You only need 5 pantry friendly ingredients to make this vegan homemade flatbread! It’s ready in under an hour, with most of the time being a hands-off resting of the dough. Use them as sandwich wraps, tear into pieces and scoop up dips, make rollups with jam or nut butter, or enjoy them plain!
When it comes to flatbread, I’m team make-your-own. Sure it’s a little bit of mixing and rolling and cooking, but if you’ve ever torn into warm, freshly cooked flatbread you get it.
Store bought, pre-made flatbreads can’t hold a candle to the fresh homemade ones. I’m not above buying them, assuming I can even dairy free ones to fit my vegan diet, but usually enjoy them as a homemade treat.
A good flatbread is something that can be enjoyed on its own, buttery and tender, but sturdy and flexible enough to hold up to rolling into a sandwich wrap or scooping up dips with torn pieces.
A lot of cuisines have their version of flatbread, from Indian naan and roti (plus like 500 other kind) to Mexican tortillas, and pita to lavash to laobing (a Chinese flatbread). It seems like there are infinite ways to combine, roll out, and cook wheat doughs into flatbread.
This recipe is sort of the middle ground of flatbread. Not too thick, not too thin, nothing fancy. Just good simple flatbread.
My homemade flatbread is a 5-ingredient vegan flatbread. It’s yeast-free, which means it’s a flexible recipe, and doesn’t need to be made within a narrow window of time.
It takes about 5 minutes to make the dough, 30 minutes to let rest (longer is ok), and a couple minutes to cook each bread stovetop. While the dough rests you can work on the rest of your meal, or take a nap!
This section is short because you only need 5 ingredients to make this yeast-free flatbread!
- Flour – I use all purpose flour to make the softest bread.
- Baking Powder – A little bit of baking powder gives the flatbread some lift for fluffy edges and puffy centers.
- Salt – It makes things taste good!
- Vegan Butter – fat helps tenderize the flatbreads to keep them from getting tough. It also helps improve their shelf life! While the vegan butter gives a great flavor, you can substitute oil if you prefer. Refined coconut oil (so it is deodorized), canola oil, safflower oil or other neutral tasting oil, or olive oil are great choices.
- Water – You need to turn it into dough somehow right?!
Making the flatbread dough:
The key to good flatbread is to 1) start with quality ingredients, and 2) take care with the method.
The first step is to whisk the dry ingredients together to combine and fluff up the flour. This will help keep your flatbreads fluffy and consistent.
Next, rub the vegan butter (or oil) right into the dry ingredients. This step is fun because you can get right in there with your [clean!] hands. Rub the butter into the flour until it is crumbly.
Rubbing the fat into the flour coats some of the flour with the fat which keep sit from forming too tough of a gluten network by “shortening” the dough. This helps keep the breads nice and soft.
Add the water and mix it together to make a shaggy dough, then knead it until it makes a smooth dough. If kneading by hand it will take about 5 minutes.
Knead it on a flour-dusted counter but try not to add too much flour, and only add it as needed. The dough will start hydrating during kneading and continue doing so during the rest, turning less sticky as it does so.
If you have a stand mixer then it will knead in 3-4 minutes. After the stand mixer has had a go of kneading, transfer the dough onto the counter and knead a few times by hand so that you can make sure it doesn’t need any adjustments of extra flour or water.
The final dough should feel smooth and supple, just lightly sticky but really sticking to your hands.
Pour a little oil into the mixing bowl (or stand mixer bowl) and roll the dough ball in it to coat, then let rest while covered for a half an hour.
Resting the dough is an essential step.
During the rest the flour in the dough hydrates and the gluten network (which is the protein network that makes wheat breads bready) relaxes.
The gluten relaxing is what lets you roll out the dough without having it fight you and snap back into a smaller size.
You can let the dough rest for longer than 30 minutes, but a half an hour is really the minimum time you should let the dough rest.
If you want it to go longer, place the dough in a sealed container in the fridge and use it any time in the next day. It may start to oxidize and get a greyish hue, but that won’t affect the taste.
Rolling and cooking the homemade flatbread:
Once your dough has rested, decide on the size you want your flatbreads. I’m giving instructions for a medium flatbread, about 6-inches in diameter.
The dough can make:
- 10 five-inch flatbreads, with about 55g / 2oz balls of dough
- 8 six-inch flatbreads, with about 68g / 2.5oz balls of dough
- 6 eight-inch flatbreads, with about 91g / 3.25oz balls of dough
Divide up your dough depending on how large you want the flatbread and roll each piece into a ball. Keep them covered and work with one ball of dough at a time.
