Place is such an important source of inspiration to my cooking, which is why frybread slathered with beans and hot sauce will always connect me to Arizona flea markets, the fair, and summers in Michigan.
It’s comforting, humble food, and it always makes me appreciate the combination of chewy dough and wet, warm sauce.
This frybread recipe requires no yeast! It’s an authentic, Native American style quick bread that you can mix by hand or in a stand mixer. While some people like to fry their Indian bread in lard, I like to use vegetable oil in a cast iron skillet the way I’ve seen my aunt do it.
Watch How to Make Indian Frybread
This frybread is the real deal – made with flour, salt, water, and baking powder. Of course it’s amazing with honey, but I thought I’d share my favorite way to eat it with you, too. After all, the Navajo tacos is one of Arizona’s most famous dishes (it was voted the state dish in 1995).
What is a Navajo Taco?
A Navajo Taco is an open-faced Native American frybread that you eat with a knife and fork. It’s typically topped with refried pinto beans, a mild chile sauce, cheese, and iceberg lettuce.
Beef and pork are really popular additions that you can try, too.
The following section is a bonus (just in case you feel like barbecuing some pork to go with your frybread).
Chile Con Carne Topping + Tips
Start with 1 pound pork, such as country ribs or a small piece of pork shoulder.
Season with kosher salt and pepper. Preheat the oven or smoker.
Cook pork low and slow for 5 hours at 275 °F until tender.
Press dried New Mexico chiles onto a hot pan for 10 seconds each side to toast.
Add chiles, 1 garlic clove (minced), salt (to taste), and water to a blender.
Blend into a smooth sauce.
Cover cooked pork with red chile sauce and warm in the oven (275 °F) for an hour.
Shred with 2 forks or cut into small pieces and serve the pork with the sauce over the frybread.
Top Tips for Frying the Bread
- Mix the dough briefly and let it rest for 1 hour.
- Preheat the fry oil and dip a corner of the dough in the oil to test the temperature; the oil is ready when it bubbles around the dough.
- Monitor and adjust the oil temperature. You want the dough to puff up in the center within about 1 minute.
Making Ahead and Serving
Frybread is best enjoyed fresh out of the frying pan. That said, you can make the dough ahead and store it in the refrigerator for up to 1 day. Remove it about 1 hour before rolling and frying.
Since nothing beats fresh frybread, I like to slather the first piece with honey and powdered sugar. I eat this while I fry in batches — it tastes just like a fresh donut. Then I pile on all the fix-ins, especially chile sauce.
- sour cream
- chile sauce such as red or green enchilada sauce
- meat (*see my barbecued chile con carned recipe below)
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Indian Frybread (Navajo Tacos)
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 1/2 tbsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 cups warm water
- vegetable oil for frying
- 1 pound pork see barbecue pork notes*
- 2 cups refried beans
- 4 oz cotija or cheddar cheese shredded
- 1 head ice-burg lettuce thinly sliced
- 1 tomato diced
- 2 tbsp sour cream
- Add flour, salt, and baking powder to a medium bowl. Stir to combine. Now add the water, a bit at a time while stirring. Gather into a dough with your hands, squeezing a bit to disperse the flour.
- Place a slightly damp cloth or plastic wrap over the bowl. Rest for 1-2 hours.
- Divide the dough into 8 equal portions. Flour a work surface and roll until 1/4" thick (or shape with your hands). Keep the dough covered to prevent if from drying out.
- Pour vegetable oil into a skillet so that the depth is about 1 1/2". Warm over medium heat. Tear off a tiny piece of dough to test the temperature. It's ready when the dough bubbles right away (350°F).
- Gently lay a piece of dough in the hot oil and rotate it with tongs when it's golden and puffy. Cook the other side for a couple minutes, just until golden brown. Set on a tray lined with paper towels to drain excess oil.
- Top with honey and powdered sugar (elephant ears) or serve as a Navajo taco (see notes).
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