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Is naan and pizza dough same?

Naan and pizza dough may seem similar at first glance, but they are quite different in terms of ingredients, preparation methods, texture, taste and origins. While both are types of flatbread, naan has its roots in India and surrounding regions, while pizza dough evolved in Italy.

Origins and history

Naan has a long history, originating in India, Central Asia and the Middle East. References to naan date back as early as the 1300s in India. The word “naan” itself is Persian/Urdu in origin. Traditionally, naan was baked in a tandoor, which is a cylindrical clay oven fired by charcoal or wood. The high heat of the tandoor gives naan its signature puffy appearance and smoky flavor.

Pizza dough has its origins in Italy, dating back to ancient times. Flatbreads with toppings were eaten by Romans and Greeks. However, the modern pizza emerged in Naples in the late 18th or early 19th century. Pizza was brought over by Italian immigrants and became popular in the United States after World War II. Originally, pizza dough was stretched thin and baked quickly in wood-fired brick ovens, giving it a crisp crust.


While both naan and pizza dough contain flour, water and yeast, the type of flour and additional ingredients differ significantly.

Naan dough ingredients:

  • Refined white flour, such as all-purpose or bread flour
  • Water
  • Yeast
  • Salt
  • Yogurt or milk
  • Egg (optional)
  • Ghee or butter

Pizza dough ingredients:

  • Bread flour or all-purpose flour
  • Water
  • Yeast
  • Salt
  • Olive oil
  • Sugar or honey (optional)

A key difference is that naan dough contains yogurt or milk, which gives it a softer, chewier texture. Pizza dough relies solely on water for hydration. Additionally, naan dough may contain egg for added richness. Pizza dough uses olive oil for flavor and texture. Naan can also be enriched with ghee or butter.

Preparation methods

Naan and pizza dough require different techniques to be prepared properly:

Naan dough preparation:

  • Mix flour, yeast, salt together
  • Add yogurt or milk, egg and water
  • Knead thoroughly until smooth, elastic dough forms
  • Cover and let rise for a few hours
  • Knead again before dividing into balls
  • Roll out balls into ovals or teardrop shapes
  • Brush with ghee or butter
  • Bake at high heat on a tava pan or in tandoor oven

Pizza dough preparation:

  • Mix flour, yeast, salt together
  • Add water and olive oil
  • Knead until smooth, elastic dough forms
  • Let dough rise in warm environment for 1-2 hours
  • Punch down and divide into balls
  • Use rolling pin to flatten dough into rounds
  • Top as desired with sauce and toppings
  • Bake at very high heat in pizza oven

Naan dough requires a yogurt or milk enriched dough for pliability. It is shaped by hand before cooking. Pizza dough relies solely on water hydration and is rolled out with a pin. Proper pizza ovens reach over 700°F, while naan can be cooked on a stovetop.


When cooked, naan and pizza dough achieve different textures:

  • Naan: Soft, chewy, spongy, may have some charring
  • Pizza dough: Crisp, chewy, with charred air pockets

The yogurt helps give naan a soft, pillowy interior, while still achieving a nicely charred exterior in the high heat of a tandoor oven. Pizza dough develops an airy, bubbly interior with a crispy fried exterior crust in the intense dry heat of a pizza oven.


Here is how naan and pizza dough differ taste-wise:

  • Naan: Subtle sweetness, tangy flavor from yogurt, smoky charcoal taste
  • Pizza dough:Savory flavor from olive oil, complex bread-like taste, charcoal undertones

Naan gains sweetness from any sugar in the dough, along with a distinctive tang from the yogurt. Wood-fired tandoor ovens impart a smoky barbecue flavor. Pizza dough showcases the savory umami taste of good olive oil, as well as a developed bread-like flavor from fermentation. The high heat of pizza ovens also lend a slight charcoal flavor.


Due to their different textures, naan and pizza dough are used in different culinary applications:

  • Naan: Ideal for dipping, wrapping or scooping curries, kebabs, sauces. Also good on its own.
  • Pizza dough: Topped with tomato sauce, cheese and other pizza toppings before baking into a pizza pie.

The soft, pliable texture makes naan the perfect canvas for soaking up sauces and scooping up meat and vegetables. Crisp pizza dough is meant to provide a sturdy base for piling on cheese, tomato sauce and toppings.

Nutritional comparison

Here is a nutritional comparison between naan and pizza dough (per 100g):

Nutrient Naan Pizza Dough
Calories 275 266
Fat 3g 1g
Carbs 52g 55g
Protein 8g 9g
Fiber 2g 2g

Nutritionally, naan and pizza dough are fairly similar, providing carbohydrates, protein and minimal fat. However, naan contains slightly more fat due to the yogurt or ghee, while pizza dough has more carbohydrates.

