Easy, Irish Soda Bread Recipe

In our house when I was young there was only one indoor plant.  It stood on a pedestal that towered above me (not hard to do since I was about 3 ft. tall at the time).  Resting on the top was a sweet little plant with Kelly green leaves and bright blossoms.  Much later, I discovered that this plant was an Oxalis or false shamrock.  It had a place of honor near the window in a corner of our kitchen.  Next to the pedestal was a chair upon which I spent many afternoons keeping my mother company and watching while she cooked and baked.

Since the shamrock is the symbol for Ireland, it’s no wonder that this was the plant that my mother loved, though I had no idea of it’s meaning at the time.  It was just a pretty plant that sat near a sunny window.  Now, when I see these cheerful green leaves and pert flowers, I don’t think of it so much as a emblem of  my heritage or St. Patrick’s Day…it’s a symbol of my childhood…of a simple time, a special time sitting with my mother, watching her chop, knead and stir.   This recipe is one that she prepared often.

There are so many variations for this classic bread but this one is very easy to make.  Other recipes have you making something more like a scone or pastry where you cut butter into flour.  This one eliminates all that fuss.  Now, if you don’t like raisins, out they go…and if you don’t care for caraway seeds, you can eliminate them as well, but I think that the bread would be missing a bit of character.  If you DO want to include the raisins, here’s my mother’s secret…soak them in water for about 5 hours.  Yep, those little wrinkled crones will plump right up into beauties and make for a mighty moist bite.

As many of you know,  I’m intimidated about making bread, but not this bread.  There’s no yeast, no rising, no kneading.  Takes just a few minutes and into the oven and onto your table…perfect for that St. Patrick’s Day Sunday supper for family and friends.  Don’t forget to have on hand some fresh Irish butter to slather on the slices or warm wedges.


Easy Irish Soda Bread Recipe

Yield: 1 large loaf

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 45-50 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour,15 minutes

The easiest recipe ever for this Irish treat.


4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granualted sugar
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cup buttermilk (make sure that you shake the buttermilk well before using)
1/4 cup melted butter
1 cup golden raisins
2 teaspoons caraway seeds
2 tablespoons whole milk


If you like plump raisins, place them in a small bowl with 1 cup filtered water for about 5 hours then proceed with the recipe. If you prefer firm, chewy raisins, proceed without letting them sit in water.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper or grease and then flour a cookie sheet. Lightly flour a board for shaping the loaf.

In a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt together making sure that you blend them completely. Make a well inside the mixture.

In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, buttermilk, and butter together until frothy. Stir in the raisins and caraway seeds. Pour this mixture into the well that you made in the large bowl holding the dry ingredients. Stir until mixture is combined. If the mixture is a bit dry, add more buttermilk.

Flour your hands, then place the dough on the floured board and shape into a loaf. It will have a very craggy texture. Place on baking sheet. Let the loaf rest for 15 minutes. Then using a sharp knife, carve a cross into the top.

Using a pastry brush, brush the milk on the surface of the bread.

Place in oven and bake for 45 to 50 minutes until golden brown. Check to see if it's done by inserting a toothpick, making sure that it comes out clean.

Transfer to a cooling rack.

Serve warm with butter.



5 Responses to “Easy, Irish Soda Bread Recipe”

  1. 1

    Jamie — Thursday, March 14, 2013 @ 4:47 am

    No yeast, no kneading, no rising? This is for me! And with the addition of those plump raisins – 5 hours??? – this looks more like a snack or a special treat than a bread. It is beautiful!

    • Susie replied: — March 14th, 2013 @ 5:13 pm

      Thanks so much for your comment. Yes, I’m betting the raisins could go for less than 5, but they do get really plump if you wait that long! You can eliminate the caraway and/or the raisins if you like…it’s a bit more everyday that way.

  2. 2

    Diane OConnor — Wednesday, March 20, 2013 @ 5:03 pm

    Susie … I made your Irish Soda Bread for our St Patrick’s Day dinner. It was so very good and the left over was divine toasted. In fact so good I am going to make it again for dinner tonight but with a twist and add some citron and candied orange peel.


    • Susie replied: — March 20th, 2013 @ 10:29 pm

      Thanks so much for your comment. I’m always glad when folks enjoy my recipes and I also love it when they adapt them and add their own special touch.

  3. 3

    Ally — Saturday, March 23, 2013 @ 4:09 pm

    This looks delicious, but I only have nonfat milk…how much will it affect the taste/way the bread bakes if I substitute nonfat for buttermilk?

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