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Frybread from Savory Baking by Erin McDowell

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When we spoke with Erin McDowell about her cookbook Savory Baking, we asked her to tell us what she’s makes when she gets home and has 40 minutes (max!) to get dinner on the table. Frybread tacos were her answer, and we’re so with it.

Here’s what Erin has to say about her Frybread recipe:

Frybread has a fraught history. When the U.S. government forced Indigenous Americans off their land and into reservations more than 150 years ago, they were separated from some of their traditional crops and instead supplied only with a variety of processed foods, like white flour and lard. Frybread was born out of necessity and resilience, and it became a beloved staple among the indigenous tribes. Every year, my dad would take me to the art festivals at Haskell Indian Nations University. It was in that beautiful place where I ate my first frybread, and it was one of the first recipes I learned to make on my own. My go-to version is quick and easy; see the Variations for an equally delicious yeast-raised version. I love frybread topped with smashed avocado, or a drizzle of queso sauce, but it’s wonderful all on its own. My absolute favorite way, though, is how we’d devour it at the festival, as a crispy-fluffy base for a version of tacos or tostadas.

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Frybread recipe from Savory Baking by Erin McDowell | Didn't I Just Feed You podcast


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  • Author: Erin McDowell
  • Yield: 12 Frybreads 1x


When we spoke with Erin McDowell about her cookbook Savory Baking, we asked her to tell us what she’s makes when she gets home and has 40 minutes (max!) to get dinner on the table. Frybread tacos were her answer, and we’re so with it.



540 g / 41/2 cups all-purpose flour
6 g / 1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
16 g / 4 teaspoons baking powder
85 g / 3 ounces / 6 tablespoons unsalted butter or lard, melted
340 g / 1 1/2 cups room-temperature water (about 75°F/25°C)
Neutral oil (such as canola or vegetable) for deep-frying


1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, mix the flour, salt, and baking powder on low speed to combine. Add the melted butter or lard and water and mix until a smooth dough forms, 2 to 3 minutes. (You can also mix the dough by hand in a large bowl with a spatula or wooden spoon—mix for 4 to 6 minutes, until the dough is smooth).

2. Turn the dough out, form into a disk, and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

3. Pour 2 to 3 inches/5 to 8 cm of oil into a large heavy-bottomed pot. Attach a deep-fry thermometer to the side of the pot and heat the oil over medium heat to around 350°F/175°C (or use an instant-read thermometer to carefully check the temperature); I generally deep-fry food at around 325 to 340°F/165 to 170°C, but it’s best to heat the oil to hotter than you need to start, as the temperature will drop once you add food to it. Set a wire rack over a baking sheet for draining the frybreads.

4. Meanwhile, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide it into 12 equal pieces (about 80 g each). Working with one piece of dough at a time, roll the dough out into a rough round about 1/3 inch/8 mm thick; the exact shape doesn’t really matter, but take care not to make it too thin. Use your thumb or a sharp knife to make a hole in the center of thE round—this helps the dough maintain an even thickness during frying. Repeat with the remaining dough.

5. Add one round of dough to the hot oil and fry, turning once, until evenly golden brown on both sides, 2 to 4 minutes per side; use a large spider or tongs to gently flip the frybread in the oil. Transfer the frybread to the rack to drain slightly.

6. Repeat with the remaining rounds of dough and serve warm.


Replace the baking powder with 5 g / 11/2 teaspoons instant dry yeast and add 12 g / 1 tablespoon granulated sugar along with the yeast. Use warm water for the dough—around 110°F/45°C. After mixing, transfer the dough to a greased bowl and let rise for 1 hour, then continue as directed above.
Toss the frybreads in cinnamon sugar or powdered sugar when they come out of the hot oil.

Make Ahead and Storage:
Frybread is best the same day it’s prepared. Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature.

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