How to Make Injera – Ethiopian Flatbread

Published Categorized as Sourdough Bread Recipes

Making injera, the tangy Ethiopian flatbread, can seem daunting for home cooks. The fermentation process and unfamiliar ingredients may hold you back, but fear not. With the right techniques and patience, you will learn how to make injera in your own kitchen. In this article, we’ll guide you through the process step-by-step, sharing the secrets to achieving the perfect texture and flavor every time.

How to make injera

Table of Contents

What is Injera?

Injera is a traditional Ethiopian and Eritrean flatbread made from teff flour, a gluten-free grain native to the Horn of Africa. The fermentation process used in making injera gives the bread its distinctive spongy texture and slightly sour flavor. In Ethiopian and Eritrean culture, injera serves not only as a delicious accompaniment to various stews and dishes but also as a plate and utensil. Diners tear off pieces of the injera and use them to scoop up the flavorful toppings, creating a shared and intimate dining experience. Teff, the main ingredient in injera, is nutrient-dense and packed with protein, fiber, and various minerals. The fermentation process enhances the bioavailability of these nutrients, making injera a nutritious option. As you embark on your journey to make injera at home, you’ll be participating in a rich culinary tradition that has been passed down through generations.

Ingredients Needed

To make authentic injera, you’ll need just a few simple ingredients:

  • 2 cups teff flour
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Teff flour is the star of the show when it comes to injera. This gluten-free grain is a staple in Ethiopian and Eritrean cuisine, and it’s what gives injera its unique flavor and spongy texture. You can find teff flour at many health food stores or online retailers.

The water in this recipe is essential for creating the perfect batter consistency and allowing the fermentation process to take place. Be sure to use room temperature water for the best results.

A pinch of salt helps to enhance the flavor of the injera without overpowering the natural taste of the teff flour.

Teff is not only delicious but also incredibly healthy. It’s rich in fiber, protein, and minerals like iron and calcium. Plus, it’s naturally gluten-free, making it a great option for those with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease.

When shopping for teff flour, look for a finely milled variety for the best results. Some recipes may call for a combination of teff and other gluten-free flours like sorghum or rice flour, but for a traditional injera, stick with 100% teff flour.

Tools Required

Mitad (Injera Cooker)

To make authentic injera, you’ll need a special pan called a mitad. This flat, round, and slightly curved griddle is traditionally made from clay, but modern versions are often crafted from non-stick materials like Teflon or ceramic. The mitad’s unique shape allows the injera batter to spread evenly and cook to perfection.

Mixing Bowl

A large mixing bowl is essential for preparing the injera batter. Choose a bowl that’s spacious enough to accommodate the batter’s expansion during the fermentation process. Glass, ceramic, or food-grade plastic bowls work well for this purpose.

Additional Cooking Utensils

In addition to the mitad and mixing bowl, you’ll need a few other kitchen tools to make your injera-making experience smoother:

  • A whisk or wooden spoon for mixing the batter
  • A ladle or measuring cup for pouring the batter onto the mitad
  • A lidded container for storing leftover injera
  • A clean kitchen towel or cheesecloth for covering the batter during fermentation

Preparing the Batter

Mixing the Ingredients

To create your injera batter, start by combining the teff flour, water, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Use a whisk or wooden spoon to stir the ingredients together until a smooth, lump-free batter forms. The consistency should be similar to that of a thin pancake batter.

Fermenting the Batter

Once your batter is mixed, cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature for 24 to 48 hours. During this time, the batter will begin to ferment, developing the signature sour taste and bubbly texture that makes injera so unique.

The fermentation process is crucial for achieving the desired flavor and texture of injera. As the batter ferments, it will develop a slightly sour aroma and become foamy. This is a good sign that the natural yeasts and bacteria present in the teff flour are working their magic.

Checking the Batter’s Readiness

After 24 hours, check your batter to see if it has reached the desired level of fermentation. The batter should have a pleasantly sour smell and be filled with tiny bubbles. If the batter hasn’t reached this stage yet, let it continue fermenting for another 12 to 24 hours.

Once your batter is properly fermented, give it a gentle stir to redistribute the bubbles and ensure a consistent texture. If the batter seems too thick, add a little water to thin it out. If it’s too thin, add a bit more teff flour to thicken it up.

