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How To Cook Soft, Layered Chapatis

Time to up your cooking game.

BY Mercy Kipchilat

Apr 26, 2023, 03:22 PM

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Chapati will always take the lead in any contest about food in this country. Even though many of us have changed our tastes in men and fashion, our love for chapati remains constant.

I recently came across a meme that suggested that there is no in-between in cooking chapati, you either know how to do it well, or you can’t do it at all. 

While I found the joke to be amusing, I don’t think that it was quite true. I believe that anyone can learn how to cook soft, layered chapatis, it’s just a matter of getting the right tips and practising.

So how do you cook soft, layered chapatis? 

Let’s take a look at a step-by-step guide that will take you from cooking hard chapatis to being the queen of chapatis. 


You will need the following ingredients to make your chapati:
  • 3 cups of all-purpose flour, and a little extra for dusting.
  • 1/2 cup of warm water.
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar.
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt.
  • 1/2 litre of vegetable cooking oil.


In a large mixing bowl, add the sugar, salt, a tablespoon of cooking oil and warm water. Mix well until the sugar and salt dissolve in the water.

Next, add the flour gradually into the liquid mixture and stir until a dough forms. The dough should be soft and pliable, but not sticky. If it is too dry, add a little more water. If it is too sticky, add a little more flour.

Knead the dough for 5-10 minutes until it becomes smooth and elastic. Cover the dough with a damp cloth and let it rest for 30 minutes. This will allow the gluten to relax and make it easier to roll out the chapatis.

After 30 minutes, divide the dough into equal-sized balls. Arrange the dough balls on a clean, dusted surface and cover them with a damp cloth to prevent them from drying up.
Photo by @bakersplace_tz
Dust your work surface with flour and take one ball of dough. Flatten it slightly with your fingers and dust it with flour. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out into a thin round circle. 

Brush some oil on the rolled-out dough then roll it into a rope-like shape before folding it back into a ball shape. Repeat the process with the other balls.

Next, roll out the dough ball for the second time using your rolling pin into a thin round shape.

On a heated pan, add half a spoonful of cooking oil and carefully place the circular chapati. Let it cook for about 20-30 seconds or until golden brown. At this point, flip the chapati over and cook for another 20-30 seconds.

After the second flip, gently press down on the midsection of the chapati with a clean cloth or a spatula. 
Photo by @re_spicekitchen
Repeat the process with the remaining balls of dough, stacking the cooked chapatis on top of each other and covering them with aluminium foil to keep them warm.

Serving Suggestions.

Photo by @chapati_kenya
You can enjoy your warm chapati with a stew of your choice or as a snack with a cup of sweet tea.

Tips For Making The Best Chapati.

  • Use whole wheat flour for a healthier and more nutritious chapati.
  • Use warm water to help the dough come together more easily.
  • Cover the dough with a damp cloth to prevent it from drying out.
  • Do not overcook the chapati, as it will become hard and difficult to chew.
  • Press down on the edges of the chapati gently to help it puff up.