Irish soda bread has a tender, dense crumb and rough crust. For added flavor, this recipe includes caraway seeds and raisins, although dried currants may be used as well.
This post was originally published March 2015. It was last updated January 2020.
St. Patrick’s Day will be here before you know it and instead of baking my Irish Stout Cupcakes, I decided to go for a more traditional recipe: Irish Soda Bread. It is not sweet and can be served with butter and jam at breakfast or alongside dinner.
What is Irish soda bread?
Irish soda bread is a quick bread where baking soda is used as a leavening agent. There is no yeast in this bread. The other primary ingredients include flour, buttermilk and salt. There are plenty of variations of this bread, but most recipes call for caraway seeds and dried currants or raisins.
How to make Irish soda bread
Soda bread requires the following ingredients: flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, butter, raisins (or dried currants), caraway seeds, buttermilk and egg.
- Preheat the oven to 350° F.
- Grease a 12-inch skillet with butter. Make sure the sides are at least 2 1/2 inches high.
- Whisk dry ingredients together. Flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt
- Add butter. You can use your fingertips or pastry blender for this step. Rub the butter in until the mixture is coarse like sand.
- Whisk in caraway seeds and raisins. Coating them in the flour mixture will keep them form sinking to the bottom of the bread.
- Combine buttermilk and egg. Do this in a separate bowl and whisk until combined. Then pour the buttermilk into the flour mixture.
- Transfer dough to skillet. Use floured hands to make this step easier. Mound the dough in the center and use a floured knife to cut a cross in the center.
- Bake at 350° F. This bread takes 1 hour and 15 minutes to bake. It will be golden on the outside when done.
How to store Irish soda bread
Store soda bread in a bread bag or tightly wrapped in plastic wrap at room temperature for up to three days. If loaf is too large, you can cut it into quarters. Loaf can be frozen in quarters as well.
How to freeze Irish soda bread: Cool bread completely, then tightly wrap in plastic wrap and place loaf in a plastic freezer bag. Store in the freezer for up to two weeks. Defrost in the refrigerator before reheating or bringing to room temperature and serving.
How to reheat Irish soda bread: Place whole bread on a baking sheet and reheat in the oven at 325° F for 10 to 15 minutes.
How to serve Irish soda bread
This bread is best served warm with room temperature butter, jam or marmalade. It is also a good bread to eat with a hearty stew or soup. Here are some recipes I suggest serving with Irish soda bread…
- Corned beef cabbage – Small Town Woman blog
- Irish colcannon soup (vegetarian) – Fusion Craftiness blog
- Irish beef stew – Life Made Sweeter blog
- Irish beer cheese soup – The Hungry Bluebird blog
More St. Patrick’s Day recipes…
Irish Soda Bread
- 5 cups (625 g) all purpose flour
- 1 cup (200 g) sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 cup (113 g or 1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into cubes, room temperature
- 2 1/2 cups (312 g) raisins (or dried currants)
- 3 tablespoons caraway seeds optional
- 2 1/2 cups (625 mL) buttermilk, room temperature
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Use butter to grease a heavy ovenproof 12-inch diameter skillet with 2 1/2-inch high sides.
- In a large bowl, whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt together. Add butter. Using fingertips, rub in until coarse crumbs form. Stir in raisins and caraway seeds.
- In a separate bowl, whisk buttermilk and egg together. Add milk and egg mixture to the flour and raisin mixture. Using wooden spoon, stir just until well incorporated (dough will be very sticky).
- Transfer dough to prepared skillet. Use hands to smooth the top, mounding slightly in center. Using a small sharp knife dipped into flour, cut 1-inch-deep X in top center of dough.
- Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until bread is cooked through and toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Cool bread in skillet 10 minutes. Turn out onto rack and cool completely. Bread can be made one day ahead. Store in a bread bag or wrapped tightly in foil and store at room temperature.
Recipe adapted from Epicurious.
Photos by Our Salty Kitchen