Fry bread is crispy on the outside, airy inside, and superb in every bite.
This Native American staple is so remarkable you might think the recipe would be intimidating. But on the contrary, it is shockingly easy.
All it takes are five simple ingredients and 40 minutes. (You probably have all the ingredients in your pantry right now.)
Now, I know you are excited to try it, so let’s get to it!
What is Fry Bread?
Fry bread is a Native American deep-fried flatbread. You may know it as Navajo tacos or Indian bread.
It looks like a cross between pancakes and an apple fritter. (But there are no apples in the recipe.)
You start by making a simple dough. Then, you fry it until golden. Fry bread is crispy outside and tender inside- similar to elephant ears.
It’s flavored with nothing but salt, yet it’s surprisingly delicious without toppings.
You can enjoy Fry bread as a sweet with jam or honey. Or it can be savory with taco or pizza toppings.
I have even had a burger with fry bread as the bun!
How to Make Fry Bread
1. Preheat the shortening.
Fry bread must fry at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for best results.
If the oil is too hot, the bread will not cook evenly. It will burn on the outside and stay doughy on the inside.
The bread will turn out tough and greasy if the oil is too cold.
Use a kitchen thermometer to help you regulate the temperature.
2. Make the dough.
Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Create a well in the center and pour warm water into it.
Use your hands or a spatula to mix the ingredients. Mix until they form into a sticky dough.
3. Knead the dough.
Sprinkle flour on a clean, flat surface. Flour your hands to keep the dough from sticking to your fingers. Pour the dough onto the floured surface.
To knead, press the dough flat with your palm. Fold the dough over and pull it back.
Repeat folding and pulling 3-4 times. Or until the dough is smooth and no longer sticky.
4. Shape the dough.
Shape the dough into golf-ball-sized pieces. Roll each ball flat with a rolling pin and poke a hole in the middle.
This will keep the bread from puffing up while frying.
5. Deep-fry the dough.
Fry the discs one at a time, for 1-2 minutes on each side. Wipe off excess grease with a paper towel.
6. Serve and enjoy!
Tips for the Best Fry Bread
- Don’t overwork the dough. Stop kneading when the dough is pliable and no longer sticky. Over-kneading will yield tough fry bread.
- Flour your hands to keep the dough from sticking to your fingers.
- If using oil instead of shortening, choose one with a high smoking point. Good options include canola oil, coconut oil, and vegetable oil.
- Be sure the oil is at the right temperature. Too hot, and it’ll burn the outside while under-cook the inside. Too cold, and it’ll make the bread tough and greasy.
How to Serve Fry Bread
Once you learn the ropes of making fry bread, you’ll make it time and again! It’s that good.
Plus, fry bread is versatile, too!
Whether you like it sweet, savory, or a combination of both, there are many options:
- For sweet fry bread, sprinkle it with powdered sugar or drizzle it with honey. You can also smear it with butter, jam, or marmalade. Talk about a decadent breakfast!
- For an autumn-flavored treat, roll the bread in cinnamon sugar. Or sugar and pumpkin spice. Then, drizzle it with caramel!
- Serve fry bread with chili or stew for a hearty winter meal.
- Make Navajo tacos! Instead of taco shells, use the fry bread to hold in all your favorite toppings. Ground beef, beans, olives, cheese, salsa, sour cream- they are ALL delicious options!
- Slice the bread lengthwise and fill it with a burger patty or hot dog.
- Use the same recipe to make Indian pizza dough. Top with your favorite pizza toppings, and voila.
Can I Make Fry Bread Ahead of Time?
Like most fried things, fry bread is not nearly as good after it sits. Fry bread is best fresh.
HOWEVER, you can make fry bread dough ahead of time.
Store in the Fridge:
- Once ready, place the dough in a bowl and cover it with plastic wrap.
- Refrigerate it for up to 2 days.
Form into discs and deep-fry per the recipe when ready to serve.
Store in the Freezer:
The dough also freezes well.
I suggest you form the dough into balls beforehand. This makes it easier to work with later.
- Arrange the balls in a single layer on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
- Freeze the balls for 3-5 hours or until rock-solid.
- Wrap each ball in plastic wrap and place them in a freezer-safe bag.
- Store in the freezer for up to 3-4 months.
Let the dough balls thaw in the fridge overnight. Set them on the counter to thaw for 30 minutes before frying.
Fry per the recipe.
How to Store Fry Bread
Fry bread is best served hot straight out of the fryer. But leftovers will still keep well for up to 1 to 2 days.
Place the bread in an airtight container or wrap it with plastic wrap. Store it at room temperature.
To Reheat: Wrap each bread in foil and bake for 10-12 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Can You Freeze Fry Bread?
You can freeze leftovers for up to 3-4 months. Just know it will not be the same quality as fresh fry bread.
First, allow the bread to cool. Then, dry each piece with a paper towel to remove excess oil.
Wrap them individually with plastic wrap and place them in a freezer-safe container.
To Reheat: Wrap each bread in foil and bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 10-15 minutes. Open the foil and heat for another 5 minutes to crisp them up.
Or, if you are in a rush, pop it in the microwave until warm.
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