Easy Irish Soda Bread Recipe, Authentic Soda Bread | Baker Bettie (2024)

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by Baker BettieFebruary 21, 2022

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Soda bread is an easy bread that gets its name from the baking soda that does all of the leavening in the recipe. The texture of this bread is different from yeasted bread and much more like a scone. This is such a great quick bread to throw together to serve with a stew or soup.

  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Techniques Used: Cutting in Fat, Biscuit Mixing Method

Soda bread is a very easy type of bread that is made with baking soda as the leavening agent instead of yeast. The traditional bread consists of only flour, salt, baking soda, and buttermilk. This modern version also includes butter, which is cut into the flour mixture, to add more tenderness and richness to the bread.

Buttermilk is a key ingredient in soda bread due to its acidic properties. The lactic acid present in buttermilk reacts with the alkaline properties of the baking soda to create carbon dioxide, rising the bread.

Easy Irish Soda Bread Recipe, Authentic Soda Bread | Baker Bettie (1)

History of Irish Soda Bread

Irish soda bread first came to be in the early 1800s when baking soda first became available in Ireland. Most flour available in Ireland at the time was made from soft wheat (meaning it had a low protein content). Soft wheat does not work well to make yeast breads, but it works beautifully for chemically leavened bread.

Soda bread gained huge popularity during the potato famine, which started in 1845. Due to the lack of potatoes, which were a major food source in Ireland, soda bread became an easy, inexpensive, and filling staple on the Irish table.

Everyday Irish soda bread, like this one, was very simple without any add-ins. Versions of soda bread that include dried fruit, nuts, or other additional ingredients were only made for celebrations. However, this base recipe can easily be the template for endless soda bread variations.

Tips & Techniques

  • After the dough is mixed, you will pour it out onto the countertop and knead it a few times until you have a cohesive dough. After forming it into a thick round mass, you will slash the top of it with an “X” using a knife. This gives it the classic soda bread look.
  • The texture of this bread is a bit like a scone. It is best eaten the same day it is made, however, leftovers can be toasted to refresh them for a few days after.
  • This recipe can be used as a base recipe to create different flavor variations. Sugar and currants could be added to create a traditional tea cake style soda bread that is served at celebrations. You could also add herbs and cheese to make a savory Parmesan Herb Soda Bread.
    Currant and Caraway Soda Bread
    “Brown Bread” Soda Bread


If you enjoyed this recipe, you might like to try these other delicious quick bread recipes.

  • Easy Moist Cornbread
  • Fruit or Veg Customizable Quick Bread Master Recipe (turn into muffins or loaf bread)
  • Basic Muffin Recipe

Here are some other festive, holiday favorites perfect for a St. Patrick’s Day celebration.

  • Irish Cream Chocolate Cupcakes
  • Mint Chocolate Brownies

Yield: 8 Servings

Soda Bread Recipe

Prep Time20 minutes

Cook Time30 minutes

Total Time50 minutes

Soda bread is an easy bread that gets its name from the baking soda that does all of the leavening in the recipe. This is such a great quick bread to throw together to serve with a stew or soup!


  • 360 grams (3 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 50 grams (¼ cup) granulated sugar, optional
  • 56 grams (4 tablespoons, ½ stick) unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces
  • 320 grams (1 ⅓ cups, 320 milliliters) buttermilk, cold



  1. Position the oven rack to the center position. Preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C).
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Measure out your ingredients.

To Make the Bread:

  1. In a large mixing bowl whisk together the all-purpose flour (360 grams, 3 cups), salt (1 teaspoon), baking soda (1 teaspoon), and sugar (if using- 50 grams, ¼ cup).
  2. Add the cold butter (56 grams, 4 tablespoons) to the bowl and cut through the flour mixture. To do this, press down on the fat with the wires of the pastry blender or the tines of a fork as you move it around the bowl. Continue cutting the fat into the flour until it is all about the size of pebbles and the mixture looks like a coarse meal.
  3. Add the cold buttermilk (320 grams, 1 ⅓ cup) and stir using a rubber spatula to stir until a soft dough forms.
  4. Liberally flour a work surface and transfer the dough to it. Flour the top of the dough and your hands. Gather it together into one mass.
  5. Knead the dough gently a few times by pushing it forward with the heals of your hands and then bringing it back toward you and folding it over itself until you have a more cohesive dough. Only spend about 30 seconds on this to not overwork the gluten.
  6. Transfer the dough to the prepared pan and shape it into a disk that is about 2.5-inches (6 cm) thick.
  7. Use a sharp knife to cut a deep X across the dough, going almost all the way through to the pan.
  8. Bake for 26-30 minutes, until deep golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean from the center.
  9. Brush melted butter over the top if desired.
  10. Soda bread is best eaten warm from the oven. However, leftover bread can be wrapped in foil or plastic wrap once cooled and stored at room temperature for up to 2 days. Refresh in the oven for a few minutes to re-warm.


