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

4.96 from 22 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.
  • All ovens are different and the bread should be cooked until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. If you find the top is browning too much while waiting for the inside to cook, lightly tent the top with foil to prevent further browning.
  • 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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60 Comments

  1. Lucyann says:

    Do I need to use raisins in it

    1. Jim says:

      Hi Lucyann, no, you do not need to use raisins.

  2. Joyce says:

    this sounds so .yummy and easy,I’m definitely making a couple of them For St . Patrick’s day……..my Birthday 🎂 is on St. Patrick’s Day.
    Thanks for sharing your wonderful recipes!

    1. Jim says:

      Hi Joyce, thanks for the comment and we hope you enjoy! Happy birthday to you!

  3. Cecilia Malcolm says:

    5 stars
    It’s A keeper! Jim your the best!

  4. Cecilia Malcolm says:

    Excellent! Its a keeper for me!

    1. Jim says:

      Hi Cecilia, thanks for the comment and so happy you enjoyed!

  5. Sue says:

    Sounds delicious, absolutely making this bread for St. Patrick’s Day on Friday.
    Thanks for the recipe.

    1. Jim says:

      Hi Sue, thanks for the comment and hope you enjoy the bread!

  6. Carmen Sierra says:

    Thank you for sharing your recipe. Can’t wait to try it.

    1. Jim says:

      Hi Carmen, thanks for the comment and hope you enjoy!

  7. Claudia says:

    I’ve made your Irish soda bread recipe 4 times last week!. It’s absolutely delicious and easy to make. Thank you.
    Looking forward to an Easter sweet bread recipe. Hope you have one.

    1. Jim says:

      Hi Claudia, so happy you enjoyed the soda bread! Yes, we’ll have our Easter bread (the one with the Easter eggs) up on the site very soon!

  8. Linda Davis says:

    Absolutely delicious !!

    1. Jim says:

      So happy you enjoyed it, Linda!

  9. Joann Sinco says:

    I didn’t make it yet, but I will real soon 🌺

    1. Jim says:

      We hope you enjoy it, Joann!

  10. Donna Marie Stopfer says:

    Read this recipe all the way to the bottom. I am confused because I see (2) 1 cup raising at the beginning but not mentioned again?
    So question is are we using 1 cup raising or not?

    1. Jim says:

      Hi Donna, the 1 cup of raisins are added to the flour mixture after the butter gets cut in.