Gluten-free Irish Soda Bread

By Sally Cameron on March 13, 2012

Baked Goods, Gluten-Free, Holiday Dishes, Vegetarian

Baking Irish soda bread for my clients was a welcome treat. When we went gluten-free, this was one of the first recipes I adapted to fit our new lifestyle. It goes together easily and bakes up golden crusted, studded with sweet dried currants. It’s nice for breakfast, with an afternoon cup of tea or aside a bowl of soup. It also makes a thoughtful gift. Don’t wait for St. Patrick’s Day to bake some for your family.

Gluten-free Irish Soda Bread |

Gluten-free Irish Soda Bread

Traditional Irish soda bread has only 4 ingredients: wheat flour, buttermilk, baking soda and salt. I adapted the tradition to make it work for our lifestyle so it’s not truly authentic but it is delicious. Irish soda bread is a “quick” bread, meaning it depends on baking soda instead of yeast for the lift. As with all soda breads, this version goes together quickly. Combine gluten-free flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, baking powder, then butter. Add buttermilk and currants. Shape into a round loaf and bake. If you’ve never baked bread like this, trust me, it’s really easy and comes out wonderful.

Gluten-free Irish Soda Bread |

Simple Tools

All you need is a bowl, spoon, cake pan and measuring tools. I prefer to use a digital scale to weigh ingredients for better accuracy. If you don’t have one you can still make the bread but a digital scale is a terrific addition to your tools. I use mine daily.

I test baked several batches of this bread to adapt my old wheat-based recipe. If your currants are hard and dried out, soak them in hot water for 5-7 minutes, then drain and squeeze dry in paper towels. If they are more fresh and moist, you can skip this step.

For the first test I used gluten-free Cup4Cup flour. The crumb was fine, the bread moist, and the flavor wonderful. In fact, as we were shooting it for the photograph it was hard to stop eating it smeared with apricot fruit spread. There are many other gluten-free flours available now. Try Bob’s Red Mill and King Arthur’s.

Gluten-free Irish Soda Bread |

Ingredient Note

If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, read this article for 14 great substitutions for buttermilk.

Irish Soda Bread-Gluten Free

A golden loaf studded with sweet dried currants, Irish soda bread goes together easily in just one bowl. Not just for St. Patrick’s Day, this is a nice recipe to have in your file for any time of the year. It’s nice served with apricot jam. Adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine. 
Course Breakfast, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine Irish
Keyword Gluten-free, Irish Soda Bread, Quick Bread
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 8


  • 2 cups gluten-free flour 9 ¼ ounces plus a little extra for your hands
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar divided use
  • 1 ½ teaspoons aluminum free baking powder 9 grams
  • 1 teaspoon table salt 7 grams
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda 5 grams
  • 3 tablespoons very cold unsalted butter cut into small cubes
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2/3 cup dried currants if very dry, soak in hot water for 5-7 minutes, drain and dry.


  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees for convection ovens or 375 for standard ovens. Spray or lightly oil a 9” round cake pan. Optionally, to insure the bread does not stick, line the bottom with a round of baking parchment.
  • Into a medium bowl, measure the flour, 4 tablespoons of sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda. For accuracy, use a digital scale to weigh the ingredients. Whisk to combine. Add the butter and with a fork or a pastry blender, mix in until the flour becomes a coarse pebbly mixture.
  • Push dry ingredients aside making a well in the center of the bowl. Pour buttermilk into the center. Gradually stir the buttermilk and flour mixture together. The dough will be sticky. Stir in the currants.
  • With a little extra flour, sprinkle your counter or cutting board. Place the dough onto the floured space and with floured hands, shape the dough into a ball. If it sticks, use a pastry or bench scraper to help get it off the board and shape it. You may sprinkle a little flour on top of the loaf as well, but don’t use too much.
  • Transfer the dough to the cake pan and press down lightly to spread it out. It will not come to the edges of the pan. Sprinkle with the last half tablespoon of sugar. Bake 35-40 minutes or until golden. Remove from the oven, cool in the pan 10 minutes and turn the loaf out to cool on a wire rack. Slice or cut into wedges and enjoy.
  1. Stephanie, The Recipe Renovator - March 13th, 2012

    Hi Sally! I haven’t commented in a while, although I read all of your wonderful, helpful posts. Loved the step by step pix. Nice to have your review of the newest GF flour blend out there. Thanks!

  2. K&B N. - March 13th, 2012

    This looks absolutely delicious !

  3. Ginja - March 14th, 2012

    Hello! Your bread looks beautiful. Just a question: how much buttermilk you put in the bread? Thank you.

  4. Sally - March 14th, 2012

    One cup! Realized I left it off of the ingredients list! It’s fixed now. Thanks!

  5. Lena - March 15th, 2012

    Beautiful photos! What a great idea! Thank you for your support and love for our product!



  6. Sally - March 15th, 2012

    Thanks Lena. I made cornbread with it this morning! Came out great!

  7. Ivy - March 22nd, 2012

    I stumbled onto your site while looking for an Irish soda bread recipe to make for hubby who’s Irish. This looks wonderful. Thank you for the recipe and wonderful photos.

  8. Megan - March 11th, 2013

    This looks wonderful. Do you know if the flour is wheat-free? I have a friend who is avoiding wheat all together (not just gluten), and I’d like to know if I can make this. Thanks!

  9. Sally - March 11th, 2013

    Yes Megan, it’s wheat-free and gluten-free. For anyone concerned with wheat and gluten, this is safe. True, wheat-free and gluten-free are not quite the same, as other grains such as rye and barley also contain gluten. Hope your friend enjoys. It’s easy to make and so tasty! And there are many good gluten-free flour blends on the market that can be used, such as Bob’s Red Mill, King Arthur Flour, Arrowhead Mills ad Cup4Cup. All of these flours are wheat-free, gluten-free blends based on alternative types of flour. It’s always good to read labels though.

  10. Alicia - March 17th, 2014

    This recipe is great! I recently made a paleo version of Irish soda bread and it was so moist. Hardly tasted like Irish soda bread. I wanted to try a simple gluten free version using Bob’s gluten free flour mix, and used this recipe. It tastes like the real thing. Love it!

  11. Michele - November 25th, 2015

    Thanks for the GF baking! Where are the vegan subs you mention? Btw, Cup4cup contains milk…

  12. Sally Cameron - November 25th, 2015

    Hi Michelle. Yes, Cup4Cup contains milk powder. This recipe is not noted as dairy-free, as it also contains butter and buttermilk. Would be fine for lacto-ovo vegetarians, but not vegans. Hope the GF recipes help. I am always working on new ones! Thanks for your comment. The buttermilk subs somehow disappeared, so I added a new link with options.

  13. Lucrecia - October 26th, 2018

    Good morning Sally,
    I am using Schar gluten free flour.
    It doesn’t contain Xanthan Gum, do I have to put some in it???

  14. Sally Cameron - November 1st, 2018

    Hi Lucrecia, yes I would, unless you have a sensitivity to gums (or corn). It is a common additive in many foods, both regular and GF. It’s a thickener and helps baked goods to retain moisture. A little goes a long way, so it’s used in small quantities. Thanks for asking.

  15. JMB - March 15th, 2021

    Just made my very first Irish Soda Bread using this recipe and it turned out really great!! I don’t use dairy milk, and I had some cashew yogurt in the fridge so I subbed that in. Probably could’ve taken it down a teeny bit but it’s so delicious!! Thanks so much!

  16. Sally Cameron - March 17th, 2021

    Yay! Thanks for reporting back. And great tip on the no dairy solution!

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