Soda Bread Biscuits

Soda Bread Biscuits! Like mini Irish soda breads, these biscuits are made with flour, baking soda, sugar, butter, and buttermilk. Add-ins like raisins and caraway seeds optional.

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 12 minutes
  • Yield: Makes 12 biscuits


  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of sugar (depending on how sweet you want them)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons caraway seeds*
  • 1/2 to 1 cup of raisins*
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk**

*These add-ins are entirely optional. You could just do plain biscuits, or add in a teaspoon of orange zest, lemon zest, or a couple tablespoons of chopped candied ginger, or a teaspoon of minced rosemary. Have fun with it!

**You can substitute the 1 1/4 cups buttermilk with 1 cup 3 Tbsp of regular whole milk mixed with 1 Tbsp of white vinegar.


1 Preheat oven, prepare muffin pan: Preheat oven to 425°F. Butter a standard muffin pan.

2 Combine dry ingredients: In a large bowl, vigorously whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt.

3 Cut butter into flour, add mix-ins: Cut the butter into tablespoon sized pieces into the bowl of flour. Using your (clean) fingers, work the butter into the flour, schmooshing (technical term) the butter between your fingers and mixing with the flour until the mixture resembles a coarse meal.

If you are using raisins, caraway seeds, or any other add-ins, mix them into the mixture now.

4 Add buttermilk and form dough: Make a well in the center of the flour. Pour the buttermilk into the center of the well. Use a wooden spoon to gently mix the flour into the buttermilk until the flour is moistened with the buttermilk.

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Then use your hands to form the mixture into a loose, shaggy, slightly sticky ball of dough.

The dough should be a little sticky, if it's too dry, add a tablespoon more of buttermilk. If it's just too wet to handle, add a sprinkling more of flour. Do not over-mix!

And at this point work quickly. As soon as the acidic buttermilk interacts with the alkaline baking soda, bubbles will form and leavening will start.

5 Divide dough among wells of muffin tin: Break off 12-equal portions of the dough and place them in the wells of the muffin tin.

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6 Bake: Put in the oven and bake for 12-13 minutes at 425°F, until the tops are nicely browned. Remove from the oven and let cool for a couple minutes in the pan. Remove the biscuits from the muffin tin to a rack to cool for a few minutes more.

Serve with butter and jam.

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  • susan

    can I freeze the dough? and if so, should I defrost overnight or bake from frozen?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Susan, good question. It is a “quick bread” recipe in that the leaving starts happening as soon as you make the dough. So it isn’t a good one for making the dough ahead. Better to make the soda bread biscuits, let them cool, then put them in a freezer bag, press out the air and freeze. Just heat them up in the microwave or in a warm oven when you want to eat.

  • Bonnie Arnold

    Used Craisins instead of raisins and cut ingredients in half to make 4 large biscuits in a jumbo muffin pan. This worked out very well!


  • Heather Golway Garcia

    Great idea for muffins! They worked perfectly!


  • Andrea

    These are absolutely incredible!! I made them with a kids cooking class and they were a huge hit! We used 50/50 white whole wheat and all purpose flour


    • Elise Bauer

      Great Andrea, I’m so glad you liked them! Love the idea of using half whole wheat bread.

  • Laura

    Brilliant! Last-minute soda bread for St. Patrick’s Day dinner. Delicious.

  • Jackie

    Just baked these for a St. Patty’s Day dinner. Easy and DELISH! This recipe is a keeper!


  • Mary

    Mine took 18 mins brown.
    Also -way more than 12 (I used an ice cream scoop) so put the rest on a cookie sheet.


  • Robert

    Can I use a Jumbo Muffin pan rather than a conventional one ?

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Robert! Emma here, managing editor for Simply Recipes. Yes you can use a jumbo pan. Either double the amount of batter in each cup (baking time will probably be increased), or make them regular-sized and know that your breads might be a little flatter (like scones). Enjoy!

  • Liz S

    I make these for St. Patrick’s Day. I like the optional add-ins, and lemon with rosemary is probably my favorite. If we can’t finish them the same day (admittedly rare) I refrigerate them, cut them in half, toast lightly and spread with blackberry jam.


