Big Red Ice Cream Recipe

It tastes like a dream, this Big Red ice cream!

Claire Onidi By
Claire Onidi
Passionate about food and pastries since always, Claire spends most of her time in the kitchen to develop new recipes. She is French but lived many years abroad.
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Updated January 23, 2023

Quench your summertime thirst with Big Red ice cream! This homemade treat is as delicious as it is nostalgic.

Big Red ice cream

In 1937, R. H. Roark and Grover C. Thomsen invented a new soda in Waco, Texas. As the name suggests, it’s a bright red version of cream soda.

What exactly does cream soda taste like? While many people think it tastes like bubblegum, that isn’t actually the flavor.

Instead, this sweet drink combines orange and lemon oils with vanilla. And together, this gives the soda its characteristic creaminess.

Since this soda is so tasty, people turned it into an ice cream flavor. It’s very popular with kids and anyone with a big sweet tooth.

I’ve created my own homemade ice cream recipe flavored with Big Red. And to make it even more beautiful and delicious, I’ve added a cherry swirl.

Tips and Tricks for Making Big Red Ice Cream

Read Ice Cream Maker Instructions

Your type of ice cream maker will determine how you freeze the Big Red ice cream base. For example, with a traditional hand crank device, you need to layer ice and rock salt to freeze the base.

On the other hand, a machine with a freezer bowl doesn’t require extra equipment. However, you need to freeze the bowl for at least 21 hours prior to making ice cream.

So, always read the manufacturer’s directions before you start making this recipe.

Don’t Overfill

Don’t fill your ice cream container more than ¾ of the way to the top. As the machine churns, it aerates the ice cream mixture, and this makes it expand.

Therefore, if you fill the container too full, the mixture may spill out and you’ll lose your delicious ice cream.

Churn Until Thick

When you churn your Big Red ice cream, don’t expect it to freeze solid. In fact, you should stop when it has the texture of soft serve, even though you won’t be able to scoop it.

Once you put it in the freezer after churning, it will get harder. And if you over-churn it, you’ll get an oily aftertaste when you eat your ice cream.

Freeze Quickly

As soon as you have finished churning your ice cream, move it to the freezer. This part of the process is called “hardening,” since the ice cream will solidify.

And you want to freeze it as quickly as possible because this will keep the ice crystals small, giving you a smoother texture.

Big Red ice cream recipe

Big Red Ice Cream Recipe

  • Prep Time35 min
  • Cook TimeY min
  • Total Time4h35 min
  • Servings1-2
  • Yield4 quarts

Level: Easy

Chill Time: 4 hr


For the cherry swirl:

For the ice cream:



  1. Cook the Cherries

    First, prepare the cherry swirl. If you haven’t already pitted your cherries, do so now.

    Then, add them to the medium bowl and use the immersion blender to puree them. When they’re completely smooth, pour the mixture into the saucepan.

    Next, add the lemon juice and maple syrup to the saucepan. Put it on the stove and turn the heat to medium-low.

    Finally, cook the puree until the mixture thickens slightly and the cherry flesh has released all of its juices. This should take about 5 to 10 minutes.

  2. Strain the Cherries

    Now, put the mesh strainer on top of the small bowl and pour your cooked puree through. Then, use the wooden spoon to press the remaining pulp against the strainer and release the last drops of cherry juice.

    You don’t want to miss out on any of that delicious cherry flavor!

    When you’ve collected all of the juice, place the bowl in the refrigerator until it’s time to swirl.

  3. Prepare Ice Cream Base

    In your ice cream maker bowl, add the whipping cream and sweetened condensed milk. Then, pour enough Big Red soda in to reach the “max fill” line.

    Next, run your machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

  4. Swirl with Cherries

    Once your ice cream is the correct consistency, stop the machine. Then, put half of the ice cream into the container.

    Next, add about half of the cherry puree on top and swirl everything gently with a spoon.

    Then, place the other half of the ice cream on top, drizzle the remaining cherry syrup over that, and swirl everything once more.

  5. Freeze and Eat!

    To freeze your Big Red ice cream, first place a layer of plastic wrap over its surface to keep it from forming a skin. Then, put it in the freezer as quickly as possible.

    While you can enjoy your ice cream after a few hours, it’s best if you leave it to chill overnight.

    Finally, grab your scoop and a spoon!

Big Red ice cream serve

Fun Ways to Adapt This Recipe

  • Most ice cream flavors use vanilla extract even if they’re not vanilla ice cream. But since Big Red soda already has vanilla in it, I like to use other flavorings. For example, I add other fruits to the ice cream, such as fresh strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, or pineapple. And if I don’t have any fresh fruit for the swirl, I’ll make it with frozen cherries, frozen strawberries, or frozen blackberries.

  • For any ice cream, toppings are always a bonus! To be healthy, you can use chopped fresh fruit. But when I want to indulge, I’ll pile on gummy candies, fruit syrups, mini chocolate chips, or whipped cream.

  • You can also surprise your guests by lining the bowl or cone with hot fudge, fruit curd, or jam.

  • And if you want to change it up, try another soda in this recipe! For instance, Orange Crush makes great ice cream.

How to Store Big Red Ice Cream

For storage, you want your freezer to be between -5 and 0 degrees F. However, you can bring your Big Red ice cream to between 6 and 10 degrees F when you want to scoop it.

Also, the best place to store ice cream is in the main section of your freezer. According to the International Dairy Foods Association, your ice cream won’t last as well in the door.

This is because foods in the door change temperature every time you open and shut the freezer. And this can negatively affect the texture of your ice cream.

As well, homemade ice cream doesn’t have any stabilizers or preservatives in it, so you want to eat it within about 2 weeks. After that, it will still be safe to eat, but the flavor and texture won’t be as nice.

There are several different containers you can store your ice cream in:

  • Specialty ice cream container: These are made specifically for ice cream, they come in a bunch of different sizes and shapes, and you can reuse them many times.

  • Freezer-safe plastic container: But you don’t need to buy anything special because regular reusable plastic containers work, too!

  • Old ice cream container: If you’ve just finished a tub of ice cream, don’t throw out the container! You can wash and reuse that instead of buying a new one.

  • Loaf pan: This is one of my favorite ways to store homemade ice cream because you can get really good scoops from this shape, and the rectangle fits nicely in the freezer.

Big Red ice cream - Pinterest

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
  • 402Calories
  • 3.8gFat
  • 92gCarbs
  • 91.6gProtein
Show Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: Per ½ cup serving
Amount per serving
% Daily Value*
Total Fat3.8g5%
Saturated Fat2.4g12%
Total Carbohydrate92g33%
Dietary Fiber 0.2g1%
Total Sugars91.6g
Vitamin C0mcg0%
Calcium 54mg4%
Iron 0mg0%
Potassium 91mg2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.
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