Delicious and Easy Irish Soda Bread Recipe

Are you craving for some warm, fresh-baked bread that’s perfect for breakfast or afternoon tea? Then look no further than this Classic Irish Soda Bread recipe! This soda bread is a staple in Irish households and is renowned for being easy and quick to make. In this recipe, I have included all the essential ingredients of traditional Irish soda bread such as buttermilk and baking soda.

What makes this bread stand out is its simplicity. It doesn’t require any kneading or proving, making it perfect for novice bakers or those who don’t have much time on their hands. In fact, you can whip up a batch of this fresh loaf in less than an hour. What’s more, it uses ingredients that are commonly found in most kitchens.

The history of soda bread goes back to the early 1800s, during a time when white flour became widely available in Ireland. The combination of flour with baking soda (which had been introduced by the French) created a light and airy loaf that was quite different from the traditional dense wholemeal bread. Its popularity quickly grew among the working-class families who couldn’t afford expensive ingredients like yeast and eggs.

Over time, different variations of soda breads emerged with add-ins like caraway seeds, raisins, and honey. But in this recipe, we’ll focus on the classic version that has been enjoyed for centuries.

So let’s get started on making this heartwarming loaf that not only tastes delicious but also pays homage to the traditional Irish cuisine!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Classic Irish Soda Bread
Classic Irish Soda Bread

Are you tired of the same old bread recipes? Are you looking for something easy to make, but still has a delicious taste? Look no further than this classic Irish Soda Bread recipe!

Not only is this recipe simple and quick to make, but it also has a unique taste that will leave your taste buds dancing. The combination of buttermilk, unsalted butter, and baking soda creates a sweet and slightly tangy flavor that pairs perfectly with any meal.

Plus, this recipe only requires a handful of ingredients, most of which you probably already have in your pantry. With just four cups of flour and a few teaspoons of baking soda and salt, you can create a bread that will wow your friends and family.

But what really sets this recipe apart is its history. Irish Soda Bread has been a staple in Ireland for generations, dating back to the 1840s when baking powder was scarce during the Great Famine. The Irish people had to get creative with their baking techniques, and thus the traditional Irish Soda Bread was born.

By making this recipe, not only are you creating a delicious bread, but you are also keeping alive a part of Irish history. So why not give it a try? You won’t regret it!

Ingredient List

 A perfect slice of homemade Irish Soda Bread, fresh out of the oven!
A perfect slice of homemade Irish Soda Bread, fresh out of the oven!

The Essential Ingredients for a Traditional Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread is traditionally made with four essential ingredients: flour, baking soda, salt, and buttermilk. These simple ingredients are what give the bread its distinct texture and taste. In this recipe, we will use a combination of cake flour and all-purpose flour to achieve the perfect balance of tenderness and structure in the finished bread. We will also add cream of tartar to enhance the tanginess of the buttermilk and help activate the baking soda. Here’s everything you’ll need to make a Classic Irish Soda Bread:

Dry Ingredients:

  • 1 ¾ cups (260 g) cake flour
  • 1 ¾ cups (210 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 4 teaspoons granulated sugar

Wet Ingredients:

  • 2 cups (480 ml) buttermilk, at room temperature

Note: If you do not have buttermilk on hand, you can make your own by combining 2 cups of milk with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice or white vinegar. Let the mixture sit for about 10 minutes until it thickens and curdles.

Now that you have all your ingredients ready, it’s time to move on to the recipe how-to.

The Recipe How-To

 There's nothing quite like the smell of this Classic Irish Soda Bread wafting through your kitchen.
There’s nothing quite like the smell of this Classic Irish Soda Bread wafting through your kitchen.

Now that you have gathered all the essential ingredients, it’s time to get baking. Follow these simple steps to create a classic Irish soda bread that will wow your taste buds.

Step 1 – Preheat and Prepare

Preheat your oven to 425°F. Take out a large mixing bowl and combine the dry ingredients— flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and cream of tartar.

Step 2 – Add Butter

Add cold unsalted butter and use your fingers to blend the butter into the flour mixture.

Step 3 – Mix with Buttermilk

Pour in 1 ¾ cups of buttermilk into the mixture and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon until it becomes sticky. Come on, give those arms some workout!

Step 4 – Knead Dough

Flour your working surface, pour dough on top, then knead for 30 seconds just enough for the dough to come together and become less sticky but do not overwork!

Step 5 – Shape Dough

Put the dough on a baking sheet, shape it into a round loaf shape with your hands.

Step 6 – Criss-Cross the Bread

Take a sharp knife and make a criss-cross design on top of your loaf so it can expand while in the oven.

Step 7 – Bake

Bake at 425° F for 15 minutes, then reduce temperature to 375° F and bake an additional 30-40 minutes. You can tell that it’s ready when the crust has turned golden brown, or you can poke it with a toothpick that comes out clean.

