This Vegan Irish Soda Bread is a yeast-free rustic bread made with simple ingredients. After a quick bake, the slices are ready to be slathered in vegan butter and served next to vegan Irish stew and other soups and stews!
This Vegan Irish Soda Bread is an easy homemade bread recipe that any level of home baker can tackle. Not only is it delicious slathered in vegan butter and served with vegan Irish stew, but it’s really easy to make using pantry staples, vegan buttermilk, and no yeast. The finished result is always crusty, flavorful, and rustic!
I know you’re going to love this easy vegan soda bread because it’s:
- A foolproof yeast-free recipe.
- Made from really simple ingredients.
- Ready in just 1 hour.
- Flavorful, tender, and moist.
- Perfect for St. Patrick’s Day or year-round!
The hearty slices are a must when you’re serving soups and stews in the winter. Dunk ‘em in a big bowl of classic vegan stew or this comforting lentil chili. You can’t go wrong!
What is Irish soda bread?
Irish soda bread is an artisan-style quick bread that uses baking soda as the main leavening agent instead of yeast. The traditional recipe relies on the chemical reaction between buttermilk and baking soda to create little pockets of air throughout the bread, giving it lift and a spongy texture. Vegan soda bread recipes replace the real buttermilk with homemade vegan buttermilk made from vinegar and dairy free milk.
Ingredients needed (with substitutions)
- Soy milk – I prefer using soy milk, but oat milk or almond milk are my other go-to’s.
- Apple cider vinegar – Mixing vinegar with dairy free milk will give you a tangy and tasty vegan buttermilk substitute. It gives rise to quick breads, pancakes, biscuits, and more. If you don’t have apple cider vinegar, use white vinegar or lemon juice instead.
- All purpose flour – This will give the bread the best texture. A 1:1 mix of whole wheat flour and all purpose flour should also work.
- Vegan butter
- Sugar – Granulated sugar will help the other flavors pop. Another granulated sugar (like coconut sugar) should work in its place, although the flavor could be slightly affected.
- Baking soda – The baking soda will react with the vegan buttermilk, giving the soda bread plenty of rise.
- Raisins – These are optional but give the bread added texture and a bit of sweetness.
How to make vegan Irish soda bread
Start by mixing the soy milk and apple cider vinegar together in a small bowl to make the vegan buttermilk. Set it aside to curdle while you work on the dough:
- Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.
- Use your hands to work the cold vegan butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs. This is when you can add the raisins.
- Pour in the vegan buttermilk mixture and mix until a sticky dough forms.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it a few times. The resulting dough won’t be perfectly smooth but not too sticky either.
Use a serrated knife to score the bread before baking until golden brown. Let it cool slightly before slicing and serving.
A few hearty slices of vegan Irish soda bread are the perfect match for soups and stews and other sauce-heavy dishes. If you’re not serving the bread with Irish stew, dip the slices in a “meaty” bowl of spaghetti, use them to soak up the last few drops of curry sauce, or enjoy them with your favorite vegan chili instead. The leftover slices can be used for toast with butter or jam, or for sandwich bread.
Frequently asked questions
- Is traditional soda bread vegan? No. Traditional Irish soda bread is made with real buttermilk and butter. This version replaces the dairy with homemade vegan buttermilk and vegan butter.
- Can it be made gluten free? I haven’t tried making this vegan soda bread gluten free, but I think it could be done. Try swapping the all purpose flour with a 1:1 gluten free flour blend instead. Just be aware that the finished bread will be slightly dense and have a crumbly texture.
- What is the best pan to bake vegan soda bread in? A cast iron pan or Dutch oven will give your soda bread a crunchy crust while evenly baking the soft and chewy inside. If you don’t have a cast iron pan or Dutch oven, you can bake your vegan soda bread on a regular cookie sheet.
Want more yeast-free quick bread recipes?
Vegan Irish Soda Bread
- 2 cups unsweetened soy milk
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- 4-4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 4 tablespoons vegan butter, cold and cut into cubes
- 1 cup raisins, optional
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- Make the vegan buttermilk by mixing the milk and vinegar in a bowl. Set aside to curdle.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together 4 cups of flour, sugar, baking soda and salt.
- Using clean fingers, work the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs. Add the raisins in now, if using.
- Pour in the vegan buttermilk and stir with a large wooden spoon until it's mostly together.
- Knead the dough a little bit so it comes together. It won't be a perfectly round ball of dough. Add flour to the dough and your hands as needed if it's too sticky.
- Transfer to a lightly floured surface and shape into a round loaf. Again, it won't look perfect! Now place the loaf onto a baking pan or better yet a cast iron pan.
- Score the bread with an x using a serrated knife, about an inch to two inches deep.
- Bake for 40-50 minutes, until golden. Cool for 10 minutes, then slice and enjoy.
- May use another plant milk, such as almond or oat milk.
- I haven’t tested it gluten free, but you can try using an all purpose gluten free flour mix. Whole wheat flour may also work for a more dense loaf of bread.
- This is a pretty salty bread, but you can choose to cut the salt in half if you want.
