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!

Grey plate with slice of Irish soda bread with orange marmalade.

 

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!

It’s best served with Irish Butter and orange marmalade and is just as good for breakfast as it is for dinner alongside Jim’s shepherd’s pie, corned beef and cabbage, or Guinness stew!

Ingredients shown: flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, butter, buttermilk, egg, and raisins.

How to make it

Each number corresponds to the numbered written steps below.

  1. 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.

Irish soda bread recipe process shot collage group number one.

  1. Add 1 cup (149g) of raisins to the flour mixture and mix until combined.
  2. 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.

Recipe process shot collage group number two.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

Recipe process shot collage group number three.

  1. 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!

Overhead shot of baked Irish soda bread on wire rack.

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.

Hands holding slice of Irish soda bread with orange marmalade.

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Irish Soda Bread

4.88 from 8 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 35 minutes
Total: 45 minutes
Servings: 12 slices
Irish soda bread is a quick bread that's easy to make with just a few ingredients. This bread is perfect for breakfast when topped with butter and jam.

Ingredients 

  • 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

Instructions 

  • 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!

Notes

  • 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

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 209kcal | Carbohydrates: 37.8g | Protein: 4.8g | Fat: 4.6g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 26mg | Sodium: 231mg | Potassium: 244mg | Fiber: 1.3g | Sugar: 11.2g | Calcium: 73mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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37 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I’ve made Irish soda bread using other recipes, but this recipe was simple, quick and the result is delicious! Brought it to a potluck dinner this evening and it was a big hit! Thanks Jim for another wonderful recipe.

  2. 5 stars
    Easy and delicious
    I ended up cooking 10 minutes longer but I believe it’s my oven, not the recipe
    Will definitely add to favorites

    1. Thanks for the review, Carole! Yes, caraway seeds make a great addition for those who’d like to add them. We mention this in our top tips section in the post as well.

  3. 5 stars
    Hi Jim. First of all let me thank you so much for ALL your recipes I enjoy watching you cook to show us how to connect with the food lol.
    This morning I’m trying the Irish soda bread. The house smells amazing @7 am.

    1. Hi Karen, thanks for your kind words. I’m so happy you’re enjoying the recipes and videos! I hope you love the soda bread!

    1. Hello Hai, I haven’t tested the recipe with a GF flour, but I have heard good things about King Arthur’s Measure for Measure GF flour. If you do happen to test it with a GF flour, please let us know how it turns out.

  4. 5 stars
    Hi, Jim
    Thanks so much for this recipe. It looks easy to follow and delicious!
    Your recipes are great snd you have a wonderful way explaining the steps! Thank you so much and love your beautiful family too!

  5. 5 stars
    This was my first attempt at making Irish Soda bread. This recipe was so delicious and easy to make. I am making it again for St. Paddy’s Day . Thank you again for all your yummy recipes!

  6. 4 stars
    I have been making my grandmother’s soda bread for 50+ years. She was born in Co. Tipperary, Ireland. My only suggestion for a more attractive-looking bread is to brush the top with a beaten egg or cream. It will give the bread a lovely shiny golden-brown color. Otherwise, your recipe is very similar.

    1. Hi Patricia, thanks for the comment and happy to hear our recipe is similar to your grandma’s. Folks can certainly add an egg wash if they’d like. We do this in our scone recipe. We like the rugged look of the soda bread which is why we don’t add an eggwash to ours, but doing so certainly wouldn’t hurt.