The Ultimate Guide to Reheating Leftover Naan for Optimal Taste

Naan never lasts long enough in my household to become leftovers. Just ask my 10-year-old, who can easily down a few pieces in one sitting. But as I was developing a miso garlic naan recipe for my upcoming cookbook, “Modern Asian Kitchen,” I had a mission: To research the absolute best way to reheat leftover naan to recommend to my readers. I sought out an expert, Mary Usha, my neighbor from Hyderabad. She told me to first brush the naan with some milk or water, then wrap it in a moist paper towel before microwaving it for about 10 seconds. Then she instructed, “Ghee-up a pan” and pan-fry the microwaved naan for a minute or two on each side. 

Trusting her wisdom — after all, Mary makes some of the best homemade Indian food I’ve ever tasted — I tried her method. Sure enough, the naan tasted terrific — soft, chewy, and crispy around the edges — as if I had just made it. In a pinch, Mary recommended just wetting the naan, wrapping it in a moist paper towel, and microwaving it. But microwaving and then pan-frying it is the absolute best way to reheat leftover naan.

As a recipe developer, however, I remained curious and just had to test out a few other ways to reheat leftover naan to fully vet the microwave and pan-fry method. Later, I visited Kathakali, my favorite Indian restaurant in the greater Seattle area, and I noticed something intriguing.

Oven, air fryer, skillet, or microwave? Unraveling the naan reheating conundrum

naan and indian food spread

The server at Kathakali wrapped my leftover naan in aluminum foil, so I asked: How do they suggest reheating it? Their answer? Bake it, wrapped in the foil, for up to 10 minutes at 300 to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Eager, I tried this method the next day. The outcome was intriguing — a naan that had taken on a crispy texture but with a noticeable dryness, somewhat reminiscent of a cracker. This made me think it might mimic the result of toasting naan in a conventional toaster or air fryer.

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Perhaps wetting the naan first or introducing some steam during the reheating process in the oven could have made a difference. Placing a tray of water beneath the naan while it’s baking might infuse the necessary moisture to retain its softness, all while achieving that desired crisp exterior.

I concluded my testing of different ways to reheat leftover naan. Now, I can confidently say the absolute best way to reheat leftover naan is Mary Usha’s way, to microwave and then pan-fry it. In a pinch, just microwaving the moistened naan would suffice. For those who wish to use the oven, air fryer, or toaster, introduce steam or a touch of moisture to prevent dryness. But in the end, we cannot overlook Mary Usha’s wisdom. With decades spent perfecting homemade Indian dishes for her family and, fortuitously, her eager neighbors (especially me), trusting her culinary insights seems only natural.

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