A Comprehensive Guide to the 7 Types of Flatbread

7 Types of Flatbreads – A Complete Guide

Flatbreads are a versatile and delicious type of bread that have been enjoyed for centuries in different cultures around the world. From tortillas to naan, flatbreads come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and flavors. In this comprehensive guide, we explore seven popular types of flatbreads, including their origins, ingredients, and culinary uses.

1. Tortillas

Tortillas are widely recognized as one of the most popular unleavened flatbreads. They have a long history, dating back to the indigenous peoples of Mesoamerica around 500 BC. Traditionally, tortillas were made from cornmeal, but today wheat-based flours are also commonly used.
There are two main types of tortillas: corn tortillas and flour tortillas. Corn tortillas are made from hominy, a type of processed corn. In Mexico, different types of corn are used, such as white corn, yellow corn, and blue corn, each with its own distinctive color and flavor. Corn tortillas are typically smaller in size, ranging from 2.4 to 12 inches in diameter.
Flour tortillas, on the other hand, are made from finely ground wheat flour. The dough for flour tortillas includes flour, water, fat, and salt. These tortillas are larger and have a softer and more pliable texture compared to corn tortillas.
Tortillas are incredibly versatile and can be used in a wide variety of dishes. They are commonly used in Mexican cuisine to make enchiladas, quesadillas, tacos, tortilla soup, and tostadas. Corn tortillas go well with grilled meats or soups, while flour tortillas are often used for burritos and quesadillas.

2. Flatbread

Pita bread is a round, yeast-leavened flatbread known for its unique pocket. The origin of pita bread can be traced back to the Middle East, the Fertile Crescent and Greece. Its exact origin is uncertain due to limited historical records, but it is believed to have evolved from another type of flatbread.
To make pita bread, a basic dough is prepared from flour, water, yeast, and salt. The dough is formed into flat round discs and left to rise for a short time. The bread is then baked in a hot oven or on a hot surface, which produces steam and creates an air pocket inside the bread.
When baked, pita bread has a crisp exterior and a soft, chewy center. It has a balanced flavor and can be enjoyed with a variety of fillings or used as a serving container for dips and sauces. Pita bread is often used in dishes such as shawarmas and as an accompaniment to hummus or tzatziki.

3. Naan Bread

Naan bread is a leavened flatbread that originated in India, western Asia, Mesopotamia, and ancient Egypt. It is believed to be derived from bread made on hot pebbles in Persia. Naan has a distinctive oblong or oval shape that makes it easily recognizable.
The dough for naan bread is typically made with flour, water, yeast, and sometimes yogurt or milk. The dough is leavened, which gives naan its soft and fluffy texture. Traditionally, naan is cooked by slapping the dough against the sides of a tandoor oven, where it bakes quickly at high temperatures.
Naan is widely associated with Indian cuisine, but it has gained popularity in several other cuisines as well. It is often served with curries, used as a wrap for kebabs or grilled meats, or enjoyed on its own as a flavorful accompaniment to a meal.

4. Shaobing

Shaobing is a traditional Chinese flat bread with a flaky and layered texture. It is often filled with savory ingredients such as meat, vegetables or bean paste. Shaobing can be baked or pan-fried, depending on regional variations and desired texture.
The dough for shaobing is made from wheat flour, water, and sometimes yeast or baking powder. It is rolled into thin sheets, folded, and coated with oil or fat to create the flaky texture. The filled shaobing is then baked until golden brown or pan-fried until crispy.
In Chinese cuisine, shaobing is eaten for breakfast or as a snack. It is found in several regional variations, each with its own unique fillings and flavors. Shaobing is often served with soy milk or eaten on its own as a satisfying and flavorful treat.

