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Irish Soda Bread Recipe

Irish Soda Bread is the easiest bread you’ll make – no proofing or kneading required and the dough comes together in 5 minutes. Soda bread has a soft and tender crumb with a Biscuit-like texture.

Irish Soda Bread in Cast Iron skillet

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We love freshly baked bread, from Banana Bread to Homemade Focaccia. If you are a fan of easy bread recipes, this Irish Soda Bread is a must-try!

You’ll Love this Soda Bread!

I fell in love with Soda Bread the first time I tried it. Its lightly sweet crumb reminded me of our Paska Easter Bread and Hot Cross Buns, but it’s amazing how fast and easy it was to make a traditional Soda Bread.

What is Irish Soda Bread?

This Irish-American Soda Bread is traditionally baked for St. Patrick’s Day. It is a quick bread that uses Baking Soda (a.k.a. Sodium Bicarbonate) as the leavening to make it rise. Unlike traditional yeast bread, there is no proofing or rising time. Once the dough comes together, you score the top and bake right away.

Sliced soda bread with butter and honey

Ingredients

We love adding raisins for the holidays, but the raisins are optional. If you want to make it without buttermilk, then kefir works just as well to activate the baking soda.

  • Flour – all-purpose flour works best
  • Sugar – 1/4 cup makes it a lightly sweet bread
  • Salt – every good bread needs a fair amount
  • Baking soda – leavening which makes the bread rise
  • Butter – gives the bread a scone-like texture (use cold, unsalted)
  • Buttermilk – activates the soda (use cold, low-fat)
  • Egg – for a finer, richer crumb
  • Raisins – optional and can be substituted for dried cranberries
Ingredients for making bread with baking soda and flour


Tips for the Best Soda Bread

  • Do not over-mix – as with scones, the dough really just has to come together before baking.
  • Sticky dough – the dough will feel sticky. Dust your work surface and hands with just enough flour to handle the dough.
  • Cold ingredients – there’s no reason to bring ingredients to room temperature. Keep buttermilk, egg, and butter chilled.
  • Generously grease the pan – buttering your cast-iron skillet before baking allows the bread to rise without sticking to the pan.
  • Cool on a rack – Once out of the oven, transfer the soda bread to a rack to cool so it doesn’t steam and soften on the bottom.
Soft sliced soda bread on cutting board

How to Make Soda Bread

You’ll be amazed how fast and easy it is to form a loaf of this Irish-American Soda Bread.

  • Prep – Preheat oven to 375. Grease a 10″ cast-iron pan with butter.
  • Whisk dry ingredients – in a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda.
  • Add butter and raisins – cut butter into dice then work it into the flour mixture with clean dry fingertips until crumbs form. Stir in raisins.
  • Buttermilk – In a large measuring cup, beat together buttermilk and 1 egg and pour into dry ingredients. Stir with a wooden spoon until moistened and the dough starts to come together.
  • Form the loaf – transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface, dust hands with flour, and form dough into a round loaf. If too sticky to handle, dust with flour.
  • Bake – transfer dough to the buttered pan and score the top with a deep “X”. Bake at 375˚F for 50-55 minutes.
Step by step instructions to make soda bread

How to know when Soda Bread is done baking? We bake for 50-55 minutes. When you tap the loaf it should sound hollow inside.

Common Questions:

Can I leave out the raisins?

You can omit the raisins, or even substitute them for dried cranberries or other bits of dried fruit like chopped apricots.

Can I make soda bread without buttermilk?

The buttermilk activates the baking soda, making the bread rise. You can substitute the buttermilk with a low fat plain Kefir.

What does Irish Soda Bread taste like?

It tastes similar to scones or biscuits but is very lightly sweet.

How to serve Soda Bread?

We love to serve soda bread is delicious served as a side with Irish butter and honey, or jam. It’s a lightly sweet bread so it pairs well with coffee or tea.

Why do you score the top with an “X”?

