A quick and easy recipe for warm, soft, lightly charred chapati. Ready in 40 minutes, I love to make these whilst my curry is bubbling away. The perfect vessel for mopping up that curry sauce.
I find this quite a therapeutic recipe - a little bit of kneading, a little bit of rolling, and straight onto cooking, without having wait for anything to prove.
I love that it's simple and not too time consuming, and yet everyone gets super-excited when I tell them I'm making some chapatis to go with our dinner.
This recipe makes 10 chapatis, but our little family of four consumes the lot every time. Even when I'm cooking rice too. Might as well go all in and add some potatoes and noodles to the carb-fest....
📋 What do we need?
🔪 How to make Chapati
Full recipe with detailed steps in the recipe card at the end of this post.
We start by mixing together wholewheat and plain (all-purpose) flour with salt. Then stir in a little oil, and add in enough hot water until the dough comes together.
Give it a knead for 8-10 minutes (or use the dough hook on a stand mixer), then divide into balls and roll out:
Fry in a pan over a very high heat, turning once, until browned, slightly charred spots appear:
👩🍳PRO TIP You can use a regular rolling pin, but I love my chapati rolling pin (<-- affiliate link to a similar one to mine) - it's lighter and much easier to move to help shape your chapatis.
That's it. Five ingredients and a plateful of chapatis.
🍽️ Why not serve with a delicious curry!
I usually start my curry going, then make the chapatis whilst it's bubbling away, so everything is ready at the same time.
One of the easiest bread recipes you can make, perfectly tender, chewy and carb-elicious.
Why use oil in the chapati dough?
The addition of oil in the dough helps the dough to stay soft and pliable - so you get a nice chewy finish. You can leave it out, but I find the chapatis get a little crispier more quickly.
Chapati vs Roti:
Technically, chapati is a type of roti.
There are hundreds of different varieties of roti, popular in Southern and Central Asia - including dhalpuri (a lentil or pea-stuffed roti), paratha (a plain roti, rolled and folded several times to create layers), aloo roti (a potato-based roti) to name a few.
📺 Watch how to make it
🍲 More fantastic from-scratch dough/bread-based recipes
- Bao Buns with sticky pork belly
- Soft and fluffy Brioche Buns
- Dough balls with spinach and bacon dip
- Homemade Artisan Bread
- Flatbread pizza with basil garlic butter
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- 1 ¼ cups (150g) wholemeal flour
- 1 ¼ cups (150g) plain (all purpose) flour, plus 4 tbsp extra for kneading and rolling
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- ¾ cup + 2 tbsp (210ml) hot water
- Place the wholemeal flour, plain (all purpose) flour and salt in a large bowl (or stand mixer bowl if you're kneading using a stand mixer) and mix together.
- Add 2 tbsp of the oil and three-quarters of the water and mix again, adding more water as necessary until you have a soft dough that comes together.
- Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for 8-10 minutes until soft, smooth and elastic. You can knead in a stand mixer if preferred.
- Divide the dough into 10 equal pieces and roll each piece into a ball.
- Roll out each of the balls on a lightly floured surface, using a rolling pin, until they're as thin as a tortilla. Place each chapati on a piece of baking parchment to make transferring to the pan easier.
- Brush a large frying pan or flat griddle with a little of the reserved oil and heat over a high heat until smoking hot.
- Add a chapati to the pan and cook for 30-60 seconds, until charred brown spots appear. Turn the chapati over and cook the other side until charred spots appear.
- Transfer to a plate and place in the oven on it's lowest setting (or place in a plate warming drawer if you have one).
- Repeat with the remaining chapati, brushing the pan with a little oil each time before cooking.
- Serve the chapatis warm.
Can I make chapatis using only wholemeal flour?Yes you can. You may need to add a little more water, as it will absorb more than plain (all purpose) flour. The plain (all-purpose) flour gives a lighter, slightly softer result. Using only wholemeal flour means the finished result will be slightly denser, but still delicious.
Can I leave out the oil?Yes you can, and you can even cook them in a completely dry pan, with no oil. However the chapati won't be quite as soft, and will crisp up at the edges more quickly.
Can I make chapatis ahead of time?Yes, you can do this in a few ways:
- Make the dough ahead, then transfer to a covered bowl and refrigerate for up to a day. Allow to come up to room temperature for an hour before rolling into individual chapatis.
- Par-cook the chapatis - by frying them in the pan until very lightly brown. Then cool, wrap in foil (or place in a covered container) in the fridge for up to 3 days. Finish the cooking by heating them individually in a large pan over a very high heat until brown spots appear.
