A Spicy Perspective

Navajo Fry Bread Recipe (Indian Tacos)

Easy Navajo Fry Bread Recipe – This bubbly bread makes a marvelous sweet or savory snack! Or to make the ultimate Indian Tacos!

Many Indian tacos served with many different toppings

Navajo Fry Bread

It starts in the summer and goes through the fall. At every festival, fair, and carnival you will find bubbly golden delicious fried dough topped with all sorts of mouthwatering toppings. (At least where I grew up in Oklahoma.)

And long lines of patrons eagerly await their turn to get their hands and mouths on it. You can almost taste it.

But who wants to wait in long lines at the fair? You can make your own Easy Navajo Fry Bread Recipe at home.

All you really need is a few ingredients and something to fry it in.

large stack of fried bread

What Ingredients You Need

​​For the Navajo Bread Recipe:

  • All-Purpose Flour
  • Baking Powder
  • Salt
  • Hot Milk
  • Hot Water
  • Oil for frying

For the Navajo Tacos:

  • Ground Beef
  • Chopped Onions
  • Minced Garlic
  • Chili Powder
  • Ground Cumin
  • Salt
  • Smoked Paprika
  • Drained Red Kidney Beans
  • Diced Tomatoes
  • Chopped Green Chiles
Pulling of the easy dough to make tortilla shapes

Simple Dough Recipe for Indian Fry Bread

Easy Navajo Fry Bread is made from a very simple dough. I’ll bet you already have everything you need to make it.

No need to worry about the frying either. No deep fryer or gallons of oil is necessary for this recipe. You can make Easy Indian Fry Bread in a skillet with only an inch of oil, or less.

  1. Mix together the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Heat the milk and water together. Then slowly add the hot liquid mixture to the dry ingredients a little at a time while mixing with your fingers until it forms a ball that pulls away from the side of the bowl. If needed, add more flour to the dough if it is still too sticky. 
  3. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rest for 10 minutes. 
  4. Then heat your oil to 375 degrees F. 
  5. Meanwhile, cut the dough into 10 equal balls. Then flatten them and slowly pull the edges (or roll out the dough) until it becomes a 6 to 7 inch disk (the thinner the better). Make sure to make all 10 disks so they can rest before frying. 
  6. Make a tiny hole in the middle of each disk, so the dough doesn’t balloon up as it fries. Lay them out in a single layer so they don’t stick together.
  7. Gently lay one dough disk in the hot oil pressing down with tongs so the oil goes over the top of the dough. Fry until golden brown around edges, then turn over and cook until the color matches, usually 20-30 seconds per side. Drain on paper towels. 

This brings back memories of mom experimenting with canned biscuits and a fry daddy, all the kids waiting to burn their mouths on the sizzling confections… Although frybread made from scratch is SO much better in taste and texture than fried canned biscuits.

Versatile Indian Fry Bread

Navajo Fry Bread is extremely versatile. It can be made for any meal from breakfast to dinner, snacks, and desserts.

Top it with cinnamon sugar, honey, butter, fruit, eggs, cheese, and more. Our Navajo Fry Bread is so simple and inexpensive to make you will want to try it with many different toppings!

For variety, use it in place of bread or tortillas. You can also try making it gluten-free or whole grain.

Indian Tacos for the Win!

But best of all, use this fry bread to make traditional southwest Navajo Tacos at home.

  1. Make a quick chunky ground beef taco meat, with beans and green chiles. 
  2. Then spoon it over the Indian fry bread and top with shredded lettuce, pico de gallo, sliced black olives, and sour cream.

If you are really short on time you can make easy Navajo Fry Bread with pre-made dough, such as frozen rolls or pizza dough. Follow thawing directions on the package.

Yet homemade dough tastes the best!

Optional Navajo Taco Toppings

There are many ingredient options that you can top your tacos with, just like they do in southwest taco shops…

  • shredded lettuce
  • pico de gallo
  • diced red onion
  • shredded cheese
  • sliced black olives
  • chopped cilantro
  • avocado slices
  • sour cream
  • queso fresco
  • hot queso dip
  • lime wedges

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Do These Last?

Naturally, they are best right after they are made, but Navajo bread can be stored for a day or two at room temperature. After they are fried, they start losing their structural quality pretty quickly, so you may need to reheat them in the oven. 

Can I Freeze This Recipe?

You can freeze the dough for this recipe, but it takes a little extra work to do so. Lay the separated dough balls on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper or wax paper, about 2 inches apart. Place the sheet pan in the freezer for as long as it takes for the exterior of the dough to freeze solid. Then take them out and wrap them separately with plastic wrap and store them in a heavy-duty freezer bag. 

