My skin is milky white, my cheeks are rosy red, my freckles increase in number daily and my hair curls just thinking about moisture.  I may only be a quarter Irish, but this fraction of my heritage is one I relate to more than others thanks to my appearance (And now thanks to a new last name from my half Irish husband).  Needless to say, in our family we avoid the sun like the plague, eat lots of potatoes, and can say in all honesty "Kiss me I'm Irish" on St. Patrick's Day. 

    One of the things I love about my family tree is that on a few branches I am able to trace my heritage back several generations, sometimes more.  My Great-Grandfather came to America from Ireland in 1925 on the SS Baltic when he was only 19 years old.  He made a new life for himself, found my Great-Grandmother and raised their family in Edgewater, NJ.  He helped to build roads along the cliffs of The Palisades during the depression, and eventually settled into a job as a postman.  Ironically enough, I hear from many family members that he was known for making everyone's favorite soda bread.    

    My recipe for Irish Soda Bread is actually not a descendant of his recipe, because what we currently know as "Irish Soda Bread" is actually not very traditional.  I normally call this bread a St. Patrick's Day Soda Bread because it has been more modernized with the use of eggs, butter and raisins (real traditional Irish Soda Bread is only made with flour, baking soda, salt, and soured milk).  The recipe below has also been modified to be Gluten-Free in keeping with our new lifestyle.  But, if any of my family is reading, fear not, my regular soda bread will most definitely be served alongside our corned beef and cabbage this weekend!  Happy St. Patrick's Day to all my fellow Irish-American's and to all the rest of you that get to be Irish for one day a year.   

St. Patrick's Day Soda Bread (Gluten-Free)

makes 1 small loaf

1 cup of raisins
2 cups Gluten-Free Soda Bread Flour Blend (Recipe below)

2 Tablespoons Sugar
1 teaspoon Xanthan Gum
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon cream of tarter
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided (I use Irish Kerrygold butter)
1 egg
1/2 cup buttermilk

Preheat your oven to 375° F
.  In a small saucepan place 1 cup of raisins and about 2 cups of water (enough to cover the raisins) and simmer for 5 minutes or until soft and plump.  Remove from the heat, drain the water and set aside.  In a large bowl whisk together the GF flour blend, sugar, xanthan gum, salt, baking soda, and cream of tartar.  Using your fingers cut 2 tablespoons of butter into the flour mixture until it forms small crumbs.  Add the egg, buttermilk and slightly cooled raisins to the flour mixture and stir everything together with a fork until you can work it with your hand.  Gather the dough together (working it as minimally as possible, it can be a little crumbly looking).  Place the round of dough on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Score the bread with an "X" (I read once that this was supposedly to release the devil).  Bake the bread for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown and firm.  Remove the bread from the oven and brush on 2 tablespoons of melted butter.  Allow to cool before slicing and spreading on lots of butter!

Gluten-Free Soda Bread Flour Blend

makes 3 cups

1 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup millet flour
1/2 cup sorghum flour
2/3 cup tapioca flour/starch
1/3 cup potato starch

Whisk all together.  Store extra in an airtight container.

Note:  Different flour blends are used for different types of baked goods when you are baking gluten-free.  This blend has worked great for me, and doesn't have any "beany" aftertaste that is found in some all purpose flour blends.  If you have a hard time finding the products listed above, try using your favorite brand of all purpose flour instead.


03/13/2013 9:59pm

I'm new to GF and was wondering - do I need to use Xanthan Gum if using GF all purpose flour?

03/14/2013 12:28am

Hi Claire, that's a great question! If you are going to use an all purpose flour check the ingredient list. Sometime a GF mix will include Xanthan Gum but sometimes they don't. If you have a mix that includes it then omit the 1 teaspoon that I list above.

Please let me know if you have any other questions. -Sandra

03/17/2013 4:19pm

Made this for breakfast this morning for St. Patrick's Day. Very tasty and so easy to make. Do you use this flour blend for any other recipes?

03/17/2013 5:45pm

Hi Marcy, I'm so glad you enjoyed it! You could use the same flour blend for other yeast free quick breads. You could also use it for pancakes, scones, or even cookies like oatmeal raisin.

This blend is not good for light or delicate recipes such as cakes, cupcakes or pastries.

Enjoy!!! -Sandra

mrs pennyapple
03/17/2013 4:55pm

This is THE BEST Irish Soda Bread bar none ... gluten free or otherwise! unbelievably delicious and AWESOME! I added 2TBSP of caraway seeds. Thanks for the recipe!

03/17/2013 5:49pm

Thanks so much!!!

