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Irish Soda Bread Recipe

This traditional Irish Soda Bread Recipe is perfect to make for your St. Patrick’s Day dinner or any time you want a quick and hearty bread with your meal! It’s a very easy bread to make with only four ingredients, no yeast, no rising time, and a baking time of only 50 minutes!

There’s nothing like the scent of homemade bread in the air! I love making bread, and this one is perfect for those busy evenings when you don’t have time for a loaf of yeast bread, but still want a slice of something delicious.

This rustic bread has a soft interior and a great chewy crust. Slather it with Irish butter or dunk it into a bowl of homemade soup!


What is Irish Soda Bread?

This bread recipe gets its name from one of the main ingredients—baking soda! Most breads are made with yeast as a leavening agent, but Irish Soda Bread uses baking soda instead. 

As for the “Irish” part, this quick bread recipe has been a cherished part of Irish cuisine, ever since it became the recipe of daily bread in Ireland sometime in the 2nd half of the 19th century! 

The tradition of cutting the “X” or cross in the top of the loaf was done to ward off evil spirits and protect the home. It will also help to ensure the center of the dough is baked through.

Irish Soda Bread Ingredients

You only need four basic ingredients to make Irish Soda Bread:

All-purpose flour

Kosher salt

Baking soda (of course!)


Don’t worry if you don’t have real buttermilk on hand. In place of the 2 cups of buttermilk called for in the recipe, I used 2 tablespoons of white vinegar mixed with 2 cups whole milk and let it sit for 15 minutes.

As always, please follow the recipe card below for the exact amounts and instructions!

How to Make This Irish Soda Bread Recipe

Want fresh bread in about an hour? This is the perfect bread recipe when you’re short on time!

First, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and butter the bottom of a 9-inch pie plate. There’s no need to butter the sides!

Whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, salt, and baking soda) in a large bowl.

Add the buttermilk (or sour milk) to the flour mixture and mix everything with a wooden spoon until you can’t see any lumps of flour or streaks of buttermilk. If needed, pour the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and lightly knead it just a few times, until it all comes together. It will be a sticky and thick dough, so use additional flour sparingly, and be careful not to knead a lot because the bread will become too dense.

Next, shape the dough into a round loaf and place it in the prepared pie tin. Cut a traditional cross in the top of the loaf with a serrated knife.

Bake for 50-60 minutes until lightly golden brown. This warm bread is best when eaten on the same day!

Tips for Success

This easy Irish Soda Bread is very forgiving, but I do have a few tips to make sure your bread turns out just right every time:

Don’t over-knead the bread- the less you handle the dough, the softer and more tender the crumb will be. Knead it 10 times or less!

Try to get the bread in the oven quickly after it’s mixed up. The buttermilk activates the baking soda and you need the heat to make the bread rise right away. Don’t let it sit around before baking it or your bread may be too dense.

Don’t add too much flour- start with a little bit less than called for in the recipe, then add more as needed, especially if you are in a humid environment.

Irish Soda Bread Recipe Variations

This bread is great just as it is, but here are some popular variations.

Add some seeds- caraway seeds are a popular choice, but you could use sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, etc.

Sprinkle some dry oats on top of the loaf of bread before baking.

Use wholemeal or whole wheat flour instead of white flour for an even more rustic loaf.

Add chewy raisins or currants for additional texture and flavor.

You can bake Irish soda bread on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, in a baking pan, or in a cast iron skillet.

Split the dough into smaller loaves and bake as directed, although the bake time may be a few minutes shorter!

You can go here to see versions of the bread my fellow bloggers have made; some added cheeses and others added fruit! This recipe was originally part of my Tuesdays with Dorie: Baking with Julia series.

How to Store Leftover Irish Soda Bread

Any leftover bread can be stored at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. We usually wrap it tightly in aluminum foil for storage.
However, please know that it is best served the day of.

Can you freeze Soda Bread?

Yes, this bread freezes well! Once cooled, wrap the entire loaf in plastic wrap, then place in a freezer bag. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature, then reheat as desired.

