Irish Soda Bread is one of the easiest breads you can make at home. All you need are pantry staple ingredients and a craving for melt-in-your-mouth home-baked bread. Its fluffy on the inside, with a crisp, golden crust, and delicious (optional) raisins studded throughout.
This recipe was originally published in Feb of 2019, but I just updated it with clearer directions and new photos!
This traditional Soda Bread is as easy to make as it is delicious – and it definitely holds up against the homemade soda bread we had in Ireland! We stayed on a sheep farm, where our hosts made us fresh-baked soda bread – it was as wonderful as it sounds! But, let’s dive in!
Why you’ll love this recipe:
- Delicious Soda Bread – This Irish Soda Bread is delicious, with a crisp outside and a fluffy inside.
- Easy Quick Bread – We’re not using any yeast, making this a great way to venture into the world of bread baking if you’re a bit timid about yeasted bread. (Baking soda is our leavening agent here – hence the name!)
- Versatile – This bread is delicious with a mug of Irish stew or your favorite soup, or toasted and spread with jam and butter.
- All-purpose flour – Spoon & level your flour for best results, or use a scale. Scooping the measuring cup directly in will lead to too much flour.
- Butter – I always use salted buter for the best flavor, but feel free to use unsalted butter if you prefer.
- Buttermilk – Buttermilk is an important part of this bread – it reacts with the baking soda to provide leavening, since there’s no yeast.
- Egg – Use large eggs.
- Dairy-free – Use your favorite dairy-free buttermilk and butter to make this dairy-free.
- Gluten-free – I haven’t tested a gluten-free version of this recipe, but if you try it, let me know how it goes.
- Buttermilk – If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, try using whole or 2% milk and lemon juice or vinegar. Add 1 tbsp of either lemon juice or vinegar to a 2-cup glass measuring cup, then pour in milk until it reaches the 1 and 3/4 cup mark. Let sit 5 minutes, and you’ve got a buttermilk substitute!
How to Make this Recipe Step-by-Step:
Step 1: Make the Dough. Whisk together your dry ingredients in a large bowl. Then, cut your butter into the flour mixture. If you don’t have a pastry cutter you can use forks or your hands – just be sure the butter is broken down into pea-sized pieces and is coated in the flour.
Step 2: Finish Making the Dough. Once you have a crumbly mixture, stir in the raisins. Then, make a well in the center and pour in the egg + buttermilk. Stir the ingredients together until you have a stiff, shaggy, slightly sticky dough. (Try saying that 5 times fast, heh!) Gently shape the dough, on a floured counter, into a ball. Place into a well-greased pan, score an “X” in the bread with a sharp knife, and bake!
Step 3: Bake the Soda Bread. Bake as directed in the recipe card below. The loaf will be crisp on top and golden brown when baked.
Even if you aren’t someone who would normally make homemade bread, I beg you to try this! It’s incredibly delicious, and, it’s the perfect place to begin if you haven’t tried baking bread with yeast yet.
Make sure to enjoy this while it’s piping warm, with plenty of butter slathered on. There’s nothing quite like a slice of home-baked bread!
Expert Success Tips:
- Don’t Over Mix – Over mixing or over working the dough can lead to tough bread, so try to handle it just as much as you need to.
- Don’t Over Bake – As with any baked good, over baking will lead to a dry end result. Follow the bake time and cues given in the recipe card below.
- Can I bake this in something besides a cast iron pan? Yes. A baking sheet, or pizza stone will work. I would not preheat the pizza stone if using that option.
- What should I serve Irish Soda bread with? Irish Soda Bread is fabulous as part of any meal! You can enjoy it with your morning tea or coffee, with butter slathered on, and even a bit of jam. Or, you can pair it with something like an irish stew for lunch or dinner.
- What does Irish Soda Bread taste like? Soda Bread has a nice, subtle flavor and tastes similar to a biscuit. It has a nice crisp, craggy top and is soft and fluffy inside. It’s perfect for slathering with butter, or dunking in soup or stew.
