TRADITIONAL IRISH SODA BREAD — This Traditional Irish soda bread is made with just a few simple ingredients but bakes up into a beautiful, bakery quality loaf.
I’ve tried several recipes for Irish soda bread, and this Traditional Irish Soda Bread is by far my favorite. It bakes up into such a beautiful loaf that I can hardly believe it isn’t a yeast bread.
Even better, it’s so incredibly easy to make, especially if you’re impatient like me and don’t want to wait around for the dough to rise.
I was totally shocked at how good this was. Made this yesterday for St. Patrick’s day and was a little nervous by the short ingredient list. No butter? But it was amazing & everyone had more than one piece! ~ Lindsey
Seriously, you can have a gorgeous loaf of homemade bread on the table in about an hour, from start to finish.
The trick (or at least I’m assuming it’s the trick) is baking the bread with an inverted cake pan on top. I don’t know what kind of scientific baking magic that inverted pan creates.
I just know this recipe never fails me and I get a beautiful, bakery quality loaf of Irish soda bread every time.
My family loves this bread as much as I do. And nobody needs to know that you didn’t spend hours in the kitchen!
Like so many delicious breads, Irish Soda Bread is the product of a time when fancy ingredients weren’t available or affordable, so it’s made with only the most basic ingredients.
Legend has it that the cross was cut on the top before baking to ward off the devil and protect the household.
I have made this recipe three times. I have made it for our card group for a St. Patrick’s Day potluck with and without raisins. It was a big hit. Love the crispy crust. ~ Olivia
Irish soda bread often has raisins or dried currants in it, so feel free to add that if you’d like.
For some reason, I tend to only make this bread around St. Patrick’s Day, but it’s so simple and delicious I really ought to make it more often.
WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING ABOUT TRADITIONAL IRISH SODA BREAD
I made this bread this evening and it did not disappoint!! It makes a beautiful bread and tastes great!! I will be making this quite a bit! ~ Lori
Gorgeous bread – delicious! This is the second time I’ve made it and sent the recipe to a friend who is going to make it this weekend. ~ Tera
I just finished baking this bread. I toasted some dry rosemary and put that with the dry ingredients. Smells amazing and it turned out so pretty. Thank you for the recipe. It was super easy. ~ Jaime
Tried this recipe today, I was quite pleased. My husband thought it was tasty. I will make this again. ~ Peggy
I added about 1/3 cup sugar because I like it with a bit of sweetness. This came out PERFECT. Thank you!!! I will be using this every time!! ~ Amber
Be sure to save this Traditional Irish Soda Bread recipe to your favorite Pinterest board for later.
Here’s what you’ll need to make Traditional Irish Soda Bread
- Baking soda
Traditional Irish Soda Bread
Traditional Irish soda bread made with just a few simple ingredients.
- 4 cups flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 3/4 cups buttermilk
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease and flour a 9-inch round cake pan.
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt. Gradually stir in the buttermilk until the dough comes together in a slightly sticky ball.
- Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead gently a few times. Form the dough into a ball and then press into the prepared pan so that the dough resembles a large disk. The dough should reach the edges of the pan, but may spring back slightly.
- Cut an X into the dough with a sharp knife, about 1/4 of an inch deep. Cover the pan of dough with another round cake pan turned upside down.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, covered, then remove the top pan and bake uncovered for about 10 minutes more or until the crust is dark golden brown.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 249Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 682mgCarbohydrates: 50gFiber: 2gSugar: 3gProtein: 8g
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Who Dished It Up First: Adapted from Liz the Chef
That is one gorgeous loaf of bread! I have a recipe for a sweet Irish Soda Bread, but I have this one pinned to try soon. Thanks!
In the picture, it appears that at some point, you cut an X into the top of the dough – do you do this before all baking in the oven?
Yes Heidi, I did, and I totally forgot to mention that in the directions. I’m going to fix it now. Thanks!
