Guinness Bread with Molasses

Please welcome Hank Shaw who shares his favorite Guinness bread recipe. ~Elise

This is just about the easiest sweet bread I know; it takes precious little thought to make, tastes wonderful with sweet butter or cinnamon sugar, and, as an added bonus, this bread keeps for several days. Why I have no idea. A few pointers on making this beer bread: The Guinness must be cold, the self-rising flour must be relatively fresh (like men, its rising power diminishes with age), and the loaf pan needs to be well-greased. If your self-rising flour is more than 6 months old, add a tablespoon of baking powder.

Can you sub in other beers and sweeteners? Sure. For a lighter beer bread, try using Harp and light brown sugar – it’ll still be Irish. I initially learned this recipe using Budweiser and white sugar, so your possibilities are endless. One caveat: Do not use hoppy beers such as a Pale Ale, as the bitterness will taste odd to you, unless, of course, you are into serious bitterness.

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Guinness Bread with Molasses Recipe

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 50 minutes

This is fantastic eaten fresh, and nearly as good the next day toasted with some more butter. Do not use stale beer for this recipe, you want the carbonation.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups self-rising flour*
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • A pinch of salt (roughly 1/8 teaspoon)
  • 12 ounces of Guinness extra stout
  • Butter for greasing the pan and painting the top, about 3 tablespoons

* If you don't have self-rising flour, you can substitute using a ratio of 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder, plus 1/8 teaspoon of salt, for every cup of self-rising flour. Have made both ways though and got better results from the self-rising flour.

Method

1 Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9x5-inch loaf pan well with butter.

2 Pour the flour, salt and sugar into a large bowl and whisk to combine.

3 Slowly pour the Guinness into the flour mixture. (The “pub cans” are larger than 12 ounces, but they have better carbonation, so I pour most of it out and leave a swig to drink. This has never failed me, but if you are a stickler, use a 12-ounce bottle of Guinness instead.) Start stirring the beer into the dry ingredients, and when you are about halfway done, add the molasses. Mix well, just to combine. Don’t work the heck out of the batter – because that’s what it’ll look like – but you don’t want lumps, either.

4 Pour into the loaf pan to no more than 2/3 full. Pop into the oven immediately and bake for 50 minutes. Since ovens can vary, check the bread after 40 minutes and see if a toothpick inserted into the deepest part of the loaf comes out clean. If it does, you’re done.

5 Let the loaf cool a bit, maybe 5 minutes, and then turn it out onto a rack. Paint it with lots of soft butter, which will melt as you go.

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51 Comments

  1. Garrett

    The amount I took home only lasted a few short hours, smothered in some fresh butter and a bit of yogurt. Very delicious. A winning recipe, Hank.

  2. Carol

    I live in an area where molasses is inaccessible. Any suggestions? (There is honey here, but no corn syrup.) I love baking bread and the combination you describe sounds awesome, but I need help please. Thanks.

    Huh. Never heard of a place without molasses…But yes, you could use treacle or honey or even all sugar. Mind you, you will not get the same flavor as you would with molasses, as it is a major component here, but if you sub in the blackest, darkest honey you can find it will be similar. ~Hank

  3. tessa

    This recipe sounds awesome, do you know if i could use another kind of flour? we don’t use white flour.

    You could use that “white wheat” I’ve seen in stores; it’s made from a different kind of whole wheat. You would still need to sub in the baking powder though, as to the best of my knowledge no one makes whole wheat self-rising flour. Your bread will also not rise as high, as whole wheat is heavier. All that said, you could give it a go; lets us know how it works! ~ Hank

  4. jeff

    Delicious!! And easy to make. Bravo

  5. marcia

    it is a incredible recipe but what can i use insead of guiny?

    As I wrote in the recipe, you can use any beer. Each beer will give you a different result, however. I would suggest using a full-flavored beer (maybe a porter?) AND you should avoid anything too hoppy (like an India Pale Ale) as it would make the bread very bitter. ~Hank

  6. Dawn

    Today is a snow day for us, so I made this bread as a little treat. It’s really yummy!
    Instead of buttering the loaf pan, I sprayed it with spray and it did fine. I made some honey cinnamon butter to go on top. Divine!

  7. April

    FYI – regarding molasses, my mum always told me to sub in dark brown sugar with corn syrup or I suppose some ratio of corn syrup, brown sugar, and honey to get enough deep flavors.

