1901 Irn Bru Ice Cream

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A batch of homemade ice cream, flavoured with 1901 Irn Bru (the original recipe). A Scottish classic turned into a creamy frozen dessert!

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1901 irn bru ice cream

1901 Irn Bru Ice Cream

For this batch of homemade ice cream we’re taking our vanilla recipe & flavouring it with 1901 Irn Bru (the original recipe Irn Bru)! If you’re a fan of the super sweet, classic Scottish drink, you’ll definitely enjoy this ice cream. It’s creamy, tangy & surprisingly, not overly sweet.

This is the first flavour in our new series “Will It Scoop?” where we’re making homemade ice creams with unique flavours! If you have a suggestion for our next ice cream flavour, drop a comment below…

Original Recipe Irn Bru

Irn Bru is an iconic, Scottish soft drink! First released in 1901, this sweet, bright orange carbonated drink contains 32 flavours & is made to a secret recipe. The flavour of Irn Bru is often described as “indescribably” but if you haven’t tried it, it’s sweet & tangy.

In 2018 a sugar tax was introduced in the UK which saw AG Barr (the owner of Irn Bru) reduce the amount of sugar in Irn Bru by almost half, to much outrage! So much so, that in 2021 they started making 1901 Irn Bru, using the old recipe.

The Technical Stuff

Adding Irn Bru to a batch ice cream isn’t without it’s challenges! Here’s how I adjusted my vanilla ice cream recipe, to incorporate enough Irn Bru to flavour the ice cream adequately.

  • Reduce the Irn Bru first – To reduce the amount of water in the Irn Bru we reduce it into a syrup before adding it into the custard base. We do this so that our churned ice cream isn’t coarse & icy. Reducing the Irn Bru into a syrup also concentrates its’ flavour.
    After reducing, we top the syrup up with 150g of Irn Bru (from the bottle), so that we have 210 grams in total (this equates to half of the milk content in the original ice cream recipe).
    Due to the acidity in the Irn Bru, we add it to the custard just before churning to avoid breaking down the dairy.
  • Replace half of the milk with Irn Bru – Replacing half of the milk in the original recipe with Irn Bru gives a strong enough flavour without negatively affecting the texture & scoopability of our finished ice cream.
  • Increase the amount of skimmed milk powder – Because we are replacing half of the milk with Irn Bru, we need to make up the milk solids with skimmed milk powder. The MSNF of whole milk (milk solid not fat) is around 9% so we need to increase the amount of milk powder by 20 grams (9% of 210 = 18.9, which I’ve rounded up to 20 for simplicity). Milk powder absorbs water, so adding it to our ice cream is crucial if we want the smoothest texture possible. Not too much though because it will turn our ice cream gritty!
  • Reduced the amount of sugar – Original recipe Irn Bru contains roughly 11 grams of sugar per 100ml. We’re using 650ml of Irn Bru which means that we need to reduce the amount of sugar in the original ice cream recipe by roughly 70 grams.
1901 original recipe irn bru

What You’ll Need

  • 1901 Irn Bru – We’re using original recipe Irn Bru for this ice cream. This is available in some supermarkets or online & gives our ice cream the best possible flavour.
  • Milk & Cream Whole milk & double/heavy cream are used in this recipe. These contain the right amount of fat to make our ice cream richer & easier to scoop.
  • Sugar – Caster sugar & glucose syrup are used for this batch of ice cream. Both of these add sweetness & the glucose helps prevent ice crystals forming. 
  • Skimmed Milk Powder – Milk powder absorbs water & helps emulsify the ice cream which in turn, adds creaminess. Using the right amount is crucial as too much milk powder will turn the ice cream gritty. For this recipe, I’ve used Marvel skimmed milk powder.
  • Vanilla – We only need to use a small amount of vanilla paste for this ice cream. A high quality vanilla works best!
  • Egg Yolks – Using egg yolks in our custard base adds fat & richness to our ice cream. For this recipe, we need 85 grams of yolks which is roughly 5 egg’s worth.

Recipe Breakdown

The full, printable recipe card for this ice cream can be found at the bottom of this post!