Before rolling out the dough ball, dip it into flour and roll to coat. Then tap off excess flour and place on a clean counter, cutting board, or wood rolling board (called a chakla, this is a popular tool in Indian kitchens).
Roll the dough out, picking it up and rotating regularly to roll evenly across it. You shouldn’t need to add more flour, but if it is sticky then add a light dusting of flour to the board and rolling pin.
Once it reaches the size you’re going for (hint: they’re listed above and dependent on the size of dough ball you are using) then pick it up and transition it between your hands once or twice to allow any excess flour to fall of the dough. If this is too tricky, don’t worry about this step and get comfortable with handling the dough first.
Cook the flatbreads on a large skillet or griddle.
Preheat it over medium heat and do not add any oil. These are cooked “dry” which means that they are not cooked in oil!
This is why you want to make sure you don’t have a floury dough, because any flour stuck on the rolled bread can burn on the pan.
The flatbread will cook for about 2 minutes, one minute per side. If it is cooking too quickly turn the heat down, and if it’s taking too long to cook turn the heat up.
It will start to puff in the center (or off to the side depending) and these air filled pockets will develop blackened spots when flipped as the bubbles take the brunt heat from the pan. It’s beautiful.
Steam the flatbreads:
Ok, this is probably the most important step of all–once the flatbreads are done cooking they need to be placed in a sealed container to steam.
I use a tortilla warmer for this, but you can also use a casserole dish with a lid, or put it in a zip lock bag.
Place a tea towel or a square of paper towel underneath the flatbreads or wrapped around them to collect excess moisture so they don’t get soggy.
This steaming is what gives you foldable and rollable and super supple flatbreads. DO NOT SKIP!
It also keeps your flatbreads warm while you cook up the rest and wait for the rest of your meal to be ready.
You’ll want to let them steam for at least a minute, but just keep them in there while you cook the rest up and they’ll have plenty of time!
And now that you have more information than you ever thought you’d need about flatbread, it’s time to go off and try making some!
If you make these vegan homemade flatbreads, leave a comment below and rate the recipe on the recipe card. And please share your photos with me on Instagram, tag @thecuriouschickpea and #thecuriouschickpea. I love seeing your recreations!
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- 2 1/2 cups (325g) all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp (42g) vegan butter*
- 3/4 cups (176mL) water, room temperature
- In a large mixing bowl or bowl of a stand mixer combine the flour, baking powder and salt and whisk to combine.
- Add the vegan butter or oil and rub it into the flour with your fingers until the dry mixture is crumbly.
- Add water and mix with wooden spoon until shaggy.
- Knead the dough by hand for 5 minutes on a lightly floured countertop, or use a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment on low for 3-4 minutes, until the dough is smooth and supple. If kneading with a stand mixer, knead the dough few times by hand when done to check if any adjustments of flour or water are necessary.
- Drizzle some oil in the mixing bowl and roll the dough ball in the oil to coat. Cover the bowl with a damp towel, lid, or plastic wrap and set aside for 30 minutes to rest at room temperature. Or you can place the dough in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 1 day.
- Divide the dough into 8 pieces of dough, about 2.5oz each. You can make larger or smaller flatbreads by making dividing the dough into more or fewer dough balls as needed (see post for details).
- Keep the dough covered, and removing one at a time, dip it in flour to coat, then place on a wooden board or clean counter. Press flat with your hand into a disk, then roll out with a rolling pin to about 6 inches in diameter.
- Preheat a skillet over medium heat (do not add oil!) and cook the flatbreads for about 1 minute per side. Adjust heat as needed so they don't cook too quickly or slowly.
- Place cooked flatbread in an airtight container such as a tortilla warmer or a ziplock bag along with a paper towel or tea towel and seal to let the flatbreads steam. Let steam while cooking the remaining flatbreads, or at least 3 minutes. This step makes the bread extra soft.
*substitute oil for the vegan butter, use refined (deodorized) coconut oil, canola oil or other neutral flavored oil, or olive oil instead.
Store leftovers with a paper towel in a sealed container (like a silicon reusable bag or a ziplock bag) at room temperature for a day or a week in the fridge.
Warm up in the microwave with a damp paper towel or on a warm skillet (cover to let steam).
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 181Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gSodium: 314mgCarbohydrates: 30gFiber: 1gProtein: 4g
Nutrition is calculated automatically so should be used as an estimate.