15 Popular Lemon-Lime Sodas, Ranked Worst To Best

On the Mount Rushmore of great pairings, lemon and lime are smack dab in the middle. The two citrus fruits play off each other perfectly, both temptingly sweet and just a little too sour for our own good. There are plenty of lemon and lime flavored dishes, baked goods, and drinks, but nowhere does this power couple come together more cohesively than in soda.

Lemon-lime is one of the most recognizable soda flavors out there, and for good reason. It's refreshing, tart, and has a history that dates back to just before the Great Depression. In fact, the very first lemon-lime soda (invented in 1929 by Charles L. Grigg) contained lithium citrate, which was used to treat mental health disorders. That substance was eventually banned, but the original lemon-lime soda eventually became 7UP, a drink that's still used to help people get over colds and stomach aches. And though its medicinal properties aren't exactly prescription-worthy, they're more than welcome when you're feeling a little under the weather.

Lemon-lime soda is far from just a pick-me-up drink, though — it's the kind of refreshment that countless brands have tried to capitalize on because of its timeless citrus combination. Some, of course, do it better than others, which is why we've decided to rank these popular lemon-lime sodas.

15. Culture Pop Lemon Lime & Cardamom

Culture Pop is branded as a probiotic soda that's both fizzy and gutsy, nodding toward its gut health benefits. Its Lemon Lime & Cardamom soda can says to lightly shake it before opening, which makes sense because there's almost no fizz here. Unfortunately there's even less flavor. This almost feels like an uncarbonated kombucha trying to mask itself as lemon-lime soda. The only other way we could possibly describe this drink's taste is a flat ginger ale mixed with old Gatorade. There's supposedly cardamom in here, but it's very subtle, and it's not clear if that adds to the drink's issues or contributes to them.

Because of its live probiotics, this might be a good choice for some out there looking for something that'll aid digestion and vaguely tastes like the idea of soda. It's also plant-based and vegan, for whatever that's worth. But purely as a drink, we really didn't know what to do with this one. While some other health-conscious options on here could feasibly pass for lemon-lime soda, this one can't.

14. Zevia Lemon Lime Twist

The Zevia Lemon Lime Twist we found came in a much sleeker can than our other entries, and we actually quite like it. It's also gold, which is a surprisingly nice touch — almost every other lemon-lime soda brand leans into green for its packaging, so we appreciate that Zevia went the other way. 

That's pretty much where the compliments stop, though. Zevia isn't the worst option if you want a naturally sweetened low-calorie carbonated soda (see above), but like the brand's other flavors, it doesn't quite hit. You get the sense of what this wants to be, but it never quite gets there, and by the time you're finished you just wish you had another drink instead. Lemon-lime flavoring does lend itself a little better to the stevia leaf sugar substitute than many of Zevia's other options, but in all likelihood you'll wind up a bit disappointed after drinking one of these.

13. 365 by Whole Foods Market Lemon Lime

This is what we'd describe as an extremely calm lemon-lime soda. It doesn't smack you in the tongue in quite the same way Sprite does (more on that later), but it's worse off for it. The flavor is subtle and the finish is more syrupy, almost making you wish it was a little more explosive in your mouth. Kudos to Whole Foods for opting for cane sugar rather than high fructose corn syrup for the sweetener here, which we wouldn't really anticipate from a store-brand soda.

Even still, 365 Lemon Lime falls short because it's not really as citrusy as you want it a lemon-lime soda to be. In fact, you could argue this is basically lemon-lime seltzer with a heap of added sugar. That makes it a perfectly serviceable beverage, especially if you pair it with a simple lunch, but you can surely do better.

12. Signature Select Lemon Lime Soda

Signature Select is the generic store brand for Albertsons Companies Inc., which means you'll find it at several supermarket chains including Vons, Acme, and Safeway. Store-brand sodas are generally run-of-the-mill knock-offs with less panache than their name-brand counterparts, and that rings true for Signature Select Lemon Lime Soda. The citrus flavors are subtle, which actually wins it points, but it's around the second glug that you realize all you're really getting here are slightly tart, sugary bubbles.

That's fine by us — carbonation is as good a reason as any to enjoy a soda, and lemon-lime versions have plenty of it. This just isn't something you're going to reach for outside of economic convenience, since a two-liter bottle costs less than a dollar. Unless you've got a large family that loves lemon-lime soda or have to stock up for a party, you can and should find something better.

