Irish Raisin Soda Bread

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I am thrilled to have partnered with Princess Cruises to share our cruise through the British Isles with you.

Irish Soda Bread with Raisins is a simple lightly sweetened quick bread filled with raisins and finished with a generous sprinkling of raw sugar. You can stir a loaf of this bread together in the time it takes to brew a pot of coffee.

Our day in Belfast, Ireland was about as perfect as it could be. After spending the morning exploring Belfast, we headed out to the Irish countryside in County Down where we participated in a hands-on day of Irish bread making with Tracey Jeffries and Northern Ireland Food Tours.

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I couldn’t resist the opportunity to bake authentic Irish bread in the home of an Irish family. We were a small group of about 10 people and we had a wonderful day. This was part of a specialty food excursion with Princess Cruises and I can’t recommend it highly enough.

We were greeted at Tracey’s home with a beautiful Irish tea complete with several varieties of bread fresh out of the oven. After we finished our tea, we made our own Irish soda bread and potato bread.

Irish tea time in County Downs, Ireland - read more at barefeetinthekitchen.com

Irish Soda Bread

Do you know how easy it is to make Irish Soda Bread? It’s literally just flour, baking soda, a pinch of salt, and buttermilk added just until the texture is perfect. Irish Potato Bread simply adds leftover mashed potatoes to the equation.

These are classic Irish bread recipes that have been staples in many homes for hundreds of years. I enjoyed making (and sampling!) both recipes and we all had a lot of fun learning more about these soda breads.

The opportunity to spend time visiting and baking bread in an Irish home was priceless and I love that this recipe transports me back to Ireland.

Baking Bread in an Irish Cottage - read more at barefeetinthekitchen.com

Irish Soda Bread with Raisins

Irish Raisin Soda Bread comes together in under ten minutes (honestly, it’s probably closer to five minutes) and then you just have to wait while it bakes in the oven.

Soda bread is typically not a sweet bread at all. However, the raisins sweeten this bread nicely and there’s a little bit of sugar in the dough as well.

Also, here’s a tip that I copied as well, Tracey sprinkled her bread with a little bit of raw sugar before popping it in the oven, making it a little bit sweeter with a lovely crunch on the crust.

Bread Baking in Ireland - read more at barefeetinthekitchen.com

Irish Bannock

Today, I’m sharing the recipe for this Irish Raisin Soda Bread – or Irish Fruit Bannock, as Tracey calls it. Me, I call it the easiest Raisin Bread you can possibly make.

Bannock is a variety of flat quick bread or any large, round article baked or cooked from grain. A bannock is usually cut into sections before serving. Traditionally, bannock is a quick bread fried in oil.

However, Tracey’s bannock recipe was adapted for the oven, making it more like the quick breads and muffins that I usually make.

For this recipe, I used a round pan, but bannock can also be baked on a sheet pan or in loaf pans. Just watch as it bakes and adjust the cooking time as needed.

Irish Raisin Soda Bread - get the recipe at barefeetinthekitchen.com

Have I convinced you yet just how much we enjoyed spending a day in an Irish cottage, baking bread and having tea and coffee?

My favorite bite during our tea that afternoon was this Irish Soda Bread with Raisins and I am so happy that Tracey shared the recipe with me.

Irish Soda Bread with Raisins and a bit of butter is an afternoon treat! get the recipe at barefeetinthekitchen.com

This raisin bread was the first thing I made when we returned home. My boys loved this bread and it transported me back to Ireland with the first bite.

Irish Raisin Soda Bread Recipe

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F and thoroughly grease an 8-inch round pan with butter. Set the pan aside.
  2. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and white sugar in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Set aside 1/4 cup of buttermilk and pour the remaining buttermilk into the well in the dry ingredients.
  4. Mix lightly with a wooden spoon to form a loose dough, adding the rest of the buttermilk ONLY if the batter is dry and crumbly. Stir in the raisins.
  5. Scoop the batter into the prepared cake pan and smooth the top. Sprinkle raw sugar generous over the top.
  6. Bake at 400°F for 30 minutes and then reduce the heat to 300°F for an additional 25 minutes, until the bread is golden brown and crisp to the touch. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean.
  7. Remove from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack. Slice into 8-12 pieces and serve with butter.

