Deliciously Moist Irish Tea Bread Recipe

Picture this: a cozy afternoon, the kettle whistling on the stove, and a slice of warm Irish Tea Bread to accompany your perfect cup of tea. Inspired by traditional Irish Barmbrack, this Tea Loaf is a crowd-pleaser for any occasion. As a chef specializing in British cuisine, I have always had a deep appreciation for the ritual of tea-making and the comfort it brings to those sipping it. There’s nothing quite like indulging in a slice of freshly baked bread on a chilly day or sharing it with loved ones over good conversation.

This recipe is unique in its blend of flavorful ingredients, including tea-soaked dried fruits, mixed spice, and dark brown sugar. What’s even better is that you don’t need any special equipment or technical baking skills to make it – just combine the ingredients and let it bake in the oven. The result? A beautiful golden loaf with a soft crumb and an irresistible aroma.

Whether you are looking for a quick breakfast option, a wholesome snack or something to impress guests at your next afternoon tea party, my Irish Tea Bread Recipe is guaranteed to hit the spot. So go ahead, pour yourself a hot cup of tea and let’s get baking!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Irish Tea Bread
Irish Tea Bread

Imagine a warm and fragrant slice of sweet bread, made with the finest Irish ingredients, served with a comforting cup of hot tea. That’s exactly what you’ll get with this recipe for Ireland’s beloved tea bread or “brack”.

What makes this traditional Irish bread so special? First, the unique blend of mixed spices creates a deliciously complex flavor profile that will delight your senses. Second, the dried fruits soaked in hot, strong black tea bring a delightful sweetness and texture to every bite. And finally, the use of self-raising flour helps create a light and fluffy texture without requiring any additional leavening agents.

But this recipe isn’t just about creating a tasty treat. It also celebrates Irish culture and tradition. Tea bread has been a cherished part of Irish cuisine for centuries, often served during afternoon tea or for breakfast alongside a hearty cup of Irish breakfast tea.

So whether you’re looking to indulge in a sweet snack or want to explore the flavors of Ireland, this tea bread recipe is perfect for you. It’s quick and easy to make, requires only a handful of common ingredients, and can be enjoyed any time of day. Make yourself some delicious tea bread today and experience the taste of Ireland in your very own kitchen.

Ingredient List

 Warm and comforting, this Irish Tea Bread is perfect for a cozy afternoon.
Warm and comforting, this Irish Tea Bread is perfect for a cozy afternoon.


  • 2 cups (160 g) self-raising flour
  • 1 cup (160 g) golden raisins
  • 1 cup (160 g) dried mixed fruit
  • 2 tea bags of Irish breakfast tea
  • 2 tablespoons (25 g) candied peel
  • 4 tablespoons (50 g) dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) Brand⠀y⠀(optional)
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice

The ingredient list for Irish Tea Bread Recipe includes the perfect combination of rich and flavorful ingredients to prepare a delicious sweet bread. A mix of self-raising flour, golden raisins, dried mixed fruit, 2 tea bags of Irish breakfast tea, candied peel, dark brown sugar, a large egg, brandy (optional), and mixed spice makes up the recipe. Make sure to use self-raising flour to get a perfectly air-like texture so that it can rise during the baking process. The brown sugar is used to give the bread a mild molasses-like taste. You can add brandy to your batter for an extra kick! To prepare the fruits for your tea bread, soak them in freshly made brewed Irish breakfast tea overnight until plump and juicy. Finally, add a touch of mixed spice which gives it a warm and autumnal flavor – to make this ingredient even more savory use freshly ground spice if possible.

The Recipe How-To

 The aroma of spices and orange zest will fill your kitchen.
The aroma of spices and orange zest will fill your kitchen.

Let’s get started with making this delicious Irish Tea Bread also called ‘Tea Brack’ or ‘Barmbrack’. This recipe is very easy to follow and requires no special equipment or techniques. Here’s how you can make it at home:

Step 1: Soaking the Dried Fruits

Before starting the recipe, take a small bowl and add 2 cups (320g) of mixed dried fruit to it. You can use a mix of raisins, currants, sultanas, and even candied peel. Pour over hot black tea, enough to cover the fruits, and leave it to soak overnight. They will plump up and absorb all the glorious tea flavors.

Step 2: Preparing the Batter

The next day, preheat your oven to 325°F (160°C). Take a large mixing bowl and add 8 ounces (225g) of self-raising flour, 1 tsp of mixed spice, 1 beaten egg, 4 tbsp dark brown sugar and the tea-soaked fruit mixture. Mix everything well until you get a thick batter.

Step 3: Adding Brandy (Optional)

This step is optional but trust me; it elevates the flavor profile of the bread. Add in 2 tbsp of brandy; this will give a lovely boozy kick to the bread.

Step 4: Baking

Take a loaf pan approximately 8×4 inches or an equivalent size, line it with parchment paper, and pour in the batter. Make sure it is evenly spread out in the pan. Bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool slightly before serving.

