Hearty, easy, and irresistible, this Irish Brown Bread Recipe does not need yeast and takes only minutes to mix up and get in the oven! Try a warm slice with a pat of cold butter!!!

One of my favorite gustatory memories from our trip to Ireland was the Irish Soda Bread served at every pub. Perfect for St. Patrick’s Day, but simple enough to make all year long!

Easy Irish Brown Bread loaf and slices on a white tray.

Why You Must Make

  • No yeast is needed so it’s quick and easy to make.
  • It tastes like the brown bread we ate all across Ireland.
  • It’s a yummy alternative to other quick bread recipes that are packed full of sugar.

Besides my jet-lagged driver taking a nap while behind the steering wheel as we were driving to our first destination while shifting with his non-dominant hand, on the wrong side of the road, our trip to Ireland was full of magical moments.

The pastel facades of the village storefronts, the peacocks roaming our countryside bed and breakfast, the brilliant greens of the hills, and the hearty, easy Irish brown bread I searched out on every pub menu are all crisp memories of our visit. Especially that Irish soda bread. Each establishment had its own recipe, but all were slightly sweet, dense, and wonderful.

Readers Are Saying:

From Pinterest: Really excellent recipe. Slices beautifully and keeps well. No beer required.

Easy Irish Brown Bread slice topped with butter on a square white plate.

Expert Tips

Upon our return from Ireland, I tried a few recipes, but none hit the spot until spotting this Bon Appetit version of Irish brown bread. It’s wonderful on St. Patrick’s Day and every other day of the year!!

  • If you’re worried about your bread releasing from the pan, you can also put a rectangle of (affiliate links) parchment in the bottom. Grease the top before adding the batter.
  • Let the bread cool 15 minutes before releasing it onto a wire rack to let it fully cool.
  • Baking soda does not expire as quickly as baking powder, but if you’re concerned mix a little with some vinegar. You should see some vigorous bubbling when your baking soda is fresh.
  • Do not use a mixer or over mix the ingredients  when making this Irish soda bread, or any other quick bread, as this will create tunnels and a tougher end result. Beating will activate the gluten.
  • PRO-Tip: If you don’t have any buttermilk on hand, you can easily make it at home. Add a tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar to a 1 cup liquid measuring cup. Then fill with milk to the one cup mark, wait a few minutes until it curdles, then measure out the amount needed for your recipe.
  • PRO-Tip: If you only have light brown sugar available, you can make dark brown sugar by mixing one cup of light brown sugar with 1 tablespoon of molasses. You will only need 2 tablespoons for this recipe so you can make a smaller batch with ⅓ cup of light brown sugar mixed with 1 teaspoon of molasses.
  • Sprinkle some oats on top of the dough if you want a little more pizzazz for your loaf!

Frequently Asked Questions

What Kind of Oats Do You Use?

This Irish brown bread uses old-fashioned oats which are heartier than quick oats.

How Do You Store Brown Soda Bread?

Keep your brown bread wrapped well at room temperature for 3-4 days. If wrapped airtight, it will freeze well for up to 3 months.

How Do You Know When Your Irish Brown Bread is Done?

You can either test your brown bread with a cake tester or a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf. If it comes out clean, the bread is done. You can also use an instant-read thermometer. The internal temperature should be 200-210°.

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Irish Brown Bread | A hearty, healthy quick bread recipe

Easy Irish Brown Bread

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Yield 12

Dense, delicious Irish Soda Bread made with whole wheat flour


  • 1 ¾ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 ¾ cups whole wheat flour
  • 3 tablespoons wheat bran
  • 3 tablespoons wheat germ
  • 2 tablespoons old-fashioned oats
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 cups buttermilk


  1. Preheat oven to 425º. Butter 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pan.
  2. Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix to combine. Add butter, and rub into dry mixture with fingers till it resembles cornmeal. Stir in buttermilk and mix to form a soft dough...being careful not to over-mix the batter.
  3. Place dough into loaf pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean, about 40 minutes.
  4. Remove bread from the pan and cool on a rack.


Adapted from Bon Appetit.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 slice

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 178Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 7mgSodium: 287mgCarbohydrates: 32gFiber: 3gSugar: 4gProtein: 6g


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