15 Popular Orange Sodas, Ranked Worst To Best

Apologies to lemon and lime, but we insist orange is best when it comes to citrus-flavored sodas. After all, what's not to love? The classic combination of that radioactive orange color, artificial flavoring, and ungodly amounts of sugar has been a recipe for success for years, while new versions made with real fruit juice, natural sweeteners, and even probiotics are bringing even more fans to the fold.

While it may seem a little more new-age than fizzy classics like cola and root beer, orange soda has been around since at least 1906, when J.M. Thompson created Orange Crush. It took a few years to perfect the formula and for the new-fangled orange soda to catch on, but catch on it did, and soon enough countless iterations followed. By the middle of the 20th century, orange soda was a soft drink staple, with expanding markets in both Europe and the United States. 

There are plenty of orange soda options, whether you're a fan of the iconic brands or prefer the new bottles and cans on the block. With so many out there, how is a devotee to choose? We channeled our inner Kel Mitchell and ranked these popular orange sodas for your tasting pleasure.

15. Poppi Orange

The prebiotic category has been exploding over the few years and brands such as Poppi are bringing the trend to the soda sphere. Poppi Orange only clocks in at 20 calories and has just 5 grams of added sugar, so it certainly qualifies as health-conscious, and its list of ingredients includes several different types of juices that comprise 7% of the soft drink, which is interesting at the very least. Unfortunately, they don't combine for a tasty beverage.

Apple cider vinegar is listed on the ingredient label and really comes through here, which is not a good thing when you're talking about soda. The stevia inclusion is also extremely noticeable, making for an odd mash of sweetness. It's got some solid fizz, but the carbonation just winds up accentuating how badly the other ingredients come together. Poppi Orange isn't as much of a soda as it is a heavily-carbonated juice beverage — but even with that label it falls short. This may be good for gut health, but our tastebuds couldn't care less.

14. GuS Soda Valenica Orange

Grown-Up Soda (GuS) Valencia Orange is another barely-passable orange drink that maybe shouldn't qualify as orange soda. Orange juice is one of its main ingredients, and that's exactly what it drinks like. It offers just a hint of carbonation, which you think would work in its favor, but doesn't. There's just enough fizz to throw off the pleasant tartness of the actual juice in it, yet not enough to enhance the drink overall.

The label markets this drink as "dry and refreshing," which we take some issue with because we can't imagine being refreshed by this in any way. It also says "not too sweet," and they've got us there, though that makes GuS Valencia Orange all the more disappointing as a beverage. With 24 grams of sugar and such smart branding, you'd expect a bit more in the way of actual flavor. Maybe soda isn't meant to grow up just yet.

13. Zevia Orange

Zevia Orange smells like a zero-calorie soda from the moment you crack it open. It's also clear, which is neat, but doesn't exactly add to the orange soda experience. The overall taste leans hard into the stevia, and it's more suggestive of orange than actually flavored like it. In fact, it almost feels like it amplifies whatever your mouth tastes like at the moment, so don't drink this if you've got bad breath. 

The carbonation combined with the stevia gives Zevia Orange a sting that isn't exactly pleasant. As we sipped it, we felt ourselves wondering where the rest of the orange was. The upside here is the fact that this drink is zero calories, zero sugar, and zero aspartame, so if that's what you're looking for, Zevia serves as a passable approximation of an orange soda. But it would never be our first choice (or our second or third) off the shelf.

12. Old Tyme Orange Soda

We badly wanted Old Tyme Orange Soda to be good. We really did. It's got cool branding and a fun little pirate mascot, plus that ridiculously fluorescent orange color we absolutely love. In fact, if this ranking were based on soda color, Old Tyme would be right at the top. 

Unfortunately, despite all that brightness, it brings forth a very basic orange soda flavor. That's a shame, too, because it has almost identical ingredients to the larger and more recognizable brands to come later in this ranking. Nothing really makes it stand out, though. There's relatively low carbonation, which gives it more of a syrupy feel that's somewhat common amongst overly-sweet orange sodas, and this stuff sure is sweet — it's got 68 grams of sugar per 20-ounce bottle. That makes it sit and sort of linger on your tongue, but not in a way that makes you want to drink more of it. 

11. Sanpellegrino Aranciata

Sanpellegrino Aranciata is a classic that some might not consider orange soda, but it counts in our book. That said, it smells and tastes more like orange juice than any other beverage on this ranking, which makes sense since that's one of its main ingredients. It's got the aftertaste of orange juice too, though somehow the carbonation makes it almost spring off the tongue as you drink. But that aftertaste is still sitting there even after the bubbles have dissipated, which is a bit of a drawback. 

