Guinness Bread with Molasses

St. Patrick's DayBakingMolassesQuick Bread

All of the rich malty goodness of Irish Guinness in a quick bread with molasses!

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

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.

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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.

Guinness Bread with Molasses Recipe

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: Makes one loaf

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.


  • 3 cups self-rising flour*
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsulfured 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.


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

2 Whisk together the flour, salt and sugar in a large bowl.

3 Slowly add Guinness to the flour, add molasses: 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 Bake: Pour into the loaf pan to no more than 2/3 full. Pop into the oven immediately and bake at 350°F for 50 minutes. Since ovens can vary, check the bread after 40 minutes and see if a tester inserted into the deepest part of the loaf comes out clean. If it does, you’re done.

5 Cool and paint with butter: 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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Guinness Bread Molasses

Hank Shaw

A former restaurant cook and journalist, Hank Shaw is the author of three wild game cookbooks as well as the James Beard Award-winning wild foods website Hunter Angler Gardener Cook. His latest cookbook is Buck, Buck, Moose, a guide to working with venison. He hunts, fishes, forages and cooks near Sacramento, CA.

More from Hank

65 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Judy

    My new quarantine recipe! Took longer in the oven – 1 1/2 hours. Used brown sugar, pub can of Guinness, molasses, and added raisins. Yes, we wanted sweet and get it. But it was hearty, easy to make and with ingredients in short supply this recipe was just what we needed!
    Thank y’all for all the recipe, all your tips and suggestions!

  2. Lyuba

    It was delicious and very simple. I actually substituted molasses with sugar measurements and added 2 tsp of cocoa and 2 tsp of instant coffee for color and it turned out amazing.


  3. Ajarin

    I have made the bread twice with Murphy’s. It is the most moist and easier beer bread!
    I omitted sugar, added only a bit of molasses. Oh, also I used all 14.9oz, came out perfectly!
    I highly recommend the bread!


  4. Lindsay

    This is a great recipe! It has a fantastic flavor. I used 1/3 whole wheat and used the suggestions for using all purpose flour and adding the baking powder and salt separately. Worked like a charm! Also I had to use Guinness Draught Stout because everyone was sold out of most of the Guinness. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!


  5. Stephen

    I love this bread – I use the draught pub cans (with a sip for me of course). If I wanted to make mini-loaves how many can I get out of this recipe? How many ounces of batter in each mini? How long would I have to bake them?

    Thanks – these will make great Christmas gifts!



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