Traditional Irish Soda Bread


First some quick business: tomorrow I am launching a shiny and new blog design! The transition should be happening tonight so you may notice a little bit of downtime if you try to visit. (Print any recipes you may need now!) I’m hoping everything is up and running smoothly tomorrow morning, but if not please be patient. I’m really excited about the new look- I hope you love it too!

Ok- onto the bread…

Since I first met Andy 5 years ago, he’s always spoken so fondly about the trip he took with his mom to Ireland.  He’s talked about the beautiful countryside, the special moments he shared with his mom, and how they would share a loaf of Irish Soda Bread for lunch. As I was searching recipes to try for upcoming St. Patrick’s Day, I asked Andy how in the world he enjoyed eating this bread in Ireland since he hates raisins. Every loaf of this soda bread I’ve tried is studded with raisins and caraway seeds, and I figured that was the authentic way of making it. He swore that the stuff they ate was sans raisins and I didn’t believe it until I did a little internet sleuthing of my own and figured out he was right! It turns out adding raisins, caraway seeds, and other mix ins is a total American thing, and that the authentic Irish version of the recipe is much more simple.


I love how simple this recipe is. It’s made up of just 4 ingredients that I usually have on hand, which means I can have a loaf of delicious bread ready and waiting any time I want. Flour- Baking Soda- Salt-Buttermilk. Who would know that simply that could result in such a perfect loaf of bread? With an almost biscuit-like taste and a crisp crust, we slathered this with some delicious salted butter, but a slather of jam or a dunk in a bowl of soup would be a perfect match as well. The bread is simple as can be to throw together and has that rustic, country look I really love. I’m a total fan of making yeasted bread, but this is by far the best I’ve had for something so quick! I’m glad I discovered this recipe right in time for St. Patty’s, but I know it will be a kitchen standard all year round!

Traditional Irish Soda Bread


  • 1 lb. 3-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour; more as needed
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1-1/2 to 1-3/4 cups buttermilk


  1. Preheat oven to 450F.
  2. Stir together the flour, salt and baking in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the middle of the mixture and pour in 1 1/2 cups of the buttermilk.
  3. Use a wooden spoon or your hand to combine the ingredients. You want the dough to be soft- don't over mix it. Add more buttermilk if needed to get the dough to come together.
  4. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and give it a few kneads and shape it into a 6-inch diameter disk (about 2 inches tall.)
  5. Use a sharp knife to score an X on the top of the loaf (I did mine a bit too deep as you can tell, you only need to cut in a little bit.) Transfer to a cookie sheet or pizza stone and bake for 15 mins.
  6. Reduce the heat to 400F and bake for another 20-25 minutes or until the crust is golden, and the bread sounds hollow when you tap it.
  7. Let bread cool slightly before slicing and slathering with salted butter!


Recipe from: Fine Cooking

Nutrition Information:
Serving Size: 1 grams
Amount Per Serving: Unsaturated Fat: 0g

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram


    1. The reason for only four ingredients and typically no sugar , is that this bread was baked by the common people – Not a great kitchen filled with a pantry etc – but over a wood fire in a cast iron pot . If it was made with a bit of sugar or some currants , that was a special occasion like a wedding or something -Imagine a hut with a wood fire and your baking over that fire – A lot of times they would have the bread and cheese for a meal . The four ingredients are the real deal – It was only much later they started adding other ingredients …

  1. Hiya,

    This looks so simple however I’m allergic to wheat and cow’s milk. I can substitute the flour for gluten free flour but what can I use for the buttermilk? There’s not a dairy free alternative I can find. Any suggestions would be helpful.


    1. Maybe some coconut milk with lemon juice or vinegar added to make it sour milk? I have never tried this but it may work!

  2. I am SO making this. Wondering if a handful of currants might make it feel a tad more authentic… your thoughts?

    1. Well according to the link at the bottom of the recipe the traditional recipe doesn’t have any mix ins! I’m sure adding some in would be super delicious though!

    2. This is authentic. This is how my mother and grandmother always made it. Both of these women were Irish born and raised,this is what they did at home.
      Add ins are fine,but they are not authentic.
      I was raised on this, it was always plain.
      I think sometimes add ons were used on holidays,for a little something extra i.e. Raisins.
      Never saw caraway seeds in an Irish version, that must be a “yank” addition!

  3. Nothing can compare to a crusty loaf of homemade bread and I can’t believe this one’s so easy to make! I love its rustic look and I’m a huge fan of bread with a crunchy crust and a softer, moist interior. I have a feeling this will become a staple around here!

    Xo, Elisa

  4. I will definitely be making this to accompany a stout moose stew… Luckily it also serves as a birthday meal for my boyfriend! Thanks Audra!

  5. You have reminded me that I made this bread often after coming back from that trip.

  6. i use a similar recipe but after cutting the cross pour melted butter over and bake To.Die.For!

  7. Thank you for this wonderful and easy recipe. I love homemade breads and yeast breads take too long to make. I made this soda bread for dinner with turkey meatloaf and red potatoes and it was amazing! The bread turned out just like the pictures and the way you described it. And, the bread tastes even better the next day! I even like it better than my “go to” quick beer bread!

  8. Nice recipe. Went great with the beef stew I made for dinner. Nice and dense with a crisp crust. Love your new blog design with the touches of color.

  9. I am super not into raisins either, so Irish Soda Bread has always been a bit hard for me to choke down. SO happy to hear that it’s so not traditional to include them! Now I feel totally justified in my disdain.

  10. 1-I LOVE the new site design! your picture is soooo cute!
    2-Hooray! I like this traditional version of Irish soda bread much much better-I don’t like all the raisins and such either, like your hubs :P

  11. Great recipe! Quick, simple and delicious. I just put a splash of apple cider vinegar in milk because I didn’t have buttermilk. Turned out delicious, light on the interior with a hearty crust.

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