Does Dr Pepper Have Caffeine?

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Dr Pepper is an iconic American soda made from a blend of 23 different flavors. While the actual recipe is a closely guarded secret, one thing we do know is that Dr Pepper contains caffeine. In this article, we are going to answer the question: how much caffeine is in Dr Pepper? 

History of Dr Pepper

Dr Pepper is a popular soft drink that was created by a pharmacist, Charles Alderton, in 1885. Interestingly, it is the oldest major soft drink in America. The drink was originally called “Waco” and sold in the soda fountain at the drug store where it was developed in Waco, Texas. Dr Pepper quickly gained widespread notoriety and in the 1900s, the brand expanded to become available in bottles and soda fountains around America. While the origin of the name Dr. Pepper is unknown, it is thought to be coined by Morrison, the owner of the drugstore. 

Fun Fact: the period in Dr. Pepper was dropped in the 1950s, however, both Dr and Dr. Pepper are still used interchangeably today. 

how much caffeine does dr pepper have

What is Dr Pepper?

Dr Pepper is a carbonated soft drink made from a secret recipe composed of 23 unknown flavors. It has a unique taste that is hard to describe (not a surprise given the number of flavorings in the drink!). It is described as a sweet flavor with hints of cherry and licorice. While the exact blend of flavorings is unknown, fans have speculated that Dr Pepper also contains Amaretto, Vanilla, Blackberry, Caramel, Clove, Molasses, Nutmeg, Cola, Prune Juice, Raspberry, Ginger, Lemon, Orange, Plum, Rum, and an array of spices. 

Along with the natural and artificial flavors, the drink contains carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup, caramel color, sodium benzoate (a preservative), and caffeine. How much caffeine is present in the drink depends on the flavor you opt for.

There are a number of variations on the drink, from Diet Dr Pepper, Zero Sugar, Made with Real Sugar, and Caffeine Free options to flavor twists like Strawberries & Cream, Cream Soda, Cherry, and Cherry Vanilla.

How Much Caffeine Is In Dr Pepper?

So how much caffeine is in Dr Pepper? Like most other fizzy drinks, Dr Pepper contains a small amount of caffeine. Dr Pepper has 42mg of caffeine in a 12 fl oz can (1). This amount of caffeine is fairly typical of soft drinks, but a lot less caffeine than you would find in a cup of coffee. In comparison, a 12 oz cup of brewed coffee has around 140mg of caffeine.

The amount of caffeine in the different Dr Pepper flavors all fall in the same ballpark, with the obvious exception of the Caffeine-Free versions which have no caffeine. 

  • Regular Dr Pepper 42mg caffeine / 12 fl oz
  • Diet Dr Pepper 41mg caffeine / 12 fl oz
  • Diet Dr Pepper Cherry 39mg caffeine / 12 fl oz
  • Caffeine Free Dr Pepper 0mg caffeine / 12 fl oz
Does Dr pepper have caffeine

What Is Caffeine And Why Does Dr Pepper Have Caffeine In It?

Caffeine is a substance found in many foods and drinks like coffee, tea, chocolate, and cocoa. A high dose of caffeine, such as is found in coffee and energy drinks, has a stimulant effect keeping you alert and giving you energy. When caffeine is added to soft drinks like Dr Pepper, it is usually at lower levels and used more for its taste profile. Caffeine has a bitter taste that counters the sweetness of soft drinks and enhances their flavor.  

Comparison To Other Soft Drinks

The amount of caffeine in Dr Pepper is about average when compared to other popular soft drinks. Obviously, Sprite is an outlier, containing no caffeine, while Coca-Cola and Pepsi both have slightly less caffeine than Dr Pepper. Other drinks like Mountain Dew or energy drinks like Red Bull or Monster contain a lot more caffeine. 

  • Sprite- 0mg caffeine in 12 fl oz
  • Coca-Cola- 34mg caffeine in 12 fl oz
  • Coke Zero– 34mg caffeine in 12 fl oz
  • Pepsi- 38mg caffeine in 12 fl oz
  • Diet Dr. Pepper- 41mg caffeine in 12 fl oz
  • Dr. Pepper- 42 mg caffeine in 12 fl oz
  • Diet Coke- 46mg caffeine in 12 fl oz
  • Mountain Dew- 54mg caffeine in 12 fl oz
  • Red Bull- 80mg caffeine in 12 fl oz

Health Concerns

While Dr Pepper is a delicious and refreshing drink, like most soft drinks, it is not the healthiest option. A 12 fl oz can of Dr Pepper has 150 calories and 39 grams of sugar in it. As a reference, the sugar content in a single can is higher than the daily intake recommended by the American Heart Association, which suggests a maximum of 36 grams for Men and 25 grams for Women daily (2). There goes your whole day’s allotment with one drink!

The 42mg of caffeine in a can of Dr Pepper is not too concerning, given the recommended daily intake of caffeine is 400mg per day. This is much less than you would find in the same-sized coffee. If you are concerned about the caffeine content Dr Pepper does have caffeine-free versions you can opt for. 

So Dr Pepper is safe to indulge in in moderation, but not recommended in large doses. In saying that, there is always an exception to the rule… one 104-year-old woman attributes her long life to consuming 3 Dr. Peppers a day!

Does Dr Pepper Have Caffeine?

In summary, Dr Pepper is a popular American soft drink that contains a mixture of 23 flavors and caffeine. There is 42mg of caffeine in an 8 fl oz can of Dr Pepper. This is a similar amount of caffeine found in other popular fizzy drinks like Pepsi and Mountain Dew, but far less than you would find in a similar-sized cup of coffee. Caffeine is mainly present to enhance the flavor of the drink. However, if you are sensitive to caffeine, Dr Pepper has caffeine-free options you can try.