Irish Soda Bread
This Irish Soda Bread with Raisins is easy to make, crispy on the outside, and dense but still soft on the inside. Perfect for St. Patrick’s Day or any time of year!
Have you ever had Irish Soda Bread? If you have, then you know how delicious it is. But, if you haven’t then you’re in for a real treat!
This easy Irish soda bread is nice and crispy on the outside and the inside is dense but still soft. The taste of this bread is almost similar to a biscuit, so it’s perfect to serve for breakfast. Irish soda bread is also a quick bread so there’s no yeast required. Instead, you use baking soda to help the bread rise as it bakes in the oven, which makes it incredibly easy to throw together.
In fact, the dough only takes about 10-15 minutes to prepare and pop in the oven. You can also leave this bread plain or swap out the raisins for dried currants!
Ingredients in This Recipe
All you need to make this recipe is eight simple ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need to make the best Irish soda bread recipe:
- All-purpose flour: Spoon and level the flour when measuring it, otherwise you’ll measure out too much.
- Granulated sugar: This isn’t a super sweet bread, but you need a little sugar to flavor it.
- Baking soda: The star ingredient! Just 1 teaspoon is enough to help the bread rise.
- Salt: Flavors the dough and balances out the sugar.
- Butter: Needs to be cold and cut into small cubes. If the butter is too warm, the dough won’t come together properly.
- Raisins: I prefer making my Irish soda bread with raisins, but currants may also be used. Or, you can omit them altogether!
- Buttermilk: If you don’t keep buttermilk in your fridge, you can make your own in about 5 minutes.
- Egg: To bind everything together.
How to Make Irish Soda Bread
To make this Irish soda bread with raisins, you’ll start by whisking together your dry ingredients: all-purpose flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Then, you’ll cut in some cold cubed butter until you see small pea-sized crumbs.
At this point, you can leave the bread plain or you can add your favorite mix-ins. I like to use raisins because I usually have them on hand, but feel free to swap out the raisins for some dried currants instead.
Then, you’ll whisk together the wet ingredients: buttermilk and an egg. Keep in mind that regular buttermilk is thicker than the homemade version so you might not need quite as much if you make your own.
Once the wet ingredients are whisked together, you’ll pour them into the dry ingredients and gently stir until the dough starts to come together. The dough is a little sticky at first, but it will come together as you work it together.
Make sure to sprinkle a flat surface with flour, then turn the dough out on the floured surface. Add some flour to the top of the dough and your hands and carefully knead it together until it’s easy to work with. As I mentioned, the dough is sticky so don’t be afraid to add some more flour to it as you’re working it together.
Once you’ve formed the dough into a ball, place it on a baking sheet and cut an ‘X’ into the center. The ‘X’ will help the bread split evenly and create a prettier top as it bakes. You can also brush the top of the bread with some buttermilk before placing it in the oven to create a nice golden brown top on the bread, but this step isn’t required.
The bread will take anywhere from 45-60 minutes in the oven. You’ll know the bread is finished once a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Once the bread has cooled for about 15-20 minutes you can serve it plain or spread some butter or jam on top and enjoy!
Storage and Freezing Instructions
Leftover bread may be wrapped tightly and stored at room temperature for 3-4 days. Also, bread will freeze well for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before serving.
- When measuring your flour, avoid scooping it from the container with the measuring cup. Instead, stir the flour around, spoon it into the measuring cup, and level it off with the back of a knife.
- Once you’ve mixed the dough together it will be sticky. Make sure to flour your surface and add a little more flour as you’re working the dough together until it’s easy to form into a ball.
- You can leave out the raisins in this bread or swap them out for dried currants.
More Easy Bread Recipes to Try!
- Classic Zucchini Bread
- Blueberry Lemon Bread with Lemon Glaze
- Whole Wheat Banana Bread
- Homemade Cornbread
- Beer Bread
Irish Soda Bread (with Raisins)
- 4 and 1/4 cups (535 grams) all-purpose flour spooned & leveled
- 1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup (60 grams) cold unsalted butter cubed into smaller pieces
- 1 cup (160 grams) raisins or dried currants
- 1 and 1/2 cups (360 ml) buttermilk
- 1 large egg
- Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt until well combined. Add the cold cubed butter and cut it into the dry ingredients with a pastry cutter or fork until you have small pea-sized crumbs. Stir in the raisins and set aside.
- In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and egg until fully combined. Pour the mixture into the dry ingredients and gently stir the dough together until just combined. The dough will be a little sticky, this is okay.
- Turn the dough out on a floured surface, flour the top of the dough and your hands, then knead the dough together a few times adding more flour as needed until you can form it into a ball that's about 7-inches in diameter.
- Cut an 'X' into the top of the bread and brush with a little extra buttermilk if desired.
- Bake at 375°F (190°C) for 45-60 minutes or until the top of the bread is browned and a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow the bread to cool for 15-20 minutes before slicing into it.
My Mother always added Caraway Seeds to her Irish Soda Bread. Could I add these to your recipe?
Yes, absolutely! I would probably use about 1 tablespoon in this bread.
Can I use salted butter? If I use it, do I just omit the salt entirely or reduce it ?
I would just reduce the salt down to 3/4 teaspoon.
Hi, thank you for all the beautiful recipes. I am trying to bake this Irish Soda bread. Can I use self raising flour? If I can, what’s the portion and do I still have to add the baking soda to the dough.
Self-rising flour has baking powder and salt in it, I would suggest sticking with all-purpose flour for this recipe.
Can I use whole wheat flour for this recipe? Would like to know the nutritional values of this recipe. Thanks
You can use half whole wheat and half all-purpose flour. I’m not sure about the nutritional information either, but you can plug the ingredients into an online app or website to get an estimate.
I always come to your website for recipes first and they never disappoint, Danielle! Thanks so much for this recipe. I only had salted butter but I reduced the salt by half and it turned out great. Baked for 55 mins. Family loved it. 🙂
Thank you, Mira! So glad to hear that everyone loved the Irish soda bread!
If I want to make 2 smaller loaves, by how much should I decrease the baking time?
I’m not sure exactly how long it would take if you make two loaves. I would check them at 20 minutes and see how they look. Once they’re done, the tops will be browned and a toothpick inserted into the center will come out clean.
I really like this recipe but the dough always spreads so much that it’s hard to keep it to 7 inches. I’m baking one now and the dough spreader even more in the oven. It almost looks like a flat round cake. Can you help explain what I can do to avoid this next time?
Hi, Mel! Are you making any adjustments to the recipe and using cold butter? Are you also adding more a little more flour until it’s easier to work with?
I followed the recipe as is. I used cold butter. But, used eggs and buttermilk at room temperature which I usually do anytime I bake. Should these items be cold, as well?
I did add extra flour just so the dough didn’t stick to my hands or the surface I was using. I tried to make a mound of dough 7 inches wide but the dough kept spreading.
Also, I just want to add that the bread was very yummy even though it flattened out. It kind of looked like biscotti when I sliced it. I just wish I could get it to be more like a round loaf. Thanks for your help!
I typically do use cold buttermilk and a cold egg, just to help keep the butter in the dough cold. If you are adding extra flour, try reducing the buttermilk by 1/4 cup and adding an extra tablespoon or two if needed. Less buttermilk may help the dough spread less and make it easier to work with. If you have a dutch oven, you could try baking it in that so it holds its shape better too. I hope that helps!
That makes sense for the eggs and buttermilk to be cold, too. Will definitely try that next time, as well as reducing the buttermilk just a bit. Will try it again because this is an awesome recipe and we love it…even though it looks like biscotti. Lol.
Thanks for taking the time to get back yo me!