If you’ve never had Irish soda bread, prepare for a treat! This bread is tender, flavorful, and just right for spreading with butter or jam. It also goes perfectly with Corned Beef and Cabbage with Horseradish Sauce. Enjoy it for dinner or with a cup of tea! Originally published March 14, 2012.
Table of Contents
- You’ll love this Easy Irish Soda Bread Recipe!
- Easy Irish Soda Bread ingredients
- How to make Irish Soda Bread with Buttermilk
- What do you put on Irish soda bread?
- Serving the Best Irish Soda Bread
- How to store this recipe For Irish Soda Bread
- Best Irish Soda Bread Recipe FAQs
- Irish Soda Bread with Buttermilk Recipe
Charlotte has developed a habit lately of pinching my back-fat while indignantly squealing in disbelief. It’s like she’s trying to send me a message. Mom! Check out your squishy back-fat! This is incredibly disgusting! You really should try dieting.
It reminds me of when I was at a Chinese restaurant one time with my friend Sarah. She opened her fortune cookie and read the message. It was something like this: You have many talents and gifts that will allow you to achieve your goals. Dream big. Then I opened mine: Improve your exercise regimen.
You’ll love this Easy Irish Soda Bread Recipe!
This bread rocks. I had never even heard of Irish Soda Bread until a few weeks ago when I tried a sample at a local bakery. I probably “sampled” about half of their loaf; I’m sure I was that customer, you know, the one that all the employees are glaring at from underneath their visors and hair nets. I tried to find a knock-off recipe but Kneaders is not a huge chain, so the internet wasn’t helping. But I think this recipe is pretty close. And bonus points: it is super quick and easy.
What is Irish soda bread?
Irish soda bread is a 200 year old recipe. Traditionally, it had only four simple ingredients: flour, baking soda, buttermilk, and salt. When times were hard, families could make soda bread in the ashes of a cooking fire with very little. Today, Irish soda bread has many more variations, as well as more ingredients–today we’re including butter, sugar, and eggs.
What does Irish soda bread taste like?
Irish soda bread has a very mild flavor, similar to a biscuit. In fact, the ingredients are almost identical to those found in many biscuit recipes. Like a biscuit, Irish soda bread is great with butter, jam, or preserves spread on top.
What makes Irish soda bread different?
When someone says “I made bread!” you probably think of yeast bread. Yeast breads are often crusty on the outside, soft on the inside, and chewy. Irish soda bread has the consistency of a biscuit (or British scone). It’s tender, and pieces can be broken off rather than torn off.
Easy Irish Soda Bread ingredients
Here’s a quick shopping list to help you gather your ingredients. See the recipe card below for the full ingredients and instructions!
- Baking soda
- Zante currants (optional; you could also choose raisins or real currants)
Best Irish Soda Bread Recipe substitutions and variations
Irish soda bread is already so good, but you can definitely mix things up a little.
- Add a cup of Zante currants, raisins, or real currants.
- Throw in a cup of chocolate chips! (or white chocolate, or butterscotch, or…)
- Add ½ cup each of shredded sharp cheddar and crumbled, cooked bacon.
- Try a cup of chopped dried apricots with some orange zest.
How to make Irish Soda Bread with Buttermilk
Here’s a quick overview of how to make Irish Soda Bread. Scroll down to the recipe card below for complete instructions!
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt.
- Blend in cold butter with a pastry cutter.
- Combine buttermilk, egg, and egg yolk in a glass measuring cup. Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour and combine.
- Knead the mixture just once or twice to bring it together. Shape into a 6 or 7 inch circle.
- Transfer the loaf to a greased baking sheet or cast iron skillet. Use a serrated knife to slice an X into the top, about half inch deep.
- Bake at 375 for 40-50 minutes and brush the top with more melted butter.
How do you know when soda bread is done?
Say no to doughy bread! Your soda bread is done when a thermometer reads 180 degrees F. You can also try tapping the bottom of the bread to see if it sounds hollow (this has always been confusing to me, so I would rather use a thermometer myself).
What do you put on Irish soda bread?
It is delicious all by itself. Or you can upgrade by spreading on some butter. Or you can try my super deluxe version: butter and then sprinkle brown sugar on top. Aw yeah.
Serving the Best Irish Soda Bread
Irish soda bread can be eaten for breakfast, a snack, with a hot cup of tea, or served with a meal like Corned Beef and Cabbage. There’s really no bad time to enjoy it!
Should Irish soda bread be warmed?
Irish soda bread is definitely most delicious when it’s served warm with butter. You can rewarm individual slices in a microwave for a few seconds to enjoy it the next day.
How to store this recipe For Irish Soda Bread
Irish soda bread is best the first day, but still good for 2-3 days after making it. It should be kept covered on the counter.
If you’d like to freeze your bread for later, you can freeze the whole loaf or slices. Just make sure they’re in ziplocks or airtight containers to keep them fresh. They’ll last for 2-3 months.
Best Irish Soda Bread Recipe FAQs
The traditional recipe for Irish soda bread only calls for four ingredients: flour, salt, baking soda, and buttermilk. However, today Irish soda bread usually calls for sugar (mine does!) and even contains sweet mix-ins like currants, raisins, and more. It’s lightly sweet, but not a dessert.
