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What Is Fried Bread?

Fried bread is a simple yet indulgent treat, made by frying flattened dough in oil until it puffs up, turning golden and crispy. This versatile staple spans various cultures, each adding unique flavors and traditions. From Native American frybread to British fried slices, it's a testament to the delicious simplicity of dough meets heat. Ready to explore its global journey?
Eugene P.
Eugene P.

Nearly every area of the world has a recipe for fried bread. The actual term may refer to a British treatment of sliced bread but also can reference any type of bread that has been fried. There are leavened fried breads, such as Native American frybread, and unleavened breads such as tortillas. Though many recipes are simply flour and water that have been blended together and fried, some are more elaborate.

The name "fried bread" is specifically used in the United Kingdom to indicate a slice of white bread or soda bread that has been fried on both sides in a pan of bacon fat. The bread can be fried in oil and is traditionally served with other foods or as part of a large breakfast. It also can refer to toast that has been dipped in egg and fried, known as French toast.

Fried bread is often cooked in bacon fat.
Fried bread is often cooked in bacon fat.

Similarly, "frybread" is a term used to describe a variety of bread recipes cooked by Native Americans. Native American frybread is most often a mix of water, flour and salt that is fried over a fire or deep fried in oil. There are many variations, including recipes that have squash or other vegetables included in the dough.

In Mexican and South American cuisine, fried bread could be known as a tortilla, amongst other names. A tortilla is made from simple dough comprised of water and white flour or corn flour. The dough is pressed down to form a wide, thin circle and then fried, sometimes in oil or lard. It is often used as a vehicle for other foods.

In the UK, fried bread is made specifically with slices of white bread.
In the UK, fried bread is made specifically with slices of white bread.

In areas of India, a type of unleavened fried bread known as chapatti or roti is common. Chapati also is just a blend of water and flour that is formed into discs. The discs are cooked in a dry pan until they take on some color. While served with dishes and used to dip into other foods, the bread itself can be covered in butter or ghee before being eaten.

In China, there is a type of fried bread known as youtiao. It is leavened bread that is formed into long strips and then deep fried. Youtiao is enjoyed for breakfast along with a sweet rice dish.

Foods that are considered fried breads can take on many shapes. One of the more common fried breads is a pancake. This is just a batter that is fried in a skillet until cooked through. It is sometimes served with sweet syrup on top.

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Discussion Comments


I spent some time in rural Mexico and watching the women make tortillas from scratch was amazing. Some of the older women had probably made upwards of ten thousand tortillas in their lives so they were incredibly good at it.

It was amazing to watch but I gained a whole new appreciation for what they were doing once I tried it myself. My first dozen tortillas were absolutely disasters. My next dozen were just really bad. It's harder to do than you would expect but those women made it look easy.


Fried bread reminds me of what was probably my favorite breakfast as a kid, toads in a hole. It couldn't be easier to make.

You take a piece of bread and cut out a part of the middle. You usually do this with your fingers. You heat some oil in a pan and place the bread on top. You then crack an egg into the center of the bread and fry it on both sides.

When it's done you have a delicious combination of toast and eggs. Two of those in the morning and you are set for the day.


I actually just ate a piece of fried bread right before I started typing this. There is a small convenience store right by my house that just started selling international groceries, mostly stuff from India and the Middle East.

Every day they make fresh bread. They have two varieties, Iraqi bread and Afghani bread. Both are kind of like pita bread but fluffier and chewier. The Afghani bread looks like a pizza crust and the Iraqi bread looks like a calzone.

Both of them are delicious but I especially love pulling of a piece of the Afghani bread and frying it up in a pan with a little oil. It is a simple, cheap, easy and delicious snack and you can make it in like 2 minutes.

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    • Fried bread is often cooked in bacon fat.
      By: sparkia
      Fried bread is often cooked in bacon fat.
    • In the UK, fried bread is made specifically with slices of white bread.
      By: Sergii Moscaliuk
      In the UK, fried bread is made specifically with slices of white bread.
    • One of the more common fried breads is a pancake.
      By: Magdalena Kucova
      One of the more common fried breads is a pancake.