skillet irish soda bread

[Note: This recipe got fresh photos in 2018.]

I had forsworn New York Times recipes after this last caustic disaster, but my resistance didn’t last long. I made it almost two months, and then Melissa Clark graced the pages this week with what she considers the ultimate soda bread, “baked in a heavy iron skillet so that the top and bottom crusts become crunchy and browned while the center stays tender and pale, studded with treacly bits of raisins.” I am only human.

what you'll need

I’ve never made Irish soda bread before and eaten it almost as rarely, so I’m sorry I cannot offer a review with any authority, but what charmed me about this was that neither could Clark. She was told by a friend married to an Irishman and living in his country that though her version was rich and lovely, it neither looked nor tasted like the real deal. Apparently, nobody in Ireland serves real soda bread anymore, she said, and even if they did, it would have no raisins, eggs, butter or caraway seeds. After trying a version faithful to the original and finding it delicious when warm, but hard, dry and bland when cold, Clark decided being authentic was overrated, and went back to her old formula.

wet into dry
dry, currants, caraway

Although I’d still like to try the real deal — in Ireland, please, let me know if you need my mailing address for plane tickets — none of the people (husband, coworkers) I will foist this on today are likely to quibble, and even if this is not authentic, it is wildly delicious and going to be my go-to for some time; it’s both crusty and tender, and manages to lock in its moisture in a way that reminds me of a certain vaunted scone.

"brushed" with butter, ready to bake

And since I’ve already abandoned authenticity, might I suggest that this would be equally good with fennel seeds replacing the caraway ones, or replacing the raisins with any kind of dried fruit. You’re supposed to serve it with cheddar and apples, but I just wanted to hook it up with a dollop of créme fraiche.

skillet irish soda bread

skillet irish soda bread

Skillet Irish Soda Bread

Serve this with good aged cheddar and sliced tart apples and we will be friends for life. These days, we tend to make the soda bread with 1/2 cup sugar instead of 2/3; it’s less overtly sweet.

  • 4 tablespoons (55 grams) unsalted butter, divided, plus more for pan
  • 3 cups (390 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup (130 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 cups raisins or dried currants
  • 1 tablespoon caraway seeds (or more, tot aste)

Heat oven to 350°F. Grease a 10-inch ovenproof skillet and line with parchment paper. (Deb note: Mine came out a bit taller, as my cast-iron is 8-inches and deep.) If you don’t have a 10-inch ovenproof skillet, use a similarly sized cake pan or casserole dish.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a medium bowl, melt 2 tablespoons (28 grams) of butter in a microwave and let cool slightly, then whisk in eggs, followed by the buttermilk until combined. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir until just moistened; do not overmix. Stir in the raisins or currants and caraway seeds.

Pour batter into prepared skillet. Brush top with remaining butter. Bake until golden and firm to touch, about 1 hour.

Cool 10 minutes on a wire rack before slicing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

New here? You might want to check out the comment guidelines before chiming in.

111 comments on skillet irish soda bread

  1. LyB

    Bread again! You’re killing me! It looks gorgeous and I’m sure it tastes great too. I’m not printing the recipe just yet though, I’ve decided to make the Russian Black Bread this weekend and I want nothing to distract me from it!

  2. fasteddie

    I’ve been using yogurt (either plain or vanilla) in place of the buttermilk because I almost always have yogurt in the fridge, but rarely have buttermilk. Or half yogurt and half milk. My grandmother always made hers in the cast iron skillet, too. It was quite a sight to see a 96 year old lady swinging the heavy and hot pan around. She immigrated from Ireland in 1927 and lived to be 99 years old. I need to buy a skillet and dedicate it to her memory. Thanks for tickling my memory.

  3. Lovely, lovely, Deb. It looks delicious, just as it did in the newspaper. I’m wondering how well it keeps. Any idea? And for fasteddie, if you don’t have buttermilk in the house, you can always make your own by combining milk and vinegar – quick and easy…

  4. You very much inspire me to bake bread – your pictures are so lovely! But every time I try I’m a COMPLETE failure. Sad. This one looks/sounds more like a muffin, though, or scone, as you mention above. Maybe this one isn’t as intimidating.

  5. A friend who came to cook last night, and who grew up in Ireland, told us that in Ireland the soda bread never has caraway — that caraway is an American addition. In fact, my friend is making it her mission to educate all of us caraway lovers one by one — and so I’m passing the word. Raisins, however, are definitely the traditional mix-in.

