We’ve all been there. Eyes bigger than our stomachs.
A whole load of curry and naan bread leftover after a monstrous meal.
But fear not.
I’m here to save the day and show you how to keep your leftover naan bread (nearly) as fresh and moist as the moment it was cooked.
I have personally tested and documented each method that I discuss below.
Let’s skip the guesswork and jump straight in.
The best way to reheat naan bread is to first soften it in the microwave for 10 seconds and then fry it in a piping hot skillet to get it crispy. Cover the naan with a damp paper towel in the microwave, and brush it with butter before tossing it in the skillet.
A note on my experiment
I ordered (way too many) portions of garlic naan from my favorite curry house and left everything I couldn’t eat on the counter overnight.
The next day, I tested the following reheating methods:
- On the stove (nice flavors)
- In the microwave (good for stale naan bread)
- By steaming (also good for stale naans)
- In the oven (a bit slow)
- In the air fryer (good if you want some crunch)
- in the toaster (avoid)
I was looking for a method that gave me a crispy base, a bubbly top, and a steamy moist interior.
That to me describes the perfect naan.
My favorite method for reheating naan bread actually turned out to be a combination of two methods – the microwave and the stove.
The best way to reheat naan bread
To reheat naan bread, first, cover it with a damp paper towel and microwave it for 10 seconds. Next, add the naan face down to a piping hot skillet. After 10 seconds, flip the naan and cook for another 30-60 seconds. Reheating the naan in this way ensures a soft, steamy inside while crisping the bottom.
How to reheat naan bread:
- Melt a little butter in a skillet on high heat.
- Meanwhile, cover the naan bread with a damp paper towel and microwave it for 10 seconds.
- Place the warm naan face down in a piping hot skillet for 10 seconds.
- Flip the naan over and cook for another 30-60 seconds
Covering the naan with a wet paper towel in the microwave will help keep it moist and revive the naan if it’s slightly stale.
The skillet gets rid of any sogginess.
The 5 seconds you’re heating the naan facedown will bring back its bubbliness.
This two-step method provides the best all-round results and works for both frozen and unfrozen naans.
This was by far my favorite method of reheating naan.
The bread was soft and chewy, while also regaining its bubble and crunch.
It does require a little more work than the other methods though.
Reheating naan bread on the stove
To reheat naan bread on the stove, melt a bit of butter in a skillet and heat it on a high heat. Mist the naan bread with water and place it face down in the pan. Cook for 10 seconds, then flip and cook for another 25 seconds. Spraying the naan with water helps to ensure it doesn’t dry out.
How to reheat naan bread on the stove:
- Melt some butter on high heat in a skillet.
- Sprinkle both sides of the naan bread with water.
- Place the naan bread face down in the pan and heat it for 10 seconds. This will bring the bubbly texture back.
- Flip the naan over and cook it for another 25-30 seconds.
- If the naan isn’t as crispy and warm as you like, continue to heat it until it is.
This is basically the same as my method above, just without the microwaving component.
The bread won’t be as soft but the misting of water does help.
Ideally, I’d have used melted ghee in place of butter.
But most of us don’t have ghee randomly lying around, and butter is a great substitute.
I cover more ways to jazz up your leftover naans below.
Tip: for a more authentic method, you can use the open flame of a gas oven to heat the naan.
Flip the naan frequently until it’s hot and bubbling.
This method excels at maintaining the crispy qualities of the naan.
The butter keeps the bread nice and flavorful, and if you want to go the extra mile you can fry some garlic in the pan before adding the naan bread for a tasty kick.
Reheating naan bread in the microwave
To reheat naan in the microwave, cover it with a damp paper towel and heat it on full power in 10-second intervals. Continue until the naan is warm and soft. Don’t overheat the naan or it will become like cardboard.
Naan can become rubbery and tough in the microwave, but a damp paper towel helps avoid this.
If you don’t have a damp paper towel, you can put a glass of water in the microwave with the naan.
Or simply mist the naan with water before microwaving it.
Once the naan is warm, don’t wait around to eat it.
The naan will become hard and brittle if left for an extended period of time after reheating.
