Pita Bread Recipe (Oven or Stovetop)
This homemade Pita Bread Recipe puffs up beautifully to form that perfect pocket inside. Watch the video tutorial and learn how to make Pita Bread in the oven or on the stovetop.
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Homemade Pita Bread Video
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Ingredients for Pita Bread
Pita dough is made with these basic pantry staples:
- Warm water – should be 110˚F to 115˚F on a thermometer
- Instant yeast – 1 packet or 2 1/4 tsp of instant or rapid rise yeast
- Sugar – to help jumpstart the proofing process
- Flour – we love a combination of mostly all-purpose flour to keep the pita very soft, with a little whole wheat flour to add flavor and color
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil – use extra virgin for the best flavor
- Salt – we use fine sea salt. As with any bread, salt is critical for a great tasting bread.
How to Make Pita Dough
- Proof Yeast – In a large mixing bowl, combine warm water, sugar, yeast, and whole wheat flour. Whisk and set aside for 15 minutes until foamy.
- Add remaining flour, olive oil, and salt and stir until shaggy.
- Knead – Turn out onto a clean surface and knead for 5 minutes. It will get less sticky as you knead. If it’s too sticky to knead, sprinkle with a little flour and continue kneading. Dough should be soft and tacky to the touch.
- Proof Dough – Grease a clean mixing bowl 1 tsp olive oil. Add dough and turn to coat in oil. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and place in a warm (100˚F) place 45 minutes, or at room temperature 90 minutes, until doubled in volume.
- Preheat Oven – Once dough has doubled (if using oven method) preheat oven to 500˚F with a baking stone or inverted baking sheet on the bottom rack position and let stone heat up for at least 20 minutes.
How to Form Pita Bread
- Divide Dough – Punch dough down, transfer to a clean surface and cut into 8 even pieces. Cup your hand around each dough ball and roll on the counter until you no longer see a dimple underneath. Cover with a damp kitchen towel and rest 15 minutes to let gluten relax for easier rolling.
- Roll Dough – Generously dust work surface and dough ball and press gently into a disk with your fingertips to disperse bubbles. Roll dough balls to 7” wide and less than 1/4” thick. Makes sure disks aren’t sticking to the counter. Keep rolled disks covered with a damp towel. Do not stack pitas. Let disks rest 10 minutes before baking for better puffing.
To Bake Pita Bread
Place 2 pieces of dough on the fully preheated pizza stone and bake at 500˚F 2 to 2 1/2 minutes or until puffed. Transfer to a rack for 5 minutes then cover with a dry towel so they don’t dry out. Repeat with remaining pitas.
Stovetop Pita Bread
Preheat a cast-iron skillet over medium/high heat and brush lightly with olive oil. Lay pita on the hot skillet for 30 seconds. As soon as you see bubbles, flip the pita and cook 1 minute – it will puff then flip and cook 1 minute.
Why did my pita bread not puff up?
After many batches (and a freezer packed with homemade pita bread), we identified all of the tips and tricks to get that mesmerizing puff and perfectly formed pocket in the center.
- Fresh Ingredients – Make sure your ingredients are fresh and yeast or flour is not expired.
- Generously flour the counter before rolling the dough. If the dough sticks to the counter while rolling, the pita may tear causing steam to escape so it won’t puff properly.
- Preheat baking stone – Place the stone in the oven while it’s preheating to 500˚F and make sure it’s in there for at least 20 minutes. The dough being in contact with a super hot surface is what causes trapped steam to swell and puff up the center of the pita.
- Preheat cast-iron – Place over medium/high heat. You know it’s ready when you add a drop of water and it sizzles and evaporates instantly.
- Forming dough balls – roll the dough until you no longer see a dimple at the bottom (which can prevent the pita from puffing properly, or cause a tear/deflating).
- Use your fingertips to press the dough into a small disk before rolling it out helps to disperse the air bubbles in the dough which helps it rise more evenly.
Pita is a quick-cooking, yeast-leavened flatbread that puffs up when it’s cooked to form a pocket in the center.
Pita bread is a lighter bread that is leavened with yeast, while flatbread is not. Naan usually has an egg and yogurt base.
