Sweet Irish Soda Bread with Cherries

5 from 13 votes
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A sweet twist on traditional Irish soda bread loaded with dried cherries, dark chocolate, and slivered almonds. This simple one-bowl recipe is ready in under an hour!

Sweet Irish Soda Bread with Cherries - This recipe is a twist on the traditional loaf and loaded with dried cherries, dark chocolate, and slivered almonds. | jessicagavin.com

This year for Saint Patrick’s Day, I decided to add a sweet twist to the traditional Irish soda bread recipe. This festive treat is a quick alternative and easy bake that you don’t have to wait hours for the yeast to leaven the dough. The baking powder and eggs do all of the work to help make the dough rise, providing instant yumminess with minimal time.

This recipe has a more biscuit-like texture, and each bite is filled with tart cherries, dark chocolate chips, and crunchy almonds. The perfect Irish soda bread version for those with a sweet tooth!

Dried cherries, dark chocolate and slivered almonds being mixed

Ingredients for sweet Irish soda bread

To create a dessert-like loaf, ingredients like sugar, butter, and sweet mix-ins are used in this recipe. The sugar and butter tenderize the dough and prevent as much less gluten formation compared to a traditional savory Irish soda bread. The texture has a crunchy biscuit-like exterior and a soft and crumbly center. It reminds me of eating a scone, with a thicker crust.

Irish soda bread dough with an X carved on top before baking

The dough for the Irish soda bread is so easy to make! In just one bowl you can mix, then roll and shape each bread. The top of each dough ball is scored with an “X” to help the bread bake evenly, but you can skip this step if you want a more dome-shaped bread. It’s ready for the oven!

A light sugar glaze is brushed on top of the hot soda bread

I was inspired by The Lovely Pantry’s recipe for Irish soda bread that incorporated currants and a sugar glaze.

For this Irish soda bread recipe, I added sweet dried cherries, slivered almonds, and chocolate chips to take it over the top. A light sugar glaze is brushed on top of the hot bread right as it leaves the oven. You won’t be able to resist breaking off a piece to nibble on!

Sweet Irish soda bread with chocolate chips and dried cherries

I served this Irish soda bread with my baked honey mustard corned beef and Irish coffee profiteroles with chocolate whiskey sauce for dessert for a Saint Patrick’s Day celebration feast! You can make this recipe about an hour before eating, so it’s nice a warm when the main course is ready.

Make a sweet Irish soda bread for St Patrick's Day

I hope this year you take a chance on something different for your celebration. You could even make this bread for breakfast to enjoy with some Irish coffee, now that sounds like a good idea! What are some of your favorite Irish recipes?

Irish recipes you might also like

How does butter change the texture?

This recipe uses butter that yields bread with more of a biscuit-like texture versus a chewy and harder crusted soda bread. In a traditional Irish soda bread, water and flour are mixed and manipulated, then gluten bonds form, giving you a stretchy dough. In this recipe, butter is added to the mixture, and incorporated into the flour. The fat coats some of the proteins in the flour and prevents gluten bonding from happening as easily. Gluten strands are formed but to a much lesser degree. The texture is much more delicate and crumbles much easier, similar to biscuits or scones.

Sweet Irish Soda Bread with Cherries

Craving a festive dessert this St. Patricks Day? How about making a sweet Irish soda bread with dried cherries, dark chocolate, and slivered almonds.
5 from 13 votes
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time45 minutes
Servings 2 loaves
Course Bread
Cuisine Irish


  • 1 cup gluten-free flour, or all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • ¾ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes
  • ¼ cup dried cherries, (substitutes: raisins, cranberries, currants)
  • 2 tablespoons semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons almonds, blanched and slivered
  • 1 large egg, whisked
  • ¼ cup plain greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 teaspoon sugar, for glaze
  • 1 teaspoon water, for glaze


  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into mixing bowl, stir to combine. Using your fingers, break the chilled butter cubes into small pieces into the flour mixture until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs.
  • Stir in dried cherries, chocolate chips, and almonds.
  • In a small bowl, whisk egg until frothy. Add yogurt and milk to the egg, then whisk to combine.
  • Add the yogurt mixture to the flour mixture, then stir to combine.
  • Remove the dough from the bowl and add it to a well-floured surface. Knead by hand for about 3 minutes, adding more flour as needed, until thoroughly combined, is no longer sticky, and forms a ball.
  • Form the dough into a ball and cut it into two even pieces. Roll each piece into a ball. Cut a shallow "X" into the surface of the dough ball.
  • Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  • Place the two dough rounds on the tray at least 3 inches apart.
  • Bake for 23 to 25 minutes, until the surface is a light golden-brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the dough comes out clean.
  • Remove the bread from the baking sheet and transfer to a wire rack.
  • Make the sugar glaze by combing 1 teaspoon sugar and 1 teaspoon water in a small bowl, microwave the mixture for 20 seconds.
  • Brush the tops of the bread while still warm.


Nutrition Facts

Serves: 2 loaves
Calories 562kcal (28%)Carbohydrates 78g (26%)Protein 11g (22%)Fat 24g (37%)Saturated Fat 14g (70%)Polyunsaturated Fat 0.5gMonounsaturated Fat 1gCholesterol 136mg (45%)Sodium 654mg (27%)Potassium 5mgFiber 2g (8%)Sugar 19g (21%)Vitamin A 800IU (16%)Calcium 160mg (16%)Iron 1.6mg (9%)

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.

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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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5 from 13 votes (12 ratings without comment)

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7 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Lairi says

    Reading the recipe it seems this will make two rolls ..not two loaves of bread
    For those who have made this ..how much did it yeild?? I’ve got 6 in the group

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Lairi- You’re right, they don’t make huge loaves. Each one could provide a small serving, so about 8 servings. But if you think that people would want more, I would double the recipe.

  2. Samantha says

    It’s simple and easy. I did however leave it as one roll and made the cuts a little deeper for an even bake. The kitchen smells yummy. For the glaze I used orange juice. Yummy! Thx for this recipe!

  3. Liz says

    This looks so delicious!! I love the combination of dark chocolate and cherries and will be giving this recipe a try!

  4. Lyn says

    Such a lovely twist using cherries and almonds! This must taste wonderful and the added texture is a great treat too! 🙂

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Thank you for the inspiration Lyn! What a great recipe for any time of the year, love how quick and easy it is!