Paratha recipe – A detailed beginner’s guide to make perfect, flaky & soft parathas every time! Homemade parathas are delicious, easy, flaky yet so soft that once you make them you’ll never go back to store bought frozen parathas again. They are perfect to serve with any curry, stew or soup. They also go great with a spread of jam, pickle or chutney or simply wrap them up with your grilled veggies, fried eggs or meat for a delicious meal or snack. The options are endless & you will love your homemade parathas every time!
If you are new to Indian foods you may be wondering what these are.
Paratha are unleavened layered flatbreads made with whole wheat flour (atta), salt, water & ghee or oil. These traditional flatbreads are a staple in Indian subcontinent and are served for a breakfast with a side of curd, chutney, pickle, curries, eggs and meat dishes.
To make parathas, first a soft and pliable wheat flour dough is made. Later portions of this is rolled to a layer, over which ghee is smeared and folded several times to make a triangle or square base. This is then rolled to get several thin layers & lastly this is roasted on a griddle until golden and cooked through.
During the process of roasting, steam traps in between the layers which help to cook the dough well resulting in multiple soft layers of paratha. A generous amount of ghee is then drizzled to impart a nutty aroma and flaky crisp texture to the paratha.
Basically these are of 2 kinds – plain or layered parathas and stuffed parathas. The plain parathas are made the way I mentioned above. Stuffed parathas are made with a stuffing of veggies, eggs or meat inside the dough. Aloo parathas are one of the popular stuffed kind.
The plain layered parathas can also be further flavored by adding various spices, pureed spinach, boiled vegetables, mashed paneer or chopped leafy greens. For more details you may check the variations section below.
The beauty of these parathas is that they are easy to make and requires no special skills like the stuffed parathas. These can also be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator for several days or even frozen.
These make for a great breakfast with some egg bhurji or paneer bhurji. They also go well in the school and office lunch box. Here are some curries that go well with these parathas.
Paneer butter masala
Mix vegetable curry
How to make paratha (stepwise photos)
1. Add 2 cups or 250 grams whole wheat flour (atta), ¼ tsp salt (optional) and 2 tsps oil (optional) to a mixing bowl.
2. To knead the dough I use 1 cup water for 2 cups flour, it may vary slightly depending on the kind of flour. Add ¾ cup plain water over the salt and oil. You can also use luke warm water.
3. Begin to mix the flour. Use your fingers to mix.
4. Use water as needed and make a non sticky tight dough.
5. Begin to knead the dough on the kitchen counter or a wide utensil. If the dough is too tight and difficult to knead, I dip my fingers in a bowl of water just to moisten them. Then continue to knead. I repeat this until the dough turns soft.
6. After kneading the texture of the dough must be soft and pliable.
7. Wrap it with a moist cloth or just cover it. Cover & set aside for at least 30 mins.
8. Divide the dough to 8 equal parts and make smooth balls. You can also knead the dough again and then roll to balls. Keep them covered until we finish using them up.
How to roll paratha – square
9. I suggest using melted ghee for rolling since it is easy to control the quantity used. You can melt the ghee in a small bowl and set aside. Lightly flour the rolling area . Flatten a ball. Sprinkle flour over it.
10. Roll the dough to a round layer. Smear ghee evenly using your fingers. You can substitute ghee with oil. Optionally you can also sprinkle some dry flour here.
11. Fold 1/3 of the roti as shown in the picture below. Repeat applying ghee.
12. Fold the other 1/3 and apply ghee.
13. Repeat the folding.
14. Finish off.
15. Roll this evenly to a paratha. You can also sprinkle some flour before rolling. I prefer to roll 4 to 5 parathas and finish frying them to prevent drying up. Then finish rolling and frying the rest.
Making triangle parathas
16.I made a round layer first and then sprinkled carom seeds. It is optional.
17. Fold it to half.
18. Fold it to a quarter.
19. Roll it to a thin paratha. Do not make it too thin.
20. While you roll the rest, heat a tawa or pan on a high flame. When it is hot enough, transfer the paratha to the pan. Very soon bubbles begin to show up. You will have to adjust the heat as needed. Very high flame may burn them and low flame tends to make them hard.
21. Flip it to the other side. Gently press with a wooden spatula. It begins to puff up and the layers get cooked and separated well. Add ghee as desired.
22. If you are on a low fat diet, ghee can be skipped while frying. Fry well until cooked & dark brown spots appear.
Stack the parathas to keep them soft.
How to keep paratha soft
- Keep them covered using kitchen tissues or clean cloth.
- Place a cloth or kitchen napkin in a casserole or a box, stack them. Keep them covered.
- Do not fry them on a low flame as this will harden them.
1. Kneading dough well is the key to make good soft, flaky parathas. The dough can also be formed using a food processor, kitchen aid or hand mixer with a kneading hook/attachment. Just sprinkle some flour over the dough if it is too sticky after kneading.
