What Does the New Diet Pepsi Taste Like? We Tried All Three Flavors

08/12/2015 at 12:54 PM ET

Diet

Sometimes investigative reporting gets you very, very caffeinated.

On Monday, we wrote about Pepsi’s new reboot of Diet Pepsi, which will now be sweetened with sucralose instead of aspartame. As devoted diet soda drinkers (we know, we know, we’re trying to cut back), we took it upon ourselves to taste each of the three new versions of Diet Pepsi: wild cherry, caffeine-free and regular.

First, a bit on our methodology. We poured the sodas into three cups, with a bit of ice in each. We purchased a bag of Cheez-Its from the vending machine because nothing pairs better with soda than crispy, salty cheese crackers. (Except maybe french fries, but we’re currently on a health kick.)

We present you with our very sophisticated, very scientific tasting notes on each flavor.

REGULAR:

The difference between the aspartame version and this new sucralose version hits you instantly. The new flavor is gentler and less aggressive, which will be appreciated by people who drink several cans a day. The carbonation also feels lighter than the old Diet Pepsi, making it a good beginner soda for the (insane, totally indefensible) people who are turned off by soda because of the carbonation.

CAFFEINE-FREE:

We actually found the caffeine-free version to be more flavorful than the regular, which is a shame, because we would never choose to drink decaffeinated soda, seeing as we are always very, very tired. The caffeine-free flavor was sweeter and bolder and more Pepsi-y.

WILD CHERRY:

The wild cherry was a unanimous favorite. The milder sweetness of the sucralose really lends itself to the cherry flavor, which was subtle enough that it didn’t get cloying (as fruit-flavored sodas often do). We bet this would make a terrific mixer. Side note: National Rum Day is approaching.

—Maria Yagoda, @mariayagoda

FILED UNDER: Drinks , Food , Stuff We Love

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Showing 54 comments

Deana on

I have tried the new regular diet and I do not like it at all!It tastes too sweet to me and has an aftertaste. I will be going through some serious Diet Pepsi withdrawals when the remaining original disappears from the shelves!!

Connie on

Far, far, far too sweet tasting with an after taste that is worse than getting used to any diet soda with the aspartame in it. I will not be buying the new Diet Pepsi again, will stick with the Diet Coke varieties.

jason on

can’t stand the new stuff. been going from store to store looking for the old stuff. switching to diet coke, or just water. new diet pepsi has less of a crisp taste, and leaves a filmy aftertaste. not thirst quenching. go back to pre-2012 and ditch the ace-k, but leave the asparatame. this is coming from someone who drinks 2-4 litres a day. no joke.

Dan on

Really don’t like the new stuff. The old stuff had a sharp, crisp taste to it. This new stuff is like mildly flavored water. Now I have to find a new drink.

Susan on

The new diet Pepsi, both with caffeine and without, tastes awful!

Joey Frank on

This new “aspartame-free” Diet Pepsi is literally undrinkable. The aftertaste is simply unbearable. It’s simply impossible that Pepsi is unaware of this, unless they use retired circus animals as taste-testers.

joe gerhardt on

The new Pepsi tastes terrible and I won’t buy it anymore! I drink diet caffine fee pepsi and the new stuff taste sickening sweet and doesn’t stay cold either. Pepsi did this because they are stupid and their sales went down. They went down because supermarket delivery people only stock a few bottles and then they sell out in one day. Anyway the Sucralose makes me sick! Too bad Pepsi didn’t know lazy distributor delivery people left hardly any product in store on sale days and are lazy! Switching to Diet Cherry 7 UP. Why pay a higher price for super sweet garbage.

Brent on

The didn’t know they had taken the aspartame out. But I did once I tasted it. Bad after taste. Diet Pepsi had been my favorite drink for 30 years, but now it is undrinkable. I can’t believe Pepsi is forcing me to drink Coke. Sad day.

Bob on

The new stuff is undrinkable. Why, Why, Why they thought changing the taste would attract a new customer base of people who prefer one newer less well research sweetner over an older is beyond stupid. The only way it works is to NOT change the flvor so many people liked to avoid loosing your base customers while attracting new one MAYBE. I loved the old formula but will not drink the new. Dumb move Pepsi, very very dumb.

