Naan vs. Roti

What's the Difference?

Naan and roti are both popular types of bread commonly found in Indian cuisine. Naan is a leavened bread made with all-purpose flour, yogurt, and yeast, resulting in a soft and fluffy texture. It is typically cooked in a tandoor, a traditional clay oven, which gives it a slightly charred and smoky flavor. On the other hand, roti is an unleavened bread made with whole wheat flour and water. It is cooked on a hot griddle, resulting in a thinner and denser bread. Roti is often enjoyed as a staple in Indian households and is known for its versatility, as it can be paired with various curries and dishes. While both naan and roti are delicious bread options, they differ in terms of texture, ingredients, and cooking methods.


Photo by Frank Holleman on Unsplash
OriginIndian subcontinentIndian subcontinent
TypeLeavened breadUnleavened bread
IngredientsAll-purpose flour, yeast, yogurt, gheeWhole wheat flour, water, salt
TextureSoft and fluffyThin and chewy
PreparationBaked in a tandoor ovenCooked on a griddle or tawa
ServingOften served with curries or kebabsCommonly eaten with various dishes
ShapeTypically round or ovalRound or irregular shape
SizeVaries, but usually largerVaries, but usually smaller
Photo by Usman Yousaf on Unsplash

Further Detail


Naan and Roti are two popular types of bread that are widely consumed in various parts of the world, particularly in South Asia and the Middle East. While both Naan and Roti are unleavened breads, they differ in terms of their ingredients, preparation methods, flavors, textures, and cultural significance. In this article, we will explore the attributes of Naan and Roti, highlighting their unique characteristics and helping you understand the differences between these two delicious breads.


Naan is typically made with all-purpose flour, yeast, yogurt, milk, and ghee (clarified butter). The addition of yogurt and milk gives Naan a soft and fluffy texture, while the use of ghee adds richness and flavor. On the other hand, Roti is made with whole wheat flour, water, and sometimes a pinch of salt. The simplicity of Roti's ingredients allows it to be a healthier option, as whole wheat flour is higher in fiber and nutrients compared to all-purpose flour used in Naan.

Preparation Methods

Naan is traditionally prepared by mixing the ingredients to form a dough, which is then left to rise for a few hours. After the dough has risen, it is divided into smaller portions, rolled out into oval or round shapes, and cooked in a tandoor (a clay oven) or on a griddle. The high heat of the tandoor gives Naan its characteristic blistered and slightly charred exterior. On the other hand, Roti is made by kneading the dough and then rolling it into thin, circular shapes. The rolled dough is then cooked on a hot griddle or tawa, where it puffs up due to the steam trapped inside.

Flavors and Varieties

Naan offers a wide range of flavors and varieties. Plain Naan is the most basic version, but it can also be flavored with garlic, butter, or various herbs and spices like coriander or cumin. Additionally, Naan can be stuffed with ingredients such as cheese, minced meat, or vegetables, creating delicious variations like cheese Naan or keema Naan. On the other hand, Roti is typically enjoyed in its plain form, without any added flavors or fillings. However, it can be served with a variety of curries, vegetables, or lentils, allowing it to complement and enhance the flavors of the accompanying dishes.


Naan has a soft and pillowy texture, thanks to the addition of yogurt and milk in the dough. The use of yeast also contributes to its light and airy structure. When cooked, Naan develops a slightly crispy exterior while remaining tender and chewy on the inside. On the other hand, Roti has a more dense and chewy texture due to the absence of yeast and the use of whole wheat flour. It is thinner and less fluffy compared to Naan, making it a suitable choice for scooping up curries or wrapping around fillings.

Cultural Significance

Both Naan and Roti hold significant cultural importance in the regions where they are consumed. Naan is deeply rooted in the culinary traditions of South Asia, particularly in countries like India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. It is often served during special occasions, festivals, and celebratory meals. Naan is also a staple bread in many Indian restaurants worldwide, where it is enjoyed with various curries and tandoori dishes. On the other hand, Roti is a staple in many South Asian households, where it is consumed on a daily basis. It is considered a simple and nutritious bread that provides sustenance and is often eaten with dal (lentils) or sabzi (vegetables).


Naan and Roti are both delicious breads with their own unique attributes. Naan offers a softer texture, a wider range of flavors, and is often enjoyed on special occasions. On the other hand, Roti is a healthier option, with a denser texture and a simpler preparation method. Whether you prefer the fluffy and flavorful Naan or the nutritious and versatile Roti, both breads have their place in the culinary world and continue to be beloved by millions of people around the globe.

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