This Irish Soda Bread recipe could not be easier or more delicious. No-knead, no rising, no waiting. Amazing warm from the oven on its own or with a slab of butter!
Even though I conquered my fear of yeast last year, I still prefer bread that doesn’t require it. Because…EASY. Most breads you have to mix, knead, let rise, punch down, let rise again. Zzzzzzz. I mean, totally worth it! BUT it’s such an all-day thing.
This Irish Soda Bread recipe is really more like a quick bread, but tastes like you labored over it all day. It’s been on my bucket list forever and I finally tested it out last week, since St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner.
I adapted this recipe from Ina Garten, baking it in a cast iron skillet instead of on a sheet pan (which also works!), omitting the orange zest (because I was lazy), and using raisins instead of currants (because, omg, where are currants in the grocery store??) The house smelled amazing and the taste sent me into a frenzy, just like all freshly baked bread.
The buttermilk and raisins are the secret to its deliciousness; it really doesn’t need anything else. But you also can’t go wrong with a little slab of butter or jam!
I prefer to use whole buttermilk but you can use low fat without compromising the taste or texture too much.
Fun Facts about Irish Soda Bread
- Irish Soda Bread isn’t actually Irish at all. Or wasn’t originally, anyway. Native Americans were making it before the Europeans came to America and just called it soda bread. The Irish, as well as many European countries, didn’t produce much wheat back in the 1800’s to make yeast breads. So they adopted the soda bread as their own, thus the name Irish Soda Bread.
- Irish Soda Bread is actually a quick bread, using baking soda as the leavening agent. The chemical reaction between the baking soda and buttermilk causes carbon dioxide, which makes it rise. Because it’s so easy with virtually no kneading involved, this bread has become widely popular.
- The reason you score the top of the raw dough is to allow heat to get into the center, which helps the bread bake all the way through (don’t skip this step!), but it was also used as a cross to ward off devils and protect the house!
- During the mid 1800’s, the Irish made so much soda bread that the price of baking soda doubled!
How To Serve Irish Soda Bread
- There are many ways to enjoy Irish Soda Bread, but most people just eat it fresh from the oven with a slab of butter.
- Top with a fried egg for breakfast.
- Spread with some jam for an afternoon snack.
- This bread is tender, but also solid and sturdy, making it a perfect bread for dipping in soups.
- Use slices to make sandwiches!
Make sure to watch the video to see how easy it really is!
Other St. Patrick’s Day recipes you might like!
Easy Beer Bread – Belly Full
Slow Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage – Belly Full
Bailey’s Fudge Sauce – Cupcakes and Kale Chips
Irish Potato Pie – A Spicy Perspective
Beer Cheese Soup – She Wears Many Hats
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter , cut into small cubes
- 1 cup raisins or currants
- 1 large egg , lightly beaten
- 1 3/4 cups buttermilk , shaken
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Coat a 10-inch cast iron skillet with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Using your hands, work the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs. Toss in the raisins.
Add in the buttermilk and egg and mix with a wooden spoon until combined. Dough will be sticky.
Dust your hands with a little flour and dump the dough onto a well-floured work surface; knead it a few times into a round loaf until it just comes together (do not over-knead!)
Transfer to the prepared skillet. Using a serrated knife, score an “X” on the top of the dough about an inch deep.
Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a long thin skewer inserted in the center comes out clean and the top is golden.
Remove skillet from oven (CAREFUL - handle will be hot!) and allow to sit for 5-10 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and slice! Enjoy with butter, jam, or on its own. So good!
- This is a rustic bread and unlike pizza dough which is round and smooth, this has a more tousled look. Do not over-knead the dough or it will be tough!
- The reason you score the top is to allow heat to get into the center of the dough as it bakes. Don’t skip this step.
- If the top gets too brown toward the end of baking, tent with foil.
- Don’t have a cast iron skillet? No worries. You can bake this on a sheet pan, it will just flatten out a bit and might take less time to cook
- This bread is best stored tightly wrapped (or in an air safe container) for about 3-4 days or freeze it for up to 2-3 months.
adapted from Ina Garten