Paratha Recipe (Indian Flatbread)

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Crispy, flaky paratha is the perfect side to serve with dals and curries. This traditional Indian flatbread is unleavened, and is filled with tender and crisp layers. Try my classic plain paratha recipe with step-by-step photos to make a batch for enjoying with your favorite saucy dishes.

plain paratha recipe, paratha recipe

About This Recipe

Parathas are simple flatbreads that are made with whole wheat (or atta) flour and just a few other simple ingredients. A soft dough is prepared by hand, formed and flattened, and then folded several times to create lots of flaky layers. They are then roasted to perfection and served warm with a variety of Indian dishes.

Plain parathas, like the ones made with this recipe and Lachha Paratha, are staples of Indian cuisine. In fact, they are made and enjoyed in nearly every household and restaurant.

There are also stuffed parathas like Aloo Paratha, Gobi Paratha, Mooli Paratha and Paneer Paratha, which I make often.

However, this classic paratha recipe is by far my favorite. It’s my go-to side for whenever I’m making rich gravy dishes like Paneer Butter Masala, Chana Masala, Dal Makhani or Shahi Paneer. The crunchy fried exterior and layered interior are great for scooping up these and nearly any other saucy or stew-like mains.

They are also terrific to eat by themselves, or with a cup of tea. And I love to snack on paratha with Mango Pickle or other condiments like a fruit jam.

Here I share with you two different but equally effective methods for rolling and shaping the paratha:

  • Triangle form
  • Square form

Choose whichever version looks most appealing to you!

Step-by-Step Guide

How to make Paratha

Kneading dough

1. In a large mixing bowl add 2 cups of whole wheat flour, 1 teaspoon of oil or ghee, ½ teaspoon of salt.

Add ½ cup water in portions as you go on mixing and kneading the dough. Keep in mind not to add all of the water at once.

making paratha dough in a bowl

2. Mix and knead into a smooth, soft dough. Continue to add a bit more water a splash at a time if required while kneading. Cover with a kitchen towel and set the dough aside to rest for 30 minutes.

kneadied paratha dough

Triangular folded plain paratha method

3. Pinch a medium-sized ball from the dough. Dust with flour and flatten on a clean surface that’s also dusted with a bit of flour.

paratha dough ball on a board

4. Use a rolling pin to roll the paratha dough into a circle that’s about 4 inches in diameter.

rolling paratha

5. Next, use the back of a spoon to spread some ghee (or oil) to coat the surface of the dough circle.

applying oil on rolled paratha

6. Fold the dough circle in half with the spoon.

half rolled paratha

7. Now spread some more ghee on this folded half of dough.

applying oil on rolled paratha

8. Fold sideways to create a triangle shape, like in the photo below.

rolled folded paratha

9. Dust some flour on the folded triangle.

applying flour on rolled paratha

10. Roll the folded triangle back into a round disc of dough or in a triangular shape.

rolling paratha

11. As you roll you can add some flour as needed to keep the dough from sticking. The dough should be rolled into a circle that’s about 6 to 7 inches in diameter.

rolled paratha

Square folded plain paratha method

This method does not change the taste of the paratha, but does create a more square-shaped flatbread.

12. To make a square version of paratha, first flatten a medium-sized ball of dough on a lightly dusted board. Roll out to form a circle of about 4 to 5 inches in diameter.

rolling paratha

13. Use a spoon to evenly spread some ghee or oil on the rolled dough.

applying oil on rolled paratha

14. Bring one side of the rolled dough towards the center and press lightly. Spread more ghee on the folded part.

rolling paratha and applying oil or ghee

15. Fold the opposite side of the rolled dough on top of the folded part. Press lightly, and again spread the ghee on this second folded part.

rolling paratha and applying oil or ghee

16. Next, fold the right side of the paratha dough to bring it towards the center. Spread some ghee on this fold, too.

rolling paratha and applying oil or ghee

17. Lastly, fold the left side on top of the right fold. You should have a nice little bundle of dough, like in the photo below.

rolling paratha and applying oil or ghee

18. Sprinkle some flour on the folded paratha.

rolled paratha dusted with flour

19. Begin to roll. Add some more flour if needed while rolling so that the dough doesn’t stick.

rolling paratha on a board

20. Roll the dough into a square shape.

rolling square paratha on a board

Cooking plain paratha

21. Once you’ve rolled out all of the paratha dough discs or square, heat a tawa (skillet) over medium heat on the stovetop. Working one at a time, place one of the paratha onto the tawa.

