Gluten-Free Irish Soda Bread

Enjoy a warm slice of delicious gluten-free Irish soda bread! This classic St. Patrick's Day treat is surprisingly easy to make and tastes just like the traditional version but without the gluten. Perfect for snacking or even as a side dish, this gluten-free bread is sure to be a hit at your next gathering. Serve it with a pat of melty Irish butter for an extra treat.
A loaf of gluten-free Irish soda bread in a cast iron skillet lined with parchment paper.
A loaf of gluten-free Irish soda bread in a cast iron skillet lined with parchment paper.

This gluten-free Irish soda bread recipe delivers all the classic taste and texture of traditional Irish soda bread without any of the gluten. Its subtle sweetness and delicate texture make it perfect for snacking or as a side dish at your next gathering. 

If you haven’t had Irish soda bread before, it’s a traditional Irish quick bread made with flour, baking soda, and buttermilk or sour milk. It’s tender and hearty, all at the same time. It’s leavened with baking soda (and baking powder in our case) instead of yeast, which is what leavens traditional breads. It has a subtle sweetness that pairs perfectly with butter or jam.

This recipe is a take on my grandma’s Irish soda bread with currants in it. While currants are not typical in Ireland, they are common in Irish-American households. My grandpa came to the US from Ireland in his early 20’s and if he says currants are okay in Irish soda bread, I’m going with it! 

You’ll love this recipe because:

  • There’s no yeast. If baking with yeast intimidates you, then this Irish soda bread might be the perfect recipe for you. Traditional breads are leavened with yeast, but soda bread is leavened with baking soda, making this an easy recipe for beginners. 
  • It’s the perfect way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. This traditional quick bread comes with centuries of history and folklore behind it, so you can be sure that your slice will be filled with flavor and tradition.
  • It’s gluten-free! Using a gluten-free flour blend, like Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 Gluten-Free Baking Flour, makes this recipe gluten-free. Just follow all of my tips to ensure that your gluten-free soda bread comes out perfectly!


An overhead view of small bowls of ingredients to make gluten-free Irish soda bread, including currants, gluten-free flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, butter, egg, buttermilk, and granulated sugar with text overlays over each ingredient.

Ingredient Notes

  • Gluten-free flour blend – I have tested this recipe with Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 Gluten-Free Baking Flour (in the blue bag). This blend is made of white rice flour, sorghum flour, potato starch, tapioca flour, and brown rice flour. Plus, it already contains xanthan gum so you don’t have to worry about adding it yourself! I have not tested other gluten-free flour blends in this recipe, so I cannot guarantee that they work. 
  • Granulated sugar  – I tested this recipe both with and without the sugar, and I think that the versions I made with just a bit of sugar had better texture. You won’t really taste the sugar too much as it’s only a few tablespoons. You could omit it if you would really like to, however. 
  • Baking powder – Traditionally, soda bread is just leavened with baking soda. However, during my tests I found that too much baking soda resulted in a bitter taste. Instead, I opted to include baking powder to give the soda bread plenty of lift and a superior texture, without the bitter aftertaste. 
  • Baking soda – It can’t be soda bread without the baking soda! Combining baking soda with an acidic ingredient, like the buttermilk in this recipe, will give the baking soda plenty of rise. 
  • Unsalted butter – Just a few cubes of cold unsalted butter makes the soda bread really tender and adds in some much welcomed flavor to the bread. 
  • Egg – While traditional soda bread only contains four ingredients – flour, baking soda, salt, and buttermilk – additions like butter and egg definitely improved the texture. My first test was the most basic, traditional method with 4 ingredients and it was amazing to see the stark difference between the loaf with an added egg. The loaf with egg was lighter, with a better crumb. The loaf without egg was dense and gummy along the bottom of the bread. For gluten-free recipes especially, the extra egg is essential and not to be skipped. 
  • Buttermilk – While you could use a buttermilk substitute, such as milk or dairy-free milk combined with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a pinch, I highly recommend using buttermilk in this recipe. It’s thick, a little tangy, and gives soda bread its classic flavor. 
  • Currants – While not traditional, currants are typically added to American versions of Irish soda bread. You could use regular currants or golden currants. Some also prefer raisins instead. Other welcome additions are caraway seeds or fresh herbs. 