  • Reduce Irn Bru Into A Syrup – First we pour 500 grams of Irn Bru into a saucepan then place over a medium-high heat. This is then brought to a boil & reduced into a syrup. This will take around 30 minutes & we should end up with 60 grams of syrup. We then top the syrup up with 150g of Irn Bru (from the bottle) so that we end up with 210 grams in total.
  • Custard Base – To make the custard, we first heat cream, milk, sugar, glucose, milk powder, vanilla & a pinch of salt in a saucepan, until steaming hot. We then temper egg yolks with a third of the warm cream then whisk them back into the pan. Now, we cook the custard over a low heat, stirring regularly until it reaches 82°c/180°f (egg yolks are fully cooked at this temperature).
  • Overnight Chill – Once the custard is cooked, we give it a blitz with a stick blender then pass through a sieve. We leave this to cool then refrigerate both the custard & Irn Bru overnight (keeping them separate).
irn bru custard base
  • Combine Custard & Irn Bru – The next day, we whisk the cold custard & Irn Bru together then pass it through a sieve, into a jug.
  • Churning – Now to churn. To do this, pour the ice cream base into an ice cream machine & churn until it is the consistency of soft serve. If you take the temperature with a food probe, it should be as close to -5°c/23°f as possible. Depending on what ice cream machine you are using, churning will take anywhere from 20-45 minutes.
  • Freezing – Once churned, the ice cream needs to set in the freezer for at least 4 hours before serving.

Homemade Ice Cream Tips & Tricks

  • Chill your custard overnight for a better flavour & texture.
  • Dip your scoop in hot water for easier scooping!
  • Set your freezer to 18°c/-1°f for the best set.
churned ice cream

Equipment Used

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More Ice Cream Recipes To Try!

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1901 Irn Bru Ice Cream

A batch of homemade ice cream, flavoured with 1901 Irn Bru (the original recipe). A Scottish classic turned into a creamy frozen dessert!
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time40 minutes
Churning Time30 minutes
Total Time1 hour 20 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Scottish
Servings: 6 People
Author: Ben Racey

Equipment

  • Ice Cream Maker
  • Digital Food Probe
  • Stick Blender
  • Large Saucepan
  • Heatproof Jug
  • Mixing Bowl
  • Sieve
  • Digital Scales
  • Ice Cream Scoop

Ingredients

  • 650 g 1901 Irn Bru See Notes
  • 300 g Double Cream
  • 210 g Whole Milk
  • 50 g Caster Sugar
  • 40 g Glucose Syrup
  • 45 g Skimmed Milk Powder
  • ½ tsp Vanilla Paste
  • ¼ tsp Fine Sea Salt
  • 85 g Egg Yolks

Instructions

Irn Bru Syrup

  • Weigh 500 grams of the Irn Bru into a large saucepan then place over a medium-high heat.
  • Bring to the boil then reduce the irn bru into a syrup. This will take around 30 minutes.
  • Place a heatproof jug on top of a set of scales then pour in the Irn Bru syrup. There should be 60 grams.
    If there is more than 60g of syrup, pour the irn bru back into the pan & continue reducing. If there's a touch less than 60 grams, continue with the recipe.
  • Next, pour in 150g of Irn Bru into the syrup & stir to combine. Set this aside to cool then cover with clingfilm & refrigerate overnight.

Ice Cream Base

  • Place the cream, milk, sugar, glucose, milk powder, vanilla & salt into a large saucepan.
  • Whisk to combine then place the saucepan over a low heat & leave to warm gently until steaming – don’t let it boil. Make sure to stir regularly with a spatula.
  • Whilst the cream is heating up, place the egg yolks into a mixing bowl & whisk together.
  • When the cream is steaming hot, pour a third into the yolks, whisking as you do so.
    This is called tempering the yolks.
  • Pour the now tempered yolks back into the saucepan then cook over a low heat until the custard reaches 82°c/180°f, making sure to stir constantly with a rubber spatula.
  • Remove the pan from the heat then give the custard a blitz with a stick blender.
  • Next, pass the custard into a bowl through a sieve.
  • Leave to cool to room temperature, stirring regularly then cover the ice cream’s surface with a piece of baking parchment & refrigerate overnight.

Churning

  • The next day, pour the Irn Bru into the custard, whisk together then pass through a sieve, into a jug.
  • Pour the Irn Bru custard into an ice cream machine & churn until it is the consistency of soft serve. If you take the temperature with a digital food probe, it will register roughly -5°c/23°f.
  • Once churned, transfer the ice cream to a 1 litre tub & leave to set in the freezer for a minimum of 4 hours.

Notes

1. Irn Bru – For this ice cream recipe, we’re using the 1901 original recipe Irn Bru. This contains more sugar than the new recipe & provides a stronger flavour. Original recipe Irn Bru is available online & in some supermarkets.
2. Ice Cream Maker – To churn this ice cream, you’ll need to use an ice cream machine. The machine that I use is linked in the post above.
3. Skimmed Milk Powder – We’re using skimmed milk powder for this ice cream. I used Marvel dried skimmed milk.
4. Glucose Syrup – Glucose syrup is used to make our ice cream easily scoopable. This is available in most supermarkets.
5. Storage – Homemade ice cream will keep in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.

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