Native American-Style Gluten Free Fry Bread

Native American-Style Gluten Free Fry Bread

Native American-Style Gluten Free Fry Bread

There is a particular conventional flour that is supposedly the secret to the perfectly authentic Native American Fry Bread. Clearly, we can’t use that. But that doesn’t mean we can’t have Native American-Style Gluten Free Fry Bread.

Native American-Style Gluten Free Fry Bread

My family and I ate this, the winningest recipe for gluten free fry bread among the versions that I made, with a light dusting of confectioners’ sugar. Next time I think I’m going to make fry bread tacos. Fried until lightly golden, it won’t crumble at all when you bite into it. Remember, it’s fry bread—not a crispy taco. It almost reminds me of our gluten free chalupas.

Native American-Style Gluten Free Fry Bread

My little 8-year-old hand model was all too happy to dig into some of it before her brother and sister. To the model … belong the spoils.

Native American-Style Gluten Free Fry Bread

This dough happens to be super supple and surprisingly easy to work with. So easy, in fact, that I’m considering playing around with it to see what else it can do.

Native American-Style Gluten Free Fry Bread

I prefer to deep fry these, rather than shallow fry them. Shallow frying makes for much more oily fried foods. Be sure the oil is hot enough (but not too hot—watch the temp on that candy/deep fry thermometer), so the dough seals on the outside in the very early moments of frying. For plenty of frying tips, see the directions in this post. If you have made fry bread before, though, and have your own favorite way of shallow frying it, go for it! You’re the boss.

Like this recipe?

Prep time: Cook time: Yield: 6 fry breads


2 1/2 cups + 2 tablespoons (368 g) all-purpose gluten free flour (I strongly recommend Better Batter or my mock Better Batter blend)

1 1/4 teaspoons xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)

6 tablespoons (54 g) Expandex modified tapioca starch (I don’t recommend it, but you can replace this with an equal amount, by weight, of regular tapioca starch/flour)*

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon (3 g) instant yeast

1 tablespoon (12 g) granulated sugar

1 1/2 (9 g) teaspoons kosher salt

2 tablespoons (24 g) vegetable shortening (I use Spectrum nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening, but any kind will do), melted and cooled

3/4 cup (6 fluid ounces) warm milk (about 95°F)

3 ounces warm water (about 95°F), plus more by the teaspoon as necessary

Oil, for frying

Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

*For information on where to find Expandex, please see the Resources page. I have not yet tested Ultratex 3 in this recipe, but if you would like to try it here, I recommend using 18 grams of Ultratex 3 in place of the Expandex (1/3 the amount of Expandex called for), and then making up the remaining 36 grams of weight in more all purpose gluten free flour. So it would be 404 grams all purpose gluten free flour + 18 grams Ultratex 3. Ultratex 3 is at least 3 times as strong as Expandex.


  • In a large bowl, place the flour blend, xanthan gum, Expandex, baking powder, yeast and granulated sugar, and whisk to combine well. Add the salt, and whisk again to combine. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients, add the melted shortening, milk and water and mix to combine until the dough comes together. With clean hands, squeeze the dough together into a ball. It should hold together well, and not be so stiff that it is hard to knead. If it is hard to knead, add more water by the teaspoonful, kneading it in after each addition, until the dough is pliable but still holds together very well. Transfer the dough to a large piece of plastic wrap, and wrap tightly. Allow to rest at room temperature for 15 minutes.

  • Unwrap the dough and divide it into 6 equal portions, each about 4 ounces. On a large, flat surface, roll each piece of dough into a ball and, with a rolling pin, roll into a round about 6 inches in diameter and about 1/4-inch thick. For perfectly uniform rounds, cut off the rough edges with a 6-inch cake cutter. The lid of a pot in the proper size should work, too. Place the rounds in a single layer, about 2 inches apart from one another, on a flat surface covered in unbleached parchment paper. Cover with lightly oiled plastic wrap, and allow to rise for 30 minutes or until beginning to puff.

