Bake a golden loaf of this easy gluten free Irish soda bread for St. Patrick's Day or any day. If the thought of baking homemade bread scares you, don't worry! Irish soda bread is a simple quick bread and it's yeast-free. That's right; no yeast. Anyone can bake this!
Why You'll Like This Recipe
- An easy gluten free soda bread recipe.
- One bowl, little mess.
- A "quick" bread; no yeast to deal with and no kneading of the dough.
The perfect gluten-free alternative to traditional Irish soda bread.
Please check the recipe card for measurements.
- Gluten-free flour blend: I use King Arthur's Measure for Measure GF blend. You need a little extra for your hands and cutting board. See testing notes for other flours.
- Sugar: Use a natural granulated sugar for the soda bread. It's just a small amount and makes a lightly sweet quick bread.
- Baking powder: Use aluminum-free baking powder and check expiration the date on your can or bag before baking. Baking powder is one leavening agent instead of yeast.
- Baking soda: Check expiration the date on your can or bag before baking as it's another natural leavening agent for baked goods without yeast.
- Butter: Use sweet or unsalted butter so you control the salt level.
- Buttermilk: Buttermilk gives baked goods a light, moist texture. It's natural the acidity reacts with the baking soda and powder to help the bread rise. See substitutions for buttermilk below.
- Dried fruit: Some recipe use raisins, I prefer tiny currants which are another kind of dried grape. What you'll find at the grocery store are called currants or Zantes currants.
Chef's tip: If your gluten-free flour blend does not contain xanthan gum, add ½ of a teaspoon to the recipe. It provides elasticity and stickiness to gluten-free doughs and batters (because there is no gluten).
Substitutes for Buttermilk
If you don't have buttermilk, use dairy milk plus lemon juice to curdle the milk and create the needed acidity. Another option, milk and apple cider vinegar or white vinegar. Other options include sour cream, yogurt, kefir, or rehydrated buttermilk powder.
I've not tested all of these options but the milk and lemon juice or vinegar trick does work. For more information, read here for more about substitutions for buttermilk.
For dairy-free, use homemade almond milk or homemade cashew milk, still adding the lemon juice and using a plant butter (a cube not a tub). The taste may be a little different as buttermilk as a natural tang.
- If you are egg sensitive, Irish soda bread can be made with no egg or an egg replacement. Either skip the egg (I used to make it that way) or find ideas for replacing the egg here.
- To reduce sugar, use a monk fruit blend like this one. I always have a bag in the pantry and it works great to replace sugar, either all of it or even half and half.
- If you can't find dried currants (tiny raisins), substitute regular raisins, golden raisins, dried cranberries, finely chopped pitted dates, chopped dried cherries or dried blueberries.
This dough comes together quickly. If you've never baked bread like this, it's really easy and comes out wonderful. Some Irish soda bread recipes start with 3-4 cups of flour for big loaves. My recipe uses just 2 cups of flour for a smaller loaf that still serves 8-10.
Step 1: Mix the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl and stir well to combine.
Step 2: Mix in the cold butter with a fork or pastry cutter.
Step 3: Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the buttermilk and egg.
Step 4: Using a fork, gently mix it all together until a sticky dough forms.
Step 5: Mix in the currants.
Step 6: Gently mix until a stick dough forms.
Step 7: Shape the dough into a free form round loaf on a floured cutting board. Parchment paper makes it easier to move to the pan. Lastly, bake the bread
Step 8: Lastly, bake the bread in a round cake pan or on a baking sheet, using baking parchment under the dough. Bake at 350°F for 35-40 minutes until the loaf is golden and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean and warm. Cool on a wire rack for a few minutes before slicing.
Chef's Tip: Cutting a shallow cross or X across the top of the loaf (called scoring) before baking the soda bread does two things: it assists baking as the heat reaches the interior of the loaf, and the cross blesses the bread (per Irish tradition).
Gluten-Free Flour Notes
I've baked Irish soda bread with both King Arthur's Measure for Measure GF blend and Bob's Red Mill 1:1 GF blend (blue bag). Both the KA and the BRM GF flour blends are rice flour based.
I originally tested it with Cup4Cup and it worked fine in this recipe, but as their main ingredient is cornstarch, it is not one I use anymore.
Should I Weigh or Measure Flour?
You can weigh your flour or use standard dry measuring utensils. What's the difference? Different brands of flour measure differently.
For example, 2 cups of the King Arthur's flour weighs 9 ounces, but 2 cups of the Bob's Red Mill weighs 10.3 ounces. Because baking is all about accuracy, that makes a difference. For The Bob's Red Mill, use 1 ¾ cups + 1 tablespoon instead of 2 cups.
What if you don't weigh with a scale? The bread will still taste just as delicious, but might be a little more dense depending on what gluten-free all purpose flour you use.