11. Twist Up

Twist Up is yet another generic lemon-lime soda, this time found at Walmart, but honestly, you can just leave it there. The price tag is friendly at a little more than a dollar for a two-liter bottle, but the soda is thoroughly "meh." It's got some good carbonation that tingles on your tongue for a second, but the lemon-lime flavor doesn't pop in a way that makes you want to drink very much of it. In the end, you get what you pay for here, which is an extremely boilerplate soda.

Now, we've got nothing against inexpensive, basic sodas. If you're looking for a cheap option for a party or even a simple mixer, this will do just fine. It's plenty sugary (40 grams per 12 ounces) so it'll likely play well with clear alcohols like vodka or gin. We can also totally imagine a bunch of kids enjoying this stuff at a pizza party before they bum-rush a bouncy castle. But aside from a pregame or a kindergarten pizza party, we don't have much use for Twist Up.

10. Manhattan Special Lemon/Lime Soda

If we're giving points for branding, Manhattan Special shoots right to the top. We love the simple bottle, the golden cap, and the little map of Italy on the bottle. (Not a bad idea to evoke images of one of the most famous citrus-producing regions in the world.) The actual citrus flavor here, though, is subtle. It just barely hits your nose when you pop the cap, and though this soda is sweet, you might find yourself asking whether the lemon or lime is actually going to show up.

When a soda is overly sweet like this, it's easy to default to "syrupy" as an adjective — heck, we do it all the time. But this soda takes that descriptor to the next level. We were smacking our lips after each sip, and not in a cute way. It almost feels as if it was made in a soda stream — it's got adequate carbonation, but a flavor that feels more poured into the bubbles rather than infused into them. Not great, not horrible.

9. Olipop Lemon Lime

Olipop is yet another new-age soda aimed at supporting digestive health, and its lemon-lime iteration is pretty good — by prebiotic soda standards, at least. (We tasted this one right after Culture Pop, which made us appreciate it more.) Is it lemon-lime soda? That's debatable. Will it scratch your itch for tangy carbonation? Very possibly. This drink leans a little bit more lemon than lime, and we don't totally mind it, although it mirrors other Olipop flavors in that its flavors feel a bit transparent. (If you're looking for a gateway to the brand, we recommend Tropical Punch.)

The Olismart sweetener is apparent here, and while it's an innovative formula of extracts that sets this brand apart, it doesn't work particularly well with lemon and lime. This drinks more like a lemonade, and while that level of tartness is really nice, it doesn't make for a great soda — just a halfway decent one. 

8. Sprite Zero Sugar

Well, it's finally time for our first big-name entry on this list, even if it doesn't have any calories. We'll say this about Sprite Zero Sugar — there's no competing with its calorie-filled cousin when it comes to flavor, but its carbonation level is about even. That does a good deal to help save this soda, which can't totally overcome the artificiality of the aspartame used to sweeten it up. 

It's not the most horrible version of a zero-calorie soda we've ever tasted. It's certainly better than the more health-conscious low-calorie versions on this list, albeit due to an artificial (and somewhat controversial) ingredient. We can understand if that turns some people off, and honestly, you're not missing all that much anyway. Sprite Zero Sugar is essentially a subtler Sprite, and that will work for some people, but if you're like us, it might just lead you to crave the original. 

7. Jarritos Lime

Don't let the label or radioactive green color fool you. Jarritos Lime actually drinks more like a lemon-lime soda, which is why we included it in this list. The lime is certainly more forward, which makes sense given its branding, but it confused us as we drank it. Certain sips we got more lemon, while other sips could not have tasted more like lime if we squeezed one of the tiny green citruses straight into our mouth. The best descriptor we could come up with was a carbonated and slightly thicker version of lemon-lime Gatorade.

All in all, this feels like Jarritos' answer to Sprite or 7UP, except it's significantly more sour and has less fizz than those more familiar brands. Unless you love limeade, you need to pair this with something really savory as you drink it — ideally a dish that specifically plays well with citrus. Tacos al pastor, anyone?

6. 7UP

7UP has long been in the running with ginger ale as the default tummy ache soda, and let's start this off by saying we definitely prefer this to Seagrams, Canada Dry, or any of the other big-name ginger ales. As a lemon-lime soda, though, we were surprised to find it a bit wanting compared to its competitors — it skews a bit more toward lemon, which we actually didn't like here, and the taste is hard to justify wit the sheer amount of sugar in this stuff (63 grams per 20-ounce bottle).