  • While the dough is rising, place 2 inches of oil in a heavy-bottom saucepan. Clip a candy/deep fry thermometer to the side of the saucepan, and bring the oil to 350°F. Place the risen rounds of dough, one at a time, in the hot oil and fry until lightly golden brown on both sides (about 1 minute per side). The dough will bubble and puff. Tongs are useful in flipping the dough from one side to the other, but take care not to pierce the dough with the tongs or oil will rush in to the dough and your bread will be quite oily. Remove the dough from the oil, and place on paper towel-lined plates to drain. Dust lightly with confectioners’ sugar and serve warm.

  • Adapted from the recipe for Gluten Free Flour Tortillas from Gluten Free on a Shoestring Bakes Bread (reprinted here), and from Navajo Fry Bread recipes from allllll over the Internet, including this one.



P.S. If you haven’t yet, pick you your copy of Gluten Free on a Shoestring Bakes Bread! Your support means everything.

Comments are closed.

  • Kendra Townsend
    April 19, 2014 at 11:28 PM

    my first 2 shells came out perfectly the rest however were too crisp and didn’t puff up when fried. what could have happened?

    • April 22, 2014 at 11:12 AM

      I’m afraid I really don’t know, Kendra! My guess is that the first two were perhaps the only two that were rolled to a precise thickness (and perhaps the others had jagged edges?) and/or your oil temperature was inconsistent after the first two.

  • […] Fry bread. […]

  • Kristy B.
    April 15, 2014 at 6:11 PM

    Would I replace the expandex in this with the same proportion of ultratex 3 as I would in thetortilla recipe?

    • April 19, 2014 at 6:19 PM

      Yes, that’s what I’d recommend trying, Kristy. In this recipe, I would try using 18 grams of Ultratex 3 in place of the Expandex, and then making up the remaining 36 grams in more all purpose gluten free flour. So it would be 404 grams all purpose gluten free flour + 18 grams Ultratex 3. I hope that helps!

  • Christine
    April 15, 2014 at 11:44 AM

    The replacement for Ultratex indicates to also add whey protein powder to each 105 gr of GF AP flour but you don’t use it in this recipe. Is there an equivalent for expandex to ultratex?

    • April 19, 2014 at 6:18 PM

      Good question, Christine. I guess my instructions weren’t really clear enough. In this recipe, I would try using 18 grams of Ultratex 3 in place of the Expandex, and then making up the remaining 36 grams in more all purpose gluten free flour. So it would be 404 grams all purpose gluten free flour + 18 grams Ultratex 3. I hope that helps!

  • April 14, 2014 at 12:49 PM

    Will you come and make these for me? Fry bread is a major guilty pleasure of mine. The only reason I go to the fair every year. Um, thanks.

    • April 14, 2014 at 5:06 PM

      Aw, Mel, I would love nothing more than to make these for you! But I think you could bake circles around me. :)

  • Lorelei S.
    April 14, 2014 at 11:24 AM

    Im so very excited to see this recipe!! My boyfriend is Navajo and now I can eat frybread too!! THANK YOU SO MUCH!!

    • April 14, 2014 at 11:53 AM

      Oh that’s awesome, Lorelei!

  • Jennifer S.
    April 14, 2014 at 10:49 AM

    Another winner!!! :) Have a great week!

    • April 14, 2014 at 11:53 AM

      Thanks, Jennifer!!

  • Tracey Grizzell-Rapp
    April 14, 2014 at 10:05 AM

    Have you tried to adapt any of these recipes to dairy free?

    • Jennifer S.
      April 14, 2014 at 10:48 AM

      In the latest bread book, Nicole talks about the dairy free version. Check it out. Otherwise you’ll just have to experiment on your own – we all do!

      • April 14, 2014 at 11:54 AM

        Thanks for jumping in, Jennifer! The only dairy in this particular recipe (since it doesn’t use the Bread Flour blend from GFOAS Bakes Bread) is the milk. I’m sure something like almond milk would work just fine. For the other dairy-free alternative info, Tracey, see pages 10-11 of my Bakes Bread book!

      • Donia Robinson
        April 14, 2014 at 8:49 PM

        Hi Tracey, I successfully make a lot of Nicole’s recipes dairy free. Definitely go for it! This one should be a cinch because, like she says, it only has milk (not butter, yogurt, etc.)

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