'It Makes the World Taste Better'—and We've Got All 14 Dr Pepper Flavors, Ranked Worst to Best
You don't have to be a doctor to diagnose the best and worst flavors.
Somebody hand us a white lab coat and a stethoscope because it's time to step into the doctor's office. Doctor Pepper's office, that is. Parade has tested and ranked Dr Pepper flavors from best to worst and you may need a defibrillator once you see this controversial list. When it comes to soda, Dr Pepper is many drinkers' go-to pop order, thanks to its cherry-filled, classic cream soda taste. This is a showdown of cola flavors no one should skip. (But like, don't skip your doctor appointments either; those are important!)
Note: Not up for consideration was Dr Pepper Dark Berry nor any other discontinued or limited edition (like Fantastic Chocolate) flavors.
Keep reading for the best Dr Pepper flavors—ranked.
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Which Dr Pepper Flavor Is Best?
While we've all got our preferences, it seems pretty clear that Dr Pepper—as in, its original flavor—has stood the test of time. Drinkers may not enjoy additional hints of strawberry, cherry, vanilla or cream soda depending on their taste buds. As such, the OG flavor undoubtedly reigns supreme.
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If you agree that the original flavor is the best of the best, here's a question for you: Sure, you've had Dr Pepper cold—but have you ever tried it hot? Real fans of the stuff will recommend heating up one can in a saucepan with lemon and then pouring it into a mug. After all, it technically can be served either hot or cold!
How Many Flavors of Dr Pepper Are There?
According to DrPepper.com, there are a total of 13 different flavors of Dr Pepper on the shelves right now. However, a new one—Strawberries & Cream—just debuted last Feb. in time for Valentine's Day. Though it's not mentioned on the official website, Strawberries & Cream is definitely available in stores (and online). In fact, Dr Pepper announced the new flavor will be a permanent addition to their lineup.
Now, those 14 are not to be confused with a very frequently asked question: "What are the 23 flavors of Dr Pepper?" We'll get to that below because what makes Dr Pepper, well, Dr Pepper, is a combination of 23 flavors.
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Of course, when it comes to individual Dr Pepper flavors, some of these infuse more of one flavor than another. Confused? Bear with us and keep reading.
What Is the Real Flavor of Dr Pepper?
What gives Dr Pepper its unique, signature taste is, surprisingly, a blend of 23 different flavors. These include: cola, cherry, amaretto, licorice, almond, vanilla, blackberry, apricot, caramel, pepper, anise, sarsaparilla, ginger, molasses, lemon, plum, orange, nutmeg, cardamom, allspice, coriander juniper, birch, and prickly ash.
Phewf—say that three times fast!
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Legend has it that the combination of the aforementioned 23 ingredients is what made up the smell of the pharmacy in which Dr Pepper was created back in the 1880s. It was created by pharmacist Charles Alderton in Waco, Texas, and while it took him some time to perfect the flavor—not serving it to consumers until about 1885—Alderton was inspired by the smell of the pharmacy and wanted to recreate it in a soft drink.
Originally, Dr Pepper was made with cane sugar, but nowadays, it's been replaced with high fructose corn syrup. Although you can now buy Dr Pepper Made With Real Sugar—a new-ish flavor that boasts cane sugar instead of additives like corn syrup.
What Two Sodas Make Dr Pepper?
Oh, it's wayyyyy more than just two sodas that make up that delicious Dr Pepper taste. That being said, the Internet is rife with "DIY" Dr Pepper concoctions that attempt to recreate that cherry-cream-soda taste that's so unique to the brand. Most often, these dupe recipes will recommend combining cola and root beer.
If you try that, it may be good but rest assured, it's not quite as good as the real thing.
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There's also another way to hack the Dr Pepper flavor, according to WikiHow. For one, the website recommends combining Pepsi, almond extract and vanilla extract. Another dupe recipe calls for cold soda water, 40 drops of cola-flavored stevia and natural cherry flavoring. For a more natural take on Dr Pepper, WikiHow suggests using cinnamon sticks, barley, lemon flavoring, four pieces of rock sugar, three chopped red bell peppers, and cold carbonated water.
We're not sure what purpose the bell peppers serve... but to each their own.
But perhaps the easiest recreation comes in the form of seltzer and black cherry MiO.
Dr Pepper Flavors Ranked from Worst to Best
14. Strawberries and Cream Zero Sugar
Dr Pepper Strawberry Cream Soda 18 Cans 12 Fl Oz (Regular)
Strawberries and Cream is the latest (permanent) addition to the Dr Pepper line, but it also comes in the sugar-free version—Strawberries and Cream Zero Sugar. And it's... sub-par to say the least.
As you'll notice throughout this list, the diet, zero-sugar and caffeine-free flavors don't go over too well and tend to rank worse than the other flavors. And that's not to say that they aren't tasty, but it is to say that the real ones (with the sugar, caffeine, and the whole shebang) unequivocally taste better. Strawberries and Cream Zero Sugar is no different; in fact, it's the worst.
13. Dr Pepper Made With Real Sugar
Dr. Pepper Real Sugar Soda, 12 Ounce (12 Bottles)
We have to give credit where credit is due, which means we have to appreciate what Dr Pepper is doing here with Dr Pepper Made With Real Sugar. As we mentioned, the original Dr Pepper was made with natural sugars, but later on it was swapped out for high fructose corn syrup. Now—in a landscape where sugar-free, probiotic colas are all the rage—the DP team is going back, back to the beginning by bringing out the soda made with cane sugar once more.
