Grandma’s Irish Soda Bread.

Crusty and classic, this easy Irish soda bread recipe comes straight from my grandma’s kitchen.

Classic Irish soda bread-- quick, easy, and mega crusty bread! Grandma's recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Tomorrow, St. Patrick’s Day, would be my grandmother’s 89th birthday. I’m often asked from where I gather my inspiration in the kitchen. It’s all her. She passed in 2011. I started my blog two weeks later.

Grandma Harlett

I dedicated my first cookbook to grandma where I published a couple of her famous recipes. And by “famous” I mean loved by our sweets-loving-family. And hopefully famous in your family now too? Who’s tried her sticky sweet pecan rolls?

Today I’m sharing another one of grandma’s classics. It wasn’t St. Patrick’s Day nor her birthday without crusty Irish soda bread filled with plump raisins.

Sally's Baking Addiction | Grandma's Irish Soda Bread Recipe with step-by-step photos

The thought of homemade bread may send you running for the hills, but baking Irish soda bread is anything but scary. In fact, it’s the quickest, easiest bread recipe you’ll find on my blog at this point.

Irish soda bread is a quickbread whose rise comes from baking soda (hence, soda!) instead of bread recipes using yeast. My ideal Irish soda bread, like this one, has a beautiful golden brown crust with a dense yet slightly tender interior. The crust is my favorite part. This is coming from the same girl who LOVES the corners of brownies. Are you like that too? Probably not. The cheese stands alone.

It’s not overly sweet at all. (Sugar break.) For flavor, I always add raisins to the bread. Certainly this doesn’t surprise you. Irish soda bread is damn tasty served with a hot bowl of soup. I like mine in the morning with butter and jam. I feel like this paragraph just got really boring.

To make it:

Sally's Baking Addiction | Grandma's Irish Soda Bread Recipe with step-by-step photos

Notice how I score the top of the bread with a cross or “X” before going in the oven? This helps the center bake through.

Buttermilk is key. With its thick and creamy texture, smooth tangy buttery taste, produces tender soda bread. Something else to note:  never overwork Irish soda bread dough. Though a dense bread, the dough is fragile. Overkneading the dough will lend a tough texture.

What this bread lacks in chocolate / caramel / peanut butter / cookie dough / sprinkles, it makes up for in crispy crust, tender center, and remarkable taste.

Sally's Baking Addiction | Grandma's Irish Soda Bread Recipe with step-by-step photos

Sally's Baking Addiction | Grandma's Irish Soda Bread Recipe with step-by-step photos

Favorite.

Follow me on Instagram and tag #sallysbakingaddiction so I can see all the SBA recipes you make. 

 

Grandma's Irish Soda Bread

It's classic. It's crusty. This easy Irish soda bread recipe comes straight from my grandma's kitchen!

Ingredients:

  •  1 and 3/4 cups (420ml) buttermilk1
  • 1 large Eggland's Best egg
  • 4 and 1/4 cups (515g) all-purpose flour (plus more for your hands and work surface) (measured correctly)
  • 3 Tablespoons (38g) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 and 1/2 Tablespoons (65g) unsalted butter, cold and cubed
  • 1 cup (150g) raisins (I use half golden, half regular)2

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F (218°C). Lightly grease a 8-10 inch oven safe skillet or cake pan with butter or nonstick spray. A baking sheet will also do, though the bread may spread out a bit more.
  2. Whisk the buttermilk and egg together in a small bowl. Set aside. Whisk the flour, granulated sugar, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. Cut in the butter using a pastry blender, two forks/knives, or your fingers. Work the dough until into coarse crumbs, then fold in the raisins with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the buttermilk mixture. Gently fold the dough together until dough is too stiff to stir. With floured hands, work the dough into a ball as best you can. Turn dough out onto a floured work surface and knead the dough for about 30 seconds or until all the flour is moistened. Dough will be sticky, but if it is absolutely too sticky add a little more flour as needed. Do not overknead.
  3. Transfer the dough to the prepared skillet/pan. Using a lightly buttered serrated knife, score an X on the top. Bake until the bread is golden brown and center appears cooked through, about 45 minutes. Loosely cover the bread with aluminum foil if you notice heavy browning on top about halfway through bake time.
  4. Remove skillet/pan from the oven and allow bread to cool for 10 minutes before transferring it to a wire rack. Serve warm, at room temperature, or toasted with desired toppings/spreads.
  5. Make ahead tip: Irish soda bread can dry out quickly, so keep it wrapped up tight with aluminum foil or plastic wrap for around 3-4 days. Freezes well, up to 2-3 months. Thaw and reheat as desired.

