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

Traditional Irish Soda Bread

Course: Bread
Cuisine: American
Keyword: soda bread
Traditional Irish Soda Bread- this Irish Soda Bread recipe only requires 4 ingredients! It doesn't use yeast so it's simple to make!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 1 loaf (6-8 servings)
Calories: 3634kcal
Author: Malinda Linnebur
Print Recipe Save Recipe

Ingredients

  • 4 cups (580g) all-purpose flour
  • teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups (470ml) cold buttermilk

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400℉.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or grease well; set aside.  You can also use an 8" cake pan or oven proof skillet.
  • 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.  
  • Form dough into an 8" round.  Place on the prepared pan and with a very sharp knife, cut a ¼-½" deep X on the top.  Bake for 45-50 minutes or until golden brown, and it sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. The loaf is also done when an instant read thermometer reads the center of the loaf at 195℉.

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

Calories: 3634kcal | Carbohydrates: 745g | Protein: 113g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 19mg | Sodium: 4483mg | Potassium: 1727mg | Fiber: 26g | Sugar: 25g | Vitamin A: 222IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 691mg | Iron: 44mg

84 thoughts on “Traditional Irish Soda Bread”

  1. 4 stars
    I’ve made this for years and it always comes out perfectly crispy on the outside and soft in the center. I like to sprinkle a small amount of sea salt on top of each buttered slice. Thank you

    Reply
  2. This recipe has too much milk ! Turns out so much better if you only use 11/2 cups of buttermilk. What a waste…ended up in the garbage.

    Reply
    • my was portable. and I am a baker! checked measurements three times. add more flour. it’s in the oven. I doubt it’s going to turn out. first soda bread ever to look like this.

      Reply
  3. 3 stars
    “traditionally soft white wheat flour was used in Ireland”… No sorry it was not and never has been, strong ground Wholemeal flour has ALWAYS been used for Soda Bread, it should be brown bread not white!

    375g strong stoneground wholemeal flour
    75g plain flour, plus a little extra for dusting
    1 level teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
    1 level dessertspoon fine salt
    1 x 284ml carton buttermilk
    75ml water

    Reply
  4. 5 stars
    I have made 2 loafs back to back with real buttermilk but had the same issue with not getting done. I felt I did 1/4 in slice on top deep enough but perhaps I am off, would it hurt to do a deeper slash to help get the center done. I really want to do this bread since we just got back from Ireland trip and I loved the bread over there. I refused to rate the recipe lower since others did great with the recipe.

    Reply
    • I am very sorry this happened to you!! I adjusted the recipe slightly with a little lower bake temp and longer baking time to help fix this. Also, scoring a little deeper can help solve this as well. I also included an internal temperature to further help tell if the loaf is done. Hope this helps and really appreciate your feedback!!

      Reply
  5. 5 stars
    I have used this recipe many times since discovering it in 2020. It’s my absolute favorite and so easy to make!

    Reply
  6. I tried this recipe and the bread was not cooked inside. Even after putting the bread in for another 10 minutes, it still wasn’t fully cooked inside. Very disappointed in the results from this recipe.

    Reply
  7. 5 stars
    Did this today didn’t taste like soda bread but I didn’t have lemon so made butter milk with cream of tartar but must say it’s was lovely bread in its own right will definitely be my go to bread

    Reply
  8. I just love this bread!!! Found the recipe here on the web saw how easy it is to make and jimminy crickets make it all the time now!

    Reply
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. 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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