I just made this and it is perfect. I used Melt and Unsweetened Almond Milk and cut the salt down by about half. It baked beautifully in my cast iron skillet, lined with parchment. I love that it is not too sweet and the top and bottom crusts have just a tiny bit of crunch. Enjoying this with a cup of maple tea. Thanks so much for this amazing recipe, Nora ❤️.
You are welcome, Norma! A slice with maple tea sounds amazing! Thanks for your wonderful feedback and review!
I made this gluten-free, with Bobs Red Mill 1:1 flour. Beautiful crust/crumb. Still doughy towards the center, even though 12 minutes were added to baking time. GF breads tend to that. Any tips from you, Nora or readers would be appreciated. I love soda bread – have fond memories from pre- GF days. Thnks
Hi Nora, thank you for sharing your Irish Soda Bread recipe. This is the first time I made it. It taste pretty good. By the way, this is one of my favorite breads. ❤️
I’m thrilled you loved the bread! Thanks for your fabulous feedback!
2nd year making Nora’s Irish Soda Bread. Such an easy recipe and wonderful addition to our St. Patrick’s Day feast of Nora’s Shepherd Pie and Peppermint Patties. The bread tasted even better this year and it’s perfect to eat at any time or with any meal of the day. Thank you Nora!
You are welcome, Leah! I’m thrilled you are loving the bread and all the other St. Patrick’s Day goodies! Thanks for sharing your fantastic feedback!
Hi Lisa. Sounds like you had a fun baking day! I’m glad you enjoyed the bread and the cookies! Thank you for sharing your fantastic feedback and review!
Traditional Irish soda bread would not have butter or raisins, adding those makes it more of a celebration cake that’s called spotted dog in Ireland. An everyday soda bread would just be flour, salt, baking soda and buttermilk.
Since St. Patrick’s Day always falls in the Lenten Season, this Vegan Soda Bread is an excellent choice/variation of the traditional Irish Soda Bread!
Thanks for the recipe!
It turned out great!
I’m so happy to hear it turned out for you, Andreas! Thank you for your feedback 🙂
I can’t wait to try this. We haven’t even made it yet and I am certain it is going to be amazing. Our family has been vegan for a couple of years now. Nora Cooks is our go-to! Hands down. Thank you for everything you do.
I appreciate your kind and encouraging words! They mean a lot! Thanks for using my recipes faithfully! Enjoy the bread!
Can this be made in a bread machine? My Hamilton Beach one has a Quick Bread setting for no- yeast breads.
I haven’t tried it so I’m not sure, but it might work.
Worked great in my bread machine! I even left out the butter and used combo AP, WW, WW pastry flours. Came out in a loaf but tasted great! Thanks again for continued great recipes!
I’m so glad it worked well in your bread machine! Thank you for letting us know.
Can’t wait to try this! How wide should your disc be before baking?
It should be around 10 to 12 inches wide.
So yummy. I made it without raisins and it was delightful. Easy to make too!
Thank you for sharing your terrific feedback! I’m glad you loved the bread!
Made 3/17. I’m not a raisin fan but it added just the right flavor to the bread. And so easy to put together. We loved it!
Hi Karla. I’m so glad you loved the bread! Thank you for sharing your feedback!
Great bread! I made it with my four year old today and we are currently both enjoying a warm slice.
That sounds wonderful! Thank you for sharing!
I don’t understand why my experience with this was so different from everyone else’s. It was a wet gooey mess with 4.5 cups of flour in it. It poured like very thick batter. Couldn’t have been transferred to a baking sheet in one piece. I kept adding flour. By the time it would sort of hold it shape and could be transferred in one piece there still was no “cutting” a cross in the top – it oozed back together. I baked it and it was waaaay too dense and didn’t rise enough. I tried again and stopped at just maybe 5 total cups of flour and it was still a gooey, oozy mess and I threw it out…and couldn’t even get it all in the trash at the same time….and had to use a knife to scrape the goo off my silicone mat. I’ve used a ton of your recipes and have had great luck with all of them. I’m baffled. And frustrated. I’m not a novice. I know how to measure. Maaaaybe I made a mistake the first time but absolutely not the second. I need to make vegan Irish soda bread for 100 people for a free community meal on 3/17. Any ideas?
I was glad to see someone else had a gooey mess. I followed the recipe exactly and kept adding more flour. Did the best I could to get it in my iron skillet and it is in the oven (we’ll see)
This was my experience as well. No matter how much flour I added, and I didn’t want to over knead it so I was stumped. I cut the mess into halves and threw it in a cast iron in the oven just now. We’ll see how it turns out I guess
Wait , so 4 times use 4. 1/2 cups flour. Dumb question but never used or made much bread . Thanks
The bread will need between 4 to 4 1/2 cups of flour. Start with 4 and if the dough is sticky, gradually add another 1/2 cup while you knead. Hope that helps!
So delicious! The texture was perfect- a bit crusty on the outside and tender on the inside. We loved it!
Delicious and easy!
Thanks so much for your wonderful review!