Cooking Process

Preheating the Mitad

Before you start cooking your injera, it’s crucial to preheat your mitad or non-stick pan. Set the stove to medium-high heat and allow the mitad to heat up for about 5 minutes. To test if the mitad is ready, sprinkle a few drops of water on the surface. If the water sizzles and evaporates quickly, it’s time to start cooking.

Pouring the Batter

Once your mitad is hot, use a ladle or measuring cup to pour a thin layer of batter onto the center of the pan. Quickly tilt and swirl the mitad to evenly distribute the batter across the surface. The key is to create a thin, even layer that covers the entire mitad.

Cooking the Injera

After pouring the batter, cover the mitad with a lid and let the injera cook for about 30 seconds to 1 minute. During this time, you’ll notice the injera’s surface transforming, with tiny bubbles forming and the edges beginning to curl up and away from the pan.

Unlike pancakes or crepes, you don’t need to flip injera. The steam trapped beneath the lid cooks the top of the injera, while the heat from the mitad cooks the bottom. This unique cooking method is what gives injera its spongy texture and distinctive appearance.

Removing and Storing Injera

Once the injera is cooked, carefully remove it from the mitad using a spatula or your fingers. Place the cooked injera on a clean kitchen towel or a large plate, and cover it with another towel to keep it warm and moist.

Serving Suggestions

Accompaniments for Injera

Injera is the perfect companion for a wide array of Ethiopian and Eritrean stews, known as wats or wots. These flavorful dishes, made with ingredients like beef, chicken, lamb, lentils, or vegetables, are typically served family-style on a large platter lined with injera. Diners tear off pieces of the injera and use it to scoop up the various wats, making for a communal and hands-on dining experience.

Folding and Rolling Injera

When serving injera, it’s customary to fold or roll it into neat triangles or cylinders. This not only makes for an attractive presentation but also allows diners to easily tear off pieces as needed. To fold injera, start by cutting or tearing it into rough squares or rectangles. Then, fold each piece in half diagonally to create a triangle, or roll it up tightly to form a cylinder.

Storing Leftover Injera

If you have leftover injera, store it in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days. To keep the injera soft and pliable, place a clean kitchen towel or paper towel in the container to absorb any excess moisture. When you’re ready to enjoy the leftover injera, simply reheat it in a microwave or steam it briefly to restore its texture.

Common Mistakes

When making injera, there are a few common mistakes that can lead to less-than-perfect results. By being aware of these pitfalls and learning how to avoid them, you’ll be well on your way to creating delicious, authentic injera every time.

Incorrect Batter Consistency

One of the most crucial aspects of making injera is getting the batter consistency just right. If the batter is too thick, your injera may turn out dense and heavy. On the other hand, if it’s too thin, the injera may not develop the desired spongy texture and signature holes.


To avoid this mistake, aim for a batter that resembles the consistency of a thin pancake batter. If needed, adjust the consistency by adding more water or teff flour until you achieve the perfect balance. A good rule of thumb is to start with the recommended proportions in the recipe and make small adjustments as needed.

Improper Cooking Temperature

Another common mistake is cooking the injera at the wrong temperature. If the mitad or pan is too hot, the injera may cook too quickly on the outside while remaining undercooked on the inside. Conversely, if the temperature is too low, the injera may take longer to cook and may not develop the desired texture.


To ensure the perfect cooking temperature, preheat your mitad or non-stick pan over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes. Test the temperature by sprinkling a few drops of water on the surface – if the water sizzles and evaporates quickly, you’re ready to start cooking. Adjust the heat as necessary to maintain a consistent temperature throughout the cooking process.

Not Letting the Batter Ferment Long Enough

Injera’s unique flavor and texture come from the fermentation process, so it’s essential to allow the batter to ferment for the right amount of time. If you don’t let the batter ferment long enough, your injera may lack the characteristic sour taste and spongy texture.


To prevent this mistake, let your batter ferment at room temperature for 24 to 48 hours, or until it develops a pleasantly sour smell and is filled with tiny bubbles. Check the batter’s readiness before cooking, and if needed, let it ferment for a bit longer to achieve the desired results. Keep in mind that fermentation times may vary depending on factors like room temperature and humidity, so be patient and trust your senses.