Flavor Variation Ideas

  • “Brown Bread” Soda Bread: Reduce the all-purpose flour to 180 grams (1 ½ cups) and add 150 grams (1 ¼ cups) whole wheat flour. Toss 50 grams (½ cup) rolled oats in the flour/butter mixture before adding in the buttermilk. Brush the top with a bit of buttermilk and sprinkle with a few more oats before baking.
  • Currant and Caraway (this is a very traditional Irish combination): Use the sugar in the recipe. Stir in 1 tablespoon caraway seeds and 150 grams (1 cup) of currants (or raisins) before adding in the buttermilk.

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    51 Comments on “Soda Bread Recipe”

  1. CandaceReply

    Can’t wait to make this when we celebrate St Patrick’s Day (early, this Friday!). Love your No Knead Skillet Bread. My daughter and I make that recipe all the time!

    • Baker BettieReply

      Oh let me know how it goes! It is definitely a little different than the no-knead bread. More scone like. But so delicious!

  2. CandaceReply

    Hi Bettie, we loved it. Our guests devoured it. Crisp on the outside, and soft on the inside. Not one bite left. Some people had 3-4 pieces! Another keeper! 5 stars (new comment so I could leave a rating!)

    • Kristin "Baker Bettie" HoffmanReply

      So great to hear! Thanks so much, Candace!

  3. BrunaReply

    Hello! Ive tried other sour bread recipes before, after being able to eat it while traveling around Ireland. Yours was the only one to replicate that amazing flavor! I used 2 cups of wholewheat to 1 of plain flour and followed the recipe as written and it turned out great! I’m so happy I can finally have a piece of Irish sour bread whenever I want. Thank you!!

    • Kristin "Baker Bettie" HoffmanReply

      Wow Bruna! What a compliment! Thank you so much for your feedback. I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

  4. maryReply

    question: my dutch oven is 7 quart. what kind of allowance should i make? thanks – can’t wait to make this!

    • BettieReply

      Hi Mary! The width difference of a 7 qt dutch oven isn’t enough that it should make that much of a difference! You should be okay to bake it as recommended.

      • maryReply

        that’s just the answer i was hoping for!!!!! thanks so much for responding.

        • BettieReply

          I hope you enjoy it!

  5. Maggie KennellyReply

    I just put it in the oven about 5 minutes ago. Is the dough supposed to be on the sticky side? I didn’t want to add more flour.

    • BettieReply

      Hi Maggie! Yes, it will be sticky!

      • tobyReply

        It would be great if some time you could post a picture or video of the dough consistency. I just took mine out of the oven this afternoon and haven’t tried it yet, but the dough consistency caused me some trepidation as well.

  6. Denise GlassReply

    Did you preheat the dutch oven while the oven was heating? Or just place the dough into an unheated pan?

    • BettieReply

      Hi Denise! You do not need to preheat the dutch oven!

  7. MarleneReply

    This was the worst thing I have ever baked. Followed exact directions. No taste and after even baking longer than called for it still seemed unbaked.

    • BettieReply

      Hi Marlene! I’m so sorry to hear that you had issues with this bread! Since this is a tested recipe I’d love to help you troubleshoot. It sounds like possibly your oven is not heating up to temp. Do you by chance have an oven thermometer to check if your oven is actually reaching the set temperature? This is a common issue with ovens.

  8. SusanReply

    I can’t have dairy or yeast. I would love to try this bread being there is no yeast in it. Would it turn out if I substituted vegan butter and canned full-fat coconut milk?

    • BettieReply

      Yes you can Susan! However, you need to add some acidity so that the baking soda will activate. Measure out 1 tbsp of vinegar or lemon juice and then add enough coconut milk to equal 1 cup. Hope that helps!

      • GreerReply

        I’ve made this about 4 times now!! This is amazing!

  9. FAIL (baker, not the bread)Reply

    I don’t have high hopes for what I just put in the oven… the next time you make this could you take pictures of what the dough looked like when you were satisfied with it? I have no idea what soft or hard bread dough looks or feels like, so I just guessed. Sticky mess, not very uniform in texture. And the x just disappeared at the same time as the dough tried desperately to suck the knife into it. I manually separated the sections to keep the x there. Pretty sure I failed this, but I should have suspected it! I’ve never made any bread before, lol.

    • BettieReply

      Hi there! How did it turn out? I am actually working on adding video to all of my recipes, it will just take some time.

  10. RenataReply

    Hi Bettie,
    Does the buttermilk need to be at room temperature or can I use it straight from the fridge?

