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. So, let’s skip the guesswork and jump straight in:
My two-step process for reheating naan to get a moist yet charred bread
Everything you need to know about storing your naan (freezing, defrosting, shelf life)
Frequently asked questions and tips for keeping your naan soft & warm
You can use the above links to jump straight to the relevant section in this article.
What Makes A Great Naan
It’s important to understand the qualities that make naan bread so special. Don’t worry though – I’m not going to bore you with a long history or a description of what naan bread is.
Just the qualities that we want in the bread, and how the way we reheat the naan can impact them.
- A crispy but light base that’s not too oily
- A steamy, moist interior that isn’t dense
- A bubbly, slightly charred top
These are what I look for in any good naan. Your preferences may be slightly different, and that’s fine. Here’s what a naan shouldn’t be, and all too often ends up when you reheat it in the oven.
- Too crispy or burnt edges
- Too dry
- Too elastic (overcooked)
How To Reheat Naan Bread – The Best Way
To reheat naan bread, first microwave it for 30 seconds. Next, add the naan face down to a piping hot skillet. After 5 seconds, flip the naan and cook for another 20-25 seconds. Reheating the naan in this way ensures a soft, steamy inside while crisping the bottom.
Covering the naan with a wet paper towel in the microwave will help keep it moist. And 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.
What you’ll need:
- Damp paper towel
- Dampen a couple of squares of paper towel
- Wrap the paper towel around the naan
- Microwave the naan for 30 seconds
- Place the naan face down in a piping hot skillet (400°F) for 5 seconds
- Flip the naan and cook for another 20-25 seconds
This is my preferred method of reheating naan. You maintain the moisture while also regaining the 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, heat a skillet up to a high heat (400°F) and place the naan 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.
You’ll notice this is basically the same as my method above, just without the microwaving component. You do risk losing more of the moisture in the bread using just this method, but adding a few sprays of water helps to mitigate this.
By adding the naan face down initially, you help to recreate the char and bubbles characteristic of a fresh traditional naan.
For me personally, the naan wasn’t as moist as I’d like using this method. So I decided to brush it with some melted butter and see if this helped.
So. Much. Better.
Ideally, I’d have used melted ghee. 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.
Note: this method is only suitable for fresh, unfrozen naans.
This is basically half of the first method and excels at maintaining the crispy qualities of the naan. If you’re not careful you may lose some moisture this way resulting in a slightly dry naan.
Reheat Naan By Steaming It
In lieu of a microwave, you can also steam your pan in a saucepan. Start by heating a saucepan of water to a boil. Next, place a sieve onto the pan with a piece of naan bread on top of it. Cover the pan with a lid and let steam for approximately 1 minute.
This method works great for naan that appears to be too far gone, or stale enough to throw out. I would recommend using the steaming method in conjunction with the stove method. This method helps to reintroduce moisture into the naan, but the naan will still lack a ‘crunch’ if not lightly toasted also.
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 Microwave
To reheat naan in the microwave, wrap it in a damp paper towel and heat on full power for 20 seconds. If the naan isn’t sufficiently heated, continue to heat in 5-second increments until hot. To reheat multiple naans, multiple the cooking time by the number of naans being microwaved.
For example, if you need to microwave 2 naans, I’d recommend initially microwaving for 40 seconds and then checking frequently until they’re hot.
You do risk drying out the naan and making it rubbery and elastic in the microwave. This usually happens when the naan is accidentally cooked for too long. Overall, the microwave method is adequate where you’re either short on time or aren’t fussed about regaining any crunch in the bread.
Serve immediately. I noticed that the naan became brittle and hard if left for any 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.
Reheating Naan Bread In The Oven
To reheat naan bread in the oven, spray it with water and cover it in foil. Next, place the naan on the middle shelf of a preheated oven (400° F) for 2-3 minutes. Watering the naan and covering it with foil helps to prevent it from drying out while reheating.
It’s a really fine balance to prevent the naan from drying out using this method. Spraying or rubbing the naan with water will mitigate some of this, but not completely.
What you’ll need:
- Baking sheet
- Preheat your oven to 400° F
- Use a food-safe spray bottle to evenly spray the top and bottom of the naan
- Place the naan in foil as shown below
- Place the foil-covered naan on a baking sheet in the middle of the oven
- Cook for 2-3 minutes
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.
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).
- 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 naan bread is in an airtight container at room temperature. Stored this way, naan can last up to 3 days. For longer-term storage, place the naan in a freezer bag and freeze. Naan should not be refrigerated as this makes it go stale faster.
When stored at room temperature, it’s also important to keep the naan away from any direct sources of light, heat, and moisture.
Store-bought naan bread may have different storage instructions to the ones I’ve mentioned above. This is likely due to different ingredients and preservatives being used. When in doubt, follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Freezing Naan Bread
To freeze naan bread, place it in an airtight freezer bag and remove as much air as possible. Frozen naans will be good for up to 3 months.
Defrosting 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, place the naan in a wet paper towel and microwave for 30 seconds. I recommend reheating the naan on the stove once defrosted.
Can You Refrigerate Naan Bread?
Naan bread should not be refrigerated as 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).
Frequently Asked Questions
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)
- Cheese (Paneer is so good, but most cheeses work well)
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
- 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 30 seconds.
- Next, add the naan face down to a piping hot skillet (400°F).
- After 5 seconds, flip the naan and cook for another 20-25 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.