This hearty Irish soda bread is perfectly soft and tender inside and studded with of sweet raisins. Enjoy slices warm from the oven with a tangy orange cream cheese.
Everyone needs a good classic soda bread recipe up their sleeve! While I can’t claim that this Irish soda bread is a dead ringer for the traditional version, it sure is dang amazing.
We’ve got the classic tender crumb you’ll find in a soda bread with juicy raisins studded in every bite AND an orange cream cheese spread that’s pretty dang amazing slathered onto warm slices.
This is the perfect bread to bring to any St. Patrick’s Day party but also homey and simple enough that you may just have to add it to your regular bread rotation!
Breakfast or snacktime doesn’t get any better than this, it just doesn’t.
This Irish Soda Bread features…
- A moist, tender crumb with a rich buttermilk flavor
- Juicy raisins studded in each and every bite
- A sweet, fragrant orange cream cheese for serving with bread
- A quick dough that comes together in minutes
Making the Soda Bread
(scroll down to the bottom of the post for the full recipe)
Ingredients You Will Need
- All-purpose flour
- Granulated sugar
- Baking soda
- Kosher salt
- Caraway seeds
- Unsalted butter
- Cream cheese
- Orange zest
What is Irish Soda Bread?
Traditional soda bread comes from Ireland and is composed of a quick bread dough (meaning without yeast as a leavening agent) that uses baking soda for rising.
Most soda breads use buttermilk as a main ingredient and a lot of variations include raisins or currants as an add-in and sometimes caraway seeds for flavoring.
The texture of soda bread is crusty on the outside, a bit dense on the inside and yet incredibly soft at the same time with a lovely tangy flavor from the buttermilk. This bread is great served for a breakfast, alongside soup, or for a snack.
Tips for Perfect Soda Bread
- Preheat cast iron skillet – we highly recommend baking your soda bread in a hot cast iron skillet as we found this gives the bread the best crusty exterior.
- Spoon and level flour – we use the spoon-and-level technique for measuring flour as this will prevent over-measuring your flour. Use a spoon to scoop flour into the measuring cup, then level with the back of a knife.
- Gently fold dough – overmixing will lead to dry texture so use a gentle hand when folding dough.
- Cut a cross in loaf – this is a traditional marking on Irish soda bread that symbolizes the Catholic faith of Ireland.
- Bake bread at 400F – this high temperature will give the bread a perfectly golden exterior.
We highly recommend serving this bread warm from the oven or reheating before serving. You can use our orange cream cheese as a spread or go the traditional route and slather warm slices with softened butter.
Storing and Freezing Bread
Allow bread to cool completely, then store in an airtight container at room temperature up to 4 days. For best results, we recommend reheating slices for serving.
To freeze bread, allow to cool completely, then wrap well and freeze up to 2 months. Thaw bread completely at room temperature and reheat in a 400F oven for 8-10 minutes before serving.
No matter how you serve it, this soda bread is absolutely going to become a favorite in your house! We love warm chunks of this tender bread with a generous schmear of cream cheese alongside eggs or as a quick grab-and-go breakfast.
Definitely one to add to your bread baking repertoire asap!
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More St. Patrick’s Day favorites to try next!
Irish Soda Bread with Orange Cream Cheese
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Irish Soda Bread
- 4 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon caraway seeds (optional)
- 4 tablespoons unsalted softened butter
- 1-1/2 cups buttermilk
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1 cup raisins or currants
- Melted butter for brushing on loaf
Orange Cream Cheese
- 8 oz cream cheese, softened
- 2 teaspoons grated orange zest
- 2-3 tablespoons honey
Irish Soda Bread
- Preheat oven to 400F. Lightly grease a 9-inch cast iron skillet and place in oven to preheat.
- In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and caraway seeds if using. Use your fingers or a pastry cutter to work softened butter into flour mixture until crumbly. Fold in buttermilk, egg, and raisins until dough is just combined.
- Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and very gently knead a few times to form dough into a 7-inch round. Transfer loaf to preheated cast iron skillet and use a sharp knife to cut a deep X on top of loaf.
- Bake Irish soda bread at 400F 30-35 minutes until bread is a deep golden brown. Remove bread from oven and gently brush with butter. Remove bread from pan and cool slightly on a wire cooling rack.
Orange Cream Cheese
- In a small bowl, combine cream cheese, orange zest, and honey until smooth and creamy. Serve warm slices of Irish soda bread with cream cheese. Enjoy!
This post was updated with new recipe adjustments and photos on 2/8/24.