Step 5: Serving

Irish Tea Bread or Barmbrack is traditionally served sliced thin with a dollop of butter on top. It is perfect for an afternoon snack or even as breakfast with a cup of Irish Breakfast Tea.

(Note: You can also add whiskey instead of brandy for an authentic Irish twist)

That’s it, folks! You have now made one of Ireland’s most famous and beloved bread recipes.

Substitutions and Variations

 With its soft texture and crumbly crust, this bread is a delight for your taste buds.
With its soft texture and crumbly crust, this bread is a delight for your taste buds.

While Irish Tea Bread is often made with the traditional ingredients listed above, there is always room for experimentation and substitution to make it your own. Here are a few ideas:

– Mixed spice: if you can’t find mixed spice at your local grocery store or pantry, you can substitute a mixture of cinnamon and nutmeg as a perfect replacement.

– Flour: If self-raising flour is not available, simply add 1 teaspoon baking powder per cup of all-purpose flour.

– Eggs: You can substitute applesauce or banana for eggs in this recipe for a vegan version. Alternatively, you can use half an avocado mashed with water or vinegar to replace the egg.

– Dark Brown Sugar: Light brown sugar is great for Irish tea bread but can be replaced with demerara sugar or maple sugar for a more complex and rich flavor.

– Brandy: Whiskey, rum or cognac will also work to add depth to your tea bread.

– Tea: While traditional Irish breakfast tea is often used to make this bread, black tea with a fruity note will give your tea bread some uniqueness.

– Dried Fruit: Feel free to mix and match your preferred dried fruits such as currants, apricots, cherries, sultanas or cranberries. You can even try adding some candied ginger or orange peel!

In addition to these substitutions, there are various recipe options that vary from tradition. For example, you can experiment adding caraway seeds to the fruit mixture for some fragrant contrast that pairs well with a bit of Irish whiskey. You can also soak the dried fruits overnight in Irish breakfast tea rather than hot water or brandy. This will give your bread an extra boost of flavor!

Remember that when adjusting your recipe’s ingredients, you’ll want to keep the balance of liquid and dry components so that the dough doesn’t become too sticky or dry. With these tips and variations in mind, feel free to experiment with your Irish Tea Bread recipe, and make it uniquely yours!

Serving and Pairing

 Don't forget to serve it with a generous dollop of creamy butter.
Don’t forget to serve it with a generous dollop of creamy butter.

A slice of Irish Tea Bread, also known as Tea Brack, is a perfect afternoon treat that pairs well with a cup of hot tea. Since this bread is made with tea, it is traditionally served alongside a freshly brewed pot of hot Irish Breakfast Tea, but any hot strong black tea will do.

The fruity tea loaf can be elevated by serving it with a dollop of whipped cream or butter that has been lightly adorned with mixed spice. The delicate yet rich texture of the bread is a delight to be savoured on its own or paired with cheese that can balance out the sweetness of the fruit in the loaf.

I particularly enjoy serving Irish Tea Bread as an accompaniment to my favourite soup or sandwich. The combination lends itself to create a satisfying homey meal that offers contrasting yet perfectly complementary flavours and textures.

You can also get creative with this bread by slicing it thin and using it as a base for hors d’oeuvres, pairing it with smoked salmon or even serving it as part of your next cheese board.

No matter how you choose to serve your Irish Tea Bread, make sure you brew yourself a warm pot of tea and take the time to appreciate each bite along with the company you share it with.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 This recipe is easy to make and perfect for beginner bakers.
This recipe is easy to make and perfect for beginner bakers.

Irish Tea Bread is a perfect recipe for make-ahead and storing for later use. As it is an easy-to-make quick bread, you may bake multiple loaves of tea bread and store them up to 5 days at room temperature. Since the bread includes dried fruit and tea that are best soaked overnight or at least a few hours before baking, you can also store the mixture in the refrigerator ahead of time, saving time on the day of baking.

If you’re making a loaf of Irish Tea Bread ahead of time, allow it to cool down completely on a wire rack before stowing it away in an airtight container. Ensure that you don’t slice the bread until it has fully cooled down since this will preserve its moistness. Sliced tea bread can be stored in plastic wrap or aluminum foil so that it remains moist.

If you’re storing your tea bread for more than a few days, it is recommended to keep it in the refrigerator instead and warm slices/toasts up as needed. You may reheat a slice of Irish Tea Bread in the oven or pop it into the microwave for about 10-15 seconds to soften it up before serving.

Besides being long-lasting and delicious, Irish Tea Bread makes a great gifting idea for friends and loved ones during holidays or special occasions. Wrap each loaf of tea bread with some parchment paper, twine or ribbon, and include a tag with its name and your name for personal touch.

Tips for Perfect Results

 The combination of moist raisins and crunchy walnuts is a match made in heaven.
The combination of moist raisins and crunchy walnuts is a match made in heaven.

