Easy Irish Soda Bread Recipe (2024)

Easy Irish Soda Bread Recipe (1)

Each St. Patrick’s Day, our family looks forward to enjoying corned beef and cabbage for dinner, and, of course, we love our Irish Soda Bread with the meal. However, did you ever think about how soda bread became an Irish staple? Did you know that there are many different recipes available online? Well, I am going to share a brief history of soda bread, as well as an easy recipe that I make each year. I have no idea why I only make it once a year, though.

Brief History of Irish Soda Bread

Irish soda bread was not actually created by the Irish, It was made by Native Americans using soda ash (more commonly known as potash) as a leavening agent to makequick breadas they did not have anoventobakethe bread. Soda ash from the ashes of wood is the forerunner ofbaking sodaused today. Irish settlers in the early 1800s discovered this bread and brought the recipe home toIreland.

The Irish found soda bread to be a necessity due to their financial strife during the 1800s. Soda bread does not require many ingredients, and the ingredients were relatively cheap and easy to come by.Making Irish soda breadconsisted of “soft” wheat flour,baking soda,salt, and soured milk.

For Irish families that lived in isolated areas with limited access to cooking equipment, soda bread was an ideal recipe. Many lower-class citizens and farmhouse kitchens did not haveovens, so the bread was cooked in iron pots or on griddles over an open hearth, which gave the bread its signature densetexture, hardcrust, and slightly sourflavor. Soda bread’s uniquetextureis the result of the reaction between the acidic sour milk andbaking soda, which formed small bubbles of carbon dioxide in thedough.

Traditionally marked with a cross on the top, soda breadloaves got their signature appearance for superstitious reasons. Families believed if they cut a cross on the top of the bread that it would ward off evil and protect the household.

Similar toscones, which also have a hardcrustand densetexture, Irish soda bread was often eaten by Irish shepherds, travelers, and soldiers as it traveled and kept well while they were away from home.

Today, there is theSociety For the Preservation of Irish Soda Bread, an organization dedicated to protecting this national culinary treasure. They encourage people to get to know their Irish roots and learn to maketraditional Irish soda bread. While the basic ingredients have remained the same, many Irish families add their own extras likeraisins,caraway seeds, and honey.

How to MakeEasy Irish Soda Bread Recipe

This is a family tradition that I make everySt. Patrick’s Dayalong with our corned beef and cabbage! We love to eat our soda bread while it is still warm withKerrygold Pure IrishButter.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 1tablespoonofbakingpowder
  • 1teaspoonofsalt
  • 1teaspoonofbaking soda
  • 1/3 cupbutter
  • 2 cup seedlessraisins(optional)
  • 1tablespooncaraway seed
  • 1 1/2 cupbuttermilkor sour milk (you can add a touch ofwhite vinegarorlemon juiceto the milk)
  • 1large egg, beaten

Directions

  1. Blend thedry ingredients– flour, sugar,bakingpowder,salt, andbaking sodain alarge bowl.
  2. Cut in thebutteruntil the mixture resembles a coarse meal.
  3. Addbuttermilkand egg (andraisinsandcaraway seedsif you would like)
  4. Stir until blended.
  5. Knead on flour board until smooth (about 1 minute).
  6. Shapedough into 2 balls and place in 2 greased 8 in. round pans. If you have a cast-iron skillet, you can use it in place of the baking pans.
  7. Flatten to fill pans or skillet.
  8. Cut a deep cross on top of eachloaf.
  9. Bakeat 375 degrees for about 40 minutes or untilgolden brown.

I am sharing a printable pdf version of the recipe for my subscribers to print out and use while baking.

Simply click here to get the recipe.

I hope you enjoy making this easy Irish Soda Bread with your children. Thanks for pinning my Irish Soda Bread recipe for others to enjoy.

2022-03-21T09:09:29-06:0027 Comments

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27 Comments

  1. Easy Irish Soda Bread Recipe (14)

    Cecelia Dowdy 14/03/2012 at 6:44 pm - Reply

    I’ve never had Irish Soda Bread – not even sure what caraway seeds taste like. Sounds like an interesting recipe to try. Thanks for sharing.

    • Easy Irish Soda Bread Recipe (15)

      Mary Jo 01/03/2015 at 3:25 am - Reply

      If you have ever had/eaten Rye bread then you will have eaten caraway seeds.

