How To Make Chapatis
How To Make Chapatis
5 from 6 votes
Simple, filling, and authentic, chapati is one of India’s most iconic flatbreads. This traditional Indian flatbread is made with only four ingredients and is a great accompaniment to curries. The perfect side in any buffet.

Chapatis are a simple and versatile Indian flatbread that is almost always present at any Indian buffet. Typically, served as a side to curries, it can even be enjoyed on its own.   

Now, chapattis are one of those things that I always make, at least once a day. So, I consider myself somewhat of an expert at chapati making.   

They are very simple to make and make for a great and easy midweek meal. If you’re vegan, pair it with masoor dal. If you’re a meat lover, pair it with lamb curry.

When making chapatis, I typically use whole wheat flour, also known as atta in Urdu. It is the best option for an authentic and traditional chapati recipe. 

Whole wheat flour has a nutty and subtly sweet flavour since it is made by grinding the entire wheat grain. It is also higher in fibre and nutrients than plain flour, which makes it a healthier choice than plain flour. 

Plain flour can be used as a substitute, although the taste and nutritional value will be slightly different.

Over the many years of making chapatis, I have found that warm water is the best. It makes the dough easier to work with. 

For my recipe, I also use oil. This is optional and can be omitted if you don’t want to add it. However, I find that the oil helps to make the chapatis softer and more pliable.  

It also prevents them from drying out too much. The oil creates a layer of moisture between the dough layers, keeping the chapatis soft and flexible even after they have cooled down. A 

For a more authentic chapati, I like to use melted ghee, which is clarified butter. Ghee is used often in Indian cooking.  

I sometimes experiment with different types of oil, such as olive oil or coconut oil, for a unique flavour. Although, nothing beats a classic chapati flavour.  

After combining all the ingredients, I knead the dough for at least 5-10 minutes to develop the gluten in the flour, which gives the bread structure. 

When the dough is ready, I cover it with a damp cloth while it rests to prevent it from drying out and make it easier to roll out.  

I always make my chapati dough beforehand then I transfer it to an airtight container and place it in the fridge. 

Chilling the dough allows it to rest and relax, making it easier to roll out. When you are ready to make the chapattis, take the chapati dough out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature for about 10-15 minutes before rolling it out. 

However, do not keep the dough in the fridge longer than 24 hours. This is because the longer the dough is left in the fridge, the more it will ferment and develop a slightly sour flavour. 

For specific Indian bread varieties, such as naan bread, this is what you are looking for, but not for chapatti. I try to use the refrigerated chapati dough within 24 hours. 

When cooking the chapatis, I make sure that the pan is as hot as it gets, as this creates small bubbles on the surface of the flatbread and allows the bread to cook evenly. As soon as they come off the pan, I wrap the chapatis in a towel to keep them warm and soft.  

With my recipe, you will be able to create a delectable and delicious flatbread that is a perfect accompaniment to any curry. 

What Ingredients to Use & Why

Life is full of simple pleasures, isn’t it? And one of them is the humble Chapati. Made from just four ingredients – wholemeal flour, warm water, a pinch of salt, and a smidgen of vegetable oil – this traditional Indian bread has made its way into hearts (and stomachs) worldwide.

Let’s take a journey through the essential components of this delightful culinary creation, each contributing its unique qualities to form the Chapati we all know and love.

Wholemeal Flour: Here’s the base of our Chapati, the canvas on which we paint our edible masterpiece. Wholemeal flour brings an earthy, nutty taste, along with a bundle of nutritional goodness. High in fibre and complex carbs, it helps to keep you feeling full and fuelled for longer.

It also provides a wonderful texture to the Chapati, making it hearty and satisfying. If you don’t have wholemeal flour on hand, a good substitute is a mix of all-purpose flour and wheat bran in a 3:1 ratio to mimic the characteristics of wholemeal flour.

Salt: Ah, the classic flavour enhancer! Salt in our Chapati does more than just make it tasty. It helps to strengthen the gluten structure in the dough, leading to a more robust and flexible Chapati. If you’re on a sodium-restricted diet, feel free to skip it, but be aware that it may slightly alter the texture.

Vegetable Oil: A little oil can go a long way. In our Chapati, it works as a tenderizer, preventing the formation of too much gluten which could result in tough, chewy bread. Instead, we get soft, delicious Chapatis.

While vegetable oil is preferred for its neutral taste, you could use other oils like olive oil or canola oil. But remember, it’s not about oil wrestling here, so moderation is key!

Every ingredient in Chapati plays its part to perfection. Together, they create an irresistible symphony of taste and texture that’s as enjoyable to prepare as it is to devour!

The Best Flour for Making Chapati

Making chapati is an art form, and like all art forms, it requires the right materials. In the case of chapati, the main ingredient is flour. The choice of flour can have a significant impact on the texture and taste of the chapati.

