Authentic Irish Bread Recipe: Perfect for St. Patrick’s Day!

As you read this, I hope that you can smell the warm and enticing aroma of freshly baked bread wafting through your senses. Being a chef specializing in British cuisine, I have a deep passion for baking, and nothing satisfies me more than baking a loaf of bread. Today, I want to share with you one of my all-time favorite recipes – the Sweet Irish Bread Recipe.

This bread recipe is a perfect combination of tradition and modernity. It delves deep into the heart of Irish cuisine with its use of soda bread- a classic staple in the country’s food culture. But it also has its twist, with the addition of sour cream and raisins to create an extra burst of flavor that makes this bread unique from any similar recipe.

There is simply nothing better than sinking your teeth into a warm slice of freshly-baked Sweet Irish Bread. It’s fluffy, moist, and most importantly, packed with flavor that will leave you wanting more.

So what are you waiting for? Let’s get started on this journey to creating one of the best loaves of bread that you’ll ever taste- The Sweet Irish Bread Recipe.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Sweet Irish Bread
Sweet Irish Bread

If you’re looking for a classic and delicious recipe to warm up your home, our sweet Irish bread recipe is the perfect choice. This bread is made with simple ingredients that are likely already in your pantry, making it an affordable and easy-to-make option that yields impressive results.

The combination of sour cream, raisins, and sugar creates a mouth-watering flavor that will satisfy any sweet tooth. Trust me, one slice of this bread will be simply not enough. The bread is also incredibly versatile – it can be eaten as a breakfast treat alongside coffee or tea or served as a dessert.

Not only is this sweet Irish bread absolutely scrumptious, but it’s also a great conversation starter. Impress your friends and family with your baking skills by sharing this bread at your next gathering or dinner party. Serve it up sliced with butter or whipped cream and enjoy the warm, soul-filling taste of traditional Irish soda bread.

One of the best things about our recipe is that it’s easily customizable. You can add in caraway seeds for a traditional brown bread taste or swap out the raisins for currants if you prefer. Experiment with the recipe and make it your own!

So why should you love this recipe? Simply put, because it’s delicious, versatile, and easy to make. Whether you’re an experienced baker or just starting out in the kitchen, our sweet Irish bread recipe is sure to impress and delight everyone who tastes it!

Ingredient List

 Sliced perfection - Sweet Irish Bread.
Sliced perfection – Sweet Irish Bread.

Here’s what you’ll need to make Sweet Irish Bread Recipe:

Dry Ingredients

  • 4 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 4 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 cup of raisins

Wet Ingredients

  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups of sour cream
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) of melted butter

Optional Ingredients

  • Caraway seeds (to sprinkle on top before baking)

For the best results, I recommend using King Arthur flour and fresh raisins.

Flour Substitutions

You can also use half all-purpose flour and half whole wheat flour for a healthier version. If you prefer gluten-free bread, try using Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour.

Raisin Substitutions

If you’re not a fan of raisins, you can substitute them with currants or chopped dates. You can also leave them out altogether if you prefer a plain bread.

The Recipe How-To

 The aroma of freshly baked sweetness.
The aroma of freshly baked sweetness.

Once you’ve gathered all the necessary ingredients, it’s time to start baking! This Sweet Irish Bread recipe is quick and easy to follow. Here are the steps:

Step 1: Preheat Your Oven

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius). Grease a loaf pan or a cast iron skillet well with butter. Set aside.

Step 2: Mix the Dry Ingredients

In a large mixing bowl, mix together 3 cups of all-purpose flour, 1 cup of granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, 1 teaspoon of baking soda, and [a pinch of salt]. Whisk everything together until well combined.

Step 3: Mix the Wet Ingredients

In another mixing bowl, beat [2 eggs] until well mixed. Add 2 cups of sour cream and [1/4 cup of buttermilk]. Mix together until well combined.

Step 4: Combine the Mixtures

Make a well in the dry ingredients mixture and pour the wet mixture in it. Fold in gently with a spatula until just moistened. Pour in 1 cup of raisins and fold them in. Be sure not to overmix, as this can cause your bread to be tough.

Step 5: Bake Your Bread

Transfer the batter into prepared loaf pan or cast iron skillet. Sprinkle [caraway seeds] on top if desired. Bake for approximately 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Step 6: Cool and Enjoy!

