Irish Whiskey Soda Bread with Irish Whiskey Butter

Each year around St. Patrick’s Day I take the opportunity that the annual holiday provides to experiment with a different type of Irish Soda Bread. It seems there is an infinite number of adaptations and spins you can put on the traditional Irish bread. I started out with a traditional, albeit a bit Americanized, version of Irish Soda Bread, and then went on to make Irish Soda Bread Scones and Irish Brown Bread, all of which have been incredibly delicious. This year, I started my search for something different, and before long my eyes were fixated on a recipe that threw Irish whiskey into the mix. Not only do you steep the raisins for the bread in whiskey, but you also made a whiskey butter to serve alongside the bread. Hold the phone. My search stopped, I grabbed the bottle of Jameson on the liquor shelf, and got down to business.

The two key components to the whiskey aspect of this Irish Whiskey Soda Bread are the whiskey-soaked raisins and the whiskey butter. First, let’s talk the raisins. While you can soak them for as little as 30 minutes or an hour, things only get better the longer you let them soak. I let mine go for quite a few hours and the result was incredibly plump raisins, thanks to the long infusion of Jameson.

When you drain the raisins, save the whiskey that you soaked them in and use that to get to work on your whiskey butter. The butter is very simple to make – you combine a little of the leftover whiskey and some sugar in the microwave, then let it cool down. Once cool, you blend the mixture into room temperature butter to completely combine. You can form the butter into a “stick” of butter or store in a plastic container or ramekin.

Hello Jameson-infused butter. This is the perfect complement to the Irish soda bread – it will certainly give your breakfast a kick!

I have always enjoyed the combination of all-purpose and whole wheat flour in Irish soda breads, as I feel it gives the bread an extra bit of texture and heartiness, and the same holds true for this bread. Not only do I love that the raisins in this bread are whiskey-soaked, but I love how many of them there are. No skimping on the raisins here! You get a mouthful in each and every bite. I know many of you might be wondering how prominent the whiskey flavor actually is here. The bread, on its own, does not have a whiskey flavor. You get a bit of it from the raisins, but probably a 1 to 2 on a scale from 1 to 10. The real kick comes from the butter. It is no doubt a whiskey-infused butter and the flavor comes through loud and clear. I think a moderate smear of the butter on the warm butter is absolutely spectacular and such a wonderful combination of flavors, but if you’re not wanting in-your-face whiskey flavor, you might want to skip the butter. (If you want to eliminate whiskey altogether, you can soak the raisins in water to get them to plump up a bit before you mix them into the bread. But unless you can’t have alcohol for religious or medical reasons, I strongly recommend the whiskey. It is a holiday, after all :))

So crack open that bottle of Jameson, gather some raisins, and get yourself ready for one heck of a breakfast treat. Or lunch. Or a snack. Or dessert. Whenever you decide to eat it, you are definitely in for a real treat. We blew through this in no time, and I have a feeling you will, too.

One year ago: Guinness-Milk Chocolate Ice Cream
Two years ago: St. Patrick’s Day Shamrock Cookies
Three years ago: Braised Beef with Mushrooms and Cabernet Sauce
Four years ago: Russian Grandmothers’ Apple Pie-Cake
Five years ago: Texas Sheet Cake

Irish Whiskey Soda Bread with Irish Whiskey Butter

Yield: 1 round loaf

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes


For the Irish Whiskey Soda Bread:
1 cup raisins
1 cup Irish whiskey
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
¾ cup + 1 tablespoon buttermilk

For the Irish Whiskey Butter:
9 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3 tablespoons Irish whiskey (reserved from soaking the raisins)
1 tablespoon granulated sugar


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

2. Combine the raisins and whiskey in a small saucepan. Place over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Once it reaches a simmer, remove from heat, cover, and steep for at least 1 hour. When finished, drain the raisins and reserve the whiskey to use in the whiskey butter.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking soda, and salt. Use a pastry blender or your finger tips to blend the butter into the flour mixture until coarse crumbs are formed. Most of the butter should be about the size of small peas, with a few larger pieces throughout. Stir in the whiskey-soaked raisins. With a wooden spoon, stir in the buttermilk just until the dry ingredients are moistened and the dough comes together.

4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and knead lightly until the dough is smooth, but still slightly sticky. Use as little extra flour as necessary to knead the dough.

5. Pat the dough into a 6-inch circle. Place the dough circle onto the prepared baking sheet and score the top of the dough ½-inch deep to form a cross.

6. Bake for 30 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer reads 190 degrees F in the center of the loaf. Remove to a cooling rack. If you plan to serve the bread warm, you can cover it with a towel to keep it warm. Any leftover bread can be wrapped in plastic wrap and stored at room temperature for up to 3 days.