Final step – Cool down

Remove from oven onto cooling rack. Allow to cool down completely before serving—that is, if you can resist cutting into the yummy smelling bread.

Enjoy your freshly baked traditional Irish Soda bread!

Substitutions and Variations

 A slather of creamy butter and a drizzle of honey make this bread even more irresistible.
A slather of creamy butter and a drizzle of honey make this bread even more irresistible.

One of my favorite things about Irish Soda Bread is how easily adaptable it is – there are so many variations you can try! Here are some substitutions and variations that I think you’ll love:

– Flour: If you don’t have cake flour or prefer a heartier loaf, you can substitute whole wheat flour for some or all of the cake flour called for in the recipe. Just keep in mind that this will affect the texture of the bread.

– Buttermilk: If you can’t find buttermilk, you can use a mixture of regular milk and lemon juice or vinegar to make your own sour milk. Simply stir together 1 cup of milk with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar, and let it sit for 5-10 minutes until it thickens and curdles. This will react with the baking soda in the recipe and create the same chemical reaction as buttermilk.

– Add-ins: Traditional Irish Soda Bread is made with just flour, baking soda, salt, and buttermilk. However, you can add other ingredients like caraway seeds, raisins or currants, dried cranberries, chopped nuts or cheese to give it more flavor and texture.

– Shape: While I recommend the classic round shape for this recipe, there’s no reason why you couldn’t experiment with shaping your dough into a long oval, a braided loaf, or even individual rolls if you wanted!

– Sugar: Some recipes call for additional granulated sugar to be added to the dough. While this isn’t traditional Irish Soda Bread, it does add some sweetness and can make the bread more palatable for those who aren’t used to the tangy flavor.

Overall, don’t be afraid to experiment with your soda breads – there are endless possibilities when it comes to flavor and shape!

Serving and Pairing

 A hearty slice of soda bread, toasted and topped with your favorite jam, is the perfect start to any morning.
A hearty slice of soda bread, toasted and topped with your favorite jam, is the perfect start to any morning.

Now that you have made your delicious traditional Irish soda bread, it’s time to serve and pair it! This bread is incredibly versatile and can be served in many ways.

Traditionally, Irish soda bread is served with a generous spread of softened butter or Irish butter. The richness of the butter perfectly complements the subtle tanginess of the soda bread. You may also consider spreading some jam or marmalade on your bread if you prefer a sweeter taste.

If you want to get creative, you can use your soda bread as an accompaniment to cheeseboards or charcuterie platters. The simplicity of the bread’s flavors allows it to complement a range of different cheeses and meats.

For a heartier meal, pair your Irish soda bread with soups, stews or chili. The denseness of the bread makes it a perfect pairing for brothy dishes as it won’t get too soggy too quickly. Additionally, try using your soda bread as a base for open-faced sandwiches, topped with some smoked salmon and cream cheese or your favorite sandwich filling!

Lastly, don’t forget that this soda bread is just as delicious all on its own. Enjoy it as a snack or with a cup of tea or coffee any time of day. Regardless of how you decide to serve and pair this classic Irish dish, you’re sure to delight in the buttery and slightly tangy flavor of this traditional treat!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 This recipe uses simple and wholesome ingredients to make a loaf that's full of flavor.
This recipe uses simple and wholesome ingredients to make a loaf that’s full of flavor.

Oh, the joy of being able to make something ahead of time! In the case of traditional Irish soda bread, it’s no different. This bread is simple to make and stores incredibly well, making it a perfect option for all your busy weeknights. If you have leftovers or want to prepare it ahead of time, you’re in luck.


You can quickly put together the dough for this classic Irish soda bread recipe the day before and store it, tightly wrapped, in the fridge overnight. When you’re ready to bake, take it out of the fridge an hour before baking and let it come to room temperature before putting it in the oven.


When stored properly, Irish soda bread can last up to 3 days at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to a week. Wrap the cooled soda bread tightly in plastic or aluminum foil and store it in a pantry or on a shelf away from sunlight and moisture.


While there’s nothing like biting into freshly baked Irish soda bread straight from the oven, reheating can also be an option if you need to revive your leftovers. To do that place your leftover bread into a preheated 350°F (176°C) oven for about 8-10 minutes until warm or microwave for 10-15 seconds per slice wrapped loosely in damp paper towel.

Pro Tip: Adding caraway seeds will enhance flavors in the bread up to two days after baking when stored properly while cross-cutting will increase the shelf-life of your loaf by allowing moisture to escape easily.

Tips for Perfect Results

 A crusty exterior and a soft, fluffy interior...this bread has all the right textures!
A crusty exterior and a soft, fluffy interior…this bread has all the right textures!

Creating a perfect classic Irish soda bread requires some attention to detail. The recipe may seem simple, but there are a few tips I can give you to create the perfect loaf. Here are a few tips that I believe will lead you towards creating a classic soda bread that is versatile in its pairing and consistent in its taste.