      Caraway adds a warm and slightly biting flavor to rye bread as well as hearty Eastern European dishes such as goulash, sauerkraut and boiled potatoes Caraway seeds have a warm, sweet, and slightly peppery aroma when squeezed between index and thumb fingers. Its seeds are used extensively in European and Mediterranean cooking.

      In order to keep fragrance and flavor intact, caraway seeds are generally roasted gently under light heat and ground just before using them in a recipe.

      Caraway seeds, having similar in appearance as that of cumin, are crescent in shape, dark brown, with up to five stripes (ribs) running lengthwise

    • Easy Irish Soda Bread Recipe (16)

      Paula 05/03/2017 at 1:10 pm - Reply

      Don’t mind the Carraway seeds – Most Irish Folks don’t know what it is either 🙂

  2. Easy Irish Soda Bread Recipe (17)

    Jacqueline @ Deeprootsathome.com 23/03/2012 at 9:58 am - Reply

    Hello, Blessed Without A Doubt,
    Thank you for your visit today. I am always thankful to ‘meet’ new like-minded friends. I am blessed our paths crossed, and hope we will see each other lots in the months ahead.
    Blessings!

  3. Easy Irish Soda Bread Recipe (18)

    Jacqueline @ Deeprootsathome.com 23/03/2012 at 9:59 am - Reply

    I forgot to mention that this Irish soda bread looks terrific…copying the recipe 🙂

  4. Easy Irish Soda Bread Recipe (19)

    Cathleen Weber 28/02/2015 at 10:38 pm - Reply

    You cannot say this is traditional Irish Soda Bread if it doesn’t include caraway seeds. I have a recipe straight form my ancestors and I have been baking it for St. Patrick’s Day for the past 5 years.

    • Easy Irish Soda Bread Recipe (20)

      Jill 01/03/2015 at 5:26 pm - Reply

      Hi Cathleen,

      This recipe does contain caraway seeds.

      Jill

    • Easy Irish Soda Bread Recipe (21)

      Kelly Flynn 16/03/2016 at 9:54 am - Reply

      That’s interesting because there are many articles written on preserving traditional Irish Soda Bread Recipes and original recipes only included 4 ingredients, flour, soda, salt and buttermilk. I had my book club ladies over to my house last night and we were reading a book set in Ireland so I decided to make an Irish meal for them. I made a traditional Irish Soda Bread and I made a more modern one with raisins (very close to the recipe above, but not Caraway seeds) and several other ingredients in addition to the original 4. We liked both, but they were very different in terms of taste and texture. I’m sure there are recipes that are very old that contain caraway seeds, but really traditional Irish soda Bread doesn’t. The original soda bread recipe yielded a very rustic loaf. I read that using a whole wheat pastry flour would probably yield a more authentic loaf, but didn’t have it so used regular self rising white flour and the loaf was still very rustic looking, very dense, hard to cut, but really enjoyable. We noted that it might be very good toasted as it was so dense and crusty.

    • Easy Irish Soda Bread Recipe (22)

      Paula 05/03/2017 at 1:11 pm - Reply

      From Ireland and NEVER once ate bread of any description with Carraway seeds – But then again never had Corned Beef until i landed here so …….

      • Easy Irish Soda Bread Recipe (23)

        Jill 05/03/2017 at 5:51 pm - Reply

        A classic Irish soda bread doesn’t have raisins or caraway seeds. This is just the way my family has made it for generations.

  5. Easy Irish Soda Bread Recipe (24)

    Jcollie 17/03/2015 at 6:00 pm - Reply

    @Cathleen Weber.. Just a thought.. far be it from me to tell you that your ancestors from Ireland may have had just one of many authentic recipes for Irish Soda bread that used Caraway seeds. Having been born and raised there for 25 years I can tell you that every bannock of soda bread I ever ate ( most every week of my life ) had NO caraway seeds! I have however, come to enjoy them now that I live in America and have tried other variations. My husband.. eh… not so much! 😉

  6. Easy Irish Soda Bread Recipe (25)

    kristin 20/03/2015 at 12:43 pm - Reply

    Can the dough be made ahead of time and baked the next day?

