Irish Soda Bread Rolls Recipe

Irish soda bread rollsWith a name like KELLY, it may come as no surprise that March 17th is one of my favorite days of the year. As part of the celebration, I have been making soda bread for the last 32 years and have tried dozens of versions – experimenting as I went. My favorite soda bread recipe in 32 years of experimenting is Silver Palate author Sheila Lukins’ Irish Soda Bread Rolls. Why rolls and not just a loaf of bread? Because the rolls give you more of that delightful, rustic crunchy crust!

I make these using the Celtic tradition of cutting a cross in the tops to ward off evil spirits for the year to come. The Society for the Preservation of Soda Bread would like you to know that the humble bread has survived centuries of time because it is simple, frugal and just plain delicious. Traditional soda bread has only four ingredients: flour, salt, baking soda and buttermilk.

Irish Americans later added raisins to fancy things up for holidays. Sheila added oats, too, which I think is a brilliant rustic addition of an Irish ingredient. The only thing I have changed from Sheila’s recipe is that I brush the rolls with butter before baking for a nice golden brown crust. This year, I am making these rolls not only because they are Irish, but also as a tribute to Sheila, who died too young a few months ago of cancer. Her fun (albeit NOT Irish) spirit lives on!

Cut the dough into eight wedges

Cut the dough into eight wedges


Makes 8 large rolls

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup quick-cooking oats
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup currants
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Cut an X into the tops of rolls for tradition

Cut an “X” into the tops of rolls for tradition

Brush the tops of rolls with butter

Brush the tops of rolls with butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine flour, oats, baking soda, salt, and currants. Stir in buttermilk until just combined. Turn out to a floured board and knead a few times, forming dough into a large flattened ball. Cut into 8 wedges and then form each wedge into a small ball.

Place dough balls onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Cut an “X” in the tops of the dough balls with scissors. Brush with butter and bake in center of oven for 40 to 45 minutes, until browned.

Best served warm with butter!

Other food bloggers get their Irish on:
Irish Soda Bread, Simply Recipes
Gluten Free Irish Soda Bread, Gluten Free Goddess
Whole Wheat Brown Soda Bread, Kalyn’s Kitchen
Brown Sugar Irish Soda Bread, The Perfect Pantry
Grand Central Bakery Irish Soda Bread, Whipped the Blog

— posted by Donna


  1. Hom2VT says

    These recipes look wonderful, but there appears to be a misconception of the ‘X’ on the rolls or bread. This is not an ‘X’ but a Cross, begun use during the religious conflicts in Ireland. My husband, an Irishman and his mom could regale us all with stories, and one of the lessons I learned was not to call these cuts an ‘X’.


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