Irish Soda Bread with Buttermilk and Raisins
Irish Soda Bread with Buttermilk and Raisins is a favorite St. Patrick’s Day tradition at our house. Soft and tender on the inside, with a hint of sweetness, the buttermilk delivers a subtle tang that is absolutely delicious.
Apart from Shepherd’s Pie and Irish Lamb Stew, soda bread is a classic tradition leading up to St. Patrick’s Day.
History of Soda Bread
Soda Bread was first created in the late 1830s when the first iteration of baking soda was introduced to the United Kingdom.
During the Great Potato Famine, access to ingredients to make bread became difficult. The inspiration for Irish Soda Bread was born from a necessity for inexpensive, easily obtainable ingredients. Traditional soda bread ingredients were “soft” wheat flour, baking soda, salt, and soured milk.
St. Patrick’s Day in the United States
According to Census data, there are 39.6 million Americans who claim Irish heritage including five million who say they are of Scots-Irish heritage.
That number is almost seven times larger than the entire population of Ireland (6.3 million). After German, Irish is the most common ancestry of Americans with the bulk of those claiming Irish ancestry residing along the eastern seaboard (Irish Central).
So whether you can claim the green or not, according to the National Retail Federation, says half of all Americans celebrate St. Patrick’s Day each year.
Lucky me– and lucky you! We’re in great company. It’s a big deal at our house as we claim Irish descent, on nearly every branch of our family tree. And celebrate, we do!
Irish Soda Bread with Buttermilk and Raisins
While this soda bread recipe is a slight departure from the traditional, this is the one my family always requests. For a truly traditional soda bread, view my Traditional Irish Brown Soda Bread recipe.
Ingredients for Soda Bread Recipe
This simple-to-make bread is perfectly delicious with Emerald Isle comfort food or Irish Pub food. And one I make all spring long.
Gather these ingredients:
- All-purpose flour
- Granulated sugar
- Baking soda and baking powder
- Cold butter
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Irish Soda Bread with Buttermilk and Raisins
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup cold butter cubed
- 3/4 cup buttermilk, plus more if needed
- 1/3 cup raisins
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet or cast-iron skillet with parchment paper.
- Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Cut in the butter until it resembles coarse pea-sized crumbs. Add the buttermilk and mix just until it begins to come together. Add additional buttermilk if necessary until a soft dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, sprinkle the raisins over the top, and knead a few times to incorporate.
- Pat the dough into a 6 to 7-inch circle. With a floured knife, cut an “x” into the dough, about 1/2 inch deep. Transfer the dough to the parchment-lined baking sheet or cast-iron skillet.
- Bake the Irish Soda Bread for 35 to 45 minutes or until the bread is a beautiful golden brown. Transfer the soda bread to a rack to cool completely before slicing.
Serving IdeasI like to cut the loaf into wedges and served with a pat of Irish butter and a drizzle of honey. It’s also delicious sliced and toasted the next day. Or — make a second loaf for just that reason!
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
Do you need to preheat the cast iron skillet beforehand or do you add the bread to the room temperature skillet?
Hi Clay— I do not preheat the skillet but do grease it or line with parchment.
lovely recipe..I’d cut the butter down a bit…I also am soaking my raisins in Tullemore Dew for the next batch…
Thank you so much! Soaking the raisins will be so delicious— and make the soda bread extra special ☘️
Can add a egg to the rescipe ?
Hi Mary! You can definitely add an egg. The texture will be a bit more dense but still really good.
Hi stephanie Wilson
i just came to tell you how much i love this irish soda i have made this bread so many time for St patrick’s day even my family enjoy it they drink it with coffee in the morning sometime in evening to
Hi Kelissa! You have made my WEEK! Thank you so much for trying this recipe– it is a favorite at our house too and always makes an appearance on St. Patrick’s Day. My son absolutely loves this one. And toasted– it’s such a treat!
Stephanie, Confirm please, no egg in this recipe ?
Hi Mark, no egg is required in this recipe.
Thank you Stephanie, After the prep is completed and loaf is ready to bake, can it sit in the fridge before baking ? If yes, for how long ?