Once done, cool your sweet Irish bread for at least five minutes in the pan before removing it to a wire rack to fully cool. Slice it up as desired and enjoy this warm delicious bread recipe either on its own or topped with butter and jam!

This recipe is perfect for brunch, tea time or any other special occasion. Plus, it tastes just as good as [traditional Irish soda bread], but with a sweet twist that everyone will love!

Substitutions and Variations

 Wake up to a hearty morning with Sweet Irish Bread.
Wake up to a hearty morning with Sweet Irish Bread.

When it comes to baking, there’s always room for experimentation and customization. That’s why I have included some substitutions and variations that you can try to make this sweet Irish bread recipe your own.

Firstly, instead of raisins, you can try using other dried fruits such as cherries, cranberries, or blueberries. You could also add nuts like pecans or walnuts for a crunchy texture. If you’re feeling adventurous, try adding caraway seeds to give it a unique taste.

For those with dietary restrictions, substitutions for certain ingredients can be made. If you are lactose intolerant, you could use almond milk instead of buttermilk. You could also substitute cream of tartar with lemon juice or vinegar. Gluten-free flour can be used instead of regular flour for those who are gluten intolerant.

To add more sweetness to the bread, you can increase the amount of sugar in the recipe or drizzle it with honey or molasses after baking.

If you want to switch things up, you could turn this sweet bread recipe into a savory one by adding herbs like rosemary or thyme and omitting the sugar.

The possibilities are endless when it comes to making this Irish soda bread recipe your own. Don’t be afraid to experiment and try out different combinations until you find the perfect variation that suits your taste buds!

Serving and Pairing

 Get ready to fall in love with this irresistible loaf.
Get ready to fall in love with this irresistible loaf.

Once your sweet Irish bread is freshly baked from the oven, it’s simply perfect on its own as a snack. Its warm and inviting aroma makes it a winner for breakfast, brunch or afternoon tea. When sliced, the bread has a gentle softness in texture and is swirled with a subtle raisin sweetness.

Serving the bread can be versatile depending on how you sliced it. You may serve it in dainty slices for tea time with some creamy butter or jam. For breakfast, you can cut thicker slices of the bread and layer them with fruits such as strawberries or raspberries which enhance that mild sweetness in the bread.

No matter how it is served, this beautiful loaf will undoubtedly be the centerpiece of any table whether you are entertaining guests or enjoying some quiet time by yourself.

Irish sweet bread typically pairs nicely with a cup of tea or coffee, so I recommend brewing your hot beverage of choice and enjoying your warm slice of freshly baked bread alongside it. That pairing is simply impeccable.

Overall, serving sweet Irish bread during festive occasions such as St. Patrick’s Day or Christmas would be a delightful addition to any gathering. This elegant yet hearty bread is also great when served alongside hearty meat dishes like beef stew or Irish lamb chops-certain to make any season feel comforting and homely.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 The ultimate comfort food in a slice.
The ultimate comfort food in a slice.

Preparing Sweet Irish Bread is a delightful experience, but it’s not always possible to enjoy it immediately. This is why this Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating guide becomes essential when making bread. Luckily, this recipe is conveniently made ahead of time as it can be stored safely for up to a week or even longer.

One great benefit of Sweet Irish Bread is that it can be frozen or refrigerated without losing its unique flavors and texture. You can wrap the cooled bread in plastic wrap or aluminum foil for freezing and just reheat later while still maintaining the delicious taste effortlessly.

When reheating, simply make sure the bread is tightly sealed with foil during the process to prevent moisture loss. 15 minutes at a temperature of 350°F will be enough to warm the bread, even though covering the loaf with foil keeps its moistness intact. It’s essential to thaw frozen Sweet Irish Bread completely before reheating.

Additionally, keeping the bread in an airtight container will help preserve its freshness for a few days so you can enjoy leftover slices without compromising its taste. To keep your homemade Sweet Irish Bread fresh and tasty for longer periods, storing them in airtight containers at room temperature increases freshness.

When serving this delightful treat during special occasions or festive times like Christmas, you can bake Sweet Irish Bread weeks ahead of time since they last long without spoilage. There’s no need to worry because the flavor remains fresh and delicious even after days of storage.

Overall, baking and storing this tasty treat creates convenience and flexibility when entertaining guests or treating yourself to some sweet indulgence.

