Keto Irish Soda Bread is a delicious low carb, grain-free alternative to the original. This tender almond flour bread has a crusty exterior and sugar-free dried cranberries in place of the traditional currants.
It’s almost March and you know what that means. Everyone starts thinking about shamrocks and leprechauns, and this tender keto Irish soda bread.
What, what? You aren’t laser-focused on minty green keto desserts, corned beef and cabbage, and cocktails made with Keto Irish Cream? Why ever not?
Okay, fine. I get it, St. Paddy’s Day is fun but it’s not the most widely recognized of holidays. But even if you don’t mark the occasion at all, I highly recommend this keto quick bread recipe. It’s delicious any old time!
What is Irish Soda Bread?
Don’t feel put out if you’ve never heard of soda bread. It’s simply a quick bread made with baking soda as the leavening agent, rather than baking powder or yeast.
Many cuisines have their own version of soda bread, as it’s faster and easier to make than yeast-leavened dough. And baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, is inexpensive and easy to procure.
Irish soda bread comes in various forms, but the one that most people know on this side of the pond is lightly sweetened and contains raising or currants.
It’s a wonderful rustic-style bread that has a soft and tender center and a crusty exterior. And that shaggy looking exterior always reminds me of a giant scone!
Classic Irish soda bread takes flour, baking soda, butter, and buttermilk. The acid in the buttermilk reacts with the soda to create little bubbles that cause the bread to rise.
For a keto version, we obviously need to change a few of these ingredients. Here’s what you need:
- Heavy cream
- Apple cider vinegar: this replaces the acid in the buttermilk
- Almond flour
- Coconut flour
- Protein powder: helps to replace the gluten in wheat flour
- Sweetener: just a little adds the right flavor
- Baking soda
- Egg whites
- Sugar-free dried cranberries (optional)
How to make keto Irish soda bread
I took my cues for this recipe from one by Ina Garten. Her soda bread takes some egg, which helps give it more structure. I utilized egg whites to make the bread a little lighter as well.
- Sour your cream: Buttermilk is a little too high carb for keto, but adding some vinegar to heavy cream is a great substitute.
- Whisk the dry ingredients: I used mostly almond flour with a touch of coconut flour to get the right consistency.
- Grate in the butter: I love this trick for distributing cold butter throughout dough. I used it in my keto apple scones too, and it gives a more flaky consistency.
- Stir in the egg whites and soured cream: The dough will be shaggy and somewhat sticky.
- Chop the dried cranberries: If you decide to use them, it’s best to chop them up more finely. This gives better distribution throughout the bread, and makes it less likely to tear when you cut into it.
- Form into a loaf: The dough will spread a bit so shape into a high, round loaf.
- Cut a deep X into the center: You may need to wet your knife so it doesn’t stick to the dough too much. The cuts help the center cook through properly.
- Bake 20 minutes: You need the initial blast of heat from the oven to make the bread rise properly.
- Turn off the oven: Let the bread sit inside another 30 to 40 minutes to cook through. If you keep the oven on the whole time, it may brown too much. Once the top is nice and firm, with no sponginess underneath, the bread is done.
- Let cool completely: Keto Irish Soda Bread is very fragile when it first comes out of the oven so let it cool completely to firm up.
Frequently Asked Questions
Coconut flour would require changing the entire recipe, so I recommend using sunflower seed flour instead. You can use it 1:1 to replace the almond flour.
Try using coconut milk in place of the heavy cream.
Absolutely! This keto Irish soda bread does not rely on the sweetener for consistency so anything you like best should work. You can also leave out the sweetener entirely, if you prefer.
This bread is great with anything! I like mine lightly toasted with a little butter. It’s only mildly sweet so it also goes well with soups and stews.
Because it is quite moist, you should store keto Irish soda bread in the fridge, tightly wrapped. It will last for up to a week.
You can also freeze it for several months.
Keto Irish Soda Bread Recipe
- ½ cup cream
- 1 ½ tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 cups almond flour
- ¼ cup unflavoured whey protein powder (or egg white protein powder)
- 3 tablespoon Swerve Brown
- 2 tablespoon coconut flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup butter chilled
- ⅓ cup sugar-free dried cranberries chopped (optional)
- 2 egg whites
- 1 tablespoon melted butter to brush the top
- Preheat the oven to 325ºF and line a baking sheet with a silicone mat.
- In a small bowl, combine the cream and vinegar. In a large bowl, whisk together the almond flour, protein powder, sweetener, coconut flour, baking soda, and salt.
- Grate the cold butter into the dry ingredients and stir to distribute. Stir in the dried cranberries, if using.
- Stir in the cream mixture and the egg whites until well combined. Transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet. With wet hands, form into a high, round loaf. Brush all over with the melted butter.
- Use a sharp knife to cut a large X in the center of the loaf. Place the baking sheet on the second highest rack in the oven and bake 20 minutes, until the outside is turning golden brown.
- Turn off the oven and let the bread sit inside until the top is firm to the touch and not spongy, another 30 to 40 minutes.
- Remove and let cool completely before cutting into slices.