Vegan Irish Soda Bread
3.94 from 16 votes

Vegan Irish soda bread is a simple, dairy-free version of the classic quick bread! It calls for straightforward pantry ingredients and is so easy to make—no kneading or yeast required.

Four rustic slices of a dense, vegan Irish soda bread are placed on a white surface.

I may be having a hard time with cooking, but I’m not having a hard time with soda bread!

Of course I’m not. Soda bread is famously simple and low-stress. There’s no extensive kneading required, no yeast or rising times, no starter to keep alive. Just flour, baking soda, salt, butter, and vegan “buttermilk.” Plus some raisins or currants for a little sweetness.

Soda bread is also easy to shape. There are more and less comples ways to do this. I usually turn mine into a rustic mound, cut a rough “X” shape in the top, and call it a day.

Once the soda bread has baked, it’s got a soft, dense interior, a crispy brown crust, and a buttery, mildy sweet flavor. It makes a nice, light breakfast for St. Patrick’s Day (especially with some extra vegan buttah) or a lovely teatime snack.

A round, rustic quick bread has been studded with currants and laid out on a sheet of white parchment paper.

What is soda bread, exactly?

Soda bread is a type of quick bread that uses baking soda for leavening. Because it uses chemical leavening (rather than the biological leavening in yeasted breads), it’s fast and convenient to make.

Soda bread can be cooked on a griddle, like a flatbread, or shaped into a loaf. There are soda bread recipes that call for all different types of flour, different liquids (yogurt, buttermilk, etc.) and different mix-ins.

This is a vegan version of Irish soda bread. It’s a nod to St. Patrick’s Day this week, and Irish soda bread is the soda bread I’m most familiar with. (There are Scotch, Serbian, and Australian versions, too.)

The ingredients for this and most Irish soda bread recipes are simple. Dried fruit (raisins or currants), which I like to add to mine, isn’t necessary. But it does give the bread extra sweetness and texture.

How to make vegan Irish soda bread

Preparing this vegan Irish soda bread is a lot like making biscuits or scones. You cut vegan butter into flour, baking soda, and salt. You moisten everything with vegan “buttermilk”—just a combination of milk and vinegar.

Wet and dry ingredients form a sticky, shaggy dough. You don’t really have to knead it so much as fold it together a few times with your hands until it holds together well.

At that point, you shape the soda bread into a rustic, round loaf. Asymmetrical and a little messy is OK—in fact, that’s how soda bread usually looks! And you bake the loaf until it’s a beautiful, deep golden brown.

Soda bread ingredients

I nearly always have everything I need for vegan Irish soda bread in my fridge and pantry already.


Unbleached, all-purpose flour is my go-to for this soda bread recipe. I’ve also tried it with whole wheat pastry flour, after reading that some soda bread recipes call for lower-gluten flour.

Personally, I think that all purpose flour gives the bread a perfect crumb: buttery and moist. You can certainly try substituting part of the flour for wheat flour, but keep in mind that the bread may become a little more dense or dry.

Cane sugar

The recipe calls for only four tablespoons of sugar. The soda bread is meant to be only mildly sweet. Coconut sugar is my go-to substitute for cane sugar, though it tends to darken the color of baked goods!

Baking soda

Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, is what helps this bread to expand. It doesn’t quite “rise” like a yeasted bread, but it does puff up nicely, thanks to the chemical leavening.


The soda bread should be mildly sweet, but you should taste the salt, too. I use Kosher salt.

Vegan butter

You can use whichever vegan butter you prefer for the recipe. I find that a stick form makes cutting the butter easiest. If you don’t have vegan butter at home, you can try using cold/solid coconut oil in its place.

Vegan buttermilk

It’s so easy to make a vegan “buttermilk” at home! The hack is to mix freshly squeezed lemon juice or apple cider vinegar and non-dairy milk together, then let them sit for a few minutes. At that point, the “buttermilk” can be added to a recipe.

I use 1 1/2 cups non-dairy milk and a tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice for the vegan Irish soda bread.

Raisins or currants

Optional but very delightful. You can also omit the dried fruit altogether if you want a plain soda bread.

A small slice of vegan Irish soda bread has been topped with butter and served on a fluted white plate.

Serving vegan Irish soda bread

Irish soda bread is lovely on its own. If you eat it warm, fresh out of the oven, there’s really no need for a topping or spread. It’s buttery and perfect on its own.

When I eat the leftovers, I usually add some extra vegan butter or a little jam.

Because the soda bread isn’t overly sweet, you can definitely enjoy a slice or two with a savory soup. I really like to eat it with my potato leek soup in the wintertime.

