Popular Kool-Aid Flavors, Ranked Worst To Best

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We've all seen him in the juice aisle of the grocery store or heard him shouting, "Oh, yeah!" in commercials. The giant, smiling red pitcher that is the Kool-Aid man is an iconic mascot for an even better known beverage, which has been around for many decades now. Bright and colorful Kool-Aid was invented by a Nebraskan named Edwin Perkins in the early 1900s, according to History Nebraska. Initially, Perkins had created six flavors of a liquid soft drink concentrate called Fruit Smack, a popular venture that ultimately fell through due to difficulties with shipping the glass bottles. So, the entrepreneur found a way to manufacture Fruit Smack as a powder instead, selling the new product as Kool-Ade (which eventually became the Kool-Aid brand we drink today).

As Kool-Aid grew in popularity, the number of drink mixes offered by the brand has only grown: While Nebraska's official soft drink started out with just half a dozen flavors, it now comes in more than three times that many varieties. Here are 21 of the most popular Kool-Aid flavors ranked from worst to best, so you can figure out which to stock up on for your next cookout.

21. Aguas Frescas Jamaica

Ranking worst on our list is this Kool-Aid aguas frescas drink mix in jamaica, or hibiscus. Agua fresca translates to cool water in Spanish and is a Mexican drink that is a lot like flavored water, per Epicurious. The sugared beverage is typically made with fresh fruits, but it can also contain herbs or flowers. It's meant to be substantially sweet, yet lighter in flavor than a typical punch. 

While a jamaica-based agua fresca certainly sounds refreshing, Kool-Aid's take on the hibiscus drink misses the mark with a flavor that verges on artificial (and not in the fun, nostalgic way). There are no Amazon ratings above four stars for the product listing of this mix. One review went so far as to say that the drink was "bloody red and thick," calling it "the worst of all Koolaid flavors." If you're new to Kool-Aid or are thinking of trying out a new flavor, we wouldn't recommend this one.

20. Berry Cherry

As the images on its purple packaging suggest, this Kool-Aid berry cherry drink mix features flavors from blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, and cherries. While we love cherries in chocolate cake, pies, and fruity juices and sodas, we can't say that we are big fans of this cherry-centric drink mix. A pleasantly pinkish light red when combined with water, the color of this Kool-Aid is far more pleasant than the taste, which is too chemically for our liking.

You'd have to try pretty hard to find any Kool-Aid fans out there who consider berry cherry to be the best flavor, though that's not to say that these people don't exist. One reviewer on Walmart called this flavor their favorite, while most of the feedback on the Amazon listing is positive. Nevertheless, there are only 15 ratings for this flavor on the latter site, suggesting that berry cherry is must less sought-after by Kool-Aid drinkers than other, more popular varieties. 

19. Aguas Frescas Mandarina-Tangerine

Mandarin oranges are a smaller, sweeter, less acidic member of the citrus family than other types of oranges. This tasty fruit is the base of this Kool-Aid aguas frescas mandarina-tangerine drink mix. In this drink, which comes in a light blue package decorated with mandarin segments, we really don't taste anything aside from the barest hint of mandarin. An extra scoop of sugar does little to improve the flavor, which is too subdued when you're craving a bold drink like Kool-Aid. 

Reviewers on Amazon back our sentiments up, such as one shopper who wrote, "I gave it a couple of sips, and I was a little surprised to see there was very little flavor. To be honest, I didn't really taste any, but my family said they could very faintly taste it." Several users called this flavor overly sour, while another recommended using two powder packets in each recipe to make it taste less "watered down." However, one user noted that aguas frescas are often supposed to be subtle in flavor, so if you appreciate beverages like this, then mandarina-tangerine could be the pick for you. If you're craving something bolder, though, look elsewhere.

18. Strawberry Lemonade

What to do when you're craving the tartness of lemonade but the sweetness of strawberries? You make strawberry lemonade — or buy a box of this Kool-Aid strawberry lemonade drink mix. Kool-Aid has a number of lemonade-themed drinks in its repertoire, such as the traditional version, a pink iteration, and this strawberry variety. While it certainly delivers with a lovely bright berry hue, this beverage isn't the best of the bunch in terms of taste.