    • Easy Irish Soda Bread Recipe (26)

      Jill 20/03/2015 at 3:59 pm - Reply

      Hi Krisitn,

      I have never tried it that way, but I don’t see why not. HTH!

  7. Easy Irish Soda Bread Recipe (27)

    Kelly 14/03/2016 at 8:33 pm - Reply

    Would egg whites be okay to use? Also, I have some unsweetened hemp milk I need to use up so I’m hoping adding vinegar to that will suffice. I’m making several loaves for a work “St Paddy’s/Birthday/Hooray our grant application is done” party. Thanks!

    • Easy Irish Soda Bread Recipe (28)

      Jill 15/03/2016 at 7:43 am - Reply

      I don’t see why not? I usually just make my buttermilk with milk and vinegar. Enjoy!

  8. Easy Irish Soda Bread Recipe (29)

    Maria 18/03/2016 at 4:33 pm - Reply

    I wish you a lovely St. Patrick’s Day celebration on Sunday with your children. May you sense His Presence with you in every moment of your day and I pray His protection, provision and peace surround you. Thank you for your lovely website and I look forward to trying this recipe. Maria

  9. Easy Irish Soda Bread Recipe (30)

    eviebrad 16/03/2017 at 10:51 am - Reply

    Baking now! I didn’t use caraway seeds only because of the denture issue… and used golden raisins. The dough came together perfectly and is smelling delicious!

    • Easy Irish Soda Bread Recipe (31)

      Jill 16/03/2017 at 11:33 am - Reply

      Enjoy! It’s wonderful. I love when people modify my recipes to fit their needs.

  10. Easy Irish Soda Bread Recipe (32)

    Kathy 19/03/2017 at 7:54 am - Reply

    Made this today. Very good and minus the caraway seeds. That flavor over powers. Will definitely be making again.

  11. Easy Irish Soda Bread Recipe (33)

    Kathleen 10/03/2018 at 12:47 am - Reply

    Traditional or not in Ireland, its traditional here in U.S. to have to raisins and caroway seeds in the bread and I love it! I’m sure I’d love it there real IRISH WAY too. But here in the U.S. we have American versions of ethnic foods. I guess its the food version of playing operater. ?

    • Easy Irish Soda Bread Recipe (34)

      Mili 16/03/2018 at 9:13 pm - Reply

      Exactly! I believe the caraway seeds are an Irish-American tradition from the late 1800s ish when Irish And Eatern European Jewish immigrant cultures mixed in the factories (caraway seeds playing a large part in Jewish Rye Loaves). So given that it was from at least 100 years ago it can still be traditional. Corned beef is actually traditional in the same way. Irish immigrants to America primarily began making corned beef in the US not Ireland (beef not being as affordable in Ireland at the time).

      On that note – I plan on baking this recipe and a traditional Irish recipe. Can’t wait to try both!

  12. Easy Irish Soda Bread Recipe (35)

    Jani 17/03/2018 at 4:08 pm - Reply

    Delicious! I love this recipe. I’ve made it many times. I don’t use caraway and I use cranberries (we don’t like raisins).

  13. Easy Irish Soda Bread Recipe (36)

    Gerri 02/11/2018 at 4:49 am - Reply

    Plain flour or self raising flour?

  14. Easy Irish Soda Bread Recipe (37)

    Tracy 18/03/2019 at 4:19 pm - Reply

    I made this but I. A sweeter version. Left out seeds and raisins and added chocolate chips and course sugar to the top. Delish! Great base dough recipe

  15. Easy Irish Soda Bread Recipe (38)

    Reneé Kailer 28/04/2020 at 5:23 pm - Reply

    What do you use to make the deep cuts in the top of the bread?

    • Easy Irish Soda Bread Recipe (39)

      Jill 29/04/2020 at 11:54 am - Reply

      I use a butter knife.

  16. Easy Irish Soda Bread Recipe (40)

    Vanessa 15/03/2021 at 6:39 pm - Reply

    Lost my recipe for Irish Soda Bread which I got from a great-grandma from Ireland. I’ve been searching for one that had results that were close, (and not dry/tough) without luck. It had both raisins and caraway seeds and butter.
    (Maybe it’s a regional thing)

    Anyway, this one looks like it fits the bill. Making it tomorrow. Will report on results.

Easy Irish Soda Bread Recipe (2024)
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