5. Parathas

Parathas are a type of Indian flatbread made with whole wheat flour, water, and sometimes ghee (clarified butter). They are rolled out and cooked on a griddle or tawa with a little oil or ghee. Parathas have a flaky and layered texture, similar to shaobing.
What sets parathas apart is the variety of fillings and flavors that can be incorporated into the dough. Common fillings include mashed potatoes, paneer (Indian cottage cheese), spinach, or minced meat. The dough is rolled out, stuffed with the desired filling, folded, and rolled out again before cooking.
Parathas are versatile and can be enjoyed on their own or as an accompaniment to curries, chutneys, or yogurt. They are often served for breakfast or lunch and are a popular street food in India. Parathas can be eaten plain or with a dollop of butter or ghee for added richness and flavor.

6. Focaccia

Focaccia is an Italian flatbread known for its soft, fluffy texture and distinctive dimpled surface. It originated in ancient Rome and has since become a staple of Italian cuisine.
The dough for focaccia is made from flour, water, yeast, olive oil and salt. It is typically flavored with herbs such as rosemary and brushed with olive oil and coarse salt before baking. Focaccia is baked in a hot oven, which gives it a crisp crust and a tender interior.
Focaccia can be enjoyed on its own or as a base for sandwiches or bruschetta. It is often served as an appetizer or as a side dish with soups, salads or antipasti. Focaccia can also be stuffed with various ingredients such as cheese, vegetables or cured meats to create a more substantial meal.

7. Golzeme

Golzeme, also known as gözleme, is a traditional Turkish flatbread made by rolling out thin dough and filling it with various ingredients. The filled dough is then folded and cooked on a griddle or fried until crispy.
The dough for golzeme is made from flour, water and salt. It is rolled into thin sheets and filled with ingredients such as cheese, spinach, potatoes, or ground meat. The filled dough is folded over and sealed before cooking.
Golzeme is a popular street food in Turkey and is often eaten as a quick and filling meal. It can be eaten on its own or served with yogurt or a side salad. The crispy exterior and flavorful filling make golzeme a delicious and portable option for eating on the go.


Flatbreads are a diverse and delicious category of bread, offering a wide range of flavors, textures and culinary uses. From the versatile tortillas of Mexican cuisine to the aromatic naan of Indian cuisine, each type of flatbread has its own unique characteristics and cultural significance.
Whether you enjoy the tortillas in a traditional taco, the softness of pita bread with hummus, or the flakiness of a shaobing, flatbreads have a way of satisfying our taste buds and bringing people together through shared meals.
So the next time you see a flatbread on a menu or in a recipe, take a moment to appreciate the history, craftsmanship, and culinary heritage behind it. Explore the world of flatbreads and discover the endless possibilities they offer for creating delicious and memorable meals.


What is flatbread?

Flatbread is a type of bread that is thin and unleavened or lightly leavened. It is characterized by its flat shape and can be made from different types of flour, such as wheat, corn or rice. Flatbreads are enjoyed in many different cuisines around the world.

What are the different types of flatbreads?

There are several popular types of flatbreads, including tortillas, pita bread, naan, shaobing, parathas, focaccias, and golzemes. Each type has its own unique characteristics, flavors, and cultural origins.

How are flatbreads made?

The process of making flatbreads varies depending on the type. In general, flatbreads are made by mixing flour, water, and other ingredients to form a dough. The dough is then rolled into thin sheets or slices and cooked using methods such as baking, grilling, or frying.

What are the culinary uses of flatbread?

Flatbreads have a wide range of culinary uses. They can be used as a base for sandwiches, wraps or pizzas, or served with dips, spreads or curries. Flatbreads can also be filled with a variety of ingredients to create flavorful and satisfying meals.

Can flatbreads be gluten-free?

Yes, flatbreads can be made gluten-free by using alternative flours such as rice flour, chickpea flour or gluten-free blends. It’s important to check ingredients and labels if you have specific dietary needs or sensitivities.

Are flatbreads healthier than regular bread?

Flatbreads can be a healthier alternative to regular bread, depending on the ingredients and preparation methods used. They often have fewer calories and a lower glycemic index than some types of bread. However, it’s important to consider the total ingredients and portion size when determining the nutritional value of a flatbread.