Rosemary Cheddar Irish Soda Bread

A savory Irish soda bread packed with fresh rosemary and a generous helping of sharp cheddar — just the thing for snacking or an irresistible St. Patrick’s day side.

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Rosemary cheddar Irish soda bread fully baked in a black cast-iron skillet.

Rosemary and sea salt are two of my favorite additions to just about any bread or roll, so it’s only natural that they would doll up a soda bread beautifully. Add a sharp cheddar, though, and you’re pretty much in bread heaven.

Whisking the chopped rosemary and cheese straight into the dough means you get a speckled loaf with bright streaks of cheddar, and a little kosher or sea salt sprinkled on top amplifies everything with a crisp, savory bite. Are you with me? Running into your kitchen yet?

A side-view of savory soda bread baked in a cast-iron skillet, cooling on the counter.

A savory Irish soda bread packed with fresh rosemary and a generous helping of sharp cheddar - perfect for snacking or an irresistible St. Patrick's day side!Click To Tweet

Admittedly this is not a purist’s soda bread, which would probably be either plain or studded with a sweet mix-in like raisins. But if rosemary cheddar bread is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

How To Make Savory Irish Soda Bread, Step-by-Step

The beauty of soda bread is how simple it is to make. If you normally shy away from homemade bread, this is a fantastic starter. No yeast, no stand mixer – just mix, shape, and bake.

As I was updating this post to improve guidance on the baking time and method, I thought it might be helpful to include some step-by-step photos, as well. Of course you can find the full recipe below!

First, you’ll just combine the dry ingredients by hand. Be sure to use a large bowl, since you’ll be adding everything else to the same one! (See photo 1 below.) Then add cold butter cut into small pieces (2). Using your fingers, massage and crumble in the butter until you have an even, mealy texture. (3) Add buttermilk (4) and stir it up! (5)

Now comes the slightly messy part – you’ve got to get that craggy mass of dough shaped into a round-ish ball. Start with the spoon, then switch to your hands. Pinch it, press it, shape it, turn it out onto the counter if you need to, and keep pressing. It will come together! (6)

Step-by-step photos of how to make savory Irish soda bread in a skillet.

Now transfer to your baking surface. (7) This works beautifully in a cast-iron skillet, but also works fine on a pizza stone or regular baking sheet.

Using a sharp knife, score a deep “X” across the top of the entire loaf. (8) This is critical, as it helps the heat of the oven penetrate the dough-y center of the loaf – before the outside gets burnt to a crisp! Finally, brush the top of the loaf lightly with extra buttermilk. (9) You’re ready to bake!

About halfway through the baking time, you’ll want to check the bread and possibly tent it with foil to prevent the top from becoming overly brown before it’s baked through. It’s at about this point that your house will start to smell incredible. 🙂 After 45-60 minutes total baking time, you’ll be rewarded with this amazingness.

Rosemary cheddar Irish soda bread fully baked in a black cast-iron skillet.

Now, Enjoy!

Allow the bread to cool for at least 10 minutes before slicing in, as this also helps to avoid the center turning gummy. Then, slice and devour to your heart’s content!

This makes a great side dish for stew, corned beef, or other typical St. Patrick’s Day fare, but I’ll be honest – my personal favorite thing is to just eat it as a snack. Take a warm slice and enjoy. If the bread is already cooled, it can easily be toasted or even microwaved for 10 seconds to get that warm effect once again. Then, for extra credit, slather with butter and sprinkle each slice with a little sea salt.

Seriously: bread heaven. Right here. Right now!

Close-up of a cut-open loaf of Irish soda bread.

Enjoy! ♥

Rosemary cheddar Irish soda bread fully baked in a black cast-iron skillet.

10 votes


Rosemary Cheddar Irish Soda Bread




Yield 1 loaf

Rosemary and cheddar baked into the loaf makes for a dynamite savory spin on Irish soda bread.


