How to Make Perfect Pita Bread Every Time

freshly cooked homemade pita bread

How to Make Perfect Pita Bread Every Time ~ making homemade pita bread is easier than you think, and you’ll never go back to the stuff in bags again, guaranteed!

All natural easy homemade pita bread

I promised you homemade pita bread when I posted last week’s CRUSHED LENTILS, and here it is: the perfect, easy, user-friendly pita recipe.  It took a few tries to get it just right, but now I’ve got it down, I’ll happily pass it along to you.  We eat vast quantities of hummus in our house, so this recipe is going to be well used.  This is a basic, no skills required bread, but even though it’s a simple process, you’ll still get that primal thrill when you turn flour and water into pillowy rounds of soft, warm bread.  Rip it, cut it, fold it, wrap it, or stuff it — it’s a wonderfully versatile bread.

Pita dough resting

This is nothing like the mass-produced pita bread you find in the supermarket, which is usually dry and a little bit like cardboard.  This bread is soft and chewy, and not at all dry.  I’m going to be using the word soft a lot, I can tell, but that’s what I love about it.  We will definitely experiment with whole grains eventually, but for this first recipe I’m sticking with all purpose flour, I think it makes a more appealing pita.

rolling out pita bread rounds

I used my stand mixer for the 5 minutes of kneading, and that made the whole process a breeze.  That kneading turns a sticky blob into an elastic dough that rolls out easily.  Use the same principle you would for pie dough; you want to start with a round disk, and roll from the center out, constantly shifting your rolling pin around the circle to keep it even.  Don’t fret if you can’t get perfect circles, it doesn’t matter in the least.

pita bread puffing up on the griddle

The dough cooks right on the stove top, on a hot griddle or pan, in just a couple of minutes.  Get the pan hot, at medium high heat, and leave it there.  My gas burner goes from 1 to 7, and I kept it at mark 5.  The dramatic puffing that you see above is a little unreliable…sometimes it puffs, sometimes it doesn’t, but the bread is great either way.  The puffing is what makes the inner pocket, so that you can cut it and open it up, but I don’t generally use my pita that way, and I prefer the thicker, ‘pocketless’ version.

freshly cooked homemade pita bread

The minute they come off the heat you wrap them in a clean kitchen towel. The steam softens the bread and gives it the perfect texture.  When they’re cool, store them in zip lock bags.

TIP: Ok, so now you’ve got your pita, you’re going to need to check out my 50 WAYS TO HACK YOUR HUMMUS post so you’ll have something to go with it!

How to Make Pita Bread

Category: bread

Cuisine: Middle Eastern

Yield: makes 6-8 pita

Ingredients

  • 1 cup water, at about 100F, or warm but not hot to the touch
  • 2 tsp (or 1 packet) active dry yeast
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil (plus more for coating the dough and oiling the pan)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 3 cups all purpose flour (fluff the flour before scooping and leveling)

Instructions

  1. Put the warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer (or a regular bowl if doing by hand) and sprinkle in the yeast. Let it sit for 5 minutes.
  2. Blend in the oil and salt, and then mix in the flour. Once the flour is incorporated, knead for 5 minutes until the dough is soft and elastic.
  3. Coat the dough lightly with oil and place in a clean bowl. Cover with plastic and then a clean kitchen towel. Let rise in a warm spot for an hour, it will double in bulk.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Cut it in half, and then cut each half into 3 pieces, so you have 6 total. I like to take each piece and form a round ball, that way it is easier to roll out evenly. Keep the rest of the dough covered as you work with each piece.
  5. Roll out one of the pieces of the dough into approximately a 6 inch round.
  6. Heat a skillet or cast iron pan on medium high until it is hot. My gas range goes from 1 (low) to 7 (high) and I kept the heat at mark 5. Lightly oil the pan for the first piece of dough, but after that you should be fine without adding anything additional.
  7. Lay the round of dough on the hot pan and cook for about 30 seconds, until you start to see bubbles, or lumps, appear. Flip it over and cook for one minute. Then flip it again, and cook for a final minute.
  8. Remove the bread and immediately wrap it in a clean kitchen towel. The steam will keep it soft. While one pita is cooking you can be rolling out the next piece of dough.
  9. Repeat with the rest of the dough, and keep all the pitas stacked inside the towel until they have cooled. Then you can store them in plastic baggies.

nutrition label for How to Make Pita Bread

Notes:

  • The puffing can be a little bit capricious…if you really want it to puff and make an inner pocket, cut your dough into 8 instead of 6 pieces, and roll them on the thin side.  Make sure your pan is hot.  I prefer the thicker, softer rounds of bread, but it’s up to you.   These can be cooked in the oven, but again, I tried that and wasn’t happy with the results.  The pan gives you more control.

a stack of freshly baked homemade pita bread

This is one of those super satisfying projects.  If you like hummus or other Middle Eastern dips you need to try this recipe.  My husband likes to cut the bread in small triangles and toast them with a brushing of olive oil and a dash of seasoning, but mostly I like to use them as is, to enjoy their wonderful fresh baked quality.  If you want to keep them for a few days, store them in zip lock baggies, in the fridge.  You can freeze them, too, but I really recommend eating them right away!