  6. You are definitely on a bread making roll, even if this is more like a cake than a bread… but I still want to make the Russian bread, so I´ll forgo this one for now. Though thanks for reminding me of that Guiness-chocolate cake you made months ago, a friend of mine´s birthday is coming up and he is a Homer-like beer lover, so I´m sure he´d love that cake.
    And by the way, these days, it seems that everything needs to be cooked in a cast iron skillet, why oh why? Don´t chefs realize that some of us have a very limited kitchen storage space? :(

  7. Lizzi

    I love love love Irish Soda Bread. And even though I know that the real deal doesn’t have caraway seeds or currents, I heart both of them too. So I made the epicurious one and added 2.5 tsp of caraway seeds. It was SUPER yum. And since I could only get a quart of buttermilk, it looks like I’m just going to have to make blueberry buttermilk coffee cake with the rest of the buttermilk. DARN!

  8. Hi Deb, you are spot on with the comparison to an overgrown scone. For the last 2 days we’ve been picking away at the loaf I made, and always with a “oh, this is so good”. I woke up this morning with my belly staying, “you’ve had enough bread, haven’t you?” Thank goodness we finished it last night. BTW, the Irish commenters on my site have objected to the use of sugar (even the scant 2 Tbsp in my recipe) and egg, and say that they would call it a cake and not bread. But then, they would object to corn beef and cabbage too, so whatever.

  9. deb

    LyB — Oh, I love this soda bread but there is no comparison for that Russian loaf. Plus, it’s hearty, healthy, warming and all sorts of other things that lighter breads aren’t as good at achieving. I swear, one slice can really fill you. I’d love to hear how it goes.

    Fasteddie — Thanks for reminding me I wanted to link out the other places I’ve been seeing it! I rarely have buttermilk around either but once I buy it, like for this, I make a point to make biscuits or scones or pancakes with it. The only thing that always troubles me, of course, is how foul it smells. How would you ever know if it’s gone bad? Guh.

    Luisa — I was worried about it keeping, too, because the only soda bread’s I’ve tried have been dry and kinda ick the next day. For the sake of science (of course) I have tried it again and it’s still very moist, although it lost a little crustiness on top because it was only 95% cold when I put it away. If necessary, I can, um, try a piece again tomorrow, you know, just to make sure it’s still good. ;)

    Abby — This other other “quick” breads (no yeast, no kneading) are great places to start. You should!

    Lydia — Ooh, thank you. Caraway is such an odd (but IMHO, tasty) choice, I find it funny that it migrated in.

    Marce — I am, but mostly accidental. What’s really happening is that I’ve had no time to make weekday night dinners lately, but then have time before bed to start bigger, less time-sensitive things. I miss making dinner, though. I’d say buy one 9″ cast iron skillet and you’ll have it forever, plus it’s between the most commonly called-upon sizes, 8″ and 10″. The nice thing is unlike those Dutch ovens, they’re super cheap. Even in my neck of Manhattan, they’re but $10.

    Lizzi — Ditto on the buttermilk. I am thinking of making biscuits and freezing them unbaked so we can have them if and when we want. Has you tried this?

    Elise — I find it funny that I always want to be so authentic to original recipes (like that vanilla pound cake I made a few weeks ago with no baking soda, milk or anything) but on this, I only care about taste. It’s oddly liberating. (And I hope, not a slippery slope to calling food “Asian” if it has even teaspoon of soy sauce in it!)

  10. That is so funny–I am actually eating soda bread right now, that the head Irish woman here at the office baked for everybody. YUM! it is delicious. And I am so bad for eating it. Damn! No more bread for a week!


  11. I agree with you, purity be damned. If you can improve on soeìmething (and as an Irish-American, I feel the authority to say that traditional Irish cuisine could stand some improving) go for it!

  12. That bread looks divine and requires NO KNEADING! My great grandfather was Irish and I think I might make this tomorrow just to honor him. Though, the raisins will be replaced with dried cranberries and I’m thinking a little bit of honey to dip a wedge into. Oh, the Irish lass in me will be dancing tomorrow. And, I think the Polish boyfriend won’t mind one bit.

  13. Alice

    I made this bread on Wednesday night after reading it on the Times website. While my co-worker and husband were delighted, I thought it was very good, but with a few caveats:
    1. It was a bit salty, which probably had a lot to do with the baking powder AND soda. As decreasing these ingredients would result in a lower rise, I will just decrease the salt to 3/4 tp next time.
    2. I love the flavor of caraway, but would put 2 tp next time, I felt the amount in the recipe overwhelmed the delicate flavor of the bread.
    3. Also, I think my oven heats accurately, but my bread was perfectly done in just 35 minutes, and I made it as the recipe calls for with a 10″ (cast iron) skillet.
    That said, the flavor really is heightened when eaten alongside slices of NY cheddar and wedges of Granny Smith apple. The crème fraiche sounds divine too!

