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Easy Irish Soda Bread Recipe

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As the mouthwatering aroma of freshly baked Irish soda bread fills my kitchen, I’m instantly transported back to my childhood in County Cork. I still remember eagerly eyeing my dear Grammy Maeve in her cozy cottage kitchen, expertly bringing the treasured staple bread of Ireland to life. As she’d pull the golden, crackling crust loaves from the oven, my anticipation to taste that first slice was almost too much to bear!

Today I feel so fortunate to share my Grammy’s renowned recipe for authentic Irish soda bread that’s beloved for its signature coarse yet tender crumb and subtly sweet flavor. Before we get baking, let me tell you why this quick bread holds such an important place in Irish culture and cuisine.

Unlike yeasted loaves, Irish soda bread gets its rise from the chemical reaction between baking soda and the acidity of buttermilk. This makes it incredibly easy and fast to prepare without requiring time for the dough to proof. Its humble ingredients reflect the simple rustic cuisine of Ireland. And no proper Irish meal is complete without a loaf accompanied by salty butter, jam or a wedge of aged cheddar.

I’m so excited for you to try your hand at creating this treat right in your own kitchen. From mixing the basic dough to cutting the symbolic cross on top, you’ll echo the generations of Irish home bakers before you. And nothing beats the pride of pulling a beautiful, bakery-worthy loaf from the oven. Trust me, as soon as you get a whiff of that wholesome aroma and crunchy crust, you’ll be as obsessed with Irish soda bread as much as any true Irishman!

So come join me on a flavorful adventure all the way to the Emerald Isle. I can’t wait for you to experience the magic in every bite of authentic Irish soda bread. Now, let’s get baking!

Let’s chat about your FAQs for crafting authentic Irish soda perfection:

What gives the bread its signature coarse texture?

It’s the chemical reaction between the baking soda and acidic buttermilk that creates air bubbles, resulting in the bread’s signature coarse, nubby texture. No kneading keeps the crumb tender and rustic. This unique reaction eliminates needing yeast so it’s incredibly quick and easy.

Should I knead the dough?

No kneading needed! Just gently mix to form a shaggy, rough ball. Too much handling makes the bread tough. The minimal mixing keeps it tender and delicate.

What’s the baking soda for?

Baking soda is the key leavening agent. It reacts with the acidity in buttermilk to produce carbon dioxide bubbles that cause the bread to rise beautifully without yeast. This gives both impressive height and that distinctive coarse, holey interior.

Can I skip the butter?

I don’t recommend omitting the butter. Just a couple tablespoons provides invaluable richness and flavor depth without compromising the bread’s wholesome character.

What’s the best way to mix in fruits/nuts?

Gently fold in any add-ins like currants, raisins or cranberries right at the end to evenly incorporate without overworking the dough. Their sweet bursts pair deliciously with the subtle sweetness of the bread.

Now, let’s get right to baking!

Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 45 mins
Total Time: 55 mins


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1⁄3 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 1⁄2 cups cold buttermilk
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1⁄2 cup dried currants, raisins or cranberries (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Cut butter pieces into flour using a pastry blender or two forks until pea-sized crumbs form.
  3. Make a well in dry ingredients. Pour in buttermilk and egg. Using a fork, mix just until a shaggy dough forms. If adding dried fruit, gently fold in now.
  4. Turn dough onto prepared baking sheet and shape into a round about 7 inches across, 1 1⁄2 inches thick. Brush top with milk. Use a sharp knife to cut an X shape into the top about 1⁄2-inch deep.
  5. Bake 40-45 minutes until deep golden brown. Cool on a wire rack before slicing. Enjoy warm with butter!

5- Cooking tips:

  • Use cold buttermilk straight from the fridge.
  • Work quickly to form loaf before soda reacts.
  • Let bread cool completely before slicing.
  • Store tightly wrapped at room temperature up to 4 days.
  • Freeze sliced loaves up to 3 months.

I hope you love this easy, authentic Irish soda bread as much as I do! Sláinte friends! Let me know if you give it a try. ☘️

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