Scoring the top gives it extra surface area to brown and crisp.

Why is my soda bread tough?

Over-mixing or over-kneading the dough can make it tough. The less you handle it, the softer the bread will be.

Can I freeze soda bread?

Soda bread freezes really well. If you freeze it the day it’s baked (be sure it’s cooled to room temperature first), it will taste great thawed and toasted.

Perfectly baked Loaf of Irish soda bread sliced into pieces

This Irish Soda Bread recipe is sure to become a holiday favorite for you. It’s so easy and you’ll impress everyone.

More St Patrick’s Day Recipes

If you love this Soda Bread, then you won’t want to miss these St. Patrick’s Day-inspired recipes.

Irish Soda Bread Recipe

5 from 8 votes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Irish Soda Bread in cast iron skillet

This Irish-American Soda Bread takes just 5 minutes to make the dough with no kneading and no proofing needed. It has a soft and tender crumb with a texture that is similar to biscuits.

Author: Natasha Kravchuk
Skill Level: Easy
Cost to Make: $3-$6
Keyword: irish soda bread, soda bread recipe
Cuisine: American, Irish
Course: Bread
Calories: 259 kcal
Servings: 12 slices (1 loaf)

Ingredients

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour plus 1/4 cup more for dusting
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 6 Tbsp cold unsalted butter plus 1/2 Tbsp to grease pan
  • 1 3/4 cups cold lowfat buttermilk or kefir
  • 1 large egg cold
  • 1 cup raisins or dried cranberries optional

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven at 375˚F. Generously grease a 10” cast-iron skillet with 1/2 Tbsp butter.

  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda. Cut butter into small pieces and use your fingers to work the butter into the flour until crumbs form stir in the raisins, breaking up any clumps of raisins. Make a well in the center.

  3. In a large measuring cup, whisk together the buttermilk and egg then add this mixture into the flour mixture. Use a wooden spoon and mix just until lightly moistened and dough barely starts to come together.

  4. Transfer to a floured surface and use floured hands to shape the dough just until it forms into a round loaf. It should be shaggy. If it’s too sticky to handle, dust lightly with flour. Do not over-mix or bread will be tough.

  5. Transfer to the buttered pan, use a knife to score the top with a large and deep “X”. Bake in the center of your preheated oven at 375 for 50-55min. When you tap on the bread, it should sound hollow inside. Transfer bread to a wire rack to cool. Enjoy within 2 days of making it and refrigerate leftovers up to a week.

Nutrition Facts
Irish Soda Bread Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 259 Calories from Fat 54
% Daily Value*
Fat 6g9%
Saturated Fat 4g25%
Trans Fat 1g
Cholesterol 29mg10%
Sodium 295mg13%
Potassium 151mg4%
Carbohydrates 45g15%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 4g4%
Protein 5g10%
Vitamin A 195IU4%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Calcium 14mg1%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Natasha Kravchuk

Welcome to my kitchen! I am Natasha, the blogger behind Natasha's Kitchen (since 2009). My husband and I run this blog together and share only our best, family approved and tested recipes with YOU. Thanks for stopping by! We are so happy you're here.

Read more posts by Natasha

Read comments/reviewsAdd comment/review

  • Kathy
    March 31, 2021

    I made the entire recipe and it was delicious, but a bit too large for just two of us. Can this recipe be halved?

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      March 31, 2021

      Hi Kathy, I haven’t tried that yet but I imagine that will work. If you click on the serving size in the recipe card, you can slide it up or down to scale the recipe ingredient lists. I hope that helps!

      Reply

  • Ann Dahl
    March 27, 2021

    Wonderful recipe, however could you print ingredients then directions at beginning instead of after comments? Took too long to scroll down!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      March 27, 2021

      Hi Ann, We have a Jump to Recipe button at the top of the post to take you straight to the printable recipe card. I hope that helps.