Kennigan O'Carroll
03/17/2013 5:25pm

Happy St P-day, thanks from a 2nd generation full blooded Irishman.
Is it ok to wash the soda bread down with an Irish Coffee.

03/17/2013 5:56pm

As long as that coffee has some good Irish Whiskey in it!

Gurab amhlaidh duit

03/17/2013 11:26pm

I wanted to make this for St. P day and I checked all by ingredients and the only thing I was missing was Millet flour. I went to my local supermarket and they didn't have any, since I was crunched for time I thought well I'll google and see if there is anything I can use instead. I found four options, sorghum, quinoa, buckwheat and montina. I had sorghum and buckwheat but not enough sorghum so I used buckwheat. It gave the bread a totally non-soda bread color but it was delicious!!

Thanks so much for this recipe, I was sure that soda bread was going to be one of those things I'd never eat again.

03/17/2013 11:36pm

Hi Jodi, I'm so glad it worked out great for you! I bet the buckwheat added a nice flavor to the bread as well as the color.

I'm so glad that you were able to enjoy the soda bread. This is the main reason why I try so hard to modify the things that I love. I don't want to give up anything either. -Sandra

02/18/2015 10:33am

In East Indian cooking, sorghum is sometimes referred to as "white millet."

03/19/2013 1:59am

Awesome suggestion, I will try this for sure.

03/27/2013 12:57am

Hi Sandra,

Can another starch be used in this recipe instead of potato??



03/27/2013 1:41am

Hi Deborah, You can definitely substitute cornstarch in place of the potato starch. Thanks! -Sandra

05/25/2013 2:35am

I've been making g/f soda bread for a couple of years now. Love the flavor! My father used to ask his da (who came over from Ireland as a child), "How much butter do you put on it?" He would answer, "Enough to see teeth marks, son." So that's been our family tradition, as well. I'm going to make your version tomorrow and give my dad a call when I sit down to enjoy. Thanks!

05/25/2013 7:19pm

What a beautiful story Karen! Thank you so much for made me smile. I hope you enjoy the soda bread...and see plenty of teeth marks !

08/31/2013 11:48am

Could I use Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Flour in place of your flour recipe? The bread looks so pretty :)

08/31/2013 11:14pm

Hi Bethany, you could definitely use the Bob's Red Mill all purpose flour. The reason why I make my own is because I don't care for it. To me it has a very "beany" aftertaste. I think because they use garbanzo bean flour in their mix.

If that doesn't bother you then give it a try...but if not then you could also try looking for King Arther Flour...they make an GF all purpose blend that is very nice!!!

Happy Baking :)

06/15/2015 11:09pm

Can't wait to try this recipe, being a quarter Irish myself ;)
As far as the Bob's Red Mill, they now make an all purpose baking mix called 1 to 1 baking mix. Hands down, this is the best I have ever used! Every cake, cookie and bread turn out fantastic!!! Even Hubby and kid tested and approved!

Sophie B
10/24/2013 1:24am

Thanks this is delicious! i didn't have millet flour so used coconut flour instead and substituted almond milk for buttermilk and it turned out amazing!

02/26/2014 7:38pm

That is great to hear Sophie!

Tracy B
03/14/2014 1:39pm

I am also dairy free. Is using almond milk okay ?

03/14/2014 3:37pm

I'm not sure? That means you would also have to use a substitute for the butter...I really can't say how it would turn out with changing that much in a recipe.

Lynda Clemons
03/15/2014 3:25pm

is there an easy way to print your recipes without copying the entire article? This soda bread will be made today, but I wish I could just print it.

03/15/2014 3:30pm

Sorry Lynda, I don't have those fancy "print recipe" features that other bloggers have.

You could always just copy, cut and paste the recipe into a word document that way you don't have to worry about printing everything else.

03/16/2014 9:41pm

This is the most delicious Irish Soda Bread! It tastes like the Soda Bread we loved before having to go GF. My mom said it is the most delicious bread she has eaten in 10 years, since going GF. Our St Patricks Day feast wasn't quite the same without Irish Soda have changed all that! Thank you for restoring this tradition for us. Many blessings to you

03/16/2014 11:09pm

Thank you so much for letting me know, Jacqueline. I am so glad you and your Mom enjoyed the bread :) Happy St. Patrick's Day and blessings to you as well.

03/17/2014 11:01pm

Thank you so much for this delicious recipe!! We all enjoyed it very much and will definitely be making again soon.

