This sweet Irish soda bread recipe is soft and tender on the inside with a golden crunchy crust on the outside
Sweet Irish soda bread is the perfect treat to make for Saint Patrick's day. Forget the green desserts, your guests will LOVE this authentic sweet bread served warm and slathered with lots of butter!
What is sweet Irish soda bread?
Sweet Irish soda bread is a little different than Authentic Irish soda bread which is made with only four ingredients. Soft pastry or cake flour, buttermilk, salt, and baking soda. This simple bread is made to be served as part of a meal like a hearty Irish stew.
Sweet Irish soda bread has more ingredients like eggs, butter, sugar, dried fruits and seeds added so it's more of a dessert served on its own.
This sweet Irish soda bread recipe is straight from Grandma's recipe tin. Not my Grandma, my producer, Emily's Grandma! Cool huh! Nothing like recipes handed down through the generations. I feel like they always just taste better!
"My mom has made this Irish soda bread every St. Patrick’s Day since I can remember. We love eating it with corned beef and cabbage or Irish stew. This recipe has been passed down from my great grandmother, whose family lived in Ireland and immigrated to America."
But when Emily brought this sweet Irish soda bread over that she and her mom made, I was sold! SO GOOD! Soft and tender, a little sweet and a great crunchy crust. Toasted with a little butter and I was in heaven.
So here is Grandma's Irish soda bread, posted with permission 🙂
What do you need to make sweet Irish soda bread?
Sweet Irish soda bread has a few more ingredients in it than traditional Irish soda bread. Eggs, butter, sugar, buttermilk, salt, flour, baking soda, and baking powder make this bread so light, it's almost like a scone.
The only other thing you really need to make sweet Irish soda bread is a cast iron pan or dutch oven. The heavy metal really gives the bread that beautiful crusty crust that makes it so delicious!
This is not 100% necessary but a cheese grater is going to really be helpful. Use a cheese grater to work your cold butter into the flour mixture so it doesn't get warm. Cold butter is very important for tender Irish soda bread.
How do you make sweet Irish soda bread?
Making sweet Irish soda bread could not be easier. Just five easy steps!
- Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and sugar in a bowl
- Grate your cold butter and add to the flour mixture. Add in your currents and caraway seeds. Rub the butter into the flour mixture with your hands until crumbly.
- Blend your buttermilk with your eggs and add to the mixture
- Stir until you get a sticky ball then fold the dough over 7-8 times to incorporate into a ball.
- Dust the surface with some flour then slice a cross on top (for the fairies) and bake!
How long does Irish soda bread last?
Sweet Irish soda bread is meant to be enjoyed the day it is baked but it will keep at room temperature for up to two days. After that, it starts to dry out.
You can also freeze Irish soda bread. Just defrost and warm in the oven before serving.
Is Irish soda bread healthy?
There are a lot of versions of Irish soda bread out there that stem from the original four-ingredient recipe. This sweet version would not be considered healthy but there is whole wheat Irish soda bread that is considered very healthy because it doesn't have any butter, eggs, or sugar and has whole wheat flour which is great for digestion.
Want more Irish recipes? Check these out!
- Cast iron pan or dutch oven
- Cheese grater
- 16 ounces all purpose flour
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 7 ounces granulated sugar
- 4 ounces currents or raisins
- 1 teaspoon caraway seed optional
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 8 ounces buttermilk room temperature
- 4 ounces unsalted butter cold
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter for greasing pans
- Preheat oven to 350° F
- Lightly grease cast iron pan with unsalted butter
- Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar in a medium bowl
- Grate your cold butter into the dry ingredients
- Sprinkle in caraway seeds and currants (or raisins). Mix together to combine.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs and buttermilk.
- Add buttermilk mixture to the dry ingredients and mix with a spoon (or your hand) until the dry ingredients are moistened.
- Place the dough on your workbench and fold 7-8 and shape it into a ball. Do not over-work the bread or it will be tough.
- Dust the surface generously with flour and use a sharp knife to cut an x on top to allow the dough to spread and rise evenly.
- Place the dough into the cast iron pan.
- Bake for 1 hour and the top is golden brown or the internal temperature reads 190º-200ºF