Sliced Irish Soda Bread

Traditional Irish Soda Bread

Traditional Irish Soda Bread is a quick bread made with just four simple ingredients. No yeast or rising time is needed so you can have this delicious traditional bread on the table in less than an hour!

Whether you want to make a traditional Irish meal for St Patrick’s Day or you want a delicious bread to go along with any meal or teatime, this quick bread is the perfect addition.

Traditional Irish Soda Bread is made with only four ingredients. It comes together quickly, doesn’t need to rise like a yeast bread, and bakes in 30 minutes.

This bread is delicious spread with butter, drizzled with honey, or used to sop up the gravy from a stew. Irish Soda Bread is the perfect addition to any meal!

Ingredients in Soda Bread

Traditional Irish Soda Bread was made daily with simple ingredients in order to feed a family quickly and inexpensively. The ingredients are:

  • Flour – The Irish traditionally use white or wheat course flour which equates to All-Purpose in today’s flour. The texture of a good soda bread should be tight and slightly crumbly so you don’t want to use a high protein flour like bread flour. And you definitely don’t want to knead the dough a lot which would build up the gluten, making the bread tough.
  • Salt – Salt seems like a simple ingredient and like something that you could skip. But your bread NEEDS salt for flavor! Don’t skip it!
  • Baking Soda – Baking soda is often called bread soda in Ireland. It has long been used to make quick bread that rises up without using yeast, which could be expensive and difficult to come by in years past! The baking soda reacts with the acidity of the buttermilk to create tiny bubbles of carbon dioxide, which forces the bread to rise.
  • Buttermilk – Buttermilk adds a tangy flavor to soda bread without being sour. The acidity of the buttermilk is needed so that bread will rise when the baking soda and buttermilk work together. If you don’t have store-bought buttermilk, you can make your own. Just add 1 tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar to whole milk or 2% milk and let it sit at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes. The milk will become chunky – this doesn’t sound appealing but it is exactly what you need! I don’t recommend skim milk for this purpose.
Irish Soda Bread with a traditional cross cut in the top on a carving board with butter.

Optional ingredients can be added, but stray away from traditional:

  • Raisins
  • Dried Currants
  • Caraway Seeds
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Irish Cheddar

What to serve with Irish Soda Bread

Slather Irish Soda Bread with butter and eat it at teatime or as a snack and you will be as happy as a clam! But you can incorporate this Traditional Irish Soda Bread with your meal too.

  • Use a slice of soda bread to sop up the gravy from your Steak and Ale Pie
  • Make Irish Rarebit – soda bread slathered in cheese
  • Spread on some butter and drizzle with honey for a sweet snack
  • Top with Cashel Blue Cheese or Coolea from Cork
  • Layer on some Citrus Marmelade
Sliced Irish Soda Bread with butter spread on slice.

Irish Soda Bread in Belfast

The first time I remember tasting real Irish Soda Bread was in a pub in Belfast, Ireland with my husband – at the time he was my boyfriend but we knew from the start that it was meant to be.

I have had this photo of Jamie and I in this frame (that I purchased in Ireland) in our living room for the last 27 years. We have had a lot of living rooms in that time but this photo is a constant reminder of our trip to such a beautiful place!

I had Cottage Pie with Soda Bread and of course a pint (or two!). I have worked hard to create my own recipes that rival that pub!

My Cottage Pie Recipe is exactly like it was if Ireland! Give it a try and make sure to serve this easy and traditional soda bread with it!

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Sliced Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread

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Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Course Bread
Cuisine British, Irish
Servings 12


  • 3 2/3 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 3/4 cups buttermilk OR 415 mL (1 3/4 cups) whole milk with 1 Tablespoon lemon juice added, at room temperature


  • Preheat oven to 425F. Grease a baking sheet or line with parchment paper or silicon mat.
  • Sift together the flour, salt and baking soda into a mixing bowl. Make a well in the center and pour in most of the buttermilk OR the homemade version of milk with lemon juice. Mix together well using your hands. The dough should be soft but not too wet. If needed, add more buttermilk to get the dough to come together.
  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it lightly. Shape into an 8-inch circle. Place the loaf on the prepared baking sheet and cut a cross into the top with a sharp knife. An optional last step is to poke a hole in each section to let the fairies escape!
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. The internal temperature should be at least 195F. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool slightly. Serve warm if possible. Best if eaten the day it is made.


Serving: 1gSodium: 285mgPotassium: 0.04mgCalcium: 0.1mgIron: 0.002mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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