It's hard to be disappointed by this drink because we knew exactly what it was before we cracked it open. It's a fine beverage, but it's not for everyone. Though Aranciata doesn't taste artificial as some of its American counterparts, it packs a comparable amount of sugar — 31 grams per can, to be exact. Sanpellegrino has plenty of bangers in its lineup, but like many Italian sodas, you have to be well-acquainted with bitterness to enjoy it. We'd choose Aranciata Rossa before this one, but that's just us.

10. Crush Orange

Here come the more familiar sodas. Crush was the original orange soda, and it's still one of the most recognizable on the market today. Heck, the Denver Broncos' 1970s historic defense and bright orange uniforms were once named after it. It doesn't get much more American than that.

Crush's greatness doesn't go a whole lot further than that, though. Its artificial orange flavor sort of vibrates off the tongue, which is what you expect from a classic orange soda. There's not a terrible amount of carbonation here, which makes the whole ordeal feel much more saccharine, and we can't really tell if that's a good or bad thing — for 71 grams of sugar per 20-ounce bottle, it's not unfair to want better flavor. Crush lingers in your mouth and almost begs to be paired with a sandwich or some sort of salty chip. This is a rudimentary orange soda, as middle-of-the-road as a pair of yellow painted lines on fresh asphalt. You can't exactly go wrong with Crush, but you can do better.

9. Olipop Orange Squeeze

What's the deal with sparkling tonic? That's what Olipop Orange Squeeze is marketed as, so to orange soda purists, this one might not count either. Is it actually orange soda? That's debatable. But hear us out — this is not a bad drink.

This is essentially what Poppi is trying to be. It's got the same prebiotic marketing copy with significantly better flavor. The citrus here feels more natural even though it's muted, but the stevia and OLISMART — Olipop's signature blend of herbs, spices, and root extracts designed to add fiber and aid digestion — don't overpower it. It's not hard to imagine downing a can or two alongside a meal and not thinking much of it. The light carbonation pairs well with the natural citrus and light sweetness. There's no wonder it came in third on our ranking of every Olipop flavor. Just don't reach for it if you want to be smacked in the face with fake citrus flavor like many orange soda lovers do.

8. Sunkist Orange

Sunkist is the brand you might think of first when you conjure up images of orange soda, and that's totally fair. But did you know it's essentially just the caffeinated version of Crush? Its ingredient list is virtually identical (with added caffeine and one more gram of sugar per 12-ounce can), and both beverages are made by Keurig Dr Pepper. Wait, have we uncovered a massive orange soda conspiracy? What else are the soda overlords hiding from us?

Ultimately, those direct similarities to Crush are precisely why we can't rank it any higher. This truly is the same drink, though it comes with a touch more carbonation that makes it a slightly more pleasant experience as a standalone beverage than its uncaffeinated cousin. We also prefer the branding, which is the ultimate tiebreaker — the interlocking "u" and "n" are simply unbeatable. Whatever you do, though, don't sip it slowly. This stuff is meant to be chugged with reckless abandon, even with the obscene amount of sugar it contains.

7. Sunkist Orange Zero Sugar

There's no hiding the zero-calorie aspect of Sunkist Orange Zero Sugar, and frankly, we wouldn't want to. It can't compete with the sheer sweetness of its calorie-filled antecedent, but it's a fairly good reproduction of that artificial orange flavor soda lovers are likely looking for. It's got some solid carbonation to back that up, too, which underscores both the flavor and artificial sweetness.

This is the taste other low-calorie, naturally-sweetened orange sodas like Poppi and GuS are going for but don't achieve — likely because Sunkist Zero Sugar uses aspartame and isn't naturally sweetened. Studies have linked aspartame and other sweeteners to cancer risk, which is certainly something to take into account with this and other zero sugar sodas. For our money, it's a tangier approximation of the original and remarkably works even better as a standalone soda — particularly if you crave that manufactured orange zing without the sugar.

6. Mexican Fanta Orange

You'd think this would rank higher since Mexican Fanta uses actual cane sugar as a sweetener instead of the high fructose corn syrup found in the domestic version. But this somehow actually tastes more artificial than its American cousin, which in this case doesn't come off as a positive thing. Maybe it's just our American taste buds but it's also far more syrupy, which might be some people's bag, but it isn't really ours. In all, 42 grams of sugar is an awful lot for a 12-ounce bottle, but given some of the other cane sugar-sweetened entries to come, there's an argument Mexican Fanta should have more.

It's still very good, and a quality orange soda, but it sits middle of the pack in our rankings. It's best enjoyed on a hot day with some savory food, but this can work as a decadent anytime refreshment assuming you're down for the sugar hit (which obviously you are, or you wouldn't have grabbed this). Bonus points for the sleekly-designed glass bottle, too, which always makes a soft drink taste a little better.

