Skip to Content

Irish Soda Bread

Would it be St. Patrick’s day without Irish Soda Bread? Not in my house! Put on the kettle and enjoy a slice of this buttermilk-enriched, raisin-filled traditional Irish Soda Bread with a hot cup of tea.

a loaf of Irish soda bread with raisins on a wooden board with a green background

What is Irish Soda Bread?

Irish soda bread is a “quick bread”. Quick breads get their lift from a chemical leavener (baking soda) instead of yeast. As soon as the bread is mixed it’s ready to bake. 

With no yeast or fussy fermentation, no rolling or cutting, soda bread is even easier to make than muffins or biscuits.

If you keep a sourdough starter, you can make Sourdough Irish Soda Bread or Sourdough Irish Brown Bread with your discard. 

Recipe Ingredients

  • Unbleached all purpose flour 
  • Salt
  • Granulated sugar
  • Baking powder
  • Baking soda
  • Butter 
  • Raisins (optional)
  • Buttermilk

How to make Irish Soda Bread

A bowl of flour with a whisk in the bowl.
  • Whisk together the dry ingredients.
a bowl of flour with raisins
  • Cut in the butter and toss in the raisins.
Pour buttermilk into flour to make irish soda bread
  • Add the buttermilk all at once.
a bowl of irish soda bread dough
  • Start mixing with a spoon, then turn the dough out onto a floured surface and finish mixing by hand.
soda bread dough 1
  • Cut a deep “X” on the loaf for the traditional soda bread shape. This also promotes even rising.

Tips for making Traditional Irish Soda Bread

  • This dough is so easy to make you don’t need a mixer. Mixing by hand helps ensure that you won’t over work and toughen the dough. 
  • The dough can be a little sticky. If your hands get coated with the sticky dough don’t try to wash it off with water, it’ll just get stickier and leave a mess in the sink. Dip your hands into the flour bin to coat them. Holding your hands over the trash can, rub them together vigorously and the sticky dough will come off easily.
  • Cutting a deep X in the top of the loaf before it goes in the oven ensures that it will rise evenly without splitting in random places.
  • The raisins are optional but highly recommended.
  • If the raisins on the surface of the dough burn in the oven, just pick them off (careful, they’re hot) when the bread comes out of the oven.
slices of Irish soda bread with raisins on a striped tea towel
slices of irish soda bread with butter and orange marmalade on a white plate

All you need is a little creamery butter and maybe a dollop of Blood Orange Marmalade for the perfect teatime treat.

Let’s not limit soda bread to St. Patrick’s day. It’s so easy to make and so tasty it should be enjoyed year-round.

Looking for more Irish inspired recipes?

If you love this recipe as much as I do, I’d really appreciate a 5-star review.

Irish Soda Bread
Print Recipe
4.72 from 25 reviews

Irish Soda Bread Recipe

Homemade soda bread is so much better than store-bought. With no yeast or fussy fermentation, no rolling or cutting, soda bread is even easier to make than muffins or biscuits.
Prep Time30 minutes
Bake Time45 minutes
Total Time1 hour 15 minutes
24 servings


  • 20 ounces unbleached all purpose flour (4 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 ounce granulated sugar (2 tablespoons)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 ½ ounces unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 6 ounces raisins (1 cup)
  • 16 ounces buttermilk (2 cups)


  • Preheat the oven to 375 °F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  • Sift or whisk together the flour, salt, sugar, baking powder and baking soda. Use your hands to work the butter into the dry ingredients until there are no pieces larger than the size of a pea. Toss the raisins with the dry ingredients.
    20 ounces unbleached all purpose flour, 1 teaspoon table salt, 1 ounce granulated sugar, 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder, ½ teaspoon baking soda, 1 ½ ounces unsalted butter, 6 ounces raisins
  • Add the buttermilk all at once and mix until the dry ingredients are almost incorporated. The dough may seem dry at this point but it will come together.
    16 ounces buttermilk
  • Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead about 15-20 times to form a smooth ball. Place the loaf onto the prepared baking sheet. Use your hands to flatten the ball slightly. Use a sharp knife to cut a 1/2″-3/4″ deep X into the top of the loaf. Brush the loaf with buttermilk.
  • Bake until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom or the middle of the loaf is about 200 °F, 45 minutes to an hour.


My Book
Half Sheet Pans
Parchment Sheets
Pastry Brush

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.


This recipe makes one large or two smaller loaves. If you split the dough into two smaller loaves adjust the baking time accordingly. The recipe can also be halved to make one smaller loaf.
The bread is best the day it’s made, but will keep several days at room temperature. It will keep in the freezer for 1-2 months.


Serving: 1slice | Calories: 136kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 6mg | Sodium: 169mg | Potassium: 110mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 76IU | Vitamin C: 0.4mg | Calcium: 42mg | Iron: 1mg
Have you tried this recipe?Mention @eileen.bakingsense or tag #bakingsense!
Recipe Rating


Sunday 12th of March 2023

My favorite Irish soda bread recipe I’ve tried so far. It’s ever so slightly sweet and isn’t stingy with the raisins. My main complaint with store bought was always too much sugar and not enough raisins.

I weighed my ingredients and used a homemade “buttermilk” (milk w/ a splash of lemon juice).

The dough was a bit sticky to work with (especially at the beginning), but I always keep my hands well floured and use a bowl scraper to help manipulate and move the dough around.

Made two smaller loaves and it took about 40 minutes to bake.


Tuesday 17th of September 2019

I don't have buttermilk at the moment but have whole milk. Could I substitute the whole milk in place of the buttermilk?

Eileen Gray

Tuesday 17th of September 2019

Yes. Add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice or white vinegar to 2 cups of whole milk. Let it sit for 10 minutes to let it thicken.


Friday 15th of March 2019


What are your thoughts about using bread flour with this recipe?!


Friday 15th of March 2019

I think it would make the bread too chewy. I would stick with all purpose flour.


Thursday 7th of February 2019

Hi, this recipe looks amazing and just what I was loolking for. one question. Salted or unsatled butter.. Thanks.


Thursday 7th of February 2019

I always use unsalted butter. But, since there's really a small amount of butter in the recipe, you can use salted butter without adjusting the salt in the recipe. No need to go out and buy special butter if you've got salted butter on hand. Enjoy!

Trina Gray

Sunday 18th of March 2018

I found a gem when I tried this recipe. Quick and easy. I substitute cheddar cheese for the sultanas and enjoy it with soup. This will be my go to recipe from now on. :-)

Eileen Gray

Monday 19th of March 2018

Thanks! I made 2 loaves of this bread for St. Patrick's day. It's always a hit. I've never tried it with cheddar, but I will now. Thanks for the great idea!