How To Make Soft Roti

soft roti recipe
Roti is an unleavened flatbread requiring minimal ingredients and equipment to make the perfect edible tool for mopping up a luscious curry. Also known as chapati, this tortilla-like flatbread was mostly served with sugar bean or kidney bean curry in my childhood home in South Africa. We did not eat roti very often, if we did it was usually on Mondays (our primary day of abstinence from meat) or on cold rainy days when Amma could not be out in the garden -therefore having time to make roti. Returning home from school on such days, we were often met with Amma’s
soft roti rolls filled with butter and jam as tea time treats.
Amma’s roti or handmade bread as she called it, was the best roti I’ve
ever had. It really comes out perfect every time. It is light, flaky and not greasy. Amma used to say  “Roti should be soft yet flaky that one should peel and eat it”. No roti-making machines or special cookers are needed for this recipe.

 Jump to the Recipe

Since first publishing this recipe way back in August 2011, it has been one of my most popular recipes made all over the world! It has been mentioned in the South African Sunday Times! 

“For one of the best recipes you’ll stumble across, just Google ”How to make soft roti – food like Amma used to make it” – Andrea Burgener


Contents of this Recipe:

 How to Make Soft Roti Like Amma Used To

How to Make Soft Roti From Scratch 

Soft  South African Roti Recipe

How to Make Soft Roti Like Amma Used To

To make soft Roti like Amma used to make, you will need flour, hot water
(just boiled), sunflower oil, a tablespoon of butter, a rolling pin and
thawa or heavy based frying pan. I don’t own a thawa- a non stick
frying pan works just as well. 

soft roti

 The secret to Amma’s soft roti was threefold – her ingredient ratios, rolling and cooking technique.

1. Use Boiling Hot Water

First off  she used “boiling hot water“, water taken from the kettle as soon as it boiled. I mean this literally!, as soon as the water boils, pour directly into the flour.The boiling water reacts with flour, breaking down gluten bonds to create a soft roti dough and the softest roti’s ever!
2. Make  Sure the Thawa or Pan is Hot

Apart from this ‘secret technique’  she had strict rules for cooking the roti – “The first side must be half cooked-then turn-then half cook-then turn twice more to fully cook. The bread must come up otherwise it won’t be cooked properly and make sure you press the sides”. The pan should also be hot otherwise you end up with rock hard roti!

How to Make Soft Roti From Scratch

Ingredients for Making Roti

Tools for Making Roti

  • rolling pin or clean bottle (I’ve often used when on holiday)
  • mixing bowl
  • tablespoon
  • thawa (heavy based cast iron pan) or non stick frying pan or shallow pot 

Method for Making Roti

1. Add 350g flour into a bowl. (Save 50g for next step,to be added little at a time). Add the oil. Add the hot water. Mix with a tablespoon since the dough will be quite hot with the boiling water.

roti recipe wit pictures

2. Take some of the remaining 50g flour and dust the worktop. Remove the dough from your dish then place on the work top. 

easy roti
roti recipe

3. Once a soft dough is achieved. Cover the dough with a dishcloth or with your mixing bowl turned over it. Let the dough rest for about 5 minutes while you prepare the butter and heat the pan. I leave the pan on low heat while I am rolling the rotis then turn up to high heat a minute or two prior to cooking the rotis.
4.Melt the butter then return to the dough. Break off a small piece of about 8cm diameter then roll into a large circle shape. Take the melted butter or ghee then spread over the circle shaped dough.

roti recipe

5. Then roll the dough like a Swiss roll. Roll inward toward you. Once you have formed a snake-like shape then cut it into even pieces.

easy roti recipe


roti recipe


best roti recipe


How to Make Round Roti

Amma always rolled her roti in near-perfect circles. This must have
something to do with her special technique of rolling the dough into a
roll and then slicing it into cylinders which when pressed form near-perfect circles. The rolling pin (pictured in this post) was one of  Amma’s
prized possessions ( older than I am it is 33 years old!).  Amma always
took great care not to immerse it into the water- saying that it would
rot. Instead, she always wiped it clean  with a damp cloth and then dried it
thoroughly before putting it away…its no wonder it’s ageing as
gracefully as I am:)

Take one of the cut pieces, stand upright then press down with your hand this will create a circle when flattened. Dust your hands with flour then work this small circle into a round shape then place it onto the worktop and roll it into a flat round disc. Make sure the roti is rolled as flat as possible. Thick rotis take longer to cook and are often too heavy to rise resulting in uncooked tasteless roti.


durban roti recipe
Add caption

Amma used to roll about 10 roti before she cooked or if she enlisted one of my siblings or me to help cook the roti then she would just do the rolling and then move on to cooking the Sugar Beans Curry. Take care to overlap the roti so they don’t stick to each other. I prefer to roll all rotis and then cook them.


How to Cook Roti Video

To cook your soft roti simply place on the hot
preheated pan (the pan should be hot). The cooking process for each roti
should be 1 minute. Allow the roti to cook for 5-10 seconds before
turning it over. On the second side allow cooking for a little longer,
pressing the sides with your fingers to ensure that it cooks. Once the
roti rises or you see bubbles form turn the roti. Careful not to burn
your fingers as this can be quite hot, use a spatula if you like.

