Irish Soda Bread {No Yeast Needed!} (2024)

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This traditional Irish bread is made with baking soda instead of yeast. There's no kneading involved. It's so easy, it's foolproof!

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The first time I made Irish soda bread, I loved it so much I ended up baking it three weeks in a row. I just couldn't get enough of that dense and slightly sweet bread with the cranberries spread throughout.

On top of that, I couldn't believe how easy it was to make. There was no kneading and rising and kneading again. Just straightforward mixing and baking.

The baking soda does the job of yeast and makes the bread rise. Since it's not as powerful as yeast, the bread is dense rather than fluffy. It's beautiful and delicious!

How to make Irish soda bread

  1. The first step is to prepare the ingredients and have them all ready to be combined.
  2. Mix the wet ingredients together including the egg. Whisk the dry ingredients together. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients. This will make it a bit lighter and flakier. Combine the wet and dry ingredients, then add the cranberries, currants, or raisins.
  3. Put this ball of dough on a floured counter and knead it a few times until it's in a ball shape. Put the dough on your prepared baking dish. With a sharp knife, score the top in a design of your choice. The simplest is an "X" shape.
  4. Bake in the oven for 45 - 55 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. I like to test around the 35-minute mark since I never know if my oven is going to play nice that day. Different factors can affect the temperature of your ovens including the temperature in your house or outside, the humidity, or the seal around the oven. If the toothpick comes out wet, I will go back in increments to check again. It's the worst when I over-bake anything. What could have been moist and delicious becomes dry and blah.
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How to store

To keep this bread as fresh as possible, store it in an airtight container or bag between 3 - 5 days. Keeping moisture out will prevent it from becoming dry and moldy. Some climates are better at keeping baked goods fresh longer depending on the moisture level of the item. For example, if you live in a dry climate, food tends to dry out more quickly and mold has a harder time growing. If you live in a humid climate, food tends to be overly moist and will crumble. Mold grows more quickly in this environment.

You can freeze this bread for up to 3 months. Make sure to wrap it in plastic wrap before placing it in an airtight bag. This will help fight freezer burn. Allow the bread to thaw on the counter for a couple of hours. I love freezing bread because of how well it keeps and, when thawed, tastes like it was just baked.

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A (very) brief history of Irish soda bread

Baking soda has been used in its base form, soda ash, for thousands of years going all the way back to Ancient Egypt. It comes from minerals found in the ground and ground to a powder. This is calcium carbonate. In the 1800s this was turned into what we commonly refer to as baking soda or sodium bicarbonate. This is a salt that must be mixed with an acid (usually sour milk) in order to release carbon dioxide and create air bubbles thereby leavening the food.

In 1845 Ireland was struck with potato blight that severely depleted its food supply. With the advent of baking soda in 1846, it was easily obtained and used to make a hearty bread that filled empty stomachs. Today it's a traditional dish made every year in honor of St. Patrick, and through the rest of the year in Ireland and all over the world.

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If you try it out, let me know how it goes in the comments or on Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest.

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Irish Soda Bread {No Yeast Needed!}

Prep Time 10 minutes minutes

Cook Time 45 minutes minutes

Total Time 55 minutes minutes

Servings 6 people


  • Baking Sheet

  • Parchment Paper

  • Electric Mixer or spoon

  • Bowl


  • 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons cold butter, cut into ½ inch pieces
  • 1 ¼ cups buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1 cup dried cranberries


  • Preheat the oven to 375° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

  • Whisk the flour, baking soda, sugar, and salt together in a medium bowl.

  • Using the paddle attachment of a stand mixer, blend the flour mixture with the butter pieces on low until you have a coarse meal.

  • Slowly add in the buttermilk, egg, and orange zest and mix until just combined.

  • Mix in the dried cranberries.

  • Dump the dough on a well-floured surface and knead a couple of times until you have a ball. The mixture will be very wet, so make sure to use plenty of flour on your hands to keep it from sticking as much as possible.

  • Place the ball on the baking sheet with the parchment paper and score the top with a sharp knife.

  • Bake for 40 - 50 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

  • Let cool for 30 minutes.



  • Your hands will get lots of dough on them since the mixture is more wet than normal bread. You can get this off by using a bit of extra flour and rubbing your hands together. This will allow you to continue working without having to stand at the sink and rinse it off.
  • The easiest way to get the dough off your counter is to use a flat metal scraper and scrape the dough into the sink or trash can. Then you can wipe it clean with a towel and water.

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Reader Interactions


  1. Irish Soda Bread {No Yeast Needed!} (6)Suzanne

    This looks so good! Is it good with other mix ins?


    • Irish Soda Bread {No Yeast Needed!} (7)Lindsey

      Hi Suzanne,

      It's great with other mix-ins! You could try currants, chocolate chunks, herbs like thyme or rosemary, cheddar, bacon, oats, apples, walnuts... The list goes on and on 🙂


  2. Irish Soda Bread {No Yeast Needed!} (8)Vanessa

    Thanks for sharing! Does it keep long?


    • Irish Soda Bread {No Yeast Needed!} (9)Lindsey

      Hi Vanessa,
      You can store this bread in an air-tight container on your counter for 3 - 5 days depending on the humidity where you live. The drier the climate, the less time it will remain soft. You can also freeze it by wrapping it in plastic wrap (to prevent freezer burn) and putting that in an air-tight container or bag for up to 3 months. I love making extra and freezing it. It thaws nicely and I always have a loaf on hand when I want one.


  3. Irish Soda Bread {No Yeast Needed!} (10)Carolynn Licerio

    I am glad that I found this article well documented and
    very informative.
    I want to share how I treated Yeast and Candida Infection, maybe it will be useful to someone:
    Thank you and keep going, you do a great job!!


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