Chef's tip: When baking you'll find it super handy to use a digital kitchen 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.
What do you eat Irish soda bread with? Keep it simple with soft butter and jam. Enjoy it for breakfast with eggs and fruit. Try it at lunch with soup or a salad, or as an afternoon snack with a cup of tea.
It makes a nice gift too. I used to bake it for my clients as a seasonal treat. Using a serrated knife for slicing makes it easier.
Irish soda bread will keep for about 5 days on the counter, well wrapped in a zip bag or other airtight container.
It's called a soda bread because baking soda is used as the leavening agent instead of yeast and kneading. It's called bread soda in Ireland. Irish soda bread is generally a lightly sweet bread made with butter, egg, and currants or caraway seeds.
Some reports say there's nothing Irish about this bread, that it's an American invention or at least a corruption of the Irish traditional bread. In Ireland it's considered a basic bread. The link above has a fun article. I think of it having Irish heritage.
More Easy Gluten-Free Baking Recipes
For another gluten-free baking recipe that uses buttermilk, try this gluten-free cornbread recipe.
⭐️Did you Make This Recipe?
If you make this recipe, please comment. I appreciate your feedback and enjoy hearing from you. If you loved it, please give it a 5 star rating! They really help other readers.
Irish Soda Bread (Gluten-free)
- digital kitchen scale OPTIONAL
- 2 cups gluten-free flour See notes at the end.
- ¼ cup natural granulated sugar or monk fruit, or blend the two.
- 1 ½ teaspoons aluminum free baking powder
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- 3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter cut into small cubes
- 1 cup buttermilk see substitutions below
- ⅔ cup dried currants
- 1 Large egg
- Pre-heat oven to 350*F degrees. Spray or lightly oil a 9” round cake pan. Line the bottom with a round of baking parchment. Alternatively use baking parchment on a rimmed baking sheet, cookie sheet, or cast iron skillet.
Mix the Dough
- Into a medium bowl, measure the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda. For accuracy, use a digital scale to weigh the flour or use dry measuring cups (see notes below). Whisk to combine or stir well with a fork. Add the cold butter cubes and with a fork or a pastry blender, mix in until the flour becomes a coarse pebbly mixture.
- Push dry ingredients around the edge of the bowl and make a well in the center of the bowl. Pour buttermilk into the center, then add egg and whisk with a fork. until combined. Gradually stir the buttermilk and flour mixture together with the fork. The dough will be sticky. Stir in the currants.
Shape the Loaf
- Sprinkle your cutting board with a little extra flour to shape the dough. Place the dough onto the floured space and sprinkle the top of the dough with a little extra flour as well, but don't use too much. Shape the dough into a flat, round loaf about ¾ of an inch thick and 7 inches across.
Bake the Bread
- Transfer the dough to the cake pan and pat lightly to reshape if needed. It will not come to the edges of the pan. Sprinkle the top with an extra teaspoon of sugar (optional). Bake 35-40 minutes or until golden brown. Remove bread from the oven, cool in the pan 10 minutes then move the loaf to cool on a wire rack. Slice or crosswise or cut into wedges and enjoy.
- For King Arthur's Measure for Measure GF flour, 2 cups = 9 ounces.
- For Bob's Red Mill 1:1 GF flour, 1 ¾ cups + 1 tablespoon = 9 ounces.
- To measure flour, spoon the flour into the measuring cup and smooth off top of the cup with the flat edge of a table knife or similar tool. Do not scoop the flour from the bag as you'll get more than you need.
- Dried fruit options: Currants are widely available but you can substitute dried cranberries, chopped pitted dates, chopped dried cherries or dried blueberries.
- If you are egg sensitive, this can be made with no egg or an egg replacement.
There is no egg in the ingredients list, but is in the mixing instructions.
Sally Cameron says
Thanks for being an extra set of eyes Betty, the egg was a new addition, and I put it everywhere except on the recipe card. I’m adding it right now. Thanks again.
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!
Sally Cameron says
Yay! Thanks for reporting back. And great tip on the no dairy solution!
Good morning Sally,
I am using Schar gluten free flour.
It doesn't contain Xanthan Gum, do I have to put some in it???
Sally Cameron says
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.
Thanks for the GF baking! Where are the vegan subs you mention? Btw, Cup4cup contains milk...
Sally Cameron says
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
Beautiful photos! What a great idea! Thank you for your support and love for our product!
Thanks Lena. I made cornbread with it this morning! Came out great!
Hello! Your bread looks beautiful. Just a question: how much buttermilk you put in the bread? Thank you.
One cup! Realized I left it off of the ingredients list! It's fixed now. Thanks!
K&B N. says
This looks absolutely delicious !
Stephanie, The Recipe Renovator says
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!