Irish Soda Bread

This crusty and sweet Irish Soda Bread is so good, you’ll make it all year long! This quick bread recipe can be made with or without raisins!

Make our Crock Pot Corned Beef along with some Oven Roasted Cabbage Steaks and this Irish Soda Bread on the side for your St. Patrick’s Day party!

Irish Soda Bread recipe with butter and a knife

What Is Irish Soda Bread?

Soda bread is a quick bread recipe containing baking soda which is used as a leavening agent instead of traditional yeast. Buttermilk is typically used in soda breads because it reacts with the baking soda making  tiny bubbles that add texture to the bread.

Some recipes add raisins, like our Irish Soda Breda recipe, or you can leave them out. But others even include ingredients such as currents, caraway seeds and even orange zest.

Quick breads like soda bread are a great recipe to have on hand, and not only for holidays like St. Patrick’s Day but all year long! Since these recipes are so easy to make without a lot of kneading and no time needed for rising, you can enjoy soda bread as often as you like.

What Does Irish Soda Bread Taste Like?

Some people say that soda bread has a similar flavor to a scone, and I definitely agree with that. We add a little more sugar to our soda bread than a typical recipe because we have to admit, we do have a little sweet tooth. Certainly, you can easily reduce the amount of sugar in this recipe down to as little as 2 tablespoons.

Most importantly, Irish Soda bread is a dense bread that has a super crumbly crust that we’re absolutely in love with. So when you’re making this recipe, don’t go crazy trying to get the ball of dough super smooth because then you won’t get the crumbly texture that you’re looking for in the end.

Ball of cough on a cutting board with an "x" cut in the top

Ingredients For Classic Irish Soda Bread

All you need is a few ingredients for this classic bread recipe! Usually we have all of these on hand, sometimes we might need to make a run for buttermilk but you can also make your own! Just add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar to a measuring cup and then pour in 1 1/2 cups of whole milk or 2% milk. Whisk together and let sit for 5 minutes. Instant buttermilk!

  • Flour
  • Baking soda
  • Baking powder
  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • Buttermilk
  • Butter
  • Egg
  • Raisins (optional but recommended!)

Butter being brushed onto an Irish Soda Bread

How Do You Make Irish Soda Bread?

It only takes a few steps to make this quick and tasty bread recipe. Gather your ingredients together and follow these simple steps!

  1. Whisk the buttermilk and egg together in a bowl or pyrex measuring cup.
  2. Whisk the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt together in a large bowl.
  3. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients using a pastry cutter, two forks or you hands. Make sure the butter is very cold for this step!
  4. Now add the raisins if you are using them.
  5. Pour the butter milk and egg mixture over the dry ingredients and mix together until all ingredients are wet.
  6. Turn the dough out onto a board and knead gently until the dough comes together into a ball. The dough will be crumbly, that’s what we’re going for.
  7. Place the dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet or a buttered cast iron skillet and score an X into the top of the dough so that the center cooks evenly.
  8. Brush the top of the dough with a mixture of buttermilk and melted butter, then cut a large “X” into the top (this helps the center cook because the dough is so dense)
  9. Bake for 45-50 minutes until golden.

Tips For Success!

  1. Measure the ingredients carefully
  2. Form the loaf into a round but more shallow dome, the thicker the center is the longer it will take to cook through
  3. Bake your loaf on parchment paper to help the bottom from getting to brown
  4. Cover the bread with foil halfway through cooking if the top is getting too brown

Irish soda bread with green checkered napkin

How Do You Store Irish Soda Bread?

You can store this bread in a container in a container, or just wrap it in plastic wrap. A container will soften the bread so we usually just wrap the bread well in plastic wrap and leave it on the counter. And TBH, it doesn’t last that long in our house so it’s really not an issue for us., but it will keep for about 3-4 days.

To get a little more length out of your soda bread you can also keep it in the refrigerator for about a week.

You can easily freeze this bread too! Cut the loaf into slices or quarters or even freeze whole. The defrost the bread at room temperature and then eat as is or heat up in a toaster or warm in a low oven.

How Do You Serve Irish Soda Bread?

Besides just slicing and shoving on your face…there’s lots of ways that you can enjoy Irish Soda Bread! We like to toast thick slices of this bread and slather on a lot of butter, that’s our preferred method.

You can also add on jelly or jams, or even a hazelnut spread like Nutella. Because this bread recipe is so flavorful and slightly sweet, it’s delicious all on it’s own too!

Irish Soda Bread cut with butter melting

What To Serve With Irish Soda Bread

To sum up, this bread is a little on the sweet side, therefore it can be served as a side dish or as part of dessert with coffee! However, some of our favorite main courses to serve soda bread with are:

Irish Soda Bread cut with butter melting

Irish Soda Bread

  • Author: Dan
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 6 Servings 1x

This classic Irish Soda Bread recipe is so easy to make, you’ll be making it all year long!



  • 4 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, cut into small cubes and kept cold
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup raisins (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter mixed with a splash of buttermilk for brushing the dough


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Add the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt to a large bowl and whisk together.
  3. Add the cubed, cold butter to the flour mixture. Cut the butter into the flour with a pastry cutter, two forks or you fingers. The flour should look like crumbly sand when you’re done. I like to go through with my fingers at the end to make sure there aren’t any pieces of butter that are too large. Stir in the raisins (if using).
  4. Add the egg to the buttermilk, whisk together and then pour into the bowl over the dry ingredients. Stir together to combine and then empty the bowl out onto a cutting board that has been lightly dusted with flour.
  5. Knead the dough a few times to get the dough to come together, then form the dough into a round, shallow loaf and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  6. Cut an “X” into the top of the dough and then brush the top with the melted butter and buttermilk mixture.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes, remove form the oven and cover with foil if the top is getting too brown. Place the soda bread back into the oven and bake for another 20 minutes until the center is cooked through.
  8. Let the soda bread cool and then slice into pieces. Serve with butter or jam or eat as is!

Recipe Notes

To store leftover soda bread, keep in a resealable bag or wrap in plastic wrap once cooled. Irish Soda bread will keep on your counter for 2-3 days or in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.

  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: soda bread, irish soda bread, homemade bread, bread recipe, quick bread recipe, bread with raisins, st. patrick's day recipes

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