With a touch of sweetness, this Sunflower Whole Wheat Bread was perfect smeared with butter. Hearty and healthier than most soda bread, it was delicious!

I spied this Soda Bread Recipe in an old North Dakota cookbook that belonged to my aunt. 

Sunflower Whole Wheat Bread on a white plate

Why You Must Make

  • Soda Bread Recipes are super easy to make! 
  • You won’t need yeast, just baking soda and/or baking powder to make it rise.
  • There are numerous varieties from banana bread to this sunflower seed bread.

We spent a week in Ireland when the kids were little. They loved exploring castles (Nick was enthralled with “murder holes”) and we all appreciated the kind and jovial residents. We had a little fender bender when trying to maneuver a rather narrow hotel entrance in Kilkenny, and when returning the car at the airport, Bill was reassured that it was “not a hangable offense.” Plus it cost nearly nothing to repair. Gotta love that.

Now, where was I going with this? Oh, yeah, back to soda bread. I must have eaten a different variety of Irish brown bread once, if not twice, a day. Plain or with Irish butter, I enjoyed every iteration of this classic Irish loaf. I’m always on the lookout for hearty, whole wheat soda bread like this yummy Sunflower Whole Wheat Bread. And when you finish this loaf, why not bake up this healthier whole wheat banana bread. Why not feel virtuous while you’re enjoying a slice of homemade bread??

Ingredient Notes

  • Kitchen Staples – All Purpose Flour, Brown Sugar, Baking Soda, Salt
  •  Whole Wheat Flour – If you don’t use this often, store the leftovers in an airtight container in the freezer.
  •  Quick Oats – Softer than old-fashioned oatmeal. They’re not usually interchangeable.
  •  Baking Powder – You will need both baking powder and baking soda. Baking powder expires much faster than baking soda, so make sure to check the date on your tin. Most often it will expire well before you use it all. If you want to test it, put a spoonful in a cup of hot water. If it bubbles vigorously, it’s still fresh and active. If it doesn’t, replace it before making this recipe.
  •  Buttermilk – Also, have it at room temperature if you have time to let it sit on the counter before you start mixing the dough. If you don’t have any buttermilk, a simple substitution is mixing 1 tablespoon of lemon juice into 1 cup of milk for each cup needed. Stir and let the mixture thicken slightly before using.
  •  Egg – Slightly beaten. Having your egg at room temperature makes for easier incorporation into the dough.
  •  Sunflower Seeds – Use some extra to garnish the top of the loaf before baking. It’s a nice hint to what is in the bread.
Loaf and Sliced Sunflower Whole Wheat Bread on a slate tray

Recipe Tips

I have admitted my weakness for grainy, seedy bread. Adding a handful of sunflower seeds to a soda bread sounded heavenly to me! And, believe it or not, Bill did not even notice the extra crunch and ate a big slab himself. He is not a fan of nuts or seeds so I called it “whole wheat bread,” and gave him a small sample to taste. After an “mmmm, that’s good,” I cut him a thick slice of this whole wheat bread to eat along with his dinner. I call that a win!

  • PRO-Tip: Make sure your baking powder is fresh. Soda does not expire as quickly, but baking powder does! And since fewer recipes call for baking powder, you are less likely to replace it on a regular basis.
  • PRO-Tip: Never use a mixer when making quick breads. Overworking the dough will cause tunnels throughout your bread!
  • PRO-Tip: Mix just until the dry ingredients are incorporated Any longer, the dreaded tunnels can develop and your bread may be tough.
  • Prep your pan well so your bread does not stick. Besides greasing the pan, I like to line the bottom of the pan with a rectangle of parchment paper which I then grease.
  • Start checking your bread about 10 minutes before the timer goes off. I insert a toothpick in the middle. When it comes out clean, the bread is done.
  • Don’t worry if your bread develops a crack along the top. This is characteristic of quick bread. Just make sure to make sure that center area is cooked before pulling the pan out of the oven.
  • Let your bread cool for 10-15 minutes before removing it to a cooling rack. This will help the bread’s crust to firm up before it’s released.
  • Enjoy warm or at room temperature. Quick bread can be stored at room temperature for a couple of days, then in the refrigerator for up to a week and the freezer for up to 3 months!
Sunflower Whole Wheat Bread slices on a square white plate with jelly.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Will Soda Bread Keep?

You can store it at room temperature for up to 4 days. Make sure it’s wrapped airtight.

Can You Freeze Soda Bread?

Yes, it freezes well. Just make sure it’s completely cooled before wrapping it airtight and placing it in the freezer. I like to slice it so I can pull just a slice or two for breakfast or a snack.

How Else Can Sunflower Seeds Be Used?

They’re delicious roasted and salted as a snack or used in salads, baked goods and they will add a nice crunch to side dishes and casseroles.

Loaf of Sunflower Whole Wheat Bread on a slate tray.

You May Also Like

Unlike yeast bread, soda bread gives you much speedier gratification. And this sunflower whole wheat bread was amazing!

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Sunflower Whole Wheat Bread on a white plate

Sunflower Whole Wheat Bread

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Yield 12 servings

A whole wheat soda bread with some extra crunch from sunflower seeds.


  • 1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • ½ cup quick oats
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 3/4 cups buttermilk
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • ½ cup sunflower seeds, plus more to sprinkle on top of loaf, if desired.


  1. Preheat oven to 350º.
  2. Grease a 9 x 5 loaf pan. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl combine the flours, oats, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  4. Stir in the buttermilk and egg just till combined. Mix in sunflower seeds.
  5. Pour into prepared loaf pan. Sprinkle top with a few more sunflower seeds, if desired.
  6. Bake for 50-60 minutes.
  7. Cool for 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to finish cooling.


Inspired by a recipe in The Prairie Collection Cookbook.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 slice

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 178Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 17mgSodium: 565mgCarbohydrates: 31gFiber: 3gSugar: 9gProtein: 6g


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