MadamM on

I just tasted the “new” Diet Pepsi and it’s terrible. It tastes like the old version that has sit in the sun for too long and gone flat. It has a terrible bitter aftertaste. There is nothing “better” about this sorry new version. I guess after 15 years of being a rather devoted Diet Pepsi fan I’m going to have to switch to something else..or just give up diet soda and all soda together for something else….

harris on

Sorry but no. For those of us who actually drink Diet Pepsi on a regular basis, it’s not good. it’s awful. I don’t know what to drink now.

superkev72 on

I’ve been drinking diet Pepsi for years and this new version is not good at all. It tastes very different to the diet pepsi as it’s now almost bitter tasting. I’m amazed they did this. New coke tasted better than this new diet pepsi. They lost of looong time customer here. FYI nobody in my office likes the new version either.

Stefanie on

I cannot imagine what thought process went into this. They’ve completely lost a 30+year customer here. This new version is the nastiest swill I can imagine – I’d rather drink the old Tab cola. Warm. The aftertaste stays with you for literally hours. It smells bad, it tastes worse… It even feels wrong in your mouth and I can’t fathom how they pulled that off. They’ve given me the finger, so I’m giving PepsiCo the finger. Took three cases back to the store and sold my stock in the company. Buh-Bye.

Jan on

Why just change one chemical for another!!!!! Stevia would have been a much better choice. I will never drink Diet Pepsi again.

AUDREY R GEORGE on

To SWEET I will not buy again !! I buy 10 of the 2 liter bottles a week.

Tim Williams on

I opened a bottle of Pepsi today, as I always do, took a drink, and almost spit it out. Yikes! What the H happened to my diet Pepsi I thought! Then I realized it was the “NEW” sweetener. YUK! Where’s my aspartame? This totally sucks in one sense, because I really liked drinking Pepsi, especially as part of a meal. Now? Well, let’s just say, it doesn’t taste nearly the same, and I can’t stand it. Tastes more like Diet Coke, and I’m sorry guys, Diet Coke tastes better now than Diet Pepsi. I was an addict to Pepsi, and now, I’ve finished most of one glass over a couple of hours and I’m thinking water tastes better. It’s better for me too, so perhaps now is a good time to go “Cold Turkey” on soda. Thanks Pepsico to helping me break my Diet Pepsi habit!

Robert Palmer on

Why can’t they move all the way up to present day sweeteners and use Stevia?

David on

I don’t know when they switched the sweetener, but these sodas taste the same to me as they always tasted.

Alex on

Pay attention, Pepsico. Look at the comments here… all negative. Let me add mine… the new stuff is awful. Diet Pepsi had been my favorite, but not anymore… it’s just… bad.

Joy on

I am so devastated over this change by Diet Pepsi! Google ‘sucralose’, it’s 600 time sweeter than real sugar. No joke. My problem, besides the HORRIBLE taste now, is that sucralose makes me VERY sick (again, google the side effects of sucralose). So sad about this. I will now have to switch to Diet Coke. Ugh.

Ann on

the new diet Pepsi makes me itch all over. I stopped drinking it last night and
am itch free now. I was really hoping the new swetener would work.
Can’t say whether it tastes better or worse.Usually don’t drink Pepsi.

david on

Have been a huge caffeine free diet pepsi drinker for many years. Will drink diet coke if I have to. Sucralose is terrible. Not as crisp and bitter aftertaste. I will start drinking diet coke now. You’ve made a very big mistake!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Alaxandar L Martin on

This new Diet is a flop, I am going from store to store to stock up. I had like 15 seizures caused by the “new” Diet Pepsi, when I went back to the old formula I was just fine. Pepsi will lose $20 a week from me with pop and water sales when the old Diet Pepsi runs out unless they reverse course.

rhonda on

Pepsi got it wrong! The new aspartame free tastes like dirt!nasty! After years of being a loyal diet Pepsi drinker I am switching to coke!

gr8tflkate on

I cannot drink the new diet Pepsi. It’s disgusting. I’ve been a loyal fan for years but will not consume any Pepsi product again until it contains aspartame. They said they would make the old stuff “available online” but they haven’t. I even tried to buy Canadian diet Pepsi online as it still contains the good old recipe, but people are charging hundreds of doors for it! What pisses me off is, they already make disgusting Splenda soda! Thanks for leaving us high and dry, Pepsi. If they change back immediately, I’ll go back to diet. If not, I’ll find something better.

