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Dutch Oven Irish Soda Bread Recipe with Cherries

Irish Soda Bread is loaded with sweet cherries. It is soft and tender and slightly sweet. With only 6 ingredients, it’s quick and easy to make.

Top-down view of a whole loaf of Soda Bread dotted with cherries over a green napkin on a wooden cutting board.

Dutch Oven Irish Soda Bread with cherries is a quick and easy soda bread to make.

It’s delicious as is but the cherries add just a little bit of sweetness.

This is a very basic soda bread recipe. You can mix in a variety of ingredients to make it your own.

I first made Irish Soda Bread with Raisins as a surprise for my 92-year-old Irish mother-in-law. I couldn’t believe how quick and easy that bread came together!

She and I love family history. She’s shared some great recipes with me like this Raspberry Linzer Torte recipe. It was her mother-in-law’s recipe. That’s an old recipe!

Level view of slices of soda bread dotted with raisins sitting on a wooden cutting bread. Butter is melting down the slice and a white bowl of butter sits to the side.

The History of Soda Bread

What I’ve learned about this bread makes a lot of sense in regard to her heritage.

It’s said that this bread didn’t actually originate in Ireland. The American Indians made bread using pearl ash a natural form of soda created from the ashes of wood before the existence of baking soda.

Once baking soda was introduced, Soda Bread recipes were created in Ireland, around 1830. It became a staple in Ireland when their people suffered financial difficulty.

This bread has few ingredients and could be cooked without ovens.

Traditional Soda Bread Ingredients

Traditional ingredients for this bread – flour, baking soda, salt and “sour milk” (buttermilk).

The buttermilk in the dough contains lactic acid, which reacts with the baking soda so you don’t need to use yeast in this bread.

Why is there a cross on top?

Scoring yeast bread keeps it from “blowing out”. The cross on this bread isn’t a score. I learned that it’s partly due to superstitious reasons.

Families believed if they cut a cross on the top of the bread that it would ward off evil and protect the household.

John isn’t crazy about raisins but loves cherries so I made up a loaf. I let it brown just a little too much. The cherries were a little (a lot) dry and crispy.

I decided to try baking it in my dutch oven the way I do my Overnight Sourdough Bread.

I removed the lid when 10 minutes of baking was left so it would brown. The bread browned nicely with the lid on so I covered it back up to finish baking. We loved the way it came out.

Front view of a loaf of Soda Bread dotted with cherries with a wedge removed next to a green napkin on a wooden cutting board.

Tips for the perfect soda bread

  • When an instant-read thermometer reads 210° the bread is done.
  • Eat Soda bread the day you make it or freeze what you don’t plan on eating within a couple of days. I wrap it in plastic or use a zip lock bag and then wrap it again in foil. Use a marker to label and date it.
  • Add the cherries before the bread comes together. This is a strong dough so adding it after the loaf comes together will make it difficult to incorporate them.
  • Leftover bread makes amazing french toast!

Here are a few more recipes that I hope you’ll enjoy!

We LOVE baking bread! You can find all of our bread recipes here!

You may need

Level view of slices of soda bread dotted with raisins sitting on a wooden cutting bread. Butter is melting down the slice and a white bowl of butter sits to the side.
5 from 8 votes

Dutch Oven Irish Soda Bread with Cherries

This Super Easy Irish Soda Bread recipe is a tasty quick bread that can be baked in any kitchen.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Servings 20 servings
Author Hostess At Heart


  • 2-1/2 cups buttermilk **
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups dried cherries


  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Combine all of the dry ingredients into a medium mixing bowl. Whisk to combine.
  • Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the buttermilk. Mix with a wooden spoon until flour is incorporated. Knead a few times by hand if necessary.
  • Add the cherries and knead to combine. Form a ball from the dough.
  • Turn the dough out onto the baking sheet and form a 2″ thick round loaf. Cut a 1-inch cross through the top of the bread with a sharp or serrated knife.
  • Bake for 30 minutes and then reduce the oven temperature to 400 degrees F for an additional 10 minutes. The bread is done when browned and sounds hollow when tapped.
  • Allow the bread to cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Wrap in an air-tight to store.


You can make your own buttermilk by adding 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice per cup of milk.  Let it sit for about 5 to 10 minutes and then add it according to the recipe instructions.
Recipe adapted from The Poco Loco Olsons


Calories: 177kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 5g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 257mg | Potassium: 86mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 450IU | Calcium: 33mg | Iron: 1.8mg
This recipe was calculated using the exact brands and measurements I used to make this recipe. If you are following a strict diet please note changing anything will cause the nutritional info to change. My calculations are intended as a guide only.
Tried this recipe? That’s awesome!Mention @hostessatheart or tag #hostessatheart!
Recipe Rating

Kathleen Pope

Sunday 1st of March 2020

Julie, I cannot wait to make this loaf!! I am not a fan of raisins in my baked goods, so I've typically stayed away from making a traditional Irish Soda bread -- but the cherries! Oh yes please!!

Julie Menghini

Tuesday 3rd of March 2020

John feels the same way so no raisins here LOL! Thank you Kathleen!

Jennifer A Stewart

Monday 18th of February 2019

Another stunning and amazingly easy bread recipe for us novice bakers~ Thank you!

Julie Menghini

Tuesday 19th of February 2019

Thanks, Jennifer!

Sandra Shaffer

Monday 18th of February 2019

This is just the recipe I need to get my hands baking bread! What a delicious and easy recipe.

Julie Menghini

Tuesday 19th of February 2019

Thank you, Sandra!


Monday 18th of February 2019

This Dutch Irish Soda Bread looks absolutely WONDERFUL!!!!!!

Julie Menghini

Tuesday 19th of February 2019

Thank you Brandi!

debi at Life Currents

Sunday 17th of February 2019

I was going to make a loaf of bread today, but realized that I just bought a loaf. My loaf of bread, however, was not as pretty as yours. So, I shall make yours instead, next week, when that boring store-bought loaf is gone.

Julie Menghini

Tuesday 19th of February 2019

Thank you, Debi!