Irish Soda Bread Recipe

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Learn how to make the best traditional Irish soda bread! This savory bread is the perfect quick bread that can be made with minimal effort and time.

Irish Soda Bread

I’ve been trying so hard to recreate my Grandma’s soda bread recipe, and I think I’ve finally done it! I’m so excited to share this recipe with all of you.

One of my favorite things about soda bread is how easy it is. Bread making can be a little intimidating to some people, but this is the perfect from scratch bread recipe for even the most novice baker.

An overhead image of a loaf of soda bread on a cooling rack.

What Is Soda Bread?

Soda bread is an easy quick bread recipe that relies on baking soda interacting with the acid in buttermilk to create the leavening. There’s no yeast or proofing required, so it’s a great recipe for weeknight dinners.

A delicious savory variation includes adding some freshly grated cheddar and a bit of rosemary!

There are also really popular variations of sweet soda bread that include raisins, butter, egg, and sugar. It’s a totally different recipe though, so this savory soda bread isn’t really interchangeable with a sweet soda bread recipe base. You probably could add up to 1/3 cup of raisins though if you really want to.

A sliced soda bread loaf against a red and white napkin.

What Does It Taste Like?

It is a bit more dense than a traditional yeast loaf of bread, but it tastes like real bread with a nice rustic crust. It’s nothing like banana bread (which is so much more cake than bread).

A process collage showing dry ingredients for bread and what it looks like after wet ingredients.

How To Make It

This recipe is so much simpler than a traditional yeast bread recipe. All you have to do is whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together, stir in the buttermilk, and lightly bring the flour together in the shape of a loaf.

After that you’ll cut an x shaped slit in the top of the loaf, then bake it at a higher temperature for 10 minutes, followed by a lower temperature for 35 – 40 minutes.

I like to bake mine on an ungreased and floured cookie sheet because it’s the easiest for me, but it’s also popular to make this in a cast iron skillet or Dutch oven.

A process collage showing forming bread into a ball and cutting an x shape in the top.

How To Tell When It’s Finished Baking

You can tell if it’s cooked all the way through by inserting a toothpick in the center of the loaf. If it comes out clean, it’s finished baking.

You can also use an instant-read thermometer. Soda bread is finished when it reaches an internal temperature of 180 F (82 C).

How Long Does It Last?

It’s really best the day that it’s made, especially within the first few hours. It will last for up to 2 – 3 days though, just be sure to wrap it tightly in plastic wrap.

What Do You Eat It With?

I use it anywhere I’d use a slice of really rustic bread. It’s great slathered with jam and butter, dunked in a hearty Irish stew, or on its own. It’s also the perfect side dish on St. Paddy’s Day with some corned beef and cabbage seasoned with your own DIY corned beef spice packet.

It’s not what I’d recommend for sandwiches though, so I really think of it more as a side dish than a main star.

An overhead image of a loaf of soda bread on a white background.

Why Is It Crumbly?

Soda bread will be crumbly if you use too much flour and not enough liquid. Even though the dough can feel wet when you’re handling it, don’t use additional flour even if you’re tempted to.

Can You Use Yogurt Instead of Buttermilk?

Yes, you can, but the end result will be a lot more dense and chewy. It’s still good, but it’s a little more similar to a bagel in texture than to bread. Just be sure to use plain unsweetened Greek yogurt – that’s what I’ve had the best luck with.

A torn hunk of soda bread next to a buttered slice.

How To Make It Vegan

To make it dairy free, you’ll need to substitute the buttermilk with a plant based alternative. My vegan buttermilk recipe would work great here. That substitute more resembles a sour milk, which is a milk mixed with an acid (like apple cider vinegar or lemon juice).

How To Make It Gluten Free

To make gluten free soda bread, I’d recommend following a gluten free specific recipe. I think this one would be a bit more complicated than simply swapping the flour. Additions of xantham gum or egg would probably be needed for binding power.

An overhead image of a partially sliced soda bread loaf.

Keep In Touch

I’d love to hear what you thought of this recipe in the comments or on Instagram! @KeyToMyLime #KeyToMyLime

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Yield: 1 loaf

Irish Soda Bread Recipe

An Irish soda bread loaf with sliced pieces of bread.

Learn how to make the best traditional Irish soda bread! This savory bread is the perfect quick bread that can be made with minimal effort and time.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (gently scooped and leveled)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 3/4 cups buttermilk

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 425 F (218 C).
  2. Prepare a baking sheet dusted with flour.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking soda. Add in the buttermilk and stir until it is just starting to come together (as few strokes as possible so you don’t overwork the dough).
  4. Place the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Sprinkle the top lightly with flour. Fold the dough in on itself until it turns into a loose ball (as little folds as possible so you don’t overwork the dough). It should be a very rustic ball (expect it to look raggedy or shaggy - it definitely shouldn't be a smooth ball).
  5. Transfer it to the floured baking sheet (you may need to use a dough scraper or spatula to help you lift it). Use a sharp knife to cut a 1” deep “x” into the top of the dough ball.
  6. Bake for 10 minutes.
  7. Turn the temperature down to 375 F (190 C) and bake for an additional 35 to 40 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown.

Notes

The most important thing with this recipe is not to overwork the dough! Really do your best to work it into a ball with as few movements as possible.

You can tell if it's cooked all the way through by inserting a toothpick in the center of the loaf. If it comes out clean, it's finished baking. You can also use an instant-read thermometer. Soda bread is finished when it reaches an internal temperature of 180 F (82 C).

Nutrition Information:

Serving Size:

1/12

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 147Total Fat: 0.7gCarbohydrates: 29.5gNet Carbohydrates: 28.4gFiber: 1.1gProtein: 4.9g

Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.

DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?

Tag @KeyToMyLime on Instagram so we can see your delicious meal!

Try making this easy and delicious Irish Soda Bread recipe!

An Irish soda bread loaf with sliced pieces of bread.

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