Recipe Notes:

  1. Buttermilk is key to this bread's texture. If you don't have any on hand, you can make a homemade "DIY" version. Whole milk or 2% milk is best for this DIY version. Whisk 1 and 3/4 cups milk with 5 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice or distilled white vinegar. Let sit for 5 minutes. The soured milk can now be used in the recipe.
  2. Instead of raisins, try 1 cup of nuts or dried cranberries/dried blueberries/currants. Or leave the bread plain.

Did you make a recipe?

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© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

 

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Eggland’s Best provided me with eggs to bring you this recipe.

127 Comments

Comments

  1. Shelby @ Go Eat and Repeat on March 16, 2015 at 9:30 pm

    I love that you use your grandmother as inspiration for cooking. I can see a bit of resemblance between you and her =)

  2. Andrea Gray on March 16, 2015 at 9:48 pm

    This looks real good. My 7 year old loves the corner pieces if brownies!!

    • Andrea Gray on March 16, 2015 at 9:50 pm

      Of***

  3. Shinee on March 16, 2015 at 10:11 pm

    Ah that last picture! Really shows the crust and tender center. Yum!

  4. Erin @ Miss Scrambled Egg on March 17, 2015 at 6:19 am

    My grandmother is also Irish. I grew up listening to stories of when she visited and enjoying my grandmother’s baking. I was talking to my grandmother this weekend and asked her if she had made Irish Soda Bread yet. She said that’s one recipe she didn’t know how to make. Now, I can share it with her. 🙂 Thanks Sally!

  5. Kathy R on March 17, 2015 at 7:17 am

    We have a similar family recipe – but we were always told growing up that the reason you cut the X on the top was to allow the demons to escape from the bread!

    • Sally on March 17, 2015 at 5:05 pm

      Haha I’ve read that before!

  6. Laura @ Laura's Culinary Adventures on March 17, 2015 at 7:46 am

    What a great legacy you have!

  7. Anna on March 17, 2015 at 7:54 am

    loove this recipe

  8. Debbie Guida on March 17, 2015 at 8:32 am

    Hi Sally, thanks so much for sharing your Grandma’s recipe. My mother-in-law (Cassidy) always makes the Irish Soda Bread for St. Patrick’s Day, which she’s always happy to make, but this year I decided I want to give it a try (if she comes over I’ll have to hide it

  9. Lilly on March 17, 2015 at 11:35 am

    Tried your recipe for St Paddy’s Day today and it turned out absolutely gorgeous! I do wanna say that the crust is the best part… 😉

    • Sally on March 17, 2015 at 5:07 pm

      It IS the best part! Thanks for reporting back Lilly.

  10. Jo Bay on March 17, 2015 at 1:04 pm

    I made this yesterday. I used currants and dried lemon rind instead of raisins. It was delicious! Even a day later, it’s lovely slathered in butter. And it rose even higher than the one in your photograph. Thanks Sally!

    • Sally on March 17, 2015 at 5:07 pm

      The dried lemon rind addition sounds perfect. I need to try that!

  11. Mandie | Mandie's Kitchen on March 17, 2015 at 1:16 pm

    I’ve always wanted to try Irish Soda Bread. I mean, come on – it’s IRISH! Lovely recipe Sally!

  12. Carol on March 17, 2015 at 3:06 pm

    I made this today and my grandkids demolished it quickly. I used craisins and 1/4 tsp. nutmeg. Also made substitute buttermilk with regular milk and 5 tsp. lemon juice. This may not be authentic Irish Soda Bread, but it is delicious! I will make it again.

    • Sally on March 17, 2015 at 5:06 pm

      I’ll try adding nutmeg and craisins to my next loaf. Sounds so good.

  13. Erin on March 17, 2015 at 4:17 pm

    Half the loaf is gone already!!!! My husband and sons love this bread; it’s still warm and the butter just soaks in – absolutely delicious!!! And, it really was very easy to make – I will definitely make this bread again. Thx Sally!!

    • Sally on March 17, 2015 at 5:06 pm

      Thanks Erin!

  14. Peggi on March 17, 2015 at 4:29 pm

    It just came out of the oven to be enjoyed with corned beef, cabbage, colcannon, carrots and parsnips shortly … we’re eating supper early because we have been smelling the braising cb all day and can’t wait!
    Thanks for sharing the recipe for what looks like the best loaf of soda bread I have ever laid eyes on, Sally!

    • Sally on March 17, 2015 at 5:06 pm

      What a st. patrick’s day menu! thanks for reporting back, Peggi.