When it comes to making Irish soda bread, one of the most important things is to use cold ingredients – this helps ensure that the rising action of the quick bread has maximum effect. So make sure all your ingredients are cold (buttermilk in particular!), and you’ll be sure to get a light and fluffy result every time!

Step-by-Step instructions

Paragraph saying how easy this is to make, just follow the steps and scroll down to the recipe card for more information, tips and tricks and the printable recipe.

For the ingredient list with measurements, full instructions, printable recipe, and additional notes, please scroll down to the recipe card.

A glass mixing bowl with a gluten-free flour mixture in it.
Add the gluten-free flour blend, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt to a large bowl. Whisk until combined.
A pastry cutter that is cutting cold butter into a gluten-free flour mixture.
Add the cold cubed butter to the mixture and use a pastry cutter to cut the butter into the flour until it’s about the size of peas.
A glass mixing bowl with a gluten-free flour blend mixture topped with currants.
Add the currants or golden raisins to the mixture and mix until combined.
A glass measuring cup with a buttermilk and egg mixture in it.
In a measuring cup or bowl, combine 1 1/4 cups of the buttermilk and an egg. Whisk until smooth.
A glass mixing bowl with gluten-free flour blend mix with a buttermilk mixture in the center.
Pour the buttermilk mixture into the dry ingredients. Mix until combined. If the dough is too dry, add a tablespoon of additional buttermilk at a time until the dough comes together into a dough.
A glass mixing bowl with a disk of gluten-free Irish soda bread dough.
Form the dough into a 6-inch disk.
Gluten-free irish soda bread dough in a cast iron skillet lined with parchment paper that has a cross cut into the top.
Place the dough into a cast iron skillet lined with parchment paper. Brush the top with a tablespoon of buttermilk and cut a “cross” into the top of the loaf with a sharp knief.
A loaf of gluten-free Irish soda bread in a cast iron skillet lined with parchment paper.
Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the bread is cooked through. You can insert a toothpick or skewer into the center to check for doneness. You will also notice that the “cross” no longer looks wet or shiny when it’s done baking. Let cool completely before slicing and serving.

Recipe FAQs

What does the cross mean on Irish soda bread?

You may see some people say to score an “X” on top of your Irish soda bread, but it’s actually a cross! It’s said that the cross is made to “keep the devil out” and bless the Irish soda bread. Scientifically, it also allows the bread to bake evenly, so you don’t end up with a gummy center. Don’t forget to cross your bread! 

What types of gluten-free flours work best for making Irish soda bread?

You want to use a gluten-free flour blend that is meant to be substituted for all-purpose flour in a 1:1 ratio. Remember, this ratio is based on weight, not volume. I have tested this recipe with Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 Gluten-Free Baking Flour (in the blue bag) so I can only recommend that flour. If you use another gluten-free flour blend, I cannot guarantee that your recipe will turn out. 

Is it necessary to use xanthan gum when making gluten-free Irish soda bread?

Yes, xanthan gum provides elasticity, structure, and strength in gluten-free baking so it’s very necessary, especially in bread recipes. Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 Gluten-Free Baking Flour Blend already contains xanthan gum in it, so you will not need to add it to the recipe. 

Does the dough need to be kneaded when making gluten-free Irish soda bread?

No, gluten free Irish soda bread, like most gluten-free breads, don’t need to be kneaded at all. Since there is no gluten, there is no need to stretch and develop the gluten strands… because there are none. For this recipe, all you need to do is shape the dough into a scraggly disk. It does not (and should not) be super smooth. Overmixing the dough will make for a denser crumb, so the less handling of this dough, the better. 