When you are ready to use the dough, switch the dough balls to the fridge the night before and unwrap them while they are still cold. Before frying, allow them to become room temperature then roll them out or pull them into the disk shape. Then continue with the recipe as written. 

Can I Use An Airfryer? 

Yes you can. Spray the air fryer with nonstick cooking spray and cook one at a time in an air fryer at 375 to 400 degrees F for just a couple of minutes each. 

How Do I Make Them The Sweet Cinnamon Way?

Enjoy the fry bread as-is sprinkled with cinnamon sugar. Mix 2 tablespoons of sugar with 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon. Then sprinkle it over the hot fried bread!

What Kind Of Oil Can I Use?

As for the oil, peanut or vegetable oil works great but shortening, lard, or other types of oil may be used as well. Make sure you use an oil good for high heat cooking.

Indian tacos served on a black dish

Other Great Indian Recipes

navajo tacos + fry bread recipe
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Navajo Fry Bread Recipe (Indian Tacos)

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Easy Navajo Fry Bread Recipe and Tacos – Bubbly flatbreads you can enjoy as-is, use is tacos and wraps, or sprinkle with cinnamon sugar for easy desserts!
Servings: 10 pieces

Ingredients

For the Navajo Fry Bread Recipe:

For the Navajo Tacos:

Optional Taco Toppings:

  • shredded lettuce
  • pico de gallo
  • shredded cheese
  • sliced black olives
  • chopped cilantro
  • avocado slices
  • sour cream
  • lime wedges

Instructions

  • For the Navajo Fry Bread: Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Heat the milk and water together. once hot, slowly add in the hot liquid a little at a time, mixing with fingers until it forms a ball that pulls away from sides of the bowl.
  • Add more flour or water as needed to form a dough that is not too sticky. Cover and let the dough rest for 10 minutes. Pour 1 inch of oil in a large skillet. Set a thermometer on the edge of the skillet and heat to 375 degrees F.
  • Meanwhile, cut the dough into 10 equal pieces. Flatten the balls and gentle stretch out the edges while turning to form a 6-7 inch disks. The thinner the better. (You could also roll them out on a lightly floured board, but pulling the dough is more fun.) Roll them out all at once, so they have a little time to rest before they go in the fry. Restretch them right before placing in the oil if needed.
  • Make a tiny hole in the middle of each disk, so the dough doesn't balloon up as it fries. Lay them out in a single layer so they don't stick together.
  • Gently lay one dough disk in the hot oil pressing down with tongs so the oil goes over the top of the dough. Fry until golden brown around edges, then turn over and cook until the color matches, usually 20-30 seconds per side. Place on paper towels to drain. Repeat until all the dough disks are cooked. *For lighter more flexible fry bread fry quickly, but if you want them crunchy, fry a little longer per side to golden-brown.
  • For the Navajo Tacos: Set a large skillet or saute pan over medium heat. Add the ground beef to the skillet. Break the meat into small pieces with a wooden spoon. Once it starts releasing its fat, add in the chopped onions, garlic, and all pieces. Continue cooking the meat until it is well browned. Then mix in the kidney beans, toamtoes, and green chiles. Simmer another 2-3 minutes. Then turn off the heat.
  • Once the Indian Fry Bread and Taco Meat are ready, start building tacos. Scoop the taco meat onto the fry bread. Then top with shredded lettuce, pico de gallo, and any other topping you like. Serve warm.

Notes

Cinnamon Navajo Fry Bread
Enjoy the fry bread as-is sprinkled with cinnamon sugar. Mix 2 tablespoons of sugar with 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon. Then sprinkle it over the hot fry bread!

Nutrition

Serving: 1taco, Calories: 385kcal, Carbohydrates: 33g, Protein: 15g, Fat: 10g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 33mg, Sodium: 561mg, Potassium: 579mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 303IU, Vitamin C: 9mg, Calcium: 115mg, Iron: 4mg
Course: Appetizer, Dessert
Cuisine: Native American
Author: Sommer Collier

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24 comments on “Navajo Fry Bread Recipe (Indian Tacos)”

  1. I love this fry bread! It is so pillowy and soft and it works great as a base for sweet or savory!

  2. These were absolutely delicious! Can’t wait to make these again.

  3. This is so good and so easy to make! My kids really loved it!

  4. This is one of the best fry bread recipes I have found in a while! I love mixing it with cinnamon and sugar when I get the urge for something sweet! a must try!

