Cranberry Soda Bread with Pecans

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Cranberry soda bread with pecans is a lovely addition to the table any time of day. Serve it up warm with Irish butter on top!

Like everyone else, I’ve been working on my bread making skills the past year. 

Bread is one of those things that takes practice, and while I used to make homemade bread all the time, my fingers had forgotten how!

After I baked up a few loaves of my honey oatmeal bread, I decided to perfect my soda bread recipe.

I’ve gone through multiple tests of this cranberry soda bread, and happily, I’ve hit on the best flavor and texture!

sliced cranberry soda bread on a black plate with loaf behind

Featuring dried cranberries and chopped pecans, this soda bread is ideal for breakfast. The cranberries make it sweet, but not TOO sweet.

What makes soda bread different?

Soda bread does not use yeast to rise, so it’s a great bread for beginning bakers.

Instead, it uses the reaction of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) and buttermilk. 

Traditional soda bread only uses a few ingredients: flour, buttermilk, baking soda, and salt. This makes it super easy for anyone to make, because you probably have the ingredients already!

Even if you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can easily create your own buttermilk substitute. Simply add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to 1 cup less 1 tablespoon of milk, and let it rest 5 minutes before using.

American-style soda breads like this one also add butter for tender crumb, similar to a biscuit or scone.

loaf of cranberry soda bread with pecans on a plaid kitchen towel

What can you add to soda bread?

Soda bread add-ins are nearly limitless, as anyone who is a fan of The Great British Baking Show can tell you!

For my cranberry soda bread, I’ve also added pecans for a nutty crunch. You could swap in walnuts if you prefer.

You can also make even sweeter varieties using chocolate chips, or go savory with cheeses, fresh herbs, or meat. 

slice of cranberry soda bread with pecans on a plaid kitchen towel

How do you shape soda bread?

Soda bread dough is very sticky. Don’t be afraid! 

Dump the dough out onto a floured surface and knead it just a few times with floured hands to form a ball. 

You can shape the soda bread into a longer loaf, but a round loaf is traditional.

I bake soda bread on a lined baking sheet. This creates a somewhat larger, flatter loaf.

If you prefer, put it in a dutch oven lined with parchment. This will help it keep a perfect round shape and bake up beautifully.

Many soda bread recipes call for a scoring across the top in a cross. Apparently, this was originally done for superstitious reasons to protect the household from evil spirits, and the tradition lingers on today.

close up of cranberry soda bread slices on a black plate

Whether you add the cross or leave the top undecorated, cranberry soda bread is a wonderful bread to have for breakfast or as an afternoon snack.

close up of cranberry soda bread slices on a black plate

Cranberry Soda Bread with Pecans

Cranberry soda bread is an easy, no-yeast bread. Pecans add great flavor and crunch.
5 from 9 votes
Print Pin Save
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 55 mins
Course Breads
Cuisine Irish
Servings 12
Calories 292 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg, beaten

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400°F and line a baking pan or dutch oven with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt.
  • Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or two knives until the mixture resembles coarse sand. Stir in the cranberries and pecans.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and egg, then add to the dry ingredients.
  • Stir until the mixture comes together to form a shaggy dough and all dry bits are incorporated. The dough will be very sticky; resist the urge to add more flour.
  • Lightly flour a work surface and scoop out dough onto it. Briefly knead the dough just to shape it into a ball. Transfer dough to baking sheet. If you like, score the top with a cross.
  • Bake for 45-50 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool at least 10 minutes on a wire rack before cutting.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 sliceCalories: 292 kcalCarbohydrates: 42 gProtein: 6 gFat: 11 gSaturated Fat: 5 gCholesterol: 33 mgSodium: 329 mgPotassium: 120 mgFiber: 2 gSugar: 10 gIron: 2 mg
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7 Comments

  1. This was super easy to make. I think I’ll make it again for Thanksgiving. I might even swap out the cranberries for dried cherries another time of year.

  2. Made this the other day and actually used it as a breakfast treat! Kinda like scones, YUM! It was delicious and easy!

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