Dutch Oven Irish Soda Bread

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Dutch Oven Irish Soda Bread is an easy way to make quick bread without yeast or eggs. A cast iron dutch oven bakes this homemade bread perfectly, with a crispy crust on the outside and tender crumb on the inside.

Serve Irish Soda Bread with Corned Beef and Cabbage on St. Patrick's Day, or any day in between. It tastes amazing when slathered with salted Irish butter and jam!

Irish soda bread sliced on a wooden board.
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Why You'll Love It

  • quick and easy recipe
  • yeast-free and egg-free
  • no proofing or excessive kneading required
  • cooks perfectly in a dutch oven
  • simple bread recipe for beginners

What is Irish Soda Bread?

Traditional Irish Soda Bread has been baked in Irish households for hundreds of years, dating back to the 1830's. It was originally created during hard financial times by mixing flour, buttermilk, baking soda and salt since those items were inexpensive and easy to find.

After Irish Soda Bread migrated to America, folks starting adding ingredients like butter, sugar, caraway seeds, currants and raisins. But, the preferred method for making traditional soda bread is using simple ingredients and baking individual loaves in a cast iron skillet. (ad)

It's incredibly popular on St. Patrick's Day, but can be enjoyed all year long for its biscuit-like flavor and dense texture.

ingredients needed for Irish soda bread recipe.

Recipe Highlights

This favorite Irish Soda Bread recipe bakes nicely in a 3-quart dutch oven (ad) without the use of yeast or excessive kneading. You don't have to proof this dough! Using real buttermilk and soda helps the dough to rise while baking.

My grandmother, Granny Taggart, taught me to grate butter into the flour which adds richness and flavor. The heat from the sides of the dutch oven melts the butter to create a crispy crust, which is why this recipe makes the best Irish soda bread ever!

This type of easy quick bread pairs well with potato soup and hearty beef stew, which makes it a family favorite recipe.

slices of irish soda bread on a wooden cutting board.

Ingredient Notes

You'll only need 5 simple ingredients for this easy Irish Soda Bread recipe. It mixes together quickly, and bakes in just 30 minutes when using a 3 quart dutch oven. (ad)

See recipe card at the bottom of this post for quantities.

  • all purpose flour - save a little extra to make a lightly floured work surface
  • baking soda - when combined with buttermilk, baking soda creates carbon dioxide which causes bread to rise
  • salt - regular table salt works fine, but you can also use sea salt if desired
  • cold butter - freezing the butter will make it easier to grate into the flour
  • buttermilk - if you don't have buttermilk, add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar to 1 cup of milk as a substitute
ingredients needed for Irish soda bread.

Equipment Needed

  • large bowl
  • sharp knife
  • 3 quart dutch oven
  • pastry cutter (optional)

How to Make Irish Soda Bread in a Dutch Oven

This recipe creates a small round loaf that fits nicely in a 3-quart pot. It yields 8 slices that are perfect for making toast or serving with soups and salads. If you need a larger loaf, double the recipe and the make it in a 6-quart dutch oven. (ad)

Mix Ingredients

  • Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl and whisk together.
  • Grate cold or frozen butter into the flour mixture. Use your hands or a pastry cutter to crumble butter into flour.
  • Make an indention in the flour mixture. Add buttermilk and mix until just blended. The dough should be sticky, but not too wet. If it's too dry, the loaf will fall apart. If needed, add a little more buttermilk or flour depending on the texture.

Make a Mound

  • Pat dough into a ball and knead a few times. You don't need to do much kneading. Just use your hands to shape it into a small mound.
  • Lightly flour your work surface. Place mound of dough onto surface and pat with flour until it is in a shape that will fit into your pot.
  • Place mound of dough in the pot that has been greased with butter and floured. Score an X in the center of the dough with a sharp knife.

Bake Bread

  • Bake bread at 425ºF for 30 minutes UNCOVERED, or until dough reaches 190ºF with an instant-read thermometer. The top of the loaf should be golden brown. If not, spray loaf with cooking spray or brush with a little butter, and broil for a few minutes until the top of the bread is a golden color.
  • Transfer loaf to a cooling rack for 5 minutes. It should pop out of the pot easily.
  • Slice loaf with a serrated knife and enjoy with a dollop of butter such as Kerrygold.

Recipe FAQs

Why is my soda bread doughy in the middle?

