Navajo Fry Bread

One or my favorite meals to have in the fall and winter seasons is Navajo tacos.  I love the chewy and crispy bread base topped with warm chili then piled with cheese, lettuce, sour cream, salsa, and olives.

Usually I just use thawed bread dough to flatten and fry for the base of my Navajo tacos.  However, I recently found a recipe to make a homemade version that seemed fairly easy.  It also used a combination of soda and yeast for leavening.  So I decided to give it a try.

The results were tasty.  My husband is never that thrilled when I make Navajo tacos for dinner.  However, he loved them with this homemade fry bread.  He told me he wouldn’t mind if I made Navajo tacos if I always made them with this fry bread.  The kids were also pleased and enjoyed every bite.  Since the recipe makes 12 fry breads, we ate the extra with a little butter and honey on them.  They were equally delicious served this way.

If you want to serve this fry bread as tacos, here are some suggestions of chili to use on them.

1.7 from 3 reviews
Navajo Fry Bread
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp active dry yeast
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¾ - 1 cup warm milk (110 degrees)
  • 1 Tbsp butter or shortening, melted
  • Canola oil, for frying
  1. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, yeast and salt. Add the melted butter or shortening to warm milk and mix well. Add ¾ cup of the milk mixture to the dry mixture and stir together until it comes together and forms a ball. The dough should be slightly sticky and elastic so you can add what is needed from the remaining ¼ cup milk of the milk mixture to get the right consistency.
  2. Cover the dough and allow to rest 10 minutes.
  3. While the dough rests, heat up 1 inch of oil in a large skillet to 350 - 360 degrees.
  4. Once the dough has rested, divide it into 12 equal pieces.
  5. On a lightly floured surface roll the dough out one piece a time, rolling each into a 6 inch circle
  6. Fry them one at a time in the hot oil. Allow to cook until golden brown, about 1 or so minutes per side.
  7. Remove from oil and drain onto a plate or baking sheet lined with paper towels. Serve warm with Navajo Taco toppings or with butter and honey.

Recipe adapted from Cooking Classy.


5 comments on “Navajo Fry Bread

  • I can understand your hubby’s disinterest in frozen bread dough fry bread. Please, please use this recipe instead. If you roll out each piece, stretch it just slightly. This creates that wonderful, bubbly texture. The greases in the frying pan needs to be very hot. It should cook up beautifully in a very short time. 2 C flour, 2tsp baking powder, 1/2tsp salt, 2TBS lard or shortening. Combine dry ingredients in bowl, cut in lard, until crumbly mixture forms, add enough warm water to form dough. 1/2 C-1C. Eyeball it. This next part is important. Cover with kitchen towel and let sit for at least 30 minutes. Longer is good. Flour your hands and workspace to roll out dough balls. Stretch that bad boy, the thinner the better, don’t worry if it tears a little. Fry it up in very hot oil. Perfect!

  • Here in New Mexico, Navajo tacos are topped with seasoned pinto beans and ground beef. Not chili or taco seasoned ground beef. Frybread is made with flour, baking powder, lard (works best) , a pinch of salt and warm water to form a dough. Supplies rationed to the Navajo people during captivity didn’t allow for luxuries such as milk, butter, yeast, and canola oil. It was a food created for survival of this resilient people.

  • It’s always funny to me to see how Utahn’s create Navajo Tacos. In Arizona the meat base is taco meat; ground meat with taco seasonings. But up here everyone uses chili. Interesting, huh?

  • Yum! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

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