  • Olive oil, for coating the skillet or baking sheet
  • 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour (can substitute additional all-purpose)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • several turns of freshly-ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 2 cups sharp or mature cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 cups cold buttermilk, plus extra for brushing


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 C). Lightly coat a 10-inch cast iron skillet or rimmed baking sheet with oil; set aside. (If using a baking stone, line with parchment paper.)
  2. Cut the butter into small cubes, place on a plate, and keep in the fridge until ready to use.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pepper. Add the rosemary and cheddar, and stir to combine.
  4. Add the chilled butter and, using your fingers, work the cubes into the flour by quickly pinching and rubbing the butter and flour together. The butter should be fully worked in, without leaving large chunks.
  5. Add 2 cups buttermilk and stir with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to combine. Once it becomes difficult to stir, use your hands to press and gather the dough into a rough, craggy ball. Shape the ball until slightly flattened and about 7 or 8 inches in diameter.
  6. Transfer the dough to your baking surface, and with a sharp knife, score a large X about 1/2-inch deep all the way from end to end (see photo in post). Brush the top with a bit more buttermilk.
  7. Bake for 25 minutes, then check the bread; if the top is already nicely browned, tent with a piece of aluminum foil. Continue baking for 20 to 30 minutes more. The bread is ready when the center of the X has lost the wet, shiny look of raw dough. You can also insert a cake tester or skewer — it should come out clean.
  8. Transfer to a wire rack and let bread cool 10 minutes before serving. Cut thick slices, slather richly with butter, and sprinkle a bit of extra sea salt on top for the full experience!


Wrap any leftover bread tightly in plastic wrap and store at room temperature for up to 3 days. Slices can toasted or rewarmed in the microwave for about 10 seconds.

Inspired by Foodness Gracious; adapted from The Kitchn.

This post was originally published on March 7, 2017, and updated on March 10, 2018 to include new and step-by-step photos and revised instructions.

After additional testing and reader feedback, I found the original recipe produced a bread that was delicious but not always fully cooked in the middle. So my search for something more reliable led me here – slightly revised ingredients, a longer, lower baking time, and, most importantly, additional tips on how to evaluate when the bread is done. Hopefully this ensures success in your kitchen as well as in mine!

This post contains affiliate links; for more information, see my full disclosure policy here.

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A savory Irish soda bread packed with fresh rosemary and sharp cheddar cheese makes the best St. Patrick's Day side or snack. #sodabread #irishsodabread #stpatricksday

A savory Irish soda bread packed with fresh rosemary and sharp cheddar cheese makes the best St. Patrick's Day side or snack. #sodabread #irishsodabread #stpatricksday


  • Reply
    Leanne | Crumb Top Baking
    March 26, 2018 at 9:22 am

    I made this bread for St. Patrick’s day and it turned out beautifully! Perfectly browned on top and baked through the middle. It was a huge hit with my dinner guests. And the rosemary was a nice touch Monica!

    • Reply
      Monica | Nourish and Fete
      March 26, 2018 at 12:05 pm

      Hooray, I’m so happy to hear that, Leanne! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave feedback!

  • Reply
    March 18, 2018 at 1:37 am

    This was great. I’ve never made any type of bread before and this turned out just like your picture. I used our cast iron skillet too, which I think is totally cool, and followed you recipe exactly. (Although, I forgot to brush the top of the bread with buttermilk). The cheddar and rosemary don’t overwhelm the taste, just enhance it. We all loved it! Thanks!

    • Reply
      Monica | Nourish and Fete
      March 18, 2018 at 7:52 am

      Hi Sara! I’m so happy to hear that you made and enjoyed this – truly, reading your nice feedback just put a huge smile on my face! I agree with you that baking it in the cast iron skillet is so cool – it’s such a fun way to start making bread! Seriously, thank you for making this and for coming back to let me know it went. 🙂

  • Reply
    Claire | The Simple, Sweet Life
    March 12, 2018 at 5:38 am

    Girl, if rosemary cheese bread is wrong, I don’t want to be right either! This sounds absolutely, mouth-wateringly delicious!

  • Reply
    Veronika's Kitchen
    March 12, 2018 at 2:17 am

    This bread looks so pretty! I love the combination of rosemary and cheddar in it) Will save this recipe for my fiance, he will love it!)

  • Reply
    Matt Kearns
    March 11, 2018 at 9:33 pm

    Hey Monica this bread looks so fresh and crispy! The directions are also really straight forward. Looking forward to trying this recipe!

  • Reply
    Kim @ Three Olives Branch
    March 11, 2018 at 3:12 pm

    Your bread is so pretty! I love the rosemary and cheddar combination, it sounds just perfect for soda bread!

