Paratha Vs Naan

Who doesn’t love bread? A staple food item, bread is one of the most popular foods across a variety of different cuisines and cultures in the world! Known for its variety of Indian breads, Indian cuisine is a shining example of this. 

As we’re sure you can certainly agree, Indian cuisine is not only known for its flavorful dishes – it’s also known for its yummy Indian bread products intended to be enjoyed on their own or even as a side dish, too!

With bread delights hailing from South India all the way to North India – there are plenty of choices to choose from, and two of the most popular flatbreads are paratha and naan bread. The only problem? Many people often confuse the two together.

In this article, we are going to be taking a closer look at these two types of bread in order to ensure that you are able to tell the difference between the two.

Below, we are going to be breaking down the differences between the two. Just read on!

Paratha vs Naan: Quick Answer

If you don’t have a whole lot of time to spare or simply want a quick summary of what the main differences are between these two types of Indian bread – this section is for you.

Paratha vs Naan

Naan and Paratha, while often used interchangeably, are two different types of bread that serve quite different purposes.

Despite the fact that they are both leavened flatbread, made with cooking oil and wheat flour before then being placed in a clay oven (or sometimes a tandoor oven) to cook – both flatbreads have slightly different tastes.

Along with this, it is also worth noting that both types of breads are known as leavened bread, which is essentially a cooking process that consists of making breads with raising agents such as yeast and other ingredients.

The key thing to note here, however, is that both types of Indian flatbread can be enjoyed as a side dish to a chickpea curry or even on their own.

However, the main thing to keep in mind is that while they are versatile, both naan and paratha are typically enjoyed as a breakfast food with both savory and sweet foods (depending on which bread) such as:

  • Cottage cheese
  • Potatoes
  • Meat such as butter chicken
  • Yogurt
  • Butter
  • Thick curries

Still, the question remains – which one is better? Well, given the fact both naan and paratha are so similar in both recipe and serving appearance, it’s hard to say which is best.

But, to help you decide which might be best for your food adventures, let’s take a look at these two popular breads that hail from India in more detail below:

Naan: A Versatile Baked Good

Naan: A Versatile Baked Good

First, let’s take a look at naan bread. This versatile bread is often made in the tandoor oven and is usually served with traditional Indian dishes such as tandoori roti.

Typically, the tandoor, which is similar to that of a clay oven, perfectly prepares this flatbread before then being served hot with fresh spices, yogurt, melted butter, and more.

Naan Recipe

As for the recipe? While there are many variations, the main ingredients used to make naan bread often consist of things such as wheat flour, cooking oil, milk, baking powder, yeast, and egg.

Although keep in mind, that various other types of flour can be used to make this Indian flatbread, including whole wheat flour, refined wheat flour as well as white flour.

While it is a flatbread, the dough is often rolled out and left to sit for a few hours in order to give the flat bread more volume while it is being cooked in a tandoor.

Naan Traditional Serving Style

It is often served with lashings of butter that are intended to melt once spread across the layered flatbread. Although, naan can also be enjoyed with yogurt and even milk.

Similar to other types of Indian breads, naan bread can be stuffed to the brim with vegetables, fresh meat, and other delicious ingredients to make for a filling meal both on its own or as a side.

Paratha: The Perfect Fried Treat

Paratha: The Perfect Fried Treat

Next up we have paratha bread! Even though parathas is another type of flatbread, it has a slight difference from naan bread as it is traditionally cooked in something known as a towa.

Let’s take a closer look a this bread below:

Paratha Recipe

If you’re not sure what that is, a towa is essentially a cooking pan that is filled with cooking oil to make the deep-fried flatbread.

However, before the bread is ready to be fried, the dough (often made from wheat flour, all-purpose flour, or white flour) must be rolled out in order to create the flat bread appearance.

Similar to naan bread, paratha is also typically leavened in order to ensure maximum volume using both yeast and baking powder.

In order to ensure the leavened flatbread is optimally delicious, the unleavened dough is often pan fried until crispy and golden.

Then, once the bread has been fried in a stone frying pan (or sometimes even a hot flat griddle) it is then typically allowed to stand for a few hours before then being rolled out many times in order to create a very flaky bread.

Paratha Traditional Serving Style

Once it is ready to be eaten, paratha is typically stuffed in the way that naan bread is. However, paratha is considered to be more of a dessert bread than a savory bread, which is why it is often filled with things such as the following:

  • Cream
  • Butter
  • Fresh yogurt

Then, as the final finishing touch, lashings of caramelized sugar are often included on the top of the flat bread for a touch of sweetness. Despite this small difference, both types of flatbreads can be enjoyed at breakfast time.

Which is Healthier: Naan or Paratha?

Wondering which type of flat bread is healthier? Well, given the fact that paratha is deep fried and often topped with lashings of melted butter, caramelized sugar, and other sweet ingredients – paratha is typically considered to be the unhealthier option of the two.

This is especially true given the fact that naan is often cooked in a tandoor and gently baked until it is ready to be eaten. Despite the fact that naan is a little more bland in flavor than paratha, you can easily elevate the flavor of naan with a variety of different spices.

Along with this, you can also enjoy naan on its own as a snack, or as a side dish to a main meal.

The Bottom Line

There we have it! You’ve made it to the end of our paratha vs. naan bread post!

Now that you have taken the time to read through all of the above, we hope that we have been able to clear up any confusion that you might have had surrounding these two types of Indian breads, while also helping you to understand the differences between the two.

The only all-important question left to ask is – which bread wins? Well, it’s important to keep in mind that both naan and paratha are delicious Indian bread that can be enjoyed both together or even on their own.

Why don’t you try both types of flatbread to see which one you like best? Thank you for reading, and goodbye for now.

Picture of Kathryn Sewell

Kathryn Sewell

Hi! I'm Kate and I have been baking and cooking for as long as I can remember. I like to share the most interesting tips and recipes I try here on What Kate Baked for you to enjoy. If you have a favorite recipe you'd like to share send it over on social.

About the Author