Delicious Homemade Fry Bread—aka “Navajo Tacos” or “Indian Bread”—pillows of dough, fried until crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Make it a meal by adding sweet or savory toppings!
What is Indian Fry Bread/Navajo fry bread?
Have you ever had Indian Fry Bread before?
It’s also known as a “Navajo Taco,” but we typically just call it “Fry Bread.” We’ve also called them “Pop Overs” too – lots of names for lots of goodness, and especially popular here in Arizona and New Mexico.
If you haven’t had these before you know how amazing they are! The recipe I’m sharing today is one we’ve used since I was little, passed on from my grandma and great grandma.
Others in my family pour honey over them and a few also like to add powdered sugar and just eat it as is. No matter how you eat, no one can deny they’re DELICIOUS!
How to Make FrY Bread
This recipe for Indian fry bread only requires FOUR ingredients! And chances are you probably already have all of these on hand.
- Baking Powder
- Water (warm)
MAKING DOUGH BALLS: Sift flour, salt, baking powder together and place in a medium bowl. Add hot water. Mix with your hands until dough forms (dough should be a little sticky). Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.
While dough is resting, add oil to a large sauce pan that is about 1-2 inches deep and heat on MED-HIGH heat (it should be about 350 degrees when ready to fry).
Break off the pieces of dough into golf-ball sized balls (about 1.5” wide).
ROLL OUT& FRY. Using a pastry roller, roll dough onto a lightly floured surface to about 6-7 inches in diameter (the dough should be thin).
Fry each piece in hot oil until dough is golden brown and poofs up (about 20 seconds), and then fry on the other side keeping it in the oil. Set on a paper towel lined plate to drain oil.
NOTE: As always, anything fried is best served fresh, so keep than in mind. 😉
ToppinGs + Tips
TOPPINGS. If you want to eat it like a Navajo Taco and pile ground beef, beans, and other toppings on, check out the recipe card below for instructions on making the toppings! Some of our favorite toppings include:
And if you want to keep things simple, you can enjoy it like many of those in my family and, just add powdered sugar to it. 😉
- To help your bread to remain flat, instead of curling up on the edges to form a bowl shape, tear a small slit in the center of each piece right before frying.
- Make sure your oil stays at a consistent temperature. If the temp is too low the bread will be tough. If it’s too hot the outside will burn before the inside cooks through.
- Keep the fried bread warm in the oven set at 200°F
MAKING ahead of time
Fry bread is one of those foods that are best freshly made, so we don’t recommend making them ahead of time. However, you can mix up the dough and store in the fridge or freezer until it’s time to fry.
Dough in the fridge: Cover bowl with plastic wrap or transfer dough to a ziplock bag. Store for 1-2 days. Some bakers even recommend chilling the dough for a few hours before frying.
Dough in the freezer: Fry bread dough freezes well. Once your dough has been mixed portion it into 3 inch balls and flash freeze. To flash freeze line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper. Place dough balls ½ inch apart. Freeze for 3-5 hours.
Once they’ve begun to freeze, place each ball into a separate plastic baggie, then place all the balls into an airtight freezer safe container. Label and store for up to 1 month.
When you’re ready to fry, remove the desired number of balls. Leave each ball in the baggie and thaw in the fridge overnight. About 30 minutes before fry time, remove the dough from the baggie and let the dough come to room temperature. Fry according to recipe directions.
Here are our top tips for storing fry bread:
- Counter top at room temperature: Wrap the bread loosely in plastic wrap or an unsealed ziplock bag. Store for 1-2 days.
- How to freeze? Freezer: Once the bread has cooled pat each piece with a paper towel to remove any excess oil or water. Wrap each piece with plastic and store in an airtight freezer safe container. Freeze for 3-4 months.
- How to reheat? To reheat fry bread: heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Wrap each piece of fry bread in aluminum foil and bake until heated through, about 15 minutes. If you’re in a hurry you can throw it in the microwave.
Are elephant ears the same as fry bread? Though similar, there is a difference. Fry breads are thick, about 6-8 inches in diameter and topped with anything from powdered sugar to beef tacos. Whereas elephant ears are thin, bubbly, about 10-16 inches in diameter and traditionally only topped with cinnamon and sugar.
Personally, I like adding all the hearty ingredients like hamburger and beans and pile that baby up high with all the fixings. Top it off with some salsa, and it’s like heaven on a plate!
For more recipes, check out:
- Homemade Flour Tortillas
- Taco Quiche
- Cream Cheese and Chicken Taquitos
- Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas
- Mexican Lasagna
- Steak Fajitas
- Carne Asada
Fry Bread Recipe
- 2 cups pinto beans soaked overnight
- 1 lb hamburger
- sour cream
- Sift flour, salt, baking powder together and place in a medium bowl. Add hot water. Mix with your hands until dough forms (dough should be a little sticky). Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.
- While dough is resting, add oil to a large sauce pan that is about 1-2 inches deep and heat on MED-HIGH heat (it should be about 350 degrees when ready to fry).
- Break off the dough into golf-ball sized balls (about 1.5” wide).
- Using a pastry roller, roll dough onto a lightly floured surface to about 6-7 inches in diameter (the dough should be thin).
- Fry each piece in hot oil until dough is golden and poofs up (about 20 seconds), and then fry on the other side keeping it in the oil. Set on a paper towel lined plate to drain oil.
- Put soaked beans in crock pot, cover with water. Cook on low until tender (for 4-6 hours). 2 hours before beans are done, toss in 2-3 slices of chopped bacon. *You know beans are done when they start breaking up. You can also use beans from the can for an easier version.
- In the meantime. Cook up 1 lb of hamburger. Once beans are done, toss in hamburger.
- Spread beans over your fry bread and add desired toppings.