We can't totally disrespect a classic, since 7UP is the grandaddy of all lemon-lime sodas. But it's possible our memory of elementary school nurse visits were doing most of the heavy lifting here. It's not a bad option, particularly if you're trying to rekindle memories of bellyaches past. We're not entirely sure why you'd do that, but hey, to each their own. The soda may be sporting a new look, but regardless, 7UP falls in the middle of the pack on our list.

5. Green River

Green River might be unfamiliar to those who have never tried Sprecher sodas, but this lemon-lime iteration is one worth trying if it's available near you. It's got a distinct citrus scent and taste, and plays the syrupy note much better than some of the other sodas further down in our ranking. Since it's not technically a Sprecher soda, it's not sweetened with Wisconsin honey like the brand's other offerings, but it's plenty sweet and just the kind of refreshment you want to pair with savory food.

If there are points to be docked here, it's for the soda's limited availability (though 12-packs can be ordered online directly from the company), and, perhaps surprisingly, the use of actual citrus juice. We're all for natural ingredients, but lemon-lime soda seems to work better with the artificial stuff as you'll see with some of the slots to come. For our money, though, this is the best small brand on the list, and it's not all that close.

4. Mexican Sprite

Mexican Sprite doesn't match its American cousin's carbonation level, and we wouldn't want it to, but it does have a considerable amount of fizz in its own right. Those bubbles help to better accentuate the subtle citrus flavors ringing through the soda. It's not jaw-clenchingly sour, but it's got the right amount of zing to make you know exactly what it is.

This is a refreshing soda, which is apt, since it's got the word "refresco" right on the bottle. It's a little too sweet to chug, but you realize upon sipping that it would serve as the perfect complement to just about any lunch or dinner on the planet. We love it almost as much as we love its sleek bottle, complete with dimples running along its lower half. This is the kind of bottle you save, rinse out, and stick a single flower in to brighten up a room. If the plant doesn't do it, the green glass will.

3. Starry

What in the Sierra Mist do we have here? Starry is Pepsi's latest attempt to compete with Sprite on the lemon-lime soda front, and it's got the bubbles to prove it. This stuff almost exploded after a two-day sit in the fridge, so we can only imagine what would happen if you shook this stuff like it was Culture Pop.

The branding of the Sierra Mist reboot is fine, and we quite like the lime green and heavy bold outlines, but the flavor falls just short of completely wowing our palate. It leans more toward lemon and is a bit too heavy on the sweetness to get it to the top slot, but this is a very good lemon-lime soda. Aside from a little confusion upon first learning about this new brand, we've got few complaints here. If you were a fan of Sierra Mist, Starry is sure to impress.  

2. Starry Zero Sugar

Wait a minute — a zero-calorie soda that's better than its sugar-packed original? We might've found the real deal with Starry Zero Sugar, which we fully expected to be a weak, aspartame-tinged version of Starry. And while the aspartame tinge is there (along with 10 calories — where do those come from?), it actually works well with Starry's more lemony flavor. In fact, the aspartame mellows the flavor out, balancing the lemon and lime and making them entirely secondary to the true stars of the show — the bubbles and the artificial sweetness.

Based on that description, Starry Zero Sugar really shouldn't work ... and yet here we are. This is one of the few sodas on this list we actually considered saving for later (and the screw-on plastic cap certainly helped that). Starry Zero Sugar really drinks like a sweetened lemon-lime seltzer, and we mean that in the best way possible. The carbonation might be a little over the top, but it really brings the whole drink together. We'd probably notice the difference if they switched things up now, but this one makes you wonder whether Pepsi considered bottling Starry Zero Sugar as regular Starry in the first place. It really is that much better.

1. Sprite

When it comes to lemon-lime sodas, Sprite always feels like the one to beat. It's the most recognizable brand, and perhaps even more notable for its absurd carbonation. The Sprite Challenge puts it to the test, as the TikTok trend calls for participants to drink an entire can or bottle without burping. Some even jest that the Sprite from McDonald's (known for being even fizzier than the bottled stuff) is so explosive that it can charge cellphones.

That's probably not true, but one sip of this stuff and you can see where the rumor started. We felt a belch coming on almost instantly, probably even more than we felt the soda's actual flavor. The lemon-lime here is subtle but balanced well with the high fructose corn syrup used to sweeten it. It sends an extremely recognizable citric scent into your nose both when you open it and as you drink it. It's a smell that sticks with you, the kind that you remember from years past and know you'll recognize instantly years from now. Sprite always had a leg up in this competition, but when it's all said and done, it truly is the best soda of the lemon-lime bunch.