New This Month

Maud Herlihy's Irish Soda Bread


Irish soda bread is a St. Patrick's Day classic. Bill Herlihy, the executive in charge of "The Martha Stewart Show," shares a recipe from his mother, Maud.

  • Yield: Makes 1 loaf

Source: The Martha Stewart Show, March 2010


  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small cubes and frozen, plus more, softened, for skillet
  • 1 (8-ounce) container sour cream
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 cups raisins
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • Caraway seeds (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees with a rack set in lower third of oven. Lightly butter a 10-inch round cast-iron skillet; set aside.

  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add butter, sour cream and egg; mix, using a pastry blender, until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in raisins, buttermilk, and caraway seeds, if using, and mix until a sticky dough forms.

  3. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Using a floured bench scraper, form into a round loaf; using a sharp knife score a large "X" in the center.

  4. Place in prepared skillet and transfer to oven. Bake until loaf is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 hour. If top begins to brown too quickly, loosely cover with a piece of parchment paper-lined aluminum foil. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Reviews Add a comment

  • lisijo
    23 DEC, 2016
    The dough was sticky & a little hard to work but no big deal, you just have to "cowboy up" & do it! This recipe won me Best Irish Soda Bread @ my families annual St Patrick's Day Dinner, I wouldn't change a thing. My hint, though, is to use the food processor: I put the dry ingredients in the bowl of the processor, pulsed to whisk then pulse in the butter, egg and sour cream to get that consistency they talk about. I then removed it to a bowl & added the buttermilk. So easy & yummy. A hit@work!
  • Oceanpeg
    14 MAR, 2013
    Forgot to say that the butter is melted, cooled, before added to the buttermilk when using the green food coloring, which is also added to same. Otherwise you'll end up with white blotches in the Green Irish Soda Bread and 1/2 teaspoon of the Cream of Tartar is added to the dry ingredients. Just 3/4 cup of buttermilk used instead of 1 cup of buttermilk. The raisins are kneaded after mixing the liquid and dry ingredients together so no white spots from same. NO eggs or sour cream added at all.
  • Oceanpeg
    14 MAR, 2013
    Forgot to say that the raisins are kneaded in AFTER the buttermilk mixture is added to the dry ingredients when using the green food coloring for the Green Irish Soda Bread for St. Patrick's Day. If the butter/margerine is cut into the dry ingredients, you will have white blotches in your Green Irish Soda Bread., the reason for melting the butter/margerine and adding it to just 3/4 cup of the buttermilk, with no eggs nor sour cream used in it and 1/2 teaspoon of cream of tartar added to dry mix.
  • Oceanpeg
    14 MAR, 2013
    Thought it would be similar to Mom's recipe for Irish Soda Bread which dates back to the 1940's that was published in the Newark NJs Star Ledger which doesn't call for sour cream nor any eggs in it at all, that has cream of tartar in it instead of those two ingredients. The butter/margerine is melted and added to the buttermilk mixture, and, if green food coloring added, it is added to this liquid mixture before mixing it with the dry ingredients for the St. Patrick's Day Green Irish Soda Bread.
  • KerryDe
    12 MAR, 2013
    Excellent, just like my grandmother's recipe.
  • seven course dinner
    4 JUN, 2012
    I felt the dough was extremely wet. Maybe cutting back on buttermilk would help.
  • irisheyes77
    10 MAR, 2011
    I substituted 1/2c old fashioned oats and 1/2c wheat bran for 1c of the flour and skipped the raisins. This bread was very moist and I'll make it again, though it was a little sweet for my taste. I think next time I will cut back on the sugar and maybe a little less butter.
  • cori00
    15 APR, 2010
    I just made this bread. I substituted the buttermilk with milk and apple cider vinegar and I added cranberries, raisins and sunflower seeds.I want to make an extra batch to freeze. It's the best recipe!
  • GrandmomKathy
    11 APR, 2010
    I made this bread - it was so easy and so delicious. I did not have a bench scraper or a iron skillet, but bread was still great. My husband said this recipe is a keeper. Thanks for sharing. We give it 5 out of 5 stars. Kathy Wissmann
  • MS11518801
    9 APR, 2010
    This bread is the best I have ever made. My husband isn't a bread guy and he loved it too.