Irish Brown Bread

Irish Brown Bread Recipe with Honey Butter | {FULL VIDEO}

A traditional Irish Brown Bread Recipe that is perfect served with honey butter for tea, with Shepherd’s Pie or Cottage Pie, or a hot bowl of soup.

Irish Brown Bread is similar to Irish Soda Bread but is made with part whole wheat flour, which was historically less expensive and more readily available in Ireland.

This hearty brown bread recipe is easy enough to have on the table for every dinner or tea time!

Ingredients in this Irish Brown Bread Recipe

  • All-purpose flour – Using all-purpose flour in combination with whole wheat flour keeps the bread light.
  • Whole Wheat Flour – Whole wheat flour is an obvious ingredient in Brown Bread but if you use only whole wheat flour, the bread would be heavy and dense. A mixture of two flours provides the perfect texture.
  • Small amount of granulated sugar – Just a bit of sugar provides a hint of sweetness and helps the top to brown and the bread to retain moisture.
  • Baking powder and Baking Soda – Since this is a quick bread, no yeast is used. Instead, we use baking powder and baking soda to leaven, or raise, or brown bread. The baking powder reacts first when it comes into contact with liquid and then again with heat. The baking soda reacts with the acid in the sour cream or yogurt to provide additional lift.
  • Salt – Salt accentuates the other flavors in the bread and should never be skipped!
  • Butter – Butter is added for flavor and also a bit of leavening. By leaving the butter in small pea-sized chunks, the butter evaporates from the heat of the oven and leaves slight layers within the bread.
  • Oats – Oats are a common ingredient in Irish cooking. They are hardy, filling, and sustaining. Oats also add numerous health benefits. Feel free to sprinkle the top of the loaf prior to cutting for a bit of a decorative finish.
  • Sour Cream or Plain Greek Yogurt – Adds moisture and flavor to the bread. Some bread recipes use buttermilk for this but sour cream or Greek yogurt is more commonly on hand and makes this recipe more accessible.
  • Milk – The milk will help this dough to hold together and provide additional moisture.

The Distinctive Look of Irish Brown Bread

The Irish will tell you to always cut an ‘X’ in the top of your Irish Brown Bread as a way to bless the bread and keep the bad spirits away.

The Irish will also tell you to poke a hole in each corner to allow the Fairies to escape before they can curse your bread.

I always think of these superstitions when making my Brown Bread but, obviously, they are just stories from years long passed.

The real reason that an ‘X’ is cut in to the top of the bread is to give the bread a place to expand. The ‘X’ controls the rise instead of the dough deciding for itself where it should split as it rises.

As for the holes for the Fairies to escape? There is no real technical reason for this – but I do it any way! No need to upset the Fairies…you know, just in case!

What to serve with Irish Brown Bread

This bread is delicious as is but is even better when slathered with honey butter or butter and jam.

Brown bread is so fast and easy to make that you can serve it with any dinner. It is especially delicious with Cottage Pie or Shepherd’s Pie, Bangers and Mash, Creamy Potato Soup, Steak and Ale Pie or Chicken Pot Pie.

Watch my FULL VIDEO and make this Irish Brown Bread Recipe along with me!

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Irish Brown Bread with Honey Butter

Recipe by Tanya Ott


Prep time


Cooking time



Delicious Irish Brown Bread is a wonderful quick bread to serve with any meal! Slather with honey butter for a real treat!


  • For the Honey Butter
  • 113 grams (1 stick) unsalted butter

  • 80 mL (1/3 cup) honey

  • For the Brown Bread
  • 190 grams (1 1/3 cup) all-purpose flour

  • 190 grams (1 1/3 cup) whole wheat flour

  • 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 35 grams (2 1/2 Tablespoons) unsalted butter

  • 45 grams (1/3 cup) rolled oats

  • 120mL (1/2 cup) sour cream or plain greek yogurt

  • 120 mL (1/2 cup) milk, added about 1 Tablespoon at a time


  • For the Honey Butter
  • Mix the butter and honey together thoroughly with a small spatula, mashing and mixing until smooth and creamy.
    Refrigerate until the bread is ready to serve.
  • For the Brown Bread
  • Preheat oven to 375°F.
  • In a medium to large bowl, mix both flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt with a whisk. With a pastry cutter or with your fingers, cut in the butter until mixture forms fine crumbs. Stir in oats.
  • Add sour cream OR yogurt and stir gently. Add milk 1 tablespoon at a time until mixture holds together. It should not be sticky.
  • Turn dough out onto a lightly floured board or countertop and knead gently about 5 or 6 times to form a ball. Set on a lightly greased baking sheet and pat down into a 7 inch round. With a floured knife, cut a large ‘X’ on the top of the loaf.
  • Bake about 35 minutes until lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack. Best served warm and slathered with honey butter.

Items used in this recipe that I recommend:



  1. Thanks for the confirmation! I made everything using grams/milliliters – I had to add a little more milk but that’s probably because Austrian flour is different. Tastes great and really made our St. Patrick’s Day!

    • So glad you liked it!! I always find I use a little more milk during winter when its drier. Happy St Patrick’s Day!

  2. I’m getting 90 grams for 3/4 of a cup of flour. Should it be 90 grams = .75 cups or 190 grams = 1.5 cups? Thanks!! I can’t wait to taste the finished product!

    • I am SO SORRY! I must have done the conversion to cups too quickly and not caught the error. I use 190 grams of each flour, which works out to be about
      1 1/3 cups each. I have corrected it in the recipe block. Thank you so much for letting me know!

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