    • BettieReply

      Hi Renata, the recipe specifies cold for the butter and milk because it is what will help the bread rise and give it a flaky texture. You are essentially making one large biscuit. Anytime you cut fat into flour you want cold fat and cold liquid. Hope that helps!

  11. Linda SalisburyReply

    This is the 4th recipe I’ve tried and this recipe I s the winner! Baked the bread in a covered casserole dish. Delicious.

  12. Brenda HabersetzerReply

    Can this be made gluren free?

    • karlaReply

      I have this question too?

  13. RubyReply

    What can I substitute buttermilk with if I can’t find it especially during this lockdown times

    • JenniferReply

      Hi Ruby,

      Someone commented above about using Canned coconut Milk instead of buttermilk and the author said that was ok, just to add a tablespoon of acid (vinegar or lemon juice) to measuring cup and then fill to one cup with coconut milk…I’m guessing regular milk or even almond/soy milk would be fine as long as the tablespoon of acid is included

  14. JanuReply

    Hello from Michigan!
    So on lockdown I can’t get flour here! Ugh
    I have 1 bag left of Self Rising Flour.
    Do you have an equivalent or tweek to make this Irish Soda Bread?
    I’m excited to try it! I’m just not familiar with self rising flour! I just took it because it was the only bag of flour left!
    I knew I could probably find quick bread recipes to use it in. But I really want to try yours!
    Thanks so much!
    Stay well!

    • Baker BettieReply

      Hi there! You can make this with the self rising flour. You will just leave out the baking soda and reduce the salt to 1/2 tsp. Because you are using self rising flour, you can use either regular milk or buttermilk. Buttermilk isn’t required because the baking soda isn’t in it, rather it will have baking powder from the flour.

  15. Mariellen RoseReply

    My son and his family are gluten free. How does this work with gluten free 1:1 flour. It is expensive so I had to try and waste the flour. I love your site. I just found it.

  16. JenniferReply

    This was amazing and easy. I substituted oat milk – using a little over a TBSP of lemon juice and letting it sit 10 min. I also used 1.5 cup of sprouted whole wheat flour and 1.5 of white flour. Turned out amazing. Perfect crust, perfect inside. I almost made myself sick eating too much.

  17. GMJReply

    Just FYI your dutch oven you lisy on Amazon is currently NOT available. You may want to list a nother choice, so you can get the credit. I already own one BUT I am wondering is a cast Iron skillet eith heavy lid can be used. If so, which size. OR include baking times for 2 dizes if applicable

  18. GwennReply

    I’m trying to adapt a sweetened soda bread with raisins recipe to my Dutch oven and I like yours, but don’t want to mess it up (I’ve already messed up enough recipes, thank you). Recommendation?

    • Baker BettieReply

      You can add raisins and other mix-ins to this recipe with no problem!

  19. RobertReply

    Brilliant outcome. Have made lots of soda bread. This one is very good. I used 2 cups spelt flour, 1 cup rye, 1/2 cup plain flour and 200ml buttermilk(all I had!). The butter is the secret I think. Added some fennel seeds. Yummy.

    • Baker BettieReply


  20. BReply

    We had stew cooking but no bread so I searched quick bread recipes and was lucky enough to find yours! Zero experience baking bread and this turned out amazing. Perfect crust and density. Will be a new staple. Thank you 🙂

  21. cherryReply

    I would like to see easy Thanksgiving dinner for five people thanks

  22. BayleyReply

    Hi! Will this recipe work with bread flour instead of all-purpose (or a mix of the two)? Thanks!

    • Baker BettieReply

      I would suggest using all-purpose. But you can use a mixture if you really wanted to. It will be chewier and less light.

  23. Ellen Darrah-SchenkReply

    Is this baked in a dutch oven or on a baking sheet? The beginning of the instructions state “to line a baking sheet with parchment paper”, but some comments mention dutch ovens.

    • Baker BettieReply

      I baked it on a sheet pan but you could also use a dutch oven.

      • Ellen Darrah-SchenkReply

        Thanks so much for the reply.

  24. Nancy FrymanReply

    I have to say that this was the best soda bread I’ve ever made. Will definitely make this again.

    • Baker BettieReply

      So glad you like it!

  25. drewReply

    was this recipe modified recently? I remember a dutch oven being suggested with instructions but the only baking tool mentioned is the baking pan

  26. MarciaReply

    Can i bake this in a bread pan?
    Will it slice nicely?

    • Baker BettieReply

      You can! It will slice well but remember it’s a quick bread so it will be a bit crumbly- it’s not a soft sandwich bread.

  27. MarciaReply

    Can i use a loaf pan to make this bread? Or dies it gave to be s flat round?

Easy Irish Soda Bread Recipe, Authentic Soda Bread | Baker Bettie (2024)
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