Irish Soda Bread

5 from 6 votes

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Traditional Irish soda bread is a yeast-free quick bread, and it's hard to imagine a St. Patrick's Day spread without it. This recipe has body, richness, and just a touch of sweetness.

Loaf of Irish Soda Bread on a wooden board.

Traditional Irish soda bread is a yeast-free quick bread that consists of flour, baking soda (hence the name), salt, and buttermilk. This recipe has a tiny bit of sugar and butter as well for a hint of sweetness and a bit of richness, plus an egg for the body and baking powder to aid in the leavening. I think these extra few ingredients are worth it — it makes a loaf that is tender and light but substantial all at once.

Pieces of Irish Soda Bread on a wooden board.

Irish Soda Bread: Traditional Irish soda bread is a yeast free quick bread, and it’s hard to imagine a St. Patrick’s Day spread without it. This recipe has body, richness, and just a touch of sweetness.

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Irish Soda Bread Add-Ins

Other additions you might see in Irish Soda breads are currants and sometimes orange zest, which you could add here, but I opted for a more straightforward bread. I’ve also seen recipes with the addition of Irish whiskey and caraway seeds…but though I tinkered with the traditional recipe a bit, I also kept the flavor simple.

Woman spreading jam onto a slice of Irish Soda Bread.

The flavor is quite subtle, so you’re probably going to want to reach for some good butter (Oh, Irish butter! We love you), maybe some jam, or maybe dunk a wedge in some soup or use it to sop up some juices from your brisket or corned beef or whatever other entrée you are serving.

If you can plan to make it the day you plan to eat it, that’s when the bread will be the moistest and softest. But then the next day and the day after, you’ll want to toast up those slices, which will revive the flavor and give it a nice, lightly crunchy texture.

Loaf of Irish Soda Bread on a wooden board.

How to Make Irish Soda Bread

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Butter an 8-inch round cake pan or spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and sugar. With your fingers, rub in the small bits of chilled butter until the mixture is crumbly.
Woman rubbing chilled butter into a bowl of flour mixture.
  1. In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine the buttermilk and egg. Pour the mixture into the dry ingredients and stir until the mixture comes together into a shaggy dough.
Buttermilk mixture pouring into a bowl of dry ingredients.
  1. Lightly flour the counter or a clean work surface and knead the dough for about 2 minutes until smooth.
Woman kneading dough on a wooden board.
  1. Shape the dough into an 8-inch round loaf and transfer to the prepared baking pan.
  2. With a sharp knife, cut a large X into the top of the dough.
Woman scoring bread dough with a large knife.
  1. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the top is golden and the crust is firm (you should be able to give it a nice knock with your knuckles).
  2. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then turn the bread out of the pan and cool completely (or til just barely warm) on the wire rack.
Woman cutting a loaf of Irish Soda Bread with a bread knife.
  1. Cut into slices or wedges. This slices up even more easily the day after it is baked.

What to Serve With Irish Soda Bread

Slices of Irish Soda Bread on a wooden board.

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5 from 6 votes

Irish Soda Bread

Traditional Irish soda bread is a yeast-free quick bread, and it's hard to imagine a St. Patrick's Day spread without it. This recipe has body, richness, and just a touch of sweetness.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Cooling Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 8 People
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Ingredients 

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter (cut into small pieces)
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • 1 large egg

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 375 F. Butter an 8-inch round cake pan or spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and sugar. With your fingers, rub in the small bits of chilled butter until the mixture is crumbly.
  • In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine the buttermilk and egg. Pour the mixture into the dry ingredients and stir until the mixture comes together into a shaggy dough. Lightly flour the counter or a clean work surface and knead the dough for about 2 minutes until smooth. Shape the dough into an 8-inch round loaf and transfer to the prepared baking pan.
  • With a sharp knife, cut a large X into the top of the dough. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the top is golden and the crust is firm (you should be able to give it a nice knock with your knuckles).
  • Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then turn the bread out of the pan and cool completely (or til just barely warm) on the wire rack. Cut into slices or wedges.

Notes

Other additions you might see in Irish Soda breads are currants and sometimes orange zest, which you could add here, but I opted for a more straightforward bread.  I’ve also seen recipes with the addition of Irish whiskey and caraway seeds…but though I tinkered with the traditional recipe a bit, I also kept the flavor simple.

Nutrition

Calories: 216kcal, Carbohydrates: 39g, Protein: 6g, Fat: 4g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 28mg, Sodium: 292mg, Potassium: 160mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 117IU, Calcium: 54mg, Iron: 2mg
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About Katie Workman

Katie Workman is a cook, a writer, a mother of two, an activist in hunger issues, and an enthusiastic advocate for family meals, which is the inspiration behind her two beloved cookbooks, Dinner Solved! and The Mom 100 Cookbook.

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1 Comment

  1. Wendy says:

    Amazing bread!