Irish Brown Bread Recipe (2024)

Published: · Modified: by Eileen xo

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My Irish Brown Bread is a family recipe for authentic Irish bread with a hearty texture. It's made with whole wheat flour, rolled oats, and buttermilk.

If you've been to Ireland and stayed at any B & B, the experience of enjoying a warm slice of brown bread with fresh creamy butter and marmalade will be a fond memory. If you haven't had the experience, don't worry, this is the bread to transport you to the Irish countryside.

This is a yeast-free bread that is rich and hearty in flavor from whole wheat flour and rolled oats.

Looking for specifics on the recipe? Use the table of contents to click on sections of the recipe.

Jump to:
  • ❤️ Why this recipe works
  • 🔪 Ingredients
  • 🍲 Equipment
  • 🔪 Instructions
  • ⭐ How to store, reheat, and freeze
  • 💭 Expert Tips
  • 📋 Frequently Asked Questions
  • 📖 Variations
  • 🥗 Serving Suggestions
  • 🍽 Similar recipes
  • 📖 Recipe
  • 💬 Comments

❤️ Why this recipe works

  • This is another blue ribbon winner, just like our very popular Irish Soda Bread. This bread has also won many blue ribbons atbaking contests.
  • This brown bread uses simple ingredients that are easy to find.
  • Our bread is yeast-free bread so there is no waiting for it to rise.
  • Irish brown bread recipe is not just for St. Patrick's Day. We make this about 2-3 times a week.

🔪 Ingredients

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🍲 Equipment

🔪 Instructions

This is an overview of the recipe. The full instructions are below in the recipe card.

  1. In a large mixing bowl, add dry ingredients.
  2. Add in softened, unsalted butter.
  3. Use a pastry cutter or clean hands to blend the butter into the flour mixture to make a coarse, sand-like mixture.
  4. Make a well in the center of the ingredients.

5. Add buttermilk to whisked eggs.

6. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.

7. Mix to combine ingredients.

8. The mixture will be well combined and stick together.

9. Roll out the dough onto a floured surface. Knead a few times to combine the ingredients and be able to form a round dough.

10. Form the dough a round, about 8 inches in diameter and about 1 ½ inches high. Use a sharp knife to slice a cross into the top of the dough. I continue this tradition with my brown bread as I do with my soda bread.

I also like a rustic look to my bread and sprinkle some all-purpose flour on the top of the bread right before baking.

Let the bread cool in a wire rack for at least ½ hour, once it is cool, slice and enjoy.

⭐ How to store, reheat, and freeze

Once baked, the bread can be kept on the counter, wrapped well in plastic wrap, or a covered airtight container in the refrigerator.

Freezer Instructions:

I bake the bread in bulk because it is a great recipe to make ahead and freeze for later. Wrap the bread very well in plastic wrap and then in aluminum foil. My preference is to use a food saver to freeze the bread.

The bread can be kept in the freezer for up to 4 months. Place in an airtight freezer-safe bag. Defrost the bread, overnight in the refrigerator. Serve and enjoy.

💭 Expert Tips

Expert Tip: For a long time I made this in a 9" x 5" loaf pan. You can make it in either pan for delicious results. Bake at 375°F/190°C for about 40-45 minutes. Begin checking the loaf at 40 minutes to see if baked through. Use a toothpick to insert it into the loaf, it will come out clean when done.

  • When available use course whole wheat flour such as Odlums to give an authentic Irish brown bread. However, it is not always easy to find in the US, stone ground or regular whole what can be used.
  • For best results, use measuring cups and spoons to measure ingredients as baking is a science. Exact measurements gives the best results.
  • Have the butter at room temperature so it blends easily into the flour mix.
  • The bread can be made in a 9" x 5" inch loaf pan or an 8" to 9" round pan.

📋 Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know the bread is finished baking?

Insert a toothpick into the center of the bread. If it comes out clean, the bread is done.
Also, give a tap on the bottom of the bread it will feel hollow.

Can I use instant oats to make the bread?

After so many readers wrote to me saying they use quick-cooking oats, I tried it and it was delicious.
I prefer to use regular oats because that is what I keep in the house.

Can I use a buttermilk substitute?

When you do not have buttermilk available, you can use regular or low-fat milk and add 1 Tablespoon of white vinegar for every cup of milk.
Let it rest on the counter for about 5 minutes to combine flavors before adding to your recipe.

📖 Variations

Do you want to change up this recipe? Here are some ways to change the flavor of this recipe.

Use half whole wheat flour and half all-purpose flour in the recipe.

A mix of light brown sugar and white granulated sugar can be used for a sweet flavor to the bread.

