Orange Soda Brands Ranked Worst To Best

What's your favorite fruit soda? There's one out there for every color of the rainbow and, whether you're a grape soda fiend or like to explore more unusual soda flavors like guava, there's no denying the satisfaction of sipping on a bubbly, sweet fruit soft drink. Fruit sodas may get a bad rap for making a nutritional mockery of an important food group — but it's not like you expect to reach into an orange tree and pluck off a can of Crush or Fanta, right?

Knowing that these sodas are distant, distant cousins of the fruits they name, we still happily enjoy these yummy soft drinks. But have you ever considered which brand really does it best? Are the pricy craft sodas in cute glass bottles better than the cheap plastic two liters? Do artificial sweeteners and other sugar alternatives make or break a soda's flavor? We blind-tested and ranked 23 brands of orange soda to find out. 

23. Trader Joe's Tangerine Probiotic Sparkling Beverage

Because of how much we love frozen food, random gourmet scores, and snacks, it's disappointing to come across a dud Trader Joe's product. But the grocery chain's tangerine probiotic soda just had nothing to offer even compared to the other health sodas. This drink is more sour than even pure orange juice. 

Plus, the sparkling component of this drink is pretty dull. It poured out thick and frothy, more like a fermented kombucha-esque beverage than a bubbly, foamy soda. The TJ's orange probiotic soda didn't taste good, didn't have a good mouthfeel, and falls short of the health soda experience successfully delivered by other brands on this list. 

22. Northern Soda Company Orange Craft Soda

We fully expected all of the cane sugar-sweetened craft orange sodas to be top performers in this ranking. But something went horribly wrong for the Northern Soda Company, where the indulgently sugary, soda-fountain-esque flavor of most craft soda is lost under layers of a strange chemical taste. 

That intrusive flavor was described by one tester as plasticky, while another likened it to soap, as if they were drinking out of a cup that hadn't been fully rinsed after washing. Another made the specific but unwavering connection to the taste of the air in a Payless Shoe Store. We imagine huffing sneaker soles isn't your thing, so you might want to steer clear of this craft soda gone wrong. 

21. Culture Pop Orange, Mango and Lime Soda

If this were a ranking of the most unique orange sodas you could find, Culture Pop's orange, mango, and lime soda would take the gold. But we're ranking for flavor here, and they don't make ribbons for 20th place or further down. Culture Pop's probiotic soda isn't super unpleasant if you're expecting the flavor, but there are still a lot of tastier sodas ahead, even in the health soda category.

The strong orange tanginess tastes as if pure orange juice was used in the making of this soda. It's quite bubbly and almost refreshingly unsweet. Because it's not bogged down with tons of syrups, it has a light, airy feel. The untraditional flavor sounds delicious, but as executed here we barely picked up on the mango and lime.

20. Poppi Orange Prebiotic Soda

Poppi's orange prebiotic soda has a  unique flavor profile. Our first impression was of an extremely sour tangerine, which gave way to a highly tart orange flavor more like juice than soda. It's quite watery, with few traditional soda characteristics. The orange is robust, but still quite a bit too lip-puckeringly tart for us to pick this soda to sip on. 

All in all, there were better and worse health sodas than Poppi. It had the sort of vegetal aftertaste you expect from additives like prebiotics, which might be tough to get past for some people (us included). 

19. Zevia Orange Zero Calorie Soda

The flavor of Zevia's zero-calorie sodas, when you're expecting it, can be adapted to. After all, when you're buying a soda like Zevia, you're probably keeping tabs on your sugar intake and aren't giving it a side-by-side comparison with other orange soda brands. But when you do pit brands against one another, the sacrifice in flavor for a more forgiving nutrition label becomes immediately apparent. n

In the blind test, we could immediately tell that this was an alternatively-sweetened soda. Zevia is sweetened with stevia extract, a natural sugar alternative that is as much as 300 times sweeter than sugar, especially after it's been purified like in Zevia's beverages. Unfortunately, stevia can also turn bitter. The syrupy-sweet yet strangely bitter taste of this soda is still too much for our tastebuds. 

