A little slice of Ireland: Irish soda bread recipe

It’s not St. Patrick’s Day until I’ve filled the house with the smell of freshly baked Irish soda bread, full of that distinctive caraway seed flavor and the soft raisins.


So while I’m baking my loaves, it occurred to me that you might enjoy making some yourself.

This is a really easy recipe, and it’s delicious—especially if you serve it warm with a wee bit of butter melted onto it.

Irish Soda Bread


2 cups sifted flour

¾ tsp. baking soda

1 Tbsp. sugar

6 Tbsp. chilled butter

1 Tbsp. caraway seeds

½ – 1 cup raisins

2/3 cup buttermilk


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Sift the flour and measure two cups. Place in a bowl. Add baking soda and sugar. Cut in the chilled butter. If necessary, work in with your fingers until the flour mixture is coarse. Add caraway seeds and raisins (I use a full cup). Then stir in the buttermilk. Knead the dough briefly in the bowl. Grease a pan. Form the dough into a ball and place it in the center of the pan. Press a deep cross into the dough on the top. Brush it with milk. Bake for 40 minutes.

Because I am bringing the bread to a party, I made two loaves. I doubled the ingredients in one bowl and then divided it into two loaves, and it turned out fine, but my mother sounded shocked that I would double it in one bowl, so if you do it, feel like a risk taker. And if you prefer to trust my mother’s instincts, which I will admit is not a bad idea, you might want to use two bowls.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Rita Buettner

Rita Buettner

Rita Buettner is a wife, working mother and author of the Catholic Review's Open Window blog. She and her husband adopted their two sons from China, and Rita often writes about topics concerning adoption, family and faith.

Rita also writes The Domestic Church, a featured column in the Catholic Review. Her writing has been honored by the Catholic Press Association, the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association and the Associated Church Press.