Prepare to make this amazingly easy, no yeast bread, Irish Soda Bread. You won't believe how easy this traditional recipe is until you've tried it. Make it with raisins or without raisins, you can't go wrong with this authentic Irish bread.
This simple recipe is popular in Ireland and for good reason! It's made with only 4 simple ingredients. We love that it's an authentic recipe that can be made by everyone and any cooking skill level. Our family has made it a tradition to make this on Saint Patrick's Day. Don't forget the cross shaped score on the top!
Bread recipes are some of our favorites to make! Try our other recipes like Easy Dinner Rolls, Easy Baguette, or our Corn Bread Cake. We love making bread recipes that are easy to make and especially tasty to eat.
The traditional recipe calls for only 4 ingredients. We've added a little sugar to sweeten it up, along with raisins.
- Flour- Use all-purpose bleached flour.
- Baking Soda- This recipe doesn't use yeast to rise like a typical brad recipe. The baking soda helps the bread to rise.
- Sugar- White granulated sugar is not traditionally found in a true Irish recipe but after recipe testing we loved the additional flavor making this a sweet bread.
- Buttermilk- While buttermilk has the authentic taste you are looking for, you can use regular milk if you have no buttermilk. It's important to use buttermilk when you can because it reacts with the baking soda causing the bread to rise.
- Raisins- This recipe can have raisins in it, or you can use no raisins. You can also substitute for cranberries and use craisins.
See recipe card for quantities.
How To Make Irish Soda Bread
This is a simple bread recipe that even kids can help with. Follow the step by step process photos for the best cooking experience.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking soda, and sugar.
Mix until an even mixture is formed. Add in the raisins, if you are using raisins.
Slowly pour in the buttermilk. Roughly mix the buttermilk into the flour mixture to form a dough.
On a clean, floured surface, turn the dough several times until a ball is formed. Add it to a parchment paper lined dutch oven and add a cross shaped score across the top. Bake for 45 minutes.
Hint: Cook until it has a nice brown outside color but a moist center. This recipe has a similar feel to a scone. To get that crusty outside and soft center, throw a handful of ice at the bottom of the oven before baking.
- Sweet- We've sweetened this recipe already by adding sugar but you can make it an even sweeter bread by adding ½ cup sugar instead of 2 Tablespoons.
- No raisins- For a no raisin bread, skip the step that adds raisins to the flour mixture. Cook the same as you would with raisins.
- With currants- Sometimes this can be traditionally made with currants. Add dried currents instead of raisins, or do a mixture of both.
- With raisins and caraway seeds- Add ½ cup caraway seeds along with the raisins and thoroughly mix into the flour mixture.
How To Serve
Learn different ways how to eat Irish Soda Bread by making them into rolls or muffins. For rolls, divide into 12 rolls and bake 15-20 minutes. For muffins, place the dough in a muffin tin and bake 15-20 minutes.
Our family's favorite way to eat this is for breakfast on Saint Patrick's day. The recipe comes together quickly and it's fun way to start a festive day. We sometimes make French Toast with the loaf and serve it with a side of eggs. Try this Easter Bread for another fun holiday bread.
How To Store
Store cooked bread in an air-tight container on the countertop for 4 days for the best fresh flavor. You can warm up a piece in the microwave or toaster before eating for that fresh bread taste.
You can also bake a loaf, cool, and then freeze for up to 2 months. Make sure to freeze in a freezer-friendly container. When ready to eat, thaw on the counter top or refrigerator and enjoy.
This bread can easily be made without raisins. My family prefers me to make it without raisins so I often leave them out. It still makes for a fantastic bread recipe.
Looking for other recipes like this? Try these:
Irish Soda Bread
- Dutch Oven
- 4 cups all-purpose flour 500 g, or fluffed, spooned and leveled. Plus 2-4 Tablespoons extra, see instructions and notes
- 2 Tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup raisin optional, but recommended
- 1 ¾ cup buttermilk see notes for how to make homemade
- 4 Tablespoons butter optional, see notes. Cold and cut into small cubes
- Preheat oven to 400° F. Line a dutch oven pot or baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. (If using butter, cut in pieces using a pastry blender, a fork or your fingers until fully incorporated) Stir in raisins. Pour buttermilk in and mix roughly. Spread a Tablespoon of the extra flour on a work surface, then turn the dough onto the work surface. Sprinkle a little more of the extra flour on top then knead the dough 6-8 times and form it into a ball. Keep it as moist as possible, but add more flour if needed. See pictures above for a texture reference.
- Place it on your parchment lined baking sheet or dutch oven and bake for 40-55 minutes. Throw a handful of ice in when you put the bread in the oven. This will give it a crusty exterior. It will be a deep golden color and will sound hollow when you tap on the bottom of the loaf with a wooden spoon. If you have a meat thermometer, make sure the internal temperature has reached 190° F.
- To make buttermilk at home, place 1.5 Tablespoons white vinegar or lemon juice at the bottom of your measuring cup. Fill the rest of the way to 1 ¾ cups. Whisk to combine then wait at least 5 minutes before using.
- The addition of butter isn't necessary but does make a softer bread. No need to change any other ingredients, just add the butter. I don't usually add it because it only makes a small difference and can be a pain to cut it in.
- The extra flour is for preparing the dough to go into the oven and should only be used if you need a little more flour. How much flour you need can be influenced by a variety of things such as humidity and even the brand of flour.
- You want the dough to be as wet as you can- more moisture means a more tender bread. But it still needs to be manageable, just remember that while forming it into a round loaf.
- If your crust starts getting more brown than you'd like it to be, put the lid on your dutch oven if using, or tent the loaf with aluminum foil.
A simple no yeast bread is otherwise known as an Irish quick bread. It has a distinctive cross shape on the top and is often made during Saint Patrick's Day.
It tastes like a simple quick bread. It's mild in flavor, a little like a biscuit, and has a slight sweetness and raisins. A slightly tangy flavor with a tender center and crispy outside.
Irish Soda Bread is a simple quick bread made from 4 easy ingredients. Irish Brown Bread is denser and is made with whole wheat flour giving it a different look and taste.
The soda bread comes from the ingredient baking soda. It distinguishes the difference between being a traditional yeast bread versus baking soda bread. The Irish part comes from the fact that this is a popular bread in Ireland and originally from Ireland.