7. While the bread bakes, prepare the Irish Whiskey Butter. Microwave the whiskey and sugar together for 20 seconds, and then allow to cool to room temperature. Place the softened butter in a medium bowl, and beat in the whiskey mixture a little at a time, until completely incorporated. You can place the butter in an airtight container or wrap into a log with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

(Recipe adapted from Yummly)


23 Responses to “Irish Whiskey Soda Bread with Irish Whiskey Butter”

  1. Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes on March 13, 2012 at 1:38 am

    This is such a great idea! I hope I have time to try it before Saturday!


  2. Averie @ Averie Cooks on March 13, 2012 at 1:52 am

    I love Baileys and could drink it just about any time of day. Love that you made butter infused with it! And of course the fab looking bread!


    • KG on March 14th, 2012 at 7:28 pm

      The butter is infused with whiskey, not Bailey’s…


  3. Nancy @ CouponClippingCook on March 13, 2012 at 1:54 am

    wow…irish whiskey soda bread AND irish whiskey butter! You left out the Irish Whiskey Jam! (just kidding). Sounds delicious and festive too.


  4. Kiri W. on March 13, 2012 at 6:10 am

    Wow! I’ve had my share of soda bread, but never with whiskey. I’m thinking I need to change that.


  5. Katrina on March 13, 2012 at 7:30 am

    That butter needs to go on everything! haha


  6. Erin @ Brownie Bites on March 13, 2012 at 8:02 am

    That butter sounds delicious! I’m not a fan of raisins, but I love me some Irish soda bread!


  7. Jennifer @ Not Your Momma's Cookie on March 13, 2012 at 8:25 am

    That butter is dangerous, me thinks! 🙂


  8. Elly @ Nutmegs, seven on March 13, 2012 at 9:33 am

    Amazing idea! I always use the same soda bread recipe and don’t put fruit in it…but now I’m wondering WHY!


  9. Amber, RD on March 13, 2012 at 9:37 am

    This sounds fantastic! Irish soda bread has been on my to-do list forever because I like to experiment with new things, but I have never gotten around to it because it just doesn’t sound that great. This version might just change my mine! Cheers!


  10. Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers on March 13, 2012 at 9:57 am

    Yum! What a great recipe! I need to make this bread! I’m such a carb addict!


  11. Kare at Kitchen Treaty & The Hazel Bloom on March 13, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    Whiskey-spiked soda bread! Genius – and the butter takes it over the top. I love Irish Soda Bread and hadn’t thought of experimenting with it, but you’re inspiring me!


  12. Mireia on March 13, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    I love irish soda bread and this one looks amazing!


  13. Tara @ Crock-Pot Ladies on March 13, 2012 at 3:25 pm

    That looks and sounds so good that I will gladly overlook the adding of fruit to the “Irish Soda Bread”. Show me the way to the next whiskey recipe! 😉


  14. Lyn @LovelyPantry on March 13, 2012 at 3:44 pm

    Now this is my kind of Irish Soda Bread… I’ve made a few, but the whiskey kick may be what i’ve always wanted! lol 🙂


  15. Meg on March 13, 2012 at 7:24 pm

    In the oven right now! I had to add another teaspoon of buttermilk in order to get it to come together but it might be because I really squeezed out the raisins from the whiskey.


  16. Kepanie on March 13, 2012 at 8:03 pm

    OMGosh does that look good :O)! It brings back such awesome memories. I used to teach and the Irish staff members would set up a whole table of yummy goodies like that before St. Patty’s Day. They stopped when a bit before I had left. It makes me think of a co-worker who passed.


  17. the urban baker on March 14, 2012 at 7:28 pm

    I have yet to make soda bread. I am putting this on my weekend to do list(just scared I may not share)!


  18. Pattypro on March 15, 2012 at 12:46 am

    We enjoy Irish Soda Bread, so I was anxious to make your variation. Hubs & I ate almost half of it in one sitting. So good! I had made some pumpkin bread, and the whiskey butter is wonderful on it, too. : )


  19. Doreen on March 17, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    Raisins, 1/2 white, half dark currently soaking in an Irish Honey Whiskey, will report out on completion.


    • Doreen on March 18th, 2012 at 7:53 pm

      I was really surprised by the flavor of the raisins, cooking time was a little longer due to the plumped raisins I believe. I did soak them overnight 😉 I am quite a fan of honey liquors and whiskeys, the honey whiskey butter was quite excellent, there is just something about plain butter on a slice of Irish soda bread though. Thanks for a great spin on a classic!


  20. Janet on March 19, 2012 at 3:07 am

    Wow, just made this today and it was AWESOME 🙂 Although I just used water instead of whiskey since I didn’t have any on hand. 🙁
    Tasted almost like a biscuit!


  21. ANNA MARIE on March 18, 2015 at 1:27 pm

    I have never made soda bread. MAD this for St. Patricks day and it is absolutely MARVELOUS. Now I think I will make it for Easter as part of the diff bread servings.
    Question, why didn’t the butter absorb all of the 3tbs of whiskey????????


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