5 Ingredient Irish Soda Bread

An easy no yeast, no-knead Irish Soda Bread with only 5 ingredients. Think you can’t make bread, think again! This simple recipe will have you enjoying a soft, dense bread spread with a pat of butter with only 10 minutes of prep and then bake. A great addition to any St. Patrick’s Day dinner.

Overhead of fresh baked bread on green napkin.

This is one of the easiest breads you’ll ever make! Just two cake pans, five ingredients, ten minutes of prep, and pop it in the oven for 40 minutes. No kneading necessary! And it’s not just for dinner! It pairs well with butter and jam for breakfast or with cheese as an appetizer.

Once baked, this bread has the texture somewhere between a biscuit and standard yeast bread and goes deliciously with just about any dinner, any time of year. But I can’t imagine a St. Patrick’s Day without it!

What is Irish Soda Bread

Bread soda, or baking soda, was introduced back in the early 1800s and allowed people without ovens to make soda bread.

They would use basic wheat flour and salt, buttermilk from their cows, add bread soda, and pop into a cast iron pot. They’d cover the iron pot and place it right on the coals to bake. Now, Irish Soda Bread is considered a basic table bread in Ireland and sold in most commercial shops. Yes, it surely is an Irish original.

Closeup of cooling soda bread on wire rack.

This beautifully crisp crusted bread has a soft, dense interior that goes great smeared with a pat or two of butter. It’s best eaten warm, and goes well with corned beef but also with stews, like Greek Beef Stew, and hearty soups. Believe me, there’s nothing better than fresh, warm bread to take center stage on the table!

Closeup of slices with butter spread on them.

Questions and Tips on no-knead Irish soda bread

Why do you cut the top of the bread?

The X or cross cut in the top of the bread is actually there to allow the heat to penetrate the thickest part of the bread so it cooks evenly. As Ireland was a Catholic country, it is known as the cruciform shape, symbolic of crossing the bread or blessing it. It also makes the bread easier to break apart, symbolic of breaking of the bread. If you want to go the superstitious route, there’s a saying that it’s to let the devil out of the bread.  

How do you know if the bread is done?

Flip the bread onto your hand that has a potholder on it and thump the bottom with your other hand. If it sounds hollow, it is done.

How long will soda bread last?

It’s best eaten warm or within the first several hours as this type of bread tends to dry out rather quickly. When storing leftovers, place in an airtight container and keep at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Can I freeze this bread?

Absolutely! Wrap it well and freeze for up to 3 weeks. 

Pro-Tip: Handle this bread as little as possible as over-handling will lead to tough bread.

Overhead of cooling bread on wire rack.

Ingredients

Flour is the basis of the bread, and can be either all-purpose or wheat flour or a combination of the two.

Buttermilk is a traditional ingredient in all Irish soda bread recipes. Its acidity reacts with baking soda, acting as the leavening agent, and gives the bread its texture. It also provides the bread’s wonderful flavor!

Baking soda is an essential ingredient in order for the bread to rise. 

Salt adds to the flavor. 

Sugar can be added or omitted but does give the bread a touch of sweetness.

How to make Irish Soda Bread

Soda bread prep steps 1-4.

  1. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, and sugar. (photo 1)
  2. Pour buttermilk into the flour mixture. (photo 2)
  3. Using your hands, gently work the dough together, just to moisten, then pour it out onto floured work surface. (photo 3)
  4. Work together for just 30 seconds or until dough holds together. Too much handling will make the bread tough. (photo 4)

Finishing steps 5-8 to get bread ready to bake.

  1. Place dough ball in the center of a 9″ greased and floured cake pan. (photo 5)
  2. Cut an X in the top of the bread about 1/4-1/2″ deep. This will allow the heat to penetrate into the thicker part of the bread and allow the dough to expand as it rises. (photo 6)
  3. All ready to bake. (photo 7)
  4. Place a clean 9″ cake pan over the top of the bread and pop into the oven for about 40 minutes. Take the pan off the top for the last 15 minutes so the top can brown. (photo 8)

Sliced soda bread on green napkin with bread knife on the side.

Isn’t that buttermilk soda bread just making you drool? And, once you make it, you’ll have to admit, it took hardly any work at all! Enjoy!

Great Recipes for your St Patrick’s Day menu

Instant Pot Corned Beef with Beer –  An easy instant pot recipe for the most flavorful corned beef. It’s cooked in beef stock and dark beer and surrounded by potatoes, carrots, and onions for a hearty one-pot dinner.

Air Fryer Corned Beef Hash – A quick and easy way to use up leftover corned beef for a delicious breakfast. Just 13 minutes and breakfast is served.

Guinness and Irish Cheddar Mac & Cheese from Celebrating Sweets – Flavorful stovetop mac and cheese with Guinness, sharp cheddar, and dijon mustard.

Grasshopper Pie – A cool and minty green pie with an Oreo cookie crust.

Find lots more quick bread recipes here on 2CM!

Love quick & easy recipes? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest & Twitter for all the latest recipe inspiration! Plus join my email list here and receive a free e-book.

 

Closeup of cooling soda bread on wire rack.

5-Ingredient Irish Soda Bread

An easy, no-yeast, no-knead Irish Soda Bread with only 5 ingredients. This soft, moist, crusty bread is the perfect addition to St. Patrick's Day dinner.
5 from 2 votes
Print Rate
Course: Bread
Cuisine: Irish
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 261kcal
Author: Linda Warren

Ingredients

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 3/4 cup buttermilk

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray a 9" cake pan with a nonstick spray and dust with flour. Have another cake pan ready on the side (no prep needed).
  • In a large bowl, mix dry ingredients.
  • Add buttermilk and mix well to form a dough.
  • Dump out on a floured surface and knead for 30 seconds to incorporate all the flour. Do not over mix or the bread will be tough.
  • Place dough into prepared cake pan and form into an oval mound. Cut an "X" in the dough, all the way across and about 1/4" deep. Place the other cake pan on top.
  • Bake in oven for a total of 40-45 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove top cake pan and let bread cook for another 10-15 minutes to brown the top. Remove from oven and test for doneness by tapping lightly on the bottom of the loaf. If it sounds hollow, it is done. 
  • Remove to wire rack to finish cooling.

Notes

Questions and Tips

How do you know if the bread is done?
Flip the bread onto your hand that has a potholder on it and thump the bottom with your other hand. If it sounds hollow, it is done.
How long will soda bread last?
It's best eaten warm or within the first several hours as this type of bread tends to dry out rather quickly. When storing leftovers, place in an airtight container and keep at room temperature for up to 2 days.
Can I freeze this bread?
Absolutely! Wrap it well and freeze for up to 3 weeks. 
Pro-Tip: Handle this bread as little as possible as over-handling will lead to tough bread.

Nutrition

Calories: 261kcal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 5mg | Sodium: 620mg | Potassium: 137mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 85IU | Calcium: 70mg | Iron: 2.9mg

This post has been updated with more information and was first published on March 10, 2019.

5 Ingredient Irish Soda Bread
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