On Amazon, one reviewer mentioned that this Kool-Aid flavor is not as easy to find in stores as other flavors. Since it comes in such a large quantity online (with the aforementioned box containing 48 drink packets), it's best to be sure that you'll like it before you buy it. Unfortunately, that was not the case with one United Kingdom-based customer wrote, "Tasted absolutely disgusting! Very chemically and no real flavour." Others complained of too much sourness, to which we can relate. If you love lemonade, don't worry, as Kool-Aid's other lemonade-flavored mixes ranked much better on our list.

17. Mixed Berry

Mixed berries are always a welcome flavor in everything from fruit smoothies and oatmeal to indulgent pies and cobblers. Plus, blue-hued beverages often sit high on our rankings of sugary drinks, such as the most popular Gatorade flavors. That's why we wanted to love this mixed berry Kool-Aid — but were disappointed when we didn't.

While some products can get away with a vague "mixed berry" title, this Kool-Aid flavor depicts strawberries and blueberries on its packaging. For that reason, it's much more noticeable that the beverage lacks the flavor of these specific fruits. It's hard to pinpoint what exactly this drink tastes like, but it certainly has more of an artificial blue raspberry vibe than a genuine berry flavor. However, this drink has a mostly so-so to positive reception from many reviewers on Walmart. One review reads, "I bought this because they were out of Tropical Punch Kool-Aid. Not as good, but not bad." This sums up our view: Even though this isn't the worst Kool-Aid drink we tried, it also isn't the best, and we'd recommend other flavors first.

16. Aguas Frescas Piña-Pineapple

Pineapple isn't just the house that Spongebob Squarepants resides in; it's also ideal for enjoying in cool, tropical-flavored beverages. This next Kool-Aid flavor, the aguas frescas piña-pineapple drink mix, puts sweet and juicy pineapple into beverage form.

While we expected this Kool-Aid flavor to be more subtle in flavor since it's part of the brand's aguas frescas line, it's actually quite the opposite. You'll notice an intensely pineapple-y aroma from the moment you open the package until after you take a sip. The beverage is enjoyable and thirst-quenching, but because it tastes more like pineapple-flavored candy than real pineapple juice, it's something we would drink in moderation. Reviews on Amazon back this up, with one buyer offering a smart recommendation to incorporate the drink mix into other fruit juices or cocktails to even out the intense flavor. In short, this is delicious for an artificially pineapple-flavored treat, but if you're craving the taste of true pineapple, you're better off buying the whole fruit.

15. Peach Mango

Peach, a sweet fruit that's in season in the summer and beloved in all kinds of pies, puddings, and cobblers, can be difficult to replicate in artificially flavored treats. After all, why eat or drink a peach-flavored product when biting into the ripe fruit is almost better than eating candy? The same goes for fresh mango, which is so satisfying on a hot day. For these reasons, we were skeptical of peach mango Kool-Aid at first — but pleasantly surprised when we tried it.

You can find lots of people singing the praises of this Kool-Aid flavor on Twitter, with many claiming it's their favorite of all. One Amazon review notes that this drink mix has a "nice flavor" and is "not too sweet [and] very refreshing." The reviewer added, "The first flavor you get is the mango flavor with a sweet peach flavor aftertaste," and we would have to agree. The orange-colored beverage is more mango-forward than peachy, but it still boasts a tasty blend of the two fruits. While we wish there were more peach notes in this Kool-Aid, we would still recommend the flavor to first-time Kool-Aid drinkers.

14. Strawberry Kiwi

When you think about the combination of strawberry and kiwi, the first thing that comes to mind may be strawberry-kiwi Capri Sun, which is a fan favorite among juice lovers. You may not have known that Kool-Aid has its own rendition of this popular combo in the form of its strawberry kiwi drink mix. While similar in name, does this dark pink Kool-Aid really compare to its Capri Sun counterpart?

While we prefer the Capri Sun contender, this Kool-Aid flavor was still pretty satisfying. As one user on Influenster puts it, "For me, it's the perfect combination of strawberry and kiwi and it's not too sweet. It's super refreshing and perfect for summer." Most customers say that what you see is what you get with this flavor: It's cheap, sweet, and very appealing for kids, but it's obviously an artificially flavored treat rather than a wholesome staple. When you're craving something sugary and nostalgic, this is the Kool-Aid to reach for.