    1. Grace

      I like the look of traditional Irish soda bread with the “X” scored on top. Any thoughts on whether one can do this after it has baked a little and firmed up a bit?

      1. I have made soda bread for over 50 yrs. My recipe is similar … has 4 cups of flour and 1 stick of butter … 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp baking soda, everything else is the same … but is more of a dough instead of a batter … WE CUT A CROSS WITH KNIFE … IT HELPS THE BREAD RISE … AND “BLESSES THE BREAD” also to let the fairies out …lol

  14. Ian

    Another good buttermilk substitute is… buttermilk powder :-) It’s great for these recipes, because it’ll wait for you forever in the back of your cupboard without spoiling until you need it. I’ve had good luck with the milk + yoghurt route, too, but the one time I tried using vinegar, it turned into an inadvertant cheesemaking exercise.

  15. You’re on a roll over here, I can barely keep up! I was eyeing that soda bread recipe, but I’ve made my Guinness Ginger Cake (with a nod to your own Guinness version).
    As for biscuits, yes you can totally freeze unbaked ones, I often do this since I usually end up with too many than we should healthfully consume. Cut them out, place on baking sheets, freeze, then move them to a plastic bag and store in the freezer.

  16. I totally agree with the Guiness Chocolate Cake assessment. Usually I look and appreciate most of the stuff here, but don’t have the time (I was working two jobs) or the inclination (there are enough dishes to wash as it is) to make anything, but I made an exception several times for that one. I even brought the recipe with me overseas and made it here in Prague, beer capital of the world, and it went over really well with my Czech friends. However, I am suspicious that I didn’t get a few things like the baking soda right (I had no measuring spoons) and it came out really dry–the times I made it in the States it was nice and moist. Still good, though!

    Tell us if you venture into the sourdough sections of your new bread books!! The only cookbook I’ve ever bought is the Bread Bakers Apprentice (actually, I made a friend buy it for me for christmas, she thought I was crazy), and I love it!!! But I can never get the sourdough culture to come out right…and I adore sourdough…

  17. DianeF

    You folks who like to use buttermilk, but then feel obligated, no…pressured, guilted, even, into using that buttermilk up immediately so as not to waste it, might be glad to know that you can freeze it. I learned this several years back from an online gal and it’s what I do now. I freeze it in recipe sized portions (1 cup or so..definitely mark the lid as to it’s contents). The thawed version needs a stirring, and is probably only good for baking..which is what I use it for. Works great!

  18. First, having spent a month in the UK some time ago, I wouldn’t put a lot of stock in their ideas of what’s good to eat. Anytime we strayed from pub food or curry places, the food was pretty dreadful. I’m sure your bread is an improvement on the original.

    Second, one great use for buttermilk is using it instead of regular milk when you mash potatoes. Not sure why, but they’re just tastier when I do that.

  19. This looks terrific! My father in law used to say the shortest book ever written was great Irish recipes. And Terry, since I have a lot of buttermilk left from my adventures in soda bread, thanks for the idea of using buttemilk in my mashed potatoes!

  20. Judy in Carefree

    Made the bread yesterday with powdered buttermilk and chopped dried cranberries…about a cup.. and caraway seed because that is what I had on hand. Family loved it and I didn’t come home with even a piece.

  21. Fast Eddie: You can substitute butter milk using milk and adding a bit of vinegar.

    I made the bread this morning, I convinced my family it was horrible so I could hoarde it. I think they’re onto me.

    I didn’t use the caraway though, that felt wrong from my Irish roots.

  22. My soda bread recipe came down from my great-grandmother, who never set foot out of County Tyrone; and while it’s true it features no eggs, butter or caraway seeds, raisins are definitely there.

  23. Stephanie

    I followed this recipe myself and brought it to our family St. Pat’s dinner as well as taking another loaf to work. It was incredible and my family was hoarding slices for themselves. I really enjoyed the article and was quite amused by the author’s decision to ignore the “traditional” recipe and make her own version instead. Here’s a link to a few pictures of my loaf.

  24. Brenda

    My mother and aunts (all from Co. Tyrone) always include raisins. It doesn’t taste “authentic” to me without them. Imagine if we insisted on sticking to colonial American versions of recipes! Evolution is a good thing :)

  25. Sylvana

    Oh my, I was looking for Irish soda bread when I came upon this recipe and I have been drooling since. I have never made Irish soda bread before, but this recipe looked ripe for a knock off of my too many dried cranberries in the cupboard. Zest of one orange and a cup of cranberries and an evening of delight!

    I only had a12 inch fry pan, but after adjusting the time to 30 minutes, it was perfect and perfectly delicious!

