Sweet Irish Soda Bread for St. Patrick’s Day

by Maggie on March 14, 2012

This is an old family recipe that I finally converted, just in time for St. Patrick’s Day. 

My Mom is famous for her Scone, and has been making it for years.  Pete and I haven’t had any since going gluten-free, so I knew St. Paddy’s Day would be the perfect excuse to convert my Mom’s recipe to a gluten-free and dairy-free recipe.

As always, I used whole grain gluten-free flours to make my conversion.  If you’re familiar with scone or Irish Soda Bread, you know the flavor is important.

The original recipe calls for one cup of sugar, which is a lot so I used coconut sugar instead of cane sugar.  Since this is a special occasion bread, I figured it was okay to live it up a little and not play with the sugar ratio.

My Mom’s recipe calls for you to shape the dough like a scone.  I found it easier and less messy to use a bread pan, and so it basically became Irish Soda Bread.

This quick bread recipe is perfect for a Sunday brunch, an afternoon tea, or smothered in some coconut oil on St. Paddy’s Day.

Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Irish Soda Bread

If you want to make it in the shape of a scone, you’ll need well-floured hands and a well-floured surface.  

1 ¾ cup millet flour
1 ½ cup quinoa flour
¾ cup arrowroot flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp sea salt
1 cup coconut sugar (or cane sugar)
¾ cup chilled coconut oil
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar mixed with 1 1/3 cup unsweetened dairy-free milk (to create a buttermilk mixture)
1 cup raisins soaked for five minutes in ½ cup boiling water, drain before using
1 ½ tbsp psyllium husks

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.  Lightly grease a 9×5 inch bread pan.

Add flours, baking soda, sea salt, and sugar to the bowl of your food processor.  Process until well mixed.

Cut in chilled coconut oil (I measure mine and then chill it in the freezer while I’m preparing the dry ingredients) and pulse until well mixed.   You shouldn’t see any coconut oil chunks.

Combine apple cider vinegar with dairy-free milk and let sit until it resembles buttermilk.  Add psyllium husks to buttermilk and let sit for a minute.

Move dry ingredients to the bowl of your KitchenAid mixer (or another large bowl).  Gradually add your dairy-free buttermilk mixture and raisins.  Stir until well combined.

Mixture will be slightly sticky and wet (see picture).

Transfer to prepared bread pan and bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour, or until knife inserted comes out dry.

Remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes on a wire rack.  Gently remove bread from pan (I did this by carefully flipping over the pan) and let cool completely on wire rack.  Do not cut into this until it’s completely cooled.  It will crumble.

Have you tried using psyllium husks in your baking yet?  I am loving it as a replacement for xanthan or guar gums.  I usually use 1 tbsp for about 1 tsp of gums.  I used a little more in this recipe because it called for so much flour.

In case you’re wondering, my Mom loves this version of her recipe! That’s a good sign.

What will you be baking for St. Paddy’s Day?


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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Danielle @ Fresh4Five March 14, 2012 at 9:59 am

This looks really good Maggie! and simple! I think I will give it a whirl…but with cranberries maybe…even as an adult, I can’t seem to fall in love with raisins. I have quite a list growing to try out the husks…still haven’t had a chance to use them!


Kim - Cook It Allergy Free March 14, 2012 at 10:53 am

Maggie, I love this recipe! What a great idea…and even with living it up with the sugar ratio, this bread is still so seriously HEALTHY!! I love it! :) And so happy your mom loves your version too.


Sharon March 14, 2012 at 10:54 am

Hi Maggie,

I love your blog and recipes. I am interested in making this bread at some point but I have a problem with quinoa (it is true) so I am wondering what I can use instead of quinoa flour. Any suggestions? Oh, and I do not have any plans (yet) for St. Patrick’s Day. Thanks for a great site!


Hallie @ Daily Bites March 14, 2012 at 11:19 am

I have been looking for healthier soda bread recipes, but none to be found. Until now! Thanks Maggie! :)


Cara March 14, 2012 at 11:28 am

Love love love psyllium husks! I’m typically not a bread person but soda bread always calls my name – I think it’s the raisins.


Zoe March 14, 2012 at 11:50 am

This looks amazing, Maggie, and even more importantly: I think I have almost all the ingredients on hand now to make this quick bread! (I love recipes like that.) What if white vinegar was used instead of apple cider, I’m guessing the basic chemistry would still work? Happy St. Patrick’s Day!


Sharon March 14, 2012 at 11:51 am

Thanks for the tip Maggie. I thought of brown rice flour but I didn’t think of sorghum. That might work very well.


Alta March 14, 2012 at 12:04 pm

This looks so lovely. You know, I’ve never had Irish Soda Bread, so I’d have no idea what to compare this to, but I bet it’s delicious. :)


Marty March 14, 2012 at 1:28 pm

Yeah! Finally an Irish Soda Bread I can make, GF and V! I might add chopped nits, I know not the same, but don’t want to go shopping for anything else this week, and I’m out of raisins!

Re: the gums, I have both, but there’s talk about not using them? Why? I’m fine with psyllium husks for sure, have those. Should I toss my gums (no pun intended)?! Lol!


Ricki March 14, 2012 at 2:21 pm

Sounds great, Maggie! I used to love soda bread but haven’t thought to convert the recipe. Now I don’t have to (yay!). 😀 I think I might tone down the sugar anyway, though–not too good for me. 😉 Happy St. Patty’s Day!


Deanna March 14, 2012 at 6:53 pm

Yum! That looks so delicious. I have a real soft spot for raisin breads. Mmmmm….


Shirley @ gfe March 14, 2012 at 7:25 pm

Great conversion, Maggie. I’m with Danielle on the raisins … dates sound good though. 😉



Ellen (Gluten Free Diva) March 14, 2012 at 8:14 pm

Maggie – this looks wonderful. I love your choice of wholesome GF flours. And no starches. And no gums. And no refined sugar. A home run, for sure. I might try reducing the flour and adding some liquid stevia drops to make up for the reduction in sweetness. What do you think of that idea?


Virginia March 15, 2012 at 8:50 am

Recipe looks great! Are gums bad for you? Is that why you use the husks?


Cindy March 16, 2012 at 7:30 pm

This bread looks great! I haven’t had baking soda bread in years.
Thanks for the info about Xanthan gum. I’ve been having trouble with my stomache and digestion lately, thinking everything “corn” is doing it, along with Celiac.
I’m learning there is more to this celiac life style than just wheat/gluten intolerance.


Aoife Earls March 19, 2012 at 5:31 pm

I am so happy you have attempted this! My mom had one of her own that I haven’t been brave enough to try and convert – thank you so much!


Kylie May 22, 2012 at 5:35 am

I made this bread today and it’s absolutely delicious!! My son said it’s one of the best fruit breads I’ve made so far!! :-)


Virginia March 8, 2013 at 2:40 pm

I am making this again this year and am trying to figure out of I drained the raisins before adding them to the mix or added the water too?


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