Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice Company Featured On
We Tasted the Best Orange Juice Brands to Find Stand-Out OJ
Finding the best orange juice is no small task. It’s the first drink many of us take in the morning, it’s a go-to cocktail mixer, and it comes in a staggeringly high number of pulp concentrations to suit every taste. Basically, orange juice is personal. And we wanted to help you find the best bottle for sweet breakfast sipping, accompanying a stellar brunch recipe, or just to get your healthy dose of orange juice in the most refreshing way possible.
How We Selected the OJ Brands
We narrowed down the couple dozen OJ options on the market to only those that contained 100% orange juice — no added sugar, no high-fructose corn syrup, and no “juice from concentrate.” That still left us with plenty of picks, so we decided to only include brands that are widely available in grocery stores around the country. Finally, we only tried “no pulp” varieties when possible (some brands didn’t offer varying pulp options) to keep the taste test as consistent as possible.
The Taste Test Results
We recruited several citrus-loving editors, family, and friends to help us blindly taste the nationally available brands of refrigerated orange juice and offer honest feedback. After several rounds of sips (and a couple palate-cleansing pancakes — the ideal pairing), here are our favorite store-bought orange juice brands:
Close your eyes and take a whiff from a bottle of this brand and you might think you’re smelling the real citrus. You wouldn’t be far off — Natalie’s commitment to small-batch production and minimal processing makes it the closest thing to fresh-squeezed you can find. The standard, “Orange” option contains small bits of pulp that provide great texture, while the “Organic Orange” variety is smoother and sweeter with hints of pineapple. Both bottles feature a nice tartness that provides the familiar pucker of biting into a fresh orange.
This brand boasted a subtly sweet flavor profile that didn’t leave a sugary aftertaste on our tongues — which was a relief after a long day of orange juice tasting. The flavor was bright and fresh, without too much sourness or acidity. We especially loved the Pulp Free with Calcium & Vitamin D variety, in which the presence of the extra good-for-you stuff was barely noticeable. Vitamins and minerals masked into your daily cup of OJ without a trace? We’ll take a glass (or two).
Another refreshing Calcium & Vitamin D option, this brand had a full-flavored, genuine orange taste and a smooth mouthfeel. The blend of organic Hamlin and Valencia oranges gave this bottle a tropical flavor that stood out from the rest: We tasted hints of mango with a good amount of acidity to balance out the delightful sweetness. The added vitamins and minerals were not detectable in the taste — and provide a whopping 25% of your suggested daily value in every 8 oz. serving.
When you imagine your ideal glass of OJ, you’re probably imagining a glass of Tropicana. It’s no surprise — the brand has been honing its citrus-serving craft since it was founded in 1947, and they’ve got the formula down. Sweetness and tartness complement each other nicely, while the medium viscosity and subtle texture, even in the No Pulp variety, provide full, thirst-quenching sips.
For those who prefer a refreshing, decidedly-not-sweet sip in the morning, this brand boasts a subtle sweetness and bracing tartness that finishes slightly bitter, like a grapefruit. This brand stood out from the other bottles with its unique, almost floral flavor. Florida’s Natural sources all of their citrus from the United States (some of the other brands import from Brazil), which could account for this flavor difference.
No Pulp Orange Juice
If you’re team sweet (never savory!) when it comes to breakfast foods, you’ll probably enjoy this dessert-like drink to go with your morning stack of pancakes. Unlike your favorite breakfast biscotti, however, this OJ has no added sugar or artificial sweeteners — just 100% juice and most of the Vitamin C you’ll need for the rest of the day. This brand was a favorite among our kid-tasters, while the adults thought it fared better than the other brands in a bubbly mimosa. Either way, it was hard to stop sipping.