A Not-So-Traditional Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread

Irish soda bread is traditionally made with three ingredients: buttermilk, flour, and baking soda. It has a lovely crisp and crumbly crust with a soft and tender center. You can enjoy it for breakfast with butter and jam or even alongside a hearty stew.

This recipe, however, is not so traditional. We like ours a little sweet, so we’ve added plump raisins, sugar, butter, and salt to the mix. You may have noticed we didn’t mention yeast, which is a standard ingredient when baking bread. But this is soda bread (also known as quick bread) and baking soda has replaced yeast as the leavening agent. Hence the name! 

Even though we’re making it for St. Patrick’s Day, it’s truly great any time of the year. 

What you need


Pre-heat oven to 425F. Lightly grease an 8-to-10-inch oven-safe skillet or cake pan. (You can use a baking tray, but the other two will help keep its shape.)

Add flour, salt, baking soda, and sugar in a large bowl. Whisk to combine. Cut the butter with your fingers (or pastry blender) and rub into the dry ingredients until it resembles coarse crumbs. Add the raisins and mix together. Set aside.

In another bowl, whisk buttermilk and egg together. (Leave a little extra to use as a glaze before baking.)

Make a well in the center of your dry ingredients and add the buttermilk mixture. With your hands, gently fold the ingredients together until both the dry and wet ingredients are incorporated, and the sides of the bowl are clean. Be careful not to overmix!

Turn the dough to a floured surface and lightly knead the dough to make sure everything is mixed together. Start to form the dough into a nice round shape – about 7 inches.

Transfer the bread to your lightly greased skillet. Using a knife, score a deep X in the center of the dough. This helps the bread rise in the oven. For a nice brown top, glaze the top with the remaining buttermilk mixture. If you want it extra sweet, sprinkle with coarse sugar.

Bake at 425F for 15 minutes and then turn it down to 400F and bake for another 30 minutes. (No matter how tempting it is to peek, keep the oven door closed while baking. This will ensure that extra crispy crust!) 

Place on a cooling rack. Cut into slices and enjoy with butter and jam.

Store in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to three days.