From Fizz to Buzz – How Much Caffeine Is In Dr. Pepper?

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By: Tom Valenti


Craving the perfect pick-me-up? Dr. Pepper is a beloved soda that tastes (and smells) just like prune juice. But here’s the burning question: just how much caffeine is in Dr. Pepper?

With caffeine ranging from 40mg to over 60mg, depending on the serving size, the caffeinated secrets of Dr. Pepper are not-so-secret anymore! When you compare it with a shot of espresso, it has less caffeine than espresso but still, it packs a punch for caffeine junkies.

Let’s take a closer look at the caffeine content in Dr. Pepper.

Where Did Dr. Pepper Come From?

Among other carbonated soft drinks like Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Pepsi, etc. Dr. Pepper is famous for its fuzzy and fruity flavor. It comes in several different flavors like cherry vanilla, cream soda, cherry, zero sugar, diet cherry vanilla, and so on.

What’s interesting to me is that the origin of Dr. Pepper started from a drug store. A young pharmacist named Charles Alderton was inspired by the different scents of fruit syrup and started experimenting with different fruit syrup blends until he struck gold with what is now the original Dr. Pepper soda beverage.

One of the reasons why people (present company included) indulge in Dr. Pepper often is that it contains high fructose syrup, making its taste just as mouth-watering as its scent.

How Much Caffeine Does Dr. Pepper Have?

How Much Caffeine Is In Dr. Pepper?

The typical 12-fluid ounce can of Dr. Pepper has 42.6mg of caffeine to be exact. You can also purchase larger servings of the drink, 20-fluid-ounce bottles that contain 68mg caffeine which might seem like a lot but really it isn’t.

At least not compared to what other caffeinated soda drinks have, like for example a 12-fluid ounce can of Mountain Dew clocks out at 55mg of caffeine.

But Dr. Pepper isn’t all just caffeine, right? You have to consider what other ingredients it has like the number of calories, sugar, fructose syrup, natural and artificial flavors, etc.

Despite knowing that carbonated sodas have excess sugar, I was still shocked to know that a 12-ounce can of Dr. Pepper contains approximately 41g of sugar which amounts to at least 10 teaspoons of sugar. Now that’s a lot!

If you were worried that you were drinking more caffeine with Dr. Pepper, you’ve got another thing coming at you.

Because the AHA recommends a strict sugar limit of 6 teaspoons (for women) and 9 teaspoons (for men) per day. As a health-conscious chef, even 9 teaspoons of sugar every day seems a bit excessive.

Does Dr. Pepper Have a Lot of Caffeine?

The short (and sweet) answer is no. Dr. Pepper does not contain a lot of caffeine. Perhaps this is best explained with a comparison:

The giant Monster Energy drink has more caffeine than Dr. Pepper. A typical 16-fluid ounce can pack 160mg of caffeine so Dr. Pepper truly pales in comparison to Monster.

How about when you compare it with real coffee?

Well, this is where it gets tricky because the caffeine content of coffee fluctuates depending on the type of coffee beans you use. The average range per espresso shot, however, is between 45mg to 135mg of caffeine.

This got me thinking about how much caffeine is too much caffeine. According to the FDA, consuming more than 400 mg of caffeine per day can be considered an excess. So unless you’re drinking 10 cans of Dr. Pepper every day, you have nothing to worry about.

Does Dr. Pepper Have More Caffeine Than Coffee?

Espresso made from Arabica beans, for example, have lesser caffeine than espresso made from Robusta beans.

A shot of espresso measures up to 1.5 fluid ounces and it contains 64mg of caffeine. If you’re like me, you drink two shots of espresso at a time which amounts to 120mg of caffeine.

For every fluid ounce, an espresso shot gives you 64mg of caffeine. Comparatively, for every fluid ounce of Dr. Pepper, you drink 3.5mg of caffeine.

Let’s say you were to drink 12 fluid ounces of coffee, just the same amount in a Dr. Pepper can, you’d be getting twice or thrice as much caffeine from it.

Frequently Asked Questions About Dr. Pepper

Does Caffeine-Free Dr. Pepper Have Caffeine?

I sometimes indulge in a can of Caffeine-Free Dr. Pepper on the days I feel like I’ve had one too many cups of coffee. Just like the original Dr. Pepper, de-caffeinated Dr. Pepper offers you the same 23 signature flavors but they are all 100% caffeine free.

Does Diet Dr. Pepper Have More Caffeine Than Coffee?

Diet Dr. Pepper is a calorie-free version of Dr. Pepper with the same flavor but just without the calories. Caffeine-wise, not much has changed so you’ll be getting 36mg to 44mg caffeine per can.

It’s still markedly less than the amount of caffeine you get from coffee or energy drinks like Red Bull, Monster, etc. 

Final Verdict

When you compare Dr. Pepper is other famous highly-caffeinated drinks like Red Bull, Monster, etc. you’ll quickly realize that it doesn’t have that much caffeine. Even compared to coffee, it’s a low-caffeine drink that’s not bad for health. 

With this article, I give you access to all the necessary information you need to know about Dr. Pepper. How much caffeine it has? How does it compare with other drinks and coffee?

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Tom Valenti

Chef/Owner of both Ouest and ‘Cesca, and the Executive Chef of Le Cirque, Alison on Dominick, and Butterfield 81.

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