Irish Soda Bread

In the weeks leading up to St. Patrick’s Day we devour Irish Soda Bread at an alarming rate in my house! Such a loved favorite it is I have to bake it myself to keep up with the demand.

The soda in the name comes from the baking soda used as a leavener in the simple quickbread batter made from whole wheat and white flour, eggs, raisins, buttermilk and a touch of sugar.

It has a slightly sweet, nutty flavor that is delicious toasted with butter or cream cheese and jam for breakfast. I know of no better accompaniment for a bowl of soup or a hearty stew.

In this version I used all white whole wheat flour and swapped out half the golden raisins for dried cranberries. My preference is to use half whole wheat and half white flours, but it is quite adaptable to any kind or combination of flours you prefer. Use any type of dried fruit you like or omit it entirely. I’ve seen some with caraway seeds and even one with sun-dried tomatoes in it.

The bread dries out fairly quickly so plan on eating it in a day or two, although toasting it easily takes care of that. If your family is anything like mine it won’t be around long enough.

I love the rustic look of the craggy, crackly crust!

Irish Soda Bread

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 1 loaf

Irish Soda Bread

A rustic, whole wheat Irish quickbread studded with raisins and cranberries, a favorite for St. Patrick's Day.


2 cups whole wheat or white whole wheat flour
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
4 tbsp. butter
1 cup raisins or dried cranberries (or a mix)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 + 1/2 cups buttermilk


  1. Preheat oven to 425° F. Into a large mixing bowl sift the flours, sugar, salt, and baking soda together.
  2. Use a pastry cutter or two knives scissor fashion to cut butter into flour mixture, until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in raisins, breaking them apart with your fingers if needed.
  3. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture; add beaten egg and buttermilk; mix in with a wooden spoon until dough is too stiff to stir. Dust hands with a little flour, then gently knead dough in the bowl just long enough to form a rough ball. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and shape into a round loaf.
  4. Transfer dough to a large, lightly greased cast-iron skillet or a baking sheet. Using a serrated knife, score top of dough about 1/2'' deep in an "X" shape. Bake until bread is golden and bottom sounds hollow when tapped with a knife, 35-40 minutes. Cool on wire rack. Serve bread warm, at room temperature, or sliced and toasted.


Adapted from Saveur


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  1. says

    I love the color on the top of your loaf. Soda bread was one of those things that confused me for so long because it has the look and the method (wlth all the kneading) of a yeast bread but the ingredient list of something more like a quick bread. I’ve never made it but I love the sound of swapping in some cranberries. Yum.

  2. says

    I can always count on you for bread and soup! It is raining and definitely a “bread” day. Irish Soda Bread from Reeni – here I come!

  3. says

    I remember eating a lot of awful stale dry Irish soda bread in school for St. Patrick’s day when I was a kid…but this looks like the opposite of that! Moist and full of fun mix-ins…and addictive. I wouldn’t be able to only eat it at breakfast, that’s for sure!

  4. says

    I’ll say it one more time, nothing can beat up the smell of a baking bread at home! The smell is totally seductive and when I bake I sit almost at the entire time in front of the oven waiting for the bread to come out and devour it! This one wouldn’t have lasted for long in my house Reeni!

  5. says

    This has to be one of the nicest and tastiest Irish Bread I have seen in a long time; perfect for this week.

  6. says

    I didn’t know that irish soda bread was typical for St. Patrick’s Day. I’ve always been curious to try it, but I never did it. Your bread is wonderful, so rustic and rich with a crunchy crust. Great ^_^ Bye bye dear, have a good week

  7. says

    Your family is so lucky! I’ve never tried Irish Soda Bread but I’d love to try some of yours! I like the idea of having dried cranberries in it too. Yum!

    Scritches and cuddles to Moon!

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