Irish Soda Bread

Who says you need yeast to make delicious homemade bread?! This easy Irish Soda Bread recipe uses just 6 ingredients. Instead of yeast, we let buttermilk and baking soda work their combined magic to create a fluffy, crunchy bread that’s perfect for sharing. You can slice it to make sandwiches, toast it with butter, or serve it alongside saucy stews like goulash. You may find that the dough is a bit sticky to work with. That’s why we’ve included a range of flour from 4 to 4 ¼ cups, so you can add more as needed, but not too much. The trick is to create a dough that’s firm enough to handle but wet enough to stay moist. 

Before you dive in, let’s bite into a little history. The Irish didn’t invent soda bread, but they did make this hearty quick-bread famous. When famine hit Ireland in the 1840s, yeast became much harder to find. That’s when crafty cooks began using baking soda and soft wheat flour to create a bread that was simple, quick, and delicious. Irish Soda Bread is one of those beloved recipes that families pass down from generation to generation. Still, you may find that not everyone enjoys theirs exactly same way. Some people prefer their Irish Soda Bread sweet, and others like it salty. This recipe falls somewhere in the middle. Feel free to leave out the raisins if you want. Experiment, and see what your taste buds say!


Makes 1 loaf

Hands-on time:

20 minutes

Start-to-eat time:

1 hour 15 minutes


  • 4 to 4 ¼ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 cup raisins (optional)
  • 2 cups cold buttermilk

Kids kitchen skills:

  • whisking
  • kneading
  • baking


  • measuring cups & spoons
  • large bowl & whisk
  • wood spoon
  • baking sheet & parchment (or cast iron skillet)
  • oven mitts


Grown-up steps
  1. Heat the oven to 400° F, and line a baking sheet with parchment. (You can also use a cast iron skillet instead of the baking sheet & parchment.)
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt and sugar. Gently mix in the raisins, if using.
  3. Pour in the buttermilk, and use a wood spoon to mix just until the dough comes together. If it's too sticky to handle, add up to 1/4 cup more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time. (Just remember, you'll also be adding a little as you knead.)
  4. Flour a clean work surface, and turn out the dough. Knead the dough about 8-10 times, and pat it into a circle that’s about 1-inch thick.
  5. Place the dough on the baking sheet, and use a knife to “score” the bread, by making a wide “X” across the top.
  6. Bake for 45-55 minutes, until the dough is golden brown and the center is cooked through.
  7. Let the dough cool for about 10 minutes. Then transfer it to a rack, slice, and serve!

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