Irish soda bread is a delicious, quick, and easy, no yeast bread recipe made of 4 ingredients and just 5 minutes of hands-on time!

Sliced Irish Soda Bread on a white plate.

What is Irish Soda Bread?

Irish Soda Bread has a long and storied history that dates back centuries. Initially, it was a staple food for the people of Ireland, especially when ingredients like yeast were scarce or expensive. The bread’s humble beginnings can be traced to the early 19th century when bicarbonate of soda, also known as baking soda, became widely available.

In those days, Irish Soda Bread was made with just four basic ingredients: flour, baking soda, salt, and buttermilk. Combining these simple components resulted in a hearty loaf of bread that was both filling and nutritious. Families across Ireland cherished this bread not only for its taste but also for its affordability and ease of preparation.

Over time, variations of Irish Soda Bread have emerged, with some recipes incorporating additional ingredients like sugar, butter, eggs, and even raisins. Despite these adaptations, the essence of Irish Soda Bread remained true to its origins—a rustic, crusty loaf of delicious and nutritious bread.

Ingredients

Be sure to see the recipe card below for the full listing of ingredients, instructions, notes, and estimated nutritional information.

Irish Soda Bread ingredients: Flour, buttermilk, baking soda, and salt.

Flour – Traditional Irish Soda Bread recipes call for wholemeal flour, or Irish-style flour. This is a type of flour that is very coarsely ground whole wheat berry and provides the entire wheat kernel, including the bran, germ, and endosperm in the ground wheat. The grind is far coarser than that of standard store-bought (in the US) whole wheat flour, but you can substitute with an equal amount of whole wheat flour. I have found that a combination of wholemeal flour and all-purpose the best texture and flavor for the bread. I use approximately 60% all-purpose flour and 40% wholemeal flour. For my wholemeal flour, I generally use Odlums Coarse Wholemeal Flour, very coarsely grind my own whole wheat using red wheat berries, or use the coarsest store-bought whole wheat flour available.

Baking Soda – This is the leavening agent in Irish Soda Bread. Combined with an acidic ingredient like buttermilk, it produces carbon dioxide gas, which helps the bread rise during baking.

Salt – A pinch of salt enhances the flavor of Irish Soda Bread, balancing the sweetness of any added ingredients and adding depth to its taste.

Buttermilk – This tangy dairy product not only adds moisture to the bread but also activates the baking soda, ensuring a proper rise. If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can make a buttermilk substitute.

No Eggs, Oils, or Flavorings Needed

This bread is delicious with its four basic ingredients! There is no need to add eggs (reduces the moisture) or add oil (makes for a less tender crumb), or flavorings (just hides the incredible nutty flavor of the bread!).

How to Make Irish Soda Bread

Irish soda bread ingredients in a mixing bowl.

Make the bread dough. Whisk together the flour, salt, and baking soda in a mixing bowl. Add the buttermilk and stir until just combined.

Irish soda bread dough on a parchment lined baking sheet to be baked.

Form the dough. Knead the dough SEVEN times on a lightly floured surface until the dough comes together. Kneading more will result in tough bread. Place onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Baked Irish Soda Bread cooling.

Bake the bread. Place the baking sheet into the preheated oven and bake until the bread gives a hollow sound when tapped on the bottom, about 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool.

Slice of Irish Soda Bread.

Serve. Slice and serve or store for later.

What to Serve with Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread is perfect for dipping into hearty beef stew, sopping up juices from tender classic pot roast, and simply slathered with creamy butter and a sprinkle of salt. It also makes a great toast for drippy eggs and mashed avocado in the mornings and holds up well for sandwiches.

Storage Tips

Since Irish Soda Bread is made using whole wheat flour, it can perish more quickly. You’ll want to properly store it for optimum freshness and flavor. Once you’ve baked a delicious loaf of Irish Soda Bread, you’ll want to store it properly to keep it fresh and flavorful for as long as possible.

Cool Completely: Allow the bread to cool completely on a wire rack before storing it. This helps prevent moisture buildup, which can lead to mold growth.

Wrap Well: Once cooled, wrap the bread tightly in bees wrap, plastic wrap, or aluminum foil or store it in a bread bag or under a cake dome to seal in moisture and protect it from drying out.

Store at Room Temperature: Irish Soda Bread is best stored at room temperature in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Avoid storing it in the refrigerator, as this can cause it to become stale more quickly.

Freeze: Wrap the bread tightly in plastic wrap and then place it in a freezer-safe bag or container. It can be frozen for up to three months.

Thaw Before Serving: When you’re ready to enjoy your frozen Irish Soda Bread, simply remove it from the freezer and let it thaw at room temperature for a few hours. You can also reheat slices in the oven or toaster for a warm and toasty treat.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you use whole wheat flour to make Irish soda bread?

Yes, use whole wheat flour in an equal amount as the wholemeal flour called for in the recipe. You can use coarse or fine-ground whole wheat flour. However, coarse ground whole wheat flour is more traditional for Irish Soda Bread for texture and flavor.

Where do you find wholemeal flour?

Wholemeal flour can be found online or in some grocery stores in the United States.

If you tried this Irish Soda Bread Recipe or any other recipe on my website, please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how it went in the comments below. Thanks for visiting!

Irish Soda Bread Recipe

5 from 1 vote
Irish soda bread is a delicious, quick and easy, no yeast bread recipe made of 4 ingredients and just 5 minutes hands on time!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 12

Ingredients 

  • 2 cups (240 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cups (210 + 30 g) wholemeal flour, plus up to 1/4 cup for dusting
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon (7 g) baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (4 g) kosher salt
  • 2 cups (454 g) buttermilk

Instructions 

  • Prep. Preheat oven to 400º F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly dust with flour.
  • Mix. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir in the buttermilk until just combined.
  • Form the dough. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead lightly until not sticky and the dough is smooth – but no more than SEVEN times. Do not overwork the dough as this will release too much of the gas bubbles and cause the dough not to rise. Shape the dough into a circle and place it onto the prepared baking sheet. Cut a cross into the top of the dough.
  • Bake. Bake for approximately 40 minutes. Test the bread for doneness by tapping the bottom of the loaf. It should have a hollow sound.
  • Cool. Place onto a wire rack to cool. If you would like a softer crust, wrap the bread in a dry tea towel as it cools.

Nutrition

Calories: 215kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 4mg | Sodium: 715mg | Potassium: 76mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 66IU | Calcium: 119mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Enjoy!
Robyn xo

Welcome to Add A Pinch

About Robyn

Robyn Stone is a cookbook author, wife, mom, and passionate home cook. Her tested and trusted recipes give readers the confidence to cook recipes the whole family will love. Robyn has been featured on Food Network, People, Southern Living, and more.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Review




6 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Hi Robyn, I make soda bread or farls practicality everyday & love to see how others make it. Being Irish and living in rural Ireland its a handy bread to be able to knock up at short notice even without buttermilk to hand.
    Thank you for all your great recipes.

    1. Thank you, Debbie. My family loves this bread. My great grandmother’s family came from Ireland so I think of her every time I make it.

    2. I love how certain recipes or food remind us of places we’ve been or the important people in our lived,its very comforting.

  2. I can’t tolerate regular milk and products. Can I use soymilk or oatmilk? If you don’t know, I’ll experiment.