🥗 Serving Suggestions

  • It's also low in calories and fat. Enjoy the bread with some marmalade, jelly, and a cup of ginger tea
  • A great Irish Coffee is always a hit on a dessert table along with this bread.
  • Serve this with a bowl of Irish Beef Stewfor a delicious dinner.
  • Bangers and Mash is a great meal to use a slice of this Brown Bread to sop up all the delicious gravy.
  • I have a round-up of great recipes to celebrate Saint Patrick's Day recipes.

🍽 Similar recipes

Our famous Irish Soda Bread is a must-make for all. Trust me, it has gotten so many 5-star reviews. I am so proud of this recipe and it tastes amazing.

Cranberry Orange Scones are another tasty quick bread recipe to enjoy.

I love any comments or questions, please feel free to leave them below.

Keep up to date with recipes by following me on:


Thank you for your continued support. I am forever grateful.

Eileen xo

If you click on the number of servings in the recipe card you can adjust the measurements up or down for the exact number of servings you need.

If you love this recipe please give it 5 stars!⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

📖 Recipe

Irish Brown Bread Recipe (8)

Irish Brown Bread

An authentic Irish Brown Bread. This bread is so quick and easy to prepare. This is a versatile bread that is wonderful in the morning with marmalade or jelly. Fantastic paired with a stew, soup, or a corned beef dinner. This bread freezes very well

4.50 from 8 votes

Print Pin Rate

Course: Baking, Bread, Breakfast/Snack

Cuisine: Irish

Keyword: brown bread, Irish Brown Bread, Saint Patrick's Day Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes minutes

let cool before slicing: 30 minutes minutes

Total Time: 1 hour hour 20 minutes minutes

Servings: 14 slices

Calories: 201kcal

Author: Eileen Kelly

Equipment Needed:


US Customary - Metric


  • Preheat oven to 375°F/191°C, spray a 9-inch round cast iron or pie dish.

  • In a large mixing bowl, add dry ingredients, whole wheat flour, oats, sugar, salt, baking soda, and baking powder.

  • Cut in the butter and blend well into the flour.Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Set aside.

  • In another small bowl, whisk the eggs and add the buttermilk to combine.

  • Add the egg mixture into the well of the dry ingredients. Stir to combine the ingredients.

  • Gently roll out the dough onto a floured surface and knead the dough gently for a few minutes.

  • Shape into a round loaf and place in the cast iron skillet. Slash the top into the shape of a cross. Sprinkle top with a bit of flour.

  • Bake for 40-45 minutes. Check to see if the bread is done by placing a skewer into the center of the loaf. If it comes out clean, your bread is done. Let cool for about 10 minutes on a wire rack. Remove from the loaf pan and let the bread cool completely for at least ½ hour before slicing.


Be sure to check the Expert Tips and FAQs above with important tips and questions that can help make a delicious recipe.

Note 1: The whole wheat flour I prefer to use is Odlums, which is made in Ireland. However, using any whole wheat flour can be used for delicious results.

Note 2:After so many readers have said they used quick oats, I made a loaf of Irish Brown bread with quick oats and the results were delicious.

Note 3: I have changed the recipe over the years and now bake this bread in a round cast iron skillet. A 9-inch round pie baking dish can also be used.

Insert a toothpick into the center of the bread. If it comes out clean, the bread is done.

Leftovers can be wrapped in plastic wrap and kept for about 3 days.

You can freeze Brown Bread. Use freezer-friendly storage bags for the bread. They can be frozen for up to 4 months.

The nutritional data I provide is an approximation and actualdietary information can vary based on ingredients and proportion sizes.


Serving: 1slice | Calories: 201kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 28mg | Sodium: 332mg | Potassium: 204mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 135IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 62mg | Iron: 2.7mg

Tried this recipe?Mention @Everyday_Eileen or tag #everydayeileen!

Irish Brown Bread Recipe (2024)


What is the difference between Irish Soda Bread and Irish brown bread? ›

If you really want to get technical, brown bread is a form of soda bread since it uses baking soda as the leavening agent. However, the two loaves differ pretty significantly from there. Irish brown bread has a deep, nutty flavor because of its wheat flour and wheat bran while soda bread uses only white flour.

What is the most popular bread in Ireland? ›

Brennan's bread tops the list of favourite brands in Ireland.

What is the national bread of Ireland? ›

Each country has its “national” bread with recipes dating back to their forefathers. Ireland, for one, has embraced it's kind of bread – the soda bread. It is a basic staple among the Irish that they call it Irish Soda Bread.

