The Best Fruit Punch Is a Big, Red Sip of Childhood

If you grew up in the U.S., you’ve probably consumed a decent amount of fruit punch. Throughout my childhood, anyway, it was the beverage of choice at classroom pizza parties and birthday celebrations. It usually came in a big gallon milk jug, was sugary as hell, and was so violently red, it tended to leave kids running around for the rest of the day with gross little red mustaches. But the best fruit punch at the grocery store isn’t necessarily the kind that will permanently stain your mouth and face—although there’s a place for that stuff, too.  

Ideally, fruit punch should taste like fruit—cherries and pineapples are major players. But because many of us have been conditioned to enjoy the super-saccharine artificial flavor of the fruit punches of our childhoods, actual fruit juice content doesn’t necessarily make one fruit punch better than others. In fact, the best fruit punch brand on this list is only 15% real fruit juice. Now, grab a little paper cup, go post up by the jungle gym (where the cool kids hang), and take a big swig of the best fruit punch.

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best fruit punch

Best 100% Juice

Juicy Juice Fruit Punch

I used to have a juice problem. Seriously, as a single twenty-something, I used to drink as much juice as a family of four (and then wonder why I had to urgently poop all the time). Anyway, when I was in the throes of my addiction, Juicy Juice was a go-to. This is the only fruit punch we tried in our taste test that is 100% fruit juice. It’s a more subdued shade of red than many fruit punches (the color in the product image is not accurate) and tastes more like various fruit purees than a tangy amalgamation of artificial fruit flavors. Does that make it less fun? I mean, a little. But it’s the best fruit punch if you want fruit juice and nothing but fruit juice. 

Credit: Merc / Walmart

Rating:

8/10

Sporks

best fruit punch

Best Berry

Minute Maid Berry Punch

We tried a few Minute Maid fruit punches—in addition to berry, we tried Fruit Punch, Tropical Punch, and Zero Sugar Fruit Punch—and none of them were outstanding, but this one makes the list for being such a pleasant deviation from the cherry-forward punches you’re accustomed to. It has a bright strawberry flavor that goes nicely with the rest of the juice blend (pear and grape juices). It’s super sweet, but not in a gross way. It’s the best fruit punch if you have fruit punch fatigue.

Credit: Merc / TK

Rating:

8.5/10

Sporks

best fruit punch

Best Childhood Classic

Hi-C Flashin’ Fruit Punch

Hi-C fruit punch is a childhood classic. This is the stuff that absolutely would stain your upper lip, but luckily for adults with some semblance of self-consciousness, it comes in a box with a little sippy straw for minimal juice-to-lip contact. If you’ve continued drinking fruit punch into adulthood, you’ve probably come across this one a lot (at fountain drink stations, etc.) and, I have to say, it totally holds up. It’s tart, sweet, and delicious. I couldn’t isolate individual flavors, but that’s part of what makes it great—it’s a punch to its core. I tasted this alongside Fruit Juicy Red Hawaiian Punch and it’s significantly better tasting. (I was sure my adult palate would still love Hawaiian Punch, but it’s pretty bad!) Hi-C is only 3% percent fruit juice, but it’s the best fruit punch if you want a sip of nostalgia.

Credit: Merc / Walmart

Rating:

9/10

Sporks

best fruit punch

Best of the Best

Simply Fruit Punch

When we sit down to taste juices here at Sporked, Simply is a frequent frontrunner (check out our rankings of the best orange juice, the best apple juice, and the best lemonade for proof). And, sure enough, Simply makes the best fruit punch we tried during this taste test. This punch is cherry forward, and I like that. You know how the labels on fruit punch bottles usually show a slew of fruits splishing around in water or bursting with juice themselves? Simply’s label has a still life that simply features a pineapple slice, some cherries, and a few cranberries. And, true to the label, the ingredients are pineapple, cherry, and cranberry juices (along with some lemon juice for tartness). Pineapple, cherry, and cranberry together make a really nice, simple mix. This is 15% juice, but that works for it. This is a perfect punch—slap me if I’m wrong! 

Credit: Merc / Target

Rating:

10/10

Sporks

Other products we tried: Minute Maid Fruit Punch, Minute Maid Tropical Punch, Minute Maid Zero Sugar Fruit Punch, Hawaiian Punch Fruit Juicy Red, Tropicana Island Punch, Tropicana Pineapple Mango Splash

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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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  • The reason the Hawaiian Punch didn’t suit your adult taste buds is because it is nothing I repeat nothing like the Hawaiian Punch of our childhood. It is now invaded with vile sucralose and watered down so horribly bad. There is no resemblance of that thick puree-filled goodness we experienced as a child. So sad.

    Reply
  • Simply fruit punch is probably one of the best things I’ve ever drank

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  • How about a nice Hawaiian Punch? How is this missing? It is THEE CLASSIC!

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  • I don’t know if it’s sold in the US, but in Canada (or at least Ontario) I think the best is Allen’s Fruit Punch! Special shout out to Allen’s Peach Cocktail also.

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  • Poor child, LOL!!!, “Classroom pizza parties”!!? Only thing we had was water from a hall fountain. Growing up in 1950s Louisiana we never experienced any parties ever. When my mother was a child in 30s she had to share water from a bucket of well water, everyone drank from the same ladle.

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