  26. Mary in Montreal

    Hey Deb,

    Nice soda bread recipe, but way to rich and fancy for a humble peasant food. (Eggs? Butter?) My recipe is dead easy – 8 c whole wheat flour, 1 q butter milk, 1 Tb salt, 1Tb baking soda and 1/4 c molasses. Dry ingredients in one bowl, heat molasses in a sauce pan to thin, then add buttermilk. Stir wet into dry. You’ll have a big wet mess, divide into two on a well floured board. More flour as as you shape into two balls. Flatten to about 2′ thick. Mark tops with giant X. Bake 45 minutes at 400 degrees.
    Wonderful warm from the oven, fantastic used for toast for up to five days. Enjoy!

  27. Deb – I was suckered in at the grocery store the other day… the red currant display was so beautiful and I needed to make a pint of them mine! Never having bought them before, I decided to make Irish Soda bread (in my new cast iron skillet) and it turned out so wonderfully moist and delicious! Thanks again!

  28. Michelle

    I made this after having less than great luck with other Irish Soda bread recipes. This one came out great! It fulfilled my husband’s craving and was so easy to make. Thank you!

  29. just made this (minus the caraway seeds) and it’s dee-LISH. husband and i are each on piece #2 and it’s only been out of the oven 10 minutes. it was my first time baking in a skillet and i loved it!

    i think someone mentioned this above, but if you use a bigger skillet (i used a 12 inch) watch the bread closely as it will probably be done quicker than an hour. (mine was golden and firm at 45 minutes.)

    thanks, deb!

  30. Maya

    I was wondering if anyone has tips for lining the cast iron skillet with parchment paper. Isn’t it difficult to make the papaer stay in? Would the bread get stuck without it?

    1. deb

      Maya — It’s a security measure; it will guarantee that the cake/bread won’t stick. You can try it without, especially if yours is well-seasoned.

  31. PM

    I just made this for St. Patrick’s Day and accidentaly used bread flour instead of all-purpose. It turned out a little bit chewier than I expect the normal recipe would, but it still tastes delicious. Thanks for the recipe!

  32. bell

    I’m Irish, I’m from Dublin and have lived here all of my 22 years! I can tell you that the traditional Irish soda bread is still alive and well in Ireland. Most lunch cafes and ‘soup n sandwich’ kind of places would serve it. And a good fresh soda bread is really, really good (an-maith as Gaeilge!), it’s neither dry nor hard. It is irresistibly soft and moist. The thought of a fresh, warm, buttered slice of soda bread with a big bowl of hot, leek and potato soup is possibly one of the most comforting things I can think of. If you’re looking for a good, traditional recipe, I’d be happy to share, though I imagine you’d have no trouble finding one in one of your many books! This is the week of traditional Irish cooking too, being Paddy’s week (not just Paddy’s day anymore!). Irish stew, colcannon, soda bread, oysters and plenty of stout!

  33. brooke

    made this bread yesterday and it was most yummy! i halved the recipe for my tiny cast iron stillet, and it worked out perfectly! thank you, smitten kitchen, for once again sharing a great, easy recipe :)

  34. Janine

    I made this “bread” tonight with currants (no caraway seeds) and it was amazing. Very moist with a nice crust. Texture is like a cross between soda bread and a muffin. We had it warm from the oven with some butter. Maybe we’ll try cheddar and apples tomorrow night. I always have to adjust the cooking time in my oven since I have convection. I like using it for baking and usually drop the temperature about 25 degrees and cut the cooking time. Is there an actual rule for a convection oven? Thanks again for all of your recipes and can’t wait for the cookbook. I tell everyone about your site.

  35. Robyn

    Love your blog, hate to cook, but showed this to my boyfriend who, thankfully, loves to cook! Paired this with Irish butter and corned beef and cabbage last night. Holy moley, this soda bread is the BEST. Made it plain, no seeds or raisins, and it was still delicious! Ate it again for breakfast (with jam!) this morning…and again for a late mornings snack…

    Thanks for all your great recipes! And your searchable index :)