- Can I halve this recipe? Yes, I think that would work just fine. Bake it in a 6-inch skillet or on a metal sheet pan or cookie sheet.
- Do they really eat this in Ireland? Yes! We enjoyed some home baked soda bread while we were there, but brown bread is also very common (probably more common, from what we saw!)
- Is this a traditional Irish Soda Bread Recipe? A true traditional soda bread recipe would include just flour, salt, baking soda, and buttermilk. So, this is a bit of a departure from that because of the addition of butter, egg, and a bit of sugar. It would have sometimes been made with one or a combination of these extra ingredients if a family had them to spare, but this was a very basic food, made by very poor folks so those luxury ingredients (raisins or currants included) were not an every day part of their soda bread recipes. Check out this article on for a great read on the history and variations of soda bread.
- Raisins – Feel free to omit these if you don’t like raisins, or try dried currants instead if you like. (Currants have a sweeter and tangy taste.)
- Plain – Feel free to omit the raisins and not swap any other dried fruit in.
Serving + Storing this Recipe:
Serve the bread while it’s nice and warm, with a generous schmear of salted butter. Let pan rest on a cooling rack, then store cooled bread in an airtight container at room temp for 3-4 days. I love popping it in the toaster to re-warm it and re-crisp it a bit.
- Cast Iron Skillet – I love my Staub skillet, and it has held up amazingly for years, but it is a splurge. If you’d like a more budget friendly option, try this Lodge skillet.
- Scale – Everyone needs a food scale in their kitchen to make sure their flour is at the proper weight, since amounts vary SO widely based on how you measure it.
- Oven Thermometer – An oven thermometer will tell you if your oven is actually running at the temperature you set it to. Your oven may not be accurate and this will let you know if you’re actually baking something at 375 or 300 when you set the oven to 350. The temperature is crucial for most bakes, so I leave thermometer in at all times to keep an eye on the calibration.
More St. Patrick’s Day Recipes:
- Beer Braised Short Ribs with Cheddar Mashed Potatoes
- Bacon Cheddar Chive Scones
- Guinness Chocolate Cake with Brown Butter Frosting
- Mom’s Irish Stew
- Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes
- Guinness Lamb Stew
- Beer Bread with Salted Honey Butter
Did you make this recipe? Snap a photo and leave a comment!
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Easy Skillet Irish Soda Bread
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup white whole wheat flour or sub 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 and 1/2 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup salted butter 4 tbsp, or 57 grams)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 cup raisins
- 1 large egg
- 1 and 3/4 cups buttermilk See note
- butter, for brushing on top + serving
- Prep: Generously grease a 10-inch cast iron skillet or another oven-safe baking dish of similar size. (I used butter and a little cooking spray on top of that.) Preheat oven to 425° F.
- Make the dough: Add the milk to a glass measuring cup, and whisk the egg into the milk. Whisk together the flour, salt, sugar, and baking soda in a large mixing bowl. Cut the cold butter into chunks (that are about tablespoon size) and use a pastry cutter (or clean hands or a fork) to cut the butter into the flour mixture until crumbly. You should have pieces that are pea-sized and smaller. Stir in the raisins. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the milk and egg mixture. Stir gently until a sticky dough forms. Dump the dough onto a floured counter and gently knead it for 30 seconds to smooth it out. Don't over knead it! If it's too sticky to work with, add up to 1/4 cup more flour. Gently shape the dough into a round loaf and set in the greased pan. Use a knife to score an "x" on top of the bread.
- Bake: Bake for 36-40 minutes, or until golden brown on top and bottom. A toothpick inserted into the center of the bread shouldn't pull out any wet dough.
- Serve + Store: Brush with a little butter when it comes out of the oven (optional, but delicious). Enjoy warm!Cover leftovers tightly with foil once cooled and store at room temp for 2-3 days. This is best enjoyed the first day – but to give it back some of it's fresh-baked crispness, reheat slices in the toaster.
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