Irish Soda Muffins

irish soda bread muffins


Truth: I am ethnically ambiguous. If I had a nickel for every time someone has asked me what my nationality is, what race I am, where my family is from, or why my skin is milk chocolate in the summer and a translucent white in the winter…well, I’d have at least four paper-rolled stacks of nickels. And I would then be able to buy autographed photos of Leonardo DiCaprio on eBay. With less financial guilt.


irish soda bread muffin recipe


But, unfortunately, people are keeping their nickels to themselves, and I’m still a confusing looking character. The common thought is that I’m either Asian, Polynesian, Native American, or Hispanic. Italian, too. And the fact is, I’m just mostly Irish. A little Italian, yes, but mostly just green and orange and Guinness flavored. Somehow my parents (mostly Irish with a dash of Italian) fused to make a quasi-Asian-Hispanic baby, and I have been telling people otherwise for 26 years. I would, however, consider myself lucky to be any number of races and nationalities.


irish soda bread muffin recipe


And so, with my thick Jameson blood and meat and potatoes palate, I’m eating Irish Soda bread every morning this week to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. A fist sized muffin, warmed in the oven, split open to release a puff of hot steam, and smeared with a pat of butter. And several dozen cups of black coffee, just because.


irish soda bread muffin recipe


I would love to tell you I’m using my Nana’s recipe, but really, Nana was the kind of woman you’d sooner ask to build a house than make you dinner. Mind you, Nana couldn’t tell you the difference between a hammer and a wrench. Though I loved her dearly, I will say that the only edible things she ever prepared for me were a glass of room temperature water and a frozen Caramello bar.


irish soda bread muffin recipe


After her funeral a few years ago, my aunt handed me a 3×5” recipe card with Nana’s Irish soda bread neatly printed on top, and though it was the sweetest thought that Nana, a full-blooded Irish woman, could ever whip up a palatable sweet bread, it just simply…wasn’t true. So I instead framed the thoughtful recipe, put it next to my bedside, and found another Irish Nana. I kid. Sort of.

This Irish soda bread is someone else’s Nana’s recipe. (Dear Nana, I’ll soon make Caramello bars and think of you. I’ll also wear Christmas sweaters six months after the holiday has ended.) This recipe belongs to my dear friend, Nancy, and her grandmother. It’s just perfect for St. Patrick’s Day. Did you hear me? Perfect. I turned the loaf into muffins, because, as you all know, I have a near-fatal attraction to cupcake tins.

Lovely lil’ tender muffins with moist crumbed centers, big juicy raisins, and the faintest flavor of sweet cream butter. They’re not quite as sugary as traditional muffins, and may taste more like scones in their crumbly, rich way. Brush them with melted butter while they’re warm from the oven, sprinkle them with sugar, and serve with a nice mug of tea or coffee.


irish soda bread muffin raisins

irish soda bread draining raisins

irish soda bread drained raisins

irish soda bread butter and flour mixture

irish soda bread butter and flour mixture

irish soda bread egg

irish soda bread buttermilk

irish soda bread pour egg buttermilk into dry ingredients

irish soda bread batter

irish soda bread add raisins to batter

irish soda bread in muffin tin

irish soda bread muffins baked

irish soda bread muffin cooling

irish soda bread muffin with butter

irish soda bread muffin recipe


Irish Soda Muffins

(makes about 15 muffins)

2 cups sifted flour

½ cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup unsalted butter, softened

1 large egg

½ cup buttermilk

1 cup raisins

1 cup boiling water

Melted butter and sugar, about 2 tablespoons of each,  for serving



Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Start by placing raisins in a bowl with the boiling water (the water should cover them by 1”). Let them stand and plump with moisture while you prepare the batter.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Beat in the softened butter until the mixture resembles moist crumbs. Whisk egg and buttermilk in a small bowl and pour into the batter. Beat until well combined, being careful not to overmix the batter.

Drain the raisins and stir them into the batter.

Divide the dough evenly among greased muffin cups, filling each about ¾ full. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of one comes out clean.

