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Skillet Sourdough Fry Bread With Starter

Your family will love this skillet sourdough fry bread recipe. Golden brown and crispy on the outside, while soft and chewy on the inside! 

Sourdough fry bread with beans, lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese.

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Sourdough fry bread is perfect for dinner and dessert! Top them with taco ingredients like ground beef, salsa, and cheese. Afterward, eat them as a sweet treat with Nutella and powdered sugar!

If you love donuts, sourdough beignets, and Sourdough Apple Fritters, then you need to try making fry bread!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe:

  • So easy to make! Very forgiving and perfect for home cooks
  • Very versatile! Eat these fry breads savory or sweet
  • Only a few simple ingredients
  • Crispy on the outside, soft on the inside
  • No mixer required
Skillet fried sourdough frybread on a cooling rack and paper towel

FAQ

How do you eat Frybread?

Frybread is usually eaten with savory foods (such as Navajo Tacos). But, you can also eat them as a sweet treat. Drizzle honey, powdered sugar, or even Nutella on your fry bread.

Are elephant ears the same as fry bread?

Yes! Frybread is also known as elephant ears, fry dough, and fried bread. Some people call them doughboys and frying saucers.

Where do people eat fry bread?

You can find fry bread at Native American Reservations. It is also eaten at county fairs.

A stack of freshly fried sourdough frybread on a black plate

Toppings For Skillet Fried Sourdough Frybread

You can eat fry bread with the toppings of your choice! These are versatile and eaten with savory ingredients or as a sweet treat.

Savoury Fry Bread Toppings:

Sweet Fry Bread Toppings:

  • Nutella (my personal favorite)
  • Maple Syrup
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Cinnamon Sugar
Freshly made sourdough discard frybread tacos with lettuce, ground beef, cheese, and beans.

Tips For The Perfect Skillet Fried Sourdough Fry Bread

  • Do NOT roll the fry bread dough out too flat. If it’s too flat, it will have the consistency of a potato chip. The correct thickness is around 1/4th inch.
  • Increase the heat of your oil if your frybread is too oily. If the oil is not hot enough, the frybreads will absorb too much oil. These should cook quickly.
  • Add flour if the dough is too sticky. On the other hand, add water if the dough is too dry. Check the step-by-step photos for the correct dough consistency.

Can I Make This With Commercial Yeast and Discard?

Absolutely! Add one packet of instant yeast to this recipe.

Relying on the starter as the leavening agent will give your frybreads an amazing sourdough flavor. I prefer having the maximum tanginess that the starter adds. But, you can add yeast and sourdough discard instead of an active starter.

Using yeast will shorten the time it takes to make this recipe.

How to Add Yeast To This Recipe

If you use yeast and discard in place of an active starter, here is the recipe timeline:

  1. Mix all the ingredients (plus one packet of yeast. Can use discard instead of starter)
  2. Let rise for 30 minutes
  3. Shape
  4. Let Rise for 15-20 Minutes
  5. Deep fry in your skillet

By adding yeast, you can eat frybread in less than two hours.

On the table are ingredients for sourdough fry bread recipe. All purpose flour, oil, salt, water, and sourdough starter

Key Ingredients For Indian Sourdough Fry Bread

  • All Purpose Flour: You can also use bread flour
  • Sourdough Starter: Needs to be an active starter. Scroll up for the instructions on using commercial yeast with this recipe.
  • Salt: Salt is a flavor enhanser. Don’t forget to add it into your mixing bowl.
  • Warm Water: If water is cold, then it will take a long time for your dough to rise.
  • Oil (Plus oil for frying): Use high smoke point oil like vegetable oil, peanut oil, or avocado oil. Avoid using olive oil.

Step-by-Step Photos of Sourdough Fry Bread With Starter

This recipe takes two days since it relies on the sourdough starter and does not have yeast. If you would like to add yeast, scroll up to the section “How To Add Yeast To This Recipe”.

Freshly fed sourdough starter. Fed with flour and water. Sitting on a table in a glass jar

Day One

Feed The Starter (Four Hours Before Mixing)

In a glass jar, combine 25g of sourdough starter, 100g of water, and 100g of flour. Let rise until you have an active starter at its peak (four hours). It should be doubled in size.

A mixing bowl of all purpose flour, oil, salt, and sourdough starter.

Mixing The Ingredients

In a large mixing bowl, mix the dry ingredients (all-purpose flour and salt). 

Mixing flour, water, sourdough starter, salt, and oil with a spatula.

Add one cup of water, 200g of active sourdough starter, and the oil. Mix with a wooden spoon or silicon spatula until it becomes a shaggy dough.

Adding one tablespoon of water to sourdough fry bread dough. Checking the consistency of the dough.

The dough should be slightly sticky. If it is too dry, add one tablespoon of water at a time until it is the correct consistency.

kneading dough on a floured work surface
You can knead the dough on a floured work surface or in the glass mixing bowl.

Knead the dough for three minutes or until combined.

Place the dough into an oiled container. Let rise overnight on the counter.

Rise of the dough
Before and after the first rise of the dough. This happens overnight on the counter.

Day Two

Dividing dough on a floured work surface with a bench scraper into 16 pieces.
Divide the dough into 16 pieces for small frybread. Or, 8 pieces for medium frybread.