  8. Bren

    Mmm…sounds wonderful! I’ll try this with my hubby’s homebrew vanilla bourbon porter. I’ll bet it would be just perfect with any porter or stout, especially one that’s homemade!

    True that! ~Hank

  9. Petyu

    Whee, this sounds scrumptous… Quick question: we don’t really have self-raising flour in the country I live in. What would be the appropriate substitute amounts when using normal flour and baking powder?

    I provide a substitution in the recipe above. ~Hank

  10. Stephanie

    I made this last night and brought a loaf to work. I made the bread with Rogue Chocolate Stout b/c it was in my fridge. The bread was good and everyone at work loved it but I am not sure about the molasses. I might try it next time without and see where the bread goes from there. Thanks for the recipe.

  11. Elisa

    I plan on making the bread this weekend for a crowd…can this recipe be doubled? It sounds delicious and we can’t wait to try it!

    I’ve never doubled it, but I don’t see why not? Give it a go and let us know! ~Hank

  12. Suzanne

    What do you mean by paint it with butter? Should I put butter on the top of the loaf so the bread soaks it in or when I cut a slice put butter on the slice before eating it?

    Yes. Meaning do both. ~Hank

  13. Susan

    Would one of the non-alcoholic beers work in this recipe? Thanks :)

    Never tried it, but I see no reason why not. The beer is there for flavor — so use a full-flavored non-alcoholic beer — and for the carbonation. ~Hank

  14. Kinsey

    You mention that the self-rising flour must be fresh. I keep mine in the freezer, and I have no idea how old it is–should I add the baking powder, or does the freezer-storage suffice for freshness?

    Hmmm. Good question. My gut says give it a go without the extra baking powder. Let us know how it goes! ~Hank

  15. Pfmohr1

    Wow I just made this and my girlfriend and I absolutely love it!!! This recipe is most definitely a keeper. And if you’re worried about the molasses, so was I… but it doesn’t overwhelm the other tastes and fits perfectly in this recipe. So easy and delicious!

  16. Adam Luter

    Brown sugar is (today) made by taking white sugar and spraying it with molasses. So, if you can’t get molasses, use all brown sugar (darker the better).

    Besides flavour, the only thing you are changing by adjusting between white/brown sugar and molasses, is the water amount. However, in a sweet bread recipe, I don’t think you need be too careful — so have fun experimenting!

    Changing to corn syrup or even honey can have more severe effects, since the kind of sugar is changed — corn syrup is an invert sugar (*sulfured* molasses is too) and honey is not primarily sucrose (as molasses and sugar are.) But again, I think in a sweet bread, you won’t notice these effects as much as the effect on flavour.

  17. Jennifer

    This recipe is amazing! Thank you for sharing with us. I made a similar dish last week and added 2 Bourbon vanilla beans… It was awesome and really goes well with the Guiness. I picked the beans up from Beanilla Trading Company (www.beanilla.com)

    I am going to do the recipe again, but will add a bit more molasses and vanilla this time too.

    Thanks!

  18. Melinda

    I made this bread and it is delicious, although a bit sweet for my taste. I may try adding less sugar and see how that goes. I used Newcastle brown ale since the only guiness I drink is the “draft” guiness and I’m not sure how the CO2 cartridge would compare to regular fizzy carbanation like what’s in other beer. One thing to watch while retoasting this bread – due to the high sugar content I noticed that the bread carmalizes and toasts QUITE fast.

    I will make this recipie again. So simple.

    Good point on the retoasting. And yes, you can lower the sugar content; I sometimes halve the sugar and nothing bad happens. As for the Guinness, I really like the CO2 cans — WAY better flavor than the bottles. Newcastle was a good substitute. ~Hank

  19. Katie H

    I have an ooollld beer bread recipe from my gramma that is probably very similar to the original recipe that you adapted from, with white sugar and light beer.

    Anyway- my recipe calls for a few tablespoons to 1/4 cup of melted butter to be poured on top of the bread after it has been in the oven for about 40 minutes, and then cooked for about 10 more minutes or until done. Mmmm delicious!

