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Irish Soda Bread

Scott Phillips

Yield: Yields 1 large loaf

Servings: 8

Soda bread has been an Irish household staple since baking soda became commercially available in the early 19th century. It uses just four ingredients that most people kept on hand: flour, salt, baking soda, and buttermilk (raisins and caraway seeds are an American addition). A real soda bread is a simple loaf with a beautifully browned, craggy crust and a nice chew, best eaten liberally smeared with salty Irish butter.


  • 1 lb. (3-1/2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour; more as needed
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. table salt
  • 1-1/2 to 1-3/4 cups buttermilk

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 220
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 10
  • Fat (g): 1
  • Saturated Fat (g): 0
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 0
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 0
  • Cholesterol (mg): 0
  • Sodium (mg): 310
  • Carbohydrates (g): 45
  • Fiber (g): 2
  • Protein (g): 7


  • Position a rack in the center of the oven and cook’s tip heat the oven to 450°F. Lightly flour a large rimmed baking sheet.
  • Sift all of the dry ingredients into a large, wide mixing bowl. Make a well in the center and pour in 1-1/2 cups of the buttermilk. Stir with one hand, fingers apart, moving in circles to incorporate the buttermilk into the dry ingredients. If necessary, add more buttermilk 1 Tbs. at a time until the dough just barely comes together. (The absorption rate varies depending on the brand of flour.) The dough should be soft—don’t overwork it.
  • Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface and pat into a round about 6-3/4 inches in diameter and 1-1/2 inches high in the center. Invert the round so the floured side is on top. With a thin, sharp knife, score a cross on the dough about 1/4 inch deep and extending fully from one side to the other.
  • Transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 400°F and bake until the bread is browned and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom, another 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Cool to room temperature on a rack, about 2 hours, before slicing and serving.

Though it’s not traditionally Irish, you can add 3 oz. raisins with the dry ingredients, or experiment with add-ins like freshly chopped herbs, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, caramelized onions, or chocolate chips.


Rate or Review


  • Memapq | 03/17/2017

    I've never had an authentic soda bread before, my husband and I absolutely love this bread. Thank you so much for sharing. This was so easy to make and will be made more than just on st. Patrick's day. I have a picture and will try to upload it.

  • KawaiiGuyy | 06/07/2015

    This is a great one for sure. Super easy, not finicky, and came out beautiful even the first time. Mine did not seem as tall as the photo but I think mine was patted out a lil too far, but otherwise came out just as the photo. I put 3/4 salt and with salted butter it was perfect. Mine looked just like the picture. I have had and made this before and if your recipe calls for anything other than these 4 ingredients then its not traditional, if you are wanting to stick to tradition this one is perfect. You can use cornmeal on your baking sheet or stone for a different crust effect. If your loaf comes out too smooth you are probably working it too much, the less you fuss with it the more craggy it will be. If yours came out gummy either too much milk or you didn't let it cool to room temp first, this is so important with breads. Keep trying and enjoy!

  • Emilee | 03/17/2015

    This is the BEST Irish Soda Bread! It is truly Irish. Not Americanized at all. If you don't like this bread then you don't know TRUE Irish Soda bread!!!

  • user-4628217 | 03/03/2015

    This is very good bread! Would be perfect to eat with soup or stew. I don't mean to sound rude, but if someone made this and thought it was too bland or boring, maybe they didn't make it exactly right. I followed instructions closely and my bread tastes devine.

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