Sweet Irish Soda Bread Recipe – Two tender loaves of slightly sweet soda bread are speckled with raisins and caraway for the perfect Saint Patrick’s Day treat. Enjoy with a generous pat of butter any time of day!

Irish bread sliced on platter.

Why We Love This Irish Soda Bread Recipe

The flavor of this Sweet Irish Soda Bread recipe gently balances strong, savory Irish dishes. It’s a rustic quick bread, with a surprisingly delicate and slightly sweet taste.

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.

This is no utilitarian loaf. It’s a loaf with a sense of warmth and personality. Juicy raisins and vibrant caraway seeds make each slice a surprising treat, perfect for saying “goodbye” to winter and welcoming the spring season.

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 my absolute favorite!

Two loaves of raisin Irish soda bread baked in white ceramic loaf pans.

Ingredients You Need

  • All-purpose flour – sifted
  • Granulated sugar
  • Baking powder
  • Salt
  • Baking soda
  • Unsalted butter – cut into small cubes
  • Buttermilk – for a substitute you can use 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar mixed with 1 cup of regular milk for each cup of buttermilk needed
  • Egg
  • Raisins – I recommend a mixture of dark purple and golden raisins
  • Caraway seeds
  • Turbinado sugar – raw sugar for sprinkling on top; you can use brown sugar if turbinado is not available
Flour in a white mixing bowl with a pastry cutter.

How to Make This Perfectly Sweet Soda Bread with Raisins

The first thing you’ll want to do is soak the raisins in hot water for 15-20 minutes and then drain them well.

Soaking in hot water rehydrates the raisins, which will make them plump and perfectly juicy. Be sure to dry them thoroughly though, so you don’t add extra moisture to the soda bread batter.

Once you’ve got the raisins just right, you can make the bread with these simple steps and just one bowl.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and grease two loaf pans with butter.

In a large bowl mix together the dry ingredients (everything except for the turbinado sugar). Next, use your hands to mix in the cubes of butter until the flour mixture is grainy.

Stir in the drained raisins and caraway seeds.

Add the buttermilk and egg to the flour mixture, and stir well until the dough resembles a thick cake batter.

Equally fill the two loaf pans, and generously sprinkle the tops with the turbinado sugar.

Lastly, bake the loaves for 60-70 minutes, until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. They will look golden brown.

When done, allow cooling in the pan for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to completely cool. I know it’s difficult because they will smell amazing, but wait until they are cooled before slicing!

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

Get the Full (Printable) Sweet Irish Soda Bread Recipe + Video Below. Enjoy!

Two loaves of irish soda bread on a wire cooling rack.

Tips & Tricks

  • To take it to another level, serve this Sweet Irish Soda Bread warm with rich, tangy Irish butter from a specialty food market.
  • Enjoy a slice of soda bread with a good cup of strong coffee for breakfast, as an afternoon snack, or a delicious, slightly sweet dessert!
  • Irish soda bread is leavened with baking soda, so make sure you use fresh (unexpired) baking soda!
  • To cut through the hard crust, use a sharp knife!
Slice of this Irish soda bread with raisins on a plate with butter on top.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is traditional Irish soda bread?

Irish soda bread is a quick bread recipe! Unlike other loaves of bread that are usually yeast bread, soda bread is leavened with a leavening agent: baking soda. Hence the name! Generally, traditional Irish soda bread is baked on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, or a cast iron skillet and shaped into a loaf shape.

This sweet Irish soda bread recipe varies slightly since it is baked in a loaf pan, but still has the same delicious flavors and textures as more traditional Irish soda bread!

Can I omit the raisins and/or caraway seeds?

You definitely can! Your bread won’t be quite as sweet without the raisins, but neither they nor the caraway is necessary to make this soda bread recipe.

What if I don’t have buttermilk on hand?

If you don’t have buttermilk on hand don’t worry! Follow my buttermilk substitute recipe so you don’t have to go buy a whole carton of buttermilk to make Irish soda bread with raisins!

Is it possible to make just one loaf of bread?

Absolutely. Simply halve the recipe ingredients, and bake your one loaf for 50-60 minutes. Alternatively, you can freeze the extra loaf of your Irish soda bread with raisins for later!

Half a loaf is better than none. – Irish Proverb

Can this soda bread be made gluten-free?

Yes! Swap your favorite gluten-free flour in place of all-purpose flour. For flavor and texture, I recommend an almond or coconut-based flour instead of rice flour.

How long will this bread last?

This bread can be stored at room temperature for up to 2-3 days or in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week. You can even freeze this recipe for up to 3 months and thaw it in the fridge or at room temperature. Reheat as desired.

Sweet soda bread sliced for serving on a platter.

Looking for More Perfectly Sweet Bread Recipes? Be Sure to Also Try:

Check the printable recipe card below for the prep time, cook time, total time, and nutrition information. Make sure to share this recipe on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest!

The Best Sweet Irish Soda Bread #ASpicyPerspective #march #saintpatricksday #stpatricksday #stpaddysday #bread #raisins #irish
Print Recipe
5 stars (33 reviews)
Leave a Review »

Sweet Irish Soda Bread Recipe + Video

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Sweet Irish Soda Bread – Two tender loaves of slightly sweet soda bread are speckled with raisins and caraway for the perfect Saint Patrick' Day treat.
Servings: 2 loaves



  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter two 9×5-inch bread pans. Soak the raisins in hot water for 15-20 minutes, then drain well.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.


Serving: 1slice, Calories: 220kcal, Carbohydrates: 40g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 5g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 20mg, Sodium: 226mg, Potassium: 233mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 8g, Vitamin A: 175IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 59mg, Iron: 1.8mg
Course: Bread, Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine: Irish
Author: Sommer Collier
Making this recipe?Follow us on Instagram and tag @ASpicyPerspective so we can share what you’re cooking!

Share This Recipe With Friends!