Authentic Co. Cavan Irish Soda Bread Recipe

Welcome to my recipe guide for traditional Irish Soda Bread from Co. Cavan! I’m honored to share with you this flavorful and easy-to-make bread that’s perfect for any occasion.

Irish soda bread is an authentic and beloved staple of Irish cuisine, dating all the way back to the 1840s. It’s a simple yet hearty bread that uses baking soda instead of the traditional yeast, making it quick and easy to prepare. Although there are many variations of the recipe throughout Ireland, this version comes from County Cavan in the north-west of Ireland.

My passion for cooking traditional dishes led me on a journey to discover the best recipes in Ireland, and this one stands out as a firm favorite among locals and tourists alike. The combination of buttermilk, raisins, caraway seeds, and brown sugar gives this bread a unique texture and flavor that is sure to please your taste buds.

Whether you’re celebrating St. Patrick’s Day or just craving something warm and delicious on a cold winter’s day, this homemade bread is a perfect choice. So let’s gather our ingredients and get started – trust me, the delicious aroma wafting from your oven will be enough to make anyone’s mouth water!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Irish Soda Bread (Co.Cavan)
Irish Soda Bread (Co.Cavan)

There are many reasons why you’ll fall in love with this traditional Irish soda bread recipe from Co. Cavan. Firstly, it’s a genuinely authentic Irish recipe, passed down through generations of bakers in the north-west of Ireland. So you know you’re getting the real deal when you make it!

Secondly, the ingredients are incredibly simple and affordable, yet they come together to create an indulgent homemade bread that will make your taste buds dance. The combination of the classic buttermilk, caraway seeds, and raisins give the bread a unique, savory sweetness that pairs perfectly with salty butter or jam.

But what really sets this recipe apart is how easy and quick it is. Unlike some bread recipes that require hours of kneading, proofing and baking, this Irish soda bread can be whipped up in no time! In just a few steps and basic ingredients, you’ll have delicious homemade bread right from your oven that will make your kitchen smell heavenly.

Finally, this recipe is incredibly versatile so that you can add your own personal touch with different ingredient variations to match your taste buds. Use brown sugar instead of white sugar to make it extra rich or spice things by adding chili flakes to your dough.

In summary – this recipe is quick and easy to follow, reasonably priced and produces a mouth-watering loaf that anyone can enjoy alone or as an accompaniment to soups or stews. Plus the aroma from the bread fills every corner of your house creating a comfy atmosphere perfect for any occasion.

Ingredient List

 Get ready to add some traditional Irish flair to your bread game!
Get ready to add some traditional Irish flair to your bread game!

Before diving into the recipe, it’s essential to prepare the necessary ingredients. This traditional Irish Soda Bread calls for basic pantry staples like flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. You’ll also need some sugar to add a hint of sweetness to this savory bread. Don’t forget to pick up some high-quality buttermilk since its tangy taste is what gives Irish Soda Bread its signature flavor and texture. Here’s everything you’ll need for this authentic Irish bread recipe:


  • 4 cups of bread flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons of baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1 1/2 cups of buttermilk (unsweetened)
  • Optional: caraway seeds and raisins

Some traditional recipes call for caraway seeds and raisins, but these ingredients are optional depending on your preference. Ensure that your flour is all-purpose or labeled as “bread flour” to provide structure and chew to your loaf. Also, be mindful of using fresh ingredients, so your bread doesn’t have a stale taste or weird texture.

The Recipe How-To

 This Irish Soda Bread recipe uses simple ingredients to create a delicious treat that won't disappoint.
This Irish Soda Bread recipe uses simple ingredients to create a delicious treat that won’t disappoint.

Now, let’s get our hands doughy! Here is the step-by-step guide on how you can make this traditional Irish Soda Bread:


  • 4 cups of flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp of baking soda
  • 1 tsp of baking powder
  • 2 tbsp of sugar
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 and 1/2 cup of buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup of raisins or currants (optional)
  • 2 tsp caraway seeds (optional)


  1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Lightly grease a baking sheet and set it aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and sugar until well combined.
  3. Add the softened butter, then use your fingers or a fork to blend the butter into the flour mixture until it forms coarse crumbles.
  4. If adding raisins or currants and caraway seeds to your bread: mix them together in a small bowl with a tablespoon of flour. This will coat them evenly so they don’t sink to the bottom.
  5. Once mixed, add them to the flour mixture and stir in.
  6. In another bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and egg until thoroughly blended.
  7. Add this wet mixture to the flour mixture and stir with a wooden spoon just until your ingredients are moistened — be sure not to overwork your dough!
  8. Knead gently by hand for a half minute or so, just enough to shape it into a ball and form some structure while avoiding overworking the dough!
  9. Place the rounded dough ball onto your greased baking sheet.
  10. Use a very sharp knife to make an X on top of your dough – this will help the bread to expand as it bakes and allow the inside to cook without over-browning the outside.
  11. Bake for 15 minutes, then lower the oven temperature to 400°F (200°C). Continue to bake for another 30 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.
  12. Remove from oven and lightly brush with melted butter, sprinkle some sugar on top, let it cool and Enjoy!

