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Gluten Free Irish Soda Bread: Super Easy Recipe!

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Gluten free Irish soda bread is a celiac-friendly rendition of the classic Irish favorite. It’s a soft, slightly sour bread with raisins and a bit of sweetness and has a delightful crust and soft interior. Perfect for St. Patrick’s Day or any other time!

WHAT IS GLUTEN FREE IRISH SODA BREAD?

Irish soda bread is a traditional, yeast-free, lightly sweet, quick bread famous in Ireland. You’ll love that it’s made from simple ingredients you probably already have on hand!

The combination of baking soda and buttermilk reacts to create bubbles of carbon dioxide and give the bread a distinctive rise without the need for yeast.

The result is a slightly sour, dense bread with a soft interior and a delightfully crusty exterior.

It’s often enjoyed plain, slathered with butter, or as a side to soups and stews. This particular recipe includes raisins for a slightly sweeter taste.

If you don’t like raisins, you can simply leave them out or swap for one of the other ingredients I have listed below.

This gluten-free version uses a unique method to ensure a great texture that isn’t dry or crumbly!

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Ingredients in gluten free Irish soda bread: gluten free flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, egg, buttermilk, melted butter, and raisins

INGREDIENTS IN GLUTEN FREE IRISH SODA BREAD

To make this recipe, I made a few tweaks to a traditional Irish soda bread recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction.

Sometimes, gluten-free baked goods can be a bit crumbly, so I borrowed a trick from my easy no-fail gluten free biscuits recipe and used all liquid ingredients instead of cutting cold butter into the flour (so, no need for a pastry cutter!)

The result is a beautifully soft bread that has a delightful crust. You’re going to love it!

buttermilk

Store-bought buttermilk is preferred, as it is just the right consistency.

If you’re in a pinch and need to make your own, measure 2 tablespoons vinegar (you can use white vinegar or apple cider vinegar) or lemon juice in a 2-cup liquid measuring cup, then fill to the 2 cup mark with milk. I do not recommend using skim milk as it won’t thicken as well. You can also use a dairy free milk if needed.

egg, beaten

Egg really helps the gluten-free bread hold its structure. If you’re egg-free, you can use an egg substitute such as Bob’s Red Mill egg replacer, or omit.

gluten-free flour blend

Whenever you’re baking gluten-free, the flour you use will determine your results. It’s important to use the flour that is recommended in whatever recipe you’re using as it really affects the texture and rise of your finished product.

I developed this recipe with Cup4Cup gluten-free flour, which is available in most grocery stores (Walmart, Target, etc.) as well as online.

Cup4Cup has a higher price point than something like Bob’s Red Mill 1:1, but I find the results to be much better. To save some money, watch for Target Circle deals or purchase a bulk bag on Amazon and split with friends!

granulated sugar

Provides a delicate sweetness to compliment the raisins.

baking soda

Baking soda is necessary in Irish soda bread, as it creates a chemical reaction with the buttermilk to give the bread its rise.

salt

butter, melted and cooled

I used salted butter. Feel free to use unsalted butter or even coconut oil for a dairy-free alternative.

raisins

Necessary for a traditional Irish soda bread! If you don’t like raisins, feel free to use golden raisins or another dried fruit such as chopped dried apricots or Craisins! You can even leave them out if you want.

caraway seeds (optional)

These are totally optional, but add a fun, traditional flavor.

Looking for more quick bread recipes? You’ll love my Browned Butter Gluten-Free Banana Bread and Gluten Free Orange Poppyseed Bread!

EQUIPMENT NEEDED TO MAKE IRISH SODA BREAD

This is an easy gluten-free recipe that doesn’t require much! Here’s what you’ll need:

9 inch cake pan

This cake pan from USA Pan is my fav! It’s sturdy and non-stick. If you don’t have one, you can use a small or large baking sheet. The bread might end up a little flatter because it won’t have sides to support it, but it’ll still taste great!

Whisk or Danish Dough Whisk

I love my Danish dough whisk because it works well for thicker doughs like this one that will get caught in a regular whisk.

If you don’t have a Danish whisk, that’s OK! Just use a regular whisk, then switch to a wooden spoon or a spatula when the dough gets too thick for the whisk.

Large Bowl

Any large bowl will do!

HOW TO MAKE GLUTEN-FREE IRISH SODA BREAD

Irish soda bread is super easy to make. It’s like a quick bread and doesn’t require yeast, kneading, or rising.