Yes, you can just use all-purpose flour and the pita bread will still work great. Whole wheat is traditional and adds a little color and hint of nutty flavor.
To keep the dough from drying out, it must be covered with a damp kitchen towel after rolling into dough balls and into disks. Also, cover the pita bread with a dry kitchen towel 5 minutes after it is cooked or it will get dry.
How to Serve Pita Bread
Pita bread can be served so many ways. Here are some of our favorites:
- Gyros – fill with gyro meat, lettuce, tomato, feta cheese, and Tzatziki Sauce.
- Fajita Pitas – put Chicken and Mushroom Fajitas or Shrimp Fajitas over pita bread and serve.
- With Dip – slice up the pita bread into wedges, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and serve with Tzatziki or Hummus.
- Stuffed Pitas – Cut pita bread in half, open the pita pocket and fill with Chicken Salad or Tuna Salad.
- Toasted Chips – Cut pita into wedges, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with salt and bake in a single layer at 375˚F for about 10 minutes.
- Room Temperature: Once pita breads are at room temperature, transfer to a zip bag and store at room temperature for up to 3 days.
- Freezing: Once pita bread is at room temperature, transfer to a freezer safe zip bag. When sealing the bag, remove any excess air then freeze up to 3 months. You can lightly stack multiple pita breads in a bag, but don’t pack them in or it will be difficult to separate later.
- To Reheat: Warm pitas in an oven, air fryer, toaster or microwave until thawed and just warm.
There’s no match for soft and fresh homemade pita bread. Let me know how you love to enjoy pita.
More Homemade Bread Recipes
These easy bread recipes will make you feel like a pro. Enjoying a warm slice of homemade bread makes the process completely worthwhile.
- Foccacia Bread
- Soft Dinner Rolls
- Classic French Bread
- Banana Bread (or Pumpkin Bread)
- Irish Soda Bread
- Brioche Bread
Homemade Pita Bread Recipe
How to Make Pita Dough:
- In a large mixing bowl, combine warm water, sugar, yeast, and 1/4 cup whole wheat flour. Whisk to combine then set aside for 15 minutes until puffy and foamy on top.
- Add olive oil, 2 1/2 cups flour and salt and stir together with a wooden spoon until shaggy.
- Turn out onto a clean smooth surface and knead vigorously for 5 minutes. The dough should feel sticky to your hands but will get less sticky as you knead and should not be sticking to the counter. If the dough is too sticky to knead, sprinkle with a little more flour and continue kneading. Dough should be soft and tacky to the touch.
- Wash and dry the mixing bowl and grease the inside of the bowl with 1 tsp olive oil inside the bowl. Add dough and turn to coat in oil. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and place in a warm (100˚F) place for 45 minutes, or at room temperature about 90 minutes until doubled in volume.
- If Baking Pita: Once dough has doubled, preheat oven to 500˚F with a baking stone or baking sheet on the bottom rack position. You need to let the stone heat up for at least 20 minutes or the pita won’t puff properly
How to Form Pita Bread:
- Punch dough down and Transfer dough to a clean surface and divide into 8 even pieces. Cup your hand around each dough ball and roll until you no longer see a dimple or seam underneath. Cover balls with a damp kitchen towel and rest 15 minutes for gluten to relax and make it easier to roll them out.
- Place a dough ball onto a surface generously dusted and press gently into a disk with your fingertips to disperse bubbles. Roll dough balls to 7” wide and less than 1/4” thick. Move the disk several times while rolling to ensure it doesn’t stick to the counter. Keep rolled disks covered with a damp towel so they don’t dry out. Do not stack pitas. Let disks rest 10 minutes before baking and they will puff better.
To Bake Pita Bread:
- Place 2-3 pieces of dough on the preheated pizza stone and bake at 500˚F 2 to 2 1/2 minutes or until puffed. Remove from oven and transfer to a rack for 5 minutes then cover with a dry towel to keep the pitas from drying out.
- Preheat cast iron skillet over medium/high heat and brush lightly with olive oil. Lay pita on the hot skillet for 30 seconds. Once you see bubbling, flip the pitta and cook for 1 minute – it will puff then flip and cook another minute.