Gluten content

Since both are made with refined wheat flour, naan and pizza dough contain gluten:

  • Naan: High in gluten
  • Pizza dough: High in gluten

People with celiac disease, gluten sensitivity or a wheat allergy should avoid both naan and standard pizza dough.


Naan and pizza dough can be found in different locations:

  • Naan: Indian restaurants, specialty Indian grocery stores, can be made at home
  • Pizza dough: Pizza restaurants, pizza sections of grocery stores, refrigerated dough at supermarkets, can be made at home

As an Indian staple, naan is easy to find at Indian establishments. Pizza dough is common at pizza shops and available refrigerated or frozen at markets due to pizza’s popularity worldwide.

Cost comparison

Purchased from grocery stores or restaurants, naan and pizza dough generally fall within the following price ranges:

  • Naan: $1 to $3 for a few pieces of naan
  • Pizza dough: $1 to $5 for a ball of dough to make one pizza

Naan that is freshly made in house at restaurants is more expensive. Frozen naan or dough balls are more affordable. Overall, both are reasonably priced bread options.


For best quality, naan and pizza dough should be stored:

  • Naan: Store fresh naan at room temperature up to 2 days. Freeze for longer storage.
  • Pizza dough: Refrigerate up to 5 days. Freeze for months of storage.

Since naan does not contain preservatives, it stales quickly at room temperature. Frozen naan can be thawed and revived by sprinkling with water. Pizza dough keeps longer refrigerated due to higher moisture content, and freezes well for making fresh pizza anytime.


There are many possible variations of naan and pizza dough:

Naan variations:

  • Garlic naan – topped with garlic and herbs
  • Cheese naan – stuffed with cheese
  • Keema naan – stuffed with minced meat
  • Peshawari naan – filled with nuts and raisins
  • Kulcha naan – enriched with onions, potatoes or lentils

Pizza dough variations:

  • Whole wheat pizza dough
  • Multigrain pizza dough
  • Cauliflower pizza crust
  • Thin crust vs thick crust
  • Sourdough pizza dough
  • Gluten-free pizza dough

Both flatbreads can be adapted in many ways by altering ingredients or preparation methods. Naan can be stuffed or topped with different flavors. Pizza dough variations change the flour blend or thickness.

Making at home

Here are some tips for making naan and pizza dough at home from scratch:


  • Use a stand mixer with dough hook to knead naan dough
  • Let dough rise in a warm, humid area
  • Roll and shape naan on a lightly floured surface
  • Cook naan on a cast iron skillet over high heat
  • Brush with ghee or butter
  • Stack cooked naan in a towel to keep soft

Pizza dough:

  • Use a stand mixer to knead pizza dough
  • Let dough proof in oiled bowl covered with plastic wrap
  • Punch down risen dough and divide into balls
  • Stretch dough by hand or roll into rounds
  • Top as desired and bake on a pizza stone or pan

With the right ingredients and equipment, both naan and pizza dough can be easily made at home from scratch and will taste delicious.

Comparison chart

Here is a quick overview of naan vs pizza dough differences:

Naan Pizza Dough
Place of origin India, Central Asia, Middle East Italy
Flour Refined wheat flour Bread flour or all-purpose
Leavening Yeast Yeast
Hydration Water + yogurt/milk Water
Texture Soft, chewy, spongy Crisp, chewy, airy
Flavor Tangy, sweet, smoky Savory, bread-like, charred
Use Dipping, scooping, wrapping Pizza base for toppings


While naan and pizza dough have some similarities, they differ significantly in terms of ingredients, preparation, texture, taste and usage. Naan features the addition of yogurt, milk or ghee for a softer, richer bread. Pizza dough relies solely on water for a crispier crust. Naan has roots in tandoor ovens, giving it a smoky charcoal flavor profile. Pizza dough is baked at high heat for a complex crust. Due to their unique textures, naan serves as an accompaniment to curries and stews, while pizza dough is topped to make pizzas.

So in summary:

  • Naan contains yogurt or milk, while pizza dough does not.
  • Naan is soft and pillowy, while pizza crust is crisp and chewy.
  • Naan has smoky, sweet flavors, whereas pizza dough is savory and bread-like.
  • Naan is meant for dipping and scooping, while pizza dough is a base for toppings.

While both are tasty flatbreads, naan and pizza dough ultimately have distinct histories, ingredients and uses that set them apart.