Ranking Every Flavor Of Sour Patch Kids

If you've only ever eaten Sour Patch Kids by the handful, you may have no idea how distinctive each Kid tastes on its own. Enjoying these tart and tiny confections one by one allows you to appreciate the flavors each offers, like separating the ingredients in a fruit salad ... if the fruit was super sour and crusted in raw sugar. But hey — at least these tangy little treats aren't made with gelatin, unlike similar snacks, giving plant-based gummy eaters something to chew on when their sweet tooth starts to tickle.

The truth about Sour Patch Kids is that every flavor contributes to the experience, with connoisseurs distinguishing their favorites enough to warrant the company to produce an entire bag of blue raspberry. The others may never get their own specialty packs, not even in a store dedicated to Sour Patch Kids, so we thought it would be fitting to rank every flavor. We even included the non-Kid fruit-shaped options. 

With a heavy element of personal preference and a boatload of corn syrup on the table, we separated the pack to find out how each flavor fared in the grand, sour scheme of things. We also discovered a distinct disparity in the distribution of the colors within the box, something we weighed in on as part of our ranking.

13. Grape

Who would've thought the day would come when a grape Sour Patch Kid was the least flavorful version of the candy, or any candy at all? Grape does such a fantastic job as Jolly Ranchers, Laffy Taffy, and even Nerds, all far superior takes on purple sweets. There's even a sneaky snacking hack that brings Sour Patch flavor to honest-to-goodness grapes. How disappointing, then, to see the charming grape-shaped goodies tumble out of the bag in the perfect shade for achieving a wonderful Welch's-level sweetness that should be waiting within, only to find the flavor falls incredibly flat once the chewing begins.

Neither sour enough to be a novelty nor grape enough to be a classic, the idea of this grape Sour Patch candy far exceeds the execution. Hopes were high that this variation would add new dimension to the original flavor set, and maybe even result in a purple rugrat-shaped candy added to classic packs at some point. But after tasting what qualifies as grape in the Patch, we can safely say that a reformulation will be in order should a grape-flavored Kid ever be allowed to join the club.

12. Strawberry

Why wouldn't we assume that a strawberry-flavored candy bearing the Sour Patch Kids banner would carry a bold flavor bursting forth from the first bite to the last, especially when doubled up with the sour element we love so dearly? Whatever happened with these strawberry candies, it is not what we were expecting and certainly not what we wanted. True, strawberry may be one of the mellower flavors in the candy realm. But when confections like Starburst and Twizzlers succeed, we know it's not impossible to grow candy-based strawberry essence that satisfies. It just hasn't happened in the Sour Patch sphere.

Bland at best and boring at worst, there are such superior choices to be made in the world of Sour Patch enjoyment that we planted these faux fruit sweets close to the bottom of the bushel. If fruit gummies are on your strawberry candy snacking menu, there's a whole section of the grocery store stocked with boxes that can accommodate. But when it's Sour Patch Kids summoning the sugary snacking sensation, strawberry is one of the last flavors that comes to mind.

11. Cherry or Redberry

You might be inclined to think that a red sour patch kid is cherry-flavored. We sure did, and there is no indication on the box that this would be untrue. What a surprise to do a little online research and find out that red Sour Patch Kids are considered to be "redberry." That would explain why we were so disappointed when we didn't get a burst of super red cherry flavor during our taste test. Yes, we have tasted red Sour Patch Kids before, so we had an idea of what the flavor should be. But we've never paid close enough attention to realize that it wasn't a disappointing cherry essence we were picking up, but a less-than-impressive hybrid. 

The closest comparison that comes to mind is Swedish Fish, another flavor that doesn't relate to anything in the natural world but associates enough with store-bought candy that people who've tasted it know precisely what you're talking about. As for our ranking, we're filing cherry/redberry near the bottom, not just for being weird, but for being a placeholder that takes up too much space in the bag where a much better flavor should be instead.

10. Lemon

Otherwise known as "the yellow ones," lemon Sour Patch Kids are a stalwart selection that stands in the flavor gap between Lemonheads and Lemon Pledge. Of all the artificially flavored tasting we did to compile our comparison, this flavor left us the most confused. It's far closer to a weird chemical taste than the others, even though options like blue raspberry are entirely fictional. Maybe that's why this unlikable lemon is such a sour standout; perhaps our tongues are used to what fake blue flavor tastes like and expect something far more natural from yellow flavor.

Is fake lemon flavoring cheaper than all the others? Is that why we found such a high concentration of yellow Kids in the package? Or is there some subset of sour candy fans who dig the pseudo-citrus sadness? While it is a less-than-favorable flavor, it's assertive and not afraid to be just what it is. We don't necessarily like it, but we do recognize it, so we give it props for being its weird little self. But that isn't going to get it any higher on the list than below the middle.