- Cook the chapatis as per the instructions, then cool, wrap in foil in piles of 2-3 (or place in a covered container) in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat in the oven (wrapped in foil - in piles of 2-3) at approx 170C/375F for approx 6-8 minutes. You need to wrap them in small piles, as if you reheat in a pile of ten chapatis, the heat of the oven won't penetrate to the chapatis in the centre.
This recipe was first published in July 2019, updated in June 2021 with video, extra information and a bit of housekeeping.
Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links – which means if you buy the product I get a small commission (at no extra cost to you). If you do buy, then thank you! That’s what helps us to keep Kitchen Sanctuary running. The nutritional information provided is approximate and can vary depending on several factors. For more information please see our Terms & Conditions.
james rennie says
Very easy to follow recipe , and were loved by all .Brillant!!!!!
Maggie Holliday says
These were lovely with the Chicken Pathia I made....simple to make aswell....definitely make again.
Niloufer Patkar says
I never say anything unless I've got something nice to say. This time it's different. Sorry, but these are the saddest looking chapatis I've seen. Your recipe isn't correct either. There's no plain flour in chapatis. All you need is whole-wheat flour and water to make a dough. Mix well till it comes together. Leave it covered to rest for 10 - 15 min. Now knead again till the dough looks smooth. Make small balls of the dough and roll into thin discs using dry flour as you roll them out. Place on a hot griddle. Allow it to cook for a minute or until the colour on the top changes from an uncooked look to a partially cooked appearance. Flip over. Cook for another 30 seconds. Using a folded napkin as a wad, press where a bubble begins to form - it will puff up as you keep pressing. Alternatively, remove the griddle and place the chapatti directly on the gas flame - it will puff up.
Quite well written Niloufer . I think you nailed the true art of making a traditional Indian chapathi.
Daxa Mistry says
So simple it’s great . Love the step by step
2 questions please
Can the chapatis be frozen, if so cooked or uncooked?
Can you use just plain all purpose flour?
Can these be frozen?
Neo rhys Shanahan says
Can I use sunflower oil?
Hi. I have tried these a couple of times following the instructions but my chapattis become very stiff and hard. Can you please provide any advice so that I can have soft fluffy chapattis. Many thanks.
Nicky Corbishley says
Hi Donna, is the dough nice and pliable when you knead it?
The oil in the dough is very important for soft chapatis, and enough water should be added so you're kneading a nice soft dough.
If you're unsure, add a little more water, then knead and if it's too wet and sticky to handle, just add a little more flour, until it's soft but no longer sticky.
Also, once you divide into balls, you need to be rolling the chapatis and cooking straight away. Leaving the dough balls or uncooked, rolled-out chapatis out for too long before cooking will cause them to lose moisture - which will make them hard.
As an Indian it is always good fun to see how different my everyday recipes look, when seen from a country halfway around the world.
For example, I would never use hot water to make chapati dough. I always use room temperature water (which given the differences in ambient temperatures, is probably "lukewarm water" to you) for wheat chapatis. There are chapatis made of other, gluten free flours, which call for hot water - but never wheat. The "cook in a really hot pan" also goes against everything I've been taught! We always cook both sides of chapatis on a low flame (this helps to keep it soft, without using any oil; or so the elders say), and *then* move to a high flame to puff it up! We also make them much thinner - 300g of flour would make a good 12-14 rotis for me!
But hey, whatever works for you! I love adapting the hell out of other cuisines, so I'm not complaining 😀
love making these especially seeing the bubbles form knowing that I have kneaded well. I make them smaller and keep the rest in the fridge and just warm them up when I need them. Delicious with a thick dhal soup.
Hi would olive/coconut oil work instead of vegetable oil?
Made your madras recipe and loved it!!
Nicky Corbishley says
Thanks Chris, So glad you enjoyed the madras 🙂
For the chapati, you could use either coconut or olive oil in the chapati itself, but for brushing the pan you need an oil with a high smoke point.
Olive oil has too low a smoke point, as does unrefined cococnut oil.
Refined coconut oil has a high smoke point, so that would be fine.
adam potter says
Great for mopping up the curry !
Just made the slow cooked lamb curry for the 2nd time and thought i would have a "go" at the chapati recipe ..got a bit sticky ! but turned out very edible and so easy to make.
we love Nickys Kitchen Sanctuary.
Chris Corbishley says
Fantastic, so glad you're enjoying the lamb curry and the chapatis.
Chris & Nicky
Made these last night to go with your Butter Chicken (which my kids love), They're so good, don't know why I haven't made them before. Great for mopping up 😋