Sweet Irish Soda Bread

Sweet Irish Soda Bread | ASpicyPerspective.comSweet Irish Soda Bread Recipe, perfect for Saint Patrick’s Day. Two tender loaves of slightly sweet bread speckled with traditional raisins and caraway.

The Best Sweet Irish Soda Bread | ASpicyPerspective.com
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My husband and I eat at an Irish pub every Saint Patrick’s Day. The first year we did this, we ended up in a little pub in Tulsa, Oklahoma called Paddy’s.

If I remember correctly, we ate fish and chips and Irish stew. Yet what really caught my attention was the soda bread. It was moist and dense with a slight sweetness that didn’t overshadow the soda flavor… I’ve been working on a comparable recipe ever since.

Making Sweet Irish Soda Bread | ASpicyPerspective.com

While I like the appearance of the free-form, cross-topped, savory versions of soda bread, I prefer the sugary note and texture of  “loaf pan” varieties.

The flavor of this Sweet Irish Soda Bread recipe gently balances strong, savory Irish dishes.

It’s hearty, with a surprisingly delicate taste.

How to Make Sweet Irish Soda Bread | ASpicyPerspective.com

This is no utilitarian loaf. It’s a quick-bread with a sense of warmth and personality.

A stand-alone soloist, that needs no back-up singers, but will happily join in the choir!

Best Sweet Irish Soda Bread | ASpicyPerspective.com

After testing numerous dry, crumbly versions, I believe I’ve finally found a winner.

This Sweet Irish Soda Bread, adapted from Brother Rick Curry’s The Secrets of Jesuit Breadmaking, is delightful and just as I remember it so many years ago.

Heavenly Sweet Irish Soda Bread | ASpicyPerspective.com

To take it to another level, serve this Sweet Irish Soda Bread warm with rich, tangy Irish butter from a specialty food market.

Half a loaf is better than no bread at all. ~ An Irish Proverb

Sweet Irish Soda Bread

Yield: 2 loaves

Prep Time:25 minutes

Cook Time:60 minutes

5 / 5 (9 Reviews)
Did you make this recipe?   Leave a review »

Sweet Irish Soda Bread Recipe, perfect for Saint Patrick’s Day. Two tender loaves of slightly sweet bread speckled with raisins and caraway.


  • 5 cups all purpose flour, sifted
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 1/2 cups mixed light and dark raisins
  • 3 tablespoons caraway seeds
  • Turbinado sugar for sprinkling


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter 2 (9 X 5 inch) bread pans. Soak the raisins in hot water for 15-20 minutes, then drain well.
  2. Stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Cut the butter into cubes and mix very thoroughly with the flour, by hand, until it looks grainy. Stir in the drained raisins and caraway seeds.
  3. Add the buttermilk and egg to the flour mixture. Stir well. The dough should resemble thick cake batter. Equally fill 2 loaf pans. Then sprinkle the top of each with turbinado sugar to make it shimmery.
  4. Bake for 60-70 minutes. Test with a toothpick for doneness. Cool in the pans for 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

NOTE: Buttermilk can have different consistencies, depending on the brand. If your dough is thicker than dense cake batter, don’t worry! Just shape it into loaves and place in the pans. No need to add more liquid.

Nutrition Information

Yield: 2 loaves, Serving Size: 1 slice

  • Amount Per Serving:
  • Calories: 193 Calories
  • Total Fat: 4.7g
  • Saturated Fat: 2.7g
  • Cholesterol: 19mg
  • Sodium: 258mg
  • Carbohydrates: 34.5g
  • Fiber: 1.3g
  • Sugar: 12.6g
  • Protein: 4.2g
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24 comments on “Sweet Irish Soda Bread

  1. Kellyposted March 17, 2019 at 9:59 pm Reply

    This was the best soda bread ever! I omitted the caraway seeds because I dislike them, and I didn’t have turbinado, so I used light brown sugar on top. I also didn’t have buttermilk, so I made some using skim milk and lemon juice. I also cut the recipe in half to make just one loaf and baked it for an hour. Yum! So sweet and moist. Would make a great breakfast bread. I really liked this a lot.

