Caraway Soda Bread

Irish soda bread with flour, baking soda, buttermilk, and caraway seeds. This quick bread recipe is so easy to make you don't even need a mixer.

Caraway Soda Bread on a green plate

Simply Recipes / Elise Bauer

One of the things I love about making soda bread is that it is just so darn easy.

With yeast breads you have to proof the yeast, knead the dough, let the dough rise, etc.

But with soda breads? There's no proofing, kneading, or waiting.

In fact, because the leavening comes from mixing the base of the baking soda with the acid in the buttermilk (remember those fascinating-at-the-time childhood experiments of sprinkling vinegar onto baking soda?), you pretty much pop it in the oven as soon as you put the dough together.

How to Make a Tender Soda Bread

The trick is to use a light hand, just work the dough barely enough to bring it together. It looks like a sheep-doggy shaggy mess, but it bakes up beautifully—lightly browned and crusty on the outside, while soft and tender on the inside.

As for the caraway seeds in this soda bread, these are included on the light side, giving a not-so-over powering caraway kick to the bread.

Buttermilk Substitutes

Since this recipe only has a few ingredients, it's best to use real buttermilk. If you don't have any available, there are good substitutes available. For this recipe, we recommend a mixture of yogurt, milk, and vinegar (see the recipe note below).

More Irish Bread Recipes

From the Editors Of Simply Recipes

Caraway Soda Bread

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Servings 12 servings
Yield 1 loaf

If necessary, you can substitute buttermilk with a half cup of plain yogurt mixed in with a cup of plain milk and a tablespoon of white vinegar.


  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (1 pound)

  • 1 tablespoon sugar

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 2 teaspoons caraway seeds

  • 4 tablespoons butter (1/2 stick), room temperature

  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk


  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F.

    In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and caraway seeds.

  2. Whisk together the dry ingredients:

    In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and caraway seeds.

  3. Add the butter:

    Using your fingers (or a fork) work the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles a coarse meal.

    Elise Bauer
  4. Add the buttermilk:

    Make a well in the center of the flour. Pour the buttermilk into the center and using either your hands or a wooden spoon, fold the flour over the buttermilk and gently mix until just combined.

    Elise Bauer

    The dough should be neither too wet or too dry, so if it is a little too dry to work with, add a little more buttermilk. If too wet, add a little more flour. Roughly shape into a ball and place on a floured surface. Knead just a few times to shape it into a round loaf. Do not over-knead or the bread will be tough.

    Elise Bauer
  5. Score the dough:

    Place dough loaf onto a lightly greased baking sheet (or cast iron pan). Make 1 1/2-inch deep cuts, forming a cross, from side to side on the loaf. The scoring helps the heat get to the center of the loaf while cooking.

    Elise Bauer
  6. Bake:

    Place in oven, cook for 15 minutes at 450°F, then lower the heat to 400°F and cook for 25 more minutes. One way to test for doneness is to take it out of the oven, turn it over and knock on the bottom. If it sounds hollow, it's done. You can also use a skewer inserted into the center.

  7. Cool:

    Let bread sit on the baking sheet for 5 to 10 minutes to cool. Then remove it to a rack to cool a little bit longer. I think the bread is best when it is still warm and just baked. Quick breads like this, which rely on baking soda for leavening, are generally best eaten soon after they're baked.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
184 Calories
5g Fat
31g Carbs
5g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12
Amount per serving
Calories 184
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 5g 6%
Saturated Fat 3g 13%
Cholesterol 11mg 4%
Sodium 371mg 16%
Total Carbohydrate 31g 11%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 5g
Vitamin C 0mg 2%
Calcium 45mg 3%
Iron 2mg 10%
Potassium 91mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.