Easy Irish Soda Bread

This easy Irish soda bread recpe is amazingly delicious and has only 4 simple ingredientsno special tools, no eggs, no yeast and no proofing required!

There’s no heavy kneading required and once you bake this hearty bread, the result is a dense, doughy bread with a crunchy crust!

And since everyone’s Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, this rustic bread is perfect to serve with your favorite Irish dish!

Round loaf of baked bread scored into quarters with butter on the side.

 A traditional Irish soda bread recipe has no sugar, no eggs, and no yeast! That’s what makes this “quick bread” a joy to make!

You’ll love this recipe

  • Simple ingredients …it’s unbelievably quick and easy! 
  • No eggs, yeast or proofing required! Since this is not a yeast bread, you don’t have to wait for it to proof! Just form a round loaf and pop it in the oven!
  • Ready in about 40-minutes!
  • Rustic and dense, with just the right amount of flavor and it’s easy to slice and serve with a sharp knife

The result is a delicious, homemade, rustic, artisan bread good enough to eat alone with a dollop of Kerrygold butter or your favorite Irish stew!

Here’s what you need

These are really basic ingredients – other than buttermilk, you can just swing down the baking aisle and pick up the remaining dry ingredients: all-purpose flour, baking soda, salt.

Flour, baking soda, salt and buttermilk in bowls on countertop.

This is an easy quick bread and the best thing about this recipe is that there’s no proofing! There’s no yeast in the recipe so you don’t have to wait for it to rise after lightly kneading.

The baking soda is the leavening agent, and when the buttermilk and baking soda are combined, they provide a chemical reaction that creates carbon dioxide, allowing the bread to rise. The result is a more dense bread – not fluffy like sandwich bread.

How to make buttermilk

The acid in the buttermilk is a key ingredient to producing a delicious bread! If you don’t have buttermilk make your own before you start the recipe: combine 1 3/4 cup of whole milk  or 2 percent milk with 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice. Stir it up and let it sit for about 10-15 minutes.

An interesting note: if you run across your Irish grandmother’s family recipe that calls for “sour milk” and “bicarbonate of soda” – that’s buttermilk and baking soda:)

Slice of buttered Irish soda bread.

How to make Irish soda bread

Bring the buttermilk to room temp and set the oven temperature to 400°F

Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl; then, add buttermilk to the flour mixture; stir with a wooden spoon until combined

Place the crumbly dough onto a lightly floured work surface; begin to lightly knead the dough until it begins to stick together

Batter on counter before kneading.

Knead the dough about 15-times then leave it alone. Do not overwork the dough or too much gluten will form and your Irish soda bread will be mushy

Shape it into a disc or round loaf; score a deep cross on the top of the bread dough with a sharp knife and bake on an ungreased parchment-lined baking dish for 40-minutes or so, or until the internal temperature reaches 180°F.

Round disc of dough scored with an X on top.

The first time I made this I thought I was doing it wrong. The dough was coarse crumbs and I was worried the bottom of the loaf would burn. I was wrong. This turned out to be really good and the easiest bread I’ve ever made!

Recipe tips

  • Be sure to use buttermilk that’s not cold – set it out before you begin
  • Lightly flour your work surface so you can knead the bread
  • Don’t overwork the dough; this will create too much gluten; about 12-15 turns of the dough is all you need
  • If your bread starts to brown too fast, place an empty baking sheet on the rack right above the bread

How do I know when it’s done?

Use a thermometer and when the internal temperature of the center reaches 180°F, it’s done!

How to slice and serve Irish soda bread

The loaf is typically round or rectangular. Since this is a dense bread you’ll want a good cutting board and a sharp, serrated knife.  Some folks make slices and some folks cut the bread in quarters! You can do this in whatever fashion you prefer! Naturally, you’ll need some salty Irish butter or serve with jelly, jam or preserves.

How to store it

Before refrigeration, Irish cooks would place a damp dish towel over the loaf of bread to keep it moist. If you use this preservation method, it will last 1-2 days.

If you prefer to refrigerate it, just wrap it in plastic wrap; it will hold for 3-5 days in the fridge or, you can freeze it in an airtight container for up to 3 months.


As with any recipe, there are different ways to make it! Some use whole wheat flour and add sugar, caraway seeds and/or raisins. Feel free to make yours the way you prefer!

For simplicity, I like to stick to the easy four ingredient Irish Soda bread recipe – it’s a classic recipe that works every time time, and if you’ve never made homemade bread this is a great way to start!

Round loaf of bread cut into quarters on dark brown cutting board.

I like to make this easy Irish Soda bread and serve it with homemade soups, stews or as a snack!

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