  • Anna Marie Spackman

    These are delicious! I’m allergic to dairy so I subbed coconut milk for the milk and added 1 T plus 1 t vinegar, to it for the buttermilk. I used 3 T unprocessed cane sugar for the sugar. Putting them in the muffin tins made them huge, so instead I dropped them onto a cookie sheet and got 18. They baked up in 10 minutes. You know it’s a good recipe when it holds up so well to substitutions and turns out divine every time. This is one for my recipe box for sure. Fabulous! Thank you!

  • Lori

    How long will these keep well? I would like to try making them for my daughter’s wedding dinner tomorrow nght.

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Lori, soda bread should typically be made right before serving.

  • Mary Anne

    I made these today on St. Patrick’s Day. They came out great! They taste just as good as my mothers’ Irish soda bread, except in miniature form. Thanks for a wonderful recipe! I will be baking up a batch for my co-workers tomorrow!

  • Tiny Bubble

    How long will these stay fresh? I want to bring them to a brunch event on St. Patrick day. Could I make them the night before? Thanks.

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Tiny, like any quick bread, these biscuits will be best freshly baked. I would make them the morning of.

  • Catherine

    They also look a lot like a UK rock cake. Do you have those in Ireland?

  • Arwen

    These were delicious! Soft and flaky and wonderful. I’m a bit of a junkie for the raisin/caraway combination, so even though I used the max recommended amounts, I found myself craving a bit more. I may increase to 3 tsp caraway and 1 1/4 c raisins next time. Otherwise just delicious!


  • Mrs. Baker

    We make these in my Home Ec Classes. Used a quarter recipe for an individual final exam. Works well with fat Free milk and margerine, too. These really taste best with the raisins. Cranraisns or dried fruit would be good for the raisin haters. Great for Christmas morning too.

  • jean wikinson

    Great recipe, real easy! I make it at least once a week, usually add garlic,cheese,or some spices to accompany whatever I whip up that night.

  • Jeepney

    how about soy milk instead of buttermilk?

    Buttermilk is acidic, which is what you need for the leavening in this bread. So, if you don’t use it, you will need to add some lemon juice or vinegar. ~Elise

  • dennytcp

    I am on my third batch now…I live and work in a community and my colleagues have dubbed these “Sabbath Scones” since I make them on our day off. So far I’ve tried them with Orange zest & ginger, lemon zest and candied ginger, and today, apples, candied ginger, cinnamon & nutmeg. It’s becoming a real adventure: What shall I put in this week? They are ALWAYS yummy! Btw, Last week (Lemon zest & ginger) I was a bit short on buttermilk and make up the difference with lemon juice; worked wonderfully, and raised them even more than the buttermilk alone. I also do not have a muffin tin, but I set muffin papers in a quiche pan and that works just fine!

  • Annie

    Thanks for another great recipe! These made for a cozy, delicious start to a cold, rainy day. And they were so quick and easy to make!

  • emilyrw

    I made this plain for the kids and they were super! Thanks, I will make them again (and again…).

  • Michelle

    I made these muffins last night along with the boiled corned beef and sauteed cabbage. Boy oh boy were they delicious and simple! I sprinkled sugar on top of the muffins before they were baked for a nice crunchy top. Thank you for the wonderful recipes!

  • Ashley

    These were absolutely delicious! Thank you. I didn’t know baking anything could be so easy.

  • Sarah

    To Margaret (and others): There’s no reason to wait for a group to eat all the scones in one day. Every time I make scones, no matter which recipe, I make them up ahead of time and freeze them individually on a cookie sheet. When frozen, I transfer them to a zip-top bag. I bake a couple frozen scones at 25° lower than the recommended temperature for 3-5 min longer. It’s great if you have houseguests–no prep time or mess!

  • Diana

    I just made these and they are absolutely FABULOUS! The trick from now on is going to be how to not make them every single day.