    Rating: 5
  2. Deeposted March 10, 2019 at 6:40 am Reply

    I love Irish Soda Bread! When I read your recipe I immediately thought…”what! a no-knead Irish Soda Bread?”. Well, I made it yesterday and I must say it is the best Irish Soda Bread I have ever tasted!!!! Must admit also to a couple changes….I reduced the sugar just a bit – more like 2/3 instead of 3/4 cup….I used currents instead of raisins and no need to soak them as the buttermilk plumps them just fine. That’s it. Lovely texture and the first time making this bread in a load pan but I like the idea; love the results! Thank you.

    Rating: 5
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  4. Joannie Cposted March 17, 2018 at 5:36 pm Reply

    I just made this recipe today for St Patrick’s Day (couldnt locate the recipe I usually use).  It was amazing, moist and sweet but not too sweet.  I had to omit the caraway seeds because I can’t eat them, but other than that, the recipe was perfect.  My family and some friends have already tried it and loved it. 

    Rating: 5
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  6. Sharon DeVineposted March 18, 2016 at 10:53 am Reply

    I tried your recipe yesterday and my bread turned out perfect! I used less raisins than the recipe called for because we don’t love them that much. The caraway seeds ad a delicious flavor. I will never be able to eat grocery store Irish soda bread ever again. Thank-you for a great recipe.

    Rating: 5
  7. naleśnikiposted March 6, 2016 at 4:43 pm Reply

    They will love it! It’s so yummy ; ).

    Rating: 5
  8. [email protected]posted March 5, 2016 at 1:12 pm Reply

    Sounds delicious. I am going to try and make these in muffin tins. Hope they turn out well.

  9. Vicke Macfarlaneposted March 5, 2016 at 11:10 am Reply

    Noticed your comment about eating at Paddy’s in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  We are from Tulsa, now in Houston.  We still feel like it is home in a lot of ways.   Do you live near Tulsa?  Just curious Sommer.  
    Thank you for your posts and Blog!

    • Sommerposted March 8, 2016 at 8:11 pm Reply

      Hi Vicke! I grew up in the Tulsa area. Now my family is in Asheville, North Carolina. :)

      • Vicke Macfarlaneposted March 9, 2016 at 8:58 am

        Small world Sommer!  You certainly live in a beautiful area of the country.  

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  11. M.Dincerposted November 26, 2015 at 10:26 am Reply

    Love it . Thank you for the recipe  :)

    Rating: 5
  12. G.Smithposted March 6, 2015 at 4:54 pm Reply

    Sorry, I just saw the liquid in the middle of the recipe.

  13. G.Smithposted March 6, 2015 at 4:50 pm Reply

    You don’t say how much or what type liquid to soak the raisins in. Clarification please.

  14. Guy Terpeningposted March 6, 2015 at 4:08 pm Reply

    Just took my loaves out, cooled them and ate a piece slathered in butter (the way I remember eating them).
    I have not had Soda Bread in more years than I can remember, great recipe!
    Thank you very much!


    Rating: 5
  15. Nancy Longposted March 20, 2014 at 8:17 pm Reply

    Made this today in 4 smaller loaf pans to go with our late St Paddy’s dinner. Was loved by all. Hubby who doesn’t like raisins is raving and had several pieces. Friends took home loaves for tomorrow. Thanks

    Rating: 5
  16. Nancy Longposted March 20, 2014 at 8:05 am Reply

    getting ready to make this, but am concerned about the 2 teaspoons of baking powder for 5 cups of flour. I have a recipe that calls for 1 tablespoon to 3 cups of flour and it’s been a family fav for years now.

  17. John McQueeneyposted December 19, 2013 at 12:53 pm Reply

    I love this recipe. I think the buttermilk and the egg are what makes this version so fun to eat. I have used it approx. 12 times and I get lots of compliments each time. Delicious!

    Rating: 5
    • Sommerposted December 19, 2013 at 12:56 pm Reply

      Thanks John, so glad you like it!

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  19. Sommerposted March 17, 2010 at 2:11 am Reply

    Ok, my husband tried printing on his mac and was able to reduce the size to one page by editing out the pictures and intro. I had the print function setup this way so everyone could choose what they want to print. Try editing something out and let me know what happens. Thanks Catty!

  20. CattyCooksposted March 17, 2010 at 12:22 am Reply

    Having problems printing out recipes… could be I'm on a mac. The aren't compact enough for one page. What do you think?

  21. CattyCooksposted March 17, 2010 at 12:18 am Reply

    This looks great!