5. Jarritos Mandarin

Any taco joint worth its salt has a fridge full of Jarritos, and its Mandarin flavor is among the brand's best offerings. Plain old "sugar" is listed as the sweetener here, and that's exactly what you taste when it hits your tastebuds. There's more of a nuanced orange flavor here, one more reminiscent of a tangerine or clementine than actual orange. It's a lighter citrus flavor that's a little more piquant — the kind you really feel in the side of your mouth. It plays brilliantly with the heavy carbonation and actual sugar used to sweeten it, and at 37 grams per 12.5 ounces, it's actually a little lighter on the sugar than its Mexican competitor Fanta.

We absolutely love Jarritos Mandarin, but if you find yourself craving this stuff, opt for the glass bottle over the plastic. It's a mistake we won't repeat, and drinking it out of a glass actually bumped it up a spot in our rankings. And if you're really serious, you'll pair this with your favorite Tex-Mex recipes to cut that sweetness with some savory goodness. It's a perfect complement to all different types of tacos, from al pastor to birria. 

4. Fanta Orange

Fanta is the quintessential orange soda. And yes, we love the flavor, but we're also referring to its surprising origin story. Fanta's initial popularity boon started in pre-war Germany and continued through World War II. Eventually Coca-Cola sidelined the brand before re-introducing Fanta in Naples, Italy in the 1950s. It was originally made from leftovers that included fruit scraps and milk byproduct.

That might not sound very appealing, but that original drink has since morphed into the orange soda we know and love today. It's overly sweet and carbonated just enough to make you want to guzzle an entire bottle. It's also not quite as syrupy as the other big brands, which makes it easier to rank it a bit higher. The artificial orange-ness here is tangier, too, which is actually delightful — there's no reason for this to pretend like it's anything other than an incredibly unhealthy drink. It's orange soda, and as we've mentioned before, you're ideally using it to wash down some salty corn or potato-based snack.

3. Sprecher Orange Dream

Sprecher does orange soda a little differently, and boy do we appreciate it. Orange Dream isn't so much of an orange soda as it is a replication of an orange creamsicle in fizzy beverage form. It's big on that vanilla flavor and doesn't even think about letting up since it pairs so beautifully with the orange. This, too, is an overly sweet concoction that you're well within your rights to chug, but you'll more likely want to slowly savor over an extended period of time. Or at least while you have a meal.

Orange Dream ranked fifth in our ranking of Sprecher sodas, and with an original take on a classic that's as good as this, it's no wonder (though the brand has plenty of excellent flavors to choose from). Like all Sprecher sodas, Orange Dream is fire-brewed and sweetened with Wisconsin honey — an ingredient some other naturally-sweetened soda makers on this list might want to consider if they have any plans of moving up in the rankings.

2. Stewart's Orange 'n Cream

Do we have a thing for creamy orange sodas? We must, because Stewart's Orange 'n Cream feels like it was always destined for the top of this list. Those vanilla notes hit you directly in the nose as soon as you pop the cap, and it smacks you again when you actually taste this nectar. It blends perfectly with the orange, creating a tangy sweetness that is sublime and just a little more favorable to Sprecher's version — even if they needed 45 grams of cane sugar per 12 ounces to get there. Stewart's clearly designed this to taste like an orange creamsicle (the frozen dessert bar is featured on the label), and they succeeded. 

In fact, this might be more aptly named Cream 'n Orange, since the cream feels more substantial and stays on your tongue longer than the orange. You could plausibly argue that it's more of a cream soda than an orange one, which is why we can't rank it first overall. It's more than orange enough for the silver, though, and we're happy to put this sugary harmony of orange and cream where it belongs.

1. Boylan Orange

Boylan does pretty much every soda right, and orange is no exception. Cane sugar is the main sweetener and it works perfectly here, as the carbonation makes it less syrupy than you'd expect. Forty-five grams of sugar in a 12-ounce bottle is quite a lot, and you taste every last crystal, but it's somehow not too much and leaves a pleasantly sweet aftertaste on your tongue. 

Even with all that sugar, though, the orange flavor has that tangy artificial feel and is a bit more subtle, which weirdly works. Since the cane sugar is more forward on the nose and the palette, Boylan Orange almost takes on a bit of a cream soda taste to it — and you already know we're into that. Just like its other overly-sweet glass bottle companions, this would pair perfectly with a burger, tacos, loaded fries, or any extra-salty meal to cut through that ever-present sweetness. You might be able to find a better orange soda out there, but we don't know where.