Authentic Irish Soda Bread Recipe for Homemade Delight

Greetings, dear readers! I am excited to share with you a recipe that is loved by many in Ireland and beyond. Today’s recipe is for the classic Irish Soda Bread, which is one of the most traditional and iconic dishes of Ireland. This bread is beloved for its simplicity, ease of making, and delicious taste.

But first, let me give you a brief background about the origins of the Irish Soda Bread. Originally called “soda bread” because of its primary ingredient – baking soda – this bread was first made in Ireland in the 1800s as a cheap and easy way for people to bake bread without the use of yeast. By the 20th century, it became a staple food in many Irish households and was enjoyed on a daily basis.

As a chef specializing in British cuisine, I have searched for the perfect recipe for Irish Soda Bread that will satisfy both tradition and modern palates. After many trials and experiments, I have crafted a recipe that is easy to follow even for beginners as well as suitable for vegans or those who are gluten-intolerant.

So now, let’s get started with making our very own authentic Irish Soda Bread in the comfort of our own homes!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Irish  Soda Bread
Irish Soda Bread

As a chef who specializes in British cuisine, I’ve always had a soft spot for the traditional Irish soda bread. There’s nothing quite like the combination of the tangy buttermilk and the subtle sweetness from the sugar and raisins. This recipe is perfect for those looking for an easy, quick and no-fuss bread recipe that still tastes like it took hours to prepare.

One of the best things about this Irish soda bread recipe is that it requires no yeast, which means there’s no need to spend time waiting for the dough to rise. Instead, all you need are four simple ingredients: flour, baking soda, salt and buttermilk. Plus, with additions like dark raisins or even cheddar cheese, you can customize your soda bread to suit your preferences.

Making this Irish soda bread is also incredibly easy – simply mix together the dry ingredients before adding in the buttermilk until a shaggy dough forms. Then knead it briefly before shaping it into a round and slashing a cross on top (so that it can expand while baking). Once ready, bake in the oven for 45 minutes to create a warm, fragrant loaf.

With its cake-like texture and sweet aroma, this traditional Irish soda bread is sure to become a household favorite in no time. Whether you’re serving it fresh out of the oven with a slab of real Irish butter or toasted for breakfast the next day with some jam, this recipe is truly versatile.

So why not break away from your regular grocery store sliced bread and give this old-fashioned loaf a try? Trust me when I say that once you start enjoying freshly-baked homemade bread on a regular basis, you’ll never want to go back to that store-bought version again!

Ingredient List

 Fresh out of the oven and ready to slice!
Fresh out of the oven and ready to slice!

Flour: You will need 4 cups of all-purpose flour for this recipe. Some variations include using whole wheat flour instead or a combination of both types.

Baking soda and baking powder: These are the leavening agents that give Irish soda bread its signature texture. You will need 1 teaspoon of baking soda and 1 teaspoon of baking powder.

Salt: Add 1 teaspoon of salt to enhance the flavor of the bread.

Buttermilk: This ingredient adds moisture and tanginess to the bread. You will need 2 cups of buttermilk to achieve the desired texture.

Sugar: To balance out the flavors, add 1/4 cup of granulated sugar.

Eggs: While not traditional, eggs are sometimes added to Irish soda bread recipes for an extra boost of structure and richness. You can add one egg if desired.

Raisins: Classic Irish soda bread contains dark raisins for a pop of sweetness. Include 3/4 cup of dark raisins or currants to your recipe, or substitute with dried cranberries or other dried fruits.

Shortening or butter: Depending on your preference, you can use shortening or butter as a fat source for your bread. Use 4 tablespoons of shortening or butter, cut into small pieces and at room temperature for easier mixing.

These key ingredients make up a classic Irish soda bread recipe. However, don’t be afraid to make substitutions or variations to suit your taste preferences.

The Recipe How-To

 The perfect bread to accompany any meal.
The perfect bread to accompany any meal.

Now, it’s time to get baking! Don your apron, preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C), and let’s get started.


  • 4 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 cup of granulated sugar
  • 4 tablespoons of shortening or cold unsalted butter
  • 1 and 3/4 cups of buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup of dark raisins (optional)
  • 1-2 large eggs (optional)


  1. Begin by sifting together the flour, salt, baking soda, and sugar into a large mixing bowl.

  2. Then, use your fingertips or a pastry cutter to cut in the shortening or cold unsalted butter until the mixture forms pea-sized crumbs.

  3. If desired, you can mix in dark raisins at this point.

  4. Next, add the buttermilk and beaten eggs to the mixture. Mix everything together with a wooden spoon or spatula until well combined.

  5. After that, transfer the dough onto a generously floured work surface and knead until a smooth ball is formed.

  6. Shape the dough into a round loaf with your hands and place it on a greased baking sheet. Use a sharp knife to score an “X” on the top of the loaf.

