Chef's Traditional Irish Soda Bread Recipe for St. Patrick's Day (7 Ingredients) by Chef Gigi

Chef's Traditional Irish Soda Bread Recipe for St. Patrick's Day (7 Ingredients)

On St. Patrick's Day, it's a tradition to serve Irish soda bread. But you don't have to be Irish to enjoy this lovely bread, and you don't have to wait until St. Patrick's Day!

Irish soda bread is a beautiful, humble and quick bread that does not require any yeast. Instead, all of its leavenings come from baking soda and buttermilk. My Nan taught us kids how to bake it in a coffee can, but now I prefer a cast iron skillet for more rustic flavor and to keep it from spreading out too much. But, a cake pan works perfectly, too.

All you need to make this traditional Irish soda bread recipe is all-purpose flour, granulated sugar, buttermilk, egg, baking soda, salt and unsalted butter. The raisins are optional (but delicious). 

Did you run out of buttermilk? No problem. Using cold, manufactured buttermilk is best. The bread will not rise without it. Make a homemade version if you don't have any buttermilk (see Recipe Notes).

Serve this easy Irish soda bread recipe warm or toasted with lots of creamy homemade butter. Make this bread part of your St. Patrick's day menu along with colcannon, some corned beef and cabbage and, of course, Irish apple cake. You'll want to taste the luck of the Irish all year 'round!

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Cuisine: Irish
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour and 25 minutes
Servings: 10


  • 1 3/4 cups buttermilk
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for your hands and counter
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cubed
  • 1 cup raisins (optional)

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Recipe Notes

  • If you prefer your bread without raisins, it's OK to not include them. 
  • Want to make your own buttermilk? Here's how: Add 1 tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar to a liquid measuring cup. Add enough cold milk (whole milk is best) to make 1 3/4 cups. Whisk together, then let it sit for 5 minutes before using in the recipe. You now have buttermilk!
  • Store leftover bread in an airtight container.

Here's how to make it:

  1. Generously grease a seasoned 10- to 12-inch cast iron pan or a 9- to 10-inch cake pan.
  2. In a mixing bowl, whisk the buttermilk and egg together. Set aside.
  3. Whisk the flour, granulated sugar, baking soda and salt together in a large mixing bowl. Cut in the butter using a pastry cutter, a fork or fingers until the butter is in pea-sized crumbs. Stir in the raisins, if using. Add the buttermilk mixture and gently fold the dough until it is too stiff to stir. Pour crumbly dough onto a clean, lightly floured work surface.
  4. With clean, floured hands, work the dough into a ball as best you can, then knead for about 30 seconds or until all the flour is moistened. If the dough is too sticky, add a bit of flour. Transfer the dough to the pan. Using a sharp knife, score a 1/2-inch deep X into the top. 
  5. Bake in a preheated 400-degree F oven until the bread is golden brown and the center appears cooked through, about 45 to 55 minutes. Loosely tent the bread with aluminum foil if you notice heavy browning on top. For an accurate test, bread is done when an instant-read thermometer reads 190 degrees F. Remove from the oven and allow the bread to cool for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving

Calories: 260

Total Fat: 6.1g

Saturated Fat: 3.7g

Cholesterol: 32mg

Sodium: 394mg

Total Carbohydrate: 42.9g

Dietary Fiber: 1.7g

Total Sugars: 5.2g

Protein: 6.8g

Vitamin D: 2mcg

Calcium: 25mg

Iron: 2mg

Potassium: 33mg

Recipe cooking times, nutritional information and servings are approximate and provided for your convenience. However, 30Seconds is not responsible for the outcome of any recipe, nor may you have the same results because of variations in ingredients, temperatures, altitude, errors, omissions or cooking/baking abilities. This recipe has been analyzed by VeryWellFit. However, any nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and it is up to the individual to ascertain accuracy. To ensure image quality, we may occasionally use stock photography.

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Gotta have the Irish soda bread, on St. Paddy’s and anytime really.
Great recipe as always, Chef G!

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