Irish Soda Bread

Irish soda bread is quick, easy and comes together in just 1 hour. Make it sweet, plain or savory- the choice is yours!

A view of the inside of Irish soda bread made with raisins.

Alright folks. First off, I just want to say, this is NOT a traditional recipe for Irish soda bread.

What is traditional Irish soda bread?

A quick bread made from the most basic of ingredients: flour, baking soda (instead of yeast), sour milk, and salt. Before baking, a cross was cut on the top to ward off the devil and protect the household. Because of it’s perishable nature, it was generally eaten within 2-3 days.

This recipe contains more than four ingredients. If you’re looking for a classic recipe, you may want to try this one. My version is like the soda bread you find in restaurants and stores nowadays. It’s slightly sweeter with a soft texture.

A loaf of freshly baked Irish soda bread.

Irish soda bread is made with all-purpose flour, however, you can swap out a cup of all-purpose for rye flour. This is especially good when using caraway seeds.

As far as add-ins or mix-ins go, there are three options:

  1. Sweet: with additional sugar in the loaf and on top, as well as raisins/currants and orange zest.
  2. Savory: rye plus caraway seeds.
  3. Plain: just a simple loaf.

You can also get really non-traditional and mix in Irish cheddar and chopped chives. It’s totally up to you!

A bread whisk makes for easy work when making the dough for Irish soda bread.

To make the dough, you’ll start by whisking together 3 cups of flour, 2 teaspoons of baking soda, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt, and 3-4 tablespoons of sugar (depending on how sweet you want it based on what you’re adding to it). Whisk in add-ins if desired.

Next, whisk together the wet ingredients: 2 tablespoons of melted butter, 1/2 cup of buttermilk, 1 cup of sour cream, and 2 large eggs. It’s best if these ingredients are at room temperature. To speed the process along you can use a microwave on half power or for the eggs, you can let them soak in a bowl of warm water for 5 minutes.

Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. I used my handy dough whisk to bring it together, you can use your hands too. DO NOT OVERMIX. Overmixing will create a tough, dense dough, which is really easy to do when yeast isn’t involved.

Irish soda bread shaped, scored and doused in sugar.

Turn the dough onto a very lightly floured surface and knead just a few times to create a rough loaf. It will be slightly moist and shaggy. Transfer to a piece of parchment paper. 

Use a sharp knife to cut a deep X in the top of the loaf. You will want to go down at least 1 inch beneath the surface. This will allow heat to reach the center of the loaf and help it expand/rise as it bakes.

Brush with extra butter/buttermilk for a crisp, shiny crust. Sprinkle with additional sugar if you’re going the sweet route.

Irish soda bread baked in a dutch oven.

What should you bake Irish soda bread in?

A large cast iron skillet or a large dutch oven is best because of how they conduct heat. However, baking it on top of a cookie sheet works too!

Bake at 375 degrees for 45-50 minutes or until the center is fully cooked.

Irish soda bread is quick, easy and perfect for St. Patrick's Day.

Allow the bread to rest for 10 minutes before transferring it onto a wire rack to cool for an additional 10 minutes. Cut and serve immediately. 

We slathered ours with Kerrygold butter (the best!) and enjoyed eating it alongside shepherd’s pie. It was absolutely delicious!!

LOOKING FOR MORE EASY BREAD RECIPES? TRY THESE:


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Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread

Yield: 1 loaf
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Irish soda bread is quick, easy and comes together in just 1 hour. Make it sweet, plain or savory- the choice is yours!

Ingredients

  • 3-3 1/4 c. all-purpose flour*
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. coarse sea salt
  • 3-4 tbsp. granulated sugar**
  • 2 tbsp. melted butter
  • 1 c. sour cream
  • 1/2 c. buttermilk
  • 2 eggs

Optional add-ins:

  • 3/4 c. raisins or currants (make sure they're plump) + 1 tsp. orange zest
  • OR
  • 2 tsp. caraway seeds

Topping:

  • 1 tbsp. melted butter + 3 tbsp. buttermilk
  • 1 tbsp. granulated sugar, optional (use with raisins/currants)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Whisk in add-ins, if desired.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the butter, sour cream, buttermilk, and eggs.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, using a whisk, large fork, or your hands, mix just until combined. Take care not to overmix. The dough should be slightly tacky but with small visible streaks of flour. If the dough is too tacky, add 1 tablespoon of flour at a time until the correct consistency has been reached.
  5. Turn the dough onto a very lightly floured surface. Gently knead a few times to form a round, shaggy loaf. Transfer it to a piece of parchment paper.
  6. Using a sharp knife, score a deep X into the top of the loaf. It should be about 1-inch in depth.
  7. Brush with topping, add extra sugar if desired. Place in a large cast iron skillet or dutch oven, or set on a cookie sheet.
  8. Place in the oven and bake for 45-50 minutes or until the center of the loaf is fully baked.
  9. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool for an additional 10 minutes. Cut and serve within 3 days.

Notes

*You can swap 1 cup of all-purpose flour for rye flour.

**If using raisins or currants, use 4 tablespoons, if using caraway seeds, use 3 tablespoons.

-To store, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, it should keep at room temperature for 3 days, but is best when eaten fresh.

Did you make this recipe? Share it on Instagram and tag it #LMSbakes. I love to see your creations!