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Irish-American Soda Bread

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This Irish soda bread is dotted with currants and caraway seeds. Serve it as you would cornbread—as a breakfast, snack or side dish.

irish soda bread

Known in Ireland as a Spotted Dog or Railway Cake, traditional Irish Soda bread is a simple table bread leavened with baking soda instead of yeast and generously “spotted” with currants and caraway seeds. This Irish-American version is a touch sweet — not quite dessert but definitely somewhere in between a cake and a bread. Serve it as you would cornbread — as a breakfast, snack, or side dish.

What you’ll need to make Irish-American Soda Bread

Bread ingredients including baking soda, baking powder, and eggs.

Some traditional Irish versions of this eschew add-ins like caraway seeds and dried fruit, but I think they’re nice additions from both a flavor and texture perspective.

How to make It

Begin by combining 2 tablespoons of the melted butter with the buttermilk and eggs.

Bowl with butter, buttermilk, and eggs.Whisk well and set aside.

Bowl of whisked buttermilk mixture.In another large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and caraway seeds.

Bowl of unmixed dry ingredients.

Whisk to combine.

Whisk in a bowl of dry ingredients.

Add the liquid ingredients and currants.

Unmixed bowl of currants, liquid ingredients, and dry ingredients.

Mix with a rubber spatula until just combined.

Irish-American soda bread batter in a bowl.

Grease a cast iron skillet generously with butter. This gives the bread a crisp and golden crust. Don’t worry if you don’t have a cast iron skillet — you can use two 8-inch cake pans.

Buttering cast iron panTransfer the batter to the prepared skillet or pans, smooth with a rubber spatula, and dot the top with the remaining butter.

Skillet full of soda-bread batter.

Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until the top is golden and slightly puffed. Cool slightly and then cut into wedges and serve. This bread is best served fresh out of the oven, but also stays moist if wrapped in an airtight container.

Irish-American soda bread in a skillet.

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Irish Soda Bread

This Irish soda bread is dotted with currants and caraway seeds. Serve it as you would cornbread—as a breakfast, snack or side dish.

Servings: One large 10-inch loaf or two small 8-inch loaves
Total Time: 1 Hour


  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1¾ teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon caraway seeds
  • 1¾ cups buttermilk (see note)
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1½ cups dried currants


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F degrees and set the oven rack in the middle position.
  2. Smear 1 tablespoon of the butter evenly over the bottom and sides of a 10-inch cast iron skillet or two 8-inch nonstick cake pans.
  3. In a medium bowl, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter and let cool slightly. Whisk in the buttermilk and eggs. Set aside.
  4. In another large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and caraway seeds.
  5. Add the liquid ingredients and the currants to the dry ingredients. Fold with a rubber spatula until just combined. Do not overmix.
  6. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan(s) and smooth the top gently with a rubber spatula. Dot the top with the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter.
  7. Place the pan(s) in the oven and bake until the bread is puffed and golden brown, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool in the pan(s) and then cut into wedges and serve warm, or transfer the bread to a wire rack to continue cooling. This bread is best served fresh out of the oven, but keeps well if stored in an airtight container.
  8. Note: If you’d like to make your own buttermilk, check out the easy method here.
  9. Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The bread can be frozen for up to 3 months. Once it’s completely cooled, wrap it securely in plastic wrap and place in the freezer. To reheat, wrap the bread in aluminum foil and warm it in a 350°F oven until hot.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (12 servings)
  • Calories: 284
  • Fat: 0 g
  • Saturated fat: 0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 20 g
  • Sugar: 18 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Protein: 0 g
  • Sodium: 3 mg
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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  • This was easy to make and we enjoyed it. Made it GF(used Measure for Measure/King Arthur Flour)to share with a gf friend….she liked it too👍

    • — Mary on March 4, 2024
    • Reply
  • Absolutely the most delicious bread and such an easy-to-make recipe using my cast iron pan. I just finished the last slice (frozen) from St. Patrick’s Day. The taste reminds me of Easter babka without the yeast. I’ll make it again soon to enjoy for breakfast. I also tried the oven method for corn beef on a separate occasion as I was afraid to make it first time for company…..it was tender and so good! I love all of your recipes!

