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Irish Soda Bread

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This is the easiest Irish Soda Bread on the planet! All you need is flour, baking soda, salt, and buttermilk! Whip one up and enjoy this traditional St. Patrick’s Day food!


Main image for Irish Soda Bread


Don’t let the simplicity fool you! Four ingredients are going to turn into a crusty loaf of bread with soft insides that are absolutely delicious.

This is the best irish soda bread recipe and you’ll love it too!

While I love whipping up a good Oatmeal Bread, or the like, sometimes I just don’t want to put in the effort! Enter soda bread.

Plus I love that traditional Irish soda bread requires no rising. With no yeast, no rising time required!

And all you need are four ingredients! Which you probably already have in your house or can quickly whip up! Bread doesn’t need to be intimidating! 


Flour, baking soda and salt in a bowl, unmixed


What is Irish Soda Bread?

Irish soda bread is a quick bread. It traditionally uses baking soda and buttermilk to create the rise instead of yeast.

Because there is no yeast, it isn’t meant to be kneaded, doesn’t need to rise, and doesn’t bake in a loaf pan.

This bread has a nice crunchy outside but the inside is soft and sort of melts in your mouth.


flour, baking soda and salt all mixed in a bowl


Irish Soda Bread History

Although we often attribute many foods to countries they aren’t from (French Fries anyone?) Irish soda bread is actually from Ireland.

Long ago in Ireland, wheat from around the world was not as readily available as it is today.

The wheat that grew naturally in Ireland was softer, contained less gluten, and therefore didn’t rise well with yeast.

Therefore, flatbread was much more likely to be eaten than any light and fluffy breads.

However, baking soda was the fix. Baking soda combined with buttermilk could create the lift they were looking for.

On St. Patrick’s Day, many people make Soda bread to celebrate the Irish heritage!


buttermilk added to flour mixture.


Ingredients for Irish Soda Bread

You probably have all four ingredients in your pantry!

  • Flour: Regular all purpose flour. Whole wheat flour would give you a different flavor and texture.
  • Baking Soda: This is what reacts with the buttermilk to give the bread a lift.
  • Salt: For flavoring! Any salt you have in your cupboard will work.
  • Buttermilk: Not everyone’s cup of tea but perfect for making bread!


Dough has been mixed and turned into a ball and placed into a greased cake pan.


Buttermilk Substitute

No buttermilk? No problem! Here’s an easy way to make your own buttermilk.

Take regular milk from your fridge. Whole or two percent will work best though the others will work in a pinch.

Combine the regular milk with 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar. Stir and then allow the combination to sit for 5 minutes.

You should notice the milk separating and curdling. You now have your very own buttermilk ready to add to the Bread!


Dough has been mixed and turned into a ball and placed into a greased cake pan.


How to Make Irish Soda Bread

  • Mix: The important thing to remember here is not to overmix. This isn’t yeast bread.
  • Cut: Cutting an x in the top of the bread helps the bread to cook through in the center.
  • Bake: When the bread is golden and crispy, it is done.

Pro Tip: Mix with your hands! A machine mixer is definitely going to overmix the bread.


dough in cake pan with an X cut in the middle.


What Does Irish Soda Bread Taste Like?

Irish soda bread is very mild in flavor. You’re only adding 4 ingredients, and none of those ingredients are particularly strong. So expect a lightly flavored bread. 

Traditional soda bread is meant to be eaten with butter, jam, meats, or soups. Not on it’s own.


baked bread in cake pan.


How to Eat Irish Soda Bread

Since you’re going to want something to go with your bread, here’s some of our favorites.

  • Meat:
  • St Patrick’s Day:


Baked bread on a cutting board


Can You Freeze Irish Soda Bread?

Sure! Soda Bread can easily be frozen by wrapping tightly twice and then bagging. It will stay good in the freezer for up to two months.

I haven’t noticed any difference in texture or flavor after freezing. When you’re ready to eat it, simply remove it from the freezer and allow it to come to room temperature on the counter.

Pro Tip: Write the name of the bread and the date of cooking on the bag when you put it in the freezer.


zoomed in image of soda bread. Photo taken from the side.


Why Is It Called Irish Soda Bread?

Here’s the breakdown of the name Irish Soda Bread:

  • Irish: Because it’s from Ireland! I love when we know where our food originated.
  • Soda: Because of the baking soda used in place of yeast.
  • Bread: Because it’s bread. That one was probably pretty obvious.


zoomed in image of bread. Photo taken from the top looking down.


Can Dogs Eat Irish Soda Bread?

Looking for a treat to share with your pooch on St. Patrick’s Day? This bread will probably be okay in small amounts.

Made with just flour, salt, baking soda, and buttermilk, there isn’t anything overtly harmful to dogs. That being said, some dogs can have allergies to flour or dairy, so you’ll want to be careful.

Always test in small amounts and if you notice anything abnormal, let your vet know.


bread sliced. Photo taken from the top looking down.


How Long Does Irish Soda Bread Last?

Soda Bread is known for it’s crispy outer layer. And it can actually lose that crunchiness pretty quickly!

I find that if I eat the bread within the first two days, it’s still in tip top shape. After those first two days the edges start to soften and the bread becomes more chewy.

It doesn’t go bad though and still tastes good, just loses some texture. You can keep the bread for 5-7 days, after that, it’s time to toss it.

As always, if you notice any mold growing, don’t chance it and toss the entire loaf. 


side view of bread with two slices cut out.


More Bread Recipes You’ll Love…

Irish Soda Bread is a quick and easy bread that is delicious and perfect for all occasions! Enjoy some today with butter, jam, and a cup of tea!


Yield: 1 large loaf

Irish Soda Bread

zoomed in image of soda bread. Photo taken from the side.

This is the easiest Irish Soda Bread on the planet! All you need is flour, baking soda, salt, and buttermilk! Whip one up and enjoy this traditional St. Patrick’s Day food!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes


  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk


  1. Preheat oven to 425*F
  2. Spray a 9 inch round cake pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  3. In a bowl combine flour, baking soda and salt. Mix well.
  4. Slowly add the buttermilk and mix with your hands. Do not use a stand mixer or hand mixer. Simply do this recipe by hand.
  5. Mix dough until it comes together. Do not over mix the dough.
  6. Form the dough into a large ball and place in your prepared cake pan.
  7. Cut an X in the center of the dough, about 1 inch deep to allow steam to release during baking.
  8. Bake for 40 minutes or until outsides are golden, but not burnt.


I pulled my bread out every 15 minutes to rebrush with butter/buttermilk mixture. This is optional though and not required.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 328Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 785mgCarbohydrates: 67gFiber: 2gSugar: 3gProtein: 11g
Originally Posted: March 14, 2014

Photos & Text Updated: March 10, 2022

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Friday 21st of March 2014

Honestly, I have never even heard of Irish Soda Bread before this year but I've seen it everywhere lately. I'm going to have to try it out!!


Monday 24th of March 2014

Lucy, I saw that too! Crazy how one recipe takes off and others don't. You should certainly try it. Easy and delicious!

Serena | Serena Bakes Simply From Scratch

Wednesday 19th of March 2014

Your Soda Bread look delicious and like the perfect side for St. Patricks Day!


Thursday 20th of March 2014

Thank you Serena. It certainly was. It also made for a great open faced sandwich piled high with Corned Beef. Mmm, Mmm, Good.

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