18. Mountain Dew Orange Citrus Kickstart

Mountain Dew Kickstart's orange citrus flavor is sort of an odd duck in the category, falling somewhere between sodas and energy drinks. But the brand also says there's real orange juice in this beverage, which you'd think would contribute to a bright, authentic flavor. But this wasn't the case in our experience. The orange in this Kickstart tasted super artificial, and even though the ingredients list says that the drink is sweetened with high fructose corn syrup, there's something very odd about the sweetening agent's flavor in this drink. It comes across more like a sugar alcohol or artificial sweetener than anything else.

Combined with its lackluster carbonation, Mountain Dew's take on orange soda fell solidly into mediocre territory. 

17. Frostie Orange Soda

Why is the jovial, bearded old man on the Frostie bottle smiling so broadly? After tasting his soda, we think it's definitely because he's on a sugar high. This was one of the sweetest soft drinks on our list, though Frostie only contains 40 grams of sugar per every 12-ounce bottle, so it's not necessarily a lot of sugar that creates the perception of overbearing sweetness.

Because the amount of cane sugar in the bottle was enough to overshadow the already weak orange flavor, Frostie comes across as way more sugary than it is. Its carbonation is also on the weaker side, leading to a thick texture that some soda drinkers might not like. 

16. Fit Soda Orange Cream

Fit Soda comes in an orange cream flavor, with an emphasis on cream. If that component of the taste hadn't been layered on so thick (to the point where we could barely taste the orange), Fit Soda could have soared up several spots. But because of the strong cream flavor and a funny aftertaste that we've found to be common with some natural sugar alternatives, we couldn't quite bump the Fit Soda closer to the top. 

Despite its purpose as a sugar-free, bubbly traditional soda alternative, Fit Soda has a more watery, thinner mouthfeel than sodas. It sits on the tongue more like sparkling water while still offering a sweet, soda-like taste. 

15. Olipop Orange Squeeze

There's a reason that Olipop sodas are becoming so popular that supermarkets can barely keep them on the shelves. It's a healthier soda packed with prebiotics, fiber, and other nutritional benefits, without sacrificing too much in terms of indulgent taste. We have really enjoyed all of the Olipop products we've tried before — even the Minions Olipop soda — and the Orange Squeeze was no exception.

Right off the bat, we could tell this was an alternatively-sweetened soda. That yumminess comes from stevia, fruit juice, and cassava syrup, per Olipop. But it lacked the unpleasantly bitter aftertaste that other stevia-sweetened sodas can't escape. Olipop's orange soda is plenty bubbly, with a mild, natural orange taste and practically none of the strange intrusive flavors from health ingredients, though the price and stevia may still turn some away.

14. Kimura Ramune Orange

Parents are probably familiar with Ramune sodas only because children are often fascinated by these sodas' glass bottles with little marbles inside the cap. That marble seals the carbonation inside the bottle, instead of the twist-off caps Americans are more familiar with. To drink this Japanese soda, the marble must be punched down into the bottle. Originally created to prevent cholera, this soda is now a delightful, flavorful novelty that's sought out in grocery stores and Japanese restaurants. 

The Kimura Orange Ramune soda was light and refreshing. We would drink it again, but it wasn't a top-rank favorite. Its flavor wasn't too strong, and this was among the less-sweet sodas on our list. The carbonation couldn't compete with other sodas, either. Because many orange soda drinkers want a strong wallop of that citrus flavor in their beverages, Ramune fell in the middle of the road. 

13. Sunkist Orange

Sunkist is definitely the first name we think of when trying to recall different brands of orange soda. Surprisingly, this leading name couldn't climb out of the bottom half of the ranks. The bubbly texture was good, but the artificial orange flavor was overbearing. And even though the fruit tasted super-manufactured in this soda, it still wasn't that strong, punchy orange flavor you want in a soda.