I’m a bit torn on this one.
We all know microwaves completely fail at making anything crispy, and that also holds true with naan bread.
But it’s oh-so-convenient.
And if your naan is stale, it works wonders to remoisturize it.
Reheat naan bread by steaming it
In lieu of a microwave, you can also steam your naan. Use a steamer basket if you have one, but if not you can use a sieve and a pot of water. Bring the water to a boil and cover the naan. Leave it to heat for 1-2 minutes.
This method helps to reintroduce moisture into the naan, but the naan will lack ‘crunch’.
If the naan is too soggy for your liking, crisp it under a hot broiler or in a hot pan for 30-60 seconds.
One downside to this method is that you can’t introduce new flavors to your naan – so it can end up a little bland.
This method works great for naan that appears to be too far gone, or stale enough to throw out.
All credits to the following YouTube video that inspired me to try the steaming method.
It really is super underrated if your naan is already just a bit hard and stale.
Reheating naan bread in the oven
To reheat naan bread in the oven, spray it with water and wrap it in foil. Next, place the naan on the middle shelf of a preheated oven (400°F/200°C) for 5-10 minutes. To crisp the naan, remove the foil for the last few minutes of heating.
How to reheat naan bread in the oven:
- Preheat your oven to 400°F/200°C.
- Sprinkle a few drops of water over each slice of naan bread.
- Wrap the naan in foil.
- Place the foil-covered naan in the middle of the oven.
- Cook for 5-10 minutes.
- If you want crispy naan, remove the foil for the last 1-2 minutes of heating time.
It’s a really fine balance to prevent the naan from drying out using this method.
Spraying the naan with water will mitigate some of this by creating steam in your foil packet, but not completely.
I would stick to heating 3-4 naans in a single foil parcel. If you have more to heat, make multiple parcels.
The more naans in each parcel, the longer they’ll take to heat through, and the more chance there is of the middle one being cold.
I didn’t have much luck with this method.
Despite adding a generous amount of water, I felt that the naan was still a bit dry.
Not inedible by any means, just not as good as the other methods I’ve tried.
Reheating naan bread in the air fryer
To reheat naan bread in the air fryer, set it to 400°F and brush the naan lightly with oil or butter. Place the naan in the air fryer and heat for 3-4 minutes.
The naan won’t need long in the air fryer because the heat is so strong.
For best results, spread the naan out as much as possible in the air fryer and avoid too many overlaps.
If the air fryer is overcrowded, the air won’t be able to circulate efficiently and the naan bread will suffer.
I also sprinkle a little water over the naan bread before heating it if it’s stale. This helps somewhat to soften it (but you’d be much better off using the steamer or the microwave for this).
Good for a quick refresh and if you want some crunch – but if you want soft a chewy naan, use another method.
Avoid reheating your naan in the toaster
Do me a favor and don’t do this.
I’ve seen a few sources online suggesting that sticking a piece of naan in the toaster is a great way to reheat it.
Well, I tried it and it’s a terrible, terrible thing to do. (On par with telling an Italian how to cook spaghetti).
Naan bread doesn’t work as toast!
- The naan turns out really dry
- You can’t add any meaningful amount of water before toasting (Seriously, toasters and water don’t mix)
You’ve been warned.
How to store naan bread
The best way to store plain naan bread is in an airtight container or freezer bag at room temperature. Stored this way, naan can last up to 3 days.
For longer-term storage, freeze the naan. If your naan bread has butter or fillings on it, it’s best to keep it in the fridge (but be aware it will go staler faster).
For homemade naan, make sure the bread is completely cool before you store it. If the naan is still warm, condensation can build up in the container and leave you with soggy bread.
Store-bought naan bread may have different storage instructions to the ones I’ve mentioned above and will generally last longer because they use preservatives.
This is likely due to different ingredients and preservatives being used. When in doubt, follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Can you freeze naan bread?
Naan bread freezes really well, so freezing it is a great way to preserve its freshness. Ensure the naan bread is in airtight packaging with minimal air exposure to avoid freezer burn. Naan bread will stay at best quality for up to 3 months.