Step 1: Prep

Melt the butter and set it aside to cool

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Line the bottom of a 9-inch cake pan with parchment paper (or you can spray with cooking spray)

Step 2: Whisk Dry Ingredients

In a large bowl, whisk together gluten-free flour, granulated sugar, baking soda, and salt.

PRO TIP: When measuring flour, always use the stir, scoop, and level method. Stir the flour, then scoop into a measuring cup until it’s piled high and level off with the flat edge of a knife.

Step 3: Add Wet Ingredients

Pour buttermilk, whisked egg, and melted butter over the flour mixture and whisk/stir just until combined.

This should create a thick, but sticky dough (see picture below).

Humidity, elevation, and the type of gluten free flour mix you use can affect the consistency of the dough, so if it seems too wet you can add a tablespoon or flour; if it seems to dry, you can add a tablespoon or two of buttermilk.

Step 4: Fold in Raisins

Fold in raisins with a rubber spatula until evenly distributed.

Step 5: Shape Loaf

Turn the Irish soda bread dough out onto a lightly floured surface (with gluten-free flour, of course) and turn to coat.

Dust your hands with gluten-free flour and shape it into a circular loaf between 8 and 9 inches in diameter.

Carefully transfer to parchment-lined cake pan or baking sheet.

Using a sharp knife, cut two intersecting slits in the top of the loaf to make a cross. The slits should be about 1/4 inch deep and 3 inches long.

Step 6: Bake Irish Soda Bread

Bake the gluten-free Irish soda bread at 400 degrees F. about 50 minutes. The top should be a deep golden brown and the loaf should have an internal temperature of 190 degrees F.

PRO TIP: If the bread browns too early, you can tent with aluminum foil. I loosely placed a sheet of aluminum foil over the top of mine at around 40 minutes.

Step 7: Cool Completely

Allow the gluten-free Irish soda bread to cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then remove to a cooling rack. For best results, cool completely before slicing (this will take close to an hour)

PRO TIPS FOR GLUTEN-FREE SODA BREAD

  1. Use the flour recommended in the recipe card for best results.
  2. Don’t over-mix the dough
  3. Watch the bread and tent with foil the last 15-20 minutes of baking to prevent the top from burning.
  4. Allow time to cool the loaf completely before slicing.
  5. A serrated knife works best for slicing!
a hand slices a loaf of gluten free Irish soda bread speckled with raisins

HOW TO SERVE IRISH SODA BREAD

Traditional soda bread is often served with a shmear of butter, along a cup of tea or coffee.

I enjoy toasting slices of Irish soda bread in a skillet, then spreading one side with butter and sprinkling with cinnamon sugar.

Gluten Free Irish Soda Bread also tastes great alongside your favorite soup! Try serving it with my Panera 10 Vegetable Soup Recipe or my family’s favorite (super easy) Instant Pot Wisconsin Cauliflower Soup

HOW TO STORE IRISH SODA BREAD

Like most baked goods, gluten free Irish soda bread is best served immediately. Store leftovers wrapped in plastic wrap or in a Ziploc bag with all the air pressed out.

Store at room temp for 24 hours or pop in the freezer for longer.

To serve, warm in the microwave for a few seconds, or pop in the toaster! This bread also makes a fun variation of French toast.

CAN I MAKE THIS DAIRY FREE?

Yes! To make a gluten-free Irish soda bread that is also dairy-free, sub coconut oil or a dairy-free butter substitute.

Make your own buttermilk with dairy-free milk and vinegar. You might need to add a little more vinegar to achieve the thick texture of buttermilk.

Finally, you’ll need to use a different gluten free all purpose flour since Cup4Cup brand contains dairy. I recommend using King Arthur Measure for Measure. You could also try Bob’s Red Mill 1:1.

CAN I MAKE THIS EGG FREE?

Absolutely. Simply leave out the egg or use something like Bob’s Red Mill egg replacer. Keep an eye on the texture, adding a little more buttermilk if necessary to make a thick and sticky dough.

MORE GLUTEN-FREE ST. PATRICK’S DAY RECIPES YOU MIGHT LIKE:

Pistachio Salad

Gluten Free Pistachio Cake

MORE GLUTEN FREE BREAD RECIPES

Magic 4-Ingredient Gluten-Free Biscuits

Gluten Free Blueberry Biscuits

Gluten Free Cheesy Green Chile Biscuits

Gluten Free Baking Powder Biscuits

Gluten Free Crescent Rolls (Pillsbury Copycat!)

Soft and Fluffy Gluten-Free Dinner Rolls

Gluten Free Sandwich Bread

Gluten Free Cloverleaf Rolls

Family Favorite Gluten-Free Cinnamon Rolls

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Does Irish soda bread contain gluten?