  36. Eibhlin Ni Fithceallaigh

    Your bread looks fabulous. I am definitely going to try it. I’m Irish so I’ll give you my input for what it is worth on soda bread from the native land. I grew up on very plain soda bread made by my Mother in the 70s. Great with a bowl of leek and potato soup for feeding a family economically. It was just white four, baking soda, cream of tartar, both sieved (but not the flour) to ensure no lumps, (bextartar), and sour milk, and a pinch of salt, mixed quickly and lightly, placed in a free form round with a cross, on a used butter wrapper. The key thing was not to over mix and get it into the hot oven rapidly and for the love of God not to open the oven door. It was cooked in a fuel fired Jubliee oven. The result was a light brown crust, a tight even crumb, and it was very clean tasting and feather light. Only good for eating for a few hours. Inedible the next day. The thought would never have occurred to anyone to add eggs, seeds, or butter, or any such newfangledness. I thought this was the best bread ever until recently my Mother told me that her Mother’s bread was the ne plus ultra of soda breads and that the local Canon made a special stop at her house for her bread. Apparently it was likened to eating cotton it was so light. What was the secret? Cast Iron. My Grandmother baked the same recipe in a covered cast iron pot over hot embers late at night so it was ready for the family early in the morning. This reminded me of Jim Laheys no knead bread baked using the same type of utensil. So, that’s why I love your recipe that uses a cast iron skillet. For some reason in 70s Ireland all the good cast iron had been thrown out in the race to modernity and alunimum was the cooking metal most widely available.

  37. Chloe

    Above is maybe one of my favorite comments I’ve ever read on your site, and now I may never make soda bread again!

    I just made soda bread last week without consulting your site–I know, it shocks me too. I used the recipe from my favorite cookbook, The New Basics (by the women of the Silver Palate). I am happy to see that this NYT recipe here reduces the sugar (here = 2/3 c., NB = 3/4 c.). I found mine too sweet. Otherwise, it is the nearly the exact same recipe–they use currants in NB, which is really nice and I recommend. Also, I would agree that the bread was best right out of the oven and got too moist the next day. All the more reason to eat it with friends right out of the oven!

  38. Eileen

    I haven’t made this recipe yet, but… it has all the ingredients my grandmother (from County Roscommon, Ireland) used. Of course, she didn’t measure anything… and the number of eggs and the amount of sugar were directly proportional to how much she held the recipient close to her heart. At the end she always spread some butter over the top to melt into the nooks and sprinkled a “bit” of sugar over it all.

  39. Jade

    Om nom.

    I’ve been making Irish Soda Scones from The Cheese Board’s cook book for a while now (time of year means nothing!) They have a similar characteristic in that they have lots of crunchy edge bits but soft goodness inside.

    Now if only I could convince the FH that caraway seeds are tasty things…

  40. Skylar

    Help, I just made the bread and it didn’t puff up at all. I followed the recipe exactly except for the seeds, what did I do wrong?

  41. Skylar

    I have made this rcipi twice and it has always turned out good, though I have never made it with caraway seeds. It also never puffed up at all, what could I be doing wrong?

  42. This recpie is very similar to one my family prepares for St. Patrick’s Day, traditionally it is served only for the feast day. We use 1 cup golden raisins, no caraway seeds and slightly different preportions of the other ingredients. Bake in an angel food pan if you do not have a cast iron skillet. It always comes out great, toast it in the oven the next day if you have any left.

  43. Kelly

    I made this bread for St. Patty’s Day dinner — it was delicious … but was more moist and cake-like/scone-like than some Irish soda breads. Not a critique on the recipe, as it was absolutely yummy (and I served it with sliced apples and cheddar as suggested, which was a nice touch); it just wasn’t as “dry”/floury as some recipes. I will definitely make it again, but perhaps not for St. Pat’s. :-) Keep up the awesome work — this site is my go-to recipe spot! P.S. I have the Guinness cake on my list to try next!

  44. Trish

    I was checking around the internet for recipes similar to my Irish family’s scone recipe! Amazingly I found it on your page and you weren’t all that familiar with this family favorite. I am second generation Donegal Irish and this recipe is very similar to our family scone (pronounced scawn)recipe – back in the day my Mom used caraway and candied fruit but went back to the sultana/raisin version which we mostly use. The “real” way is in the cast iron pan- but in an emergency a bundt pan has been used. Thanks for sharing! Slainte!

  45. christina

    this came out more like a cake than the traditional irish soda bread I am familiar with. Was a big disappointed, will just have to try again with another recipe. Although everything else I have made of yours has been amazing.

  46. Rob

    Tried this recipe for St. Patrick’s Day today and it was FANTASTIC!!!!!

    Thank you for posting it!!

    I made a few minor mods or nods to health.

    Skim milk w/ 2 tps of lemon juice (stir, sit for 5 mins) in place of buttermilk
    Egg Beaters in place of eggs
    .5 tsp salt (instead of 1.5 tsp)
    I also skipped the caraway seeds so the kids would partake

    It was a HUGE hit!!

  47. Christine

    This was a fantastic bread, almost like a cake/muffin quick bread. I also tweaked it – I cut the caraway seeds in half because I made brisket with caraway seeds. I cut the raisins down by a third, and I cut the sugar down by almost a third. I mixed in cranberries with the raisins and orange zest. I also baked it in a nine inch cake pan. It still turned out great.