  • Patti

    Elise, these were a hit with my family for our St. Pat’s feast yesterday. I made them exactly as written using 1/2 cup sugar and a rounded 1/2 cup of raisins. Thanks for sharing a great recipe. They will be on the table again next year for sure.

  • Kathy

    These biscuits were awesome. I rolled them out and cut them w/ a biscuit cutter as I did not have a muffin pan. I sprinkled some coarse green sugar on top that was leftover from Christmas baking. I also toasted the caraway seeds first to bring out their flavor. I love some of the variations others have tried, especially the sharp cheddar. Thanks for this amazing recipe!!!

  • Psydad

    I just made a batch of these wonderful things… I went the savory route, left out the sugar and added a cup of shredded sharp cheddar cheese, Oh My!! The kids say this is delicious (my allergies are in full bloom, so I can’t smell or taste anything) Just wanted to let you know – the cheese option is a GO! ;)

    Awesome, thanks for letting us know! ~Elise


  • Shannon

    Hmmmm…. I just made these. I must like mine much sweeter. I added the 1/2 cup of sugar, but they barely seem sweet. Could it be too much salt? (I realized that I used salted butter.)

    I subbed in fennel seeds for the caraway and like that very much.

    I need to try again, see if I can adjust things.

  • Tara

    I am on my 2nd batch and am going to make two more with wheat flour instead of white. They turned out gorgeous-the neighbors are going to love me. Thank you

  • Amy

    This was delicious. Simple and so good. Finally, something my boring coworkers (they don’t normally have good taste for good food) actually ate (they ate all of them, by the way, and didn’t leave ANY for me). Now I know how to keep them quiet…soda bread biscuits.

  • Wei

    This recipe sounds awesome! But I don’t have a muffin tin. Yes, I know, I should have one but I am temporarily living in an apartment in New York and will be moving. Is it doable without the tin and just on a regular baking sheet?

    Sure, just do drop biscuits on a greased baking sheet. But make sure you use a baking sheet that can take the high heat. Maybe even put them in a cast iron pan. High heat tends to wrap my smaller cookie sheets. ~Elise

  • Audrey

    Hi Elise, I simply love your blog! I’ve tried out your baked corn beef recipe since last year, and it was delicious! Tonight, I made your soda bread recipe, my son & I loved the texture and taste, they came out really tasty and so easy to put together. I ran out of buttermilk so I grabbed whatever I had in the fridge – half n half + sour cream + 1/2 tsp of apple cider vinegar = wow! Thanks so much for all the delicious tried and tested recipes.

  • Marisa

    Anyone try a savory version? With some cheese and herbs?? Just may have to give it a go!

  • Judy

    Is it ok to make this with Splenda? I am diabetic. Btw love your recipes!

    Hi Judy, you can skip the sugar all together in this recipe if you want. As for cooking with sugar substitutes, I don’t do it so I wouldn’t know what to advise. But I’m guessing that if you regularly bake with Splenda that it would work in this recipe too. ~Elise

  • David

    Just made these yesterday with raisins, caraway seeds and buttermilk. They turned out great. Nice golden brown and I love the smell that the caraway imparts. Thanks Elise for another great recipe. Looking forward to mixing this one up. :)

  • ee

    Do these have to be made in a muffin tin? Can they just be dropped on a baking sheet instead?

    They can be dropped on a baking sheet too. ~Elise

  • Victor

    We always make our soda bread with currants rather than raisins. The smaller size and slightly different flavor might be ideal for these smaller-size soda breads!

  • zulekha

    Can I use olive oil instead of butter? My father wants me to make biscuits for him without butter.

    I wouldn’t, but you could try it, or search for another recipe online that uses oil instead of butter. ~Elise

  • Nicola Franey

    I would call these scones, serve with butter, strawberry jam and clotted cream with a cup of tea! Delicous!

  • V in Santa Rosa

    Thank you for the recipe. Do you think that cheese (and no sugar) would work in this recipe, or would it require significant modification?

    No idea. But if you try it, please let us know how it turns out for you. ~Elise

  • goodevans

    Aren’t these scones?

    Yep, that would be another name for them. But generally not if made in a muffin tin. ~Elise