Alternative Injera Recipe Using All-Purpose Flour

If you’re eager to make injera at home but can’t find teff flour, don’t worry! You can still enjoy this delightful Ethiopian flatbread using a common pantry staple: all-purpose flour. While the taste and texture may differ slightly from traditional injera, this alternative recipe is a great way to experience the flavors of this iconic dish.

Why Use All-Purpose Flour?

All-purpose flour is readily available in most grocery stores, making it a convenient choice for home cooks. It’s also generally more affordable than teff flour, which can be harder to find and pricier. Using all-purpose flour allows you to explore injera-making without the need for specialty ingredients.

Adjusting the Recipe

To make injera with all-purpose flour, you’ll need to make a few adjustments to the traditional recipe. Start by mixing 2 cups of all-purpose flour with 2 cups of water and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. To help the batter ferment and develop that signature sour taste, you can add 1/2 teaspoon of instant yeast or a sourdough starter if you have one.

Let the batter ferment at room temperature for 24 to 48 hours, just like you would with teff flour. The fermentation process is crucial for achieving the desired flavor and bubbly texture.

Cooking and Texture

When it’s time to cook your all-purpose flour injera, heat a non-stick frying pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Pour a thin layer of batter onto the pan, swirling it to cover the surface evenly. Cover the pan with a lid and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until the top is set and the bottom is lightly golden.

Injera made with all-purpose flour may have a slightly different texture than traditional injera. It may be less spongy and more crepe-like, with fewer of the characteristic “eyes” or holes on the surface. However, it will still be delicious and perfect for scooping up your favorite Ethiopian stews and sauces.

Tips for Success

To achieve the best possible texture and flavor when making injera with all-purpose flour, keep these tips in mind:

  • Make sure your batter is well-fermented before cooking. The longer it ferments, the more complex and tangy the flavor will be.
  • Experiment with the batter consistency. If it seems too thick, add a little more water. If it’s too thin, add a bit more flour.
  • Don’t flip the injera while cooking. The steam trapped under the lid will cook the top, while the heat from the pan cooks the bottom.
  • Serve the injera warm and fresh for the best taste and texture.


Making authentic injera is achievable with patience and practice. Using teff flour, water, and salt, you can create injera with its unique texture and flavor. Pay attention to the fermentation process, batter consistency, and cooking temperature to avoid common mistakes. Injera is nutritious and pairs well with various wats or wots. This article provides the guidance you need to successfully make this delightful Ethiopian and Eritrean staple at home.

How to Make Injera: FAQs

What are the steps to make injera?

To make injera, mix teff flour, water, and a starter (such as leftover injera). Let the batter ferment for a few days. Heat a lightly oiled pan, pour a thin layer of batter, and cook until holes form on the surface. Do not flip. Remove from the pan and repeat. Injera is best served fresh and warm.

How was injera made?

Traditionally, injera was made by mixing teff flour with water and a starter, such as ersho (a fermented dough). The batter was then left to ferment for several days. Once fermented, the batter was poured onto a hot, lightly oiled clay griddle called a mitad. The injera was cooked until holes formed on the surface and then removed from the griddle.

Is making injera hard?

Making injera can be challenging, as it requires patience and practice. The fermentation process takes several days, and achieving the right consistency and texture of the batter is crucial. Cooking injera on the right temperature and for the appropriate time also takes some trial and error. However, with experience and the right techniques, making injera becomes easier over time.

Is injera good or bad for you?

Injera is generally considered a healthy food. Teff, the main ingredient, is a nutritious grain high in fiber, protein, and minerals like iron and calcium. The fermentation process also enhances the bioavailability of nutrients and may provide probiotic benefits. However, injera is high in carbohydrates, so individuals with specific dietary restrictions or health concerns should consume it in moderation.

By Natasha Krajnc

Hi! My name is Natasha and I'm specialized in home sourdough bread baking and currently based in Slovakia - a very small country in Central Europe. My bread baking story began in 2011 when I decided to give up commercial yeast. I felt tired all the time (especially after eating bread and other foods made with yeast), I wasn’t motivated to do anything, had trouble concentrating throughout the day, my abdomen was bloated and I was like a trumpet on steroids – basically, I was quite a wreck. I was a big bread lover (and still am) and having to stop eating bread was quite hard at that time but I felt I was on a right way to give my body a chance to heal itself.

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