      Reply

  • Gail
    March 21, 2021

    Just have to tell you how much I enjoy watching your videos and I have made a lot of your recipes, most recent Strawberry Cake, delicious! I do have one slight problem, when watching the videos I’m trying to watch and write the amounts and ingredients and wind up replaying the video 10 times. LOL. Would be helpful to have a list of ingredients and quantities at the end of the video. Keep up the good work, and your upbeat personality, so enlightening at this time of COVID.

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      March 21, 2021

      Thanks for your good feedback, Gail. You can see every recipe on my website, you can also click Jump to recipe and click print to save it as pdf. I hope that helps!

      Reply

  • Ruth Marie Martin
    March 20, 2021

    Hi, Love Irish Soda Bread and look forward to trying your recipe. Going to try it in my cast iron Dutch oven, minus the lid of course. It is a bit smaller in diameter but hoping it will work out. Thanks for all the many hours of enjoyment making your wonderful recipes.

    Have a great Day!
    Ruth

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      March 20, 2021

      You’re welcome! I hope you love this recipe!

      Reply

  • Judy MacFayden
    March 20, 2021

    Can this recipe be made by putting the loaf shaped dough on parchment paper, place in a heavy covered pot in the oven?

    Reply

    • Natasha
      March 20, 2021

      Hi Judy, I haven’t tried baking this in a dutch oven, although it may work like our dutch oven bread. I can’t say for sure without testing it through. You can also just bake it on a baking sheet without a cast iron pan and it will work, but it will be slightly more flat.

      Reply

  • Mary
    March 20, 2021

    Thank you for this recipe!
    I can’t wait to try it!!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      March 20, 2021

      I hope you enjoy it soon!

      Reply

  • Bron
    March 19, 2021

    True Irish soda bread does
    NOT have any sugar or indeed raisins in it.
    You can of course add things that you want but it is not actually then real Irish soda bread. Try it without the sugar please so much nicer (and healthier)
    I have added onions and chorizo for a different and absolutely yummy taste but NO SUGAR😁)

    Reply

    • Natasha
      March 20, 2021

      Hi Bron, this can definitely be a savory bread, but we enjoy it as a lightly sweet bread. This is the Irish American version of soda bread.

      Reply

  • Krystelle Byttynen
    March 18, 2021

    I made this yesterday (St. Patrick’s day) ..it was delicious. It did taste like a biscuit or a scone, but it was amazing warm with jam and butter! Next time, I’ll add cheddar or maybe jalapenos chopped up and cheddar. The variables on this bread are endless!

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      March 18, 2021

      Sounds like a great plan and that is so true. That’s what makes this recipe amazing!

      Reply

  • Smitha
    March 17, 2021

    Does it have to be made in a cast iron? Can I bake in a regular cake pan?

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      March 17, 2021

      Hi Smitha, you can use a baking sheet or baking pan if you don’t have a cast-iron skillet.

      Reply

  • Julia
    March 17, 2021

    Hi, Natasha.

    I’m so excited to make this bread:) I’m almost 9 months pregnant and craving raisins so bad! I saw your new recipe and it made my day. I have two quick questions before I bake it – can I use whole milk buttermilk? Also, can I bake it in Dutch oven with no lead? Thank you in advance 🙂

    Reply

    • Natasha
      March 18, 2021

      Hi Julia, congratulations! I hope the last stretch of pregnancy is blessed and beautiful for you. Whole buttermilk should work great for Irish soda bread.

      Reply

      • Julia
        March 18, 2021

        Thank you so much, Natasha 🙂
        I appreciate your quick response. What about baking it in the Dutch oven with no lead? Do you think it should work ok?

        Reply

        • Natashas Kitchen
          March 20, 2021

          I haven’t tried it in a dutch oven like that to advise, if it’s oven-safe and has a thick bottom, I don’t see why not.

          Reply

          • Julia
            March 23, 2021

            Thank you, Natasha 🙂

  • Annie
    March 17, 2021

    Outstanding Soda bread.
    1st time making this style bread. My Irish husband couldn’t stop eating, says it the best he’s ever had!
    Thank You for sharing!
    I’m a hugh fan!

