This St. Patrick’s Day bake a traditional Irish soda bread with raisins. It has a tender, dense crumb that includes caraway seeds and raisins, although dried currants may be used as well. This quick bread pairs well with sweet or savory meals!

white plate with three slices of irish soda bread with raisins.

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.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • No yeast. Irish soda bread is a quick bread where baking soda is used as a leavening agent.
  • Quick and easy to make. The dough comes together in minutes!
  • Serve it any time of day. It’s delicious as breakfast with jam or with savory meals, such as stew.
  • Festive recipe for St. Patrick’s Day!

Fun Fact

The cross on top of Irish soda bread was traditionally done to ward off any evil spirits and protect the home, according to America’s Test Kitchen. However, it also has a practical purpose: it allows the bread to rise without splitting.

Ingredient Notes

  • Flour: Regular all purpose flour is all you need for this recipe!
  • Sugar: For a little sweetness, whisk in granulated sugar with the dry ingredients.
  • Baking soda and baking powder: These leavening agents helps the bread rise. Check that they are fresh and not expired for best results.
  • Butter: Use unsalted butter that is room temperature. The salt activates the baking soda so it’s best to add it separately.
  • Egg: One large egg helps bind the ingredients together.
  • Raisins (or dried currants): Traditional Irish soda bread uses dried currants, but raisins are my personal favorite and a good substitution. If you have extra, try making raisin scones.
  • Caraway seeds: Another staple ingredient for this Irish recipe, caraway seeds can be found at your local grocery store in the spice aisle.
  • Buttermilk: The acid in buttermilk reacts with the baking soda to make little air bubbles, which helps the bread rise.

Refer to the recipe card for ingredient details and measurements.

How to Make Irish Soda Bread

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Whisk in caraway seeds and raisins. Coating them in the flour mixture will keep them form sinking to the bottom of the bread.
  4. Combine buttermilk and egg. Do this in a separate bowl and whisk until combined. Then pour the buttermilk into the flour mixture.
  5. 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.

Expert Tips

Use a kitchen scale to weigh the ingredients. If you don’t have a scale, spoon the flour into a measuring cup and level with a knife (don’t pack it down). Incorrect measuring may lead to too much flour and dry bread!

Check that your leavening agents are fresh. They are responsible for helping the bread rise so if they are expired the recipe won’t work!

Adjust to taste. If you’re not a big fan of caraway seeds, lessen the amount to 1 Tablespoon. You can also switch up the raisins with dried currants or cranberries.

Do not over-bake. Every oven is slightly different so keep an eye on the bread as it bakes. If the top is browning too quickly, add a sheet of aluminum foil over the top. Use the toothpick test to check if the center is done and remember the bread will continue baking in the hot skillet after it’s removed from the oven. Remove the bread from the skillet while it’s still warm so it doesn’t dry out.

irish soda bread in cast iron skillet.

Storage Tips

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.

Freeze Irish soda bread for up to 3 months. Cool the bread completely, then tightly wrap in plastic wrap and place in a plastic freezer bag. Store in the freezer and, when ready to eat, defrost in the refrigerator before reheating or bringing to room temperature and serving.

Reheat soda bread on a baking sheet in the oven at 325° F for 10 to 15 minutes.

Recipe FAQ

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.

Why is my Irish soda bread so dry?

Most likely the dough was over-mixed. Remember to mix only until combined when combine wet and dry ingredients. It’s also possible the bread was over-baked.

Why didn’t my Irish soda bread rise?

Either the leavening agents weren’t fresh or the oven wasn’t fully preheated before baking. It’s also important to put the dough in the oven as soon as it’s transferred to the skillet.

slice of irish soda bread with butter spread on top.

Did you love this recipe? Please leave a 5-star 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 rating in the recipe card below and if you REALLY loved it, consider leaving a comment further down the page.

white plate with three slices of irish soda bread with raisins.

Get the Recipe: Irish Soda Bread with Raisins

This St. Patrick's Day bake a traditional Irish soda bread with raisins. This quick bread pairs well with sweet or savory meals.
5 (9 ratings)


  • 5 cups (625 g) all purpose flour
  • 1 cup (200 g) sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ cup (113 g or 1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into cubes, room temperature
  • 2 ½ cups (312 g) raisins, (or dried currants)
  • 3 tablespoons caraway seeds, optional
  • 2 ½ 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 long serrated knife dipped into flour to cut an X on the top of dough. Try not to drag the knife to much, but let slice firmly down about 1 inch deep.
  • 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.


Store bread at room temperature in a bread bag or plastic storage bag. Bread will keep longer whole, but can also be cut into slices an stored in a plastic wrap.
Freeze for up to 3 months. Once the bread has cooled completely, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap aluminum foil. Place in a plastic freezer bag and store in the freezer. Defrost in the refrigerator before bringing to room temperature cutting and serving.
Serving: 1slice, Calories: 340kcal, Carbohydrates: 63g, Protein: 6g, Fat: 8g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Cholesterol: 30mg, Sodium: 339mg, Potassium: 374mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 14g, Vitamin A: 258IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 99mg, Iron: 3mg

Recipe adapted from Chef Jerry O’Leary and the Bon Appetit magazine.

Photos by Our Salty Kitchen

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