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Irish Raisin Soda Bread - get the recipe at barefeetinthekitchen.com

Irish Soda Bread with Raisins

5 from 2 votes
Irish Soda Bread with Raisins is lightly sweetened and perfect for breakfast or an afternoon tea.
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Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 55 mins
Total Time: 1 hr 5 mins
Course: Breakfast

Ingredients 

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 16 ounces buttermilk, or 2 cups, divided (reserve 1/4 cup)
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 2 tablespoons raw or demerara sugar, for topping

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F and thoroughly grease an 8-inch round pan with butter. Set the pan aside. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and white sugar in a large mixing bowl.
  • Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Set aside 1/4 cup of buttermilk and pour the remaining buttermilk into the well in the dry ingredients. 
  • Mix lightly with a wooden spoon to form a loose dough, adding the rest of the buttermilk ONLY if necessary. Stir in the raisins. Scoop the batter into the prepared cake pan and smooth the top. Sprinkle raw sugar generously over the top.
  • Bake at 400°F for 30 minutes and then reduce the heat to 300°F for an additional 25 minutes, until the bread is golden brown and crisp to the touch. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean.
  • Remove from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack. Slice into 8-12 pieces and serve with butter.

Notes

Any dried fruits will work for this recipe, however, an assortment of different varieties is fun to use. I buy a multi-variety package of raisins at Trader Joe's. It includes sultanas, or golden raisins, jumbo raisins, and the more traditional California raisins.
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Irish Soda Bread with Raisins - get the recipe at barefeetinthekitchen.com

To read more about our cruise through the British Isles, check out A Day at Dunrobin CastleThat Time I Turned 40. Twice. My 40ish BirthdayDIY Cheese Plates, and A Day in Belfast, Ireland.

Disclosure: I’ve partnered with Princess Cruises to share my travels with you. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. For more information about Princess Cruises and/or to book a cruise visit their website.

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Mary Younkin

Mary Younkin

Hi, I’m Mary. I’m the author, cook, photographer, and travel lover behind the scenes here at Barefeet In The Kitchen. I'm also the author of three cookbooks dedicated to making cooking from scratch as simple as possible.

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    • Mary says

      oops! That was a mistake. I actually tested the recipe both ways and found that the cinnamon didn’t make much of a difference in the end result and I liked it without best. 🙂 I’ve corrected it now. Enjoy!

  1. Sandra says

    I made your recipe for Irish soda bread and it was so good, could you share your recipe for Irish Potato Bread would like to make also. Thank You5 stars

  2. Me says

    GLUTEN FREE IRISH SODA BREAD, also delicious. Normally you have your notes about how to sub out the flour to make it GF. I’m letting you know, I used the barefeetithekitchen GF ALL PURPOSE FLOUR MIX

    [ 1tsp xanthan , 1 and 1/2c rice FL, 2/3c Potato Starch, 1/3c. Tapioca Starch, 1/2 t salt,
    1 T Baking Powder, 1/2 t. Baking Soda ]

    Then I followed this recipe above *also adding in* the listed baking soda, salt etc (*Soda bread means more baking soda) Also I used currants. It was delicious! I also want to try it with dried blueberries next time. It was a hit.5 stars

    • Mary says

      That’s awesome it worked so well for you with that variation! Thanks for taking the time to share it with us.

  3. James McFadden says

    Years ago when visiting Ireland I asked my aunt to give me her recipie for the big fruit scone she made. She could not give it because she had no concrete idea of the amounts of each ingredient used. A handful of this and that and a pinch of something else. The end result looked looked like your soda bread. I’m sure she used butter. I have also seen other recipes that used an egg. Are these not essential ?