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Frybread Recipes

By 1890, the Lakota people, once powerful and free, were entirely dependent on the U.S. government. The U.S. had forcibly removed our people from our homeland, confined them to reservations and cut their rations by half.

That 'ol Indian Fry Bread made of lard & flour ~

"Do you know where the 'idea' of frybread comes from, young one?", asked the Elder...

Everyone sat back and looked so eager to hear the story this beautiful Elder was about to tell, all smiles...

"Buggy flour and rancid lard", he said softly with his head down... Flour, you know, with bugs in it, and lard that had gone bad... that was all we got from the Indian Agent.

That was all we had to cook with, it was all we had to eat... Buggy flour and rancid lard... And so, we 'cooked' with both... That is how this European mystical and wonderful idea of 'frybread' came about... I just thought I would tell you."

Courtesy of Claudette Johnson Pine Ridge Agency South Dakota, 1891 Denver Public Library Digital Collection


Old Fashioned


  • 4 cups flour

  • 2 tbsp. baking powder

  • 1 tsp. salt

  • 1/2 cup shortening

  • 1 cup warm water

DIRECTIONS Mix flour, baking powder and salt. Gradually add in the shortening and water. Add only enough water to make dough stick together. Knead dough until smooth, make into fist-sized balls. Cover them with a towel for 10 minutes then pat them out into circles about the size of a pancake. Fry in hot cooking oil in cast iron skillet until brown on both sides. Drain on paper towels, serve with jam.



  • 1 pkg. dry yeast

  • 3 cups warm water

  • 1 tbsp. salt

  • 1 tbsp. sugar

  • 6 cups flour

  • 2 tbsp. oil

  • 1/2 cup cornmeal

DIRECTIONS Dissolve yeast in warm water then add salt and sugar. Let stand for 5 minutes covered with a towel. Add flour and oil to liquid mixture. Mix and put on floured bread board and knead until mixture is smooth. Put dough in a greased bowl, cover with towel and let it rise for 1 1/2 hours. Remove from bowl and put on bread board, knead in the 1/2 cornmeal. Make dough into 2 balls rolling each into 12-inch circles 1/2 inch thick. Cut into 2 inch squares and drop into hot cooking oil. (Works best with cast iron skillet.) Fry 5 to 6 pieces at a time for only a few moments. Drain on paper towel and sprinkle with white powdered sugar.



  • 4 cups flour

  • 1 Tbsp. powdered milk

  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder

  • 1 tsp. salt

  • 1 1/2 cups warm water

  • Oil for frying

DIRECTIONS Mix all dry ingredients thoroughly. Add water. Knead until soft, then set aside for one hour. Shape into small balls. Flatten each ball into a circle with or rolling pin or by hand. Fry in a skillet half-full of oil until golden brown on both sides.



  • 1 cup flour

  • 1/2 tsp. salt

  • 2 tsp. baking powder

  • 3/4 cup milk

DIRECTIONS Mix ingredients adding more flour if necessary, to make a stiff dough. Roll out the dough on a floured board till very thin. Cut into strips 2 X 3 inches and drop in hot cooking oil. Brown on both sides. Serve hot with honey.



  • 2 cups sifted flour

  • 1/2 tsp. salt

  • 4 tsp. baking powder

  • 1 egg

  • 1/2 cup warm milk

DIRECTIONS Stir first three ingredients then stir in the beaten egg. Add milk to make the dough soft. Roll it out on floured bread board, knead lightly. Roll dough out to 1/2 inch thick. Cut into strips 2 X 3 inches and slit the center. Drop into hot cooking oil and brown on both sides. Serve hot.

Pumpkin Fry Bread

Add the following to the ingredients shown above to make Pumpkin Fry Bread

  • 2 cups fresh pumpkin or 1-16oz. can pumpkin

  • 1 tbsp. milk or water

  • 3/4 cups brown sugar

  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon

  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg

  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla

Drop into hot cooking oil and brown on both sides. Serve hot with butter or powdered sugar.