  7. Bake for approximately 40-50 minutes, or until the bread is golden brown and has a slightly hollow sound when tapped.

  8. Allow the bread to cool on a wire rack for at least half an hour before serving.

Tips and Tricks:

  • Be careful not to over-knead your dough. The more you knead it, the tougher your bread will be.
  • If your dough is too dry, add a little bit more buttermilk until it becomes moist enough to shape into a ball.
  • For an extra-rich loaf, you can brush the top with cream or melted butter 5-10 minutes before removing it from the oven. This will create a golden and shiny finish on the outside of the bread.
  • If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can mix regular milk with lemon juice or white vinegar to create a similar acidic flavor.

Now that your Irish soda bread is ready, all that’s left to do is enjoy! Whether you prefer it warm with a slab of butter or toasted with goat cheese and honey, this bread is sure to please.

Substitutions and Variations

 A warm slice of soda bread with a creamy spread = heaven.
A warm slice of soda bread with a creamy spread = heaven.

One of the great things about Irish soda bread is that it’s a versatile and forgiving recipe. There are many ways to make it, and just as many ways to switch it up to suit your preferences or dietary needs. Here are a few ideas for substitutions and variations:

– Whole wheat flour: If you’re looking for a healthier option, you can substitute some or all of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour. Keep in mind that this will make your bread denser and more rustic, but also more nutritious.

– Gluten-free flour: For those with gluten sensitivities, there are plenty of gluten-free flours available now that work well in quick bread recipes like this. Try a blend of rice flour, almond flour, and tapioca starch for a light and nutty bread.

– Dark raisins: While traditional Irish soda bread calls for dark raisins, you can use any type of dried fruit you like, such as cranberries, apricots, or cherries. You could even add nuts like walnuts or pecans if you’re feeling fancy.

– Cheddar cheese: For a savory twist on the classic recipe, try mixing in some shredded cheddar cheese before baking. This will give your soda bread a rich and tangy taste that’s perfect for serving with hearty soups or stews.

– Coconut and lime: For a tropical twist on Irish soda bread, try adding some shredded coconut and lime zest to the mix. This creates a sweet and zesty flavor combination that’s perfect for spring or summer.

– Vegan version: If you want to make this recipe vegan-friendly, you can substitute the buttermilk and eggs with non-dairy alternatives like almond milk and flax eggs. It won’t be quite as fluffy as the original recipe, but it will still be moist and delicious.

Remember that when making substitutions or variations to the recipe, the texture and taste may not be exactly the same as the traditional recipe. It may take some experimentation to find a variation that works best for you, but don’t be afraid to get creative and try new things.

Serving and Pairing

 No yeast? No problem! This soda bread has got you covered.
No yeast? No problem! This soda bread has got you covered.

Now that you have baked a delicious loaf of traditional Irish soda bread, it’s time to talk about how to serve and pair it. This bread is best served warm, sliced with a bit of butter that melts into the crevices- waiting for your taste buds to be enticed. But first, let the aroma fill your home and heighten your senses!

This bread has a wonderful crusty texture on the outside, while still being moist and cake-like on the inside. It’s sweet and slightly tangy from the buttermilk, with bursts of flavor from the dark raisins. The bread is perfect for breakfast, toasted with jam or jelly, or as an afternoon snack with a cup of tea or coffee.

Irish soda bread also makes an excellent side dish to savory meals. Pair a slice with a bowl of soup or stew for dipping, or serve it alongside your favorite salad. It’s also a great addition to a charcuterie board when paired with sharp cheddar and cured meats.

If you’re feeling creative, try using this bread as a base for French toast or bread pudding. It will add an extra layer of flavor and texture to these classic dishes.

Overall, traditional Irish soda bread is a versatile treat that can be enjoyed in many ways. Serve it warm straight out of the oven with butter and let the flavors burst in your mouth!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 The crusty exterior and tender interior make this bread irresistible.
The crusty exterior and tender interior make this bread irresistible.

If you’re planning on preparing the Irish soda bread recipe ahead of time, then there are some things you should know to ensure maximum freshness and flavor.

Firstly, you can keep the baked soda bread at room temperature for up to two days. After this time, it is best to store it in the refrigerator or freezer to prevent spoilage. It is important to wrap the bread with either plastic wrap or aluminum foil before storing it in the fridge or freezer to prevent moisture loss.

When reheating the refrigerated soda bread, be sure to wrap it tightly in aluminum foil and place it in a preheated 350-degree Fahrenheit oven for about 10-12 minutes until heated through. Alternatively, you could slice it and place it in a toaster oven for an even faster option.

If you’re looking for a quick snack or meal on-the-go, then try slicing your leftover soda bread and using it as sandwich bread. You can also serve toasted soda bread with butter and jam for breakfast or alongside soups and stews for dinner.

With its traditional charm and delightful flavor, Irish soda bread is a great make-ahead option that can easily be stored and reheated without compromising on taste.

Tips for Perfect Results

 A rustic loaf that's as delicious as it is easy to make.
A rustic loaf that’s as delicious as it is easy to make.

As a chef specializing in British cuisine, I know that getting the perfect texture and flavor of Irish Soda Bread can be challenging. Here are some tips for achieving the best results possible:

1. Measure accurately: It’s important to measure all ingredients precisely to ensure consistency in the bread’s texture and flavor. Use a digital scale for accuracy when measuring ingredients.