It’s a cross not an X. Before baking, a cross is traditionally cut on the top of the soda bread loaf with a knife – often said to ward off the devil and to protect the household. But, since the republic of Ireland is mostly Catholic, the symbolism of the cross is blessing (crossing) the bread and giving thanks.
That’s a myth made up by the Catholic church the cross or x whatever you prefer is to insure an even bake .Also you don’t need a cake tin just mould and put on a tray.ps try one teaspoon of b/soda.
I agree. Should be 1 tsp baking soda otherwise there is a noticeable soda taste. Also I add a small handful of oatmeal to the batter.
It’s definitely a cross alright and it is a tradition in Ireland.
Yes it is a cross to bless the bread. IRISH tradition.
Yes… it is the sign of the cross. Irish blessing
Hari Chandana P
Wowww.. looks so delicious and awesome.. love the color 🙂
I also melt about 1/2 cup of butter before baking and our it over the dough and sprinkle some oats on top. It gives the crust a saty and crunchy crust.
Eric and Tabitha McCoy
Could you use regular milk or does it have to be buttermilk?
I was wondering this also
I used whole milk with a couple of tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. It worked great!
It needs to be buttermilk, because the acidity of the buttermilk will react with the baking soda and promote rising on the bread
If I don’t have butter milk I make imitation butter milk by adding vinegar. I’ve never had a problem. I just let the milk and vinegar sit on the counter for about an hour or so to work it’s magic before I start making anything I’m putting it in. Also, you can add a bit of whey to the mixture as well.
If you don’t have buttermilk make your own. I do this all the time, put 1TBLS of lemon juice in your 1 Cup measuring cup then fill with milk. Let it rest about 5 minutes so it curdles and you have buttermilk, sort of. You may double and triple and so on it is always 1 to 1. It works great.
Gina @ Kleinworth & Co.
I love that you made some too. We are so on the same page.
How are you doing with the fires?? Seems all too familiar & way to early in the season for this. Although I heard it’s already 90 degrees at our old place- so it looks like it might be a long hot summer. Hope you are doing okay. Thinking about you all.
Awesome! Thanks for posting this!
I just made some on St. Patrick’s Day and I always add green food coloring to make it a little more festive! 🙂 You can see mine at SanBriego.com
I will have to try the green food coloring. My kids would love it!
Ann G Rasmus
Easy Peasy Bread 😉 Thanks 😉 Can’t wait for making it again…;)
Hi. This may be a stupid question but do you use self-rising flour for this recipe?
Nope, just regular all-purpose flour. Not a stupid question though. 🙂
Self-rising flour is basically a mixture of flour, baking powder and salt. I make it myself rather than buying two separate types of flour (plus it has fewer additives that way). I was originally thinking that self-rising flour could replace the flour, soda and salt, but since it’s made with baking powder rather than baking soda, I would be careful about trying it (though it is also possible to replace baking soda with baking powder and vice versa in the correct ratio).
I just made this to make our 5th anniversary a little more special. I added a couple of handfuls of dried cranberries when combining the dry ingredients. It is so good!!!
Just wondering what size round pan did you use?
When I made this a few days ago I used a cake pan. Actually, I used two. One was the pan I put the dough in, and then I laid the other over that pan like a domed cover for the part of baking that needed a cover. It worked!
So it doesn’t have to be two cake pans? I’m wondering if I could bake this in a covered round Pyrex baking dish.
It shouldn’t matter. The important thing is to cover the dough without being tight against the dough. That is why the 2 cake pans worked. It was easy for me to use 2 cake pans because I keep them all stacked together. If I had my cast iron handy, I would have probably used a skillet and a pot lid. The vessel is not as important as the idea of keeping the moisture in until you are ready to brown the top.
Perfect, thanks! I will be making the bread on Monday as part of a St. Patrick’s Day meal for friends – I can’t wait to try it!
I need to make soda bread for dinner on st paddys day for 25 people how many soda breads do you think I’ll need
I am not sure what I did wrong, but my dough was a sticky wet mess! I wonder where I went wrong? I added almost a whole extra cup of flour and I still couldn’t get it to form into a ball…it is in the over right now, I’m afraid to see how it turns out!