13. Lemon-Lime

If you've ever had a Sprite or 7 Up, then you're well familiar with the taste of lemon and lime flavored drinks — and you may be a big fan of them. Kool-Aid offers its own version of the classic flavor combination with its lemon-lime drink mix.

With more than 3,000 ratings on Amazon, lemon-lime Kool-Aid certainly seems to be popular among customers. The product has just as high of a star rating on the retailer's site as many of our favorite flavors do, with one reviewer calling it "the best flavor Kool-Aid makes." The user added that it's refreshing and tasty even if you use less sugar than the recipe calls for — a significant point since many people find the need to add extra sugar to Kool-Aid's other citrusy drink mixes. When you want something tart but not overly acidic, we'd recommend this lemon-lime libation. The only downside is that many reviewers say it's hard to find in stores, so you may have to buy it in bulk online or be patient if you want to buy it in person.

12. Green Apple

If you associate green apples with candy and other sweets more than actual fruit, you're not alone. Per HuffPost, green apples have less sugar than red apples, which is why they're much more sour than a sweet honeycrisp or pink lady apple. While they may not be as delicious to eat on their own, extra tart green apples are certainly a great contender for sugary treats, such as green apple Kool-Aid.

If you ask us, this is a pretty amazing addition to the Kool-Aid flavor lineup. You'll be disappointed if you're expecting the taste of apple juice, as this is more reminiscent of a sour green apple. Reviews for this product on Amazon do lament that the flavor is difficult to find in stores, but they're positive in regards to its flavor. One happy customer wrote about the "very refreshing" drink, "It tastes like Charms Sour apple blow pops and Jolly Rancher Sour Apple Hard Candy." While it might not keep the doctor away, this puckery apple drink definitely lifted our spirits. Plus, it claims to be a good source of Vitamin C.

11. Sharkleberry Fin

Besides in name, Kool-Aid Sharkleberry Fin drink mix does not have any relation to Mark Twain's classic novel. Nor does it appear to contain any actual huckleberries, which are similar in appearance to blueberries but more tart in flavor. They're also the state fruit of Idaho, according to the Idaho County Free Press.

So, what does this mysterious Kool-Aid flavor actually taste like? As the fruits shown on its packaging (strawberries, oranges, and bananas) suggest, it tastes a lot like a strawberry banana smoothie in juice form. The drink is perfect for kids since it's more sweet than sour, and its depiction of the classic Kool-Aid man riding on top of a smiling shark is sure to attract little ones to the box. However, older customers seem to enjoy the beverage, too, based on their Amazon reviews. The product has 4.7 out of 5 stars, with several reviewers calling it the best or their favorite Kool-Aid flavor. Multiple reviews mention that the drink is ideal for the summer, which means it's a solid contender for best beachside mocktails.

10. Orange

The orange-flavored drink market is already a competitive one, with favorites like Sunny D, Fanta, and countless varieties of orange juice lining store shelves. Because of this, Kool-Aid really needed to deliver on its own orange drink mix — and orange you glad it did?

Aesthetically speaking, this drink has a pleasing bright orange color, resembling an orange soda or ice pop. More importantly, the drink definitely tastes of orange and is generously sweet even without extra sugar in the recipe. It has a high rating on numerous online shopping websites, with nearly five stars on Amazon. Reviews for this product are also positive on Walmart, where one reviewer shared, "This is the best and severely underrated Kool-Aid flavor. It's so refreshing and reminiscent of a summer picnic in elementary school." While we don't necessarily suggest that you replace your daily orange juice with this Kool-Aid, it still ranks high on our list of solid flavors.

9. Strawberry

Strawberries "are the most widely grown fruit crop" in the world, reports Food Source Information, with all but 6% of American households eating them in a given year. The beloved berry is popular in everything from school lunches to jams and jellies. Since its flavor is so well received on its own, Kool-Aid had big shoes to fill with its strawberry drink mix.

