Easy Irish Soda Bread Without Buttermilk

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This Irish Soda Bread Without Buttermilk uses simple ingredients and is a classic bread that is SO easy to make! No need to run to the store for buttermilk–you probably have all the ingredients in your fridge and pantry! This soda bread has a nice, crisp crust and is tender and soft on the inside. Serve it with savory dishes like soups and stews (especially this Slow Cooker Irish Stew) or slather on butter and jam for the perfect sweet treat! The best part? You can have this easy soda bread on the table in less than an hour!

A loaf of Irish Soda Bread Without buttermilk on a cutting board.

If you are scared of making homemade bread, this Easy Irish Soda Bread Recipe is for you! Simple ingredients, minimal kneading, and no waiting for it to rise! You can have this bread on your table in less than an hour!

It’s perfect for dunking in this incredible vegetable beef soup with cabbage!

What you’ll love about this recipe:

  • A TASTY BREAD that is SO EASY to make!
  • Made with SIMPLE INGREDIENTS that you probably have in your pantry and fridge!
  • Perfect with Irish Stew on ST. PATRICK’S DAY!
  • A DELICIOUS BREAKFAST OR SNACK slathered with lots of butter and jam!


You’ll need the following ingredients to make this Easy Irish Soda Bread Recipe (no buttermilk):

Ingredients needed to make this Easy Irish Soda Bread without buttermilk recipe.


Milk: Whole milk is my preference, but regular milk–whatever you have in the fridge– will work, too!

Vinegar: Plain, distilled white vinegar or white wine vinegar works best. You can also use lemon juice.

Baking Soda and Baking Powder: I like the combination of BOTH in this recipe. The baking soda reacts with the milk/vinegar to help lift the bread. The small amount of baking powder, I find, makes the bread just a bit lighter and gives it a great texture.


Here are some quick visual instructions. Remember that full instructions with exact ingredients will be in the printable recipe card below!

Step 1: Whisk together milk, vinegar, and egg. Set aside.

Milk, egg and vinegar being stirred together in a small bowl.

Step 2: Combine dry ingredients including the cup of raisins or currants, if using. Add cubed butter and work it into the flour mixture with your hands or a fork until small, pea-sized crumbs form.

Dry ingredients being combined in a large glass bowl.

Step 3: Add wet ingredients (milk mixture). Stir until the flour is absorbed and the dough just begins to come together.

Wet ingredients combined with dry to form a dough in the bowl.

Step 4: Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and knead for about 30 seconds. Then, form the dough into a round loaf. With a sharp knife, cut a deep “X” into the top of the loaf. Brush the top with any remaining milk/egg mixture.

Irish soda bread dough formed into a ball with an X on the top.

Step 5: Bake a 375°F for 40-50 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 190°F. Cool 10-15 minutes before cutting into slices with a serrated knife.

Irish Soda Bread without Buttermilk after it's been baked on a cutting board.


  • If you are making this bread to enjoy with a savory dish, such as this Irish Stew, leave out the raisins.

  • Reserve about a tablespoon of the milk mixture to brush over the top of the dough–this makes it look nice and brown when baked. If you forget, you can also beat an egg and brush it lightly over the top.

Confidence Tip

Irish soda bread is a “rustic” bread. This means: IT DOESN’T HAVE TO LOOK PERFECT! Form the dough the best you can, but don’t think it has to be perfectly round. Do your best–you won’t mess it up 🙂


  • Storage: This tasty bread can be stored in the fridge for up to a week. Wrap it tightly in aluminum foil or plastic wrap. Slices can also be stored in an airtight, zip-top bag.

  • Freezing: You can absolutely freeze this bread as well! If you are freezing the entire loaf, cover it tightly with a couple of layers of foil or plastic wrap. Then, place it in a large freezer bag. This soda bread will freeze well for 2-3 months.

Additions & Substitutions


  • Sugar: For a sweeter bread to enjoy for breakfast or as a snack, add a couple more tablespoons of sugar.


  • Flour: I also tested this recipe with half whole wheat flour and half all-purpose flour and it was delicious! Feel free to experiment with different types of flour.
  • Milk: You can experiment with different types of milk such as oat milk or almond milk. Just note this will change the flavor slightly.


Can you make Irish Soda Bread without buttermilk?

Easily! While a traditional Irish soda bread recipe does contain buttermilk, you can easily make a buttermilk substitute to use in your soda bread recipe.

