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Sliced Irish soda bread with caraway seeds on parchment paper.

Irish Soda Bread with Caraway Seeds Recipe

Easy Irish Soda Bread with Caraway Seeds. This loaf is made with buttermilk, butter, and a little sugar, which makes for a tender and sweet loaf.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 1 loaf


  • 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons caraway seeds
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 tablespoons cool butter, cut into 8 pieces (see note)
  • 1 ½ cups buttermilk, plus more as needed


  1. Preheat oven to 400° F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. 

  2. Whisk together 3 ½ cups flour, ⅓ cup sugar, 2 teaspoons caraway seeds, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon baking soda in a large bowl. Cut in 4 tablespoons cool butter with either your fingers or a pastry cutter until no large pieces remain. If you use your fingers, work the butter into the flour in a snapping motion. 

  3. Add 1 ½ cups buttermilk. Gently stir until all the buttermilk is absorbed. 

  4. Dust the counter lightly with flour and turn the dough out onto the counter. Knead until a dough forms. If the dough seems dry, add a tablespoon more buttermilk.

  5. Place dough on baking sheet. Cut a cross, about 1-inch deep, into dough with a sharp knife. This helps the loaf to bake evenly.

  6. Bake until a skewer inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out clean, about 45 minutes. If the loaf browns too quickly before the center is done, cover the loaf with foil and bake until the center is done.

  7. Remove pan from oven. Allow loaf to cool on the pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool for an additional 15 minutes or so. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Recipe Notes

Butter Temperature for Irish Soda Bread

For this recipe, think of Goldilocks. You don't want the butter too cold, nor do you want it too soft. You want it just right. 

If the weather is cool, which it tends to be in March when I make this bread, I take the butter out of the refrigerator about 45 minutes before I plan on making the dough. This takes the chill off the butter but it doesn't soften. 

To tell if the butter is the correct temperature, poke at it. Your finger should go in with a little pressure. If it sinks right in, the butter is too soft. If the butter feels like a piece of wood, it's too cold.