    • — Sandra Evans on March 28, 2023
    • Reply
  • Question please, I tried to change the measure to metric and it did not change the recipe. I was wondering if it was my iPad or the website
    Thank you

    • — Grandma on March 3, 2023
    • Reply
    • It wasn’t your iPad – it was on our end. I just fixed it. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on March 3, 2023
      • Reply
  • I made this for St. Patty’s Day and it turned out great! I loved being able to use the cast iron skillet, which gave it toasty edges. I hate to be one of those people who loves a recipe and notes all the changes they made to it so it is unrecognizable, but I did make a few to stick with my basic philosophy of increasing whole grains, and reducing sugar and fat where I can in a recipe. Hopefully these won’t be viewed as too dramatic! :). My inspiration and validation came from Jenn’s recipe for Irish Soda Muffins! I changed the flour to 2c. whole wheat/1c. white, cut the sugar in half (slightly rounded 1/3c) reduced the salt to 1t., and was stingy on the butter dollops on top. I lightly sprinkled some turbinado sugar on top, like her muffins, to give it a little crunch, and because I only had 1c of currants on hand, and couldn’t find any at the store (thank you Covid!) I chopped raisins for the additional 1/2c needed. It turned out wonderfully! My husband loved it! It rose nicely and had a little nuttiness from the whole wheat. We didn’t miss the sugar at all, as there was enough sweetness from the currants and a little bit of turbinado on top. The reduction in salt seemed just fine; there was enough there to take away that raw taste and to give it just enough savory to keep everything balanced. We’re looking forward to popping leftover wedges in the toaster for breakfast and will definitely be making this again!

  • I’ve been making this recipe from the New Basics Cookbook for over 20 years now and I found your adjustments spot on! Less butter for the pan and way less cook time than they suggest. Thank you for the recipes- I love your blog. My new go-to!

  • Great and easy recipe! I turned my leftovers into croutons by adding a couple of tablespoons of Olive oil, Parmigiano reggiano and garlic salt. Cut into cubes and stired around by hand on a cookie sheet and baked @ 275 F until a little less firm that biscotti.

    Thanks very much for all your great recipes Jenn

  • Absolutely scrumptious. Making again today.

  • Hi Jenn!
    I have now tried this recipe twice, and neither time did it disappoint! My husband won’t even wait for it to cool, we thoroughly enjoy it. It is soo simple with most of the ingredients being a staple in the kitchen. I grew up in a home where the same 10 dishes were made and no baking. Unfortunately this apple didn’t fall far from the tree.
    I just happened upon your site one day, and it is by far the one that fits most with our family’s taste. I have made several of your recipes and will continue to.
    I also appreciate the step by step instructions, reviews and questions that are provided on your site, it has helped immensely when deciding on a recipe to try.
    Family favourites are this recipe, chicken tenders, and the beef stew with potatoes and carrots. I rarely deviate from recipes, as I don’t have that knack . I love I can that make these recipes as written and they are fantastic!
    Thank you for making me, and any other basic cook, feel that we can cook and bake with confidence

    Warmest Regards,
    Cathy S.

    • You’re so welcome Cathy! 🙂

  • Would a 12″ cast iron pan be too big?

    • Hi Erena, I think it will work but it will be quite thin. Also, it will take less time to bake so keep a close eye on it. Please LMK how it turns out if you try it!

  • Can this be made into muffins? I love this bread recipe A LOT! I noticed you do have a soda bread muffin recipe but it is slightly different from this one so I was hoping this could be made in muffin tins as well!

    • Glad you like this. I haven’t tried it, but do think you can it into muffins. Please LMK how they turn out if you try them!

      • Took me a while but I just took these out of the oven. They came out so good! I was able to get 14 out of the recipe and cooked them for about 22 minutes at 400.

  • Just made this – way better than a recipe I made yesterday. Very easy to follow and took no time at all. I used raisins bc it’s what I had. Going to stick with this going forward. As always, thanks for an amazing recipe, Jenn!