Barb on

I just was forced to try the new diet cherry Pepsi. Yuck!!! I has a horrible aftertaste. Please change it back. I love to have a nice glass of diet cherry pepsi in the evening to watch TV. You have completely ruined my favorite drink. It is just awful. Where can I buy the old version? Please who are these people that wanted the change? Nobody asked us loyal diet Pepsi drinkers if we wanted the aspartame gone. Jeez I guess I might try diet cherry coke or maybe regular cherry Pepsi. This stuff is lousy. Also I want cherry crush back too. Who keeps taking the good tasting drinks away. I need to go get something to erase the aftertaste of the NEW yucky diet cherry pepsi’s taste

CONSTANCE HEYERMAN on

Aspartame has been linked to cancer, people. I can’t understand why anyone uses that sweetener! Stevia would make much more sense! A natural sweetener and you dont need to use very much to sweeten your drinks.

BB on

Guess I was ‘out of the loop’, as I had no idea that Pepsi changed their product! I had a diet Pepsi and was about to bring it brink it back to the cafeteria at my business because it was horrible!! It tasted like the bottle had been open for days, no crisp taste with a bad after taste! Will never buy again!

Jeanne Bsrber on

Don’t forget that Coke already tried this and there’s was I drinkable too. I probably can gag down anything since I drank Tab, but this stuff makes me sick. I don’t mean the taste either. Had to return my soda stream. There’s was dr

Sister Soldier on

The new diet Pepsi is terrible! It leaves such an unpleasant aftertaste that you dread taking another sip. Pepsi should have really thought this one through and experimented until they got it right. I’d rather drink soap. Yuk!!

Kathy on

I tried the new version without knowing it was new, and thought I bought a bad batch, the taste was so horrible! Strong chemical after taste. Hate. it.

Awful Without on

It’s awful without the aspartame. I’ve actually switched to diet Coke, & I couldn’t stand Coke before. First Pepsi switched from 24 oz bottles to 16.9, but I had to pay the same price as before the switch. Now this switch in sweeteners! I couldn’t get rid of the aftertaste & I would get awfully thirsty for water after a bottle. Get with it Pepsi!

debrav7419 on

I actually googled, why does my Diet Pepsi taste so bad. I have been addicted to Diet Pepsi for twenty years now. My family teases me because I can taste when it’s out of date, even by a day. I know I need to cut back but I have not been successful. It’s so bad that when we have house guests (and we have many) our youngest will tell them, “Whatever you do, don’t take my mom’s last Diet Pepsi.” LOL, but now? I hate the new taste. I’ve given it two weeks now. It’s so bad that I’ve decided I’ll either quite now or switch to Diet Coke. I’m really sad…

da90027da90027 on

The NEW DIET PEPSI IS AWFUL…horrendous aftertaste. The old one was waaaay better. I will not be buying Diet Pepsi anymore. I’m so sick of all these internet whackos who blame aspartame for all kinds of things. It is silly I know many who have used diet sodas for over 40 years that are still alive and well.

rons on

i don,t like the new diet pepsi either…the less agressive taste is what i don,t like,,,it has no bite anymore, and also…seems too sweet…pepsi should have 2 brands, the one with aspartam, and the splenda..i will not buy the new diet pepsi….just tastes awful..

Linda on

Love the new diet pepsi. Didn’t know they were changing it until I noticed the different taste. Big improvement.

RB on

Broken Hearted. Used to love diet Pepsi I ‘m buying the old formula wherever I can find it, but it won’t last forever. If PepsiCo doesn’t change it back, then I will no longer drink it. A real shame.

Paul on

The “new” aspartame free diet Pepsi tastes like bad medicine. I don’t believe I will acquire a taste for it

Frank on

The new taste is not a good taste. I will probably throw out the 24 cans I bought and go to drinking Coke. Even my son refused to drink it.

Okie on

I bought the Diet Pepsi Wild Cherry. What an aftertaste! I wish I had never bought this sale item. I’ll be switching back to my usual pop drink.
The company should make some changes, soon. All you have to do is serve this to the CEOs of Pepsi Co., they would not be able to finish this unpleasant-tasting drink.

