“Once you’ve tasted this Irish soda bread, you’ll never buy a loaf from the bakery again,” says ICE Chef Instructor Sarah Chaminade. Members of the ICE team, who had the chance to sample the goods, would happily concur — that this is truly the best Irish soda bread recipe. But what exactly is soda bread? According to Chef Sarah, “Some say it resembles more of a scone than bread since it doesn’t contain any yeast. You can find hundreds of different recipes — some include caraway seeds and others even add eggs. If you ask true Irish lads or lasses, they’ll tell you soda bread must have only four ingredients: flour, salt, baking soda and buttermilk.” Baked with caraway seeds, currants and even a shot of whiskey, Chef Sarah’s recipe departs from the original yet still captures the essence of this classic Irish goody. With St. Patrick’s Day around the corner, there’s no better time to master Irish soda bread. 

Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread


4 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 1/2 teaspoons caraway seeds
1 cup dried currants
2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
1/3 cup honey
1 1/2 cups buttermilk, or combine 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice for every cup of milk
1/4 cup Irish whiskey
Flour for kneading


  • Preheat oven to 350° F.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix on low speed to combine. Raise the speed to medium low and add the butter, a piece or two at a time, until all of the butter has been incorporated and the mixture is crumbly. This will take 4-5 minutes.
  • Add the caraway seeds, honey, orange zest, currants and, finally, the buttermilk and whiskey. Mix until just combined.
  • Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead a few times to smooth the mixture into a round loaf and transfer to a nonstick baking sheet. Make a cross hatch design (just breaking the skin of the dough) on top of the loaf with a knife and sprinkle with a bit of flour.
  • Bake for about 45 minutes, or until the loaf is set and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Let the bread cool on a rack and serve warm or at room temperature.

Learn to bake like a pro with Chef Sarah — click here for information on ICE’s Pastry & Baking Arts program.


  1. If I wanted to, could I omit the whiskey?

  2. Sure can, Gary! Replace with more buttermilk or orange juice. Happy St. Paddy’s Day.

  3. Thanks so much Caitlin. There’s a loaf in the oven right now with Jameson’s. Fingers crossed!!!

  4. This was a very easy recipe. I halved the recipe, but added a little more flour because the dough was pretty wet. Came out great!

  5. Terrific! Thanks for your feedback, Liz.

  6. This is the very first time I’m doing this.

  7. Good luck, Luana! Hope it comes out delicious.

  8. A family member is allergic to honey. What can I substitute?

  9. Try agave nectar, light molasses or maple syrup… all will add a slightly different flavor but that’s not a bad thing!

  10. I used corn syrup.

  11. Margaret Ballantyne

    This is very close to my Grandmother’s recipe– she was born in Co. Sligo in 1901. Hers used sugar, not honey and did not use whiskey. I might try that though!

  12. What about gluten free?

  13. Thanks for sharing, Margaret! We love hearing about different variations on this classic recipe.

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