Shaping

The next morning, your dough should have doubled. Place the dough on a floured work surface. Divide the dough into 16 pieces for small frybreads. But, you can divide it into 8 pieces for normal-sized frybreads. 

Rolling fry bread dough with hands into dough balls.
You can roll with your hands or with a rolling pin.

With floured hands or a rolling pin, roll each piece of dough into a ball. Place each dough ball on a floured surface and cover with a damp tea towel or plastic wrap. 

Second Rise

Let the dough balls rise in a warm spot for an hour or until ready to fry (please see notes about the time needed for the second rise).

Heat Oil

In a cast iron skillet, add frying oil and heat on medium-high heat for 10 minutes. The oil will be around 380°F when ready to fry. 

shaping the dough with hands. The dough starts off as around then it turned into a flat disk
You can shape the dough with your hands or with a rolling pin.

Shaping

On a lightly floured work surface, Roll a dough ball into a disk roughly 1/4th inch thick. You can use your hands or a rolling pin. No need for perfection! 

Frying sourdough skillet bread in a cast iron pan

Frying

Place the rolled-out dough into the hot oil Fry each side for 30-60 seconds or until golden. Place on a wire rack or towel paper. Repeat for the rest of the dough balls.

Sourdough discard fry bread recipe. Freshly made fried bread on a plate with taco fillings

How To Store Sourdough Skillet Bread

You can store fry bread at room temperature for up to three days. Simply place them in an air-tight container or a ziplock plastic bag. 

You can also place them in the refrigerator. They will last up to one week in the fridge.

If you need to store fry bread for longer, they are great frozen as well. To freeze, let the bread cool at room temperature. Afterward, stack and wrap in plastic wrap or place in a ziplock freezer bag. Finally, place in the freezer. They will last in the freezer for up to three months.

Other Sourdough Recipes You Will Like:

Best Sourdough Apple Fritters with Discard

Easy Sourdough Crepes with Nutella and Fresh Berries

Quick Skillet Sourdough Flatbread (No Yeast)

Easy Fried Sourdough Beignets without Evaporated Milk

Sourdough Fry Bread With Starter Recipe Card

sourdough frybread on a table with navajo taco ingredients.
5 from 5 votes

Skillet Sourdough Fry Bread

Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside! Sourdough fry bread will be your family's new favorite! Eat it savory or sweet!
Xena Kai
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Rise Time 12 hours
Total Time: 12 hours 35 minutes
Servings: 16 Small Fry Bread

Equipment

  • 1 Cast Iron Skillet

Ingredients
  

  • 3 1/4 Cups All Purpose Flour
  • 2 Teaspoons Salt
  • 3/4 Cups Sourdough Starter 200 grams
  • 1 Cup Warm Water
  • 1/3 Cup Oil

Instructions
 

Day One – Four Hours Before Mixing

  • Feed The Starter: In a glass jar, combine 25g of sourdough starter, 100g of water, and 100g of flour. Note: If you want to use yeast, please see the notes below.

Day One – After Sourdough Starter Has Doubled

  • Mixing: In a large bowl, mix the all-purpose flour and salt. Add one cup of water, 200g of active sourdough starter, and the oil. Mix with a wooden spoon until it becomes a shaggy dough.Knead the dough for three minutes or until combined.
  • Place the dough into an oiled container. Let rise overnight on the counter.

Day Two

  • Shaping: The next morning, your dough should have doubled. Place the dough on a floured work surface. Divide the dough into 16 pieces for small frybreads. But, you can divide it into 8 pieces for normal-sized frybreads. 
  • With floured hands, roll each piece into a ball. Place each dough ball on a floured surface and cover with a damp tea towel or plastic wrap. 
  • Second Rise: Let the dough balls rise for an hour or until ready to fry. Please see the notes about the time needed for the second rise.
  • Heat Oil: In a cast iron skillet, add frying oil and heat on medium heat for 10 minutes. The oil will be around 380°F when ready to fry. 
  • Frying: On a lightly floured work surface, Roll a dough ball into a disk roughly 1/4th inch thick. You can use your hands or a rolling pin. No need for perfection! Fry each side for 30-60 seconds or until golden. Place on a wire rack or towel paper. Repeat for the rest of the dough balls.

Notes

  • Using Yeast: Adding yeast to this recipe will give you quick frybread. Moreover, you can use sourdough discard instead of ripe starter. Check my post to see instructions on how to use yeast and sourdough discard.
  • Size of Each Frybread: This recipe makes 16 small frybreads (perfect for Navajo tacos). If you would like medium size, divide the dough ball into 8 instead of 16.
  • Second Rise Time: Let rise for one hour up to 6 hours. The time for the second rise is not strict. This recipe is very forgiving.
  • Do NOT Roll Out Too Thin: The correct thickness is around 1/4th inch. We are making bread, not chips! If the dough is too thin, it will be like a chip after it’s fried. You will be sad. I don’t want you to be sad.
  • To Store: Store at room temperature for up to three days. You can also freeze the fried bread for up to three months.
  • You’ll Love these other sourdough recipes:
sourdough apple fritters with cinnamon sticks and fresh apples
Sourdough Apple Fritters
sourough crepes on a black plate with nutella, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries
Easy Sourdough Crepes With Nutella
sourdough flatbread on a cutting board and kitchen towel. With a side of garlic butter and salt and fresh parsley
Skillet Sourdough Flatbread

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