    Although once I had a little extra melted butter and an 8″ loaf pan and I guess the butter overflowed a little and started a grease fire in the oven! I threw some flour on it and it went right out :)

  20. Valerie

    Just made the bread. One hour ago !! nearly finished it! Thank you Deliciouselicious.. Old woman in East Sussex England

  21. Adam Luter

    For those wanting a weight recipe try:

    400g AP Flour
    100g white sugar
    100g molasses
    1.5tsp b.powder
    .5tsp salt
    12oz bottle of dark non-hoppy beer
    4tbs butter (for topping)

    (cooking it right now, but the consistency looked good)

  22. Sarah

    EASY. 5 INGREDIENTS. DELICIOUS. What more can you say? Love this recipe. Thanks Hank!

  23. carrie

    Just made this bread. It’s delicious and very flavorful. The texture is a cross between a dense cake and bread… is that the way it’s supposed to be? Thanks for sharing :)

  24. Margaret

    I finally had the chance to make this last night.

    It is *amazing* I don’t know why I didn’t realize that you would actually be able to taste the Guinness. Still, though, my roommate who hates beer even loved this bread.

    I added a 2T of cocoa to the second batch (because I’m a sucker for Guinness with chocolate). I’ll probably add more next time.

  25. Lillianne

    I made this with Harp and it’s delicious. There’s just the faintest whisper of beer taste. So easy to make in a jiffy too.

  26. Chanel

    Well I made this bread last night in my 9 inch pan and it was the perfect size! and the bread was absolutely delicious! I had to force my self to stop eating it! I made cinnamon butter which I coated the whole top of the loaf with instead of regular butter, and then added more cinnamon butter to each slice, and it was to die for! Thanks for such an easy and delicious recipe!

  27. Liz

    I’m not a beer person (actually, don’t drink at all – only alcohol in the house is a bottle of really old white wine to cook risotto with), but I LOVE bread and I’m Irish, so I might have to give this one a shot. Thanks for broadening my repertoire.

  28. Lovin Food

    I made this bread for a St. Patty’s day party and everybody loved it. It was way too easy to make and I’m not a baker by any means. Thanks for posting this awesome recipe.

  29. Michael

    I finally got around to making this today. Great quick bread and it uses stuff I almost always have on hand. This will not be the last loaf.

  30. Wendy

    I belong to a small cooking club and we meet once a month to make a themed dinner party. Of course, this month we did St. Patrick’s Day. This bread was the hit of the party. We always vote on our favorite dish and this won 5 votes for best dish. And so very easy to make!!!

  31. PB

    I made this loaf this past weekend in the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day and loved it. Thank you for a great recipe!

  32. Jessica

    Thanks for posting this recipe! It was a very tasty bread to make at the last minute.

  33. Christa

    I made this bread to bring to my family’s annual corned beef and cabbage St. Patrick’s Day dinner with high hopes but unfortunately it wasn’t a hit. Maybe we would have liked it more with the cinnamon sugar or yogurt/cream cheese topping that others have suggested. I’m not much of a beer drinker myself (I know, it is supposed to taste like beer) but the finished flavor just wasn’t as great as I’d anticipated and I enjoyed drinking the leftover Guinness while baking more than eating the bread. Sorry to knock your recipe, just not my cup of tea. Thanks anyway.

  34. Jamie Morrow

    OMG — This was so good that we kept making loaf after loaf until my husband got mad because he didn’t have any Guinness left to drink. We decided to up the ante and soaked raisins in a shot of Jamesons then add them to the bread. It was awesome. A shot and a beer in a slice of bread — how divine.

  35. Marga

    I made this bread yesterday and something went wrong (it was too thick and chewy) although the flavor was delicious. I think it may have been the measures and maybe too the fact that I used honey instead of molasses; I’m from Spain and I’m not sure about the conversions and equivalences because I found American, British, Australian and even South African cups, ounces, teaspoons… Please, could you tell me all the ingredients using the metric system? I would really appreciate it as I’m very interested in making this bread as a present for an Irish friend who has lived in Spain for more than a decade but still misses his country.
    Thank you very much for the recipe and your help.

    Honey may have a different water content than molasses which would affect the recipe. If you are looking for metric conversions, there is a Google conversion tool on the left sidebar of the recipe page. ~Elise

  36. Barb

    I’ve made this twice and love the easy recipe. Any ideas for a dip to accompany?

  37. jjn

    I like using the guinness. I made mine with the bottle, and whole wheat bread. Very tasty.

  38. wendy wilkins

    Well I made it! I am so happy that I stummbled onto this site! Thank you for the bread I will be making for a long time to come. The great sell is that although I’m American, I have so many Jamaican friends who totally drink Guiness regularly, but some don’t do eggs, or any other dairy, THEY CAN EAT THIS! They are going to love this, I’m gonna make it especially for those who don’t do diary. All I have to say is Stout! Loves it!

