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Traditional Irish Soda Bread on a wooden table with a towel and bread knife.

Traditional Irish Soda Bread

Traditional Irish Soda Bread is one of the easiest breads I’ve ever made. In fact, I’m still in shock that it contains very little ingredients. However, thats all part of the breads history which I’ll cover briefly in a moment. Regardless of the small list of items you’ll need for this bread, it’s a must for any Irish dinner. Cleaning your plate of Shepard’s Pie, Irish Stew, or Bangers and Mash won’t be an issue when you this recipe in your back pocket!

Is Irish Soda Bread actually Irish?

Okay, so like all of the recipes I post I like to give credit where credit is due. With that being said, Soda Bread was actually created by Native Americans. The first documentation was of the Natives using a natural occurring form of soda that came from the ash of wood called Pearl ash. Today it’s used in soap, glass, and many other commercially purchased products. Back in the day however, when it was mixed with sour milk it acted as leavening agent.

The Irish replicated this process in the early-mid 1800’s when baking soda became readily available and yeast was not. It was an inexpensive way to make bread and feed the family.

So, we can give thanks to our Native American ancestors for creating the bread and our Irish ancestors for making it so famous. I’m actually neither of those, but am very appreciative to both for creating such a bread, that myself and thousands of others continue to write about.

Irish Beef Stew served with a side of Soda Bread.

Irish Soda Bread Ingredients.

Like I said before, this list is very short but i’ll list them out as I normally do!

Dry Ingredients

Flour, Baking Soda, Kosher Salt, and Sugar.

I recommend using a regular All Purpose Flour for this recipe. I’ve never used a bread flour but feel like the protein level would be too high for the desired texture.

Wet Ingredients

Buttermilk and Butter.

Can you believe it? Thats it, and the butter doesn’t even go in the bread thats just to rub on the cast Iron skillet so the bread doesn’t stick. If you make the bread in an enameled cast iron you don’t even need the butter.

Irish Soda Bread Without Buttermilk.

Although buttermilk can be used in many recipes most people don’t keep a carton handy in the fridge. So to go buy it just for a loaf of bread may not make much sense.

If you fall into the ‘no buttermilk’ category, don’t worry. I’ve got you covered.

Just substitute it out with an equal amount of whole milk.

Now, if you don’t have whole milk and prefer low fat or skim thats fine as well. In this case add 1 1/2 Tablespoons of lemon juice to a measuring cup and pour in the milk until it reaches 1 3/4 Cups. This will provide the acidity that you’ll be missing from the buttermilk.

How to make Traditional Irish Soda Bread.

There are two ways to make the dough for your Traditional Irish Soda Bread. You can form the ball by hand or use a stand mixer if you have one.

In the video for this recipe I actually did it by hand, despite having a KitchenAid. It’s still very simple but did get a bit sticky. I recommend going the stand mixer route or making sure to keep your hands wet when forming your dough ball.

So, either in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer stir together all of the dry ingredients. Pour in the butter milk and mix by hand or a dough hook until a a ball has formed.

Next, preheat the oven to 450°f and butter the bottom of a 10″-12″ Cast Iron skillet.

Once the oven is fully heated add the dough ball to the Cast Iron Skillet. Then, using a sharp knife cut a deep cross shaped slit into the top of the dough.

Now, place the skillet in the oven and bake for 1 minutes then turn the heat down to 400 and bake for another 20-30 minutes or until the top is golden brown.

Remove the bread from the skillet and place it on a cooling rack until ready to serve. You’ll know that the loaf is done by tapping on the bottom. If the bread sounds hollow you’re good to go!

In Conclusion

Traditional Irish Soda Bread obviously pairs great with Irish food is made in droves leading up to St. Patricks day. Serve your bread with Irish Beef Stew, Bangers and Mash, Shepards Pie, Corned beef and cabbage or Corned beef hash for an incredible full meal.

In addition to its traditional pairings, it makes great toast with jams, jellies, and preserves as well. However you see fit, I trust it’ll accompany any dish very nicely. Plus it looks beautiful on the dining room table.

I’d love to hear how your soda bread turns out. Let us know in the comment what you though of the recipe, how you served it, or if you made any changes that improve upon the recipe!

I think you’ll also enjoy this Super Easy Recipe for White Bread. It’s perfect for some bread and butter with a nice hearty meal or as toast for breakfast.

Thank you so much for checking in here at Chicken Fried Kitchen and as usual….

Happy Cooking!


Traditional Irish Soda Bread

5 from 1 vote
Recipe by Chicken Fried Kitchen Course: SidesCuisine: Irish, AmericanDifficulty: Easy


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Cooking time




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Traditional Irish Soda Bread is so quick and easy to whip up with ingredients you probably already have that it seems silly not to make it.


  • 3 1/2 Cups 3 1/2 All Purpose Flour

  • 1 tsp 1 Kosher Salt

  • 1 Tbsp 1 Sugar

  • 1 tsp 1 Baking Soda

  • 1 3/4 Cups 1 3/4 Buttermilk

  • Butter for Cast Iron


  • Mix Dry Ingredients in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer creating a well in the center.
  • Pour the Buttermilk into the center of the dry mix.
  • Either by hand or using the dough hook attachment on a stand mixer, mix the wet and dry ingredients together kneading until a ball forms.
  • Preheat the oven to 450°f and then butter the bottom of a Cast Iron Skillet.
  • Place the dough in the center of the skillet and cut a deep cross shaped slit in the center of the loaf.
  • Bake for 15 minutes, reduce heat to 400 and bake for another 20-30 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
  • Transfer the Soda Bread to a cooling rack until ready to serve.

Recipe Video

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