This article was updated on 8th August 2023 for clarity and to incorporate new information.
We’ve all been there. Eyes bigger than our stomachs. A whole load of curry and naan bread left over after a monstrous meal.
I’m here to save the day and show you how to get your leftover naan bread (nearly) as fresh and moist as the moment it was cooked. You can trust me on this. I’ve personally tried and tested each method that I discuss below.
Here’s the short answer.
The best way to reheat naan bread is to first soften it by soaking the naan in milk or water for 10 seconds, then frying the naan in a piping hot skillet to get it crispy. If you have a large batch of naan bread to reheat, put it in a 400°F/200°C oven for around 10 minutes.
How I tested reheating naan bread
I ordered (way too many) portions of garlic naan from my favorite curry house and left everything I couldn’t eat wrapped up overnight.
The next day, I tested seven different reheating methods. I was looking for a method that gave my naan a crispy base, a bubbly top, and a steamy moist interior.
- Stove: My favorite method.
- Oven: Good for big batches.
- Microwave: Okay in a hurry.
- Steaming: Good for really stale naan.
- Air fryer: A bit drying.
- Open flame: Give the naan a nice char.
- Toaster: Avoid this method.
The best way to reheat naan bread (on the stove)
Time: 1-2 minutes
- Melt a little butter or oil in a skillet on high heat.
- Meanwhile, soak your naan bread in milk or hold it under a running tap for a few seconds. You can also cover the naan bread with a damp paper towel and microwave it for 5 seconds.
- Place the damp naan face down in the piping-hot skillet for 30 seconds.
- Flip the naan over and cook for another 30-60 seconds.
Step two is really important. Leftover naan is going to be dry, so you need to reintroduce moisture in order to soften it again. Soaking it in milk or water may sound extreme, but trust me – it’s delicious! And the skillet will be hot enough to crisp the outside again.
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. You can also add more flavor to the naan by sautéing some garlic, chili, or herbs along with the melting butter.
Psst… my readers love this method, with one commenting ‘this is the best reheated naan I’ve had’. High praise indeed.
Results: I already said this, but I’ll say it again – this was by far my favorite method of reheating naan. The bread was soft and chewy, while the outside had bubble and crunch. The only downside it is that it’s a little more work than the other methods, and you can only heat one naan at a time.
Reheating naan bread in the oven
Time: 10 minutes
- Preheat your oven to 400°F/200°C.
- Sprinkle water over each slice of naan bread or brush them with melted butter.
- Wrap the naan in foil (optional – skip this step if you prefer extra crispy naan).
- Place the naan on the middle shelf of the oven.
- Heat for 10-15 minutes (5-7 minutes if you’re not using foil).
- If you used foil, open it for the last 1-2 minutes of heating time to slightly crisp the outside of the naan.
It’s a fine balance between crisping the naan and not letting it dry out with this method.
Spraying the naan with water will mitigate some of the ovens drying effect by creating steam, but don’t use too much or you’ll end up with soggy naan. Another option if you don’t want to use foil is to put a baking tray filled with water in the bottom of the oven creating a ‘steam oven’.
Stick to heating 2-3 naan in a single foil parcel. If you have more to heat, make multiple parcels. The more naan in each parcel, the longer they’ll take to heat through, and the more chance there is of the middle one being cold. If you’re not using foil, keep the naan in a single layer.
Results: This method wasn’t my favorite because I didn’t think the flavors of the naan came back to life as much as they could have, but it’s admittedly very useful if you have a lot of naan to reheat at once. If you like soft naan, definitely use foil. I thought that skipping the foil left my naan a bit dry, although others in my family liked it, so some personal preference is involved here.
Reheating naan bread in the microwave
Time: 20-30 seconds
- Place one or two slices of naan bread on a microwave-safe plate and cover it with a damp paper towel.
- Heat the naan in 10-second intervals, continuing until the naan is warm and soft.
- Don’t overheat the naan or it will become like cardboard.
Naan can quickly become rubbery and tough in the microwave, but a damp paper towel helps avoid this. If you don’t have a damp paper towel, 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 very quickly once it comes out of the microwave. It basically turns into cardboard.
Results: We all know microwaves completely fail at making anything crispy, and that held true with my naan bread – it was very chewy once it came out of the microwave. But it’s oh-so-convenient. And if your naan is stale, the microwave is great at remoisturizing it
Other reheating methods to consider
The stove, the oven, and the microwave are the most common and accessible ways to reheat naan bread. But they’re not the only options. Here are some more that work in more specific situations.
Reheat naan bread by steaming it
If you want really soft naan or your naan is extra stale, reheat it in a steamer. All credit to the following YouTube video for inspiring me to try this method.
- Set up your steamer and bring the water to a boil. You can also use a makeshift steamer made from a saucepan and a sieve or a colander.
- Place your naan in the steamer and put the lid on.
- Leave it to steam for 1-2 minutes.
I know steaming naan sounds like a crazy idea, and the naan obviously won’t be crispy. But steam is the best way to reintroduce moisture into a hard naan.
If the naan ends up too soggy for your liking, crisp it under a hot broiler or in a searing hot pan for 30-60 seconds after steaming it.
Results: This method is underrated for naan that appears too far gone, or is stale enough to throw out. But a major downside is the naan can end up bland as the flavors kind of melt off.
Reheating naan bread in the air fryer
- Set your air fryer to 400°F / 200°C
- Soak the naan in water or milk for 10-20 seconds to help soften it.
- Place the naan in the air fryer and heat for 3-4 minutes.
- Brush the naan lightly with butter before serving.
The naan doesn’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.
Note: this method isn’t great for stale naan. The air fryer is just too drying!
Results: The air fryer is good for a quick refresh and if you want some crunch – but if you want soft, chewy naan, use another method.
Reheating naan bread on an open flame
If you like getting adventurous in the kitchen, try warming naan bread over an open flame.
- Set your gas stove to medium and wet the surface of the naan with water.
- Grab the naan with some tongs and place it over the flame, flipping constantly for around 60 seconds.
Do not set the naan down over the flame and walk off – this will end in disaster!
Results: This method got my adrenaline pumping and it felt very authentic, the naan tasted delicious too with some charred spots. You need to be very careful not to burn the naan though.
How to keep naan bread warm
The best way to keep naan bread warm is to place it in a low oven set to 200°F. Spray the naan bread with a light coating of water and cover it with foil to ensure it doesn’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 it 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.
How to store naan bread
The best way to store plain naan bread is in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Always make sure the naan is completely cool before you close the lid to prevent any condensation build-up.
I also like to line the container with a plain paper towel to absorb any moisture that might sneak on. The paper towel will also absorb excess grease.
It’s best to avoid refrigerating naan bread because cooler temperatures cause bread to stale much faster. But if the naan has meat or cheese fillings you don’t have a choice and will have to keep it in the fridge.
Psst… store-bought naan bread may have different storage instructions to the ones I’ve mentioned above and generally last longer because they use preservatives.
Can you freeze naan bread?
Naan bread freezes really well and it’s 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 in the freezer.
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 and remove any excess air.
- 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. If you don’t have one, an alternative method is to 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.
How To Perfectly Reheat Naan Bread [Tested Methods]
- 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.