Cast iron soda bread

Quick and Easy Cast Iron Soda Bread

Who doesn’t love bread, right?

I know I do!

Every time my family makes homemade bread, it’s gone faster than you can say Jack Robinson. (Which I didn’t know was a real thing until now, but hey… thanks Internet!) This Irish soda bread is no different.

Why is it called “soda bread?”

Soda bread gets its name from the fact that you use baking soda instead of yeast. The fact that it’s not a yeast bread makes it easy to prepare. There’s no kneading, and you don’t have to wait for the dough to rise.

(Although I do recommend allowing the dough to rest for 30 minutes or so before you bake it. This allows the gluten to relax and soften up, and will result in a better loaf overall. Even though this isn’t a yeast bread, letting it rest before baking will make a difference.)

This bread is easy to make, and the hands-on time is only 5 to 10 minutes (hence the “Quick and Easy” part of the recipe.)

Between the rest time and the baking time (and the time to let it cool down before you slice into it), it does require a bit of planning.

It’s not something you can just throw together on a moment’s notice; though, if you plan ahead, you can easily have this soda bread ready for any occasion. (Even if it’s just to eat it yourself while you Netflix and Chill.)

How to make it

You will need the following equipment:

  • Mixing bowls
  • Measuring spoons and cups
  • Wooden spoon
  • 6 1/2-inch cast iron skillet
  • Kitchen towel
  • Wire cooling rack
  • Bread knife

And the following ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp butter

Mix the ingredients

Combine all the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl, and stir a couple of times to make sure the baking soda is well-dispersed throughout.

Melt the butter, measure the buttermilk, and beat the egg. Combine these three ingredients in a separate mixing bowl and stir a few times, then add the raisins and stir a few more times.

Make a well in the dry ingredients, pour in the wet ingredients and raisins, and stir until all the ingredients are combined and the dough just starts to pull away from the bowl.

(Be careful not to stir too much, or your baking soda won’t rise as effectively.)

Let it be, let it be

Like John Lennon says, once your dough is made up:

“Let it be…”

Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel and get on Facebook for 30 minutes. (Or, you know, go do something productive, lol…)

(You don’t have to let the dough rest; you can put it right in the oven as soon as you’re done mixing it, but if you can wait, it will be better…)

“Roll it up, roll it up, throw it in a pan!”

When the dough is done resting, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and if necessary, shape it roughly into a ball.

Lightly dust the top with flour, then place it in a 6 1/2-inch cast iron skillet and bake at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes, or until the top is a nice golden brown color.

(Before baking, cut a shallow “x” into the top of the dough. This will allow the bread to rise more as it bakes, and will help with even cooking.)

When it’s finished, you’ll want to remove the bread from your skillet to prevent the bottom crust from over-baking. Transfer it to a wire cooling rack and let it cool for 15 to 20 minutes before serving.

Why I prefer this recipe

Most recipes for soda bread assume you’re baking for a large group or an extended family. Many of the recipes I’ve come across online start with 4 or 5 cups of flour, which ends up making more bread than just a few people can possibly hope to eat.

So, for starters, my recipe is “small-household-friendly.”

Even if there’s only two of you, you can expect to make, and eat, most of this loaf before it goes bad.

But why do you melt the butter?!

Some traditional cooks will probably take issue with this, as old recipes tend to call for “cutting in” the butter with a pastry knife. I’ve made this bread with cut-in butter, and with melted butter, and for me, melting the butter saves time and yields the same results.

If you insist on tradition, you should cut the butter in – but I’ve never noticed any difference from using melted butter.

What about the raisins?

Two things about the raisins:

1. A lot of recipes online call for using currants (if they call for anything), or sometimes, chocolate chips. I use raisins because they’re readily available, and my family likes the way it tastes.

2. When I first made this bread, I would add the raisins to the dry ingredients before mixing the wet ingredients in. I now recommend adding them to the wet ingredients first.

When I used to add them to the dry ingredients, I discovered that little bits of dry flour would stick to the creases in the raisins. Raisins that wound up on the outer crust of the bread would still have dry flour on them when the bread was done baking.

Mixing the raisins in with the wet ingredients first eliminates this problem, so that’s why I recommend doing it that way.

Did I mention it’s delicious?

It’s true, this soda bread is delicious.

And the fact that it takes very little hands-on time, coupled with the fact that it’s homemade (and homemade is always better than store-bought), makes this bread an instant winner in my household.

Try it tonight!

And let me know how you like it.

Cast iron soda bread

Quick and Easy Cast Iron Soda Bread

A quick and easy Irish soda bread
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Rest 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Course Bread
Cuisine Irish
Servings 8


  • Cast iron skillet


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • 2 tbsp butter melted


  • Preheat oven to 400°F
  • In a mixing bowl, combine flour, baking soda, sugar, and salt.
  • In a separate bowl, combine buttermilk, egg, melted butter, and raisins. Stir wet ingredients to get all the raisins evenly coated with buttermilk.
  • Add wet ingredients into mixing bowl. Stir until ingredients are combined and the dough starts to pull away from the bottom of the bowl.
  • Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel and let the dough rest for 30 minutes.
  • Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, shape it into a ball and lightly dust the top with flour. Transer to a 6 1/2-inch cast iron skillet, cut a shallow "x" into the top, and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the crust is a light golden brown color.
  • Remove from oven, transfer to a cooling rack, and let rest about 20 minutes. (Alternatively, you can serve it piping hot, straight out of the oven! It will be delicious either way but if you don't let it rest you might burn your fingers – or your mouth.)


You can make this soda bread without raisins, or you can substitute just about any ingredient(s) of your choosing. A lot of recipes call for adding currants but my family loves the way it tastes with raisins, so that’s what we use.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating