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Air Fryer Indian Fry Bread

Indian Fry Bread

Living in Arizona, I certainly get my fill of fry bread, but I never get tired of it. There are vendors at every carnival, rodeo, street fairs, etc. And you can get it topped any way you like or just eat it plain!

My favorite place to buy fry bread is from one of the vendors in the parking lot at San Xavier Mission del Bac (White Dove of the Desert) Mission in Tucson. They are fried in large iron kettles over a mesquite fire, and they are to die for!

I have recently seen some recipes for Indian Fry Bread that call for yeast. I have never seen a Native American make fry bread with yeast, at least not in Arizona. I can’t imagine that they would even taste remotely like the fry bread I know.

Each completed fry bread may be topped with refried beans, chili, confectioners’ sugar or honey. If making a savory fry bread, top the refried beans with diced tomatoes, shredded lettuce and shredded cheese. It makes a complete meal. If desired, the rounds may be folded over after topping and eaten that way. It’s really easier to eat them if they are folded in half, but it’s all a matter of preference.


  • 3 cups flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon shortening, lard or vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup warm water


  1. Measure dry ingredients into a deep mixing bowl. Add shortening and knead with hands until dough is in small pea-size pieces. Add warm, not hot, water and knead with hands until dough is smooth and leaves sides of bowl. Knead at least 5 minutes.
  2. Cover with a clean dish towel, and place in a warm place to rise for 30 minutes.
  3. This is the secret for tender fry bread - kneading and resting.
  4. Lightly coat bottom of air fryer basket with olive oil. Set air fryer to 360 degrees F and allow it to preheat for about 3 minutes.
  5. Break off a golfball-size ball of dough and roll flat on a lightly floured surface. Brush top of rolled out pieces of dough with olive oil. Place dough pieces (2 or 3 at a time, so they aren't overlapping) into the basket of the air fryer (oiled side down) and brush top of dough with oil. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes; then flip and cook about another 3 to 4 minutes (until puffy and golden brown).
  6. Repeat with remaining dough.

The cooked fry bread can also be frozen and then simply reheated in the microwave.

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