    It was tangy, mildly sweet, aromatic, and has an amazing crumb. I’ve made irish soda bread in the past, and it’s never been this enjoyable as a leftover (we’re still toasting it and eating with Dubliner cheese and apples). I would make this for a Sunday morning breakfast!

  48. Kate

    I followed your recipe exactly except for substituting sugar for a dab of honey that was leftover in a jar. Also, I left out the caraway. Baked for 35 min.
    It is a beautiful and tasty loaf. Not too sweet. I’m eating hot out of the oven with a pat of butter. I’m hoping that it keeps until tomorrow. I’m making some wild mushroom soup.

  49. Edward

    Nearly the same recipe as my families soda bread, we always use clabbered milk (soured or milk with a bit of vinegar added). Leaving out the caraway would be contraverisal with us. The bread can dry out after a day or two, but if you slice it rather than wedge it then it can be put into a toaster and revived pretty well. Also, I’ve made a bread pudding with stale bread and it is crazy good.

  50. Susan

    this is more a quick bread batter and HEAVY but absolutely DELICIOUS. It’s not coarse like other irish soda breads. I used LOTS of caraway seeds and raisins and my granddaughters couldn’t get enough (neither could my husband & I) I made a double batch and cooked one in a bread pan and another in a cast iron muffin pan. Muffin pan turned out much better. This will be a St. Paddy’s Day dinner staple.

  51. Fal

    Just made this for breakfast and it was fantastic! Did it with raisins and a bit of cinnamon and allspice because it is November, and anything with raisins gets cinnamon/cloves/allspice/nutmeg/all of the above in my house. Yum.

  52. Hannah

    I just made this and it is absolutely delicious, but the middle just would not harden. After the full time of baking, the top was super brown and super firm, and the middle is still liquid. What did I do wrong?! Either way, the sides are going to be awesome. Thank you!

    1. deb

      Hannah — It’s hard to say exactly what happened but of course if it’s still liquid in the center, it’s not baked through and needs more time. You can put foil over it to keep it from browning further while it bakes.

  53. Fal

    This has turned into my “feel like baking something but don’t know what” go-to. I’ve taken to blaspheming even further and putting wrinkly apples and such in it, very tasty. Just made some today and plan to use it to bribe my neighbors to feed my guinea pig while I’m on vacation next week~

  54. Pam

    Made it last year for St Patty’s and making it again this year. Wonderful bread and tastes great reheated. Everyone likes it and its easy to make too. Love my cast iron skillet.

  55. Jay

    I’m delighted to see a simple Irish recipe being made and loved abroad! We do eat it here in Ireland (although it’s more likely to be made by people who passed it through the generations). It can be bought commercially also in some supermarkets but nothing beats the fabulous smells and melted buttery goodness when fresh. However I’m responding to the comment that it can be bland and stodgy when cooled (I’m paraphrasing with my own feeling here) which makes it less than rewarding if you got lots left over. A thing we do in my family with leftover soda bread is fry it! Heat some bacon fat (after frying your bacon of course)to sizzling in a skillet or pan and fry one or both sides of your slices. It gives the bread a whole new life and is delicious with a fried egg and some fried tomatoes (and of course that bacon that started the whole drooling-fest) This is a great brunch treat for a weekend morning and will become a firm favourite, no matter where your grandparents came from! Enjoy!

  56. Ursula Dekle

    Consistently excellent recipe baked in iron frying pan lined with parchmnt paper and tinfoil cover after initial 20 minutes.
    But, “go on ourra that” you mission bound Irish lady who doesn’t know her caraway seeds! Codswallop! This is how heresies arise and thrive.
    In” Mayo God Help Us” my very own native born Irish Mother baked her daily bread and was lavish with the caraway seeds. I know because I loathed them!
    So, keep an open mind until the research is complete and rarely say “never”.
    Off to make a batch sans carraway now and I add a 2 generous fistfuls of orange peel for extra flavor. Enough prosleytizing already in life ….. baking is an art and a science, not a confining religious experience with a punitive punch for wandwring outside the lines. Have fun, break the rules, remove the stays. Experiment, experiment, experiment …use the scientific method, cast off the limiting factors….it’s the Irish way!

  57. Deb. My mother, the woman who never gets sick, ever, is in bad shape after suffering a burst appendix and emergency surgery last week. We are coaxing her to want to live again by bringing toothsome meals to her every day, and then sitting and telling her stories that make her laugh while we eat together. My Dad is making corned beef and cabbage tomorrow night for supper, and I’m making and bringing THIS BREAD. I think it’ll do the ticket. I know it’ll make her smile. And hopefully give her an appetite for life again.

