you can 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.
Ingredients You’ll Need
The ingredients are super simple and you most likely already have them on hand in your pantry.
Find the full printable recipe with specific measurements below.
- Yeast: I use active dry yeast and proof the yeast before mixing the dough. 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 Fry Bread
This fry bread recipe comes together easily after you make your dough!
- Make 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.
- Rise. Your dough should be soft and stick to your finger a little. Don’t over stir or knead. Cover and let rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes.
- Roll. Remove dough from bowl and roll out on a floured board until it’s 1/4 inch thick.
- Divide. Divide dough into 12-16 equal golf-ball sized pieces. Then roll out each ball into roughly a 4-5 inch thin circles. Keep them covered with plastic wrap while you prepare to fry them.
- Fry. Poke a small hole in the center of each dough ball with a fork. Heat your vegetable oil (about 1 1/2″ deep) in a large skillet until it reaches about 400°F. Place the dough circle in the hot oil and cook until golden brown. Flip and cook other side until brown.
- Repeat. As each piece gets done, transfer to a paper towel lined plate then 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 175°F. This will keep them nice and warm, without drying them out and making the outsides too crispy.
- Deep frying thermometer: Using a deep frying thermometer is a great way to check if your oil is ready for frying. If you don’t have one, you can add a kernel of popcorn to the oil, when it pops the oil is ready!
- Consistent oil temperature: Bring your oil back up to temperature after each piece of dough is fried. If the temp is too low, your bread will turn out tough. Too hot and you risk burning the outside of the bread before the inside is done.
- Less messy: A skillet can be messy for frying as well as it can be hard to contain hot oil from popping on your skin. Try using a large pot instead!
- Flat fry bread: Remember to poke or make a small slit in the center of each dough ball before frying. This helps it to remain flat vs. curling up on the edges and forming a bowl shape.
This easy fry bread recipe is perfect to use for a quick night dinner of Navajo tacos or you can eat them as a sweet dessert. We love to serve it both ways. Serve however you prefer.
It’s a Native American bread that originated in the Navajo Nation. It’s enjoyed all over the US and especially in the Southwest.
In different regions you’ll also hear this called fried dough, fry dough (bannock), fried bread, doughboys, scones, pop overs or elephant ears. Sopapilla are similar but puffier and in the shape of a rectangle.
Though similar with their light fried texture, their is a difference between the two. Fry bread are smaller, thicker and the dough is more chewy, while elephant ears are bigger and more airy inside. Elephant ears are traditionally only topped with cinnamon and sugar, too.
This recipe is best when it is fresh but you can prepare the dough ahead of time. Store your dough in the refrigerator covered with plastic wrap or in a Ziploc bag up to 2 days. You can also flash freeze your dough balls. Once your dough balls are frozen, place each of them separately into a freezer safe bag. When ready to use, thaw overnight in the fridge, bring to room temperature and proceed with frying.
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.
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Fry Bread Recipe
- 1 package yeast , about 2 1/2 teaspoons
- ¼ cup + 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar , divided
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup luke warm milk
- 4-5 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
Vegetable oil, for frying
- In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast and 1 Tablespoon sugar in warm water. Let stand about 5-10 minutes, or until very bubbly and frothy.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, whip the egg, milk, and remaining 1/4 cup sugar. Replace the attachment with a dough hook. Add in the yeast mixture, flour, baking powder, and salt and mix until dough is soft and sticks slightly to your finger. Do not over-knead. Cover and let rise 30 minutes in a warm place.
- On a floured surface, roll dough until it's 1/4-inch thick. Divide the dough into 12 to 16 equal sections by pinching golf ball-sized balls of dough. Roll out the balls into roughly 4- to 5-inch thin circles. Keep covered with plastic wrap while you prepare to fry them. Poke a small hole in the center with a fork.
- In a large, deep skillet, pour in vegetable oil until 1 1/2 inches deep. Heat over medium heat until it reaches 400°F. Place the dough in the oil, and fry until golden brown. Flip and fry until golden brown. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Bring the oil temperature back up to 400°F and repeat with remaining dough.
- Serve while warm with desired toppings.
Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.
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