Irish Soda Bread

by Jennifer Locke, RD, LDN

One of my favorite recipes to make on St. Patrick’s Day is Irish soda bread.  Irish soda bread is a traditional Irish bread that is simple to make as it does not use yeast and alternatively uses baking soda to leaven the bread, hence the name “soda bread.”  The other key ingredient in Irish Soda Bread is the buttermilk, which I make using a combination of milk and lemon juice but feel free to use fresh buttermilk if you have it on hand.  The buttermilk not only adds a tanginess to the bread, but it is also a key ingredient as it works in conjuncture with the baking soda to leaven the bread. 

Today I’ll be sharing with you the recipe that my mother passed down to me from an Irish cookbook published in 1965, “The Art of Irish Cooking” by Monica Sheridan.  This is a simple yet delish recipe that I adapted by adding currants as this is what my great-grandmother used to put in hers.  Feel free to get creative and swap out the currants for other dried fruits (see below for alternative add-ins).  Enjoy!


1 cup Buttermilk (Or add 1 tbsp lemon juice to a one cup measure and fill remaining cup with milk.  Let stand for 5-10 minutes at room temperature)

4 cups white Flour

1 tsp Baking Soda

1 tsp Salt

1 tbsp Butter

1 cup Currants (see below for alternate add-ins)

Alternative add-ins:




Dried cherries


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees and lightly flour a baking sheet. Set aside
  2. Cut butter into flour, baking soda, and salt in large bowl, using pastry blender or crisscrossing 2 knives, until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Stir in currants and buttermilk
  3. With your floured hands knead lightly into a ball and turn out onto a lightly floured baking sheet. Flatten the dough into a circle 1 ½ inches thick with the palm of your hand. Make a cross in the center with a floured knife.  Bake at 425 degrees for 30-35 minutes
  4. Enjoy with a pat of butter (or spread of choice)

Original Source: “The Art of Irish Cooking,” Monica Sheridan, 1965