This Irish Soda Bread recipe could not be easier or more delicious, made more like a quick bread, but tastes like you labored over it all day. It’s soft and hearty, with a touch of sweetness and almost tastes like a giant biscuit!
A slice of this bread is amazing warm from the oven all on its own, but we also love it with a slab of butter or onion jam!
Easy Irish Soda Bread Recipe
Even though I adore a good yeast bread, the ones that don’t require it are definitely easier. Or are at least speedier – no kneading, no rising, no punching down and waiting to rise again. I mean, totally worth it! BUT it’s such an all-day thing. Another reason why I’m completely obsessed with Irish Soda Bread – mix the ingredients, barely shape it, plop it in the pan and into the oven it goes.
This Irish Soda Bread recipe is really more like a quick bread, but tastes like you labored over it all day. It’s soft and hearty, with a touch of sweetness and almost tastes like a giant biscuit!
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.
What is 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. Because it’s so easy with virtually no kneading involved, this bread has become widely popular.
You only need a handful of very simple ingredients to make this soda bread recipe:
(Scroll below to the printable recipe card for details and measurements.)
- All-purpose flour – Spooned and leveled, not scooped, when measuring to avoid excess flour, which can result in a dry crumbly baked good.
- Granulated sugar – For a touch of sweetness.
- Baking soda – The leavening agent which gives the bread lift. The chemical reaction between the baking soda and buttermilk causes carbon dioxide, which makes it rise.
- Kosher salt – For flavor.
- Cold unsalted butter – I prefer baking with unsalted butter and adding a bit of salt separately, so I can control the saltiness.
- Egg – This adds richness and also helps bind the dough together.
- Buttermilk – Buttermilk adds slight tanginess to the bread and also creates a richer, softer crumb.
- Raisins (or currants) – If you’re a raisin hater, you can certainly leave these out, but I really think they add something special to the bread.
How to Make Irish Soda Bread
This bread is a deceptively simple and made with little effort, but with impressive results. Here are some tips to ensure your bread comes out perfectly.
(Scroll down to the printable recipe card for details and measurements, and don’t miss the video below.)
- 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!
- I prefer to use whole buttermilk but you can use low fat without compromising the taste or texture too much.
- 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. (Fun fact! it was also used as a cross to ward off devils and protect the house in the 1800’s.)
- 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.
Video: Irish Soda Bread
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 poached egg or some scrambled eggs for breakfast.
- Spread with some amazing onion 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!
- How long does Irish Soda Bread Last? This bread is best stored tightly wrapped (or in an air safe container) on the counter in a cool, dry area for about 3 days.
- Can I freeze Irish Soda Bread? Yep! Bake and cool completely, then double wrap the loaf, first tightly in plastic wrap, then transfer to a freezer-safe plastic bag. It will keep for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge and bring to room temperature before serving.
More Easy Bread Recipes:
- Easy Beer Bread
- Homemade White Bread
- Dutch Oven Bread
- Focaccia Bread
- Easy Bagel Recipe
- Challah Bread
Irish Soda Bread
- 4 cups all-purpose flour , spooned and leveled
- 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; press it a few times into a round loaf until it just comes together (do not over-work the dough!)
- 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. (You can tent loosely with foil toward the end if the top is over-browning.)
- 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!