These delicious Irish Soda Bread Muffins are a fun twist on a beloved Irish staple. Instead of the classic round loaf, this sweeter version is baked in a muffin pan, is studded with currants and topped with a sprinkle of crunchy coarse sugar.
Let's start out by saying that this Irish Soda Bread Muffins recipe is not a traditional soda bread recipe for a number of reasons. First of all, it's not a recipe for a "loaf" of bread as most soda breads are made in a round free-form shape (like this Cheddar Herb Soda Bread) or in a loaf pan. Secondly, soda bread is usually savory or somewhat neutral-flavored rather than sweet and is served as a side for soups, salads, and hearty stews.
Lastly, Irish soda bread usually calls for whole wheat flour and baking soda whereas this recipe is made with all-purpose flour (or a combination of all-purpose and whole wheat) and a mix of baking powder and baking soda. KingArthurBaking, where I discovered this recipe, calls it "Irish Soda Bread, American Style!"
How do I love thee?
All that said, here's what this Irish Soda Bread Muffins recipe is and why I love it:
- Individual servings - the dough is baked in a muffin pan making perfect portions to serve for breakfast, brunch or coffee breaks.
- These Irish Soda Bread Muffins freeze well so you can enjoy a few now, then stash the rest in the freezer for a special breakfast or snack on a busy day.
- A slightly sweet flavor profile - although not overly sweet, these Irish Soda Bread Muffins are definitely sweeter than traditional soda bread but you don't feel like you're having cake for breakfast.
- The pretty sugar topping is the crème de la crème. Each bite has a bit of sweet, crunchy texture!
- The crumb of these muffins is moist, and tender and the flavor, SUPER delicious!
- The recipe comes together quickly (you can have them mixed, baked and on the table in less than 45 minutes) with just one bowl and no mixer needed!
- The ingredient list is simple with most being pantry and refrigerator staples.
What is soda bread?
Some of you might not be familiar with soda bread. I grew up in the midwest where yeast bread reigns and never heard of soda bread until many years after leaving home. Soda bread in it's simplest description is a quick bread that does not require yeast to ensure rising. While soda bread is most famously attributed to Ireland that not the origin.According to Trafalgar.com, "it was actually first created by Native Americans. They were the first to be documented using pearl ash, a natural form of soda formed from the ashes of wood, to leaven their bread without yeast."
Although soda bread began as an affordable necessity, it's still an Irish classic and a staple in many Emerald Isle households. If you book a room at just about any Irish inn or hotel, soda bread will be on the breakfast menu, served with delicious Irish butter and jam. It's also served with hearty stews and soups and is popular all day long with pots of Irish tea to wash it down.
Like the Irish, I love to serve these Irish Soda Bread muffins with butter (preferably Irish butter like KerryGold). When I'm feeling a little fancy, I scoop my soft butter into a pastry bag fitted with a Wilton 2D tip. I pipe the butter into a small serving dish, just moving the tip back and forth (nothing fancy as I'm not a fancy piper) to create a ruffly pattern. If you're having a brunch or a party the butter can be done a day or two in advance and refrigerated until about an hour before serving time.
I also love to serve a little jar of our Easy Raspberry Freezer Jam (which can be made all year long from fresh or frozen berries).
A delicious combination with warm-from-the-oven soda bread muffins!
A happy day!
I felt like it was my ☘️ lucky day ☘️ when I found this Irish Soda Bread Muffins recipe over on the King Arthur baking site. I think you will too! But don't relegate them only to March or St. Patrick's day! They are a fabulous morning, afternoon or coffee break treat any day of the year. Top o' the mornin'!
Café Tips for making these Irish Soda Bread Muffins
- This recipe calls for dry currants. You'll find currants in the dry fruit section of the grocery store right near the raisins. If you can't find currants you could sub regular or golden raisins.
- If you've had your currants sitting around for a while they may have dried out a bit. You can easily rehydrate them to their former plump selves by soaking them in hot water for 5-6 minutes. Then just drain them, give them a little pat with a paper towel to remove any excess moisture and they'll be ready to roll into your muffins
- This recipe calls for buttermilk. I like to purchase whole milk buttermilk but the low-fat variety will also work. If you don't have buttermilk, no worries, you can make your own substitution. Simply add one tablespoon of white vinegar to a 1 cup measuring up. Add milk to measure one cup and give it a stir. Wait 5 minutes then stir again. You will notice that the milk has gotten a bit thicker and it will be all set.
- I love this OXO Good Grip muffin pan. I've had mine for years and it still looks like new. The cups are slightly narrower and taller than many other pans I've used producing nice tall muffins.
- This is meant to be a stiff dough so don't add extra liquid.
- Don't overmix this batter but do make sure all of the flour is incorporated by scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl when mixing. When you notice that all of the flour has been combined, stop mixing as overmixing can produce dry, tough muffins.
- Don't skip the crunchy sugar topping! You only need a scant half teaspoon per muffin which adds less than 7 calories and 2g of carbs -but makes a pretty presentation and adds a delightful crunch.
- I like to use coarse sugar like Demerara or Turbinado but cane sugar (not quite as coarse) is also really nice.
Thought for the day:
But as for me,
the nearness of God
is my good.
I have made the Lord God
my refuge, that I may tell of all Your works.
What we're listening to for inspiration:
If you enjoy this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review! It’s so helpful to other readers to hear your results, adaptations, and ideas for variations.
- 6 tablespoons butter (I use salted)
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 large egg
- 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour You can also use 1½ cups of all-purpose flour combined with ¾ cup of whole wheat or white whole wheat flour.
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt (I use Morton)
- 1 ⅓ cups currants
- coarse sugar (Demerara, turbinado or cane) for topping
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Generously grease a standard muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray. You can also line the cups with cupcake papers.
In a microwave-safe bowl or pyrex measuring cup melt the butter on high power for 1-1½ minutes. Add the buttermilk and stir well then add the egg and whisk everything together.
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar and currants (or raisins).
Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the buttermilk mixture. It will seem like too much flour, at first. Keep mixing, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl just until all of the flour is incorporated. Don’t over-mix!
Scoop the dough into the prepared muffin cups. Sprinkle each with a scan ½ teaspoon of course sugar. Bake for 20-22 minutes until the muffins are nicely domed and light golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to coop for 2 minutes then remove from the pan to a cooling rack.
Serve warm or at room temperature. Serve them plain, or with butter and/or jam.
See Café Tips above in the post for more detailed instructions and tips to ensure success.
If you prefer to use Metric measurements there is a button in each of our recipes, right above the word “Instructions”. Just click that button to toggle to grams, milliliters, etc. If you ever come across one of our recipes that doesn't have the Metric conversion (some of the older recipes may not), feel free to leave a comment and I will add it.
Recipe adapted from King Arthur Baking