By combining milk and an acid (vinegar or lemon juice), you’ll create the reaction that works in the same way as buttermilk. The milk/acid mixture reacts with the baking soda and will help leaven or “lift” the bread.

What do you put on Irish soda bread?

There are two ways to enjoy Irish Soda Bread. First, you enjoy it alongside savory dishes like this Slow Cooker Irish Stew and use it for dunking!

You can also add a bit more sugar to your recipe (noted in the recipe card) and serve it as more of a sweet, breakfast-type treat. It’s fantastic slathered with butter, jam, or honey!

Why is it called “soda” bread?

The “soda” doesn’t refer to Coke or Sprite! LOL! It simply refers to the baking soda in the recipe. The baking soda reacts with the milk/acid in the recipe and is used as a leavening agent to make the dough rise instead of using yeast.

Why do you add baking powder in your recipe?

I tested this recipe MANY times and liked the baking powder, in combination with the baking soda. Just a bit of baking powder, I found, lightened the bread just enough and made the texture perfect.

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Slices of soda bread on a plate with butter and a knife.

I hope you love this Irish Soda Bread {without buttermilk!}. If you make it be sure to leave a comment and a rating so I know how you liked it. Enjoy, xo!

A loaf of Irish soda bread on a wooden cutting board

Irish Soda Bread without Buttermilk

Casey Rooney
This Irish Soda Bread Without Buttermilk uses simple ingredients and is a classic bread that is SO easy to make! No need to run to the store for buttermilk–you probably have all the ingredients in your fridge and pantry!
5 from 9 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Course Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine American, irish
Servings 8
Calories 393 kcal


  • 1 1/3 cup milk whole milk works best, but low fat is OK, too.
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tbsp white vinegar or lemon juice white wine vinegar is fine, too!
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour + a little more for dusting
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 3 tbsp sugar See Note 1
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 5 tbsp COLD salted butter, cubed
  • 1 cup raisins or currants, optional you can also use 2-3 tsps of caraway seeds


  • Prep: Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (you can also use a large cast-iron skillet). In a small bowl or large glass measuring cup, combine milk, vinegar, and egg. Beat well for about 30 seconds and set aside.
  • Dry Ingredients: In a large mixing bowl, add dry ingredients: 4 cups of flour, salt, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and raisins/currants (if using). Whisk to combine.
  • Add Butter: Add cubed, COLD butter. Work the butter in with your fingers or a fork until pea-sized crumbs form.
  • Add Milk: To the flour mixture, add the milk/vinegar/egg mixture. [Note: Reserve about a tablespoon of the milk mixture to brush on top] Stir with a wooden spoon or fork until all of the dry ingredients are moistened. No need to overmix.
  • Form Dough: Flour your hands. Then, transfer dough to a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough 5-10 times or for about 30 seconds until all of the flour is incorporated. Again, no need to overmix. It will be a fairly sticky dough. If it's too sticky, add a bit more flour. Form the dough until a round loaf. This soda bread is meant to be "rustic"… meaning, it doesn't have to be a perfectly-shaped loaf!
  • Prepare to Bake: Place dough on your prepared baking sheet. Then, with a sharp knife, make a deep, 1/2 inch deep "X" on the top of the loaf. Brush the top with the reserved milk mixture.
  • Bake: Bake soda bread for 40-50 minutes or until the internal temperature is 190°. Transfer to a wire rack and allow bread to cool for 10-15 minutes before cutting into slices. Serve with lots of Irish butter or alongside Irish Stew!


Note 1: If you are making this soda bread recipe to enjoy with coffee, add an additional tablespoon of sugar for more sweetness. If you are making it to go alongside Irish Stew or with a savory dish, keep the sugar at 3 tbsp.
Nutrition is only an estimate based on the Very Well Fit Nutrition Calculator
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Serving: 1sliceCalories: 393kcalCarbohydrates: 69gProtein: 9.2gFat: 9.3gSaturated Fat: 5.4gCholesterol: 46mgSodium: 476mgPotassium: 304mgFiber: 2.4gSugar: 17.3gVitamin D: 7µgCalcium: 100mgIron: 3mg
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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    I can’t wait to try this recipe. When I make soda bread, I usually just mix the milk and vinegar together. I’m eager to see how adding the egg to the mix will change things.