Irish soda bread ~ quick and easy traditional recipe bakes up crusty and dense with flour, sugar, baking soda, butter, raisins, egg and buttermilk.
I have been making this Irish soda bread every St. Patrick's Day for at least 18 years now, ever since I saw it in an issue of Saveur magazine. It is simple and delicious, and I should make it more often. There are many, many recipes for Irish soda bread, this one is a traditional and classic version. For a non-baker like me, this is foolproof.
This bread is crusty and dense, using just flour, sugar, baking soda, butter, raisins, egg and buttermilk. No kneading is required, just mix it up and form it into a ball. The ball of dough is scored with an X, which some say symbolizes the cross. I've also heard not to slice the bread for serving, it should be passed at the table, each person tearing off a chunk.
This really is a simple process, especially for us non-bread makers. Sift the ingredients and then mix everything in a bowl with a wooden spoon. Pretty straight forward and not at all complicated.
Recipe Notes and Tips for Soda Bread
- For the winter holiday season, try a cranberry orange version of this soda bread. Instead of raisins, add dried cranberries and the zest of one orange. Delicious!
- You can freeze soda bread, let it cool completely and either freeze it whole or in slices in a freezer bag.
- Best served with butter, and maybe some jam. Any leftovers are great toasted for breakfast the next day.
Irish soda bread is always on my table next to a big platter of corned beef and cabbage every St. Patrick's Day. This recipe is my favorite and never disappoints. Any leftover bread is delicious toasted and slathered with butter for breakfast. I really do need to start making it more than just once a year. And so should you. Happy St. Patrick's Day ☘️ Kelly
For more St.Patrick's Day inspiration, check out this Corned Beef and Cabbage, Irish Beer Cheese Soup and Chocolate Mint Cake for dessert. And if you're lucky enough to have any leftover corned beef, make these Reuben sandwiches the next day!
If you’ve tried this Irish Soda Bread, please rate it below in the comments and let me know how it went ~ I love hearing from you! HUNGRY FOR MORE? Subscribe to my Newsletter and come hang out with me on PINTEREST, INSTAGRAM and FACEBOOK for all the latest updates.
Irish Soda Bread
- 4 cups all-purpose, unbleached flour
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 4 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces
- 1 cup raisins
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 2 cups buttermilk
- Preheat oven to 425º. Sift dry ingredients -- flour, sugar, salt and baking soda -- into a large bowl.
- Use a pastry cutter or your fingertips to mix butter into flour mixture until it looks like coarse crumbs. Stir in raisins.
- Make a well in center of flour mixture and add the egg and buttermilk. Use a wooden spoon to mix the dough until just combined and difficult to stir. Dust your clean hands with a little flour and gently knead the dough just until it forms a rough ball. Transfer to a floured board and shape into a round ball with your hands.
- Transfer round dough to a lightly greased baking sheet. With a serrated knife, cut a ½-inch deep cross on top of dough. Bake in oven for about 40 minutes, until golden and bottom sounds hollow when tapped. Let cool briefly on a wire rack. Serve bread warm, sliced or toasted, with butter!
- For the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, try cranberry orange soda bread. Swap out the raisins for dried cranberries and add the zest of one orange.
- Soda bread freezes beautifully, just wrap tightly in a freezer bag.
- Serve with lots of butter, maybe some jam, too. Any leftovers are great toasted for breakfast the next day.
*Adapted from Saveur magazine, March, 2001
Monday 4th of March 2019
Just made this last night with some really plump, juicy golden raisins. Instead of 1 cup of raisins, I used 1-1/4 cup. Great just out of the oven, slathered with some softened Kerry Gold butter and a mug of hot tea. This recipe is just what I needed. Thanks!
Tuesday 5th of March 2019
I slather mine with Kerrygold butter, too! I’m so glad you liked it, it’s a great classic recipe.
Monday 18th of April 2016
I took this to a Saint Paddy's Day party and it was a revelation. Delicious. For most people who were there, soda bread was a penance, a painfully dry side dish. My husband called it the Irish fruitcake--although I actually like good fruit cake, I understood his point--a dreaded part of every St. Patrick's day. You got some fans that day. Because the recipe's right here on the site!
I also thought it would be fun to try currants instead of raisins sometime, and definitely make it again before next March.
Monday 25th of April 2016
I love it, the Irish fruitcake! Actually, this is the only soda bread I've made or had, I imagine others could be dry. Yes, definitely try currants instead of raisins. Next time I make it, I'm going to try dried tart cherries and some orange zest.
Thursday 17th of March 2016
Just mixed it up. It's now waiting to bake. Happy Saint Patrick's Day!
Friday 4th of March 2016
No kneading is required, unless you really need the dough.
Friday 4th of March 2016
St. Patrick's Day at the Wildenhaus home is always a treat! Thanks for the recipe-yum.