Irish soda bread is a quick bread that’s easier to make than you might think. This raisin-filled bread makes a wonderful breakfast treat but is also a must at St. Paddy’s Day dinners alongside shepherd’s pie and corned beef and cabbage!
I’ve been making Irish soda bread for over two decades now and it’s most certainly a favorite in our home.
I’ll usually make 3-4 loaves at a time for our annual St. Paddy’s Day dinner because it goes fast!
How to make it
Each number corresponds to the numbered written steps below.
- Preheat the oven to 400f and set a rack to the middle level. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and cube 4 tablespoons of cold unsalted butter. In a large bowl combine 3 cups (360g) of all-purpose flour, 3 tablespoons of sugar, 1 teaspoon of baking soda, 2 teaspoons of baking powder, and a 1/2 teaspoon of salt and mix until combined. Add the butter and using your hands or a pastry cutter, combine until the butter disappears.
- Add 1 cup (149g) of raisins to the flour mixture and mix until combined.
- In a small bowl add 1 cup (227g) of buttermilk and 1 large egg, whisking until combined. Pour the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture.
- Use a fork to combine the buttermilk and flour, then, with floured hands shape the mixture into a large ball. Place the ball onto a floured surface and knead just enough for it to come together in a shaggy dough ball. Note: Please don’t overmix which will make the bread tough instead of flaky.
- Transfer the ball to the lined baking sheet and use a sharp knife to cut a cross, or an X, about 1/2 inch deep into the top of the dough.
- Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350f and continue to bake for an additional 20 minutes or until the top is lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool and serve with butter, jam, or marmalade. Enjoy!
Top tips for Irish soda bread
- Don’t overmix! Much like our chocolate chip scones, Irish soda bread shouldn’t be overmixed. The bread should be kneaded enough just to bring it together so it can be shaped into a circle.
- Buttermilk. Buttermilk is widely available in most grocery stores, but if you’re unable to find it, you can make your own using milk and white vinegar. Simply add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar to a measuring cup and fill it with enough milk to equal 1 cup. Stir the mixture and allow it to sit for 5-10 minutes before using.
- Additions. Most store-bought Irish soda bread will include raisins, and some may include caraway seeds. If you’d like to add caraway seeds to this Irish soda bread 2 teaspoons worth should suffice.
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Irish Soda Bread
- 3 cups (360g) all-purpose flour plus more for bench flour
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons (57g) unsalted butter cold and cubed
- 1 cup (227g) buttermilk
- 1 large egg beaten
- 1 cup (149g) raisins
- Preheat the oven to 400f and set a rack to the middle level. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt and mix until combined.
- Using your hands or a pastry cutter, add the butter to the flour and mix until the butter disappears.
- Add the raisins to the flour mixture and stir until combined.
- In a small bowl whisk together the buttermilk and egg, then pour the mixture into the flour mixture using a fork to combine.
- With floured hands shape the mixture into a large ball, then place the dough onto a floured surface and knead just enough for it to come together in a shaggy dough ball.
- Using a sharp knife, cut a large X or cross about 1/2 inch deep into the top of the dough.
- Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350f and continue to bake for an additional 20 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Transfer to a wire rack to cool and serve with plenty of Irish butter, jam or marmalade. Enjoy!
- Caraway seeds can be added if desired.
- Soda bread can be stored for 2 days at room temperature, or in the refrigerator for 5 days.
- This recipe was written for a conventional oven. For convection ovens, reduce the temperature by 25 degrees and begin checking for doneness at the 75% mark.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.