2. Using right amount of water & oil is another important thing to get the parathas right. The dough should not be crumbly or sticky. If the dough is sticky simply sprinkle some flour. It is too hard, then sprinkle some water and knead.
3. Resting the dough for a while helps the dough to absorb the water and keep the parathas soft for long hours.
4. Fats: I use oil if making for lunch box as ghee tends to harden the paratha in cold temperatures.
5. You can also add a tbsp of curd (Indian yogurt) while mixing the dough. This helps the parathas to remain soft for long hours.
Once you master making the basic plain parathas then you can try the variations which I have shared below.
1. For vegetable paratha – Mash well 1½ cups of boiled mixed vegetables & add it to 1 cup flour along with half tsp garam masala, little salt and half tsp of red chilli powder & handful of coriander leaves. You can find the complete recipe of Vegetable paratha here
2. To make spinach paratha – Blend 1 cup spinach with 2 to 3 tbsp water, 1 garlic clove, 1 chilli & ¼ tsp garam masala to a smooth paste. Mix this with 1 cup flour, salt & 1 tsp oil. For complete recipe check Palak paratha
3. For spiced or masala paratha just add half tsp each of red chili powder, garam masala, 1 tablespoon kasuri methi & handful of coriander leaves to 1 cup of flour. Mix the dough and make masala paratha. You can also sprinkle it in between the layers like I did in this ajwaini paratha
4. To make methi paratha, just add half cup finely chopped methi leaves to 1 cup flour along with spices, ginger garlic & herbs. For complete recipe you can check this recipe of Methi paratha.
5. If you want to transform your plain parathas to a quick breakfast then you can make these egg paranthas.
For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card
Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )
- 2 cups wheat flour (atta or substitute with all-purpose flour)
- 2 teaspoons oil for kneading (optional)
- ¾ to 1 cup water (or luke warm water)
- ¼ teaspoon salt (optional, adjust to taste)
- 2 to 3 tablespoon ghee or oil (use as needed)
- Mix together wheat flour, salt, oil in a wide mixing bowl.
- Pour water little by little as needed & make a stiff non sticky dough.
- Knead well to make the dough soft and pliable. If the dough is hard or dry knead with moist fingers.
- When you press down the dough with a finger, you must feel it is soft and dent easily.
- Wrap it in a moist cloth or cover it in a container and set aside for 30 mins.
- You can also grease the ball with a few drops of oil and cover.
How to make paratha
- Knead the dough lightly & divide to 8 parts.
- Then roll to balls & keep them covered.
- Take a few tbsp of flour to a small bowl & flour the rolling area lightly.
- Dip a ball in the flour and dust off the excess. Too much flour on the parathas can make them hard.
- Place the ball on the rolling area and flatten it slightly with fingers.
- With the help of a rolling pin begin to roll each ball to a round layer or roti of 7 inches. Do not put pressure on the dough, roll it with light hands.
Making square paratha
- Apply ghee all over the paratha and fold ⅓ part of it. (check step by step photos in the post)
- Then apply the ghee to the folded part as well & repeat folding the other ⅓ part.
- Apply ghee over the 3 layered long strip and fold ⅓ part of it.
- Then repeat the other ⅓ part & you will have a square.
- Sprinkle little more flour if needed to prevent sticking.
- Then roll the square further to make a 7 inch square paratha.
Making Triangle paratha
- Apply ghee all over the roti & fold it to half to make a half circle.
- Next apply ghee over it & repeat folding it to get a triangle shape.
- Sprinkle a bit of flour & begin to roll evenly to a triangle paratha.
- Heat a griddle until hot on a medium high flame.
- Dust off any excess flour over the parathas. Transfer paratha to the griddle gently. Cook it until you begin to see bubbles, then turn it to the other side.
- Fry on a medium high flame on the other side as well pressing down with a spatula.
- Pressing down helps the parathas to puff up and the layers get separated and get cooked through.
- Turn the parathas too and fro. Cook until brown spots appear on both the sides.
- Drizzle ghee or oil on both sides.
- Remove the paratha to a wired rack or plate lined with a clean cloth or kitchen tissue.
- Stack them one over the other to keep them soft.
- To cook the next paratha make sure the pan is hot but not extremely hot that it burns the parathas. If you see any flour on the griddle gently and carefully wipe off with a thick clean cloth.
- Serve paratha with curry or chutney or just yogurt.
- If the dough turns sticky, sprinkle some flour and knead it.
- If the dough turns hard or too stiff, then moisten your fingers and knead the paratha dough.
- You can also make the dough in a food processor or stand mixer.
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.
For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.
NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)
© Swasthi’s Recipes
This Paratha Recipe was first published in February 2016. Updated and republished in July 2021.