slice of Irish Soda Bread in a parchment paper lined cast iron skillet.

Irish Soda Bread

There are many versions of Irish Soda Bread, and this recipe that my mother acquired sometime when I was a little girl leans more toward an American-Irish-style soda bread, with its buttery, slightly cake-like texture. It’s simple and delicious, whether with a pat of salty butter or all on its own.

slice of Irish Soda Bread in a parchment paper lined cast iron skillet.
Irish Soda Bread

Slices of Irish Soda Bread on a round cutting board.

There are many versions of Irish Soda Bread, and this recipe that my mother acquired sometime when I was a little girl leans more toward an American-Irish-style soda bread, with its buttery, slightly cake-like texture. It’s simple and delicious, whether with a pat of salty butter or all on its own. If you’re craving a simpler, more authentic soda bread, try this recipe for Skillet Soda Bread.

Slices of Irish Soda Bread on a round cutting board.

Note: This post first appeared March 16, 2012 has been updated with improved kitchen notes, recipe annotation, and photography. I hope you enjoy this favorite from my kitchen!

cubes of butter on a cutting board for Irish Soda Bread.

I am the daughter of an Irishwoman. She was the wife of an Irishman.


Apparently, so am I.

Dough for Irish Soda Bread in a cast iron skillet.

caraway seeds spilling out of glass bottle.

Okay. So I’m not Irish. Even on St. Patrick’s Day, when Irish-people the world over warmly welcome us all into their league of jovial camaraderie, I am not Irish. Everyone’s Irish on St. Patrick’s Day! they say. Nice thought, but I’m sure it goes deeper than that.

wedges of Irish Soda Bread on a cutting board.

But growing up, if you were to step into my house, you may have wondered otherwise. My father adored, I mean adored, corned beef. He still does today. It was a staple in our household. It didn’t help that my sister could reproduce a spot-on Irish brogue. And on Saturday afternoons, my mom would bake – for her, Irish Soda Bread was almost an obsession.

butter on slices of Irish Soda Bread

Looking back, I came think of Irish Soda Bread as my mom’s signature bread. It quickly became associated with holidays such as New Year’s – she would spend the eve baking loaves that she loved to serve with a salty ham and slivers of sharp cheese when the family would come over on New Year’s Day. And sometimes she made it for no reason at all.

I pulled out her recipe today and ran my hand over the yellowed paper. Her instructions were simple. I have always wondered where she got the recipe – it will remain a mystery, I’m afraid. But I have a feeling that if you are Irish, you will likely approve.

Maybe I am a wee bit Irish, after all. At least with this.

butter and jam on Irish Soda Bread.

Irish Soda Bread

Cut into this hefty loaf, and your will find a moist and thick crumb, almost cake-like, thanks to the buttermilk. I personally love the raisins and caraway seeds in my Irish Soda Bread, but of course, adapt to your tastes if you are not fans of either. The slight sweetness partners well with a nice sharp cheese, and of course, a good salty butter. But of course, it is just as lovely all by itself.
slice of Irish Soda Bread in a parchment paper lined cast iron skillet.
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5 from 1 vote
Course Bread
Cuisine Irish
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 12 servings
Calories 190kcal


  • 2 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 1/3 cup currants or raisins more or less, to preference
  • 1 large egg beaten
  • 1 cup buttermilk


  • Preheat the oven 350°F. Prepare a 10 inch pie pan or cast iron skillet by lightly greasing with oil or lining with parchment. You can also bake it on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  • In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, caraway seeds, baking soda, baking powder and salt. If you are using an electric mixer, a paddle attachment may be used. Add the butter and cut into the flour mixture (using either a pastry cutter or paddle attachment of electric mixer) until the flour becomes crumbly. Add the raisins and mix. Add the egg and buttermilk, and mix until just combined.
  • Knead the dough, using the dough hook of the electric mixer, or simply by hand in the bowl, just long enough to form the dough into a shaggy loaf – a few turns really is all you need.
  • Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface and form into a ball with floured hands. If you feel that the dough is too sticky, add a touch more flour as you form it into a round.
  • Place in the prepared baking pan, and press down lightly. If you like, cut a cross on top of the dough before placing in the oven.
  • Bake for 1 hour.
  • Enjoy while warm.



Calories: 190kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 25mg | Sodium: 245mg | Potassium: 194mg | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 170IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 78mg | Iron: 0.5mg
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Recipe Rating

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  1. Jane

    5 stars
    What a wonderful recipe and story Liren! And I loved your video – what a treat to see your beautiful face and hear your sweet voice!

  2. Angelina

    Hi! This one looks great! But I don’t eat egg, is there any egg substitute you could recommend?

    • Liren Baker

      Hi Angelina, have you ever used a flax egg in baking? It’s a common substitute, though I haven’t tried it in this recipe specifically yet. To make it:

      1 flax egg = 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed + 3 tablespoons water

      I hope that helps! Happy baking!

    • Liren Baker

      Hi Elaine, great question. You will want to knead the dough just long enough to form the dough into a shaggy loaf – just a few turns really is all you need. This will keep the bread tender and light. So I would say just under a minute or so should do it. Hope that helps!