Traditionally, chapatis are made using wholemeal flour, also known as atta. Atta is a type of whole wheat flour that is milled to a fine consistency. It is this finely milled texture that gives the chapati its classic, soft feel.

The use of whole wheat also imparts a subtle, nutty flavour to the chapati that I find incredibly pleasing.

It’s worth noting, however, that different types of flour can yield different results. For instance, using white flour can result in a softer, lighter chapati, but the flavour won’t be as rich or complex.

On the other hand, using coarser, whole-grain flour can add a robust flavour and a denser texture to your chapatis.

If you can’t find atta, I suggest using a blend of white and whole wheat flours. This combination can often yield a similar texture and flavour profile to atta. However, nothing quite matches the authenticity and quality of chapatis made with traditional atta flour.

When I make chapatis, I always prefer using atta. The depth of flavour and softness it imparts to the chapatis is unparalleled. Ultimately, the choice of flour comes down to personal preference. Experiment with different types of flour until you find the one that works best for you.

How to Make Softer Chapatis

A soft chapati is a delight to eat. As someone who has spent countless hours experimenting with chapati recipes, I can tell you that achieving a soft chapati requires a bit of know-how.

First, the dough should be kneaded well. I usually knead my dough for about 10 minutes to ensure that it’s smooth and elastic. A well-kneaded dough allows for better gluten formation, which is crucial for a soft chapati.

Second, the addition of oil during the mixing process can enhance the softness of your chapatis. I typically add about a tablespoon of vegetable oil to my dough. The oil coats the flour particles and prevents them from absorbing too much water, thus resulting in a softer chapati.

Third, letting the dough rest is a step that shouldn’t be overlooked. I cover my dough with a damp cloth and let it rest for about 15 minutes. This resting period allows the gluten in the dough to relax, making it easier to roll out and resulting in a softer chapati.

Lastly, the cooking process plays a role in the softness of the chapati. Chapatis should be cooked quickly on a hot pan. I always make sure my pan is preheated and that each chapati is only cooked for about a minute. Overcooking can lead to harder, dryer chapatis.

In my experience, following these steps has consistently resulted in soft, delicious chapatis. Give them a try, and see the difference they make.

The Importance of Kneading in Chapati Preparation

As an avid home cook, I can’t overstate the importance of kneading when preparing chapati dough. Kneading is a process that develops the gluten in the flour, resulting in a dough that is elastic and stretchable, which is essential for making chapati.

When I make chapati, I knead the dough for about 10 minutes. This might seem like a long time, but it’s necessary to develop the gluten structure. As I knead, the dough transforms from a rough, shaggy mass into a smooth, pliable dough. It’s this transformation that tells me the gluten has developed sufficiently.

The effects of kneading can be seen in the final product. A well-kneaded chapati dough will roll out smoothly without tearing or shrinking back. When cooked, it puffs up beautifully, creating that characteristic fluffy interior that makes chapatis so irresistible.

I’ve found that kneading is even more important when using wholemeal flour, like atta. Wholemeal flour has a higher bran content, which can interfere with gluten development. By kneading thoroughly, you ensure that enough gluten is developed to create a good texture in your chapatis.

So, if you’re looking to improve your chapati-making skills, pay close attention to the kneading process. It’s a crucial step that can significantly enhance the quality of your chapatis.

Understanding the Puffing Up of Chapatis

In my journey of chapati-making, one of the most fascinating aspects I’ve encountered is the puffing up of the chapati while cooking. This unique characteristic is not only a visual treat but also contributes to the soft, fluffy texture of the chapati.

When I cook chapati on a hot pan, the heat causes the water in the dough to turn into steam. As the steam tries to escape, it gets trapped between the layers of dough, causing the chapati to puff up.

This puffing up is a sign that the chapati is being cooked from the inside out by the steam, which contributes to its fluffy texture and unique taste.

However, getting the chapati to puff up perfectly requires some practice. The dough needs to be rolled out evenly, and the pan must be sufficiently hot. If the dough is unevenly rolled, some parts might not puff up.

Similarly, if the pan is not hot enough, the water in the dough may not turn into steam fast enough to cause the chapati to puff up.

I love watching chapatis puff up as they cook. It’s not just a visual delight; it’s also a sign that my chapatis are coming out just right.

Alternatives to a Non-Stick Pan for Making Chapatis

I’ve often been asked about alternatives to using a non-stick pan when making chapatis. Not everyone has a non-stick pan at home, and some people have concerns about the potential health implications of non-stick coatings. Fortunately, I’ve found that there are several suitable alternatives.

My favourite alternative is a cast-iron skillet. Cast iron has excellent heat retention properties, which makes it ideal for cooking chapatis. It ensures even heat distribution, which is crucial for getting that perfect golden-brown colour on your chapatis.

