Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread

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Irish Soda Bread is the bread that my Irish Granny made all of the time. At least twice a week, Granny baked a loaf of this bread. And she always brought a loaf when she came to our house. We didn’t know that it had a name, back then. We called it Granny’s bread, and we just knew that it was different from “regular bread”. As in, no thanks, I want Granny’s bread for my toast.

Irish Soda Bread

We loved that Irish Soda Bread, which I now know that it was. It was rustic, hearty and down to earth. Perfect for toast and for mopping up the last of your soup. One of my most delicious childhood memories was eating a slice, still warm from the oven, slathered with butter and honey.

Granny could practically whip up a loaf of soda bread with her eyes closed and in no time at all, out of the oven came a rounded, fragrant loaf with the signature cross scored across the top. The cross was cut before the loaf went into the oven to “let the faeries out” I always thought the speed and ease were due to Granny’s amazing bread making skills. Which was strange, because other than the bread, she wasn’t much of a cook at all. In fact, Grampa did almost all of the cooking.

A round loaf of baked bread in a pan

Quick Breads; An Easy Way To Get A Fast Loaf On The Table

In reality, anyone can easily make this bread. It’s a quick bread, which means that the leavening agent is baking soda, rather than yeast. So there is no wait time, minimal mixing, and no kneading. There are many different versions of Irish Soda Bread. But soda bread didn’t actually originate in Ireland. This bread can be traced back to early indigenous peoples of North America. You can read more about it here: Soda Bread.

Half of a loaf of baked bread in a pan

Buttermilk Is Key For Soda Bread

This one is the closest to Granny’s bread that I can get. The buttermilk is key, and without it, the bread will taste completely different. I used a cast-iron skillet to bake the bread, but you can just use a baking sheet, too.

Want to try more savory quick breads? Check out Feta & Sun-Dried Tomato Bread.

Irish Soda Bread


Slices of bread on a cutting board

Irish Soda Bread

Buttermilk is a key ingredient in this hearty and rustic quick bread that takes no time at all to put together.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Course Quick Breads & Muffins
Cuisine Irish
Servings 12 servings
Calories 117 kcal


  • 1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup porridge oats + 2 tbsp for topping
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp cold butter
  • 2 cups buttermilk + 1 tbsp for topping


  • Preheat oven to 425Β°
  • In a large bowl, combine flours, oats, baking soda, and salt. Cut in butter with a pastry blender, or your fingers.
  • Make a well, and pour in buttermilk.
  • Stir together quickly, being careful not to over mix. (dough will be sticky)
  • Shape by hand into a flat round about 8" across
  • With a sharp knife, score a large, deep X across the top.
  • Use a pastry brush to glaze the top with buttermilk, then sprinkle with oats
  • Bake in center of oven for about 30 minutes.
  • Cool on a wire rack.


Don't have buttermilk? No problem. An easy sub is two tbsp lemon juice or vinegar to one cup of low-fat milk. Stir and allow to sit for 5 minutes, and you have a perfect buttermilk substitute.


Serving: 1sliceCalories: 117kcalCarbohydrates: 19gProtein: 4gFat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 6mgSodium: 358mgPotassium: 139mgFiber: 2gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 80IUVitamin C: 0.4mgCalcium: 54mgIron: 1mg
Tried this recipe? What changes did you make?Let us know how it was!

8 thoughts on “Irish Soda Bread

  1. Thats interesting . I have not heard of this dish because we do not make much of the bread either we eat as it is or use in the cake. This is nice experiment to do . I will surely try this. And I do not have a problem with buttermilk πŸ™‚ lol
    Thanks for sharing

  2. What a gorgeous loaf! I honestly make soda bread at least once a month during the colder seasons… it’s such a nice, quick way to get a loaf of fresh bread on the table without all the extra hassle of a yeast-leavened bread.
    I usually just go with a simple all-purpose flour version, but I’m loving the heartiness of the whole wheat and oat combo you’ve got here, especially since that extra sprinkle of oats makes it look so pretty. Bookmarking it so I can make a loaf the next time I’m craving some carby goodness! πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks Isabelle! Soda bread is a really nice way to get a quick loaf, like you say. I’ve actually never had it with all purpose flour, so maybe I’ll try it that way next time. (When It’s my turn for craving fresh baked carbs πŸ™‚

  3. I love the look of this bread with the sprinkle of oats on top and the fact that it’s baked in a cast iron skillet. I’ve been wanting to try bread making for a while now and this sounds easy enough for my first attempt. Delicious?

  4. Letting the faeries out! I didn’t know about that part πŸ˜€
    It’s funny, while I have some Irish heritage (pretty distant though – my family’s been in Canada a looooong time), it was actually my English grandfather (and my only grandparent born outside of Canada) who made Irish soda bread all the time for his kids. I have no idea how that came to be ‘his bread,’ but there you have it. I’ve been meaning to make it for years now – I’ll have to make sure it has buttermilk in it too πŸ™‚

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