How to Make Gluten Free Barmbrack (Irish Tea Bread)

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Gluten-Free Irish Barmbrack is a dense and chewy tea loaf packed with dried fruit and warm spices. It’s incredibly satisfying and traditionally served toasted and spread with butter alongside a cup of tea. Vegan, dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, gluten-free and refined sugar-free.

slices of gluten free barmbrack topped with melting butter
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What is Barmbrack?

Barmbrack is a traditional Irish sweet bread dotted with raisins and other dried fruits soaked in tea. The tea soaked fruit is baked into a sweet dough. Barmbrack is sweeter than bread but isn’t quite as sweet as cake.

You might also see barmbrack referred to as bairín breac, which comes from the Irish bairín meaning loaf, and breac meaning speckled.

Barmbrack is similar to bara brith; a traditional Welsh tea bread also made using dried fruit. Like barmbrack, bara brith takes its name from the Welsh words for loaf and speckled.

Curious about other Irish breads? Check out this list of traditional Irish breads you need to taste!

For more Irish-inspired vegan recipes, check out this collection of Vegan St. Patrick’s Day Recipes.

a loaf of irish gluten free barmbrack freshly sliced

Halloween Tradition

If you were to go into an Irish household at Halloween, you would likely see a loaf of Barmbrack, possibly decorated with animals or birds. 

Barmbrack is part of an Irish fortune telling custom. Traditionally, six items are baked into the barmbrack, each item linked to fortunes. The six items are:

  • A pea – indicates that the person would not marry that year.
  • A stick – the person would have an unhappy marriage.
  • A piece of cloth or rag – shows that the person will have bad luck with money.
  • A coin (traditionally a sixpence) – indicates that the person will be wealthy.
  • A ring – the person will get married that year.
  • Finally, a bean – you are destined for a future without money.
a hand reaching for slices of vegan gluten free barmbrack tea bread

How-to Make Gluten-Free Barmbrack

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Recipe Rating



  1. This is making my mouth water! Plus it’s gluten free which is even better. I’m getting my ingredients together to try this asap.

  2. 5 stars
    I love how this Barmbrack is gluten free! It looks absolutely amazing with all that dried fruit. So many warming spices too.

  3. 5 stars
    I hadn’t heard of this type of bread before I came across your recipe but I’m so glad I made this recipe this weekend! It turned out perfectly, and we enjoyed it for breakfast this morning!

  4. 5 stars
    This barmbrack sounds absolutely delicious and I love that the recipe is gluten free so my husband can enjoy it too!