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Traditional Irish Soda Bread Recipe – Only 4 Ingredients!

Irish Soda Bread and Irish Coffee are common household staples in Ireland. You can find them on the table in most homes and definitely at every restaurant.

This type of bread became popular when baking soda became readily available to purchase. Combined with only 3 other common ingredients, and no yeast or kneading required, it’s no wonder why it is made so often.

If you aren’t familiar with this type of bread, let me explain. It is typically made into a round or oval shape.

Irish Soda Bread
Irish soda bread that requires only 4 ingredients, no yeast and no kneading!

And the unique texture of this bread makes it easy to identify. It has a rough and crunchy exterior crust and a soft, yet thick dense interior.

It is the perfect bread to serve with soups, stews, and pasta dishes. The thick and dense bread with that iconic crunchy crust holds up well when dipped in liquid or mopping up the remnants of sauce on the plate.

Of course, when you make Irish Beef Stew, Shepherd’s Pie, or Beer Cheese Soup this bread is a must have!

No Special Equipment Required

So how hard is it to make this bread recipe. Unlike most recipes, the simple ingredient list required to make Traditional Irish Soda bread allows you to prepare the dough in no time.

In addition, there is no special equipment required, like a bread machine or stand mixer with a dough hook. The only thing you need to combine the ingredients is your own two hands.

And if you dread making bread because of the cumbersome and laborious process of kneading, have no fear. Just like our Artisan Bread, Irish soda bread recipe requires no kneading at all!

Just mix and then form it into its infamous round shape. Then make a couple of slices in the top of the dough with a sharp knife and place it in the oven. It is really that simple!

bread with raisins
Although you will often see soda bread with raisins scattered throughout, this is not the traditional, every day Irish bread.

Irish Soda Bread With Raisins??

If you have ever searched for Irish Soda Bread recipes on the internet, I am sure that you have seen pictures of bread with raisins or caraway seeds scattered throughout.

Traditional soda bread does not have any raisins or caraway seeds, as the bread was intended for everyday use. It only contains the 4 basic ingredients of flour, baking soda, salt and buttermilk.

The addition of raisins and caraway seeds was thought to originate in America. It was a way to make the bread more visually appealing and more flavorful for use on special occasions.

Traditional Irish Soda Bread Recipe

*Specific measurements and complete recipe instructions are located in a printable recipe card at the bottom of this article. However, be sure to continue to read the tips and tricks to making this recipe below.


  • All-purpose flour
  • Baking soda
  • Salt
  • Buttermilk


The first step in making traditional Irish soda bread is to preheat the oven. Then lightly flour a large baking sheet or baking stone, and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl sift or whisk all of the dry ingredients together. Then make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in 1-1/2 cups of the buttermilk.

bread dough
The bread dough will be a little sticky when you first take it out of the bowl. However, the flour on the surface and on your hands will stiffen the dough perfectly before it is baked.

Incorporate the buttermilk in the flour mixture with one hand or a fork. When the initial amount of buttermilk becomes absorbed add a little more buttermilk, 1 tablespoon at a time, and mix just until the dough begins to come together.

Place the dough on a well-floured surface and form into a round shape, approximately 6-7 inches in diameter and 1-1/2 inches high in the center. Then using a sharp knife, make two cuts in the dough, about ¼ inch deep, in the shape of a cross.

Baking Time

Then transfer the loaf to the prepared baking sheet and place in the preheated oven. Bake for 15 minutes.

Then lower the oven temperature and bake for another 20-30 minutes or until the bread is browned on the outside and cooked through on the inside.

An easy way to determine if the bread is done is to carefully pick up the loaf and knock on the bottom surface. If the knock sounds hollow, the bread is done and ready to be removed from the oven.

Place the Traditional Irish Soda Bread on a cooling rack and let it cool completely. Then slice and serve.

Store in an air-tight container on the counter for 3-4 days. Enjoy with your breakfast, lunch or dinner!

slices in Irish soda bread dough
Before you place the Irish soda bread in the oven, make two perpendicular slits in the top of the dough to allow it to vent.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can I make this ahead of time?

Although this recipe is best to make and eat fresh, you can make a loaf or two ahead of time if you prefer. Simply bake the bread and let it cool completely.

Then tightly wrap the cooled loaf in aluminum foil and place in a large, resealable bag or plastic wrap. Place in the freezer for up to 3 months.

2. I don’t have buttermilk, can I use whole milk?

If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, it is simple to make your own. Pour 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or distilled white vinegar in a 1 cup measuring cup.

Then add whole or low-fat milk until it reaches the 1 cup measuring line. Then wait 5 minutes and stir the contents.

Add the homemade buttermilk to the recipe as instructed.

3. Can I make this recipe Vegan?

Because there are only 4 ingredients required to make Traditional Irish Soda Bread, it is easy to make this recipe vegan. Simply replace the buttermilk with unsweetened, plain almond or soy milk, using the formula for homemade buttermilk in the above question.

Irish soda bread
You can make this bread ahead of time and freeze it for whenever you need it. Just be sure to wrap it both in foil and plastic wrap to protect it in the freezer.

Other Traditional Irish Recipes

Because you are most likely visiting this recipe page to find Irish recipes, I thought I would include some of my favorite recipes.

Although not as traditional, here are some other recipes that you may enjoy if you are looking for a recipe to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.

Enjoy! Mary

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Yield: 1 loaf

Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread

Traditional, 4 ingredient Irish soda bread that is served with stews, sauces, or with creamy Irish butter.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 - 1 3/4 cups buttermilk


  1. Pre-heat oven to 450°F (230°C) and lightly flour a large baking sheet and set aside.
  2. Sift all of the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl.
  3. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in 1-1/2 cups of the buttermilk. Incorporate buttermilk in the flour with one hand adding more buttermilk a little at a time just until the dough begins to come together.
  4. Place the dough on well-floured surface and form into a round shape (approximately 6-7 inches in diameter and 1-1/2 inches high in the center).
  5. With a sharp knife, make two cuts in the dough about ¼ inch deep in the shape of a cross.
  6. Transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 400°F (200°C) and bake until the bread is browned, approximately for an additional 20 to 30 minutes.
  7. Place on a cooling rack and cool completely.


Recipe provided by Make Your Meals

Nutrition Information:



Amount Per Serving: Calories: 185Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 3mgSodium: 334mgCarbohydrates: 36gFiber: 1gSugar: 3gProtein: 7g

Nutritional Information is to be used as a general guideline only . Nutritional calculations will vary from the types and brands of the products used.

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