Made with 8 simple ingredients, this Irish soda bread recipe is quick, easy, and delicious. Serve it warm with butter, jam, or a bowl of soup or stew!
This Irish soda bread recipe is the fastest, easiest way I know to make a great loaf at home. It requires 8 basic ingredients, and you can mix the dough and pop it in the oven in less than 20 minutes—no rise required! It bakes up a crisp, golden brown crust and a soft, buttery interior topped with sweet dried currants. Do it for St. Patrick’s Day this weekend…and then, keep doing it! This Irish soda bread recipe is so simple and so good for once a year.
What is soda bread?
But first thing’s first! What is soda bread, anyway? This Irish quick bread gets its name from the fact that its leavening agent is baking soda, not yeast. In this simplest form, it consists of four ingredients: flour, buttermilk, baking soda, and salt. My recipe, along with many other American soda bread recipes, takes it in a slightly sweeter, richer direction by adding butter, sugar, eggs, and currants or raisins. Caraway seeds are a common addition, though I omitted them here.
Enjoy Irish soda bread with your St. Patrick’s Day feast of corned beef and cabbage (or my cabbage soup!), or serve warm with butter and/or jam.
Irish Soda Bread Recipe Ingredients
Here’s what you’ll need to make this Irish soda bread recipe:
- Baking soda, of course! It makes the bread rise.
- All-purpose flour – Scoop and level it to avoid over-packing your measuring cup. If you prefer to weigh your flour, you will need 438g, and more for kneading the dough.
- Buttermilk – It adds moisture to the bread, but not only that! Its acidity is important for activating the baking soda, which helps the bread rise.
- An egg – It adds extra lift and wealth.
- butter – It gives the bread a nice buttery taste.
- Cane sugar and dried currants – They add sweetness to bread. No currants handy? Raisins work too!
- And sea salt – To make all the flavors pop!
Find the complete recipe with measurements below.
How to Make Irish Soda Bread
As bread recipes go, this Irish soda bread couldn’t be simpler! Here’s how to do it:
First, mix the buttermilk and eggs. To save myself a dish, I like to combine them in the liquid measuring cup I use to measure buttermilk.
Next, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Mix well to evenly incorporate the baking soda into the flour.
Cut the butter into small cubes and add it to the flour mixture. Toss to coat it in flour, then use your hands to fold it into the dry ingredients until it’s roughly the size of pieces. Mix in the currants.
Then, add the buttermilk mixture. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the buttermilk and egg. Mix with a spatula or wooden spoon until the wet and dry ingredients come together into a crumbly dough.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead to form it into a ball. It should be soft, but not too sticky.
If it is too sticky, work in more flour. If it is dry, knead with a little more buttermilk.
Then, bake! Transfer the dough ball to a parchment-lined sheet pan (a cast-iron skillet works too!) and use a sharp knife to score the top with a 1/2-inch deep cross. This allows the heat to access the center of the bread. Place the bread in a 400°F oven and bake until golden brown, 45 to 50 minutes. You’ll know the bread is ready if it makes a hollow sound when you tap the bottom.
Let the soda bread cool for 10 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring it to a wire rack to continue cooling. Serve warm or at room temperature. Enjoy!
- Currants like to cluster. Be sure to break them apart before you add them to the flour mixture. If the currants are mixed together when they go into the dough, they will stick together in the bread!
- Cross the top. This gives Irish soda bread its signature look and helps the bread cook in the middle.
- Foil is your friend. Is your Irish soda bread too dark before the center is cooked? Cover the bread with a sheet of aluminum foil and continue cooking.
- No buttermilk? No problem. Although I like this recipe best when it is made with buttermilk, you can use a buttermilk substitute if needed. Squeeze 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice into the bottom of a liquid measuring cup. Then, fill the cup with regular milk or unsweetened almond milk to the 1 1/3 cup line. Let stand for 5 minutes before continuing with the recipe.
- Freeze it. Irish soda bread dries out FAST. Enjoy some fresh the day it’s baked, and then slice the rest and keep it in the freezer. Frozen slices toast up beautifully and are delicious with butter or jam!
More Favorite Bread Recipes
If you love this Irish soda bread, try one of these easy homemade bread recipes next:
Irish Soda Bread
This Irish soda bread recipe is quick, easy, and delicious! Serve slices alongside your favorite soup or topped with butter or jam. This bread is best the day it is baked. I recommend slicing and freezing it for longer storage. Frozen slices make amazing toast!
- 1⅓ cups buttermilk*
- 1 big egg
- 3½ cups all-purpose flour, ladle and flatten (438g), and more for kneading
- 2 spoon cane sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 3 spoon cold unsalted butter, squatting
- About 1 cup of dried currants or raisins
Preheat oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and egg.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Add the cubed butter and mix to coat. Use your hands to work the butter into the flour mixture until it is roughly the size of chunks. Add the currants and mix to coat the flour.
Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour in the buttermilk mixture. Mix with a spatula or wooden spoon until a crumbly dough forms.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it into a ball. The dough should be soft but not too sticky. If it’s too sticky, knead in a little more flour. If it feels dry, add a little more buttermilk.
Transfer the ball of dough to the baking sheet and use a sharp knife to score the top with a ½-inch deep cross. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the bread is golden brown and makes a hollow sound when you tap the bottom. If it’s browning too quickly before it’s done, cover it with foil and continue cooking.
Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to a wire rack to continue cooling.
*If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can substitute it with a combination of milk or almond milk and lemon juice. Squeeze 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice into a liquid measuring cup and pour in your milk of choice to the 1⅓ cup line. Let stand for 5 minutes before continuing with the recipe.