To test the hotness of the skillet, sprinkle a few pinches of flour in the center. if it browns in a few seconds, the tawa is hot enough to begin with the paratha roasting. With a kitchen napkin, wipe off these browned flour particles from the skillet before you begin roasting paratha.

place paratha on tava

22. The paratha will begin to puff up and bubble from the heat. Roast paratha on a medium to high heat and do regulate the heat as needed.

A thin skillet or pan will need medium heat and a heavy skillet or pan will need medium-high to high heat.

frying paratha on skillet

23. When the bottom of the paratha is about ¼ of the way browned (you will see the paratha having some air pockets), flip it over with a spatula.

frying paratha on skillet

24. Spread on some ghee.

frying paratha with ghee

25. Flip again when the second side is about ½ way cooked. You will see brown spots now.

frying paratha on skillet

26. Now spread ghee on this side.

applying ghee on second side of paratha

27. Flip again a couple of times until you see more brown spots and the paratha is cooked evenly. Transfer to a holding plate or a casserole container or a roti basket/box, and repeat the process to cook all of the flatbreads.

flip and roast paratha on tawa

28. Serve the plain paratha right away while hot or store in a roti basket until ready to enjoy.

Paratha can be served with any Indian mains like lentils, curries, gravies and even dry sautéed or steamed vegetable dishes. You can also enjoy them with mango pickle or lemon pickle.

plain paratha served in a plate

Tips + FAQs

How can I make extra crispy paratha?

If you want more crisp parathas then simply fry them for a bit longer on each side to get more brown crunchy spots.

What dishes go well with paratha?

Enjoy homemade Indian flatbread warm with lentil recipes like dal makhani or mango pickle or green chilli pickle, or any Indian vegetable curry or any paneer gravy.

How long do homemade paratha keep well?

These breads are best when enjoyed as soon as they are made. If you serve them after storing or resting for some minutes, the crispy texture is not there and they soften, but the paratha still tastes delicious. For health reasons, I recommend to eat the parathas the day they are made and not make ahead or store them for the next day.

More Paratha recipes

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paratha recipe, plain paratha recipe

Paratha Recipe (Indian Flatbread Recipe)

4.86 from 28 votes
Crisp as well as soft unleavened whole wheat flat Indian bread. Plain paratha are popular breakfast or tiffin recipe that can be served with pickle or any side veggie dish.
Prep Time 35 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 1 hr 5 mins

Cuisine Indian
Course: Breakfast
Diet: Vegetarian
Difficulty Level: Moderate

Servings 3
Units

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour (atta) – 240 grams
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons oil or ghee (clarified butter)
  • ½ teaspoon salt or add as required
  • ½ cup water or add as required
  • oil or ghee add as required, for roasting

Instructions

Kneading dough

  • In a bowl take whole wheat flour, salt, oil. Add water in portions and begin to mix and knead the dough.
  • Mix and then knead into a smooth, pliable, soft dough. 
  • Add more water if required while kneading. 
  • Cover and keep the dough aside for 30 minutes.

Method to make triangular folded paratha

  • Pinch a medium sized ball from the dough. Flatten and dust with some flour.
  • With a rolling pin, roll into a circle of about 4 inches diameter.
  • Spread some ghee on the dough circle. Fold in a half.
  • Now spread some ghee on this half folded dough.
  • Fold sideways and this time you will get a folded triangle.
  • Dust some flour on the folded triangle. Now begin to roll the folded triangle.
  • Add some flour if required and roll into a circle of about 6 to 7 inches diameter.

Method to make square folded paratha

  • Roll a medium sized ball on a lightly dusted board to a circle of about 4 to 5 inches in diameter.
  • Spread some ghee on the rolled dough.
  • Bring one side of rolled dough towards the center and press lightly.
  • Now spread again some ghee on the folded part.
  • Fold the opposite side of the rolled dough on top of the folded part. Press lightly.
  • Again spread some ghee on this second folded part.
  • Fold the right side and bring towards the center. Spread some ghee on this fold too.
  • Lastly fold the left side on top of the right fold.
  • Sprinkle some flour on the folded paratha.
  • Begin to roll. Add some more flour if required while rolling. Roll into a square paratha.