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      March 17, 2021

      Awesome! I’m very happy to have read your comments and feedback. Thanks, Annie, for giving this recipe a great review.

      Reply

  • Ellen
    March 17, 2021

    Sooo good! I actually used it for strawberry shortcake! Perfect sweetness and texture. I didn’t add raisins. So it was yummy as a biscuit with dinner also. Then I made one with raisins. Made a delicious toast with butter and cinnamon sugar! I’ll do it again!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      March 17, 2021

      That’s just awesome! Thank you for sharing your wonderful review!

      Reply

  • Andrea
    March 17, 2021

    Delicious! I used dried cranberries instead of raisins and added in some orange rind and a bit of freshly squeezed orange juice to the mixture. Yum!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      March 17, 2021

      I’m so happy you enjoyed that. Thank you for sharing that with us, Andrea!

      Reply

  • Super
    March 17, 2021

    I look forward to making this with cranberries and raisins!

    By the way, Are you working on you’re own APP?

    Just asking.
    I’m always looking here.
    Super

    Reply

    • Natasha
      March 18, 2021

      I hope you totally love the soda bread. We don’t have any plans for the app at this time.

      Reply

  • Saima Patel
    March 17, 2021

    Hi natasha..please make a vedio of this recipe Irish soda bread and upload it on your YouTube channel…..its makes more easy to understand on YouTube and watching you explaining is a TREAT….stay blessed

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      March 17, 2021

      Hi Saima, thank you for that wonderful suggestion. I’m so glad you’re enjoying our recipe videos.

      Reply

  • Debbie
    March 17, 2021

    My dough was very wet. I put it on a cookie sheet and ended up spreading it into the whole sheet. I’ll probably just cut it into squares. Wish me luck!!!

    Reply

    • Natasha
      March 17, 2021

      HI Debbie, if it feels too wet, you can dust it with more flour until you can form it into a ball. Check out our post on how we measure ingredients which may help to get that balance of wet to dry ingredients just right.

      Reply

  • Jackeline
    March 17, 2021

    Hi Natasha, my kids love to help make dinner when I make one of your recipes. Everything is always delicious. Can I substitute milk for the Buttermilk in the Irish sofa bread recipe?

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      March 17, 2021

      Hi Jackeline, plain kefir will also work well instead of buttermilk. You can also make your own buttermilk at a ratio of 1 cup whole milk to 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice. Combine and let it sit 10 minutes to curdle then stir and use.

      Reply

  • JTB
    March 16, 2021

    I made your soda bread today. So easy and it turned out beautifully.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      March 16, 2021

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

      Reply

  • Shirley
    March 16, 2021

    Hi! I was wondering if I can just make the buttermilk if I don’t have buttermilk on hand. Will it turn out the same? Also can I use whole milk?

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      March 16, 2021

      Hi Shirley, plain kefir will also work well instead of buttermilk. You can also make your own buttermilk at a 1 cup whole milk ratio to 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice. Combine and let it sit 10 minutes to curdle, then stir and use.

      Reply

  • L
    March 16, 2021

    Hi Natasha, do you think your cookbook will be ready by the end of this year?

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      March 16, 2021

      Hi there, I cannot really tell when it will be ready. It is a long process but hopefully, it will be ready that time. Thank you for patiently waiting!

      Reply

  • Jim
    March 16, 2021

    Another lovely way to enjoy the bread:
    Leave out the fruit.
    Bake the bread and be ready to eat when it comes from the oven.

    Serve with lots of garlic butter and a good portion of fresh mussels.
    Wash it down with a glass of dark beer!

    Awesome.
    BTW- I’m a resident of Dublin Ireland, so this suggestion is authentically Irish!!!

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      March 17, 2021

      Hi Jim, thank you for sharing some tips with us. So useful!