How did it turn out?
It was just ok…was much darker than in the picture, was pretty dense and salty. I didn’t really care for it much.
Andrea did you substitute the kosher salt for regular? If so you may want to cut back by half next time.
I Made it using Barley flour that I recently made from hulled Barley, it was very good.. I haven’t tried it with regular flour so not sure the tasted difference. It was moist, dense. My husband said it reminded him of some breads he’s had in Germany. I would make it again. My husband has diabetes and barley is very good for people with this disease.
I think the cooking time and overall time forgot to mention the 30 minutes where the bread cooks with the lid on, so the cook time is 40 minutes and the overall time is an hour. The bread was nice and reminded me of buttermilk pancakes, which is the only other buttermilk thing I think I have eaten.
Hi! I just made this and the color looks great, but my “X” is still pretty intact.. It didn’t spread like the photo of yours and of most Irish Soda Bread I’ve seen. Any idea why? And is this a bad thing? 🙂
It is just a matter of how deep you cut your cross. Don’t be scared to cut it in a bit deeper next time and fairly wide. I also dab the knife in every section to let the fairies out!
You didn’t adapt this recipe – it IS my recipe.
I know that’s probably a little distressing, but at least she mentioned you at all?
Does it really matter? There isn’t anything “traditional” about this soda bread.
Though technically it is changed, as you have 1 teaspoon of baking powder and she has doubled the amount to 2 teaspoons.
Do you use AP flour or can you use bread flour?
I think either one would be fine Kitty.
Just made this with half white flour and half wheat and it is delicious. I live in the mountains so I reduced the baking soda by half.
Happy St. Patrick’s day! Just made this bread exactly as the recipe states. PERFECT! thanks for sharing
Awesome! Thank you Victoria. 🙂
happt St Patrick’s Day! Just made it and it’s Fabulous! Thank you .
This is in the oven now! I’ve made soda bread many times, but never with a cover, so will be curious to see how it comes out? Wish I could include a picture
just took bread from oven. Hopefully it tastes as good as it looks. Part of the Irish feast I’m making for my wonderful wife of 42 years.
Can you use a Cast iron pan with a lid
Yes, I do. Just preheat it with the oven. It works great.
Made this for st Patrick’s day. I’ve made my mother in laws recipe before which is very sweet and delicious but never made it this traditional way. I used this except recipe except that I added about 1/3 cup sugar because I like it with a bit of sweetness. This came out PERFECT. Thank you!!! I will be using this every time!!
I’m definitely going to try it with the sugar. That sounds wonderful! Thanks so much Amber! 🙂
I plan on making this with our belated Irish Braised Corned Beef dinner I have in the oven right now…only, I’m going to add some caraway seeds to mine…I hope my bread comes out with this beautiful color!
My loaf came out gorgeous and it was so delicious
Just made this bread to go with my Irish Stew. Will never make it again. Not a good recipe. All I can say without being nasty.
Tried this recipe today, I was quite pleased. My husband thought it was tasty. I will make this again.
Thanks so much Peggy!
This looks beautiful; I’ll be having a go at this very soon. It seems so crazy that people don’t try making this at home, in London a loaf of soda bread is nearly £4 in most bakers; and this has to be healthier.
Thanks James. Hope you enjoy it!
Our family recipe is much like this, but only 1 tsp of baking soda and 2 cups of buttermilk. You CAN make this with the milk and vinegar mixture, but actual buttermilk has a much nicer consistency. I tend to add more flour as I’m kneading it (until it feels like a baby’s bahookie, aka bum), which might be why we use 2 cups of buttermilk. I sometimes add caraway seeds, or fruit, but actually, with Irish soda bread, the simpler the better. I’ve made it with both white flour and whole wheat flour. Both turned out well.
OMG I was totally shocked at how good this was. Made this yesterday for St. Patrick’s day and was a little nervous by the short ingredient list. No butter? But it was amazing & everyone had more than one piece! Thank you Danelle for sharing this great recipe!