Another option is a stainless steel pan. While it doesn’t retain heat as well as cast iron, it still does a decent job. I recommend using a heavy-bottomed stainless steel pan for the best results.

Finally, a griddle or tava can also be used to cook chapatis. These are traditional Indian cookware and are specifically designed for cooking flatbreads like chapati.

In my experience, what matters more than the type of pan you use is the heat it provides. For the perfect chapati, you need a hot, evenly heated surface. So regardless of the type of pan you use, make sure it’s properly heated before you start cooking your chapatis.

Storing Chapati Dough in the Fridge: How Long is Too Long?

Over the years, I’ve often found myself with leftover chapati dough. And each time, the question that arises is: “How long can I store this dough in the fridge?”

Based on my experience, chapati dough can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days. It’s important to store it correctly, though. I usually place my dough in a bowl and cover it tightly with plastic wrap to prevent it from drying out. Alternatively, you can store it in an airtight container.

One thing to note is that the dough may darken slightly due to oxidation. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that it has gone bad. It should still be safe to eat and should still yield tasty chapatis.

One thing I love about refrigerating chapati dough is that it can actually improve the texture of the chapatis. The dough continues to ferment slowly in the fridge, which can enhance its flavour and make your chapatis softer.

In case you have leftover dough and don’t plan to use it within a couple of days, you can also freeze it. Frozen chapati dough can last for up to a month. Just remember to thaw it in the refrigerator before you’re ready to use it.

Making Chapatis Without Oil: Is It Possible?

While oil is a common ingredient in many chapati recipes, I’ve often wondered if it’s possible to make chapatis without oil. After several trials, I can say that yes, it is indeed possible to make chapatis without oil.

Oil is typically added to chapati dough to make it softer and prevent it from drying out. However, I’ve found that you can still achieve soft chapatis without oil by carefully managing the moisture content of your dough and the cooking process.

When making chapatis without oil, I ensure my dough is sufficiently hydrated. I add water gradually and knead until I achieve a soft, pliable dough. The key is to ensure the dough isn’t too dry, as this could result in hard chapatis.

Cooking is also crucial. Overcooking can dry out the chapatis, making them hard and brittle. Therefore, I make sure to cook my chapatis on a hot pan for just about a minute on each side.

While making chapatis without oil might require a bit more attention to detail, it’s certainly possible. And in my opinion, the resulting chapatis are just as delicious.

Hard Chapatis: Why Aren’t They Puffing Up?

Nothing can be more disappointing than spending time and effort making chapatis, only to have them turn out hard or not puffing up. I’ve experienced this myself a few times, and over the years, I’ve identified a few reasons why this might happen.

Firstly, the dough might be too dry. If there isn’t enough moisture in the dough, it can become stiff and difficult to roll out, resulting in chapatis that are hard and don’t puff up. I always make sure my dough is well-hydrated and pliable before I start rolling out my chapatis.

Secondly, the dough might not be kneaded enough. Proper kneading develops gluten, which gives the chapatis their elasticity and allows them to puff up when cooked. I usually knead my chapati dough for at least 10 minutes to ensure the gluten is well-developed.

Thirdly, the chapatis might be overcooked. Overcooking chapatis can dry them out, making them hard. I always keep a close eye on my chapatis as they cook and flip them as soon as they start to brown and puff up.

Lastly, the pan might not be hot enough. Chapatis need to be cooked on a hot pan to puff up properly. I always preheat my pan before I start cooking my chapatis.

So, if your chapatis aren’t puffing up or are turning out hard, check your dough hydration, kneading, cooking time, and pan temperature. With a bit of practice and these tips in mind, you’ll be making perfect chapatis in no time.

Pairing Ideas for Chapatis: Crafting a Complete Meal

One of the things I love about chapatis is their versatility. These delightful flatbreads can be paired with a variety of dishes to create a complete and satisfying meal. Here are some of my favourite pairings.

One classic pairing is chapatis with curry. The soft, fluffy texture of the chapatis perfectly complements the rich, complex flavours of a good curry. Whether it’s a spicy chicken curry or a creamy lentil dal, I always find that chapatis and curry make a satisfying meal.

Another pairing I enjoy is chapatis with vegetables. A simple stir-fry or a more elaborate vegetable dish like palak paneer can be paired with chapatis for a nutritious, balanced meal. The subtle flavour of the chapatis allows the vegetables to shine.

For a simple, comforting meal, I often pair chapatis with some yogurt and pickles. The cool, tangy yogurt and the spicy, tangy pickles contrast beautifully with the warm, soft chapatis.

Lastly, chapatis can also be used as a base for wraps or sandwiches. I sometimes fill them with grilled chicken, fresh vegetables, and a flavourful sauce for a quick, easy meal.