Tips for Perfect Results

 Happiness is a freshly baked Sweet Irish Bread.
Happiness is a freshly baked Sweet Irish Bread.

One of the most important things to keep in mind when making sweet Irish bread is to not overmix the dough. Overworking the dough could lead to a tough and dense texture, which is not desirable for this type of bread.

Another key tip to ensure perfect results is to use fresh baking soda and cream of tartar. These leaveners are what give soda bread its signature rise, so make sure they are not expired or stale.

Additionally, I recommend using a cast-iron skillet to bake your sweet Irish bread. This will help create a crispy crust on the outside while keeping the inside moist and soft.

When measuring your ingredients, make sure to spoon and level your flour rather than scooping it directly from the bag. This will ensure that you are using the correct amount of flour for the recipe.

If you’re adding raisins to your sweet Irish bread, make sure to soak them in warm water for about 10 minutes before adding them to the dough. This will prevent them from drying out and becoming hard during baking.

Lastly, resist the urge to slice into your sweet Irish bread right away. Letting it cool completely on a wire rack will help it maintain its moistness and prevent it from becoming soggy.

Following these tips will surely guarantee success in making a delicious sweet Irish bread that will be enjoyed by everyone!


As you embark on making this delicious sweet Irish bread recipe, there might be some questions that arise. Here are some frequently asked questions and answers that will guide and help you achieve the best results possible.

What is sweet Irish bread called?

Brimming with juicy raisins and sultanas, Barmbrack bread is a mouth-watering sweet bread baked with yeast. This delectable bread is best enjoyed toasted with a generous spreading of butter and a piping hot cup of Irish tea. It is known for its perfectly balanced sweetness, falling somewhere between a traditional cake and regular bread.

Why does soda bread taste sweet?

When creating a delicious bread, there are some ingredients that are crucial for both the taste and texture of the final product. One of these is granulated sugar, which provides a sweet flavor to the bread. Alongside this, baking soda is essential to act as a leavening agent that allows the bread to rise. Additionally, salt should be included to enhance all of the flavors in the bread. Finally, when making the dough, it is important to use chilled and unsalted butter to achieve the best results.

What makes Irish bread different?

The distinctive consistency of this loaf is produced by a chemical process that occurs when acidity and baking soda interact, creating tiny pockets of carbon dioxide throughout the dough.

What is the sweetest bread?

The Dutch Apple Bread is a delectable treat that features a streusel topping prepared with brown sugar and cinnamon. It is then generously drizzled with a vanilla glaze icing to create a scrumptious and decadent bread that’s sure to please anyone with a sweet tooth.

What is the difference between Irish bread and yeast bread?

The use of baking soda instead of yeast is what gives Irish Soda Bread its unique dense texture.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, the Sweet Irish Bread recipe is a must-try for anyone who loves to bake, loves bread, or simply has a sweet tooth. With simple, easy-to-find ingredients and straightforward instructions, this recipe can produce a delicious loaf of bread that will leave you or your guests wanting more.

Its versatility, in terms of substitutions and variations, allows for experimentation and creativity in the kitchen. Personally, I love adding caraway seeds to give it a traditional Irish touch.

Whether you are an experienced baker or just starting out, this recipe will not disappoint. So give it a try and taste the best of Irish cuisine from the comfort of your own home. Trust me; you won’t regret it.

Sweet Irish Bread

Sweet Irish Bread Recipe

A light and tasty treat for tea time.
Course Dessert
Cuisine Irish
Keyword < 4 Hours, Breads, Quick Breads
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Calories 317.1kcal


  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 cup raisins


  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Grease a 9 X 5" loaf pan.
  • In a medium bowl cream together the butter and sugar until smooth.
  • Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in the sour cream.
  • Sift together the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt; stir into the sour cream mixture until just blended.
  • Fold in raisins.
  • Transfer batter to prepared loaf pan.
  • Bake for 50 to 60 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a small knife inserted into the crown comes out clean.


Serving: 98g | Calories: 317.1kcal | Carbohydrates: 51.8g | Protein: 5.1g | Fat: 10.7g | Saturated Fat: 6.3g | Cholesterol: 64.6mg | Sodium: 139.6mg | Fiber: 1.2g | Sugar: 28.8g

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