Traditional Irish Soda Bread

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This Traditional Irish Soda Bread recipe only requires 4 ingredients! It doesn’t use yeast, so it’s simple to make!

Round loaf of Traditional Irish Soda Bread wrapped in a towel.

How many of you have ever had a loaf of Traditional Irish Soda Bread??? How many of you only eat it around St. Patrick’s Day?? 

Fun fact: this easy Irish soda bread recipe is a really good bread that is dense, moist, and delicious. So while you can serve it for St. Patrick’s Day, it’s fantastic with soups and other main courses.

A few other really easy to make bread recipes I have are: Beer Bread (so good!!), Buttermilk Cornbread (my favorite!), and Garlic Cheddar Biscuits (we make these all the time).

Why You’ll Love This Irish Soda Bread With Buttermilk

  • Only 4 simple ingredients
  • Less than 1 hour to make
  • No need to rise the dough
  • Great for parties
  • Delicious
Slice of traditional Irish soda bread with butter.

A little authentic Irish Soda Bread history:

I want to give you just a few interesting facts about Irish Soda Bread with buttermilk. Don’t worry I won’t bore you — it’s only a few!

  • The cross that is slashed into the dough before baking was made to ward off devils and protect the house. It also helps the center of the bread bake all the way through, so it’s very important not to skip that step!
  • During the mid-1800s, the Irish were making so much soda bread that baking soda almost doubled in price!
  • Soda bread was served as an inexpensive way to put bread on the table.
  • Authentic Irish soda bread should only contain 4 ingredients: flour, buttermilk, salt, and of course, baking soda.

Ingredients

  • Buttermilk – is what gives this easy Irish soda bread recipe its flavor. I prefer to use whole buttermilk, but use what you can find. You can also make your own buttermilk by pouring 2 tablespoons of white vinegar or fresh (not bottled) lemon juice in a liquid measuring cup. Fill with whole milk or 2% to the 2-cup line. (I don’t recommend using anything less than 2% for this recipe.) Let stand 5-10 minutes before using.
  • Baking soda – replaces the yeast, which makes this bread very easy to make. It reacts with the buttermilk and makes the bread rise.
  • Salt – also provides flavor to the loaf of bread.
  • Flour – traditionally soft white wheat flour was used in Ireland.

These 4 ingredients create an authentic Irish soda bread that I feel tastes similar to buttermilk biscuits or scones. The loaf is dense, slightly sour from the buttermilk, and has a hard crust. It’s perfect to pair with soups and stews, but I also like it warm and slathered with butter!

Top down view of a round loaf of Traditional Irish Soda Bread.

FAQs

CAN I ADD OTHER INGREDIENTS TO THIS EASY IRISH SODA BREAD RECIPE?

Sure! While it won’t be traditional if you add other ingredients, it’s a fun way to incorporate new flavors. Here are some ideas:
Raisins
Lemon Zest
Orange Zest
Sugar
Honey
Dried Cranberries

HOW DO YOU STORE THIS SODA BREAD?

For best results, let the bread cool all the way. Then wrap and place in a sealed container. It can be kept at room temperature for up to 4 days.

CAN YOU FREEZE IRISH SODA BREAD?

Yes, cool completely then wrap in plastic wrap and then in foil or place in a freezer bag. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature overnight.

What to serve with this Traditional Irish Soda Bread Recipe:

  • Serve it warm and fresh from the oven with pats of butter.
  • Use it for breakfast as toast with jam or put a poached or fried egg on top.
  • Its denser texter and thicker crust make it pair beautifully with soups and stews.

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4.74 from 15 votes
Round loaf of Traditional Irish Soda Bread wrapped in a towel.
Traditional Irish Soda Bread
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
35 mins
Total Time
50 mins
 

Traditional Irish Soda Bread- this Irish Soda Bread recipe only requires 4 ingredients! It doesn't use yeast so it's simple to make!

Course: Bread
Cuisine: American
Keyword: soda bread
Servings: 1 loaf (6-8 servings)
Calories: 3634 kcal
Author: Malinda Linnebur
Ingredients
  • 4 cups (580g) all-purpose flour
  • teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups (470ml) cold buttermilk
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (218 degrees C).  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or grease well; set aside.  You can also use an 8″ cake pan or oven proof skillet.

  2. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.  Stir in the buttermilk just until combined and it starts to become too stiff to stir.  Transfer to work surface and with floured hands lightly knead the dough 5-10 times or until all the flour is moistened and the dough comes together.  

  3. Form dough into an 8″ round.  Place on prepared pan and with a very sharp knife cut a 1/4″ deep X on the top.  Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown and it sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.  

Recipe Notes
  1. This bread is best served shortly after baking but can be stored at room temperature tightly wrapped for 2-3 days.  Can also be frozen for 2-3 months. 
  2. Buttermilk is vital to the flavor and texture in this recipe and cannot be replaced with plain milk.  However, you can make your own buttermilk by pouring 2 tablespoons white vinegar or fresh (not bottled) lemon juice in a liquid measuring cup.  Fill with whole milk or 2%.  (I don’t recommend using anything less than 2% for this recipe.)  Let stand 5-10 minutes before using.  
  3. Nutrition Facts: Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the information shown is just an estimate. Nutrition information is for the entire loaf. 
Nutrition Facts
Traditional Irish Soda Bread
Amount Per Serving
Calories 3634 Calories from Fat 117
% Daily Value*
Fat 13g20%
Saturated Fat 4g25%
Cholesterol 19mg6%
Sodium 4483mg195%
Potassium 1727mg49%
Carbohydrates 745g248%
Fiber 26g108%
Sugar 25g28%
Protein 113g226%
Vitamin A 222IU4%
Vitamin C 5mg6%
Calcium 691mg69%
Iron 44mg244%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the information shown is just an estimate.

56 thoughts on “Traditional Irish Soda Bread”

  1. I’ve just about finished cooking mine and buggar !! I was side tracked and omitted to cut the x in top will this make a difference ,😭

    Reply
    • The main thing for the “X” is to help with making sure the center of the loaf cooks completely. Hope you enjoyed the bread!

      Reply
  2. 5 stars
    I never leave comments or reviews on recipes, however this soda bread is FANTASTIC! Where I live requires me to use about an extra half cup of flour, but that is not a recipe issue, it is just an elevation issue. lol. I have made this bread several times, and it is always a hit. I love to serve it with a Dublin Coddle (potato and sausage stew). Thank you for the great recipe 😋

    Reply
  3. My mother used the same recipe but flattened into triangles the thickness of scones. Then she
    pan fried for breakfast. Soda bread.

    Reply

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