For a slightly different spin on a Middle Eastern flat bread, try my LAFFA BREAD recipe!

 

don’t forget to pin How to Make Perfect Pita Every Time!

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137 Comments

  • Reply
    Jane
    October 7, 2018 at 12:17 pm

    Just made pita’s first time ever following your easy recipe, thank you. They didn’t puff up this time, but still managed to open them up.

  • Reply
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  • Reply
    Page
    August 10, 2018 at 7:09 pm

    Hi Sue!! Just wanted to say this recipe is AMAZING! These were actually the first time I made a bread or even baked with yeast, your recipe was a great start for a young baker like myself. It ended up tasting like…. bread! Thank you!!

    • Reply
      Sue
      August 11, 2018 at 7:32 am

      I predict you have a lot of baking in your future Page, thanks for your feedback!

  • Reply
    Jess
    July 31, 2018 at 6:21 pm

    Hi Sue! Just made these and they are divine – thank you! How do you go about crisping them up in the oven afterwards? Thought we might try them both ways. Any specifics? Thanks so much again!

  • Reply
    Lauren
    July 20, 2018 at 12:33 pm

    Seriously delicious!!!!! In the rareeee chance these are still around after a day or two what is the best way to store them? How long will they last? I’m thinking about doubling the recipe. Thanks!!

    • Reply
      Sue
      July 20, 2018 at 12:40 pm

      Thanks Lauren, and I generally keep them wrapped in plastic, just like the store bought ones. If you want them to last more than several days, you might consider freezing them.

  • Reply
    Kathleen
    March 30, 2018 at 11:23 am

    Can I use instant yeast?

    • Reply
      Sue
      March 30, 2018 at 12:19 pm

      I would think so Kathleen, but I haven’t tried.

  • Reply
    David
    February 17, 2018 at 3:41 am

    So glad you posted this on Facebook – the recipe looks so easy, and I cannot wait to try them!

    • Reply
      Sue
      June 12, 2018 at 12:56 pm

      Let me know how you like it David!

  • Reply
    SueJean Heinz
    January 6, 2018 at 9:04 pm

    Sheer genius! Living in the wilds of Alaska, pita bread is a rare (as in almost NEVER) find in our little local groceries. I’ve looked at other recipes for making pita in the oven, but I’m not inclined to play around with 500 degree heat in my propane stove. Never saw a recipe that cooked right in my cast iron frying pan though I figured it was out there. Stumbled across this two nights ago and tonight we ARE converts! Our favorite hummus recipes now have the perfect vehicle for satisfying our love of it! YAY!!
    Small hacks: I halved the salt just because 2 tsps seemed to be enough to taste and I didn’t want salty pitas. That worked great for us.
    Big hack: I put all the ingredients in my bread maker on the dough setting. When the cycle was complete, I pulled out the dough, rolled in a little extra flour because my dough was a bit too wet to handle. Cut it into 8 pieces and patted it out into circles. Fried it up in my cast iron skillet lickety-split and we had PITA BREAD!!
    I didn’t get “puffy” at all but it looks and tastes great. Like another reviewer said, it was more like naan bread in appearance, but I like naan bread too so doesn’t matter to me.
    Confession: We couldn’t wait until they were cool. The smell overwhelmed us. Sorry.

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 7, 2018 at 8:21 am

      Love this SueJean ~ I know a couple of other readers have tried this is a bread machine with success, that makes it so easy. I’m so glad this recipe helped to bring this wonderful style of bread to the ‘wilds’! You’ll have to try my LAFFA BREAD next :)

  • Reply
    Kat
    December 8, 2017 at 12:03 am

    These look lovely! I am in the UK though and was wondering about the right kind of flour to use. The internet tells me ‘in the UK plain flour can be used as a substitute for American all-purpose flour – unless you’re making bread, which calls for bread flour.’ But this is a flat-bread….so do you think that would that still apply? I’d welcome your thoughts on this as i’d really like to try the recipe.

    • Reply
      Connie Strickland
      April 29, 2018 at 4:55 pm

      Kat, UK Plain Flour and U.S. All Purpose Flour should be the same. When it states that it is not suitable for make bread, it means high rise bread loaves because it does not have the necessary gluten structure. This is a flat bread recipe that does not require the gluten structure so the UK Plain Flour should be fine to use.

      • Reply
        Sue
        April 29, 2018 at 5:57 pm

        Thanks Connie!

  • Reply
    G Pavao
    October 4, 2017 at 1:31 pm

    Decided to make these for dinner tonight. A few may have gone missing before the meal. lol Yummmm

    • Reply
      Sue
      October 4, 2017 at 1:35 pm

      So glad they worked out for you, they’re habit forming!

      • Reply
        G Pavao
        November 1, 2017 at 10:08 am

        You are not kidding. I am almost sorry I ever tried it because now I cannot stand to buy pita bread. ? Making another batch today. Tried another recipe cause I always like to experiment but like this one much better.

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