Bannock or Fry Bread

Fry bread 1

Bannock is bread in its most basic form – flour, baking powder, oil or lard, water – baked in the oven to supplement your morning coffee or evening stew, wound around a stick to cook over an open fire, or torn off in a ball and patted thin, then fried in lard or oil in a hot skillet until golden and crisp on both sides. It’s essentially a scone, only easier, and with a slightly more rugged chew.

I learned to make fry bread with a hole in the middle, in what I think might be the Blackfoot tradition – I say this only because the few times I’ve seen it made this way was by women from nations in the Blackfoot Confederacy – and I love how quickly and evenly the bread cooks in this flattened doughnut shape, without worry about it remaining doughy inside. The hot pan gives a quick crusty exterior without making you turn on the oven. And I’ve been known to mix up a batch of dough and cook a few fry breads at a time, saving myself having to resist eating the entire batch, with blueberry-rhubarb-saskatoon jam spiked with maple syrup.

Bannock over a fire

The recipe itself, while similar to most other bannock recipes out there, came from Wanuskewin Heritage Park in Saskatoon, where we wound the dough back and forth around the tines of long metal forks to bake over hot coals in the middle of the afternoon. (I halved it – the original made a lot, but feel free to double it if you want more than about a dozen fry breads.)

Fry bread dough 1

Tear. Pat. Poke. Fry.

Fry bread 3

Tear open and slather with jam, or dunk in soup or chili or stew. I made a quick jam with some frozen wild blueberries and saskatoons from the freezer, and a couple chopped stalks of rhubarb, and about half as much sugar as there was fruit in the pot (plus a generous glug of maple syrup), brought to a boil and simmered until it thickened and became jam-like. Because making jam shouldn’t be scary.

Bannock or Fry Bread


June 20, 2017


3 cups all-purpose flour

1 Tbsp baking powder

1 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup canola or other mild vegetable oil

1 cup water

lard or additional canola oil, for cooking


1In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Make a hollow in the mixture and pour in the oil and water, and mix until a dough is formed. Knead until it’s soft and only slightly sticky. Let it sit for about ten minutes, and then roll it out onto a lightly floured baking sheet, pierce the top with a fork in several places and bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. Cut into squares and serve.

2Alternatively, wind the dough onto the end of a stick to cook over an open fire. To make fry bread, pull off pieces a little larger than a golf ball, pat into a circle and poke a hole in the middle. Cook in lard or oil in a heavy skillet set over medium-high heat until golden on both sides. Serve warm. Makes about 1 dozen breads.


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14 comments on “Bannock or Fry Bread

  1. Vivian
    June 20, 2017 at 11:09 pm

    Oh boy, I think this just might be my next Great Canadian cooking adventure!…Canada Day for sure. Thanks Julie. Have tried and tried to make a decent gluten-free version that will wrap around a stick for over the fire but so far no luck.

    • Julie
      June 21, 2017 at 10:26 am

      Yeah, gluten free bread is so tricky – have you tried using a gluten-free flour blend?

      • Edna
        June 30, 2017 at 5:36 pm

        I’ve made bannock with Robin hood and a few other gluten free flours mine turned out fine. I have also made my husband’s family’s roll cookie (which is not a cookie, but a bread similar to bannock) which turned out great

      • Julie
        July 2, 2017 at 8:51 pm

        Good to hear it Edna!

  2. Lisa
    June 22, 2017 at 4:39 pm

    I grew up with them being called puffs: though they were yeast bread deep fried after pulling a golf ball size off the dough and stretching it. Served with round steak and boiled onions for Sunday breakfast. Alexandria, Virginia. (though my rogue Calif husband shocked the family by requesting jam with his)

    • Julie
      June 26, 2017 at 9:38 pm

      Wow – with steak and boiled onions for breakfast! Amazing!

  3. Carolyn
    June 22, 2017 at 4:39 pm

    I love that you posted this on the eve of National Aboriginal Day – honouring our founding mothers and fathers. Great job!

  4. heather davey
    June 27, 2017 at 1:30 pm

    I love your blog, so I’ve nominated you for the Blogger Recognition Award!

  5. mixer roti
    August 22, 2017 at 8:43 pm

    this is verry good

  6. Candice
    November 28, 2017 at 4:29 pm

    I just had to tell you that this is my go to bannock recipe. I fry it in my cast-iron. When I finally got the size and fry time down….these things are so darn good!!

    • Julie
      November 29, 2017 at 2:11 pm

      So great to hear! And yes, cast iron really is the best for bannock!

  7. Harlen
    April 14, 2018 at 4:26 pm

    Bannock mechanic powers initiate!

    • Harlen
      April 15, 2018 at 5:30 pm

      But shouldn’t it be warm water?

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