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.

Natasha's Kitchen Cookbook

Irish Soda Bread Recipe

4.98 from 353 votes
Author: Natasha Kravchuk
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.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes

Ingredients 

Servings: 12 slices (1 loaf)
  • 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

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

259kcal Calories45g Carbs5g Protein6g Fat4g Saturated Fat1g Trans Fat29mg Cholesterol295mg Sodium151mg Potassium2g Fiber4g Sugar195IU Vitamin A1mg Vitamin C14mg Calcium2mg Iron
Nutrition Facts
Irish Soda Bread Recipe
Amount per Serving
Calories
259
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
6
g
9
%
Saturated Fat
 
4
g
25
%
Trans Fat
 
1
g
Cholesterol
 
29
mg
10
%
Sodium
 
295
mg
13
%
Potassium
 
151
mg
4
%
Carbohydrates
 
45
g
15
%
Fiber
 
2
g
8
%
Sugar
 
4
g
4
%
Protein
 
5
g
10
%
Vitamin A
 
195
IU
4
%
Vitamin C
 
1
mg
1
%
Calcium
 
14
mg
1
%
Iron
 
2
mg
11
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Bread
Cuisine: American, Irish
Keyword: irish soda bread, soda bread recipe
Skill Level: Easy
Cost to Make: $
Calories: 259

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.

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Recipe Rating




Comments

  • Lois Christiansen
    April 10, 2024

    I have made this Irish soda bread twice and I love it! Very easy directions to follow, and soooo delicious with dried cranberries. I used it to make lovely cucumber sandwiches and everyone loved them.

    Reply

  • Christopher Hamby
    April 6, 2024

    I don’t have a cast iron pan. Could I bake this in something else?

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      April 6, 2024

      Hi Christopher, we prefer to make it in a cast iron pan, but one of my readers mentioned great results using a metal pan. I hope this helps.

      Reply

  • Anne
    April 2, 2024

    Natasha, do you use baking powder in your Irish Soda Bread recipe?

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      April 2, 2024

      Hi Anne! This recipe uses baking soda.

      Reply

  • Joanna
    March 28, 2024

    This was truly delicious and so easy to make. Hands down the best sodas belread we’ve ever had. Thank you!

    Reply

  • Jennifer
    March 25, 2024

    This was easy and delicious! The “ Tips for the Best Soda Bread” was very helpful.

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      March 26, 2024

      Glad that heled a lot!

      Reply

  • Arlene M.
    March 24, 2024

    I decided to try this recipe instead of the family one that was given to me since it tends to be a little dry. This one is excellent!!! I did add a tablespoon of caraway seeds, which hubby likes. Natasha, thanks for sharing! This was a hit and our go to from now on!

    Reply

  • Roy
    March 24, 2024

    I tried two loaf. One as shown and one with a 50% Whole wheat & AP flour. The 50/50 seem to have more flavor in my groups opinion. Will make it this way again.

    Reply

  • Millie Guzman
    March 24, 2024

    I love baking this bread. It always comes out delicious. Thank you.

    Reply

  • Selena
    March 23, 2024

    This recipe makes the BEST Irish soda bread! I’ve made it twice and it comes out perfect every time. Thank you for sharing it.

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      March 23, 2024

      That’s so great to hear, Selena!

      Reply

  • Debra
    March 21, 2024

    This is the very best soda bread recipe. We added golden raisins and brushed the top with melted butter before baking.

    Reply

  • Sonia
    March 21, 2024

    Great Natasha ! It seems very simple and easy .I’ll try it soon .I tried the puzza you do ,it s fantastic.

    Reply

  • Sharon Perkins
    March 20, 2024

    Very easy to make and it wowed my friends. Even though I used a metal cake pan it still turned out great. The texture is amazing. My friends loved that it was not overpoweringly sweet like the bread from Publix.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      March 20, 2024

      I’m so glad it was a hit, Sharon! Thank you so much for sharing that with me.

      Reply

  • Yevgenia C.
    March 19, 2024

    I baked two loaves of this bread this past weekend for St. Patrick’s Day, and we all enjoyed it. The recipe was easy to follow, and the bread turned out great. The cast iron skillet worked great for baking.

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      March 19, 2024

      That’s great to hear!

      Reply

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