Thanks Lindsey! I was really surprised the first time I made it too. 🙂
Tried this and mine was a dense flavorless lump! Not sure where I went wrong. :/
Just made this and it came out almost perfect. And I say almost just because I pulled it few minutes early because it was my first time trying this particular recipe and ovens vary. Will leave in for an extra few minutes next time. Great recipe, thanks for sharing 🙂
You’re welcome! Thank you. 🙂
Hi! Tried soda bread first time.. didn’t know what to expect as I never tasted it before. But yeah it came out very dense. I substituted milk wi coupla tsp of lemon juice for buttermilk. I inverted a pan larger than the pan I cooked in to cover it. Where do you think I went wrong
It’s really hard to say. It is a more dense loaf of bread, but I’m not sure what went wrong.
Mine came out very dense n inedible. .. though it wasn’t raw
Wow, was this a success!
Never made it before, but was asked to bring it to a corned beef potluck.
Used a Pyrex casserole dish with a lid. Exact amount of cooking time.
So glad to hear that! Thank you!
I haven’t made this yet…but I was noticing some of the comments about it not turning out well. Not sure if this is why…but I learned, the hard way, that you HAVE to spoon flour into measuring cup for breads. You can scoop & pack as you can with some baked items. It can cause it to be way too dense, as some of these have complained about. My understanding is that spooning the flour into measuring cup is a completely different measurement than packed, being that it is powder. Makes sense. And I trusted the bakers who explained it to me.
I meant “can’t scoop” as you can with other baked items.
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What would the conversion be for high-altitude? I have high-altitude flour, but based on other comments that might mess up the recipe. Any guidance? Also, would two 9″ pie pans work the same as two 9″ cake pans?
I am at high-altitude (Colorado) and the recipe as written works fine for me. I haven’t tried using pie pans, but I think it would work–there just may not be as much room for the bread to expand, depending on how deep your pie pans are.
It works! I mixed in a KitchenAid stand mixer with bread hook and followed the cooking directions using two cake pans. I did not have fresh buttermilk on hand so I substituted 7 TBS powdered buttermilk and 1 3/4 cup water. I used unbleached bread flour. This is a super easy recipe and the taste is perfect.
I was wondering if you could use a Dutch oven instead of the 2 9” pans? I have the cake pans, I just want to find more bread recipes I can use with my Dutch oven
Try the Homemade Dutch Oven Bread from Tasty!
You can, just preheat it with the oven. Then butter (or oil) the pan, proceed as usual.
I always use a Dutch oven for my soda bread. It turns out wonderfully. I spray it with cooking spray to keep the bread from sticking.
I have made this recipe three times. I have made it for our card group for a St. Patricks Day potluck with and without raisins. It was a big hit. Last time I made just plain soda bread and my husband said where are the raisins. Have a loaf in the oven now with raisins. Love the crispy crust. In Texas, they don’t know what crispy crust is. I will try other loaves of bread with crispy crusts.
Second time making. Enjoyed the first time a lot but still not getting the expected sticky ball that is easily moved for kneeding. Can anyone advise what I might be missing with the mixing or what not? Seems like it mixes very clumpy. Thanks!
Ursula Stevens [Rebecca’s daughter]
Looks great!! Bottom crust is hard. Really good with butter or jam!!
Best bread ever!! You should try it with plum jam or butter. Looks exactly how it should.
We put flax seed meal in with the flour. I’m going to try to toast it.
I love mine with Caraway seeds, how much should I add and would I need to add anything else if adding caraway seeds? Thank you!
I’ve never added caraway…..I honestly don’t know.
Nicole, 2 tsp caraway seeds. Love mine with both caraway and raisins.
Hi there I just finished baking this bread. I toasted some dry rosemary and put that with the dry ingredients. Smells amazing and it turned out so pretty. I will taste it in a few hours when family dinner goes down. Thank you for the recipe. It was super easy
Gorgeous bread – delicious! This is the second time I’ve made it and sent the recipe to a friend who is going to make it this weekend.
