St. Patrick's Day is right around the corner, and what better way to celebrate than with a loaf or two of Irish soda bread? If made correctly, this is one of the best quick breads (those leavened without yeast) you'll ever have. Subtly sweet, with a light, tender crumb, and not at all dry. You can use quick-cooking oats in place of rolled oats, if desired.

Recipe Summary

prep:
30 mins
cook:
45 mins
additional:
30 mins
total:
1 hr 45 mins
Servings:
16
Yield:
2 loaves
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Ingredients

16
Original recipe yields 16 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat.

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  • Whisk all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, oats, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl. Cut butter into flour mixture using a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal.

  • Beat buttermilk, egg, honey, and orange zest together in a bowl. Pour buttermilk mixture, currants, and raisins into flour mixture; stir with a wooden spoon until a wet, sticky dough comes together.

  • Turn dough out onto a well-floured work surface; press dough together into a soft ball of dough and cut into 2 pieces. Form each half into a smooth, round loaf. Transfer to prepared baking sheet and let rest for 15 minutes. Cut a 1/2-inch deep "X" into the top of each loaf with a serrated knife.

  • Bake in the preheated oven until golden brown and fragrant, about 45 minutes. Transfer loaves to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.

Nutrition Facts

195 calories; protein 5.1g 10% DV; carbohydrates 36g 12% DV; fat 3.9g 6% DV; cholesterol 20.3mg 7% DV; sodium 381.7mg 15% DV. Full Nutrition

Reviews (77)

Read More Reviews

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 5 stars
04/16/2015
I have been wanting to try out this recipe ever since Chef John uploaded it to YouTube. I finally got around to making it a few evenings ago. This is my first time making bread and may I just say how simple it is to make! I got so excited seeing it rise in the oven... And boy, when it came out of the oven and I tried a slice (after letting it cool, of course), the flavor is unparalleled. My family and friends loved it...and with a bit of butter and jam...too delicious!! All I can say is that I won't be buying Irish soda bread from Whole Foods anymore...I'll be making my own!!! Please hurry and make this bread now! Your family and friends (as well as your own taste buds) will thank you later! Read More
(30)

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 3 stars
03/28/2019
I made the recipe pretty much as written. I increased whole wheat flour to 1 cup and decreased all purpose to 2 3/4 cups. The dough was so wet and unmanageable. I had to dust frequently with flour just to get it off the kneading surface and my hands. So I probably added an extra 1/4 cup of flour. That is why it has a 3 star rating. On the upside I loved the flavor and especially the orange zest that sets it apart from other soda breads. The texture was a bit crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. I might make this again...and maybe decreased the buttermilk. Read More
98 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 71
  • 4 star values: 19
  • 3 star values: 5
  • 2 star values: 2
  • 1 star values: 1
Rating: 5 stars
04/16/2015
I have been wanting to try out this recipe ever since Chef John uploaded it to YouTube. I finally got around to making it a few evenings ago. This is my first time making bread and may I just say how simple it is to make! I got so excited seeing it rise in the oven... And boy, when it came out of the oven and I tried a slice (after letting it cool, of course), the flavor is unparalleled. My family and friends loved it...and with a bit of butter and jam...too delicious!! All I can say is that I won't be buying Irish soda bread from Whole Foods anymore...I'll be making my own!!! Please hurry and make this bread now! Your family and friends (as well as your own taste buds) will thank you later! Read More
(30)
Rating: 5 stars
06/07/2015
Followed the directions exactly, and it had a great crunchy crust while remaining moist on the inside. Flavour-wise, it was the perfect balance of subtle sweetness with refreshing orange tanginess. A big hit with the fam! Read More
(17)
Rating: 5 stars
05/01/2015
For the all star Canada Cooks event I made Chef John's Irish Soda Bread using yogurt instead of buttermilk which made it very moist and delicious. I think this is a good bread to have at a luncheon or with tea. If you are looking for bread sweetened without sugar this is the one to try with honey and raisins for extra sweetness. Read More
(15)
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Rating: 5 stars
03/28/2016
This will be my go-to recipe for Irish Soda Bread. The orange zest is a wonderful addition! I used King Arthur's White Whole Wheat Flour in place of the all-purpose flour and it worked great. Read More
(6)
Rating: 5 stars
03/31/2016
I've been obsessed with Irish soda bread since getting some from a local bakery around St. Patty's. This recipe was outstanding even with a few modifications. I love oats so added an extra 1/4 cup. I subtracted a 1/4 cup flour to keep the dry measures the same. I only used whole wheat flour not all-purpose for part. This created a lovely brown bread. I used fennel seeds in place of the orange zest and I highly recommend this. Finally I realized at the last moment that I didn't have parchment paper so I greased my cast iron skillet and made one large loaf. My husband and I already ate half with dinner! Read More
(6)
Rating: 4 stars
03/17/2017
Someone should tell "kathy g" dried currants are black and life's too short to be so bitter. Great recipe John thanks! Read More
(6)
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Rating: 5 stars
04/23/2015
I don't bake much, just started making a few loaves of bread this year. And I don't recall eating Irish soda bread anywhere recently so I can't compare my creation to anybody else's. That said, this recipe came out marvelously! Took a lot of work because the dough is so wet and sticky, getting it to set a little so I could handle it was a test of my patience. I didn't have buttermilk so I made my own as per Chef John's blog. But the work paid off because this is a great breakfast bread or perfect with afternoon tea/coffee. Warning; if you're late out of bed you'll likely find it already gone! Read More
(6)
Rating: 5 stars
03/27/2017
Great flavor and it was very moist. I made exactly as the recipe stated. The video was very helpful too. Read More
(5)
Rating: 5 stars
03/20/2017
I frequently make traditional Irish soda bread for a daughter who got hooked on it in Ireland. This bread is very unlike traditional Irish soda bread. However it is a delightful tasting bread...perfect for breakfast or brunch. It tastes more like a moister scone! I made it with all the listed ingredients except substituted steel cut oats for the rolled oats (steel cut oats are the secret ingredient for true Irish soda bread). Can't say I really noticed them in this bread. Also used 1/4 cup Craisens because that is what I had. Baked the loaves for the time stated but did so in a metal roaster pan with parchment in the bottom. Took off the lid to brown the last 10 minutes. They were baked perfectly. I bake my artisan bread in the roaster pan to keep them moist....works very well! Read More
(4)
Rating: 3 stars
03/28/2019
I made the recipe pretty much as written. I increased whole wheat flour to 1 cup and decreased all purpose to 2 3/4 cups. The dough was so wet and unmanageable. I had to dust frequently with flour just to get it off the kneading surface and my hands. So I probably added an extra 1/4 cup of flour. That is why it has a 3 star rating. On the upside I loved the flavor and especially the orange zest that sets it apart from other soda breads. The texture was a bit crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. I might make this again...and maybe decreased the buttermilk. Read More