9. Watermelon

No matter what kind of candy contains watermelon flavor, it should always be one of the juiciest in the pack. It may be mellower or subtler than others, but it should always inspire a memory of a real watermelon. Sour Patch Kids come very close to capturing the joy of all the watermelon candies you love, falling just shy of recreating the full experience.

There isn't nearly enough sourness to qualify this popular option as a true heir to the Sour Patch kingdom, a fact that didn't deter the company from creating a dedicated box filled with slice-shaped pieces. And if the watermelon weirdness was just a little closer to the real candy deal, we would have been beside ourselves with elation. Instead, we were left longing for a little more juice in the melon. A stronger take would bring a blast of summertime happiness to the candy aisle.

8. Blue Raspberry

In the world of candy flavors, blue raspberry is blue raspberry is blue raspberry (not to be confused with black raspberry, a limited-time flavor in the Sour Patch Kids world for Valentine's Day 2023). Even though the flavor may claim to replicate something from nature, all it takes is one taste to realize that no orchard in the world would produce anything even close to blue raspberry flavor fruit. This is likely a good thing since real blueberries are a hit-or-miss scenario and not a very thrilling prospect for a candy flavor. It's much better that a blue flavor was invented out of thin air, though why it was ever declared to be raspberry is a head-scratcher. 

And so it goes with blue raspberry Sour Patch Kids that the same tongue-staining flavor found in everything from snow cones to bubble gum is channeled perfectly in a tiny tot-shaped treat. Because blue raspberry is not an analog of anything but itself, it's under no pressure to be anything more than the strangely enticing, fruit–adjacent flavor it is, making it both exciting and entirely familiar. But it's the familiarity that makes it so unimpressive; if you've tasted a blue raspberry candy from any other brand, you've also tasted a blue raspberry Sour Patch Kid. Small numbers in the pack reflect the lack of imagination that keeps this selection from scaling the heights of our ranking (though this flavor gets its own bag for anyone who disagrees).

7. Blue Raspberry Lemonade

A bit of redemption for the blue raspberry Sour Patch Kids, blue raspberry lemonade from the Lemonade Fest collection incorporates the sunshiny tang of lemon as a way to encourage the blue raspberry essence to step it up a bit — a maneuver that works, for the most part. The essences swirl together and complement one another in a light yet lovely manner, each aspect respectful of what the other has to offer, neither overpowering the other.

If this description sounds a little pale, it's because the blended flavor itself comes across as kind of colorless. Though the pairing is a sweet inspiration, the adjective that best describes this flavor is "nice," which is a word reserved for when there are no more exciting descriptors that apply. It's tough to imagine that a pair-up of blue raspberry and lemon from the original box would result in a similar mix, so there's something to be said for blue raspberry lemonade redefining the Sour Patch standard. But if you can't be more than nice, you can't rise above the halfway point of the list.

6. Peach

The sour patch has a real treat for lovers of peach-flavored gummy candies, packed away in peach-shaped treats. These little nuggets even look like the peach emoji, a cheeky form that makes them good for a giggle. While there isn't enough sour on these germs to make your taste buds dance, the peach candy essence is exactly what fans of peach rings clamor for. It sounds odd to call out the floral notes and softer texture of an artificially flavored munchie, but there's something strangely natural about the vibe of this peachy pick that made us feel mellow. We've never had such a soothing reaction to store-bought goods.

And yet, we return to the fact that these Sour Patch Kids lack a requisite sour bite to justify the name. Peach is a delicious achievement in the candy world, but Sour Patch Kids Peaches should challenge the status quo a little more than they do. Give us some peppy zing to sing about rather than lulling us into submission. Still, if a candy has the power to make the moment better, it deserves a lofty spot in the ranking.

5. Cherry Lime Lemonade

How strange that a tiny chewable candy can carry three separate flavors your tongue can easily distinguish from one another while enjoying them simultaneously. Maybe the notion of a Neapolitan-like mash-up using fruit essences instead of the usual vanilla-chocolate-strawberry combination is a stroke of brilliance that puts cherry lime lemonade Sour Patch Kids near the top of its game. It may be a tiny kid-shaped candy, but somehow there's a trio of power-packed tastes just waiting to be released inside, like a kicky bite that contains enough tingle to quench your taste for flavor upon flavor.

That's how cherry lime lemonade Sour Patch Kids come across: as a cocktail of sweet and sour excitement that makes eager taste buds do backflips as the experience unfolds. The lemon is definitely a background player here, letting the cherry and lime take centerstage. But the support it gives is just enough to make the difference between a too-sweet treat and a tart classic that puts this Cherry Lime Rickey recreation in the top five.

