You can freeze naan bread, and that’s true no matter if we’re talking about homemade, store-bought, or leftover naan from takeout.
Like other flatbreads like pita bread or tortillas, naan bread freezes just fine. The quality of the flatbread after defrosting isn’t much different from fresh naan.
Moreover, the whole process is as simple as it gets and only takes a couple of minutes.
Want to freeze leftover naan? Here’s what you’ll learn in this article:
- how to freeze naan and how long it can sit frozen
- ways to defrost naan
- using naans after defrosting
- if freezing naan bread dough is an option
Interested? Read on.
How To Freeze Naan Bread
Here’s how you freeze naan bread:
- Place naan bread in freezer bags. Feel free to put as many flatbreads in a single bag as you like. Contrary to what you can find in some of the articles out there, they don’t freeze together, so you don’t need to separate them or wrap them individually. You can always pull as many as you need. Squeeze out the air from the bags, and seal them tightly. Add labels with name and date if you like.
- Place the bags in the freezer.
That’s it. As you can tell, it couldn’t be any simpler.
Now, you might be worried about freezer burn. Let’s tackle this.
If you’re going to let your frozen naans sit in the freezer for less than a month, any additional wrapping isn’t necessary. Simply placing them in freezer bags is good enough.
But if you expect the naans to sit frozen for more than a month, consider wrapping each one individually with aluminum foil, plastic wrap, or freezer wrap. By doing that, you’ll keep your naan safe from freezer burn, and its quality will deteriorate even more slowly.
That said, I’m not big on individual wrapping. Doing so takes time and uses a lot of plastic in the process. That’s why I avoid doing that unless it’s absolutely necessary (as is the case in freezing fresh yeast).
In the case of naan, I don’t think the extra layer of protection is that useful, especially if you don’t freeze the flatbread for that long.
If whatever dish you’re cooking is going to be delicious, you probably won’t notice that your defrosted naan is slightly drier than a fresh one.
How Long Can You Freeze Naan Bread?
Try to use frozen naan bread within three months of freezing to get the best possible quality.
Of course, it’s not like the flatbreads will go off or magically lose their quality once they pass the 3-month-mark. In fact, not much will change.
The thing is, like pretty much all frozen foods, frozen naan gradually loses quality. Naan frozen for a week will taste a bit fresher than one that’s in the freezer for a month, and so on. But those differences aren’t huge, and there’s no point in worrying about them.
What’s important is to remember that you have some frozen naan in storage and use it within a reasonable period of a couple of months.
It might be a month, three months, or even five months. Just make sure it’s not a year or more because the quality after such a long period probably won’t be all that great. But it should still be okay, especially if you eat the naan bread as a side with something fitting from Indian cuisine.
How To Defrost and Reheat Naan Bread
There are a couple of ways to defrost naan bread you can choose from. Go with whatever fits your needs best.
On a Non-Stick Pan
This method is probably the best because it allows you to defrost and reheat your naan bread quickly.
Put your pan on medium heat and place the flatbreads into it (without adding any fat). Give the pan a shake every 20 to 30 seconds to make sure naans don’t stick.
After 2 to 3 minutes, your naan breads should be defrosted and warmed up. That’s the time to flip them and heat up for another 1 to 2 minutes on the other side to make sure they’re evenly warmed.
If your naans tends to dry out and you want to avoid that, try spritzing a bit of water or dampening the tops with wet hands. The flatbreads should absorb some of the water in the process and don’t dry out completely.
On the Counter
The simplest way to defrost naan is to leave the flatbreads on the counter. They should defrost in an hour or so, depending on the amount.
If you want to speed things up, place them in a single layer and flip each one after 15 to 20 minutes. They should be ready within 30 to 40 minutes.
Once you thaw the naans, you’ll probably want to warm them up. Use the non-stick pan for that and follow the instructions from the previous section (cut the time in half).
For me, I like to get the naan bread from the freezer when I start prepping the meal (cutting the chicken, and so on). This way, by the time I have everything else ready, naan is defrosted, and I only need a couple of minutes to reheat it.
In the Oven
I don’t recommend defrosting naans in the oven because it’s difficult to control the process. The only way to check if it’s defrosted or warmed up enough is to open the oven and touch the flatbread, which is quite inconvenient if you need to do this several times.
Also, you need to preheat the oven, which takes time. By the time your oven is preheated, you’d probably be done with the non-stick pan method.
In the Microwave
Place the flatbreads on a microwave-safe plate and microwave on defrost setting (or 50% 70% power) in 30 seconds increments until they are defrosted. Then switch to full power and nuke them in short 15-20 second increments until done.
If you’re working with a big pile of naans, feel free to start with longer periods and switch to shorter ones when they are almost ready.
If you want to add a bit of water back into your naans, place a damp paper towel on top of each one (or between flatbreads if you have a pile).
Keeping Naans from Drying
If you’re adding water when reheating naans for the first time, test out the technique with a single flatbread. This will help you get the amount of water right for the rest of your naans.
Using Defrosted Naan Bread
You can use defrosted and reheated naan bread exactly the same way you use fresh naans, which means you have a gazillion recipes from Indian cuisine available. Or you can eat your naan bread as a side to any stew or soup that you like.
If you have a couple of naans leftover from takeout and no idea on how to use them, here’s a super simple way:
- Buy a jar of an Indian sauce like tikka masala, korma, or buttery chicken, and some chicken breasts. If there’s a section with Indian products in your supermarket, they will be there. If you don’t like spicy food, make sure the sauce you grab isn’t of the hot variety.
- Cook the chicken with the sauce using the instructions on the label, and eat your naans as a side dish.
It’s nothing fancy, and you probably won’t impress anyone with that dish, but it’s easy and super tasty. I went this route with my naans and was happy about the results (see photo below).
Can You Freeze Naan Bread Dough?
Say you’re making naan bread at home instead of relying on takeout like most of us mere mortals. And you made or are planning to make a big batch of dough enough for a couple of meals.
One option is to use up all of your naan bread dough and freeze the naans you cook. That’s what the majority of this article is about.
But what if you want to freeze naan bread dough instead?
Fortunately, that’s also a possibility. Here are two ways to freeze naan bread dough:
- Portion the dough into small balls and wrap each one in plastic wrap. Place all the balls into a freezer bag for extra protection and to keep things organized, then freeze.
- Flatten the balls into naan-sized discs and freeze them in a bag stacked on top of each other, separated by parchment paper or plastic wrap. Separating individual naans is a must so that the dough doesn’t stick and combine.
The main difference is that the latter one requires a bit more work up front, but each frozen disc (after separating them) only needs 20 to 30 minutes on the counter to thaw. The former, on the contrary, requires at least two to three hours in the fridge before it’s defrosted and ready to use.
Freezing naan bread dough is a good idea if you want to keep your options open.
For example, if you’re thinking about testing garlic naan next time around but aren’t sure yet. That’s when you freeze plain naan dough, and you’re free to add some spices or aromatics after defrosting.
The bottom line is that if you already know how to cook all the naan dough, it’s probably better to do it right away. Wrapping and portioning the dough takes time and uses a bunch of plastic that will end up in the trash can, and cooking the naans and freezing them instead mitigates those issues.