In Ireland, Irish soda bread may be called a variety of different names, including farl, wheaten bread, soda bread, and brown bread. The names describe breads with different ingredients than what we may think of as “Irish soda bread.” Our version is generally sweeter and uses all white flour, rather than whole wheat flour.
There are two main reasons that your Irish soda bread might fall apart. The first is too much flour. I recommend using the “fluff and scoop” method: fluff up your flour with a spoon, then scoop the flour into your measuring cup lightly without packing it down. The second is too much kneading. Don’t knead this bread! It is only meant to be combined just so it stays together–no kneading whatsoever.
Did you forget to slash a deep cross into the top? It’s not just a decoration–cutting those lines serves the purpose of letting steam escape from the center of your bread. Make sure that you’re cutting deeply, at least ⅔ of the way into the bread. There’s nothing more disappointing than soggy bread!
More Irish Recipes
Love Irish soda bread? Here are more Irish recipes you’ll enjoy.
Corned Beef and Cabbage Recipe << made in the oven or the slow cooker! A perfect cozy dinner for St. Patrick’s Day or anytime you’re craving comfort food.
Roasted Red Potatoes << this recipe isn’t from Ireland, but it’s one of the best ways to eat potatoes I can imagine.
Horseradish Sauce << you have GOT to make this to serve with corned beef and cabbage.
The Best Scone Recipe I’ve Ever Made << a wonderful teatime treat!
Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts << Brussels sprouts are a very popular vegetable in Ireland–combine them with sweet potatoes and you have a winning combination.
Irish Stew from The Irishman’s Wife
Traditional Irish Colcannon from Small Town Woman
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Irish Soda Bread with Buttermilk
- 4 cups flour, spooned and leveled
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 & 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 & 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/4 cup cold butter, half stick
- 1 & 1/2 cups buttermilk
- 1 large egg + 1 egg yolk
- 1 cup zante currants, or raisins, or real currants (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- In a large bowl, whisk together 4 cups flour, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking soda, and 1 and 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt.
- Use a pastry cutter to blend in 1/4 cup cold butter until you have pea-sized pieces of butter throughout.
- In a glass measuring cup, add 1 and 1/2 cups buttermilk. Add in 1 egg and 1 egg yolk. Whisk together.
- Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour and combine with a rubber spatula.
- Turn the mixture onto a floured surface and knead just once or twice to bring it together. Shape into a 6 or 7 inch circle. Shaggy dough is good, don't knead too much.
- Transfer the loaf to a greased baking sheet or cast iron skillet. Use a serrated knife to slice an X into the top, about half inch deep. This allows heat to penetrate to the center of the bread.
- Bake at 375 for 40-50 minutes, until a thermometer reads 180 degrees F.
- Brush the top with more melted butter. Let cool slightly before slicing. Top with butter and jam, or butter and brown sugar, or leave plain and eat with Corned Beef and Cabbage!
I know I’ve made this recipe multiple times in the past when it was called Irish Soda Bread with Browned Butter and we loved it- I see that it’s been updated and that there are a few comments referring to browned butter but it doesn’t seem to be anywhere in the recipe anymore. Is there a reason the recipe changed and could I get a copy of the old one?
Hi Lucy! Yes I changed the recipe! I like the new one better and it’s a little more traditional :) but I’m glad you’re loving the old one too!
Here it is!
2 1/2 cups flour
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 1/2 tablespoons butter (a little more than 1/2 stick)
scant 3/4 cup buttermilk
melted butter, for brushing
Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt in large bowl and set aside.
Place 4 1/2 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan and turn the heat to medium or medium low. Allow the butter to reach a simmer, stirring occasionally. Continue to simmer for about 5 minutes, or until the butter reaches a golden brown color. Sometimes it is so foamy that it’s hard to see what the color is, so spoon some into a white dish to see what it looks like. As soon as it is the right color, transfer the browned butter to a small mixing bowl so that it stops the cooking process. Let the browned butter cool for a couple minutes (so that you don’t cook the egg when you add it.)
Add the buttermilk and egg to the browned butter and whisk it into submission. The butter might start to solidify a bit, but that is okay, just whisk it all together. Add the mixture to the flour mixture and combine with a spoon. (If your butter is too solid, use a pastry cutter.) Knead the dough with your hands for a minute to make sure that it has all come together and is smooth.
Shape into a round loaf, about 6 1/2 inches in diameter. Place on a greased cookie sheet, or use parchment paper. Cut an X shape about 1/2 inch deep through the loaf with a very sharp knife.
Bake at 375 for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden brown. Brush the top of the loaf with melted butter.
This bread was awesome!
I made it with a couple of additions: I like raisins so I threw some in; I also added some green. Ok, maybe a lot of green – think the color of a healthy lawn, except in bread form. But it was yummy, way better than grass!
Green bread is at least better than green pork chops :)
Do you have to brown the butter or can you just melt it???
You can melt it if you want, but the bread will not be quite as rich. Let me know how it turns out Ashley!!
I’m a sucker for a good bread recipe so this is right up my alley.
Joy and I are looking for the raisins. . . we can’t see them. It looks good even though you forgot them. Good addition with the butter. And the backfat story is funnnnyyyy!