How long will leftovers keep?

Irish soda bread will keep very nicely for up to four days. If you plan to store it longer, you can freeze the bread for up to four weeks.

I keep my soda bread at room temperature, and I prefer to wrap it or put it in an airtight container. You lose a little bit of crispiness in the crust, but keeping the bread sealed like this help the leftovers to remain moist.

A close up photo of a slice of quickbread, which has been topped with a schmear of butter. It rests on a fluted white ceramic plate.
Four rustic slices of a dense, vegan Irish soda bread are placed on a white surface.
3.94 from 16 votes

Vegan Irish Soda Bread

Author – Gena Hamshaw
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Yields: 8 servings


  • 1 1/2 cups vegan buttermilk (1 1/2 cups non-dairy milk mixed with 1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, left to sit for at least 5 minutes before using)
  • 4 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour (480 g)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup cane sugar (48 g)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 5 tablespoons vegan butter, cold and cut into cubes (70 g)
  • 1 cup raisins or currants


  • Preheat the oven to 375F. Prepare the vegan buttermilk.
  • In a large mixing bowl, mix the flour, salt, baking soda, and sugar.
  • Use a pastry cutter or your fingers to mix the butter into the flour mixture—just as you would when making pie crust or biscuits. Stop when the butter is in pea-sized pieces.
  • Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the buttermilk. Use your hands or a spatula to make a sticky dough. You can shape and fold a few times, but no need for kneading—you don't want to overwork this dough. Fold in the currants or raisins if using.
  • Transfer the dough to a floured surface. With floured hands, gently form it into a circle, about 8 inches in diameter. Transfer to a piece of parchment. Score the top in an X shape.
  • Transfer the parchment and dough to a baking sheet or cast iron skillet. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or the bread is a deep golden brown. Enjoy!
A few slices of vegan Irish soda bread, lined up on a white sheet of parchment paper.

Irish soda bread was the first recipe I shared on Instagram during the quarantine experience last March. St. Patrick’s Day, a year ago now, was right at the start of lockdown.

I remember being glad that I had something to share that was easy, comforting, and which probably wouldn’t send people running out unnecessarily to the grocery store.

One year later, grocery trips are a lot less scary. The fear and uncertainty and sudden isolation has lessened. But my need for comforting, easy food is nearly as strong today as it was a year ago.

So soda bread it is, once again. I hope this recipe puts you in the mood to bake. And I hope that breaking apart fresh, warm pieces of this simple bread will make you as happy and comforted as it makes me.


This post may contain affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something I may earn a commission. Visit my privacy policy to learn more.

Categories: Recipes, Quickbreads
Method: Oven
Dietary Preferences: Tree Nut Free, Vegan
Recipe Features: Holidays

Leave a Comment

Star ratings help other readers to find my recipes online. If you loved this recipe, would you please consider giving it a star rating with your comment?

Thank you for your feedback. I'm grateful for your presence in this space!


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

Recipe Rating

  1. 2 stars
    Followed the directions to the letter and noticed after putting bread in the oven that the recipe also calls for apple cider vinegar? Didn’t see the vinegar mentioned anywhere in the instructions, just the recipe. Hope the bread turns out alright without the vinegar.

    • I apologize, Sky. I updated the recipe to include vegan buttermilk, which already has acid in it, but I forgot to delete the original apple cider vinegar. If you used the buttermilk, that’s perfect—no need for the vinegar. I hope that you enjoy the bread.

  2. 5 stars
    As soon as I made this bread once I knew I’d make it again and again. It’s the perfect bread for my family: easy to make, simple in ingredients, feels like a treat but not overly sugary (so perfect to have semi regularly). But then, Gena’s recipes have always been family favorites. Thanks for this one.

  3. 5 stars
    Hi Gena,
    So cool. Just baked one myself and it looks like a giant scone. What’s the best way to store this? Let sit out or freeze if not eaten all right away? Can’t wait to taste it!

    • Hi Linda! Giant scone, yay 🙂

      There are instructions for storing in the post—I recommend room temperature for up to 3 or 4 days, in a sealed container. If you’re planning to save slices for longer than that, I’d freeze what you’d like to save now.

  4. Haven’t tried it yet but thank you for the recipe. The print recipe is still missing the baking soda.

    • I hope you enjoy! I’m seeing the baking soda in the print recipe now. If you still don’t see it, you can try to clear your cache and see if that fixes it 🙂

  5. I literally just logged into my computer to look for a soda bread recipe to make tomorrow! I am definitely going to give yours a try. However, I don’t see how much baking soda to use? I can’t wait to make it. Simple = good!!