These are just a few ideas, but the possibilities are endless. Experiment with different pairings and find your own favourite combinations.

Freezing Chapati Dough for Future Use

Like many home cooks, I often find myself in situations where I have prepared more chapati dough than needed. Instead of discarding it, I have found that freezing chapati dough for future use is an excellent solution.

The process is fairly straightforward. After kneading the dough, I divide it into portions that are enough for one chapati. I then shape each portion into a small ball and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. I ensure that the balls are spaced out so they don’t stick together.

Once the dough balls are frozen solid, I transfer them into a freezer-safe bag or container. This method prevents the dough balls from sticking together in the freezer.

When I want to make chapatis, I simply take out the required number of dough balls and let them thaw in the refrigerator. Once they are thawed, I can proceed to roll them out and cook them as usual.

I’ve found that chapati dough can be stored in the freezer for up to a month without any noticeable decline in quality. This method has been a lifesaver for me on busy days when I don’t have time to prepare dough from scratch. It’s also a great way to reduce waste and make the most of your resources.

Check Out These Other Recipes

Craving for more Indian cuisine after trying the Chapati recipe? I’ve got you covered with these related and absolutely mouth-watering dishes. Each of these recipes will give you a wonderful culinary experience, matching the beautiful simplicity and versatility of our beloved Chapati.

Firstly, you absolutely have to try the Keema Paratha. Just like Chapati, this is a classic Indian bread that’s taken a step further by stuffing it with spicy minced meat. It’s absolutely delicious and perfect to pair with your favourite curry or chutney.

If you loved the flatbread essence of the Chapati, you might want to venture into the world of Puri next. This deep-fried bread puffs up into a perfect little balloon of crispy goodness, just right for scooping up fragrant curries or tucking alongside a pickle.

Speaking of curries, don’t pass by the Chicken Bhuna. This bold and flavourful dish showcases tender chicken simmered in a rich, spiced gravy. It’s a comforting dish, perfect to serve with freshly made Chapatis.

Then there’s the Dal Makhani, a delightful lentil curry infused with aromatic spices and garnished with a sizzling tempering. Serve it with your homemade Chapatis, and I promise, you’ll be transported straight to the heart of Indian cuisine.

Have a little fun with the Aloo Tikki as well. These flavourful potato patties have a crispy exterior with a soft, melt-in-your-mouth centre. Dipped in a tangy green chutney, they’re the perfect snack to serve alongside Chapati.

End your Indian culinary adventure on a sweet note with the classic Indian dessert, the Gulab Jamun. These little dough balls are sweetened with syrup infused with rose water, creating a divine dessert that’s an absolute treat.

Each of these recipes promises a taste adventure that’s deeply rooted in Indian cuisine, just like the Chapati recipe you loved. I invite you to try them out, mix and match them with your Chapati, and do let me know how your kitchen escapades go in the comments below.


How To Make Chapatis

by Nabeela Kauser
Simple, filling, and authentic, chapati is one of India’s most iconic flatbreads. This traditional Indian flatbread is made with only four ingredients and is a great accompaniment to curries.
5 from 6 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Sides
Cuisine Indian, Pakistani
Servings 8
Calories 106 kcal


  • 250 g Wholemeal Flour
  • 150 ml Water Warm
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 tbsp Oil


  • Combine wholemeal flour and salt in a mixing bowl.
  • Add vegetable oil to the mixture and use your fingers to rub it in.
  • Gradually mix in warm water until you have a smooth and pliable dough. If the dough is too dry, add more water.
  • Knead the dough for 5-10 minutes until it becomes smooth and elastic.
  • Cover the dough with a damp cloth and let it rest for 10-15 minutes.
  • Divide the dough into 8-10 equal portions and shape them into balls.
  • Roll each ball into a thin, round chapati shape, about 15-20cm in diameter, on a floured surface.
  • Heat a non-stick frying pan or crepe pan over medium heat.
  • Cook one chapati on the pan for about 30-40 seconds until it starts to puff up and brown spots appear.
  • Flip the chapati over and cook the other side for another 30-40 seconds.
  • Keep the cooked chapati warm in a clean tea towel.
  • Repeat the process with the remaining chapatis.


Nutritional facts:
The provision of nutritional information is done so merely as a courtesy and should not be taken as a guarantee.


Calories: 106kcalCarbohydrates: 15gProtein: 3gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0.01gSodium: 341mgPotassium: 0.03mgFibre: 2gSugar: 1gCalcium: 56mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Bread, Curry, Flatbread, Food, Recipe, Roti, Sides, Simple
Tried this recipe?Mention @CookwithNabeela or tag #CookwithNabeela!

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Hi, I’m Nabeela and I love to cook! I want to share with you my favourite, delicious family-friendly recipes. I want to inspire you to create fantastic food for your family every day.

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