1. Use buttermilk:

Using buttermilk in this recipe is essential for achieving the proper taste and texture of classic soda bread. The acid in buttermilk reacts with the base of baking soda, which is what creates the distinct bubbles and rise you look for in Irish Soda Bread.

2. Be precise with your measurements:

It’s important to be exact when it comes to measuring out the ingredients for this recipe. Even small deviations can throw off the delicate balance between the wet/dry ratio of the dough, which may result in an uneven texture or denser rolls.

3. Sift your dry ingredients:

This may be an extra step, but it makes all the difference. Sifting your flour mixture helps eliminate any clumps or lumps in your flour, resulting in a fluffier and lighter consistency.

4. Knead your dough gently:

The key to good soda bread isn’t an overly developed gluten structure – it’s actually lack thereof! Stir only until everything comes together, then transfer it onto a floured surface (use cake flour for dusting) and knead it only 3-4 times, giving it shape before putting it into the oven.

5. Use cold unsalted butter:

Chilled butter cut into small pieces creates little pockets throughout your dough which leads to a more tender crumb.

By following these tips, there is no doubt that you will achieve success when making a classic Irish soda bread!


Now that we have gone through the detailed process of baking the classic Irish soda bread, I understand that you may have some questions in mind. Don’t worry; we have anticipated some of the most commonly asked questions for this recipe, and I’m here to guide you through them step by step. So let’s dive into the FAQ section and clear up any queries that may still be looming!

What is traditional Irish soda bread made of?

When it comes to making traditional Irish soda bread, the key components are flour, baking soda, salt, and buttermilk. The reaction between the acid found in the buttermilk and the base in the baking soda is what causes the bread to rise, and therefore the bread is aptly named “soda bread.”

How was soda bread traditionally made?

Back in the days, British people baked their bread using four simple ingredients: soft wheat flour, salt, baking soda, and sour milk. Nowadays, buttermilk is commonly used instead of sour milk. Since yeast was not easily accessible back then, these ingredients were combined to act as a leavening agent, making the bread rise.

Is there a difference between soda bread and Irish soda bread?

Creating a classic Irish soda bread requires the omission of certain ingredients that are commonly found in soda breads made in America. American soda breads often include caraway seeds and raisins, whereas Irish soda breads traditionally do not include these additions.

Why is my Irish soda bread so dense?

When making bread without yeast, it is wise to avoid over-kneading as it can lead to a tough and dense texture. As a general rule, softness of the bread crumb increases with decreased kneading. Another vital step to ensure proper bread cooking is to score it properly.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, there is no doubt that Irish Soda Bread is an iconic Irish staple that’s easy to make and impossible to resist. In this recipe article, we have highlighted a traditional and classic recipe for making Irish Soda Bread. With its handful of essential ingredients, it does not require any yeast or rising time, making it quick and effortless to prepare. The combination of flour, baking soda, and buttermilk reacts to form bubbles of carbon dioxide that make the bread rise while baking, leaving you with a hollow center and a dense crust.

Whether you’re celebrating St. Patrick’s Day or simply looking for an easy bread recipe to try, this Classic Irish Soda Bread Recipe won’t disappoint. With its soft, moist interior and a beautifully craggy exterior, it makes the perfect accompaniment to any meal or snack.

So why not gather your ingredients and give this delicious recipe a try? You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how easy it is to make this quintessential Irish treat at home. And who knows? You might just start a new tradition in your family for generations to come!

Thank you for reading this recipe article, and I hope you enjoy making and devouring Classic Irish Soda Bread as much as I do!

Classic Irish Soda Bread

Classic Irish Soda Bread Recipe

This recipe came from a cultural foods cooking class. Simple, delicious, melt-in-your-mouth soda bread. Everyone who has tried it loves it, even my family.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Irish
Keyword < 60 Mins, Breads, Healthy, St. Patrick's Day
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Servings 1 loaf
Calories 201.9kcal


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter (2 tbls softened, 1 tbls melted)
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk


  • Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat over to 400 degrees.
  • Whisk flours, sugar, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt in large bowl.
  • Work softened butter into dry ingredients with fork or fingertips until texture resembles coarse crumbs.
  • Add buttermilk and stir with fork just until dough begins to come together.
  • Turn out onto flour-coated work surface; knead until dough just becomes cohesive and bumpy, 12 to 14 turns. (Do not knead until dough is smooth or bread will be tough).
  • Pat dough into a round about 6 inches in diameter and 2 inches high; place on greased baking sheet and cut a cross shape into top.
  • Bake until golden brown and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean; 40 to 45 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and brush with melted butter; cool to room temperature, 30 to 40 minutes.


Serving: 80g | Calories: 201.9kcal | Carbohydrates: 36.5g | Protein: 5.2g | Fat: 3.5g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 8.9mg | Sodium: 481.6mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3.7g

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