Irish Soda Bread is a classic quick bread that has been a staple in Irish households for generations. With its simple ingredients and easy preparation, this bread is a favorite for St. Patrick’s Day celebrations and beyond. Made with flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, butter, buttermilk, and raisins, Irish Soda Bread is delightfully rustic, with a tender crumb and slightly sweet flavor.

Why Make Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread is beloved for its simplicity and versatility. Unlike traditional yeast bread, soda bread relies on baking soda and buttermilk for leavening, resulting in a quick and easy baking process. This recipe yields a tender loaf with a crusty exterior, perfect for slicing and serving alongside soups, stews, or as a standalone snack. Plus, it’s a wonderful way to honor Irish culinary traditions and add a touch of warmth to any meal.

How to Make Irish Soda Bread

  1. Preheat the Oven: Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C) and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Prepare the Dough: In a large bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Grate the very cold unsalted butter into the flour mixture and stir until evenly coated.
  3. Mix Wet Ingredients: In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and egg. Stir the buttermilk mixture and raisins into the flour mixture until just combined.
  4. Shape and Score the Dough: Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it for about 30 seconds. Shape the dough into a round loaf and place it on the prepared baking sheet. Use a sharp serrated knife to score an “X” on the top of the loaf.
  5. Apply Glaze: Melt the 2 tablespoons of butter, then combine it with the 2 tablespoons of buttermilk. Brush this mixture over the loaf and sprinkle it lightly with sugar.
  6. Bake: Bake the bread for about 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Check the loaf after 30 minutes to ensure it’s not browning too quickly. If it browns too fast, cover it loosely with aluminum foil.
  7. Cool and Serve: Once baked to your liking, transfer the bread to a wire rack to cool slightly. Irish Soda Bread is best enjoyed warm with soft butter.

Serving Suggestions

Serve Irish Soda Bread alongside hearty soups, stews, or chili for a comforting meal. It also pairs well with cheese, jam, or honey for a simple yet satisfying snack. Enjoy it as part of a traditional Irish breakfast or brunch spread, or as an accompaniment to your favorite Irish dishes.

Storage Info

Store leftover Irish Soda Bread in an airtight container or wrapped in plastic wrap at room temperature for up to 2 days. For longer storage, freeze the bread in a freezer-safe bag or container for up to 1 month. Thaw overnight at room temperature before serving.

Some Techniques or Tips

  • Use very cold unsalted butter and handle it as little as possible to keep the dough tender.
  • Do not overwork the dough, as this can result in a tough loaf.
  • If you prefer a sweeter bread, you can increase the amount of sugar or add additional mix-ins such as dried cranberries or chopped nuts.


Experiment with different variations of Irish Soda Bread by incorporating ingredients like caraway seeds, orange zest, or whole wheat flour for added flavor and texture. You can also customize the loaf size and shape, or omit the raisins for a more traditional version.

FAQs about Irish Soda Bread

  1. Can I substitute the buttermilk with regular milk? While buttermilk contributes to the tangy flavor and tender texture of Irish Soda Bread, you can make a substitute by adding 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar to 1 cup of milk and letting it sit for 5-10 minutes before using.
  2. Can I make Irish Soda Bread gluten-free? Yes, you can use a gluten-free all-purpose flour blend in place of regular flour. Just be sure to check that all other ingredients, such as baking powder and baking soda, are also gluten-free.
  3. Can I add other mix-ins to the bread dough? Absolutely! Feel free to customize your Irish Soda Bread with additional mix-ins such as chopped nuts, dried fruit, or seeds for added flavor and texture. Just be mindful of the overall moisture content of the dough.

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