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Irish Soda Bread with Raisins and Caraway Seeds

This Irish Soda Bread is a family favorite. It has a crunchy exterior while the inside is soft and buttery. It's flavored with fragrant caraway seeds and plump dark raisins. And there's a slight sweetness.

Front view of Irish soda bread on a wire rack.

Irish Soda Bread

It's a good thing this bread is super simple to make because your family will be requesting it all the time after the first bite!

Irish soda bread is a very simple bread made without yeast. The baking soda and buttermilk work together to create leavening, resulting in a soft fluffy interior.

Using a light hand while kneading the dough together is also important for a delicate interior. You don't want a smooth dough, aim for shaggy dough that is slightly sticky.

Caraway seeds and raisins provide an exquisite flavor profile. This is definitely one of the fancier versions of soda bread I've seen.

Overhead view of Irish soda bread on a wire rack.

After attempting my first soda bread, I couldn't believe how easy it was! It's seriously the easiest bread I've ever made. You only need one bowl and a wooden spoon to make this recipe but a stand mixer* makes the process even easier.

I tested this recipe a few different ways: without egg, with less butter, with more raisins... The final result that I'm sharing with you today is the one my family loves! It's tender and buttery on the inside and the crunchy crust adds a lovely texture contrast.

This Irish soda bread is full of raisins and caraway seeds. I adore the fragrant kick the caraway seeds add. It's by far my favorite part of the bread. However, if you are not a fan of caraway seeds, feel free to reduce the amount or omit them altogether.

Irish soda bread dough in a glass mixing bowl.
Irish soda bread dough shaped in a ball on a baking sheet.

The bread is baked in a cast-iron pan or on a baking sheet. I've found that when using a cast iron, the exterior of the bread will brown quicker than when baking on a regular baking sheet. Because of this, you may need to tent aluminum foil over the bread halfway through baking. This will keep the bread from turning too brown.

Enjoy your soda bread the day it is made! It's best when eaten fresh and will begin to dry out after a couple of days.


How do you eat Irish Soda Bread?

This version of Irish soda bread is best eaten warm with a spread of butter. You can either slice it or simply tear off small chunks of bread. Slather room temperature butter over the warm slice and it will melt into the bread.

Irish soda bread on a wire rack with two slices taken out.

If you're looking for more delicious bread recipes, try this rosemary olive beer bread or this cheddar jalapeno buttermilk bread.

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Front view of Irish soda bread on a wire rack.

Irish Soda Bread

Yield: 10 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

This Irish Soda Bread is a family favorite. It has a crunchy exterior while the inside is soft and buttery. It’s flavored with fragrant caraway seeds and plump dark raisins. And there’s a slight sweetness.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups (520 g) all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup (50 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon caraway seeds
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 ⅔ cups (400 ml) buttermilk, cold
  • ¾ cup (108 g) raisins

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Lightly grease a cast-iron skillet or line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar, caraway seeds, salt, and baking soda. 
  3. Add the butter and mix on low speed until the butter is mixed into the flour.
  4. In a 2-cup measuring cup, whisk the egg and buttermilk together. With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture.
  5. Add the raisins and mix until combined. The dough will be very wet and sticky.
  6. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface. With well-floured hands, knead the dough a few times and shape it into a ball.
  7. Place the dough on the prepared skillet or baking sheet. Use a sharp knife to lightly cut an X in the top of the bread. 
  8. Bake for 45 to 55 mins, until golden brown. If the top begins to get too brown during baking, tent it loosely with aluminum foil. If using a cast-iron skillet, begin checking the bread at 25 minutes.
  9. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Notes

1. If you don't have a stand mixer, cut the butter into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter, fork, or two knives. Then use a wooden spoon to mix in the egg/buttermilk mixture and raisins.

2. A cast iron skillet will cook the bread quicker and may only need 25-35 minutes in the oven.

3. Irish Soda Bread is best on the day it's made. It will begin to dry out after a day or two.

Adapted from Ina Garten.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 232Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 3gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 31mgSodium: 452mgCarbohydrates: 39gFiber: 2gProtein: 6g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the values shown are just an estimate.

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Chelsea Moore

Friday 19th of June 2020

Love this bread! Didn’t have raisins so I used craisins and I added a teaspoon of cinnamon, it was delicious! Made me think of the holidays 😊

Vickie

Monday 9th of December 2019

Can I use my LaCloche to make this bread?

Jen Sobjack

Tuesday 10th of December 2019

You can but don't use the lid. And the bread may only need 25-35 minutes in the oven.

Katie | Healthy Seasonal Recipes

Monday 19th of November 2018

We had this last night. It was awesome. I didn't have any raisins, so I subbed in chopped dried black Mission figs. It was great. I used the cast iron skillet, and it came out great. Love the texture while still warm. I rewarmed a piece today for lunch very good. Will make again for sure. Thanks for the great recipe.

Jen Sobjack

Wednesday 21st of November 2018

Figs sound like a great addition! So glad you liked the bread!!

Ellen

Friday 30th of March 2018

This Bread is so delicious and so easy to make,just wonderful!! Have made it now many times. ?

Jen Sobjack

Friday 30th of March 2018

I'm so happy you like the recipe!!

Noe Valley Bakery

Saturday 3rd of March 2018

Irish Soda Bread is the best!

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