Irish Soda Bread


Butter a loaf pan or use an 8 inch round cast iron pan (my favorite).

In a small bowl, combine and blend : 

  • 2 cups buttermilk (see below for substitutions)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp salt

In a large bowl, combine and mix :

  • 3 cups flour (put aside an additional ½ cup for kneading and flouring the counter)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon caraway seeds (optional)
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 single apricot (optional)

Don’t have buttermilk? Try these substitutes :

  • 2 cups milk + 2 tablespoons of white vinegar, let sit for 5 minutes
  • 2 cups milk + 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, let sit for 5 minutes
  • 2 cups milk + 3.5 teaspoons cream of tartar,  let sit for 5 minutes
  • 2 cups plain Keiffir
  • 2 cups sour cream or 2 cups plain yogurt

Slowly add the small bowl contents into the large bowl contents and mix until blended.

Lightly flour a surface for kneading the dough; place the dough on it (it will be sticky). Lightly flour the dough and begin kneading for 25 times, sprinkle with additional flour if the dough is too sticky to knead. Get some youngsters involved, they will love the tactical nature of kneading…caution…be prepared for a fun mess!

Shape the dough roughly into a ball. Place onto a buttered cast iron pan, cut an X on top and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour at 350 degrees. Fun variations would be to switch out raisins and use craisins instead. My friend also sprinkled sunflower seeds on top…most delicious. Any way you bake it, you’ll love the end result!

The bread will be golden brown when done. When you tap the top with a spoon, it should sound hollow inside.

Why cut the X? The extra surface area helps to let the steam escape, allowing the bread to bake evenly, but you can tell your kids lots of fun stories, like every leprechaun marks an X and hides some gold inside. Mix in a single apricot for the leprechaun’s gold. Whoever finds the gold wins!

On a side note, this recipe is a slight variation of great, great grandma Westburg’s recipe. Visit for Grandma’s original Irish soda bread recipe.


  1. Make a leprechaun trap, of course the leprechaun never gets caught, but maybe he leaves behind some gold!
  2. Turn toilet water green
  3. Make green milk
  4. While your kids are sleeping, make a trail of 4 leaf clovers to a pile of gold.