Irish Soda Bread

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Irish Soda Bread

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

I come from an Irish heritage, so St. Paddy’s Day is something we’ve always celebrated in my family. How did we celebrate? By eating well! (Is there any better way to celebrate anything?)

Corned beef and cabbage, a few pints of Guinness, maybe a shot or two of Jameson if you were feeling saucy, and…

Irish Soda Bread!

This crusty, thick loaf was the perfect blend of savory and sweet. You see, our soda bread always had raisins in it. It turns out that this is a hotly contested recipe, and some Irish cry foul if you include any bells and whistles in your bread. Alas, I grew up on Irish Soda Bread with a little sugar and a lot of raisins, so I made a loaf of it and decided to share it with you!

I traveled to Ireland in 2005 (I know, I know, a repeat visit is sorely overdue), and I made the ghastly mistake of missing out on my chance to taste the real deal. You can be sure that my next visit to the Emerald Isle will include several cooking tutorials, including a revisit of this very recipe. But until then, enjoy!

How to Make Irish Soda Bread
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1 loaf

Recipe: Irish Soda Bread

20 minPrep Time

1 hrCook Time

1 hr, 20 Total Time

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Recipe Image


  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 Tbsp white sugar
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2/3 cup raisins
  • For the Crust Brush
  • 2 Tbsp melted butter
  • 2 Tbsp buttermilk


  1. Preheat your oven to 350F/175C. If using convection or fan-forced, go a bit lower. Low and slow is the rule here -- too high of heat and your crust will over-brown before the middle is cooked through. Grease a baking sheet. For a traditional bent, grease a cast-iron skillet.
  2. Mix together your dry ingredients in a large bowl. Pay special attention to the proportions of baking powder vs. baking soda! It can be easy to mix them up, and doing so will ruin your bread.
  3. Add in the butter, cutting it into the dry mixture with a pastry cutter, two knives, or your hands. Mix until well incorporated. Add the raisins to the mixture.
  4. Make a well in the middle of your dry ingredient mixture. Pour the buttermilk and the beaten egg into the well. Use your hands (wet them first) to incorporate the wet ingredients into they dry ingredients.
  5. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead gently. The dough should hold together, but be a little crumbly. If it's too dry after a bit of kneading, add small 1/2 Tbsp drops of buttermilk until you get the right consistency. But knead first! Sometimes the butter needs a little more time to break down, and you don't want your dough too wet. (If you forgot raisins, now is the time to add them!)
  6. Shape the dough into a loaf and drop onto your grease sheet/skillet. Score the top with an X.
  7. Whisk together the melted butter and buttermilk and brush the top of the loaf. You can use a pastry brush or your fingers to do this.
  8. Once coated, put the loaf in the middle rack of the oven and bake for 1 hour. After about 15 minutes, pull it out and brush with the butter/buttermilk mixture again. Do this 2 - 3 times throughout the cooking process, up to 10 minutes before it's finished.
  9. To check doneness, tap the bottom of the loaf. If it sounds hollow, it's ready to go! Wrap it in a towel and set aside to cool. Some say to let it cool completely, but I love a good slather of butter on a fresh-baked loaf. So I usually bust into it pretty quickly.
Cuisine: Irish |

To store, wrap in plastic wrap and put in the bread box. Makes yummy toast for your St. Paddy’s Day hangover!

How do you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? Do you have a culinary tradition from your heritage? Let me know in comments!