Cheap Recipe: No-Fuss Irish Soda Bread

4 Nov

For a printable version of this recipe and complete ingredients listing, click here.


This bread is so easy and filling you'll find yourself planning menus around it!

The first time I had Irish soda bread, it was on St. Patrick’s Day at a hunting & fishing restaurant called The Mississippi Flyway. With one fateful bite, I was hooked for life (no pun intended).

Since then, I’ve made it dozens of times for my own family. The recipe is so simple, and you wouldn’t believe how yummy and filling just one little piece can be! It almost feels like cheating, it’s so easy to make from scratch.

Begin by preheating the oven to 375 degrees. Grease an 8- or 9-inch round pan or skillet and set aside. (A springform pan makes for a pretty presentation, too.)


Cut flour mixture with butter until crumbly consistency is reached.

In a mixing bowl, sift 2 cups all-purpose flour with 2-1/2 tablespoons baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon baking soda. Stir in 1 teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon of sugar.


Add beaten egg and buttermilk.

Fold 1/3 cup cold butter into flour mixture with spoon, hands, or pastry cutter. Mixture will become crumbly in texture as butter is worked in.

Beat an egg and pour it into the center of the flour mixture. Add 2/3 cup buttermilk♥ and stir or knead until all of the flour mixture has been blended into the dough. (Dough will be very sticky.)


Work mixture into a stiff, sticky dough.

Chef’s Note: I didn’t have any buttermilk on hand, so I made my own by adding a couple of squirts of lemon juice to regular 2% milk and letting it set for several minutes before using. It works like a charm.

Place dough in center of greased pan/skillet and begin to press toward edges. It will be very springy so it’s a good idea to have 2 or 3 tablespoons of regular milk on hand to brush over the top. This will stop the dough from sticking to your fingers and make it much easier to smooth into all edges of the pan.

Once all dough has been shaped into pan, use a sharp knife to score a large cross over the top of the bread. This will prevent the top from breaking apart as the dough rises in the oven. It also looks cool.


Finished soda bread looks a lot like corn bread.

Bake uncovered for 20-40 minutes, depending on size of pan (9-inch pans will cook much faster than 8-inch ones because the dough will not be as thick). Finished bread will be a light golden color, similar to corn bread.


Way too much butter is just exactly the right amount for serving.

Remove from oven and drape a clean dish towel over the top of the pan until serving to retain heat and moisture. Serve with irresponsibly large amounts of salted butter.

(Some folks add dried fruit or caraway seed into their bread dough, but I”m a plain kind of girl and prefer the natural flavor of the undecorated bread. It’s a matter of taste, though.)


6 Responses to “Cheap Recipe: No-Fuss Irish Soda Bread”

  1. Yasmine November 16, 2009 at 2:33 AM #

    I made it today and I must say: everything you said about it is true! My family is also hooked and we thank you!

    • Gracie November 16, 2009 at 1:18 PM #

      Yay! Thanks for the comment, Yasmine–I always am curious about the outcomes when people try my recipes at home! (And of course I’m always thrilled to win over someone else to proud Irish cookin’!)

  2. redforkhippie November 12, 2010 at 11:16 PM #

    I hybridized this tonight. I wanted to make beer bread, but we didn’t have any beer on hand. I had buttermilk, so I subbed in about 12 oz. for the beer in my recipe, added an egg and a teaspoon of soda (beer bread is normally 3 c. flour, 3 T. baking powder, and a beer), and kneaded the dough into eight rolls, which I scored and baked. Perfect snack on a cold, drizzly evening….


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