  5. Can I use my tortilla press to flatten these?

  6. I didn’t make this, however, this seems to be the best recipe that I’ve seen. (I have recently lost my recipe file box). The ORIGINAL recipe came about because the People were forced on to reservations , on land that that the didn’t know (sometimes), and had no food. The US Gov’t then provided flour, dry milk, and other “basic” supplies. The People figured out how to make bread with what was given them. I lived in Arizona, spent a lot of time in New Mexico, had friends that were Navajo, spent time on the Rez, etc., so I know what I’m tslking about.

  7. Super delicious! For the water I used three fourths cup of hot water, one quarter cup Icelandic yogurt. To help make dough patties I oiled my hands & the dough, it was sticky dough. Thanks for the recipe!

  8. Has anyone ever tried this in the air fryer?

    • Nicole, I have used my air fryer. At 375 -400* I did one at a time and they puffed up and browned. Reduces the fat.  My grandson prefers black beans and cheese filling and once filled they can reheat in air fryer too with foil or parchment. If using parchment I would anchor it with food otherwise it tends to get sucked up into the heating elements and could cause a fire. Vicki 

  9. Being a male Brit I first tried Navajo fry bread 20 years ago in Mexican Hat, Utah and adored it, why I have never tried to make my own before I will never know.
    This recipe was so simple and quick its unbelievable, the result was fantastic there was a slight tweak on the recipe in as much that I used spelter flour and I ddn’t have powdered milk so used normal milk instead, minus the hot water of course and halved the ingredients which was just enough for 2
    If you like Navajo fry bread you will like this recipe.

  10. Its a great recipe but its not Navajo. The powdered milk says it Blackfeet. Its my grandmothers recipe except let it sit for at least an hour. The longer the better.

  11. We made these without the milk powder (vegan in our house). They turned out well! We made the last 4 pieces of dough into 2 larger “elephant ears” and sprinkled them with powdered sugar. The rest we used for tacos. They were simple and tasty. Don’t cook too long if you want them to be soft enough to fold as a taco. The crunchier ones were nice flat with melted cheese on top though (like a tostada). 

  12. I just want to mention, as someone who grew up on this stuff, that Blue Bird brand flour works best, and making the measurements approximate makes it even better (So, don’t you dare touch that level, and maybe use your hand to measure the salt instead of a measuring spoon, etc.) The powdered milk also isn’t necessary in the slightest, though it does taste great either way. Gluten-free tends to be tricky, though, as it’s harder to get it to stretch like it’s supposed to. Well, that’s all I wanted to say, so…

  13. Pingback: Store Flour in Bulk for the Long Haul | PreparednessMama

  14. I love this very versatile recipe. Have used it several times now but my favourite is to add coriander and crushed garlic in the mix. When cooked, prick all over and spread with garlic butter or cream cheese. Eat while still hot.

  15. I only have self rising flour;
    Will it work? If so, how much do I use that is equivalent to 4 cups of flour ?

  16. Hi! This looks sooooo good. But I just barely started working towards Keto. For some reason I thought this was a keto recipe when I clicked it, but I was clearly totally wrong. hahaha – I was wondering if you know if we can use a keto friendly alternative to the flour, like almond or coconut? I’ve a little too new to really know…

    Thanks!
    Elicea

    • Hi Elecea,

      You can use almond flour and coconut flour for keto. However, I can’t say for sure if it would work in this recipe. I haven’t tested it for keto. If you happen to try it, please report back! :)

  17. This was a great replacement for store bought tacos. Flour your board and hands to make this easier to knead.

  18. I’m full blooded Navajo, grew up on the reservation, and I’m a certified chef. Girl, your recipe needs some tweaking. We don’t use hot water when making our dough, it needs to be warm, slightly on the warmer side and most Navajos use milk or a powdered milk for some richness. If that makes sense. Also, bluebird flour works well, it’s what most Navajos use. Blue cap Lard works well for frying. A good hack to test the hotness of the grease is to take a small piece of dough (like crumb) and drop it in the center of the pan, if it rises instantly it’s ready, if it flops to the bottom of the pan the oil is too cold… hope you taje the pointers and try it out. best of luck!! Male sure you rest your dough before you use it, like 5 to 10 minutes and then use teaclothes to help retain some moisture. Also, when yoi lay your frybread in the oil/grease/lard poje a hole in the center with a fork, it’ll bubble and spit but it will also help the air escape the center so the bottom of the bread cooks evenly. It’s really an art. Lol These hacks will help your dough be fluffier.

  19. I make Fry Bread every year when the state fair comes around and make into Indian Taco’s with homemade chili and all the toppings. Oh, so Good.
    First’ Indian Taco’ (that is what they called them there ) I had was at the Oklahoma City State Fair many years ago and have been mixing my own ever since. Love them.
    Don’t why I only make them at Fair time. Guess they just taste better during that time.
    Now; I’m getting hungry. May just have to put this on my menu for next week. :}