5 Substitutes For Yogurt In Naan Bread

Naan bread is an iconic Indian flatbread that is easy to whip up at home. It is excellent as part of a breakfast, or served alongside a meal to soak up any leftover juices or sauces.

If you have worked your way through a naan bread recipe, only to realize that you don’t have any yogurt, the search for a replacement ingredient is at hand. Or, perhaps you are looking to make a vegan or dairy free version of naan bread. What are some substitutes for yogurt in naan?

A few substitutes for yogurt in naan include lactose-free yogurt, buttermilk, or sour cream. You can also use milk or creme fraiche in your favorite naan recipe. 

Substitutes For Yogurt In Naan Bread 

When baking naan bread, most recipes require yogurt or milk. This is a traditional, standard technique, passed down through the centuries. The proteins in yogurt allow naan dough to keep a soft, elastic consistency. Naan bread dough should be slightly sticky, and getting a rise is necessary for creating air pockets.

Not using yogurt in your naan bread will result in a dough that is crumbly and dry. It will be difficult to form the dough at all, much less have the correct eating consistency once it is baked.

Another important piece that yogurt brings to the table in a naan recipe is lactic acid. The lactic acid will provide the unique sourdough-like flavor that naan bread is known for. Lactic acid additionally activates the yeast, allowing it to grow faster and create carbon dioxide gas. Those gasses are what cause the dough to rise. 

It is important then when you are looking for a substitute for yogurt in naan bread that you use something that will either take the place of lactic acid, or that will serve the same purpose.  

Dairy-Free Yogurt 

If you are replacing yogurt in naan bread because you are trying to avoid dairy, your favorite brand of non-dairy or lactose-free yogurt can take its place.

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Non-dairy yogurt will not have lactic acid, as is its nature. However, it usually has a different form of acid in order to replicate the slight tanginess of yogurt. This acid will activate the yeast as needed, and the proteins and calcium within the dairy-free yogurt will help create a rise. Lactose-free yogurt usually has the same consistency and texture of dairy yogurt, meaning your dough will not dry out.


Buttermilk is an excellent substitute for yogurt in naan bread. What makes it so good is the tankiness of it. Buttermilk is known for its unique, slightly acidic flavor – a flavor that will allow the naan bread to retain its desired taste. 

Buttermilk has the necessary lactic acid, which will benefit the yeast. When you are using buttermilk in place of yogurt in naan bread, be aware that it will ferment faster. This may impact how your yeast blooms, and if it is left to ferment too long, the altered flavor of your bread will be noticeable. 

Naan made with buttermilk instead of yogurt will be slightly softer. This may be a good thing if you prefer your flatbreads to be on the more pillowy side.

Sour Cream 

A tub of sour cream is easy to find in most refrigerators. That makes it another good replacement for yogurt when making naan bread. Sour cream will also allow for the needed tankiness, and the end result will be softer and fluffier.

Do not be over generous when using sour cream in place of yogurt in naan. If you add too much, the man will be too dense and claggy.


The most simple alternative to yogurt and naan bread is milk. Whole milk will be the most helpful in this case, as it has a higher fat content. You will still get the needed lactic acid, however you may miss some of the desired acidity. 

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When replacing yogurt with milk in a non recipe, double the amount. For every 1 cup of yogurt, use two cups of warm milk. Since milk will not be as thick as yogurt, you may need to adjust other elements of the bread, like flour, to achieve the ideal consistency. 

Creme Fraiche 

Creme fraiche is thick, rich, and silky smooth and texture. It has a slight tanginess, and is made from cultured cream. Cultured cream is made by adding lactic acid bacteria to cream. The bacteria will ferment the lactose in the cream, thickening it to the desired consistency.

Because of this. It is an excellent replacement for yogurt in a lot of different recipes. This includes naan bread. The Taste will be extremely similar, even indistinguishable. 

However, it is missing some of the components, such as proteins, that come into play in generating the chewy, crispy, air-pocket-filled texture of naan. 


Naan bread takes a lot of work to make, but the end result is worth every minute. However, if you are hours into the process and only now realizing that you don’t have any yogurt, you will find yourself searching the kitchen for something else to use.

Buttermilk makes for an excellent replacement for yogurt and naan bread. It has the needed lactic acid and will allow for the tanginess to come through in the final taste of your flatbread. Sour cream or creme fraiche will also come in handy. Finally, if you have nothing else, using milk will at least help the dough rise.