While the muffins cool, brush the tops evenly with melted butter and sprinkle with additional sugar. Let the muffins cool for 10 minutes in the pan, before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.



36 thoughts on “Irish Soda Muffins

  1. Maddie

    These look amazing…but….I am realllly not a fan of raisins–do you think i could substitute craisins or something else?

  2. Liz @ Tip Top Shape

    Ha, I feel like I’m the same way. I am Italian and Polish, but my looks tend to gravitate toward the Mediterranean side. Because of that, i’ve been asked if I am Spanish, Argentine, Mexican, and Jewish. Someone thought I was Irish once, too. That I don’t get. lol

    These muffins look great! I actually was looking for an Irish Soda Bread recipe for something I need to bake for!

  3. Thomas

    Great recipe. We are running out to the store for buttermilk right now to make it. My wife wants to substitute sour cream (her Nanas were Russian and Polish) but I think I convinced her that won’t do.

  4. Janice Harper

    They look luscious; I can practically smell them through my computer. A definite recipe to master and once I do, I’ll bet they become another staple of my freezer! Perfect for high tea.

  5. MelissaNibbles

    I’ll probably be the Nana whose recipes are just framed and not used. I’m going to start freezing Caramelo bars now for my grandchildren. Seriously though, what better snack is there?! I want one now.
    I like the muffin sized portions of the bread. Thanks for the recipe!

  6. jamie

    I love your blog- just wanted to add in a “me too!” to the ethnic ambiguity. I have really curly hair and olive skin– but light blue eyes. People usually think I’m Jewish or part black. I’m just Irish :)
    The muffins look delicious, can’t wait to test out the recipe!

      1. jamie

        Yep, that’s what my grandfather from Ireland says. Sometimes people don’t believe that’s a real thing though!

  7. Nicole

    These will go perfectly with the omelet I’m making tomorrow night for dinner!!! :) Who needs toast when you can have these? So excited to try them!

  8. Kace

    Ha that’s so funny. I’m Irish, but tan too…guess that’s the German. But also like you, I have been eating soda bread all week. And also like you, it’s from someone else’s nana (I think my mom’s work friend?) However my recipe is very different… strange.

    Anyway happy St. Patty’s! If you need the worlds best Irish Potato recipe, let me know (from my “nana”.)

  9. Michelle

    I’m not sure how I stumbled across your blog, but I am so glad I did! Your recipes are amazing and your writing even more so! I love checking in on your kitchen adventures – you are making me hungry!

  10. Jessica

    These are fantastic and are going into my regular recipe rotation! I made these into mini muffins and used “golden” raisins instead. I did not brush with butter/sugar at the end. After cooling (and sneak-eating more than I should have) I froze them in those small snack-size ziploc bags, three to a bag. I’ve been pulling a bag out every other day or so and eating them for breakfast with a cup of hot tea. The crumb is tender and the tang of the buttermilk comes through nicely, even after freezing! Thank you for this fantastic recipe which I will be sure to share with others.

  11. Kellilou

    I LOVE Irish Soda Bread! When I don’t have buttermilk, I just add a little lemon juice or vinegar to regular milk. Apparently, souring it works just as well :) My recipe doesn’t call for sugar, though. I think that would have been quite a luxury for most Irish peasants, but I’ll bet my hubby would like it better with sugar!

  12. maureen

    Top of the Morning…
    Every year, around this time, I dig out my mother’s Irish Soda Bread recipe and I make 2 pie plates of the bread. Everyone looks forward to it and we eat it up along with our corned beef and sauteed cabbage. I came across this recipe, and let’s just say, I will be using this recipe from here on out. Delicious. So moist. THANK YOU AGAIN. YOUR RECIPES DO NOT DISAPPOINT.

  13. Pingback: Marvelously Chill | Chasing Chels

  14. Chrissy

    I am really interested in this recipe, however the photos are not appearing. Any thoughts on why they disappeared? I’m a visual learner ;)


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