Now that you have baked such an irresistible Irish Soda Bread, let’s see what you can substitute or switch up in your next baking adventure!

Substitutions and Variations

 Behold the beautiful golden crust of this freshly-baked Irish Soda Bread.
Behold the beautiful golden crust of this freshly-baked Irish Soda Bread.

While the traditional Irish Soda Bread recipe calls for specific ingredients, there are some substitutions and variations you can make to cater to your preferences or the ingredients you have on hand.

Instead of raisins, you can use dried cranberries or currants to add a fruity twist to your bread. If you do not have any caraway seeds, then feel free to skip them entirely or use fennel seeds instead.

For a savory twist, you can substitute the raisins and caraway seeds with shredded cheddar cheese and chopped herbs like rosemary or thyme. Alternatively, you could add in some chopped sun-dried tomatoes and olives for a Mediterranean-inspired soda bread.

If you prefer a sweeter soda bread, try swapping out the butter with coconut oil and replacing the sugar with honey or maple syrup. You can also add some cinnamon and nutmeg for a warm and spicy flavor.

For those who are lactose intolerant or vegan, replace the buttermilk with non-dairy milk such as almond milk and add some white vinegar or lemon juice to create a similar acidic buttermilk-like taste. You can also substitute the egg with applesauce or flaxseed meal mixed with water.

Overall, don’t be afraid to experiment with different ingredients to create your own unique spin on this traditional recipe.

Serving and Pairing

 Impress your guests with this rustic bread that's perfect for brunch or as a side dish for dinner.
Impress your guests with this rustic bread that’s perfect for brunch or as a side dish for dinner.

After the Irish soda bread is baked to perfection, it awaits to be paired with delicious dishes that enhance its flavors. One perfect pairing for Irish soda bread is a sumptuous stew or soup such as beef and Guinness stew, potato soup or even a hearty vegetable soup. The crusty exterior and tender interior of the bread complement the texture of the warm soup, making every bite an experience full of delight.

Irish soda bread can also be served with a spread of lightly whipped butter or jam, as the sweetness of raisins in the bread harmonizes with the tangy flavor of butter or jam. You can also serve it alongside a full Irish breakfast, consisting of bacon, sausages, eggs and baked beans, for an authentic taste of Ireland.

The traditional Irish breakfast tea is another perfect accompaniment to the Irish soda bread. While sipping on hot tea, take a bite of that homemade bread and let your taste buds experience the mix of flavors.

To make your serving more visually appealing, slice up the bread into wedges and arrange them in a basket or on a platter. Don’t forget to garnish with some caraway seeds and dusting of flour before serving for that authentic touch.

Remember, whatever way you choose to pair or serve your Irish soda bread, it will undoubtedly be a hit with anyone who tries it. So grab that warm loaf, let your imagination run wild and start enjoying one of Ireland’s most cherished delicacies!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 You don't need any fancy equipment for this recipe! All you need is a mixing bowl and your hands.
You don’t need any fancy equipment for this recipe! All you need is a mixing bowl and your hands.

Making Irish soda bread ahead of time is easy, and can also improve the taste and texture of the bread. Once your bread has cooled completely, you can tightly wrap or store it in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days. If you would like to keep it fresh for longer, you can freeze it for up to 3 months.

To reheat, simply wrap the frozen bread in foil and heat it in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 10-15 minutes until warmed through. For room temperature bread, place it in the oven for 5-7 minutes or until heated through. I recommend reheating in the oven rather than a microwave as it will restore the crispiness of the crust.

Remember to let your freshly baked bread cool before storing it, as placing warm bread in an airtight container will cause condensation and result in a soggy crust. When you are ready to serve, allow the bread to come to room temperature by leaving it out for an hour or so before slicing. Then enjoy this classic Irish bread with butter or jam, as part of a hearty brunch or as an accompaniment to soups and stews!

Tips for Perfect Results

 Add some butter and homemade jam to a slice of warm Irish Soda Bread for a perfect breakfast or tea-time snack.
Add some butter and homemade jam to a slice of warm Irish Soda Bread for a perfect breakfast or tea-time snack.

Creating an authentic Irish soda bread requires a few tips and tricks to get it just right. Follow these recommendations for perfect results every time.

1. Use Fresh Ingredients: One way to ensure your Soda Bread turns out light and fluffy is by making sure you use fresh ingredients. This will make your bread taste better while also helping to ensure it stays together.

2. Don’t Overwork Your Dough: The key to making great soda bread is not overworking the dough. Once you’ve added the wet ingredients to the dry, mix until it just comes together, then stop! You don’t want to knead the mixture like a regular loaf of bread.

