The only thing better than drinking a foamy pint of Guinness is eating a slice of Irish Guinness brown bread! Slather it with salted Irish butter and thick jam, and you’ve got a sweet, salty, malty treat.
(This recipe was originally published in November 2018, but was updated with new photos and content in 2020).
I have had the privilege of visiting Ireland, truly one of the most beautiful countries I’ve ever seen. At breakfast one morning in Derry, Northern Ireland I discovered the new love of my life: Irish Guinness brown bread.
I lightly toasted a slice of it, and slathered it in Irish butter and strawberry jam. My life changed forever. I was so inspired by this delicious and simple morning treat with its hearty texture and complex flavors. I vowed I would recreate it upon my return to the states.
The results are just as delicious as my early memories of that impressive Guinness brown bread. It’s crumbly and crusty on the outside, and tender inside. It has a malty quality from the Guinness with an oaty note from the actual oats. It’s mildly salty and sweet at the same time, and also a bit buttery even before you add a thick layer of butter on top. In short, it’s pure magic!
I’m proud to say that this Guinness brown bread recipe is very similar to the incredible bread I enjoyed in Derry. It does not require a mixer, and comes together quickly. If you have the ingredients, you can easily make this on a whim. I try to keep a few bottles of Guinness on hand not for drinking, but for beer bread emergencies! Sláinte!
How to make it
The recipe is incredibly simple. Combine oats, whole wheat and all-purpose flours, dark brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl. In another bowl mix together the wet ingredients. This includes a bottle of Guinness, buttermilk, melted butter, and vanilla extract (PHOTO 1).
Make a well in the center of the dry mixture and then pour in the wet mixture (PHOTO 2). Stir until combined (PHOTO 3).
Generously butter a loaf pan, and pour in the bread batter. Top with a sprinkle of oats (PHOTO 4), then bake until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove the Guinness beer bread from the pan and let it cool completely before slicing it up.
Although you can slice and eat this bread as is, I sometimes like to toast slices in the toaster oven. Let the slices cool completely before buttering because the butter will melt right into the bread if you’re impatient like I tend to be 🙂
Whether you enjoy the Guinness bread as is, lightly toast it, top it with salted Irish butter and/or fruit jam, this simple recipe is a surefire winner!
Irish butter is arguably the best butter in the world. Definitely splurge both in cost and calories to get the good stuff. I top my toasted slices with a generous smear of Kerrygold and a couple spoonfuls of jam.
I have also found excellent quality (and reasonably priced) salted Irish butter at Aldi grocery stores. They sell their in house Countryside Creamery brand.
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- Browse all British and Irish Recipes
Ways to use up leftover buttermilk
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I have made this Guinness bread countless times since the first time, and it is constantly a family favorite. It’s so good, that I sometimes even enjoy it for dessert with jam on top. I’m not much of a Guinness drinker, but man this bread is good!
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Irish Guinness Brown Bread
- 1 cup (100 grams) old-fashioned rolled oats (not instant), plus extra for sprinkling
- 2 ¼ cups (280 grams) whole wheat flour
- ¼ cup (30 grams) all-purpose flour
- ½ cup (95 grams) packed dark brown sugar
- 2 ¼ teaspoons (11 grams) baking soda
- 1 teaspoon (3 grams) baking powder
- 2 teaspoons (7 grams) kosher salt
- 1 (11- to 12-ounce) bottle Guinness extra stout beer, preferably at room temperature
- 1 cup buttermilk, shaken
- 5 tablespoons (71 grams) unsalted butter, melted, plus extra for brushing the pan
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Salted butter such as Irish Kerrygold
- Preheat the oven to 450°F.
- In a large bowl, combine the oats, whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the beer, buttermilk, melted butter, and vanilla.
- Make a well in center of the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into the well. With your fingers, a spatula or wooden spoon, stir the batter from the middle of the bowl to the outside, until it’s well mixed. It will look more like cake batter than bread dough.
- Brush a 9-by-5-by-2 ½-inch loaf pan with melted butter. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle the top with oats.
- Put the bread in the oven, immediately turn the temperature down to 400°F. Bake for 45 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Turn the bread out onto a baking rack and allow to cool completely. Slice and serve with salted butter, toasting slices in a toaster oven if desired.
- This recipe uses kosher salt (aka cooking salt, kitchen salt, coarse salt outside of the US). If you are using table salt, definitely scale down the salt as that is a saltier type of salt! The type of salt will make a big difference in how salty your food tastes, so keep that in mind.
- Ideally your Guinness beer should be at room temperature for this recipe, however if it's cold it will still work. It will solidify the melted butter (oops) but you can still mix up the batter and the mixture will come together just fine in the end.
- This Guinness bread is best served within a few days of baking. After day 1 I typically will toast up the slices in a toaster oven just to freshen them up a bit before serving.
- Adapted from The Barefoot Contessa
*All nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary with brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes and more.*