  • 2 cups flour

  • 1 cup buttermilk

  • 1 tbsp. baking powder

  • 1/4 tsp. salt

DIRECTIONS Sift flour, salt and baking powder then add milk and more flour to make dough stiff. Roll out onto floured bread board and cut into 4 X 4 squares with a slit in the center. Fry in hot cooking oil until golden brown. Drain on plate with paper towels.

Navajo #1


  • 1 C flour

  • 1 t baking powder

  • 1/4 C powdered milk

  • 1/4 t salt

  • warm water

DIRECTIONS Combine the ingredients and slowly add enough warm water to form dough. On a lightly floured surface, knead dough until it is smooth soft and not sticky. Cover and let rest 1 hour. Shape into small balls and pat into flat circles about 1/4-1/2 inch thick. Set aside.

In skillet, heat 1/2-inch vegetable oil. Brown dough circles on each side and drain on paper towels.

Serve with chile beans and your favorite taco toppings for "Navajo Tacos."

Navajo #2


  • 3 cups unbleached flour, sifted

  • 1/2 cup dry powdered milk

  • 1 Tbs. baking powder

  • 1/2 tsp. salt

  • 1/2 cup warm water or milk

  • 2 quarts oil for deep frying

DIRECTIONS Combine the first 5 ingredients in a large mixing bowl and knead until smooth and soft, but not sticky. Depending on the altitude and humidity, you may need to adjust the liquid or the flour, so go slowly and balance accordingly. Be careful not to overwork the dough, or it will become tough and chewy. Brush a tablespoon of oil over the finished dough and allow it to rest 20 minutes to 2 hours in a bowl covered with a damp cloth. After the dough has rested, heat the oil in a broad, deep frying pan or kettle until it reaches a low boil (375º). Pull off egg-sized balls of dough and quickly roll, pull, and path them out into large, plate-sized rounds. They should be thin in the middle and about 1/4-inch-thick at the edges. Carefully ease each piece of flattened dough into the hot, boiling oil, one at a time. Using a long-handled cooking fork or tongs, turn the dough one time. Allow about 2 minutes cooking time per side. When golden brown, lift from oil, shake gently to remove bulk of oil, and place on layered brown paper or paper towels to finish draining.

Serve hot with honey, jelly, fine powdered sugar, wojape, or various meat toppings.


The magic is in frying the bread quickly! The hotter the oil, the less time it takes to cook. The less time it takes to cook, the lighter the texture and lower the fat content.



  • 4 cups all-purpose flour

  • 2 tsp salt

  • 1 tbsp and a half baking powder

  • 1 tablespoon melted shortening

  • 2 cups warm milk

  • Shortening for deep frying

DIRECTIONS Sift flour, salt, and baking powder into bowl. Stir in shortening and milk. Knead the dough into a ball. Roll out dough on lightly floured board. Cut into diamond shapes and slice a slit in the center. Heat shortening in deep fryer to 370 degrees. Fry 2 or 3 at a time until golden brown on both sides. Drain on paper towels.



  • 2 cups flour

  • 3 tsp. baking powder

  • 1 tsp. salt

  • 1 cup milk

DIRECTIONS Mix flour, baking powder and salt. Add milk gradually making sure the dough is stiff. Put on floured bread board and pat it out with your hands until it is 1/2 inch thick. Cut into strips with a slit in the center. Fry in hot oil until both sides are golden brown.

Navajo Fry Bread

By Glenda Longhorn


  • 4 ½ Cups Flour

  • 1 Tbsp baking Powder

  • 1 ¼ cup Warm Water

  • 2 Tbsp Powdered Milk

  • 1 Tsp Salt

DIRECTIONS Mix and knead then let stand 30 minutes. Roll to about 1/8-inch-thick on lightly floured board. Cut into any shape desired. Fry in deep fat (vegetable oil) at 400 - 450 degrees until crisp.


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