  58. MelanieQ

    the 2T butter aren’t in the ingredients list. Funny that this wasn’t corrected before then – the comments are usually full of this kind of thing!

  59. Made this for St. Patty’s Day 2016. Amazing. So good in the morning with a slab of butter and coffee! I added a teaspoon of orange zest, but otherwise made it exactly as written. Certainly not exactly traditional, but who cares about tradition when you are eating something so yummy!

  60. Penny

    Absolute delicious – but definitely a cake in my eyes!! In fact, much like the basic tea-time cake that my mother would bake, when we were children (and that’s over 40 years ago for me!). I don’t have a skillet (they are soooo expensive here in the UK) so I used a deep 8″ cake tin and a good job too – rose very high, wonderfully so.

    It did take an inordinately long time to bake through, though, and I ended up having to cover it with foil as the top was starting down the brown-not-gold route. In all, it took almost an hour to set in the centre. And wouldn’t use the butter glaze next time – it’s made the crust very VERY chewy, but not horribly so. Oh, and I left out the carraway seeds as I really do not like them – I added poppy seeds instead, love the crunch and look of those!

    In all – a fantastic reintroduction to a tea-time treat for me! It will definitely be baked again.

    Thanks for the recipe – for ALL the great recipes!

  61. Just baked this up and it turned out beautifully! The currants add a nice hint of sweetness. It does great with plain kefir instead of buttermilk – it has the tang and thickness, but is a bit easier for those who are lactose intolerant.

  62. Olives

    Baked this yesterday and it is amazing! There was a slight what I’ll call “user error” and it is a little underdone in the middle (new oven that I’m still getting used to!). 90% of it is fantastic and the boyfriends response after the first bite: “I’m glad you’ll be making this again.”

  63. Mary Chory

    Hi, this is a great recipe. Here is a change I make, I add a mixture of chopped dry fruit; apricots, dates, figs, and then some chopped nuts, a mixture of pecans and walnuts. Make the break sooooo much better! Maybe not traditional, but really good! Was thinking next time of soaking the dry fruit in some Irish whiskey before I add them! Thanks for you great recipes, I make many of them!
    Mary c.


    I’ve made this several times, this latest loaf using 2 cups all purpose flour and 1 cup white whole wheat. Half a cup of sugar is plenty for me. I didn’t have the full measure of raisins but soaked what I had in a couple tablespoons of whiskey. Baking time was 45 minutes. It’s delicious!

  65. Serra

    I want to make this tomorrow but worried about what to make it in. I have a giant cast iron which might be too big, an oval dutch oven – sides are taller than a skillet – and a springform cake pan. What should I use?

  66. lisa

    This was heavenly!! I only used 1/3 cup sugar and zante currants, OMG warm from the oven with some salted Irish butter, to die for! Thanks Deb, this one is a keeper!

  67. I altered this to be a savory soda bread and it was fabulous! I eliminated the sugar and added caramelized onions, manchego, and basil. It was just the moist bread I was hoping for! Can’t wait to experiment with a sweet version.

  68. Gregory Cate

    Made this today for st. Patrick’s day, as written except baked in a 9 inch cake pan. Came out perfect and delicious. Very moist yeast-bead like crumb. Another winner!

  69. Katia

    Just made it with yogurt (slightly less, because that’s all I had) and sugar (slightly less – 1/3 cup). Also added ground caraway because I really like it, and sprinkled a bit of cane sugar on top instead of brushing with butter.
    Cooling off now – smells wonderful!

  70. Jane

    My absolute favorite soda bread recipe. It’s so large I cut in half and parcel out to friends on St. Patrick’s Day. A few changes I make: I soak the raisins in warm Irish whiskey or, if I don’t have it, just warm water. I increase the number of raisins, don’t use currants, and use half dark, half golden raisins.

  71. Brittany W.

    I made this for St. Patrick’s Day and it was amazing! And still moist the next day! But, a bit more like cake. I think I will take Deb’s suggestion and reduce the sugar next time. But definitely great and I didn’t have to worry about having dry leftovers the next day. Kept in a Ziplock in the refrigerator, it was great the next day.

  72. May

    I made this yesterday. I followed your suggestion and used 1/2 cup of sugar. YUMMY! This recipe is going into my favs folder. Thank you for sharing this recipe!

  73. Emily

    Did there used to be an internal temperature on this recipe or am I imagining things? I haven’t made this recipe in two years and am making tonight, and I’m missing that indication of doneness!

  74. ellen

    It’s pretty rare that I don’t love one of your recipes, Deb. But I think I have been spoiled for soda bread by the spectacular version by Sweet Melissa. If you don’t have her book (which is a great!) you can find the recipe here: Your version here is okay, but it’s more like cake, less like bread. Melissa’s rendition is crumbly (but not overly so), tender, packed full of flavor and has the perfect texture that is like bread but also like cake. I usually slightly reduce the sugar in hers (it could even be left out altogether as the Irish would do). Try it!