3. Sift Your Flour: Sifting the flour helps ensure there are no lumps or clumps in it that can upset the balance of the recipe. This can lead to an uneven distribution of the baking powder and baking soda, leading to a less-than-ideal texture.

4. Cut an “X” in Your Loaf: Before putting your loaf in the oven, make sure you cut an “X” on top of it with a sharp knife. This allows steam to escape during baking and will help the bread cook more evenly.

5. Slather with Butter: Nothing tastes better than a slice of fresh soda bread slathered with butter! For an extra flavor boost, consider using salted or herbed butter on top of your warm slices.

Follow these tips and you’ll have beautifully risen loaves of traditional Irish soda bread every time.


Now that we’ve gone through the ingredients list, recipe how-to, substitutions and variations, serving and pairing suggestions, make-ahead and storing tips, and perfect results recommendations in items (3) to (8), let’s head over to item (9) where we’ll answer some of the most common questions about this traditional Irish Soda Bread Co. Cavan recipe. These frequently asked questions will help you troubleshoot any potential issues you may encounter while preparing your delicious homemade bread.

What is traditional Irish soda bread made of?

When creating a classic Irish soda bread recipe, there are several key ingredients that are required. These include flour, baking soda, salt, and buttermilk, each playing a crucial role in the texture and flavor of the bread. The buttermilk, in particular, combines with the baking soda to create the chemical reaction responsible for the bread’s rising, which ultimately gives it its name – soda bread.

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

When it comes to making an Irish soda bread, it’s important to consider the ingredients that should be left out to ensure authenticity. Compared to Irish-American soda breads that commonly include caraway seeds and raisins, traditional Irish soda breads do not have these add-ins. This difference sets the two variations apart.

What is the key ingredient in Irish soda bread that makes it different from other breads?

Soda bread’s distinctive consistency is a direct outcome of the interaction between sour milk’s acidity and baking soda, generating tiny pockets of carbon dioxide in the dough. Similarly, the customary shape of soda bread holds a rich history.

Why did my Irish soda bread fall apart?

When making traditional soda bread, it is important to be aware of the ingredients you are using. If you use too much flour and too little buttermilk in the recipe, this may result in a crumbly texture. To avoid this, it is recommended to measure the flour accurately by spooning it into the measuring cup and leveling it off.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, this Irish Soda Bread recipe from Co. Cavan is the perfect addition to your St. Patrick’s Day celebration or any other occasion where you want to impress your friends and family with a homemade bread that’s bursting with flavor. With its simple ingredients and easy-to-follow instructions, this recipe will become a staple in your home baking repertoire. Whether you stick with the traditional recipe or experiment with substitutions and variations, you won’t be disappointed with the results. So put on some Irish music, pour yourself a glass of Guinness, and get ready to bake a loaf of delicious Irish Soda Bread that will transport you straight to the Emerald Isle. Sláinte!

Irish Soda Bread (Co.Cavan)

Irish Soda Bread (Co.Cavan) Recipe

This recipe was passed down to me by my Dad's Aunt. I have added a tweak that does not effect the original recipe at all. I find that it's not to dry as some soda breads can be. Has a nice slightly sweet flavor to it, but not too much that it tastes like a cake, it's a bread. I love this recipe and I admit I don't make it nearly enough. Enjoy
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Irish
Keyword < 60 Mins, Breads, Breakfast, Brunch, Easy, European, Healthy, Quick Breads, Scones, Spring, St. Patrick's Day
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Servings 1 rounded loaf
Calories 260kcal


  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons sugar (plus what falls into bowl LOL)
  • 1/4 cup butter, I use butter flavor crisco
  • 3/4-1 cup raisins (soaked in warm water until plumped. My tweak is to use Jameson's, just a little bit more than to cov)
  • 2 teaspoons caraway seeds
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk


  • In a large bowl, sift together the dry ingredients.
  • Cut the butter or Crisco into chunks and mix into the dry with a pastry cutter until well mixed.
  • Then add the raisins and caraway seeds.
  • In a smaller bowl mix the egg with the buttermilk until blended.
  • Pour the wet into the dry and mix together when it starts to form a ball then go in to the bowl with your hands and mix the rest together until all mixed (dough is sticky) then form a bla and place it on a greased cookie sheet. Let sit for 10 minutes (it rises) then cut an X across the top and brush with milk. Bake for 35 minutes or until golden brown. I find the more loaves I bake you need to lessen the bake time , my first 2 took the 35 minutes the last 2 only 25
  • I recommend letting it cool slightly, then while still warm enjoy a slice with a lot of butter and huge cup of tea. Some clotted cream and jam would be nice too.


Serving: 89g | Calories: 260kcal | Carbohydrates: 44.6g | Protein: 5.7g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 39.3mg | Sodium: 364.1mg | Fiber: 1.6g | Sugar: 14.7g

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