Now that you have all the ingredients and instructions to make a delicious Irish Tea Bread, it’s time to ensure perfect results. Here are some tips to help you achieve an excellent outcome:

1. Incorporate Mixed Spice for Optimal Flavor

Mixed spice typically includes cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and allspice. The addition of mixed spices enhances the flavor of the tea bread, giving it a subtle but warm taste that makes it perfect for any time of day.

2. Use Self-Raising Flour

Self-raising flour is essential for this recipe because it contains baking powder and salt already mixed in. Using plain flour instead will result in a dense and undercooked bread.

3. Soak Dried Fruits Overnight in Hot Irish Tea

Soaking the dried fruits overnight in hot Irish tea will result in plumper and juicier fruits with enhanced flavor. Using hot strong black tea is essential as it offers robust tannins that match beautifully with the sweetness of the fruit.

4. Use Dark Brown Sugar or Demerara Sugar

Dark brown sugar has higher moisture content than regular white sugar and when mixed with boiling tea, creates a beautiful caramel flavor that adds depth to the tea bread. You may also substitute dark brown sugar with Demerara sugar for optimal flavors.

5. Avoid Overmixing The Batter

Overmixing leads to making the bread tough and heavy as it develops gluten strands. Mix just enough until all ingredients are combined but not overmixed.

6. Don’t Overbake The Tea Bread

Overbaking can dry out your tea bread so check at least 10 minutes before your cooking time ends using a toothpick placed in the center come out clean without any batter attached.

With these tips in practice, your Irish Tea Bread will come out perfectly every time!


Now, let’s answer some common questions about this Irish Tea Bread Recipe to help ensure that you have the best results possible. These FAQs cover a variety of topics, from ingredient substitutions to storage and reheating tips, so be sure to read through them carefully before getting started with the recipe. Let’s dive in!

What’s the difference between barmbrack and tea brack?

When it comes to these two types of cakes, tea brack and barmbrack, there are some key differences to take note of. The tea brack recipe requires soaking dried fruit in black tea beforehand, while the barmbrack recipe uses strong flour and yeast instead. Additionally, the tea brack uses a larger amount of dried fruit compared to the barmbrack.

What is tea bread made of?

A classic bread from England, the tea loaf is crafted using dried fruits and commonly served by slicing it and spreading a simple layer of butter on top.

Why is it called tea bread?

Tea loaves, which were traditionally enjoyed with afternoon tea, have their roots in Yorkshire, Britain. However, there is some debate surrounding who actually came up with the recipe for the fruity or speckled bread, with some attributing it to a Welsh chef, although the specific person and date are unknown.

What is brack in Ireland?

A longstanding Irish sweet bread called Barmbrack or brack was historically consumed during Halloween, but is now commonly enjoyed throughout the year.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, if you want to indulge yourself in the classic taste of Ireland, then there is nothing better than a slice of warm Irish Tea Bread. This recipe is perfect for daily enjoyment as well as special occasions. With its soft and moist texture and warm flavor, it’s perfect for a cozy breakfast or an afternoon snack paired with a cup of hot tea.

The recipe is very versatile, allowing you to try out different variations using fruits and spices of your choice. It’s also easy to make and can be stored for later consumption, making it an ideal recipe for everyone who loves to enjoy freshly baked treats.

So, what are you waiting for? Head over to your kitchen today, grab those ingredients, and make this traditional Irish Tea Bread recipe that’s been handed down from generation to generation. You’ll not only wow your taste buds but inspire generations after you. As famed chef Delia Smith said – “Think of it sitting on a plate in generous slices – it’s a wholesome delight!”

Irish Tea Bread

Irish Tea Bread Recipe

I found this recipe in a Twinings Tea advertorial and thought it sounded interesting, posted here for safekeeping!
Course Dessert
Cuisine Irish
Keyword Australian, Breads, Brunch, European, Fruit, Quick Breads
Prep Time 12 hours
Cook Time 1 hour
Calories 434.2kcal


  • 475 g dried mixed fruit
  • 300 ml hot strong irish breakfast tea
  • 1/2 cup brandy
  • 250 g dark brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 500 g self-raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice


  • Soak fruit in the prepared tea overnight.
  • When ready to bake, preheat oven to 150.C and grease & line a 20cm sqyare cake pan.
  • Stir brandy & sugar into fruit mixture until dissolved and then stir in the eggs.
  • Gradually fold in flour and spice and combine until mixture is smooth.
  • Pour into a pan & bake for one hour.
  • Remove from oven & cover with foil and bake for a further 30 minutes.
  • Set aside to cool for approx 30 mins before turning out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
  • Store for 24 hours before slicing.
  • Serve with butter & a cup of tea.


Serving: 173g | Calories: 434.2kcal | Carbohydrates: 92g | Protein: 7.4g | Fat: 1.7g | Saturated Fat: 0.4g | Cholesterol: 42.3mg | Sodium: 667.6mg | Fiber: 5.1g | Sugar: 24.2g

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