The main cause for a doughy center is undercooking. Make sure you use an instant read thermometer to check the dough after 30 minutes. It should read 190ºF to 200ºF when it is cooked all the way through.

What can I use instead of a dutch oven?

You can bake soda bread in a baking pan, 10 inch cast-iron skillet or any other type of container that allows the dough to spread out and be almost flat. You'll need to make adjustments in cooking time if you use a different vessel.

Why do you score an X in the middle of the loaf?

Irish legend has it that scoring an X in the middle of the dough chases away evil spirits. But, the real reason for scoring the dough is to help the center of the loaf cook evenly since it rises higher than the edges.

Handy Tip: Prepare Ahead!

Gather all of your equipment and ingredients ahead of time so prep will be faster. It's easier to measure the dry ingredients in advance than doing so as you go.

Variations

  • Make Guinness Brown Bread by using whole wheat flour, oats, and Guinness dark beer.
  • Stir in your favorite dry fruits such as raisins, cherries or dried cranberries.
  • Add sugar or honey to make sweet soda bread.
soda bread with butter spread on a slice.

Storage and Freezing

Store leftover loaves at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Baked loaves will also keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Freeze baked and cooled loaves for up to 3 months in an airtight container after wrapping well with aluminum foil or plastic wrap. Thaw frozen loaves in the refrigerator overnight for best results.

What to Serve with Irish Soda Bread

If you're planning a St. Patrick's Day celebration, here are some great recipes to help you have an awesome St. Patty's Day dinner party!

Recipe Card

Irish soda bread in a green dutch oven with salt, buttermilk, butter, flour and baking soda..

Dutch Oven Irish Soda Bread

Dutch Oven Irish Soda Bread is an easy way to make quick bread without yeast or eggs. A cast iron dutch oven bakes this homemade bread perfectly, with a crispy crust on the outside and tender crumb on the inside.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Breads, Quick Breads
Cuisine: Irish
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 208kcal

*See notes in blog post for detailed tips, photos and instructions.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 6 Tablespoons cold butter
  • 1 cup cold buttermilk

Instructions

Mix Ingredients

  • Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl and whisk together.
  • Grate cold or frozen butter into the flour mixture. Use your hands or a pastry cutter to crumble butter into flour until it resembles large peas.
  • Make an indention in the flour mixture. Add buttermilk and mix until just blended. The dough should be sticky, but not too wet. If it's too dry, the loaf will fall apart. If needed, add a little more buttermilk or flour depending on the texture.

Make a Mound

  • Pat dough into a ball and knead a few times to bring the dough together. You don't need to do much kneading. Just use your hands to shape it into a small mound.
  • Lightly flour your work surface. Place mound of dough onto surface and pat with flour until it is in a shape that will fit into your pot.
  • Grease and flour dutch oven. Place mound of dough inside. Score a deep X in the center of the dough with a sharp knife.

Bake Bread

  • Bake bread in an UNCOVERED dutch oven at 425ºF for 30 minutes, or until dough reaches 190ºF with an instant-read thermometer.
  • The top of the loaf should be golden brown. If not, spray loaf with cooking spray or brush with a little butter, and broil for a few minutes until the top of the bread is golden.
  • Transfer loaf to a cooling rack for 5 minutes. It should pop out of the pot easily.
  • Slice loaf with a serrated knife and enjoy with a dollop of butter such as Kerrygold.

Notes

  • Freeze butter, or make sure it's very cold, so it will be easier to grate by hand. 
  • Buttermilk is a necessary ingredient to make the bread rise. If you don't have buttermilk, make a substitution by mixing 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar with 1 cup of whole milk. 
  • Store leftover loaves at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Baked loaves will also keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
  • Freeze baked and cooled loaves for up to 3 months in an airtight container after wrapping well with aluminum foil or plastic wrap. Thaw frozen loaves in the refrigerator overnight for best results.
  • This recipe makes a smaller loaf of bread that yields 8 thin slices. It is made in a 3 quart dutch oven. (ad) If you need to make a larger loaf, double the recipe and bake bread in a 6 quart dutch oven. (ad)
  • If you don't have a dutch oven, you can bake this bread on a sheet pan, in a baking pan, or in a 10 inch cast iron skillet. (ad)

Nutrition

Calories: 208kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Sodium: 313mg | Potassium: 76mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Calcium: 42mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition info is an auto generated estimate.

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2 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This looks like a fun recipe to try. I've never made bread before, but I think I could handle this - looks simple enough and delicious.

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