More Quick Bread Recipes You’ll Love

If you love bread but don’t have a ton of time for a traditional yeast bread, try one of these quick bread recipes next time:

Chai Banana Bread is a moist and flavorful quick bread with warming chai spices. A sweet vanilla glaze on top makes this easy bread recipe complete!

This sweet Pineapple Bread is a quick bread batter made with simple ingredients like butter, eggs, sugar, and flour. It’s made even more moist and flavorful with the addition of Greek yogurt.

This Lemon Blueberry Bread recipe is an easy type of quick bread with a delicious lemon flavor. It can be made with either fresh or frozen blueberries

Corn Spoon Bread is a classic Southern comfort food that’s great for any occasion. It’s a perfect side dish made with a blend of cornmeal, creamed corn, and other ingredients that give it a sweet and savory flavor. 

Peanut Butter Bread is soft, moist quick bread loaded with creamy peanut butter. A big slice of this easy bread with a glass of milk makes a perfect after-school snack for the kids. Try it toasted with some jelly on top!

Looking for more St. Patrick’s Day Recipes?

Bailey’s Mousse is a super easy dessert made with Bailey’s Irish Cream, heavy whipping cream, Greek yogurt, and sugar. It is a recipe that’s perfect for your St. Patrick’s Day celebration

Lucky Charms Bark is easy to make with white chocolate, sprinkles, and colorful marshmallows! It’s the perfect bark candy recipe for St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day Marshmallow Pops are whimsical, festive, and fun to eat! Bring a little good luck to your celebration with these dipped marshmallow treats.

Homemade Bailey’s Irish Cream – heavy cream, condensed milk, a touch of chocolate, some whiskey, and yes, eggs. Make this delicious beverage to serve to family and friends. It’s the perfect drink to serve for St. Patrick’s Day or the holidays!

These No Bake Irish Cream Dream Bars are made with a shortbread cookie crust, an Irish cream cheesecake layer, Irish cream chocolate pudding, and my stabilized whipped cream

This recipe is from Dorie Greenspan’s book, Baking with Julia.

I used to rate everything I make on a scale of 1-4 with 4 being the best and this Irish Soda Bread earned 3 rolling pins.
The bread had a great dense texture and a really good taste.
This is a great recipe for those of you who would love a homemade loaf of bread but might be intimidated by using yeast.
It was wonderful to have a bread taste so good that only contained flour, salt, baking soda and buttermilk!



Keep an eye out for more of my easy recipes each week!


Irish Soda Bread

This traditional Irish Soda Bread is perfect for a St. Patrick’s Day dinner or any time you want a quick and hearty bread! It’s easy to make with only four ingredients, no yeast and no rising time!
Course Breads
Cuisine Irish
Keyword Irish Soda Bread
Prep Time 10 minutes minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes minutes
Total Time 1 hour hour 5 minutes minutes
Servings 12 servings
Calories 176kcal
Author Lynne Feifer


4 cups all-purpose flour1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt1 teaspoon baking soda2 cups buttermilk


Preheat oven to 375° F, and butter the bottom of a 9-inch pie plate. No need to butter the sides as it will only keep the shape of a mound and not really expand.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and baking soda.
Add the buttermilk, and mix together just until there are no lumps of flour or streaks of buttermilk. If needed, pour the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and lightly knead it just a few times, until it all comes together. It will be a sticky and thick dough, so use additional flour sparingly, and be careful not to knead a lot because the bread will become too dense.
Place dough into prepared pie plate and with a serrated knife, cut a traditional cross into the top of the dough.
Bake for 50-60 minutes. Bread is best eaten the day it is made.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 176kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.4g | Cholesterol: 4mg | Sodium: 425mg | Potassium: 99mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 66IU | Calcium: 52mg | Iron: 2mg

This post was originally published March 21, 2012. It has been updated in format and with pictures on March 11, 2024.

The post Irish Soda Bread Recipe appeared first on 365 Days of Baking.

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