  15. Sophia Short on March 17, 2015 at 6:26 pm

    Hi! I have been reading your blog for a few years now and recently created my own with a good friend! I would love if you stopped by and tried out a recipe or offered us tips about blogging!! Thanks so much!

  16. Hayley @ The Domestic Rebel on March 17, 2015 at 6:36 pm

    Wow, this looks delicious! And I do have to say, you look a lot like your grandma – strong, beautiful genes (and women!) clearly run in the McKenney family. Love you!

  17. P on March 17, 2015 at 6:49 pm

    Looks yummy! I had to laugh when I saw your explanation for the score on top, when I was about 5 yrs old I was watching my very irish great grandmother make irish soda bread and asked her why she was drawing an x on top and she said oh hunni thats to let the evil spirits out, I don’t think I ate another slice of Soda Bread until I was about 20 LOL. Thanks for sharing your family’s recipe have a lovely St. Patrick’s day!

  18. Martha Clark on March 17, 2015 at 9:30 pm

    Made this a few hours ago, so delicious!!! My BF and I ate 1/2 already with Irish Stew and Guinness. Lovely texture and the crust is wonderful, next time I’m going to be naughty and sprinkle coarse sugar on top before baking. Yum! Thanks Sally for another great recipe.

  19. Cathleen @ A Taste Of Madness on March 17, 2015 at 10:29 pm

    My grandmother was also a super cook and baker. She actually worked in the kitchen of a high school. She left me a book with her handwritten recipes in it, but unfortunately most of them are written in Danish. I guess I need to learn Danish!
    This bread looks amazing! I’m sure you are doing your grandmother proud 🙂

  20. vivian on March 18, 2015 at 6:31 am

    This was a great part of our St. Patrick’s Day dinner last night. Thank you (and your grandma) for the lovely recipe.

  21. Lauren on March 18, 2015 at 9:28 am

    I made this last night and it was wonderful! I had never tried Irish soda bread before this and we loved it. My husband kept going back for more. I promptly deleted other pinned Irish soda bread recipes after trying yours. Perfection!

  22. Natasha @ The Cake Merchant on March 18, 2015 at 6:30 pm

    This is such a lovely tribute to your grandmother! I’ve always been intimidated by bread, but this looks simple enough for me. Can’t wait to try it!

  23. Samantha on March 19, 2015 at 12:05 am

    I made this for dinner tonight (used craisins instead of raisins because that is what I had on hand). My husband and I both loved it…so delicious! Thanks for sharing your Grandma’s recipe!

  24. diana on March 19, 2015 at 10:37 am

    I’ve been making soda bread for over 40yrs, this one is the best! thanks

  25. Emma on March 19, 2015 at 9:08 pm

    I have never tried making my own break but this looks delish – especially served warm with a big dollop of butter (like your photos!!)

  26. Carrie on March 21, 2015 at 3:24 pm

    When we have dinner tonight we will have had your delicious Soda Bread for the 3rd time since you posted the recipe. Thanks for sharing it and all your recipes! I love them!!

  27. Ron D. on March 23, 2015 at 1:33 pm

    Hi Sally. Any suggestions as to the size of cake pan to use or even a loaf pan? Thanks.

    • Sally on March 23, 2015 at 2:20 pm

      8-10 inches for the cake pan. A loaf pan could work too; I’ve never tried it that way to be honest.

  28. Austria Azaceta on March 25, 2015 at 11:22 am

    Hi Sally,
    I made this soda bread yesterday & absolutely LOVE IT!!! It came out perfect!! A wonderful crusty outside & deliciously soft inside. I made mine sans raisins (not a big fan). Had some for breakfast this morning with some butter & jelly….so good!!! Will be making this a lot for sure because its so easy to make! Your recipes are always spot on & never disappoint. Thanks again!!

    • Sally on March 25, 2015 at 3:47 pm

      Thanks for reporting back Austria!

  29. Amrutha on March 31, 2015 at 7:58 am

    Hi Sally,
    Congos mongos on completion of your 2nd cookbook!!
    Can I use whole wheat flour instead of all purpose flour in this recipe?
    Cheers!!
    Amu 🙂

    • Sally on March 31, 2015 at 12:02 pm

      The bread will be incredibly dense, but you can give it a go!

      • Amrutha on April 5, 2015 at 11:49 am

        Hi Sally,
        I tried it with half whole wheat and half all purpose flour, it was slightly dry. May be due to whole wheat 🙁



  30. Lynn OBrien on January 30, 2016 at 4:07 pm

    My wonderful, Irish born mother-in-law, always incorporated 3 tablespoons of caraway seeds into her bread.  We wouldn’t think of not including them.   Yummy!

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