The 7 Best Cream Sodas Are Full of Fizzy Goodness

Whether you say cream soda or creme soda like a fancy boy, this classic carbonated bev is a sweet, nostalgic delight. Even though most of us didn’t grow up in an era when we rode our Schwinn Stingrays down to the sodie fountain for a drink and a pocketful of penny candy, cream soda can make you feel like you did. It’s like childhood in a bottle, minus the trauma.

For this taste test, we rounded up some of the most popular brands of cream soda and judged them on their fizz, their depth of vanilla flavor, and their creamy-minus-the-actual-cream feel. These seven were the cream of the crop (sorry).

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best cream soda

Best of the Best

Boylan Creme Soda

So, there are a couple of theories about why cream soda is called cream soda. According to Bon Appetit, an early recipe included cream of tartar, which likely served as a stabilizer for the egg whites that were also in that version of the beverage. The other is that it usually contains vanilla (natural or artificial), which gives it an ice-creamy flavor and finish. Either way, Boylan has totally nailed that delicate alchemy of vanilla flavor and fizz. It even smells delicious from the moment you crack the lid. The secret could be in the real cane sugar Boylan uses in its sodas, which gives it a crisp, natural flavor. I’m doing my best to explain it, but suffice it to say this soda just tastes exactly the way it’s supposed to.

Credit: Paula Kunatee / Instacart

Rating:

10/10

Sporks

best cream soda

Best Vanilla Flavor

Faygo Vanilla Creme Soda

Faygo is leaning into vintage vibes with its new/old packaging, and it’s a pretty good look, albeit less friendly to a Juggalo aesthetic. Anyway, if ICP’s fandom gave you the impression that this wasn’t a classy soda brand, it’s time to reevaluate! Beyond the downright beautiful bottle, Faygo Vanilla Creme soda had the richest vanilla flavor of all the cream sodas we tried. I also think there’s something highly appealing about a clear cream soda (don’t even get me started on that blue stuff). If you like a very vanilla-forward soda, this one’s for you.

Credit: Paula Kunatee / Instacart

Rating:

9.5/10

Sporks

best cream soda

Best Fizz

New York Seltzer Vanilla Cream Soda

New York Seltzer’s Vanilla Cream Soda may be my personal favorite of the bunch, and not just because I have fond childhood memories of the brand. It’s got a milder flavor than a lot of the other cream sodas we tried, which I can see turning off people looking for a bold soda taste, and it’s not as cloyingly sweet either, which I personally love. But what make this one extra refreshing in my book are the small bubbles and highly active carbonation. This soda really dances on your tongue—and it comes in a small, adorable bottle. You can’t miss with this one.

Credit: Paula Kunatee / World Market

Rating:

9.5/10

Sporks

best cream soda

Best Caramel Vibes

Shasta Creme Soda

I tend to think of Shasta as a budget soda brand, but this cream soda has a really rich, toasty, almost caramel-y flavor to it. Even though the head dissipates pretty quickly when you pour this soda into a glass, the powerful vanilla flavor contributes some ice cream-style creaminess to the mix. If you’re looking for a cream soda to make an ice cream float with, try this one with a scoop of something creative.

Credit: Paula Kunatee / Walmart

Rating:

9/10

Sporks

best cream soda

Best Sweet

IBC Cream Soda

I’ve already showed my hand and revealed that I prefer a dryer soda like New York Seltzer, but I certainly get that some people want a soda to be an absolute sugar bomb. If you like your soda sweet, this IBC (which I consistently want to call IBS) is the way to go. Like Boylan, this one’s made with cane sugar, and that clean flavor really compliments the vanilla in the bottle. It has a good, strong flavor and a single sip will put you in a good mood.

Credit: Paula Kunatee / Instacart

Rating:

8.5/10

Sporks

best cream soda

Best Diet

Dr. Brown’s Diet Cream Soda

Dr. Brown used to sell soda as medicine, and Cream Soda was one of his original flavors. I love a good origin story, but I have to admit I didn’t love Dr. Brown’s regular ol’ Cream Soda, even if it is an OG (it kind of tasted like ginger ale to me). But if you hew toward sugar-free drinks, Dr. Brown is your man. It’s sweetened with aspartame, as many diet sodas are, but it doesn’t have that cloying diet soda aftertaste that can tend to linger on the back of your tongue. Something about Dr. Brown’s mix of vanilla flavor and sweetener just works perfectly. A real treat, minus the sugar.

Credit: Paula Kunatee / Target

Rating:

7.5/10

Sporks

best cream soda

Best Diet (Runner Up)

Great Value Diet Cream Soda

Shout out to Walmart for making a pretty damn good diet cream soda, too. It has a powerful vanilla flavor we liked more than other diets we tried, although it does have a little bit of that diet soda aftertaste. Ultimately, the aftertaste isn’t too much of a turnoff, and since this is a major budget buy at less than four bucks for a 12 pack (by comparison, a six pack of Dr. Brown’s is almost $6), it makes the list.

Credit: Paula Kunatee / Walmart

Rating:

7.5/10

Sporks

Other products we tried: A&W Cream Soda, A&W Zero Sugar Cream Soda, Virgil’s Vanilla Cream Soda, Virgil’s Zero Calorie Vanilla Cream Soda, Dr. Brown’s Cream Soda, Dad’s Old Fashioned Cream Soda, Diet Shasta Creme Soda

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About the Author

Gwynedd Stuart

Gwynedd Stuart, Sporked’s managing editor, is an L.A.-based writer and editor who spends way, way too much time at the grocery store. She’s never met an Old El Paso taco or mozzarella stick she didn’t like.

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