    • — Jessica Temple
    • Reply
  • Nowhere near St. Patrick’s Day, but I made this today just for the heck of it. So easy! Looked perfect (used cast iron pan) and tasted amazing. Love the currants. I’m definitely making this again!

  • I didn’t know what to expect but we really love this bread. It worked really well in my cast iron frying pan and enjoy it both warm and cold. I will make this often.

    My changes to make it dairy-free: used only 2 tbsp. olive oil in the batter, omitted the other uses for butter and used cashew beverage with lemon juice instead of buttermilk.

    I did use only 2 tsp. of caraway seeds as it is not a flavor that I enjoy. This was perfect for us.

    • i forgot my rating

  • What size is the cast iron pan for the
    soda bread?

    • Hi Carol, That’s a 10-inch skillet.

  • In looking at the photos, your batter appears thick like a bread batter, mine was thin. It cooked ok more cake like than bread. It tasted fine.

    • — johnnie patronis
    • Reply
  • Instead of caraway seeds, my grandmother used chopped walnuts…delicious!

  • This soda bread is so delicious! The flavor is wonderful. My family, especially my Irish husband, loves this recipe. Thank you Jenn! I’ve made many of your recipes and they are all wonderful!

  • Made this last St. Patrick’s day and it was out of this world!

  • Easy to cook. Easy to Travel with. Easy to eat.
    Perfect for the camping trip.
    Will make a great addition to St. Patty dinner coming up. Thanks

  • I like to take bread recipes and make buns when I can – I took this recipe and tweaked it a bit with a recent NYT Soda Bread Buns recipe to create something new, tasty, and individually portioned. Thanks Jen!

  • This was so easy and versatile! It was moist and gone within minutes! We used to live near an Irish Bakery that was my go to for soda bread. We have moved so I was looking to make my own. The Bakery’s was a sweeter version, but with a few modifications this recipe was different, but just as yummy. Thank you!

  • I made this bread with craisins and my kids loved it for breakfast and snack. Delicious!

  • Just what I was looking for. Most interesting soda-bread recipe I’ve found!

    • — Charlene Wheeler
    • Reply
  • Awesome and so tasty! I wouldn’t change a thing!

  • Love this, looks easier to make

    • — Sandi Goldberg
    • Reply
  • The last step of my mom’s soda bread, is to use a pastry brush and brush on cold milk as soon as the bread comes out of the oven. It gives the top a beautiful glossy finish.

  • Another bake sale, another batch of Irish Soda Bread. If I didn’t know better I’d say the recipe had an addicting chemical. Folks can’t get enough!

  • i made this on st patricks day to go with my corned beef and cabbage. yum. love it with the currants

    • — teri pastorino
    • Reply
  • I’m Irish – just found my way to your website via Pinterest and really enjoying it. This looks like a good variation, although personally I’ll probably stick with our traditional flour, buttermilk, bread soda, raisins, sugar one (no eggs, butter or caraway seeds), simply because it’s traditional but this looks good.

    If you wanted to make it more authentic, you could knead quickly and shape into a dome shape, then cut a cross deeply into the top, place on a floured board and bake. Great site!

  • I made this for St. Pattys Day for the first time and everyone loved it. I made it recently and tried dried cranberries, it worked very well too.

  • Can’t wait to try this recipe! Iv’e got the list made and am going shopping tomorrow.

    • — Lisa Ballantyne
    • Reply
  • A little past St. Patty’s Day, but I like the addition of currants! I’ve only had soda bread with and without raisins, so I’ll have to give this a try.

  • I only make soda bread this time of year but will not wait until next year to make this again. This bread was delicious and will definitely be making it again real soon.

  • I knew this looked familiar when I saw it! I have made this from the New Basics cookbook. It is quite yummy. I am already into my second batch. I am not Irish, but love the food. Thank you again for another great recipe to make and share.

  • Ohhh those currants are such a wonderful addition! I think currants are less overpowering than raisins. Looks delish I’m sure your family enjoyed!

  • I was going to try a different recipe this year for a soda bread. But this looks much better, so I will be making this one instead—thanks!!!!

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