What is brown flour in Ireland? ›

Our Odlums Extra Coarse Wholemeal Flour is wholegrain flour with nothing added or nothing taken out. It is principally used for traditional Irish Soda Bread recipes, and can also be added to other bakes for extra fibre. Also known as Brown Flour.

Is soda bread healthier than normal bread? ›

Soda bread is quick to prepare and is a low-fat, yeast-free option. It may help alleviate symptoms of bloating and discomfort. If you're new to baking or short on time, our seeded soda bread is an ideal loaf to bake at home.

Should you toast Irish soda bread? ›

Although soda bread is ideal for serving at room temperature, it is better to serve it warm. The thick and cakey texture of the bread and warm temperature brings out its hearty flavors. If you can't have it fresh from the over at least have it toasted.

Why is Irish bread so good? ›

It was for everyday use, and its distinctive soft, crumbly, dense texture results from the "soft" wheat that grows in the cool climate of Ireland, meaning that it doesn't have enough protein to form the gluten structure of yeast-raised breads. Hence the use of baking soda, originally potash, as a leavening agent.

What is the healthiest bread in Ireland? ›

  • Brennans Be Good Wholemeal Bread 600G. Write a review. ...
  • Brennans Be Good White 600G. Write a review. ...
  • Brennans Be Good Low Calorie Wholegrain 600G. ...
  • Brennans Be Good Mini Wholemeal Bread 450G. ...
  • Stafford's Bkry High Fibre Bread Multi Seed 395G. ...
  • Pat The Baker Multigrain Pan 400G. ...
  • Gallaghers Sourdough Spelts And Oats 400G.

What is the most delicious bread in the world? ›

World's best breads: the list of winners
  • Butter garlic naan (India)
  • Nan-e barbari (Iran)
  • Pan de yuca (Colombia)
  • Focaccia di Recco col formaggio (Italy)
  • Baguette (France)
  • Naan (India)
  • Piadina Romagnola (Italy)
  • Tarte flambée (France)
Oct 4, 2023

What is the national breakfast of Ireland? ›

All full Irish breakfasts include some or all of the following: Bacon, sausages, baked beans, eggs, mushrooms, grilled tomatoes, and perhaps some cooked leftover potatoes made into a hash or a bubble and squeak. There will also be toast, butter, marmalade, and lots of tea to drink.

Why do you put a cross in Irish soda bread? ›

The Southern Irish regions bake their loaves in a classic round fashion and cut a cross on top of the bread. This was done for superstitious reasons, as families believed a cross on top of the bread would let the fairies out or ward off evil and protect the household.

What do the Irish eat on toast? ›

Looking at toast toppings, nearly 80% of respondents would go for the classic butter option, with jam coming in at 38%, followed by marmalade at 30%. Smashed avocado on toast might be trendy but it only tempts 10% of Irish toast lovers.

How do you eat Irish brown bread? ›

Enjoy warm or at room temperature. Serve with sweet butter and a dollop of marmalade, if desired. Store, well-wrapped, for a couple of days at room temperature; freeze for longer storage.

What is Irish brown bread made of? ›

Made with whole wheat flour, wheat germ, and rolled oats, this simple Irish brown bread comes together in no time and yields a hearty, super tasty loaf, perfect for toasting and slathering with butter and jam.

What is the flavor of brown bread? ›

The flavors here aren't exactly complex. Brown bread is a pretty simple baked concoction of wheat flour, rye flour and molasses. There is a mild amount of sweetness that comes the molasses, giving that bran-adjacent flavor.

What is special about Irish soda bread? ›

Irish Soda Bread is a quick bread that does not require any yeast. Instead, all of its leavening comes from baking soda and buttermilk. This Irish soda bread recipe is my grandmother's and has been cherished in my family for years. It's dense, yet soft and has the most incredible crusty exterior.

What is another name for Irish soda bread? ›

In Ulster, the wholemeal variety is usually known as wheaten bread and is normally sweetened, while the term "soda bread" is restricted to the white savoury form. In the southern provinces of Ireland, the wholemeal variety is usually known as brown bread and is almost identical to the Ulster wheaten.

What is the purpose of Irish soda bread? ›

When was soda bread first created? This simple Irish classic is a staple in many households, used to mop up hearty stews and wash down pots of tea. It's also a symbol of celebration, baked in droves in the lead up to Saint Patrick's Day.

Is brown soda bread better than white bread? ›

Most people believe brown bread, otherwise known as wholemeal or whole-wheat bread, is better for our health than white. And according to most nutritionists, you'd be correct. Wholegrain products contain more fibre and nutrients than their white counterparts.


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