How do I know when my Irish soda bread is done baking?

You can know that your Irish soda bread is done baking when the top and bottom of the loaf are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Additionally, the cross that you cut into the loaf should no longer look wet. You can also tap the bottom of the Irish soda bread – if it sounds hollow, it’s done! 

hints & tips

  • The most important tip for gluten-free Irish soda bread success is to Make sure all your ingredients are fresh – especially your baking soda and baking powder – since this helps with the leavening process and ensures a good rise in your finished loaf. Baking soda and baking powder can lose their activating powder after about 6 months. 
  • For the best results, it’s important to measure out all ingredients accurately. A small difference can have a big impact on the final product! It’s worth investing in a food scale – weighing dry ingredients like flour ensures that measurements are precise. I provide both Imperial and metric measurements in my recipe card, so everyone can find success with their baking!
  • I used a cast iron skillet for this recipe, but I’ve also tested baking it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. I liked the crust that formed on the bottom of the bread from the cast iron, but feel free to use either method. You can also bake it in an 8-inch round cake pan. I would still recommend you keep the bread in a 6-inch disk, but that will give the bread room to spread out as it bakes. 
  • While I added currants to this bread, I also tested by leaving them out which was equally as delicious. If you’re looking for more of a savory bread, leave out the currants and add a handful of fresh herbs, like dill, parsley, rosemary, or even some green onion. Some freshly ground black pepper would also be great with the herbs. 

Storage instructions

  • Storage: Irish soda bread is really best within the first 48 hours of baking. Wrap leftovers in an airtight container and leave at room temperature.
  • Freezer Option: I love to freeze leftover Irish soda bread. Slice the bread and place the slices on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Flash freeze for an hour. Once frozen solid, add to a freezer-safe container or bag and freeze for up to 3 months. You can place frozen slices directly in the toaster or leave them at room temperature for about an hour to defrost. 
A photo of two slices of gluten-free Irish soda bread with currants topped with a slather of Irish butter with a loaf of Irish soda bread in the background.

Did you make this recipe?

I’d love to know! Please rate it and leave a comment below. You can also share your pictures and tag @adashofmegnut on Instagram.

A loaf of gluten-free Irish soda bread in a cast iron skillet lined with parchment paper.

Gluten-Free Irish Soda Bread

Enjoy a warm slice of delicious gluten-free Irish soda bread! This classic St. Patrick's Day treat is surprisingly easy to make and tastes just like the traditional version but without the gluten. Perfect for snacking or even as a side dish, this gluten-free bread is sure to be a hit at your next gathering. Serve it with a pat of melty Irish butter for an extra treat.
4.67 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Bread
Cuisine: American, Irish
Diet: Gluten Free
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Cooling Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 196kcal
Author: Megan


  • 3 cups gluten-free flour blend (430g, I used Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 Gluten-Free Baking Flour)
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 tbsp butter (cold and cubed (57g))
  • 1 ¼ to 1 1/2 cups buttermilk (290-360g)
  • 1 large egg (50g)
  • 3/4 cup dried currants or golden raisins (113g)
  • 1 tablespoon buttermilk (for brushing on top)


  • Preheat the oven to 400F. Line a 8-10 inch cast iron skillet with parchment paper.
  • In a large mixing bowl, add the gluten-free flour blend, granulated sugar, kosher salt, baking powder and baking soda. Whisk until combined.
  • Add the cold butter to the dry ingredients and mix with a pastry cutter or two knives to cut it into the dry ingredients.
  • Stir in the currants until evenly distributed.
  • In a measuring cup add 1 ¼ cups of buttermilk and an egg to a bowl or measuring cup. Whisk until combined.
  • Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the buttermilk mixture.
  • Mix with a spatula until the dough comes together. If the dough is still too dry, add additional buttermilk by the tablespoon (up to an additional ¼ cup) to get the dough to combine together into a disk.
  • Form into a disk about 6-inches in diameter. Don’t worry if the disk is scraggly or not smooth.
  • Transfer the disk to the prepared cast iron pan or a baking sheet. Brush the disk with a tablespoon of buttermilk.
  • Use a knife to cut a deep cross or “X” into the top of the dough.
  • Bake at 400F for 30-40 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick or skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Let cool for about 10 minutes on the pan before removing to a wire rack to continue cooling.
  • Allow to finish cooling completely. Slice and serve warm with Irish butter.