Roasting paratha

  • Heat a skillet or tawa or a frying pan and place the rolled paratha on it. The skillet should be medium hot.
  • You will soon see the paratha puffing up from the base at some places and will also see some air pockets on this side.
  • Flip the paratha when the base is ¼ cooked. Spread some ghee or oil.
  • Flip again when the second side is about ½ cooked. You will see brown spots now.
  • Spread some ghee or oil on this side now.
  • Flip again a couple of times till you see more brown spots and the paratha is cooked evenly. You can press the edges of the paratha with a spatula, if needed.
  • Make all parathas this way. Either serve them hot or stack them in a roti basket.
  • Serve these plain paratha with any indian dal or vegetable curry or pickle.

Notes

  • The recipe can be doubled or tripled.
  • If the dough looks dry, then add some water. If the dough looks sticky and moist, then add some extra flour and knead again.
  • For a vegan paratha, use any neutral flavored oil for layering and roasting paratha. 
  • To make the parathas more crispy you can fry them for a bit longer on each side so that you get more brown crunchy spots.

Nutrition Info Approximate values

Nutrition Facts
Paratha Recipe (Indian Flatbread Recipe)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 374 Calories from Fat 126
% Daily Value*
Fat 14g22%
Saturated Fat 8g50%
Cholesterol 30mg10%
Sodium 389mg17%
Potassium 290mg8%
Carbohydrates 58g19%
Fiber 9g38%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 11g22%
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) 1mg67%
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 1mg59%
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 4mg20%
Vitamin B6 1mg50%
Vitamin E 1mg7%
Vitamin K 2µg2%
Calcium 27mg3%
Vitamin B9 (Folate) 35µg9%
Iron 3mg17%
Magnesium 110mg28%
Phosphorus 286mg29%
Zinc 2mg13%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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This Paratha Recipe post from the archives (June 2010) has been republished and updated on 2 June 2021.

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Welcome to Dassana's Veg Recipes. I share vegetarian recipes from India & around the World. Having been cooking for decades and with a professional background in cooking & baking, I help you to make your cooking journey easier with my tried and tested recipes showcased with step by step photos & plenty of tips & suggestions.

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41 Comments

  1. I have made this recipe 4 or 5 times now and it is so wonderful. Thank you for the detailed steps and photos.5 stars

  2. Hi dassana, I have never used ghee while kneading the dough.. what difference does it make?

    1. ghee give a nice good taste in the parathas. not much of a difference as far as the texture is concerned. even with oil parathas can be soft.

      1. 🙂 Actually I meant to say that I don’t use ghee/oil while making the dough (I use it only when rolling & then frying).. So I want to know why you used it at the dough-making stage?

        1. both ghee and oil just help in making the chapatis or parathas soft. thats the only reason.

  3. Wanted to compliment you, good recipe. I spent the entire day making parathas and they we’re hard as a rock so I figured out finally what was wrong. This was my first time making by hand so the things I was doing wrong might help someone else that is new to making them too. First I wasn’t kneeding long enough, 10 minutes worked. Also I was rolling dough with too much flour. And I let my dough rest in the frig and then cooked while still very cold, It worked much better when I let the dough rest at room temp then cooked and finally what made the biggest difference was when rolling I didn’t flip I rolled only one side then put that side directly on the pan until it rose turning round and round and pressing lightly then flipped to other side for a few seconds then put directly on flame and it puffed up beautiful. I didn’t have atta only all purpose so that probably had a lot to do with it too. But I hope my mistakes help someone else. Thanks again for the wonderful recipe.5 stars

    1. thanks you melmel. also thanks for sharing the suggestions from the mistakes that have happened. in india, we are so used to making parathas, that it never occurs to us that there can be mistakes too. i am sure your detailed comment will help readers who are trying to make parathas for the the first time.

    2. Thanks! This was great feedback. I was making the same mistakes. This is by far the best recipe – the directions and proportion on ingredients is on point. I used the dough blade on my food processor just because I didn’t want to kneed the dough and the parathas came out soft and fluffy. I also used a non-stick frying pan instead of a tava.5 stars

      1. Welcome Nudrat. Glad to know that you liked the paratha recipe. Thanks for sharing your inputs.

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