  3. Amy Elizabeth

    This was a lovely story and I’m glad you have these memories to hold on to.  There were definitely some “american liberties” taken with this recipe.  This is more of a tea cake ( which are quite tasty).  Only 4 simple ingredients needed for Irish Soda Bread; Flour, salt, baking soda & buttermilk.  Putting caraway seeds or any type of dried fruit in the bread would have been an extravagance.  

    • Liren Baker

      Hi Amy, I’m sure dried fruit and caraway seeds are an extravagance – I made soda bread just last night without the add ins and was thinking how such a simple recipe can be so sustaining. But I do admit that I love adding the the seeds and dried fruit when I can!

  4. Mona

    LOL, if you went to Ireland, you’d be hard pressed to find either Corned Beef or caraway- flavoured Soda Bread anywhere!!! Both are delicious, American-Irish adaptations. There’s nothing wrong with taking a traditional recipe and adapting it to suit your ingredients. Some of the best recipes come from resourceful cooks who have done just that. I can’t wait to try your mother’s recipe, it sounds fantastic.

  5. Emily

    My irish boyfriend said this doesn’t taste ANYTHING like irish soda bread- but we both agreed it was FANTASTIC anyway! Can’t wait to make it again!

  6. Platanos, Mangoes and Me!

    The husband is Irish and I a Spanish…WHen that day comes our friends come over for the spanish infused corned beef…When I become brave I will try this recipe…you know e and my baking…

  7. Magic of Spice

    My son was just talking about the corned beef I used to make for him…his favorite. There are certainly some wonderful classic Irish dishes, and you mom’s bread fits perfectly there :) Beautiful!

    • liren

      I think the best part of many Irish foods is how comforting they are. There’s a sense of nostalgia, for sure.

  8. Suzanne

    That bread looks temptingly good, you would think I’m carb loading by what I have been craving and making lately…maybe I should run a marathon NOT! Happy St. Patrick’s Day Liren-

    • liren

      Seriously, I have been carb loading too…which means harder workouts at the gym! Enjoy today!

  9. Jean

    Well I am a wee bit Irish in real life but even if I weren’t, I would love this bread just the same. Your bread is beautiful, Liren, but what I can’t stop looking at is that piece of paper. I don’t know why I’m a bit choked up reading this post but I imagine that piece of paper, the handwriting on it, is so much more special than even this delicious loaf of bread it helped produce. So glad you shared this with us. :)

    PS: I can’t fake an accent if my life depended on it but like your sister, my nephews and nieces can turn the accents on and off. I’m jealous! :)

    • liren

      I would love see your sister, nieces and nephews get together with my sister – they would be a hoot :)

      I’m so glad that I did photograph the recipe – it was a good reminder for me how I need to preserve my mom’s handwriting. I think I should scan them all :)

  10. Clara

    Hi there, I couldn’t find in the recipe when and how to add the butter, so I cut it in the flour like when making biscuits. You may want to edit the recipe to say that, or to melt the butt and mix it in with the buttermilk if that’s your preferred method. The loaf is baking now, and looks and smells great!

    • liren

      Hi Clara, thank you so much for catching that! Can’t believe I left that out – I have updated the recipe. Enjoy the bread!!!

  11. Beth Michelle

    If you can believe it, I have never tried Irish soda bread! Ack! I know! Your photos of it make me so hungry for a piece. I may just have to try your mothers wonderful recipe!

  12. myfudo

    I’d love to have an Irish-themed snack or threat once in a while. This looks really delicious! Thanks for sharing.

  13. Priscilla - She's Cookin'

    I’m a wee bit Irish, but my husband is more than a wee bit. Beautiful story behind your Irish Soda bread, Liren – we are all interwoven in a colorful tapestry and food is one of the best expressions of this :)

  14. lea davenport

    What a sweet post! I remember finding old hand written cook books from my Nana and the thrill I felt going through the pages and remembering the things she would make. Thank you for the memory!

  15. Anita at Hungry Couple

    Your bread looks wonderful. I’m not Irish either but I reserve the right to love the food of all cultures :) I just baked my first ever loaf of soda bread and it’s heavenly but not as sweet as yours. Maybe next time I’ll try your recipe and see which I prefer. Thanks.

  16. Nami | Just One Cookbook

    What a beautiful bread! Irish people will be very proud of you for making such a gorgeous Irish bread Liren! Have a great weekend! It’s going to be rainy all weekend though… :-(

  17. patty

    MMMmmmm, I think I have to make this Irish soda bread today and lucky me (Luck of the Irish!) I have all the ingredients, including buttermilk in the house;-) Enjoy your weekend Liren!

    • liren

      Lucky indeed! Enjoy baking this rainy day, Patty :) I imagine I will be baking lots this weekend.

  18. Rikki

    I don’t think I’m much Irish either, but I do like clovers and the color green so…you never know. I think it’s amazing that your mom made this for new years and beyond. I can see why she liked it so looks delicious!

  19. Barbara | Creative Culinary

    I am 1/4 Irish. Or so I’ve been told. The grandparent that had Irish blood died when I was a little girl so I’ve never heard stories or traditions associated with that part of my heritage but I know this…I do love Irish food! My corned beef is in the fridge curing even now!

    I posted an Irish Coffee today; I don’t suppose I can do Irish soda bread and Irish coffee for breakfast though right?

    • liren

      Yes, I really must preserve it. My brother had a lovely idea of framing some of our favorite dishes, penned by my mom. She wrote just a few, so they are precious.

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