Cheddar and Bacon Irish Soda Bread

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A twist on traditional Irish soda bread, this no rise crusty cheddar and bacon bread is packed with melted cheese, savory meat and scallions.

Irish Cheddar and Bacon Soda Bread

There is one traditional St. Patrick’s Day recipe that my family always looks forward to each year, Irish soda bread! I make mine with a savory flavor explosion. Generous bits of chopped bacon, melted sharp cheddar cheese, and scallions in each crusty slice.

It is the perfect edible dipping “spoon” to enjoy with classic St. Patrick’s Day dishes, such as corned beef and cabbage or delicious stews. The best part is that each loaf is ready in under an hour. No need to wait for the dough to rise, it’s instant bread satisfaction. I guarantee that you won’t be able to resist eating the entire loaf hot and straight from the oven!

I have to tell you a secret. Every time I make this Irish soda bread I feel guilty. That’s because it is seriously so easy to make, but it looks like you took all day to create. It only takes 15 minutes to prepare, and the loaf comes together in one bowl.

Soda Bread loaf before baking in the oven

The Irish soda bread is scored with a cross shape on top to help the heat in the oven penetrate the thickest part. These cuts help for quicker and more even baking, as well allows for the expansion of the dough as it rises for a nice thick round loaf.

I usually get the corned beef and cabbage going earlier in the day, and then make Irish cheddar soda bread about an hour or so before dinner is ready.

Irish Soda Bread with melted cheddar and bacon bits

How this Irish soda bread recipe made so quickly

The leavening agent is baking soda instead of using yeast to make the bread rise. That means the prep time is quick and easy. Essentially known as a “quick bread,” you can add your favorite ingredients to make this soda bread delicious.

I have done traditional loaves and sweet soda bread in the past. However, this Irish cheddar and bacon soda bread recipe is my favorite rendition so far! I even received a stamp of approval from my half Irish husband, Jason. It probably doesn’t hurt that I incorporated his favorite ingredient, bacon!

Close up of slices of of Irish soda bread showing the inside

I use sharp cheddar cheese, nitrite-free bacon, green onions and a hint of freshly cracked pepper to intensify the savory notes. The brown crust had a crunchy texture with a lovely gorgeous rise in the oven that resulted in a tender, chewy center!

Slices of Irish Soda Bread on a cutting board

The smell of smoky bacon and aromatic green onions are so enticing when you slice into a loaf that is still steamy and fresh out of the oven. Irish soda bread is best enjoyed when served warm, and the cheese is like lava.

Your guests will be sure to devour this soda bread, so you may want to double the recipe and make two loaves! I think this year I will be serving this with my Guinness corned beef stew recipe, yum! Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

More Irish recipes

What is traditional Irish soda bread?

There are many variations of Irish soda bread. They all typically contain flour, baking soda and dairy (milk, buttermilk, yogurt, even sour cream). The magic in Irish soda bread is baking soda (sodium bicarbonate), the leavening agent that allows the dough to rise without hours of proofing. The baking soda reacts with the acid in the mixture (buttermilk), resulting in carbon dioxide (gas) releasing in the dough. This does not happen until heat rises to at least 176°F (80°C) in the oven. The carbon dioxide causes the dough to expand and rise, then proteins harden and set, giving the characteristic appearance and texture of bread.

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Cheddar and Bacon Irish Soda Bread

A twist on traditional variation, this crusty cheddar and bacon Irish soda bread recipe is packed with melted cheese, savory meat and scallions.
Pin Print Review
4 from 27 votes
Prep Time14 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time39 mins
Servings 4
Course Bread
Cuisine Irish

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
  • ½ teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 2 ounces sharp cheddar, cut into ¼-inch cubes
  • 2 slices bacon
  • 2 tablespoons green onions, sliced
  • ¾ cup buttermilk

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, sprinkle a small amount of flour onto the sheet where you will be placing the bread.
  • Cook the bacon over medium heat in a sauté pan until crispy on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. Cool, chop and reserve the bacon.
  • In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, black pepper, and sugar, whisk together until combined.
  • Add to the dry mixture the cheddar, bacon and green onions, mix.
  • Add the buttermilk to the flour mixture, mixing until combined.
  • Knead for 1-2 minutes, until the dough is hydrated and holds together.
  • Form dough into a round loaf and transfer to the floured parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
  • Cut a cross into the top of the dough, about ½ inch deep and 2-inches long.
  • Bake for 22 to 25 minutes, or until the soda bread is lightly browned and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom of the loaf. If you have an instant-read thermometer, test the center of the bread for doneness, it's ready between 190-200°F.