This fruity drink is just as sweet and tasty as an actual strawberry, with a pink color that reminds us of the pigment of strawberry frosting. It also doesn't hurt that this flavor can be found in stores a bit more easily than other flavors, giving it a greater number of fans. A particularly enthusiastic Amazon reviewer said, "Strawberry is a great Kool-Aid flavor, my favorite growing up, and we've tried them all, even the hard to find flavors." Thankfully, its full-on strawberry flavor means it's much less tangy than strawberry lemonade Kool-Aid, which makes it ideal for drinkers who prefer a sweet taste over a sour one. We'll happily drink this beverage when we're craving strawberries but don't have any on hand.

8. Black Cherry

As written by poet A.D. Posey, "Your life should always come with hot fudge, whipped cream, and a cherry on top" (via Goodreads). While you can certainly enjoy sweet, richly flavored black cherries as an ice cream sundae topping, why not have them in a drink instead? Enter Kool-Aid's black cherry drink mix, which is overall like sipping on a slightly diluted version of pure black cherry juice.

As appears to be common with several Kool-Aid flavors, this particular drink mix can be difficult to find in stores but is available online. According to one Amazon reviewer, that's no problem: "Buy it in bulk, it is that good!" they wrote. "I am in black cherry heaven. Thanks Kool-Aid!" Another customer said it has a "more natural" and genuine cherry flavor than Kool-Aid's regular cherry drink mix. Many said they enjoy the drink with or without sugar, as well as with artificial sweeteners. We'd also have to agree with the multiple shoppers who said they would reach for black cherry Kool-Aid over soda any day.

7. Lemonade

It's a challenge to find anyone who doesn't appreciate a cooling glass of lemonade on a hot day. This beverage takes many of us back to summertime celebrations — like the Fourth of July — and is a staple at both restaurants and in grocery stores. It only makes sense, then, that there's a Kool-Aid lemonade drink mix, and we're happy to report that it's a good one.

Lemonade seems like a pretty easy drink to get right, but we all know the frustration of buying it at the store and then finding it to be way too sweet, absurdly sour, or just plain wrong. That's evidently why many customers appreciate that unsweetened lemonade Kool-Aid lets you control the amount of added sugar or sweetener. One Walmart reviewer stated, "My family and I love this flavor. It is super light and amazing and being able to add your sugar preference is amazing." We concur: This not-too-tart Kool-Aid delivers on citrusy flavor, and the fact that you don't have to squeeze your own lemons to enjoy it makes it all the sweeter.

6. Pink Lemonade

And now for one of our favorites of Kool-Aid's many lemonade-flavored options: the pink lemonade drink mix. Pink lemonade can sometimes just be regular lemonade with added pink colorings, per Smithsonian Magazine. Other times, it is actually flavored with real red fruits, like strawberries or raspberries. We're not sure if the "natural flavors" or "artificial colorings" listed in this Kool-Aid flavor's ingredients come from any fruit besides lemons; nevertheless, this delicious pink-hued libation brings us back to easy summer days.

Kool-Aid's pink lemonade drink is, of course, a perfectly bright pink color when mixed. It also tastes fruity and sweet with that tart, lip-puckering flavor that we love in any lemonade drink. With 4.8 out of 5 stars on the Walmart website, it's hard to deny that this product has quite the following. One consumer on Influenster wrote, "I have to say if I drink a powdered drink. This is it ! Takes me back to those hot summer days and my mom would fix a glass of Koolaid! ... I have gotten this item several times and never disappointed with the flavor!"

5. Grape

There may not be a more nostalgic (or more controversial) drink flavor than grape. Though grape-flavored candy or jelly might not be everyone's cup of tea, it's perfect in drink form for anyone who enjoys the bold taste of artificial grape flavor. Trust us, you need only to get past your reservations about grape-flavored products to enjoy Kool-Aid's truly wonderful grape drink mix, which is delightfully kid-friendly in taste.

In fact, we prefer grape Kool-Aid over other grape beverages because it allows you to adjust the flavor with more or less water or more or less sugar. We add more liquid when we're in the mood for a lighter taste, while we whip up a more potent concoction when we're craving that signature fake grape flavor. This drink is especially popular with Walmart shoppers, with one online review saying, "This is my favorite flavor of Kool-Aid. It's so flavorful without being overpowering. It's cheap and makes a huge batch." Even if you're wary of grape juice, we suggest that you try this drink out — you won't regret it!

