If there is one treat that I like for St. Patrick’s Day, it’s Irish soda bread. I am not very Irish. My paternal grandmother is where I get my Irish from (and where my deep love for molasses cookies began, but that’s another recipe). Living in the Boston area, it is hard not to feel more Irish than you might actually be. Around this time of year soda bread starts showing up in all of the bakeries and grocery stores.

Neely Irish Soda Bread

I was a latecomer to appreciating Irish soda bread. Many versions have caraway seeds, which I think initially turned me off to soda bread. Over the years, I have found (and tried) many different versions. This recipe is not, unfortunately, a family recipe passed down generation to generation. However, it combines elements of my favorite recipes into one that I hope will be passed down.

Let’s get to the Neely Irish Soda Bread Recipe!

 Neely Irish Soda Bread

Neely Irish Soda Bread Neely Irish Soda Bread

Neely Irish Soda Bread

This soda bread is surely more American than Irish. It is sweet, but not overly so. It makes two loaves which allows you to eat one and share the other with friends, family, or your office.
Course:  Breakfast
Prep Time:  20 minutes
Cook Time:  40 minutes
Total Time:  1 hour
Servings:  16


  • 8 Tablespoons unsalted butter melted and cooled slightly
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoons baking soda
  • pinch salt (I used sea salt)
  • 1 cup currants
  • 1 egg
  • 1 ½ cups buttermilk
  • 1 Tablespoon whole milk or half-and-half
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Melt butter and set aside to cool slightly.
  3. Butter and flour two 9-by-5-inch loaf pans (or coat with baking spray).
  4. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.
  5. Add currants to mixture and stir to coat.
  6. In a separate bowl whisk together the egg and buttermilk.
  7. Gently stir the egg and buttermilk mixture into the dry ingredients until just combined.
  8. Stir in melted butter.
  9. Divide batter evenly between the two prepared pans.
  10. Brush the tops of the loaves with milk or half-and-half and sprinkle the tops with sugar.
  11. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the tops are golden and a cake tester comes out clean.
  12. Cool in the pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
  13. Turn loaves out of the pans and cool completely on wire rack.

Recipe Notes

If you wanted, you could add 1-2 Tablespoons of caraway seeds. If you prefer raisins to currants, you could substitute them. I like to eat this plain, but you could butter or serve with jam or lemon curd.

Some More St. Paddy’s Day Ideas

Quench your thirst with a delicious St. Patrick’s day cocktail, and check out our slow-cooker corned beef and cabbage recipe.