4. Lime

It's green-light-GO for lime Sour Patch Kids, perhaps the most joyous flavor in the patch, due in great part to the way it captures the spirit of lime candies past, from Brach's hard candy spheres to drugstore lollipops. The old-timey fun of finding these little dudes in the bag brings a wisp of nostalgia for anyone acquainted with the artificial lime flavor of treats gone by, while introducing new generations to the simple pleasure of a fruit taste that has very little relation to the taste of real limes. Sipping on a margarita is the perfect way to discover how different real lime and lime Sour Patch Kids are.

So we'll call the green guys "lime-candy flavored" rather than "lime-flavored," so no one expects to get a taste of natural lime when they pop one of these Sour Patch Kids into their mouths. We're just happy that it's such an exciting take on the color green that we had to put it in the top five. With such a cheerful association with sugar-laden childhood memories, how could we not?

3. Orange

The award for the most authentically recreated flavor in the Sour Patch Kids collection goes to orange, a juicy and authentic interpretation that tastes like drinking a glass of real orange juice, with a bit of Tang thrown in to ramp up the citrusity, a word we invented especially for the occasion. Expecting vibrant familiarity because we've been spoiled by Orange Crush, our happy little hearts were in a dizzy spin when we bit into these orange treats — and what treats they were, too!

Sadly, there were fewer orange Sour Patch Kids in our pack than any other flavor; even the less-impressive Blue Raspberry Kids showed up in higher numbers. We found only three orange Kids among the Patch: two for tasting and one left for photographing. Did we just pick a bad box that rolled off the assembly line with whatever count of each Kid fate chose, or is there a true hierarchy to producing the patch that we aren't privy to — something that unknowingly drives Sour Patch fans toward certain flavors more than others? If there's a devious business method behind the madness, we'd like to put in our vote for more orange Sour Patch Kids, even if it means drawing down the number of lemon Kids in the headcount.

2. Strawberry Lemonade

Old-fashioned and fantastic, strawberry lemonade Sour Patch Kids are a contemporary kick on a classic combination that lets both flavors shine a little brighter than they do on their own. This one is fun and sassy in spirit, delivering on the promise of strawberry flavor while adding a sizzle of lemonade. This is the Kid that gets the party started, and probably keeps it going until it's over. In a bag with four different lemonade-themed flavors, strawberry lemonade is the one that feels most like the balance of sweet and tart that makes the real beverage such a sip-worthy sensation.

If there's one aspect that prevents strawberry lemonade from besting the others in the bag, it's the realization that the lemonade tang is being held back from what it truly could be. This isn't a bad thing at all; the lemonade blends exist to make the sour patch a more diverse and flavorful realm of enjoyment. So this fantastic mix comes in a close second to the only option that could improve upon a strawberry lemonade swizzle.

1. Lemonade

Now this is what a lemon Sour Patch Kid should taste like! Even the paler hue clues you into the more authentically tart take on sprightly citrus these Kids carry, like a reimagined lemon drop that's chewy and shaped like a mischievous tot. The spark this flavor sets off in the back of the throat is exactly the kind of summertime sensation a sour candy should cause. Even as the sweetness sets in, the electrifying zap remains until you're finished enjoying one, or three ... or seven, even! However many your sour-loving heart desires, lemonade Sour Patch Kids rise to the occasion.

It's odd to think the basic selections include a lemon-flavored Kid that doesn't hit right, but the Lemonade Fest collection gets it absolutely spot-on. Maybe now that the flavor creators behind this line know how to get juice from a lemon, there'll be a permanent replacement for the weird original that tastes as much like furniture polish as candy. Until then, you can find the best take on Sour Patch Kids in a bag dedicated to making lives a little brighter, one tart bite at a time.

How we ranked the flavors

We chose the broadest selection of Sour Patch Kids candies we could find, which explains our inclusion of the fruit flavors, even though they're an offshoot of the original Kids format. To keep from numbing our taste buds, we gave each flavor a single taste, as a Round One taste test. Those with a less-than-favorable flavor on the first go entered a Round Two taste test that let us give them another chance to impress us. A Round Three taste test allowed us to ensure the flavors we favored in Round One were truly as good as we remembered. 

While tasting from the assortment packs, we also took note of how many of each flavor was included, which we viewed as possibly a subliminal clue as to which flavors were most favorable. Though the concentration didn't necessarily drive our results, it was an interesting aspect we felt deserved attention during the ranking process. Overall, we were looking for flavor accuracy based on the name, the tartness-to-sweetness ratio, and the all-around enjoyment of each Kid when separated from the Patch. It was juicy work, and we don't regret a minute of it, even on the lower-ranked flavors.