4. Aguas Frescas Mango

If you're ever looking for a Kool-Aid flavor that's just as tasty on its own as it is in a homemade slush, shake, or even a tropical cocktail, then this is it. We were surprised by how much we enjoyed Kool-Aid's aguas frescas mango drink mix, as the flavor of this fruit can be difficult to replicate in artificial foods and drinks. 

The first thing we noticed about this drink mix was its vibrant orange-yellow color, which resembles a Tropicana drink. Even better is its flavor, which should even impress discerning adults. Such was the sentiment of one Amazon reviewer, who exclaimed, "This flavor is absolutely awesome! I have tried a lot of Kool-Aid flavors and most of them are fine, especially if you are a kid. But this one is really close to the true thing." They added that they're not normally a fan of sugary drinks, yet this one was a welcome change from water with Crystal Light. A different user remarked that this drink is similar in taste to mango aguas frescas found in Latinx-run supermarkets. Even though we couldn't put this drink at our number-one spot, it was still a breath of fresh (and fruity) air.

3. Blue Raspberry Lemonade

Besides blueberries and corn, it's difficult to find any food or drink that is naturally blue. Though very few things are natural about this blue raspberry lemonade Kool-Aid, it is undeniably delicious when you're craving something reminiscent of your candy-loving childhood. Even if you aren't typically a fan of raspberry-flavored beverages, we think you'll have a hard time turning down a few sips of this drink.

This brilliantly blue Kool-Aid is heavily debated as one of the best of the bunch, with fans all over the country claiming blue raspberry lemonade as their favorite flavor of the drink mix by far. Many customers find the power to be a great add-in for punch or other drinks, with one Amazon reviewer sharing, "I mixed 5 of these with the noted amount of water on the packet, Splenda, and one large can of pineapple juice and served it as punch at my little girl's birthday party. It was really tasty!" Even though we know raspberries aren't blue, we don't care: This Kool-Aid was nearly impossible to put down after a single sip. It left our mouths blue and our thirst satisfied.

2. Cherry

Some people believe that when it comes to sugary drinks, anything red is always a safe bet. Most of Kool-Aid's rosy-hued drinks fall firmly into this camp, and its cherry drink mix is no exception. Not to be confused with black cherry, regular cherry is considered a Kool-Aid classic. In fact, it was one of the first six flavors that the drink was initially sold in, per History Nebraska, along with grape, lemon-lime, orange, raspberry, and strawberry. It may not always cost 10 cents per package anymore, but it still goes down mighty smoothly.

If you've tried it, it's probably easy to see why cherry has such a high placement on our list. Whether you want to make cherry ice pops or add the drink mix into another cherry-flavored dessert, you'll find something to adore about this original Kool-Aid flavor. One very happy Amazon customer (who bought the flavor in a dozen 19-ounce canisters) wrote, "This is the only way to buy Kool-Aid, especially cherry flavored." Another said they like to whip up their cherry Kool-Aid by the gallon. If your taste buds lean toward the classics, then you'll appreciate this cherry beverage as much as we do.

1. Tropical Punch

How could we not put one of the best known Kool-Aid flavors at the top of this list? Holding the number-one spot is, of course, none other than the brand's famous tropical punch drink mix. No matter how you go about mixing and drinking this Kool-Aid, there's no denying the incredible taste of this scarlet red treat. It seems that no matter who you talk to about their favorite Kool-Aid flavors, tropical punch always comes up in the conversation.

As shown on the blue box, this Kool-Aid evokes notes of cherries, oranges, and several other types of produce you might find in a colorful fruit punch. We find that it's hard to get tired of this flavor, as it has so many different tastes packed into each sip. If you go to the Walmart website, you'll see that this flavor sells especially well as Kool-Aid Jammers, the brand's pouched beverage line. One reviewer wrote, "I really don't drink Kool-Aid very often but when I do this is the Kool-Aid that I drink." When you're looking for a sweet and sippable pick-me-up, you can't steer wrong with tropical punch — whether you're in the mood for a Jammer or a classic, semi-homemade cup of Kool-Aid.