March 14th, 2013

Traditional Irish Soda Bread

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I’ve tried several recipes for Irish soda bread, and this Traditional Irish Soda Bread is by far my favorite.  It bakes up into such a beautiful loaf that I can hardly believe it isn’t a yeast bread.

Traditional Irish Soda Bread

Even better, it’s so incredibly easy to make, especially if you’re impatient like me and don’t want to wait around for the dough to rise.

Seriously, you can have a gorgeous loaf of homemade bread on the table in about an hour, from start to finish.

The trick (or at least I’m assuming it’s the trick) is baking the bread with an inverted cake pan on top. I don’t know what kind of scientific baking magic that inverted pan creates.

I just know this recipe never fails me and I get a beautiful, bakery quality loaf of Irish soda bread every time.

My family loves this bread as much as I do. And nobody needs to know that you didn’t spend hours in the kitchen!

Traditional Irish Soda Bread

Like so many delicious breads, Irish Soda Bread is the product of a poor country, made with only the most basic ingredients.

Legend has it that the cross was cut on the top before baking to ward off the devil and protect the household.

Irish soda bread often has raisins or dried currants in it, so feel free to add that if you’d like.

For some reason, I tend to only make this bread around  St. Patrick’s Day, but it’s so simple and delicious I really ought to make it more often.

Be sure to save this Traditional Irish Soda Bread recipe to your favorite Pinterest board for later.


Traditional Irish Soda Bread

Traditional Irish Soda Bread

This Traditional Irish soda bread is made with just a few simple ingredients but bakes up into a beautiful, bakery quality loaf.


  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 3/4 cups buttermilk


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease and flour a 9-inch round cake pan.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt. Gradually stir in the buttermilk until the dough comes together in a slightly sticky ball.
  3. Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead gently a few times. Form the dough into a ball and then press into the prepared pan so that the dough resembles a large disk. The dough should reach the edges of the pan, but may spring back slightly.
  4. Cut an X into the dough with a sharp knife, about 1/4 of an inch deep. Cover the pan of dough with another round cake pan turned upside down.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes, covered, then remove the top pan and bake uncovered for about 10 minutes more or until the crust is dark golden brown.

Recipe Notes

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2 reviews

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Who Dished It Up First: Adapted from Liz the Chef



  1. That is one gorgeous loaf of bread! I have a recipe for a sweet Irish Soda Bread, but I have this one pinned to try soon. Thanks!

  2. In the picture, it appears that at some point, you cut an X into the top of the dough – do you do this before all baking in the oven?

  3. Wowww.. looks so delicious and awesome.. love the color 🙂

  4. Could you use regular milk or does it have to be buttermilk?

  5. I love that you made some too. We are so on the same page.

    How are you doing with the fires?? Seems all too familiar & way to early in the season for this. Although I heard it’s already 90 degrees at our old place- so it looks like it might be a long hot summer. Hope you are doing okay. Thinking about you all.

  6. Awesome! Thanks for posting this!

  7. I just made some on St. Patrick’s Day and I always add green food coloring to make it a little more festive! 🙂 You can see mine at

  8. Ann G Rasmus says:

    Easy Peasy Bread 😉 Thanks 😉 Can’t wait for making it again…;)

  9. Hi. This may be a stupid question but do you use self-rising flour for this recipe?

    • Nope, just regular all-purpose flour. Not a stupid question though. 🙂

      • Thanks!

        • Self-rising flour is basically a mixture of flour, baking powder and salt. I make it myself rather than buying two separate types of flour (plus it has fewer additives that way). I was originally thinking that self-rising flour could replace the flour, soda and salt, but since it’s made with baking powder rather than baking soda, I would be careful about trying it (though it is also possible to replace baking soda with baking powder and vice versa in the correct ratio).

  10. I just made this to make our 5th anniversary a little more special. I added a couple of handfuls of dried cranberries when combining the dry ingredients. It is so good!!!

  11. Just wondering what size round pan did you use?

    • When I made this a few days ago I used a cake pan. Actually, I used two. One was the pan I put the dough in, and then I laid the other over that pan like a domed cover for the part of baking that needed a cover. It worked!

      • So it doesn’t have to be two cake pans? I’m wondering if I could bake this in a covered round Pyrex baking dish.

        • It shouldn’t matter. The important thing is to cover the dough without being tight against the dough. That is why the 2 cake pans worked. It was easy for me to use 2 cake pans because I keep them all stacked together. If I had my cast iron handy, I would have probably used a skillet and a pot lid. The vessel is not as important as the idea of keeping the moisture in until you are ready to brown the top.

          • Perfect, thanks! I will be making the bread on Monday as part of a St. Patrick’s Day meal for friends – I can’t wait to try it!