  • The amount of buttermilk listed in the ingredients is 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups of buttermilk. Start with just 1 1/4 cups of buttermilk to begin with. If you need some more moisture to make your dough form together into a disk, add an additional tablespoon. Do not add more than 1/4 cup of buttermilk to the dough as it will end up really dense. Just add enough buttermilk so that the dough can form together. See the process shots and video to see what your dough should look like. 
  • If you have celiac disease or are on a gluten-free diet, always be sure to double check ingredients to ensure they are gluten-free and that manufacturing practices have not changed. 
  • This recipe was tested with Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 Gluten-Free Baking Flour. This blend already contains xanthan gum. I cannot verify that other brands of gluten-free flour blend will work in this recipe as I have not tested them. 
  • For best results, weigh your gluten-free flour. I’ve found that scooping flour into measuring cups can vary in the amount of flour drastically depending on the way you scoop it. Using a food scale is the most accurate way and will ensure your bread turns out great every time. 


Calories: 196kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 28mg | Sodium: 314mg | Potassium: 192mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 203IU | Vitamin C: 0.4mg | Calcium: 102mg | Iron: 1mg
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about megan

I’m Megan

A gluten-free food blogger from Chicago and lover of all things food, showing you gluten-free can be easy and delicious, too. Let’s make gluten-free stress free together! Read more…

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  1. Claireamberson says:

    i am too scared to make bread! this looks amazing though!

  2. This bread should work really well in Brown Bread Ice-Cream–the one I use has oats in it, too!

  3. Thanks for sharing this! I’ve been triyng bread for a while, but can never get it quite right so I give up and try a month or two later. I’ve decided part of my problem (not all of it…yesterday I forgot the salt!) is my pans so I want to find some nice bread pans. I like yours! So can I ask where you got them and how much they were? 🙂

    1. Hi Keona, for this recipe I actually didn’t use bread pans. I just put it in a baking sheet so that it would look more rustic. However, when I do use bread pans, I got one from my mom’s kitchen that’s very old and that’s my favorite. The other one I got from Marshall’s for under $10. I wish I knew where my mom got her bread pan that I like so much though! Bread tends to bake up better in that pan for some reason!

  4. Thanks for posting this recipe!! It’s an excellent bread I’ve been making since 1973 – when I found Myrtle Allen’s recipe in Beard On Bread. Beard’s version doesn’t have any white flour and more salt(too much salt really). I sometimes use honey instead of molasses if that’s what I have on hand.
    I’m glad more people will be able to try this recipe!

    1. Thanks Rajesh!

  5. 4 stars
    Just made this recipe with a few modifications. Because I have salted butter, I omitted a half teaspoon of salt in the recipe. I used Costco GF flour, and I baked it for 45 minutes, taking it out with a 190 degree internal temperature. Worked just fine.

  6. I need to omit the Buttermilk since I’m lactose intolerant! Any suggestions?

    1. Hi Linda, You can use unsweetened almond milk or cashew milk mixed with 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. Let that mixture sit for about 5 minutes before using. Hope this helps!

  7. 5 stars
    Thank you so much for this recipe! I made it last night and it was delicious!! It was super easy to make!

    1. Thanks, Marilyn! I’m so glad you enjoyed it and I appreciate you so much for coming back to review it!