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Easy Irish Soda Bread Recipe

Easy and delicious, this classic Irish Soda Bread is the perfect St. Patrick’s Day recipe. This version is so simple and only requires a handful of ingredients, most of which you probably have in your pantry right now. This soft, dense quick bread is the perfect complement to your Irish feast!

homemade irish soda bread in a bowl

Sometimes whipping up a loaf of homemade bread can seem daunting, but don’t let that stop you from trying out this Irish Soda Bread. Since it doesn’t require yeast, it takes no time at all! 

Plus, nothing is better than warm homemade bread straight out of the oven. Slather a slice with some high-quality Irish butter, and you have the perfect festive treat for the upcoming holiday. Lucky you!

What is Irish Soda Bread?

Traditional Irish Soda Bread was created in the 1830s, and the essential ingredients include flour, baking soda, salt, and buttermilk. Since there is no yeast, the buttermilk reacts with the baking soda to act as the leavening agent. Hence the name, “soda bread”. This sweet Irish bread is well known for its smooth round shape and cross cut into the center.

ingredients for irish soda bread

Ingredients for Irish Soda Bread

  • 4 cups flour
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
  • 1 ¼ cup buttermilk, divided
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup butter, melted

How to Make Sweet Irish Soda Bread

  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Cut in the butter until completely incorporated.
  2. Add 1 cup of the buttermilk and the egg to the flour and mix the egg and buttermilk together, adding the flour to the mixture as you stir. Continue mixing until the flour is completely blended.
  3. Turn out the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead, folding the dough over about four times, and shape into a round loaf.
  4. Place the loaf on the prepared loaf pan. Cut an X over the top of the loaf. (Creating that X in the dough will help the heat reach the center of the loaf while in the oven.)
  1. Mix the remaining buttermilk with the melted butter. Brush about half of the mixture over the loaf,
  1. Bake the bread in the oven on a baking sheet for about 45 minutes, basting with the remaining buttermilk and butter halfway through the baking process.
  1. Allow the bread to cool before using a sharp knife to slice into wedges.
sliced irish soda bread

Do I need to use real buttermilk?

It is best made with real buttermilk, however there are a few substitutes that may work with the baking soda and still cause your dough to rise. Some of these options include kefir or thinned out yogurt. 

Can I add other ingredients?

Yes! There are lots of different variations of this tasty yeast bread. You can add raisins, dried fruits, nuts, caraway seeds, cheddar cheese, and more. 

How do I store Irish Soda Bread?

This particular type of quick bread dries out quickly, so it’s best within a day or two of baking. You can wrap it in plastic wrap or foil. If you’d like to bake this bread ahead of time, you can freeze it. Just make sure to wrap it tightly in plastic wrap after it has cooled completely, and enjoy it within two months. 

irish soda bread cut into a wedge

Other Bread Recipes To Try:

Spicy Stuffed Pizza Bread

Apple Spice Fry Bread

5 Step Pumpkin Bread