I made this bread this evening and it did not disappoint!! It makes a beautiful bread and tastes great!! I will be making this quite a bit!
It was easy and quick, I was able to do it myself. Very delicious and aromatic. My daughter loves it very much
How would you adjust this recipe for high altitude? (5,000 ft.)
I am at 4500 feet and the recipes works great for me as written, so you should be good.
My family loves this bread as much as I do. And nobody needs to know that you didn’t spend hours in the kitchen!
wow. Your food looks very delicious and beautiful. I will make my daughter a small meal. He would love it.
I will contact you after it’s done.
Look yummy! One of my favorite Traditional Irish soda bread, nice to see your recipe, easy to follow, will cook this for family this weekend. Thanks you!
Wow! I’ve tried to make bread before, with terrible results, but this came out great! Since we’re in quarantine, ingredients are limited, so not needing yeast was definitely a plus!
This was really good. My husband thought I made a yeast bread. It’s got nice texture. I’d even use it for sandwiches. I gave it to my sister who didn’t want to go to the store because of this Covid-19 & was out of bread & had no yeast. She was so grateful. They love it as much as we do. Thank you for the recipe!
Wonderful! I’ve had trouble finding yeast as well.
Danelle, I was wondering what type of flour you used for this. I have been trying to make different breads during the lockdown and this is next on my list.
I just used regular, all-purpose flour. It’s a pretty forgiving recipe though, so probably most any kind would work.
Made this today! Just pulled it out of the oven and it’s cooling before we try it! Looks incredible and smells amazing! I rubbed butter on the top and sprinkled with sugar. Can’t wait to try it!
Awesome recipe, thank you (very simple, comes out perfect each time)! Family keeps asking me to bake again. I’ve made your version twice and will do again tonight. I do add some sugar since I have a teenage boy. I also brush some of the leftover buttermilk on the top before I bake it.
Can you tell me please is 1 & 3/4 of a cups of buttermilk or 1 3/4 cup of buttermilk I find it easier when it’s in weight measurement but would love to give this recipe a try looks delicious
Idk if you’re still interested, but it is 1 and 3/4ths cups of buttermilk. So, 1 cup, plus an additional 3/4ths of a cup.
Made this for my family last night – the bread was definitely a winner!!
I’ve made this a million times but I used a new butter milk today and I couldn’t get it to form right. It’s in the oven anyway. I just hope it turns out okay…
Coming from an Irish chef this is not our traditional”soda bread”at all!!
Looks lovely and I’m sure it is though haha
Been making soda bread for years!! Thus recipe is in the mark. Remember to knead a few times 1st. Make a difference with warm water. Italian seasoning (i use fresh fennel and caraway as well but not much). Add a few cloves mucked garlic. Hell use whatever herbs you like!! Always comes out incredible. Use the toothpick trick if its cooked. If not? Keep it in the oven lol
I love this recipe! Great for a wee snack with jam. I also have a recipe for Christmas Irish Soda bread. I add some mixed peel and a few currents. Yummy and so easy for breakfast.
For once, a bread recipe that comes out looking like the picture – yay! I do wonder, however, if a little more leaven would make it rise just a bit more? Also, my “cross” didn’t spread out either, even though I made sure to cut at least 1/4″ deep. Whenever there is an ethnic recipe posted called “traditional”, there are always people who say that it’s not – that their family has the “real” one. It doesn’t seem to occur to them that these recipes, by definition, have been around for generations and that in that time everyone has made their own version of it. Therefore, one version is as authentic as another. You can take your choice. In this case. even though I’m not Irish, I think this is the original baseline recipe simply because of it’s few ingredients. The Irish historically, whether home in Ireland or here in the US, were often poor people who could not afford a lot of ingredients. Gussie it up all you want but please stop the carping. This an excellent chewy bread – the kind I like!
i have to said this i love your irish soda i make this bread every st patrick’s day we love it even more it taste so good my family enjoy it
Wonder if you could make this with gluten free all purpose flour? I might try that today.