  • Reply
    Karyl / Karyl’s Kulinary Krusade
    March 10, 2018 at 3:50 pm

    There’s nothing quite like homemade bread…especially freshly made and warm. I like that you use rosemary, what a wonderful herb to add to the bread

  • Reply
    Kathryn @ FoodieGirlChicago
    March 9, 2018 at 9:14 pm

    I don’t often make bread at home but this one gives me a definite reason to do so! And of course, the cheese really makes it a must try!

  • Reply
    Julie Ponzini
    March 8, 2018 at 5:13 pm

    This is a wonderful recipe! Can be doubled and tripled.
    Excellent served warm out of the oven or toasted later. Serve alone or toast the bread for a great corned beef sandwich the next day. Two thumbs us from me!

    • Reply
      March 8, 2018 at 7:53 pm

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Julie, and thank you so much for taking the time to come back and let me know – I really appreciate it! Now I’m craving a slice with some corned beef! 🙂

  • Reply
    March 6, 2018 at 2:22 pm

    Nothing like homemade bread. This would be a perfect addition to St. Patrick’s Day stews and hearty meals. Delicious!

  • Reply
    Claire | Sprinkles and Sprouts
    March 6, 2018 at 3:00 am

    You hit the nail on the head. Bread is just HEAVEN.
    And the rosemary and cheese combo in this soda bread just sings to me.
    I am loving how easy this recipe is.
    A favourite!!!!

  • Reply
    Nicole | Culinary Cool
    March 6, 2018 at 2:59 am

    I agree that rosemary is absolutely outstanding with carby, delicious bread. Admittedly, I’ve never tried Irish Soda Bread, but it’s definitely on the list! I’m loving that you’ve used sharp cheddar, too! You can never go wrong with cheese.

  • Reply
    March 5, 2018 at 11:59 pm

    This bread looks like such a treat! I love the flavors you got going on in here. I should actually try making a soda bread for once. 🙂 I love your fun twist on the classic!

  • Reply
    Leslie Haasch
    March 5, 2018 at 3:38 pm

    Adding rosemary to bread has to be one of my favorite things, but rosemary AND cheddar? Oh heck yeah!

  • Reply
    Abby @ WinsteadWandering
    March 5, 2018 at 3:12 pm

    I love using rosemary in homemade bread, too. The addition of cheddar takes it over the top!

  • Reply
    Wanda C
    October 29, 2017 at 12:21 am

    Perfect and delicious!!

    • Reply
      October 29, 2017 at 3:23 pm

      Thanks so much, Wanda!

  • Reply
    Bill Runions
    May 5, 2017 at 3:54 pm

    1 cup of buttermilk is wayyy too much. 3/4 cup max. or use 3 cups of flour. The baking time at 425 for 20-30 mins is not even close to being done. It should be 375 for 50 mins.

    • Reply
      May 5, 2017 at 5:43 pm

      Hi Bill, I’m sorry the recipe didn’t turn out well for you! It can definitely be tough to account for differences between ovens and cooking times; I know from semi-obsessive testing that my oven temperature can be finicky, perhaps the same is true for you. This bread has worked for me as written several times, but I hope that with your adjustments you came out with something more to your tastes and still enjoyed it. If I get more feedback along these lines I’ll definitely consider adjusting the instructions. Thanks for the feedback!

  • Reply
    Jasmin @ The Happiness Kitchen
    March 10, 2017 at 2:31 am

    OMG I’m just imaging the smell of this soda bread baking and my mouth is already starting to water. I’ve had rosemary focaccia bread before and loved it, so I’ll definitely love this too

  • Reply
    March 10, 2017 at 2:19 am

    I love the added rosemary and cheddar. I must make this. Looks delicious!

  • Reply
    March 10, 2017 at 2:02 am

    Love this spin on Irish soda bread. Rosemary is such a great flavor!

  • Reply
    March 9, 2017 at 10:26 pm

    What a lovely looking loaf of bread! And the rosemary and cheddar are two of my favorites so I’m sure this must taste great 🙂

  • Reply
    Lucy @ Supergoldenbakes
    March 9, 2017 at 9:48 pm

    This is a lovely flavour combination and I love the simplicity of a soda bread. Thanks for sharing.

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