Sweet Irish soda bread

Plain or toasted it’s a perfect breakfast treat!

This delicious, dense breakfast bread also goes by the amusing name of Spotted Dog, thanks to the raisins. Traditional Irish soda breads typically were made with fewer ingredients, out of necessity, but I’ve refreshed an old recipe to suit modern palates. There are as many variations of soda bread as there are leprechaun stories, but this is the one my family likes. Whether you enjoy it fresh out of the oven or lightly toasted, be sure to spread each slice generously with butter and jam for an authentic Irish taste experience.


  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (250 mL) white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup (250 mL) buttermilk*
  • 2 cups (500 mL) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) cinnamon**
  • pinch salt
  • 1 cup (250 mL) raisins (sultanas or currants, or a blend)

*Buttermilk substitute: 1 scant cup milk blended with 1 tablespoon (15 mL) lemon juice or white vinegar.

**Cinnamon is not traditionally used in Irish soda bread, but it’s a very tasty addition here.


  • Preheat the oven to 350F (175C).
  • Line a 9 x 5 inch (23 x 13 cm) loaf pan with parchment paper; set aside.
  • Stir together the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, cinnamon (if using) and salt; set aside.
  • In a medium bowl (use a stand mixer if you have one), cream together the butter and sugar until smooth.
  • Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the buttermilk until the mixture is well blended.
  • Add the flour mixture to the buttermilk mixture and stir until just blended. Fold in raisins.
  • Spoon the batter into the prepared loaf pan.
  • Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the highest part of the loaf comes out clean.

Store the loaf, well wrapped, at room temperature for up to 3 days, or slice and freeze for up to 3 months.

This original recipe, created by Paula Roy, was first published at YMC.ca

Author: Paula Roy

Welcome to my kitchen! I love simple dishes prepared with passion and am always seeking to find new methods to make food as fun and flavourful as possible. If you enjoy this space be sure to check out my Rogers TV Ottawa cooking show, Paula Roy's Favourite Foods, available on local cable, streaming and a dedicated playlist on Rogers TV's YouTube channel.

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