Golden Irish Soda Bread

Here’s our family’s twist on a traditional Irish soda bread made bright by saffron and golden dried fruit. As a magical bonus we also show you how to change up the ingredients a bit to make the color of your bread match your favorite redhead. Liven up your St. Patrick’s Day with this easy, sweet yet savory golden version of soda bread! *Gluten free option provided, FYI.Irish soda bread

We don’t have gold to leave out for the leprechauns but we do try to entice them in with this golden Irish classic!

We’ll be using two herbs to cause color change in our recipe – saffron and turmeric. Many of us know how to use basic herbs in the kitchen, like basil and dill. However, there are simply SO many things you can make with herbs both in the kitchen and the medicine chest. Not to mention herbs you can add to your beauty regimen!

To learn more about how to use herbs in your daily life, I recommend getting starting with The Herbal Academy. Just click on the ad to be directed to their school – you can nose around the courses to see which might be best for you! No obligation to buy anything, if you’re not ready. However, this could be your year to really LEARN HERBS!

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Golden Irish Soda Bread Recipe

Soda bread is a classic Irish bread that can be made both sweet or savory. You can eat this bread for breakfast, or with a hearty dinner. To learn the basics of the bread, please watch this short video and then read the recipe. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment and I’ll get right back to you.

*FYI, for a gluten free version of this bread you can swap out the flour for Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1 to 1 flour. I’ve used many gluten free flours and, in my opinion, Bob’s 1 to 1 is the best for simple swap out of flour.

soda bread

Golden Irish Soda Bread

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

Here's our family's twist on a traditional Irish soda bread made bright by saffron and golden dried fruit.  As a magical bonus we also show you how to change up the ingredients a bit to make the color of your bread match your favorite redhead.  Liven up your St. Patrick's Day with this easy, sweet yet savory golden version of soda bread!


  • 2 Cups Flour*
  • 2 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 2 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp. Sea Salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Saffron, crushed to small bits
  • 1 Cup Buttermilk**
  • 1/4 Cup Raw Sugar or Monk Fruit Sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. Butter
  • 1 Cup Golden Raisins (or any golden dried fruit like apples, persimmon or pineapple)
  • 1 Tbsp. Caraway Seeds
  • 2 tsp. Lemon Zest
  • Milk for coating the loaf


  1. Preheat oven 375F/191C.
  2. Measure out buttermilk. Crush the saffron in your hand and put it in the buttermilk to steep for 15 minutes.
  3. Sift together all the dry ingredients - flour, soda, powder, salt and sugar. Mix well.
  4. Cut the butter into the dry mix with a pastry cutter or two knives until the butter bits are like tiny pebbles.
  5. Gradually stir in the buttermilk mixture to form a dough. Mix the caraway, lemon zest and fruit in evenly.
  6. Dust a surface for kneading the dough into a 2 or 3 inch-high loaf.
  7. Put the load on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Use a pastry brush to coat the loaf with milk until the surface is smooth and glossy.
  8. Use a sharp knife to cut a cross into the top of the loaf. This prevents the loaf from cracking but it also makes an attractive top.
  9. Bake for 35 minutes until golden brown.
  10. Serve hot with butter and honey, or jam for breakfast. May also be served with just butter at dinner.


See the article to learn how to follow this recipe but switch out the saffron for a different herb to turn the loaf red-gold! We call this the Redhead Soda Bread.

*For a gluten free soda bread swap out the wheat flour for Bob's Red Mill 1 to 1 Gluten Free flour.

**If you don't have buttermilk, measure out whole milk and add 2 tsp. of lemon juice. Allow the mixture to sit for ten-ish minutes. Milk will naturally curdle a bit.


The Redheaded Golden Irish Soda Bread

Now here’s how to turn your soda bread fiery red-gold to honor the redheads in your life, Irish or otherwise.

Follow the recipe exactly, except omit the saffron and add 2 teaspoons of turmeric. That’s it. Take out the saffron and add 2 teaspoons of turmeric and your bread will turn a bright gold and crimsonred gold Irish soda bread

How does it work?

Turmeric is an acid/base indicator. When it reacts with bases (like baking soda), it changes color to deep red. You would also get this effect if you used curry powder since it contains turmeric.

The flavor doesn’t really alter any as both saffron and turmeric are a tad bitter, though that fades out when mixed with the other flavors of the bread. Just don’t get excited and add to much of either herb.

Try a Kefir Version of Soda Bread

Those who struggle with digesting commercial yeast in regular breads may not struggle so with a baking soda leavened bread like this soda bread recipe. If you’d like to try a version of this bread that’s fermented with kefir, please visit the link below. It won’t be a traditional soda bread; more like a cross between soda bread and loaf bread. You can, however, add saffron to it to turn it golden – give it an Irish go!

—->>>Click to learn to make Kefir Fermented Bread Dough<<<—-

St. Patrick’s Day Traditions

Be sure to include the children in the kitchen while you whip up this easy bread. Soda bread is far simpler than other breads and little hands can easily help with the mixing and shaping. 

Here are some other family-friendly traditions for St. Patrick’s Day – the one day of the year that everyone is blessed to be Irish!

St. Patrick's Day Traditions and Fun!

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9 thoughts on “Golden Irish Soda Bread

    1. Apart from Dublin, I’m not even sure the Irish celebrate like the Irish-Americans do! Early Irish immigrants to the the US made it a tradition to celebrate the day in a big way to preserve their heritage while creating a new Irish-American culture.

  1. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe and the substitutions!! It sounds so yummy!!
    Have you ever tried making a dairy-free version?! We’re on the GF AND DF life these days! The struggle is REAL! Lol

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