  75. Mairzi

    Delicious and oh so easy. St. Patrick’s Day is a big deal around here with soda bread being made, sold and/or offered everwhere. Everyone has their favorite style of soda bread. Some are dense and chewy, some are sweet, some are more savory with caraway seeds. This is my new favorite. I made exactly as written except skipped the caraway (didn’t have any) and sprinkled a bit of sugar on top before baking.

  76. Keight

    Lovely, moist and muffin-y. I used one cup white whole wheat flour and two cups all purpose flour; the 1/2 cup of sugar; dried currants, cranberries and cherries soaked in strong black tea; and I toasted the caraway. Yum! And thank you for all your inspiring recipes!

  77. Karen T

    So glad to see this post, and I have many variations of irish soda bread and one is actually very plain….only flour, sugar, buttermilk, butter and eggs and is soooo delicious….like a giant “biscuit”. However, I love trying new recipes and even though I usually cringe at using raisins (an eccentric trait of mine), I found raisins and caraway seeds to be divine in another version of my soda bread recipes. I even have one with chocolate chips which is also very good. So, every year, I try a new recipe and reach for one of my older ones and we end up eating a lot of irish soda bread….no worries….it is great toasted with butter with breakfast. Thank you for a wonderful post and for sharing this recipe. I agree, eat well while hunkering down. Stay well.

  78. Denise

    Hello Deb,
    Wondering re: the technique to use part of the butter melted on top rather than inside as most recipes. Any thoughts as to how it affects results as only 2 T are inside the batter. I love un-authentic soda bread due to the add’l sweetness and crunch.

    1. deb

      You’ll love this — don’t sweat it. I’ve had every kind of soda bread and more lean ones are common — all the better for adding butter on top.

  79. jan

    I made this last night for dinner with friends. I melted the butter in the iron skillet and left it on the hob so that it was still hot when I put the batter in it. That seems to have reduced the baking time to 40 minutes when it was VERY well done. It was quite firm and didn’t need cooling on a rack to cut. I served it from the pan on the table.
    I made a few other changes: for the flour: 2 cups whole meal spelt + 1 cup oat flour and for the currants: only 1/2 cup and for the sugar: I omitted it completely because I wanted a savoury bread to accompany dinner. It was still mildly sweet from the currants and everyone loved it. Thanks very much for publishing it!

  80. Elizabeth Krall

    Love this recipe. We added a bit more sugar because the family has a sweet tooth. I also ordered a cast iron skillet just for making this. Looking forward to making it in the pan. I also used a baking thermometer. The first time it was not totally cooked in the middle. My fault. I was afraid of burning it.

  81. Sharon Sarff

    Oh my goodness! I have never made soda bread before, or tasted it. I invited company this year for St Patrick’s day and wanted to serve this. It is awesome! I had put my cast iron skillet in a box for donation. Pulled it out and used for this recipe. It won’t be given away after all. I see people have developed some variations. I may try some, but the first time I make a recipe, I like to follow it. Thank you for some awesome eating!

  82. Sophia

    Does this transfer easily out of the pan? I want to bring it to a party but would rather not bring a whole cast iron. Thanks!

  83. John

    I made this Soda Bread w cranberries, less sugar and about 50 minutes in electric oven and it turned out perfect. Seems like a foolproof recipe. Thanks.

  84. Laura

    So good! We have a fantasy irish soda bread from the Seattle U District farmers market in the early nineties, made by an Irish guy. This didn’t quite match that impossible standard, but it was extremely yummy. Used half sonora whole wheat flour and half einkorn AP and took the 1/2 c. sugar recommendation. Otherwise followed the recipe exactly, including baking in a 10″ cast iron.

  85. Jill

    Hi…was wondering if you think this would work with European style yogurt (Ala Trader Joes…not greek…this is thinner and a little more tart) instead of buttermilk.

      1. Jill

        This was the most delicious soda bread! It had a nice smooth texture and was nicely flavored. I made with the European yogurt and used milk to thin it out (half yogurt/half milk) as you suggested. I’ll have to make it again since it was so good there were no leftovers. Thanks again for another great recipe!

  86. Dee

    This was really good! I wasn’t feeling caraway seeds, so instead I rolled with currants, the zest of one orange, and a few aggressive shakes of cinnamon (somewhere between a teaspoon and tablespoon, I wasn’t keeping score). Mine was done in only 45 minutes + baking times are usually very close to recipe recommendations for me, so definitely keep an eye on it in the second half of baking time.