Irish Soda Bread

1 loaf
1 hr 5 min

Irish Soda Bread is an easy quick bread. No yeast or kneading needed! Buttermilk and baking soda help the bread rise (hence the name!). This recipe yields a bread that is dense, soft, and has a golden crust. Perfect to make for St. Patrick’s Day or any day of the year!

Just mix up, form into a loaf, and bake! I love to bake it in a cast iron skillet as it helps yield a crispier crust, but you can also use a baking sheet.

Buttermilk is a key ingredient. Not just to help the dough rise, but also to add a great tangy flavor.

You can find more of my recipes on my website and follow along on instagram for behind the scenes!

Recipe details
  • 1  loaf
  • Prep time: 15 Minutes Cook time: 50 Minutes Total time: 1 hr 5 min
Show Nutrition Info
Hide Nutrition Info

  • 1 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 4 1/4 cups all purpose flour (plus more for hands and surface)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter (cold and cut into cubes. Plus additional for greasing)
  • 1 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 400° F. Grease an ovenproof skillet (I used my cast iron) or a cake pan with butter. You can also use a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a baking mat.
In a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In a small bowl, whisk the buttermilk and egg together. To the dry ingredients, cut in the cold butter using a pastry blender until the mixture resembles course crumbs. Fold in the raisins with a rubber spatula.
Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the buttermilk mixture. Fold the dough together. When the dough is too hard to stir, use floured hands to work the dough into a rough ball. Place the dough on a floured surface and knead for 30 seconds. All the flour will be moistened and the dough will be slightly sticky. Do not overknead the dough and do not add more flour unless the dough is very very sticky.
Transfer the dough ball to the greased skillet. With a sharp knife, score an X in the top of the dough. Bake in the preheated oven for 45-55 minutes. The bread is done when it’s golden brown and the center is cooked through. If too much browning occurs, place foil over the top when finishing baking.
Serve bread warm, at room temperature, or toasted. The bread can dry out quickly, so keep tightly wrapped in foil or plastic wrap. It will keep for 3-4 days.
Kathleen's Cravings
Want more details about this and other recipes? Check out more here!
  • Caroline Caroline on Jan 27, 2021

    Sounds lovely, but this is a cake not soda bread.

    Soda bread has only 4 to 5 ingredients, 4 without currants. 4 cups of plain AP flour (not bread flour does not work in this recipe) , 1.5tsp of baking soda, 1 tsp of salt sifted and 14 fl oz of buttermilk. Heat oven to 425, mix all ingredients, lightly knead to get the round shape and stop the gas from escaping, cut the x in the top and cover with another pan. I use two round pans. bake for 30mins, remove top pan and bake uncovered for another 15 mins. Job done let rest on a wire rack to cool and enjoy with plenty of butter.

    This is lovely with soup or lamb stew or a cup of tea lol. I am from Ireland (living in Canada) so although the recipes from home have changed to add to the flavour etc. This recipe is for traditional Irish Soda Bread.

    That being said if you like cake the above recipe sounds great.

    • See 1 previous
    • Caroline Caroline on Feb 01, 2021

      Hi Kathleen, Thank you. I don't personally use currants, but you could try it with a cup of currants as in the recipe above.

  • Mary Mary on Jan 26, 2022

    My soda bread is similar to Caroline's. I use 4 cups all purpose flour, 1 tsp salt, 1/2tsp baking soda, 4tsp. baking powder, 2 cups buttermilk and 1cup raisins. Gently mix and toss out on a floured board and form into a ball. Make a cross on top and bake at 350 degrees for 45min. It's so easy and so delicious.