Hi Mark— I wouldn’t refrigerate the dough in advance. The baking soda and buttermilk begin to react right away. It’s important to bake the bread as soon as possible.
This is the best soda bread I ever made. I bake all the time.
Yummmmmmm, this is amazing and so easy to make. Made it this morning for dinner tonight, I’ll be making it again for sure.
I’m so glad you liked it! I have one in the oven now for dinner too — it will be hard to wait for it 😍.
When I looked on Pinterest for an Irish soda bread recipe, yours was the first one that came up. I liked your ingredients (no egg, small amount of baking soda). It’s the best soda bread I’ve ever made! I made one Tuesday and one yesterday. Looks like I’ll have to double the recipe because I’ll make another one today! It keeps disappearing! Thank you for this recipe.
what is the recepe for this in a bread machine
Hi Andrew! I’ve not made or tested this recipe in a bread machine. It’s on my list, though!
This is not soda bread but it is currant bread. In ireland we have soda bread which consists of flour baking powder little sugar and buttermilk. If u add raisins currants or mixed fruit it is called currant bread.
That’s right I have always called it currant bread.their is a difference of ingredients.
Thanks for the clarification. I’m currently making currant bread and soda bread.
You are welcome!
This known as “Spotted Dick”, when I has sultanas, or raisins.
I just finished eating this bread and had to come leave a review. It was absolutely delicious! My family loved it so much we finished the whole loaf in one sitting! It was so easy to make (i even messed up the measurements a bit and it still worked!) I will definitely be making this again!! Thank you for the recipie!
This soda bread looks delicious. The texture of the bread looks perfect. Thanks for a great recipe.
Thank you!! ❤️❤️
Hi ,Stephanie,I just copied down the recipe for Irish soda bread ,you forgot to add the baking powder to the dry ingredients. Can’t wait to make this I made soda bread in the past and this recipe is much easier.
Ugh! Thanks, Cindy. Have corrected the instructions — I think this recipe is super easy too. It just never fails — plus, I think it’s a nice balance of flavor and simplicity. There are rarely any leftovers!
I love the texture and flavor, we will add to our favorite bread recipies.
Just made this to accompany a bowl of beans made in IP. It tastes great but a little crumbly. I did sub out AP flour for Whole Wheat Pasty Flour. Only one tab sugar. I think I will add a little more buttermilk next time.
I’m in Central Oregon, dry & hot today, 4000 ft.
Thanks for recipe
Hi PattiAnn! I’ve not tested this recipe with Whole Wheat pastry flour — so glad to hear the results, and thank you for posting. I’ve also had to adjust the buttermilk on dry, warm days. You’re in one of my favorite spots! We’ve spent so many July days in Sunriver and Bend!
If I leave out the sugar will that adversely affect the bread?
Hi Sue! Because the sugar is limited in quantity, I don’t believe removing it will affect the texture. In fact, our Traditional Brown Soda Bread recipe has no sugar added, and it’s delicious too.
Making it right now but the larger version is definitely taking longer than 30 minutes to bake. Going on 50 minutes now. Suggested bake time? An hour?
We’re on the same wavelength. I’m also making another batch as we speak/write. My oven tends to run warm, so it could take longer to bake. Today, it took 35 minutes for the larger one to bake. It changes with our humidity, and it’s pouring outside. I would love to know how long it took in your oven so I could update the notes! Thanks so much for letting me know!
Hey! Well it took about 60 to 65 minutes to be fully done. It was wonderfully moist inside!
I’m so glad!! Mine has never taken so long to bake but I’m glad it was moist. I had intended to freeze what I baked last week – but it didn’t last. I will be baking more this week ??! Thanks for the update!
I remember soda bread from when I was a kid and I love it! This looks much better though, I don’t remember ours looking so crusty and pretty! And of course you can’t go wrong with raisins! Pinned. Take care.
Our son’s favorite part of St. Patrick’s Day is always the soda bread. He’s in college now and is still reminding me not to forget to make “the” soda bread. Which is always the one with raisins! Thanks so much!
quite possibly the best soda bread i have ever eaten, my husband and kids love it, really!
You made my day!! Thanks. We had a few pieces leftover from last night and it was tasty toasted this morning with a drizzle of honey!