2. Use buttermilk: Buttermilk provides a unique tangy flavor and acidity that is necessary for the reaction with baking soda which causes the bread to rise. Using regular milk instead may not yield the same effect.

3. Be careful not to overmix: Overmixing can lead to tough bread since handling and kneading too much can develop too much gluten. Mix until just combined with no visible dry patches.

4. Don’t forget the salt: Salt is essential in Irish Soda Bread to control yeast fermentation, resulting in soft and flavorful bread.

5. Let it rest: The dough needs time to rest before baking. Resting allows time for excess air bubbles to escape and prevent a dense crumb structure.

6. Preheat your oven: Before baking your Irish Soda Bread, preheat your oven to 425°F (218°C) for at least 30 minutes before baking it with a Dutch oven on the lowest rack.

7. Baking soda measurement: Only use 1 teaspoon of baking soda for every 2 cups of flour mixture or you risk overtaking the recipe, thus creating an undesirable metallic taste.

8. Check doneness: The internal temperature of fully cooked bread should read between 190°F (87°C) and 200°F (93°C). Otherwise, bake longer but keep track every few minutes while not letting it burn.

By following these tips, you’ll be able to make a perfect loaf of Irish Soda Bread every time!


Before wrapping up, I’d like to address some commonly asked questions about traditional Irish Soda Bread recipe. These queries are from those who have experienced baking soda bread before or those who have come across it for the first time. Whether you’re planning on making this bread for the first time or looking to perfect your existing formulas, these frequently asked questions will help you understand everything there is to know about Irish Soda Bread. Let’s dive right in!

What makes Irish soda bread different?

Soda bread originating from Ireland is a type of bread made without yeast. The recipe is simple, consisting of only four ingredients: flour, baking soda, salt, and buttermilk. The reaction between the baking soda and buttermilk causes the dough to rise. While traditionally made with stone-ground whole-wheat flour, white flour soda breads are also popularly consumed.

What is traditional Irish soda bread made of?

When making classic Irish soda bread, it’s important to have the necessary components which include flour, salt, baking soda, and buttermilk. The combination of the acidic content in buttermilk and the basic properties of baking soda creates the bread’s rise. This unique leavening process from the mixture of buttermilk and baking soda results in the bread being named “soda bread.”

Why is Irish soda bread so dry?

When it comes to making Irish Soda Bread, you must be careful not to overdo the mixing, as it can quickly dry out the bread. To prevent this, create a well in the dry ingredients and promptly pour in the wet ingredients. Mix lightly either with your hands or a dough hook just enough to combine the ingredients.

What is Irish soda bread called in Ireland?

Soda bread has a significant place in Irish cuisine, and it varies in appearance depending on the region. For instance, in Northern Ireland, people call it farl and cook it on a griddle after dividing it into individual portions. It’s worth noting that farl takes longer to prepare compared to traditional Irish soda bread.

Bottom Line


In conclusion, I hope this Irish Soda Bread recipe has inspired you to bring a taste of traditional Irish cuisine into your kitchen. With just four ingredients and minimal effort, you can create a delicious, hearty loaf of soda bread that is perfect for any occasion. Whether you prefer it sweet or savory, this recipe can be easily adapted to your tastes by adding chocolate chips, cheese or herbs.

Moreover, baking soda bread offers a myriad of benefits compared to yeast bread as it requires no waiting time and there are no life of grinding on schedules to maintain. The whole grain version is a healthier choice as it contains more fiber and nutrients found in the bran and germ of the wheat kernel. Furthermore even-though there are many variations available in the market but the satisfaction that comes from baking an authentic bread made in-house with basic baking equipment is unparalleled.

As a chef who specializes in British cuisine, I urge you to explore other recipes from Ireland and Great Britain such as sourdough breads or scones to add some variety to your baking repertoire. Finally I would like to say that as Paul Hollywood once said “everyone needs a go-to soda bread recipe” and I hope that this recipe becomes yours.

So what are you waiting for? Gather your ingredients, preheat your oven and let the aroma of freshly baked Irish Soda Bread fill your home!

Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread Recipe

This is a favorite recipe in our house, my mother got it from the lady who taught her lamaze, Kathy Kelly. I have made this with Splenda replacing the sugar in the past and no one could tell the difference in taste. I recommend placing a cookie sheet or something similar underneath in case the loaf pan overflows.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Irish
Keyword < 4 Hours, Breads, Brunch, Easy, European, Healthy, Quick Breads, St. Patrick's Day
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Servings 1 large loaf
Calories 770.9kcal


  • 3 cups flour
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups dark raisins
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 3/4 cups buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons shortening, melted


  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt together.
  • Stir in raisins or currants.
  • Combine eggs, buttermilk and melted shortening.
  • Add liquid mixture to dry ingredients and mix just until flour is moistened.
  • Turn batter into greased and floured 5 1/4x9 1/2 inch loaf pan.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.


Serving: 217g | Calories: 770.9kcal | Carbohydrates: 154.1g | Protein: 18.1g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 3.1g | Cholesterol: 110mg | Sodium: 1033mg | Fiber: 4.5g | Sugar: 71.1g

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