It will remain safe to eat beyond that, but you may notice a stale taste.
How to freeze naan bread:
- Let the naan bread cool to room temperature.
- Separate individual pieces of naan bread with parchment paper.
- Place the naan bread in a freezer bag.
- Remove all the air from the freezer bag.
- Freeze the naan bread for up to 3 months.
The best way to remove air from the freezer bag is to use a vacuum sealer, but if you don’t have one of those you can suck the air out with a straw.
Or you can dunk the freezer bag in a bowl of water. The water will force the air out and you can seal the bag.
Another option is to wrap the naan bread tightly in plastic wrap followed by a layer of foil.
The parchment paper will stop the naan bread from sticking together so you can take one out at a time rather than having to defrost the whole lot.
How do you thaw naan bread?
To defrost naan bread, you can either leave it at room temperature for 1-2 hours or defrost it in the microwave.
To defrost in the microwave, cover the naan with a wet paper towel and microwave for 30 seconds.
If you leave the naan bread on the counter, keep it wrapped while it defrosts so it doesn’t dry out too much.
I recommend reheating the naan on the stove once defrosted.
Frequently asked questions
Here are some answers to the most commonly asked questions about storing naan bread.
Can you refrigerate naan bread?
It’s best to avoid refrigerating naan bread because doing so speeds up the recrystallization of starch molecules within the bread.
In layman’s terms, cooler temperatures make the bread go stale much faster.
Instead, keep the naan in an airtight container at room temperature (away from light, heat, and moisture).
Can you freeze naan bread dough?
The best way to freeze naan bread dough is to pre-portion it into small balls and wrap it tightly with plastic wrap.
Freezing naan bread dough in this way helps to keep it protected from freezer burn. For best results, use the naan bread dough within 3 months of freezing.
Another method of freezing naan dough is to flatten the balls into small discs, and then stack them on top of each other separated by parchment paper.
This enables you to cook the naan discs directly from frozen, without having to thaw the dough beforehand.
How long does naan bread last?
|Naan||How long will it last?|
|Room temp naan||2-3 days|
|Frozen naan||3 months|
|Store-bought naan||up to a year|
Leftover naan bread stored at room temperature will last between 2-3 days.
Frozen naan bread kept in a tightly sealed bag will last up to 3 months in the freezer.
Store-bought naan bread may last significantly longer than the above guidelines, as it’s usually made with additional preservatives. For example, Stonefire prepackaged naan breads claims to last up to a year in the freezer.
How to keep naan bread warm
The best way to keep naan bread warm is to place it in an oven at 200°F. Spray the naan bread with a light coating of water and cover with foil to ensure that they don’t dry out prematurely in the oven.
For parties and other occasions where you don’t have access to an oven, another great solution is to wrap the naan in foil and place them under a heat lamp.
This heat lamp is perfect for the job and unlike most other commercial lamps, won’t break the bank. You’ll have fresh, hot naan ON TAP without any hassle.
What toppings can I add to my naan?
Here are some delicious toppings and combinations you can add to your naan:
- Melted ghee (melted butter also works great in its place)
- Sesame seeds
- Freshly chopped chili
- Garlic (garlic naan anyone? Mmm, also see: How To Reheat Garlic Bread)
- Cheese (Paneer is so good, but most cheeses work well)
- Onion bhaji crumbs (Related: How To Reheat Onion Bhajis)
If you’re after more naan bread topping ideas, check out this Pinterest board full of creative ideas. Cinnamon and sugar naan dippers, anyone?
How To Perfectly Reheat Naan Bread
- Paper towel
- 1 portion naan bread
- 1 portion melted butter/ghee
- Dampen a couple of squares of paper towel and use them to cover the naan bread.
- Microwave the covered naan bread on full power for 10 seconds.
- Next, add the naan face down to a piping hot skillet (400°F).
- After 10 seconds, flip the naan and cook for another 30-60 seconds.
- Reheating the naan in this way ensures a soft, steamy inside while crisping the bottom.
- Optionally, brush the naan with some melted butter or ghee for an extra decadent treat.