      Reply

  • Christine Waters
    March 16, 2021

    Hi Natashia, I would love to make this but would you know how many grams are in 6 tbsp of butter. I always click on the metric measurements being in the UK but not got a clue about measuring tbsp of butter. Thanks in advance

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      March 16, 2021

      Hi Christine, this Ingredient Weight Chart can be useful.

      Reply

    • Natasha
      March 16, 2021

      Hi Christine, I updated the recipe card. I didn’t realize the metric wasn’t showing on the butter. It’s about 85 grams of butter.

      Reply

  • Dorothy
    March 16, 2021

    Do I have to use cast iron skillet can I just use a round cake pan

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      March 16, 2021

      Hi Dorothy, you can use a baking sheet or baking pan if you don’t have a cast-iron skillet.

      Reply

      • Sue
        March 16, 2021

        Can I add chopped nuts?

        Reply

        • Natashas Kitchen
          March 16, 2021

          Hi Sue, I haven’t tested that but I think it could work. If you experiment, let me know how you liked the recipe

          Reply

  • Valeria
    March 16, 2021

    Hi!
    What if I do not have an iron skillet? Could I use any other type of pan or a pyrex?
    Thank you!

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      March 16, 2021

      Hi Valeria, you can use a baking sheet or baking pan if you don’t have a cast-iron skillet.

      Reply

  • Janet
    March 16, 2021

    Can you substitute milk that is soured with vinegar for the buttermilk?

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      March 16, 2021

      Hi Janet, plain kefir will also work well instead of buttermilk. You can also make your own buttermilk at a ratio of 1 cup whole milk to 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice. Combine and let it sit 10 minutes to curdle then stir and use.

      Reply

  • Elizabeth
    March 16, 2021

    I was born in Northern Ireland and I can tell You SODA BREAD DOES NOT LOOK LIKE THAT IT IS FLAT AND DOES NOT HAVE ANY IN IT. What you show in the pictures is more like a banick

    Reply

  • Judy
    March 16, 2021

    Ran out of milk; I used 1/2&1/2 watered down and added a Tbs of vinegar to make buttermilk.
    Worked great. Very good.
    Can this be baked in a glass pan?

    Reply

    • Natasha
      March 17, 2021

      Hi Judy, I haven’t tried it in a glass plan to see how the heat conduction affects it, but it works well on a baking sheet or baking pan.

      Reply

  • Leta Libby
    March 16, 2021

    Can I substitute for the cast iron skillet?

    Reply

    • Natasha
      March 16, 2021

      Hi Leta, you can use a baking sheet or baking pan if you don’t have a cast iron skillet.

      Reply

      • Jenny
        March 16, 2021

        Hi can you use a cake tin ??

        Thanks

        Reply

        • Natasha's Kitchen
          March 16, 2021

          Hi Jenny, you can use a baking sheet or baking pan if you don’t have a cast-iron skillet.

          Reply

  • Julia
    March 16, 2021

    This bread is delicious and so easy! I left raisins out but other than that followed the recipe as written. Success!

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      March 16, 2021

      Great to hear that it was a success! Thank you for your great review, Julia.

      Reply

  • Alvin Potts
    March 16, 2021

    Love your recipe’s, you have taught me so much and still learning!

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      March 16, 2021

      I’m very happy to hear that, Alvin!

      Reply

  • Ginny
    March 16, 2021

    I loved making this recipe in an iron skillet. It worked so well and the bread is absolutely delicious.

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      March 16, 2021

      Great to hear that, Ginny. Glad it was a success!

      Reply

  • Sharon Baxter
    March 15, 2021

    Can this be made with oat flour

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      March 16, 2021

      Hello Sharon, I honestly haven’t tried using oat flour yet to advise. If you do an experiment, please share with us too how it goes.

      Reply

  • Katie
    March 15, 2021

    Looks so good! Can’t wait to try this one.

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      March 16, 2021

      Sounds good, I hope you love it!

      Reply

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