          • Cathy franklin says:

            I need to make soda bread for dinner on st paddys day for 25 people how many soda breads do you think I’ll need

  12. I am not sure what I did wrong, but my dough was a sticky wet mess! I wonder where I went wrong? I added almost a whole extra cup of flour and I still couldn’t get it to form into a ball…it is in the over right now, I’m afraid to see how it turns out!

  13. It was just ok…was much darker than in the picture, was pretty dense and salty. I didn’t really care for it much.

  14. I Made it using Barley flour that I recently made from hulled Barley, it was very good.. I haven’t tried it with regular flour so not sure the tasted difference. It was moist, dense. My husband said it reminded him of some breads he’s had in Germany. I would make it again. My husband has diabetes and barley is very good for people with this disease.

  15. I think the cooking time and overall time forgot to mention the 30 minutes where the bread cooks with the lid on, so the cook time is 40 minutes and the overall time is an hour. The bread was nice and reminded me of buttermilk pancakes, which is the only other buttermilk thing I think I have eaten.

  16. Hi! I just made this and the color looks great, but my “X” is still pretty intact.. It didn’t spread like the photo of yours and of most Irish Soda Bread I’ve seen. Any idea why? And is this a bad thing? 🙂

  17. You didn’t adapt this recipe – it IS my recipe.

  18. Do you use AP flour or can you use bread flour?

  19. Just made this with half white flour and half wheat and it is delicious. I live in the mountains so I reduced the baking soda by half.

  20. Happy St. Patrick’s day! Just made this bread exactly as the recipe states. PERFECT! thanks for sharing

  21. happt St Patrick’s Day! Just made it and it’s Fabulous! Thank you .

  22. This is in the oven now! I’ve made soda bread many times, but never with a cover, so will be curious to see how it comes out? Wish I could include a picture

  23. just took bread from oven. Hopefully it tastes as good as it looks. Part of the Irish feast I’m making for my wonderful wife of 42 years.

  24. Made this for st Patrick’s day. I’ve made my mother in laws recipe before which is very sweet and delicious but never made it this traditional way. I used this except recipe except that I added about 1/3 cup sugar because I like it with a bit of sweetness. This came out PERFECT. Thank you!!! I will be using this every time!!

  25. I plan on making this with our belated Irish Braised Corned Beef dinner I have in the oven right now…only, I’m going to add some caraway seeds to mine…I hope my bread comes out with this beautiful color!

  26. My loaf came out gorgeous and it was so delicious

  27. Just made this bread to go with my Irish Stew. Will never make it again. Not a good recipe. All I can say without being nasty.

  28. Tried this recipe today, I was quite pleased. My husband thought it was tasty. I will make this again.

  29. This looks beautiful; I’ll be having a go at this very soon. It seems so crazy that people don’t try making this at home, in London a loaf of soda bread is nearly £4 in most bakers; and this has to be healthier.

  30. Sorcha MacAonghais says:

    Our family recipe is much like this, but only 1 tsp of baking soda and 2 cups of buttermilk. You CAN make this with the milk and vinegar mixture, but actual buttermilk has a much nicer consistency. I tend to add more flour as I’m kneading it (until it feels like a baby’s bahookie, aka bum), which might be why we use 2 cups of buttermilk. I sometimes add caraway seeds, or fruit, but actually, with Irish soda bread, the simpler the better. I’ve made it with both white flour and whole wheat flour. Both turned out well.

  31. OMG I was totally shocked at how good this was. Made this yesterday for St. Patrick’s day and was a little nervous by the short ingredient list. No butter? But it was amazing & everyone had more than one piece! Thank you Danelle for sharing this great recipe!

  32. Tried this and mine was a dense flavorless lump! Not sure where I went wrong. :/

  33. Just made this and it came out almost perfect. And I say almost just because I pulled it few minutes early because it was my first time trying this particular recipe and ovens vary. Will leave in for an extra few minutes next time. Great recipe, thanks for sharing 🙂

  34. Hi! Tried soda bread first time.. didn’t know what to expect as I never tasted it before. But yeah it came out very dense. I substituted milk wi coupla tsp of lemon juice for buttermilk. I inverted a pan larger than the pan I cooked in to cover it. Where do you think I went wrong

  35. Mine came out very dense n inedible. .. though it wasn’t raw

  36. Wow, was this a success!
    Never made it before, but was asked to bring it to a corned beef potluck.
    Used a Pyrex casserole dish with a lid. Exact amount of cooking time.

  37. I haven’t made this yet…but I was noticing some of the comments about it not turning out well. Not sure if this is why…but I learned, the hard way, that you HAVE to spoon flour into measuring cup for breads. You can scoop & pack as you can with some baked items. It can cause it to be way too dense, as some of these have complained about. My understanding is that spooning the flour into measuring cup is a completely different measurement than packed, being that it is powder. Makes sense. And I trusted the bakers who explained it to me.

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