One benefit of Sunkist is that it's one of the few caffeinated orange sodas you can find out there, with 19 milligrams of caffeine per every 12-ounce serving, according to the packaging. 

12. Bawls Guarana Orange Soda

The testing notes on Bawls were shocking. We noted that it tastes like a standard brand and seems artificial, with not a ton of flavor. According to Bawls, this so-called premium soda is set apart by its high caffeination and inclusion of guarana berry, an energy supplement.

Bawls is one of the less-sweet sodas on our list, with 28 grams of sugar per serving, which made it lighter and more refreshing than some of its competitors. Yet the flavor didn't stand out much compared to other higher-ranked sodas on this list. Overall, we wouldn't pay a premium for this particular soda, though the brand's other flavors could offer some redemption. 

11. Great Value Orangette Orange Soda

Great Value Orangette is the orange-flavored soda sold by Walmart. It was pretty average in both flavor and carbonation. Orangette is pleasantly sweet and has the traditional cane sugar taste you expect from old-fashioned craft sodas. 

But it wasn't the most flavorful soda on our list by far. There was no punchy orange, while it could have passed as watered-down soda if there weren't carbonation. Even the carbonation was pretty weak compared to other brands. It's not a soda that we would ever seek out, but we wouldn't mind drinking this again if it was the only option.

10. Jarritos Mandarin

The Jarritos Mandarin naturally-flavored orange soda was the most divisive option on this roster. Two of three reviewers could not stop raving about this soda's bright, natural flavor, which they found so fresh that it was like biting into a juicy segment of ripe mandarin orange. This was the only soda that tasted like a specific variety of citrus. Jarritos is sweetened with just the right amount of cane sugar and accompanied by beautiful, bubbly carbonation. 

But according to one reviewer, there was a distinct and thoughtful unpleasant aftertaste of burned plastic in this soda. While this impression wasn't shared by all testers, it was taken into account just in case other consumers experienced the same.

9. Gustare Vita Blood Orange Italian Soda

Italian sodas are a bit different from the sort you can find in the United States. Most people say Italian varieties have fewer artificial ingredients and colors, and more unique flavors. Gustare's Blood Orange Italian Soda is certainly one of the most unique options in this ranking. It was so delicious that it pained us to rank it this low, though finding and paying for it may present a speed bump. While there are other tasty options out there that fit the more traditional orange soda pop bill, the Gustare blood orange soda is tart, unique, and breaks the mold. 

With how crisp and refreshing the bubbly carbonation of this beverage is, this could be a fantastic option for brunches or extra-hot summer afternoons. The taste of blood orange is just unique enough that this soda stands out without tasting too bizarre. 

8. Hy-Vee Orange

Seeing several grocery store brand orange sodas outperform name-brand competitors was a pleasant surprise. Our notes for the Hy-Vee orange soda included claims that it tastes like orange Starburst and tasted like a craft soda. The orange flavor in this drink was delightfully light and natural, not overpowering or overly sweet. 

There were some issues, though we might have gotten a bad bottle. Hy-Vee's orange soda was unfortunately nowhere near carbonated enough, which cost it a higher rank. But even with a disappointing lack of bubbles, this store-brand soda — which currently only costs $1.25 — is yummy enough to buy again. 

7. Fanta Orange

Are you old enough to remember those vibrantly-colored drinks that came in little plastic barrels? Then you know what we're talking about when we liken the taste of Fanta to those summer treats. Like those neon childhood potions, Fanta orange soda is very sweet with a strong orange taste and not much carbonation. The nostalgia of summer pool days and rollerblading to the gas station for a snack was strong here. But for our adult palates, the Fanta orange soda is so gut-wrenchingly sweet that we couldn't sit down to enjoy an entire bottle. 

The 73 grams of sugar per 20-ounce serving aside, we have to acknowledge the sips of Fanta we could take were bright and sunshiny. Maybe we'll break out the rollerblades — and hopefully not break our ankles.