    Wendy

  39. Hillary

    This is an incredible bread. We make it almost weekly in our house, and ALWAYS as a treat for guests.

  40. Aurora

    I just made this bread and followed the recipe to a T. I didn’t have self rising flour so I used the baking soda and salt substitute.

    My loaf didn’t rise almost at all and it turned out about 6 shades darker than the one featured in the picture. Also it was done in about 35 min. And yes the oven was at 350* F.

    Can anyone please tell me what might have gone wrong? Thank you.

    Hard to say, but best I can guess is that you might have had old baking soda, which goes bad in half a year or so. As for the extra brown, could be your choice of sugar, or that your oven is running hot. Sorry I can’t help you more. ~Hank

  41. MAC

    Could I do this in a muffin pan instead of a bread pan? I don’t have a bread pan and I am feeling a little adventurous…Should I lower the heat to keep them from drying out?

    Hmmm… Never done that, but I imagine it would work. Maybe drop the temperature by 25 degrees? If any readers out there have a suggestion, I am all ears. ~Hank

  42. Saiorse

    Have you ever added currents or raisins to this bread? Maybe some caraway too? I love molasses and I love Guiny ~ cannot wait to make this bread!

    Thinking of the flavors in this bread, currants (small raisins, really) would work well. Caraway would send it in a different direction, more savory. If you give it a go, let us know! ~ Hank

  43. Liza (Jersey Cook)

    I am so disappointed with myself. I was excited to make this bread because of all the positive reviews, but mine turned out like a brick. Not light and fluffy at all. Gummy and chewy. I made an effort not to overmix, but it’s quite possible I did anyway.

    I was also not into the flavor at all. I didn’t taste the Guinness. I’m going to say that I probably didn’t measure something correctly and that’s why everything went wrong. Maybe I’ll try again because these ingredients are delicious and they are supposed to play nice together!

  44. Tiff

    When it calls for molasses do you mean blackstrap or a lighter version?

    Either works. I like blackstrap. ~Hank

  45. Dana Weaver

    We loved this bread. It was easy to make and delicious. It makes a great gift as well!

  46. erin

    I appreciate the problem Europeans have in making such recipes. There is no molasses to buy in Europe, as is available in North America. People have no idea what molasses is… This also means that brown sugar here isn’t made with molasses, but is rather white sugar coloured with brown food dye. A big difference!!
    Luckily for me, whenever I go home to Canada, I bring some molasses back with me to Germany!

    Fantastic bread. Followed directions exactly and was very pleased :).

    Europeans should use treacle. It’s basically the same thing. Asians should just caramelize their white sugar, the way they do in Vietnam. ~Hank

  47. lindsey Case

    This was so delicious!

  48. Scott

    I’ve tried this recipe twice–four times if you count that both were double batches. I’ve used self-rising white flour.

    Both times, the ends of the loaf were great, but the center was doughy–as in undercooked to the point of not being edible.

    It tastes great, by the way. In the second batch, I reduced the molasses, and it was less overpowering. I like it both ways, but if you don’t like molasses, the second batch would be more palatable.

    I think next time, I’m going to try it as muffins. I’m also going to switch to whole wheat flour as an experiment, since I think it would probably work and I’m not supposed to eat refined white flours.

  49. Erica

    I made this recipe three times tonight! and followed the instructions. All of my ingredients were fresh and still it turned out gooey in the center. I threw out the first one and had the other two in the oven for well over an hour and a half! I’m not sure what happened..but it was definitely not as simple for me as it was for everyone else :(

  50. Kevin

    Does the butter need to be salted or unsalted? Guinness is the only beer I drink, so I am really looking forward to this bread. I used room-temperature beer the first time, next time I will use chilled.

    I always use unsalted butter. Thanks for pointing that out, though, as it will make a difference in the bread. ~Hank

  51. Martin Duce

    I worked in Ireland for many years and an elderly lady gave me an amzing Irish Bread recipe, which turned out time after time perfect, then I moved house and lost it!!

    Your recipe rings a lot of bells, especially the molasses, (vital ingredient) the only other thing I remebered was using strong high quailty brown flour, and fresh yeast as apposed to SR white flour.

    Thank you for the recipe, and for filling my little cottage with that incredible smell of fresh bread and molasses

    Martin Ilfracombe Devon UK

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