9. Once you see the dough rise up forming bubbles then turn the dough
over allowing the dough to rise once more. Once you have golden brown
spots then the roti is cooked. Remove from stove then repeat this
process for all remaining roti. Once all are cooked cover them with a piece
of paper towel or dishcloth, this will keep the moisture in keeping
roti soft until you are ready to serve them. See video demo below for
cooking instructions:

Follow the 1-minute video for instructions on how to cook roti. Perfect soft roti should rise when cooked and reveal multiple layers that can be peeled.

soft roti recipe
I don’t add melted butter to the cooked roti because I don’t like the greasy texture and don’t think it is necessary- if you follow this recipe the roti should be soft enough to be enjoyed without excess butter. If you do prefer your roti with butter then simply spread a little melted butter or ghee onto your roti before removing it from the stove. Cover the cooked roti with a clean cloth or kitchen towel. This helps keep the roti soft and warm until served.

 Store your roti in an airtight container, or simply wrap it with a cloth. In my experience this roti is so soft and delicious, there usually isn’t any leftover to store.

indian flatbread recipe

To reheat roti simply place the roti on a heated pan for a minute or two on each side until warmed.

South African Soft Roti Recipe

South African Soft Roti Recipe

South African Soft Roti Recipe



Prep time

10 Min

Cook time

20 Min

Inactive time

5 Min

Total time

35 Min

This soft roti recipe is foolproof. Enjoy soft delicious roti for up to two days after making. Perfect for mopping up curries or enjoy with butter and jam.


  • 400g cake flour
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter or ghee
  • half teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable or olive  oil
  • half cup flour for dusting the work surface
  • 250ml hot water


  1. The secret to the success of this recipe is boiling water (literally as soon as the water boils, pour it into the mixing bowl with the flour and other ingredients).
  2. Prepare all the ingredients. Have the flour in a bowl and oil ready at hand for when the water boils.
  3. Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl. Add salt. Add the boiling water. Add oil.
  4. Mix until a soft dough forms. This requires time and patience, don’t give up keep mixing it will form into a soft dough after 5 minutes of kneading. Once the dough is soft, place in a bowl and cover. Allow resting while you prepare the pan for cooking.
  5. This resting time allows the flour and water time to bond resulting in perfect roti when rolled.
  6. Place a non-stick pan or thava on high heat. I prefer first rolling all the roti then cooking them
  7. After resting the dough, divide into three portions. Roll each flat then spread with melted butter.
  8. Roll to form a snake-like shape then cut into even pieces.
  9. Press the now cylinder shapes flat then roll into rounds.
  10. Place each roti on the thava to cook. Cook the first side for less than a minute. The dough will bubble up, turn and cook the other side for a minute or two. It should rise once more separating the dough into layers.
  11. Turn the roti once again to cook the reverse side. Once the dough rises remove from the pan and smother with butter, or omit for a less greasy roti.
  12. Once all roti is cooked cover with a clean clothe or this will keep the rotis warm and soft until served.

Calories 167.87

Fat (grams) 3.49

Sat. Fat (grams)


Carbs (grams)


Fiber (grams)


Net carbs


Sugar (grams)


Protein (grams)


Sodium (milligrams)


Cholesterol (grams)


Similar Recipes

Parotta Roti Recipe

Puri Recipe South Africa

Dhal roti recipe south africa

Did you make this recipe?
Tag @foodlikeamma on instagram and hashtag it #foodlikeammausedtomakeit;,#bestsoftroti
Created using The Recipes Generator

 How To Make Roti Video

How to Serve Roti

My two favourite serving suggestions are Roti rolls, they remind me of  Bean and Chip ones from late night work at uni and my absolute favourite, Amma’s Sugar Beans Curry and Roti!

Recommended Articles


  1. Can you use any other flour if you don’t have cake flour?

  2. Yes,you can use any flour, bread flour works just as well. The key to this recipe is the ratio used, one part boiling water for 2 cups of flour. For more about the types of flour see my post on the subject…

  3. Amazing Recipe. Followed it in exact detail and it was perfect.

  4. Thank you for leaving feedback. Glad to hear that this roti recipe worked well for you!

  5. Thank you for sharing your Amma's Roti recipe.I followed it and it was amazing here in the UK.This will be my no1 roti recipe.

  6. Made roti following other recipe's and this has been my best so far. Thank you for sharing. Making these in Fiji.

  7. Hi Judith, greetings in Fiji, thanks for taking the time to leave valued feedback.Glad to hear this recipe is a keeper for you too.:-)

  8. Thanks for taking the time to leave feedback. So glad to hear that the recipe worked well for you too.

  9. Truly appreciate the way you made this wonderful roti recipe. Everything is so nicely described that really helped. Looking forward for more such recipes in future too.

  10. Good Day,

    Silly question but I'm going to ask anyway. Lol…
    How many millitres of boiling water to milligrams of cake flour?

    Kind regards

  11. Well its a 5/8 ratio, 5 ml of boiling water to 8 mg of flour
    I hope this helps

  12. Absolutely easy n simple to n results are always 🙏 flop proof n ofcourse super satisfying n delicious

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *