We Tested 13 Orange Juices To Find The Best Ones For Breakfast

Several people changed their preferred pick after this taste test.

<p>Corinne Mucha/Dotdash Meredith</p>

Corinne Mucha/Dotdash Meredith

Sometimes, more often than maybe we want to admit, we buy the brands we do because our parents did, and their parents before them. That fact makes our taste tests here at Southern Living incredibly interesting.

From time to time, the classics stand, proving themselves yet again as the best. That's what happened in our cranberry sauce taste test. But sometimes, a brand-new winner rises to the top, shocking us all and challenging what we thought we knew (see our Coca-Cola taste tests).

But coming into our taste test for the best orange juice, we just weren't sure what to expect. Many editors and staff members admitted they buy the same juice over and over without questioning it, so what would they make of having a fresh chance to find an orange juice they actually liked?

Let's just say a lot of people walked away with new favorites—and you might, too.

How We Tested

We selected 13 different bottled orange juices from a variety of grocery and warehouse stores. We chose classic orange juice, without pulp. (If the brand didn't have a pulp-free option, we tried it anyway.)

Each of the 13 juices was chilled, then poured into individual cups so editors could taste test the orange juices without knowing what brands they had in their hands. During the blind taste test, each member of the staff was asked to rank the juices on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being the lowest possible score and 5 being the highest. They also recorded their thoughts on the flavor and texture of the juice during the silent testing. Each participant then selected their favorite orange juice over all.

The Contenders

The 13 orange juices we tried included:

  • Kirkland Signature Organic Orange Juice

  • Nature's Nectar Orange Juice

  • Simply Orange Juice Pulp-Free

  • Tropicana Pure Premium Original No Pulp 100% Orange Juice

  • Florida's Natural Orange Juice No Pulp

  • Natalie's Organic Orange Juice

  • Publix Original Orange Juice

  • Indian River Select Orange Juice

  • GreenWise Organic Orange Juice

  • Great Value 100% Orange Juice From Concentrate

  • Great Value 100% Pasteurized Orange Juice With No Pulp

  • Homemaker Premium Squeezed Original Orange

  • Uncle Matt's Organic Pulp-Free Orange Juice

How Each Orange Juice Scored

Kirkland Signature Organic Orange Juice

Kirkland Signature is Costco's store brand. It comes in a pack of two 59-oz. bottles, so you get a lot of orange juice for your penny. Reviewers liked that this juice wasn't overly acidic and tart, but they said the sugar balance leaned a little too heavy toward saccharine. They also remarked this one was a bit thinner, lacking that fresh-squeezed thick texture that you usually get from orange juice. However, one editor said this orange juice was their favorite because the fairly balanced flavor would go well with foods and not compete with salty or sweet dishes.

Nature's Nectar Orange Juice

Nature's Nectar is an Aldi branded product. For orange juice drinkers that like an unsweetened, freshly-squeezed juice, this was as close as we came. Testers commented that it had almost no sweetness; some said it was nearly bitter.

Simply Orange Juice Pulp-Free

Despite a few editors admitting this was the juice they typically buy, it didn't get high marks for flavor overall (though one person did pick it as their favorite). The consensus was that it was light on flavor but smooth and even "creamy," a good orange juice for mixing with Champagne for mimosas, perhaps.

Tropicana Pure Premium Original No Pulp 100% Orange Juice

This orange juice got good marks for texture; some testers called it viscous and thick. But in the flavor department, most agreed this was a little light. One editor, however, said they could sip this all day long because it wasn't as tart and assertive as many others.

Florida's Natural Orange Juice No Pulp

"Very citrusy," wrote one tester. "This leans toward fresh-squeezed," another said. But it wasn't all thumbs up from reviewers. A few noted that this juice lingered on the palate a bit too long, leaving bind a bitter taste that was reminiscent of orange pith.

Natalie's Organic Orange Juice

Editors remarked that this beverage was light and crisp without being overly sweet. Even testers who prefer pulp-free juice liked this one, which had a touch of the real-fruit pulp, lending a fresh-squeezed flavor and texture to each sip.

Publix Original Orange Juice

This orange juice, from one of our editors' favorite stores, did not receive high marks. A few editors said it tasted like it was unevenly mixed from a concentrated frozen juice. A few noted that it also tasted like it was pre-mixed with other citrus fruits, including grapefruit, leaving a bitter citrus taste that we weren't fond of, but some may be.

Indian River Select Orange Juice

A smooth and light orange juice, several editors said. But it didn't rise to the top for the whole group because a few folks noted it had a sour aftertaste that reminded them of grapefruits or kumquats. Still, two people ranked it in their top 3.

GreenWise Organic Orange Juice

Several editors circled this juice on their tasting notes sheet, saying it was a stand-out favorite. "Tastes like breakfast," one editor wrote. Another added, "I would buy this one. There's nothing artificial about it." But a few people noted it leaned toward the sweet side, a fact many people in the tasting seemed to appreciate as a balance to the natural tartness.

Great Value 100% Orange Juice From Concentrate

More than one editor said this juice was refreshing and sweet, but they also felt like it was a multi-juice drink, with notes of pineapple and mango. That's not altogether a bad thing—several said they'd drink this juice straight—but for a classic OJ flavor, you might want to keep looking.

Great Value 100% Pasteurized Orange Juice With No Pulp

"A little too sour and tart for me," one editor wrote. That seemed to be a general consensus for this juice, though one added that they liked this choice because it was "not too sweet, which is a refreshing break." A hint of sourness seemed to linger, too, which made testers take a few points off the total.

Homemaker Premium Squeezed Original Orange

The overall consensus on this juice was that the flavor was good, but the texture cost it some points. It had a mouthfeel more than one person described as "chalky." But it still had good marks for a bright citrus freshness.

Uncle Matt's Organic Pulp-Free Orange Juice

A Florida original, Uncle Matt's OJ was described as having "a brighter flavor" and "super fresh texture." But a few points were dinged for being just a bit too sweet. "This juice has some depth to it," wrote one reviewer. who further described this juice as being as close to classic as they tried in the whole taste test.

<p>Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Torie Cox</p>

Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Torie Cox

The Winners

Some editors valued sweetness in their OJ more than others; a few editors were looking for that just-squeezed tartness that comes from only real oranges. In the end, two orange juices received the same number of first-place votes and the same score. So it's only fair to call them both winners.

Tied: GreenWise Organic Orange Juice

Despite being an organic orange juice, the price point on this beverage was in line with many of the other selections we tried while the flavor was a stand-out. "I didn't think I could like OJ, but this one was nicely balanced and easy to drink," one editor wrote. Another one, who awarded this juice first-place points, called it "the most classic" of all the ones they tasted in this test.

Tied: Natalie's Organic Orange Juice

This juice comes in with a price tag just a bit higher than most of the others, but our editors would agree it's worth that extra dollar for the flavor alone. "This tastes like real oranges," one tester wrote. "I like the pulp and the fact that it wasn't syrupy sweet. It had a nice bitterness and tang that kept it from being artificial tasting."

Related: We Tasted 6 Store-Bought Potato Salads And Found A New Favorite

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