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12. Caffeine-Free Diet Sugar
Diet Dr Pepper Caffeine Free, 12 Fl oz (pack of 12)
*Shudders at the thought of no caffeine and diet and sugar-free.* Could it be worse? Yes (look at #13 and #14). Is it a better option for Dr Pepper drinkers? Probably. But remember to look out for aspartame; it's an ingredient that's been linked to cancer and is often found in drinks labeled 'diet.'
11. Caffeine Free
Another bevy without the joys of caffeine, you'll have to focus on the flavor of Caffeine Free Dr Pepper because you're not getting any of the energy-inducing properties of caffeine. The flavor itself isn't bad as it isn't much different than the original stuff. Still, if you need an afternoon pick-me-up, this is not the drink to reach for.
10. Strawberries and Cream
Dr Pepper Strawberry Cream Soda 18 Cans 12 Fl Oz (Regular)
It's new so it's got some kinks to work out, but Strawberries and Cream Dr Pepper has carved out a lane for itself that's quite impressive. The only strawberry-and-cream-flavored dark soda on the market right now, it's not technically meant to replace the now-discontinued Dark Berry flavor, but Dr Pepper has gone on the record saying that it's focusing its efforts on this flavor instead of reviving Dark Berry.
Take that as you will.
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9. Dr Pepper Zero Sugar
Dr Pepper Zero Sugar Soda, 12 fl oz cans, 12 pack
This low-calorie version of the original flavor is meant to taste an awful lot like its counterpart... and it does! But sadly, we'd be remiss not to mention that it's not as tasty as some of the other zero-sugar or diet options. It's good, but it ain't great.
Is it nice in a pinch? Absolutely.
8. Dr Pepper & Cream Soda Zero Sugar
Dr pepper ZERO Cream soda, 12 fl oz, 18 cans, total 216 fl oz
Another low-cal version of Dr Pepper, this one does zero-sugar right! In a sugar-free dupe of the real flavor—Dr Pepper & Cream Soda—this bev gives off fountain soda vibes. All it needs is a glass, not a can! It's also worth noting that this zero-sugar spinoff replaced the Diet version of Dr Pepper & Cream Soda. (And notably, we think it's better!)
7. Diet Dr Pepper
Diet Dr Pepper Soda, 12 fl oz cans, 12 pack
Now, lots of people go hard for Diet Dr Pepper, so we're not trying to step on anyone's toes by ranking it #7 and say, not #2. Buuuuuut—and hear us out—the diet flavors just can't top the non-diet ones and so while this is a delicious option for drinkers who stick to diet, we just couldn't rank it more than seventh because really, there are some much tastier flavors out there.
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6. Dr Pepper Cherry Zero Sugar
Diamond coast Zero sugar dr pepper CHERRY, 12 FL OZ, 15 CANS, Total 180 fl oz,12 Fl Oz (Pack of 15)
Dr Pepper Cherry Zero Sugar actually replaced Diet Dr Pepper Cherry. Thank goodness because between the two, if our tastebuds remember the old one correctly, the Zero Sugar version is better. The sweet (but not too sweet) taste of cherry is still present and with significantly less sugar, Dr Pepper fanatics can indulge in cherry cola while still scaling back.
5. Diet Dr Pepper Cherry Vanilla
What could be better than Dr Pepper Cherry Zero Sugar? It's the same flavor, only with cherry vanilla in the mix. Diet Dr Pepper Cherry Vanilla is TBH the bomb. It's not as good as the non-diet version, but with the unmistakable presence of cherry vanilla notes reminiscent of old-timey colas, marks this flavor among some of the best.
4. Dr Pepper & Cream Soda
Dr Pepper Cream Soda, Pack of 6
Not gonna lie, fellow Dr Pepper drinkers: We stan for Dr Pepper & Cream Soda. After all, Dr Pepper has always had cream soda-flavored origins and for many, it's what they love most about it. In a world of Coca-Colas and Pepsis, Dr Pepper was a refreshing, more multifaceted take on what cola should (and could) be. Drinking Dr Pepper & Cream Soda is like stopping at the ice cream parlor in the 1950s to pick up a pop.
3. Dr Pepper Cherry
Dr Pepper Cherry Soda, 12 fl oz cans, 12 pack
If you're a cherry-on-top kind of ice cream eater or a milkshake lover or a fountain soda enthusiast, Dr Pepper Cherry is the be-all-end-all. With the strongest cherry flavor of the bunch, this drink is Dr Pepper but on cherry-flavored steroids (for lack of a better analogy).
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2. Cherry Vanilla
Apart from the Original flavor, the only thing better than Cherry Dr. Pepper is Cherry Vanilla. We're not sure what it is but this flavor is like, a creamsicle, or maybe a rootbeer float. See? We really can't put our finger on it. Whatever it is, it's nostalgic, classic, and worth hoarding several boxes of it at once in your garage. Just sayin'.
1. Dr Pepper (Original)
Dr Pepper Soda, 12 fl oz cans, 12 pack
The literal star of the show, you just can't beat original Dr Pepper. Nor can you come up against it either. Dr Pepper has no opps!
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