03/20/2014 9:57pm

Thanks for taking the time to let me know Cynthia. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

03/18/2014 8:20am

So happy to find your site. It's 3/18/14 but, now I've a reason to make another loaf w/out concerns! Will report back when I get revised ingredients. Finally, new hope! Thx :)

03/20/2014 9:57pm

There is always time for soda bread ;) Hope you enjoy Sandy

03/19/2014 8:39pm

I made this for St. Patrick's Day this year, and it was SO good. Better than the non-GF soda bread I made last year. Even my partner (who is notoriously hard to please) raved about it. Thank you!

03/20/2014 9:56pm

That is great to hear Morgan! Happy belated St. Patrick's Day :)

Sandra (Wood) Alvarado
08/18/2014 3:59pm

My irish blessing to you: "May all your roofs be thoroughly thatched, and all inside be throroughly matched".....
while you are cooking up a storm!

09/01/2014 12:13pm

What a great saying! Love it :)

08/31/2014 7:45pm

I need dairy free. What would I use to sub for dairy?

09/01/2014 12:13pm

Hi Linda, I'm not sure if a dairy free version would work. I have never tried it. You would need to use something that is thick as buttermilk, I'm not sure something like almond milk would work well.

02/18/2015 10:40am

The protein in milk helps hold the bread together, and it also helps with browning. You can leave the milk out, but the bread will definitely be more crumbly, fragile, and pale. If I was dairy-free, I might try adding an additional egg white, in addition to the whole egg called for in the recipe, to replace the protein from the milk. You'd have to experiment with it though, as I've not tried it.

Pamela S
09/01/2014 9:56am

Hi Sandra, When I ran across this recipe the picture of it made me change courses (I was looking for a chocolate cake recipe) and it looked SO amazingly delicious. I am of Irish descent but don't have quite the history available to me as you do. I can't wait to try this recipe; just need to buy the millet flour. And it looks so easy to make. My brother will be so amazed when I add this bread to his traditional corned beef and cabbage next year. I'm one of those who follows the flour mixture recipes suggested. I do wonder though if using the extra sorghum flour instead of the millet might only change the flavor? Or would it affect the texture too. I don't like grainy or bean flavored breads either.

09/01/2014 12:19pm

Hi Pamela, So happy you stumbled upon my site. I really think you will enjoy this recipe as many people have. You could possibly try using only sorghum flour but it might possibly make the bread denser. The flour blend that I use for this recipe is only sightly adapted from a very reliable gluten-free baking source. It is one of my favorite blends. I would suggest waiting until you get the millet, but some people have commented above that they had success with substitutions. Happy Baking :) Please let us know if you like the bread!


I really think this is such a good blog, there are lots of interactions going on over the comments, I have been looking around the internet for something of valuable information.

Gwyn Eppard
03/13/2015 5:58pm

If I am having a family of 8 over - how man would your GF Soda bread feed?

03/16/2015 7:51pm

is there a carb count for this recipe either for loaf or slice?

03/20/2015 12:21pm

I have to say thank you for a fantastic recipe. I'm GF/DF and the running joke in the house is that my previous attempts at irish soda bread can be compared to curling stones. My family loved this year's because of your recipe. I did use Bob's Red Mill biscuit mix, Earth Balance "butter" and cashew milk mixed with vinegar for butter milk.
Again thank you!

04/01/2015 11:39am

OMG! This recipe is DEFINITELY a keeper! I made a loaf of my Mom's recipe (regular wheat flour) and 2 loaves of your GF recipe and they were wonderful! I have tried some other GF Soda Breads and did not like them. But this? Mmmmmmmmmmmmm!!! :)
I too used Earth Balance "butter" and also, mixed vinegar with Lactaid milk (to replace buttermilk). Oh, and I mixed 1/2 dried cranberries and 1/2 raisins. It worked out just fine and delicious!! I think the trick is in heating the raisins(and cranberries) in water before-hand. Thank you so very much!

Sharon Moran Firneno
04/20/2015 9:24pm

YUM!!! I make 58 loaves of my Grandmother's recipe for people during St Paddy's Day Month. Several requested a GF version and I decided to take the plunge and attempt GF this year. Got your recipe, which is similar to Gran's and baked 8 of them. Asked for feedback and everyone agreed they were as good as my regular ones. The last one I delivered was to my best friend, who is on raw diet, and she thought it was even better than the regular. I tried a piece,too, and had to admit that I liked it better than the regular version, as it's lighter. Will add this to my once a year repitoire and am indebted for the wonderful recipe! Do you have anymore GF baking recipes to share? (Think you could easily convert me!)Thank you & Ceade Mille Failte.

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