This Traditional Irish Soda Bread Recipe is quick, easy and just the answer when you want homemade bread
No yeast, no kneading, and no rise time means piping hot bread in just an hour!
This delicious bread is soft on the inside with a golden crust on the outside. Serve for breakfast with warm butter and jam, or for dinner with soups and stews. We love it with our Guinness Irish Pot RoastJump to Recipe
Does Irish Soda Bread really come from Ireland?
Nobody knows for sure, but my research suggests that Soda Bread was first made in Ireland around the 1840’s, when baking soda was initially introduced there. It was cooked quickly, over an open fire, and marked with an X or a cross on top, which was believed to provide protection for the household.
My recipe was handed down by my Irish maternal great grandmother, Anna, who added golden raisins to her bread. I’ve always thought it was the best version of Irish Soda Bread, and it’s one of my favorite recipes.
Irish Soda Bread gets its name from its key ingredient, baking soda. In this recipe we combine the baking soda with buttermilk. When the buttermilk is added to the dry ingredients it “activates” the baking soda, resulting in beautifully leavened bread.
No kneading or rise time is required for this bread, which is probably why it became so popular.
Simple ingredients for Irish Bread:
This traditional Soda Bread recipe uses basic ingredients. There is a good chance you have all of the ingredients on hand, which makes it ideal for baking any time.
- All-Purpose Flour
- Baking Soda
- Baking Soda
- Raisins – we like golden raisins but any type will work
- Currants – another traditional Irish add-in
- Caraway Seeds
- Orange Zest – zest gives the bread a bright tangy touch
- Cranberries – a sweet and tart addition
How to make Irish Soda Bread:
- Start with very cold butter and buttermilk. If you have time put both in the freezer for 15 minutes while you gather your other ingredients.
- Preheat the oven to 350˚F and decide which type of pan you’ll use to bake the bread.
- Whisk all of the dry ingredients together.
- Cut very cold butter pieces and lightly blend into the flour mixture using two forks. Make sure all the pieces are coated in flour because this step always helps give a flaky texture to any baked goods.
- Add cold buttermilk in 3 batches, blending lightly after each addition.
- Be sure to mix gently just until combined.
- The dough should look shaggy and still have small pieces of butter visible.
- Bring the dough together into a ball. Then flatten slightly dough into a large disk.
- Using a serrated knife, score with an X on top, cutting about one-third to halfway through the bread.
- Top with coarse sea salt, if desired, but highly recommended.
- Bake until the bread is golden brown and no longer shiny.
How to bake easy Irish Soda Bread:
Quick breads benefit from very little mixing and kneading. Be sure to combine just until the bread comes together in a ball, then remove to a floured board. Flatten the ball into a disk and place on a prepared baking sheet or in a pan.
There are a few different choices for baking the bread. This dough is hearty and stiff enough to hold up to any of the below methods so choose the one that works best for you. I normally use the pie dish method, but the cast iron pan method makes for a fun presentation at the table.
- Cook in a cast-iron skillet
- Nestle inside a round 8-9″ pie dish
- Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet
Once the bread dough is on/in the pan slash a deep X on top, using a serrated knife, cutting about 1/3 to 1/2 the way through the top. Top with sea salt and bake.
How to tell if Soda Bread is done:
Check the bread after about 25 minutes, and if it is browning too quickly tent it loosely with foil. Bread is done when the X area has lost its shiny raw look and the crust is medium golden brown.
Let the bread cool for about 10 minutes before serving and slicing. I like to cut it in wedges.
Can you freeze Irish Soda Bread?
Yes! This bread freezes well, tightly wrapped, for about 3 months. You can also store the bread, wrapped, at room temperature for about 2 days.
Need a buttermilk substitute?
In case you don’t have it on hand it’s easy to make a substitution:
- The ratio: 1 Tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice to every 1 cup of regular milk.
- Mix together and let stand for a few minutes before using
Looking for more quick bread recipes?
Quick breads are so easy to make that you can have fresh bread, sweet or savory, anytime.
- Buttermilk Banana Bread is perfect for an easy snack
- Blueberry Apple Bread is chock full of sweet berries
- Classic Zucchini Bread is a great on the go snack
- Pumpkin Bread brings all of the Fall flavors we love in one loaf!
- Serve this easy bread with our Orange Honey Butter
- Our easy Beer Bread Recipe needs just 4-ingredients!
Irish Soda Bread Recipe
- 4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 Tbsp baking powder
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 1½ tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp salt
- 8 Tbsp butter, cold cut into small cubes
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 1½ Tbsp coarse sea salt
- ½ cup raisins, optional
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Make sure oven rack is in the middle of oven.
- Choose a pan:– Cast Iron Skillet– Pie Dish– Baking Sheet, lined with parchment
- In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar, baking soda, and salt.
- Cut very cold butter into small chunks and add to the flour mixture. Mix with a pastry cutter or 2 forks until crumbly. Do not overmix.
- Add cold buttermilk in 3 batches and mix very gently with a rubber spatula or your hands. Again, do not overmix. Add raisins (or any other add-ins) if using. Dough should be shaggy.
- Sift a light amount of flour onto a cool flat surface, such as the counter or a large cutting board. Turn dough out and pat into a round ball. Flatten with your hands until you have a disk shape.
- Add to the baking pan. With a serrated knife cut a large X across the top. Cut about 1/3 to 1/2 way through the bread.
- Sprinkle the top with coarse sea salt.
- Bake for about 45 minutes. Check at the 25 minute mark and if bread is getting too dark on top tent loosely with foil.
- Bread is done when the X on top has lost it's shiny look, a test skewer comes out clean, and the crust is dark golden brown.
- Remove from pan and let rest on a cooling rack for about 10 minutes before slicing with a serrated knife.