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?


{ 35 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!


Maggie March 14, 2012 at 11:16 am

Thanks Danielle. I am so grateful for psyllium husks since they replace gums. Do you like currants? Or dates would be good too! Let me know how you and your family like the bread!


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.


Maggie March 14, 2012 at 11:16 am

Thanks so much Kim! I think it’s still pretty healthy too, that was kind of a disclaimer 🙂


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!


Maggie March 14, 2012 at 11:19 am

Hi Sharon – Thanks so much for the compliment! I think you could make this without quinoa, though I haven’t tried it. If I were doing it I would try sorghum flour or brown rice flour. I hope that works for you! Let me know how your version turns out!


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! 🙂


Maggie March 14, 2012 at 6:37 pm

Hi Hallie – I’m so glad I helped you find a soda bread recipe! I love seeing the soda bread lovers come out of the closet 🙂


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.


Maggie March 14, 2012 at 6:38 pm

Me too Cara, psyllium husks are AMAZING! I am not a huge raisin fan, but I LOVE them in this bread!


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!


Maggie March 14, 2012 at 6:39 pm

Thank you Zoe! I think white vinegar would be fine, lemon juice even. I’m just on an apple cider vinegar kick, thanks to Kim from Cook It Allergy Free 🙂


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.


Maggie March 14, 2012 at 6:39 pm

You’re welcome Sharon, do let us know!


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. 🙂


Maggie March 14, 2012 at 6:40 pm

Thanks Alta. It is delicious, by the third loaf I had to give it away because I was eating way too much!


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!


Maggie March 14, 2012 at 6:41 pm

Marty, you made me smile! Don’t toss the gums just yet. We’re still playing with psyllium husks so there’s still a need for the gums – I haven’t used it in a bread recipe yet! Stay tuned 🙂 And enjoy the bread!


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!


Maggie March 14, 2012 at 6:46 pm

Thank you Ricki. Yes, next year I’ll work on a loaf with less sugar! I really wanted to get this one and I knew it was important to take it one step at a time! Happy St. Paddy’s Day to you too!


Deanna March 14, 2012 at 6:53 pm

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


Maggie March 15, 2012 at 4:13 pm

Thanks Deanna, me too! I think we must have similar tastebuds!


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

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



Maggie March 15, 2012 at 4:14 pm

Thanks so much Shirley – are raisins as deplorable as chickpea flour 🙂


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?


Maggie March 15, 2012 at 4:15 pm

Ah thanks Ellen! Do you mean you might try reducing the sugar? That is my plan for next St. Patrick’s Day 🙂 One thing at a time. I think it would definitely work! I’m off to check out your latest recipe —> pancakes ?!?!?!


Virginia March 15, 2012 at 8:50 am

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


Maggie March 15, 2012 at 4:19 pm

Hi Virginia – I use the husks to replace the gums. Xanthan gum is a derivative of corn and I have difficulty digesting corn. Guar gum, from my understanding, is the better option but I find it doesn’t work as well. I love using the husks because they’re much more nutritionally dense than the gums. Hope that helps!


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.


Maggie March 19, 2012 at 9:03 am

Hi Cindy – You’re welcome! I hope you resolve your tummy troubles soon.


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!! 🙂


Maggie May 24, 2012 at 4:17 am

Yay Kylie! Your son has good taste – soda bread is one of my faves 🙂 Thanks for letting me know. Have a great day.


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?


Maggie March 8, 2013 at 5:02 pm

Hi Virginia – I wouldn’t add the water, at least that’s how I do it.
Enjoy and Happy St Paddy’s Day!


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: