Classic Irish soda bread.

Two things to love about Irish Soda Bread: First, it’s super easy to make. Second, it keeps quite well … in fact, I’d argue that it’s better toasted and buttered on Day 3 than it is the same day you make it.

This classic Irish Soda Bread recipe includes a ton of raisins and the spice and crunch of caraway seed. It would be a fun way to introduce your kids to bread-making: They’ll enjoy digging their mitts into this crumbly, shaggy dough and kneading it together.

If you’d like, you can portion generous half-cup scoops of this dough onto the lined baking sheet to make scones; you’ll want to reduce the baking time significantly, to about 20–25 minutes. Drizzle a simple powdered sugar glaze of the baked scones if you’d like.

Irish soda bread with raisins and caraway

4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
2 Tbsp. caraway seed
4 Tbsp. (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
2 cups raisins (dark and golden, or either)
1 1/3 cups buttermilk
1 large egg
1 tsp. baking soda

Preheat oven to 375 degrees; line a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper. In a very large bowl, sift together flour, salt and baking powder. Add sugar and caraway seed and stir with a fork to combine. Using a pastry blender or your fingers, work the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the raisins.

In a separate bowl, combine buttermilk, egg and baking soda and stir with a fork to combine well. Pour the buttermilk mixture into the dry ingredients and stir well with a fork. Here’s the fun part: Dig your hands into the bowl and work the dough to incorporate everything as much as you can. The dough will feel dry and floury; once you have it fairly combined, turn the dough and any loose flour and raisins out onto a clean work surface and continue to knead until the flour and raisins are fully combined. This will take a few minutes. Shape the dough into a round loaf that's 8 or 9 inches in diameter. Using a sharp  knife, make an X in the top, going about 1 inch deep (this helps the center of this dense bread to cook through). Bake for 1 hour; test for doneness by inserting a skewer into the middle of the bread (it should come out clean). If the bread needs more time, bake for an additional 10 minutes.

7 thoughts on “Classic Irish soda bread.

  1. Do you ever include nuts in this recipe? I just bought some on Sunday and it appeared tom have either pecans or walnuts

    • Hi, Sonny — I haven’t encountered Irish Soda Bread with nuts, but a quick online search tells me it’s not unheard of to add pecans or walnuts.

      • Bryn
        I will check the second loaf I bought yesterday. It was very good to hear back

    • Hi, Jeanne — you could substitute white whole wheat flour for the all-purpose, or use 1 or 1 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour and the rest all-purpose. Know that using whole wheat flour will create a denser texture and require a bit more baking time. Thanks for the question!