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Nutrition Facts
Cheddar and Bacon Irish Soda Bread
Amount Per Serving
Calories 289 Calories from Fat 54
% Daily Value*
Fat 6g9%
Saturated Fat 3g15%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.2g
Monounsaturated Fat 2g
Cholesterol 17mg6%
Sodium 626mg26%
Potassium 185mg5%
Carbohydrates 47g16%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 12g24%
Vitamin A 150IU3%
Vitamin C 0.8mg1%
Calcium 140mg14%
Iron 2.3mg13%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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26 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Kerry Bolsover says

    I tried this today as a treat for my mum but left out the scallions and it is delicious and just about the right size for two to enjoy (if you are hungry) or three to share with other things! I have already made a second one again without the scallions in and am looking at making it again next weekend and will probably try it with them

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Kerry- I’m so glad to here you enjoyed the recipe! I love how fast it is to make, definitely even tastier the scallions 🙂

  2. Judy Caywood says

    Wow that is beautiful Jessica. My husband loves his Irish roots so I will have to look into getting the ingredients and making this for him.

  3. Susan Bassik says

    This sounds scrumptious! Think you could make it with almond meal or oats–or another substitute for all purpose flour? Thanks

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Thank you Susan! I would first try gluten free flour, like the blends sold by bob’s redmill or cup4cup. I think you could definitely give almond flour or ground oats a try, but maybe a blend of the two so the bread hs some structure but not gummy if you go all oatmeal. Let me know how it goes!

  4. Jill Thomas says

    Hi Jess! Can yol me how far in advance you could make the dough ball before you bake it. If I wanted to make for a group I would have to make several and doing ahead (at least the dough part) would be great?

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Jill! Yes you prepare the dough beforehand. I would just wrap it in a ball in plastic wrap, then take it out of the fridge about 30 minutes before you are ready to bake. Let me know how it goes!

  5. Mary Oliver says

    I was a little skeptical because there is no egg in the recipe but it turned out great!!! Thanks for a delicious recipe !

  6. Bonnie says

    Jessica, this looks amazing! Is there a way to ‘bake’ this in a crock pot? My family moved recently, and our rental did not come with an oven. So, I’m trying to find new recipes to still cook with more than just a microwave or electric skillet.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Bonnie- Great question! I have never done it before, but I think it’s worth a try. The surface won’t be brown and the texture may be a little chewier, but I could still be very delicious! I would line the bottom of the slow cooker with parchment paper, add in the loaf and cook on high for about 1.5 to 2 hours, checking every 30 minutes after 1.5 hours. If you have a thermometer the bread is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 190 to 200 degrees F. Here is a great tutorial I found online: http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-bread-in-the-slow-cooker-192421

      Let me know how it goes!

  7. Maggie Morris says

    Jessica,
    Katie’s sister Maggie from St. Louis. This is on the menu for Friday’s corned beef and cabbage dinner. It looks awesome. The cheddar is an interesting addition. I will let you know how it goes – I am sure I will talk Katie and my daughter Elizabeth into giving it a try.
    Maggie

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Maggie! I’m so excited for your celebration, sounds like a blast 🙂 Let me know how it goes!

  8. Maggie Morris says

    Jessica,
    The combo of the cheese, bacon and onions in the bread was really good. And it came together so fast. Had the traditional texture of a soda bread which is awesome. The bread went really well with our corned beef?. I used low fat sharp cheddar and it melted great.
    I love everything of yours that I try.
    Happy St. Pat’s Day.
    I sentapic to Katie and encouraged her to give it a try.
    Maggie

    • Jessica Gavin says

      I’m so happy to hear that you enjoyed the recipe Maggie! It’s so perfect with corned beef or some stew. I’ll have to try low fat cheddar next time. Thank you so much for making and sharing my recipes. Happy St. Paddy’s day!

  9. Jess Thomas says

    I made this last night since I had some extra bacon and it was SO EASY!! And so delicious, I had to stop myself from eating the entire loaf!! Will for sure make again 🙂

    • Jessica Gavin says

      It’s so nice to have extra bacon in the house so you can make yummy bread like this one, hehe. It’s hard to resist when it’s fresh from the oven. Thanks for giving it a try Jess!

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Sharon- I think you could use bread flour, however it will be chewier since there is more gluten in the flour. It might be a nice texture! Let me know how it goes!

  10. Debbie says

    What is the shelf life? If I have to make ahead, and can hide from my husband after removing from the oven!

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Debbie- It tastes the best the same day. However, you can slice it up and freeze, then toast in the oven to reheat. You can also reheat the loaf in the oven the next day.

  11. Lauren says

    This was sooooo good! I left out the scallions and doubled the bacon and cheese. Perfectly crunchy on the outside and soft in the inside. Delicious!

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