Traditional soda bread does contain gluten because it is made with all purpose or whole wheat flour. This recipe, however, is a gluten-free version that tastes just as good!

Can I bake Irish soda bread in a loaf pan?

I do not recommend baking Irish soda bread in a loaf pan, because it will brown too much on the outside without getting done in the middle. This is a loaf that bakes best in a flatter circle.

Which gluten free flour is closest to all purpose flour?

For quick breads, Cup4Cup brand gluten free flour mix is the closest substitute for all purpose flour. It yields a tender crumb and very similar results!

Can you buy gluten-free soda bread?

gluten-free soda bread is very difficult to find in stores. It is much easier to make your own, and homemade will likely taste much better too!

Do people in Ireland eat Irish soda bread?

Yes! Irish soda bread became a popular option in the 19th century because of its simple, inexpensive ingredients.

My loaf didn’t rise, what did I do wrong?

Be sure you’re using a recommended flour, and that the dough is thick but still very sticky. If it seems too thick, try adding a couple tablespoons of buttermilk or milk.

Also be sure to not overmix!

Making this recipe? Please come back and leave a star rating! I love hearing from my readers and your reviews help more people find gluten-free recipes that actually taste good.
I would love to keep in touch! Find me on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook

GLUTEN FREE IRISH SODA BREAD RECIPE

loaf of gluten free Irish soda bread, sliced on a wooden cutting board.

Gluten Free Irish Soda Bread

Yield: 1 loaf
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Additional Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes

Gluten free Irish soda bread is a celiac-friendly rendition of the classic Irish favorite. It's a soft, slightly sour bread with raisins and a bit of sweetness and has a delightful crust and soft interior. Perfect for St. Patrick's Day or any other time!

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F and position the rack in the center of the oven.
  2. Trace the bottom of an 8 or 9 inch round cake pan (I love this one) on a piece of parchment paper and cut it out. Place the circle in the bottom of the round pan and set aside. You can also use a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, but the loaf might spread out more and not be quite as tall.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together gluten-free flour, granulated sugar, baking soda, and salt. (see notes)
  4. Pour buttermilk, whisked egg, and melted butter over the flour mixture and whisk/stir just until combined. This should create a thick and sticky dough.
  5. Fold in the raisins with a spatula. This will be a little tricky because the dough is so thick, so just do your best.
  6. Dust the counter with a couple tablespoons of gluten-free flour and turn the dough out onto it, turning it to coat the entire surface in flour.
  7. Dust your hands with a little flour and gently shape the dough into a large round loaf about 8 or 9 inches in diameter. Be careful to not work much extra flour into the dough.
  8. Transfer the round loaf into your prepared pan.
  9. Using a sharp knife, cut two intersecting slits in the top of the loaf to make a cross. The slits should be about 1/4 inch deep and 3 inches long.
  10. Bake the gluten-free Irish soda bread at 400 degrees F for about 50 minutes. The top should be a deep golden brown with an internal temperature of 190 degrees F.
  11. Check the loaf after 30-40 minutes, you will probably need to loosely place a piece of foil over the top to prevent it from burning.
  12. Allow the gluten-free Irish soda bread to cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then remove to a cooling rack. For best results, cool completely before slicing (this will take close to an hour)
  13. Slice and serve with a shmear of butter and a cup of coffee, tea, or hot cocoa. It's also great alongside your favorite soup!
  14. Store leftover Irish soda bread in a plastic bag for up to 24 hours, pressing to release any extra air as you close it. You can also wrap the leftovers in foil.
  15. Pop any extra slices in the freezer to store for longer.
  16. If the bread is a little dry or crumbly, pop it in the microwave for 10 seconds or toast it.

Notes

PRO TIPS:

  • When measuring flour, always use the stir, scoop, and level method. Stir the flour, then scoop into a measuring cup until it's piled high and level off with the flat edge of a knife.
  • Use the flour recommended in the recipe card for best results (I used Cup4Cup, linked below)
  • Don't over-mix the dough
  • Watch the bread and tent with foil the last 15-20 minutes of baking to prevent the top from burning.
  • Allow time to cool the loaf completely before slicing.
  • A serrated knife works best for slicing!

TO MAKE DAIRY FREE: Use a dairy free milk to make your own buttermilk. Here is a simple tutorial if you're not sure how to do it. Substitute Kiing Arthur Measure for Measure flour since Cup4Cup brand is not dairy free. The bread may not brown as much on top, so use an internal temperature to check for doneness.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 14 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 108Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 26mgSodium: 371mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 0gSugar: 12gProtein: 2g

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