6. Jones Orange & Cream Soda

Jones Orange & Cream Soda is a textbook example of classic, old-fashioned craft sodas. It's a very orangey soft drink, but the fruit flavor is natural and perfectly sweet. Even being sweetened with cane sugar, the Jones orange soda is light and pleasant to drink, while not being overly sugary.

Had this been an orange-only soda, we'd have no complaints about Jones. But the cream component of this flavor could have been more intense. It was noticeable but overpowered by the orange. If Jones had put a bit more oomph behind the cream flavor, this soda might have gained a few more ranks. 

5. Crush Orange

Crush Orange brings up the tail end of our top orange sodas. Even with a blind taste test, we could tell that this soft drink was one of the major orange soda brands. This soda has sharp, crisp carbonation, so we enjoyed the texture. Meanwhile, the orange taste was vibrant and intense. However, that flavor also seemed a bit artificial to some testers, so Crush couldn't overtake its competition. 

This is a very sweet beverage. Crush Orange soda has 71 grams of sugar per 20-ounce bottle, and the second ingredient on its ingredient list is high fructose corn syrup. Most people won't find this unbearable, but it might be too intense for some. 

4. Casey's Orange Soda

Don't let the humble packaging of this gas station orange soda fool you. The soft drink inside is blissfully citrusy, boasting balanced sweetness and a powerful but natural orange flavor. Casey's soda tastes like what big names like Crush, Fanta, and Sunkist should be.

This soda was crispy and bubbly, even after it was poured into an open cup and sat for 20 minutes. Casey's doesn't do anything groundbreaking with this soda, but if you want everything that a regular orange soft drink offers without the price of a big brand label, this soda is the way to go.

3. Sprecher Orange Dream

Before we talk about the Sprecher Orange Dream soda's taste, let's get a burning question out of the way: Just what on earth is a fire-brewed soda? According to Sprecher brewmaster Craig Burge, who spoke with On Milwaukee, the answer is exactly as it sounds. Sprecher soda ingredients are combined "in a kettle with fire underneath," explains Burge. Simmering the soda for several hours over the flame encourages the sugars in the beverage to caramelize, giving the resulting beverage a more sophisticated smooth texture and sweet profile. 

While it may be strange to think of soda brewing, this method is clearly effective when it comes to creating an outstandingly tasty soda. The Sprecher orange soda has lively carbonation, a strong yet traditional sweetness, and a tangy orange flavor. All in all, it seems like the epitome of classic, old-fashioned soda. 

2. Sunkist Orange Zero Sugar

Sunkist Zero Sugar Orange Soda emerged as an unexpected second-place winner. In other blind rankings of sodas we've done, the zero-sugar options were quick to spot, but that wasn't the case with this sugar-free orange soda. Sunkist Zero had a nearly perfect flavor, especially considering its category. We could tell this was not a craft soda, but it tasted like the brand name orange soda you are probably familiar with and expect. It may be more so than its sugary regular Sunkist counterpart. 

Sunkist Zero Sugar is sweetened with aspartame. Maybe the tangy orange overpowers any of that bitterness or overwhelming syrupy sweetness often experienced with artificial sweeteners. In any case, this is a well-done zero-sugar soda that is not only pleasant to drink but tasty enough that we'd happily buy it again. 

1. Stewart's Fountain Classics Orange 'n Cream

After blindly ranking nearly two dozen different orange sodas, the Original Stewart's Fountain Classics Orange 'n Cream was the winner. This soda was perfectly sweet thanks to good, old-fashioned cane sugar. The bubbly carbonation keeps the drink from growing too heavy, and the orange and cream flavors are perfectly balanced. With a rich, creamy element, the Stewart's soda tastes just like a creamsicle ice cream, minus the brain freeze. 

This candy-like treat made us feel like we ought to be sitting in red and white pin-striped booths in an old-timey shop with a name that has far too many letters. Drinking this soda made us feel delightfully nostalgic, like kids with pocketfuls of empty orange candy wrappers. We will definitely be buying Stewart's Orange 'n Cream to revisit the Olde Soda Shoppe daydream.