St. Patrick’s Day Recipe: How To Make Irish Soda Bread

The first time I tried Irish Soda bread was in a Pub in Dingle, Ireland. I’d love to go back just for a slice of bread, but Dingle Town has now been over run with tourists, so I don’t think we will be going back anytime soon. But the Bread?  Now there is something I can revisit again and again.  No airline ticket needed.

The recipe itself is very straight forward and easy to make.  However, if you have never tried Irish Soda Bread before let me warn you.  It is very hearty.  In my opinion the bread is best served with stew.  If there was ever a “man” bread, this would be it.  The bread is so substantial, you may want to make an extra loaf to keep on hand just in case you need a lethal weapon. Perfect for lumberjacks, brick layers and leprechauns of course.

Irish Soda Bread {slightly adapted this recipe from Ina Garten}

I say slightly adapted because I don’t think a  “man” bread should have things like currants and orange zest in it.


4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for currants
4 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda {15 Cool Uses for Baking Soda}
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 3/4 cups cold buttermilk, shaken {How to Make Buttermilk}
1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1 cup dried currants


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the butter and mix on low speed until the butter is mixed into the flour.

With a fork, lightly beat the buttermilk, egg, and orange zest together in a measuring cup. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture. Combine the currants with 1 tablespoon of flour and mix into the dough. It will be very wet.

Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and knead it a few times into a round loaf. Place the loaf on the prepared sheet pan and lightly cut an X into the top of the bread with a serrated knife. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. When you tap the loaf, it will have a hollow sound.

Cool on a baking rack. Serve warm or at room temperature. Recipe Credit

Here is a great movie to go with the Irish Soda {Man} Bread: Waking Ned Devine.  Have you seen it? The scenery is breathtaking.

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  1. Jessica Pike says

    Have just found your website and am passing the time in the office today looking at all these wonderful blogs! I recently was in Ireland with my husband and loved Dingle when we were there (although I agree, it has become quite overrun with people like myself!)

    People think Irish Soda Bread must contain things like currants and raisins but of all the bread I ate over there, none of it had such ridiculous ingredients. It looked just like yours and I cannot wait to make it this week.

    • Mavis says

      Thanks Jessica. The only bread I had in Ireland that had fruit in it were some scones in County Cork. Ha! All the Irish Soda bread we had was plain, and AWESOME!

  2. Kelly says

    Mavis, if you can get your hands on sour (not rotten) milk, try it instead of the buttermilk. It will help with the leavening. Also, I bake mine in a preheated cast iron pot, which I quickly butter before placing the bread within, and close with a tight fitting lid. After the bread is baked to your description, the loaf is wrapped in a tea towel and left to cool ( I always bake this while washing up after dinner, and call this “tucking it in” with the children, as it cools while we sleep, and is ready for breakfast when we are!).
    “Fruit soda” bread is a bit sweeter than plain bread, and is lovely with “mixed fruit” (containing raisins, sultanas, currants, candied orange peel, usually glacé cherries). “Brown bread” replaces around half of the flour with whole grain flour. This is what I lean towards in my own recipe.
    Enjoy any of these with butter and or preserves and a hot cup of tea. Mmmmm! :-)

  3. Marty Layes says

    Thank you for posting this recipe! I think I see oats in the pictures but I’m not seeing it in the list of ingredients. Could you please let me know. I like the idea of a really grainy bread. Thank you!

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