I can’t believe this product taste wasn’t noticed before it was placed on the store shelves!!

aboutstayingskinny on

I DO NOT LIKE this new aspartame free Pepsi!! The taste is realty nasty and it has a terrible after-taste! I am just sick about the od versions that are now being taken off the shelves. I WANT THE
OLD VERSION BACK. Maybe if there are enough complaints they will change it back with aspartame.

I might be nuts, but I will order my Diet Pepsi from Canada-that’s how much I want the old version!

Denise on

No good. Nope. Bad move! I hope you read feedback, this new stuff is not good at all. And no, we don’t need to be told we’ll get used to it. Don’t have to force people into liking something that tastes bad.

Ryan, the freak on

I just tried it for the first time, and I gotta say. I don’t mind it. I’m one of the few sane people here who like it. Tastes fine to me. The original to me tasted bad, so I’m glad they did this.

Allan y on

Not crazy about the new flavor.
Not bad in cans but 2 litre bottles lose something.
After taste like diet soda had in the 1960’s.
I have been a Pepsi drinker my entire life. May stitch to Diet Coke.

Heidi Boles on

This must be a paid review. You know, I know…. Everyone knows… The new Diet Pepsi is gross. I literally though I had gotten a bad batch of Diet Pepsi, bought more, thought something was wrong with my body, THEN realized it had Splenda. The good news is I’m turning a new, healthier page! Diet Pepsi WAS the only soda I liked, now I’m drinking water all day. Thanks for the healthy lifestyle change, Diet Pepsi!

nikkitytom on

The new Apartame -free version is ghastly. Ienjoyed the “Next” variety very much . .. it has some sugar but only about 1/3 the calorie count of the regular. But Next is impossible to find. So I switvhed to the new aspartame-free version since I have proble s with aspartame.

Well I gave it a good try and then noticed a horrible lingering taste in my mouth almost all the time. I drink a half glass with each of my three meals and follow with a full glass of water. But whatever poison is in this stuff, it leaves the worst after-taste imaginable. I wake up iin the morning with that same terrible taste. I stopped drinking the stuff three days ago and the taste is gone. Whatever it is, I’ll not take a sip of it again. Terrible!

Miguel Lahunken on

Aspertame is absolutely harmless. Aspartame is composed of two amino acids: aspartic acid and phenylalanine, two of the basic amino acids that compose all proteins, and which are programmed by all DNA. If you taste something sweet in your mouth for no reason at all it is probably aspartic acid and phenylalanine that united in your mouth forming aspertame, from broken down proteins, even from your own body. Aspertame can form anywhere in our body from broken down proteins. We are primarily made of proteins. All the other chemicals of our bodies were put there from our environment by our enzymes, which are made of amino acids. Fear of aspertame is a lie.

mew on

the new no aspartame diet pepsi is awful. It also leaves a bad taste for a long time. Either bring it back like it was or I will not be drinking Diet Pepsi any more

Lauren on

I’ve always hated Diet Pepsi and considered myself to be a Coca-Cola girl. However, I always had a secret obsession with the Wild Cherry Diet Pepsi and would consume it as a special treat from time to time.
I bought one this afternoon and was immediately struck by the medicinal after taste. This was NOT the soda I remember. Upon closer inspection of the bottle I saw that this was, in fact, not the same soda I loved. The Aspartame had been removed, and the new sweetening agent is a far cry from to predecessor. I will not be purchasing again.

Florence Huff on

Your new Diet Pepsi is terrible and u put in a worst sugarless poison. It taste bad and I won’t buy it ever

Judy on

I have honestly tried to like the new regular diet Pepsi – but I can’t. Like so many other people – it has a very sweet aftertaste. Actually it reminds me of the old Tab when it first came out in cans – a lonnnnng time ago. I honestly thought people complaining were just looking for a reason not to like the new version – until I tasted it. No more, after so many years.

Rob on

Great improvement and better for you health. Those that have a problem with he aspartame free Pepsi are playing mind games!! It is none of he things they have listed.
Can’t tell a single difference–other than it’s a soda that s better for you–a far a soda goes!!

Related Homepag on

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frank on

i hate the new diet pepsi, but I am not crazy about the one that’s sweetned with aspartame, either. I miss saccharin sweetned diet pepsi. I drink Tab because it’s the only one sweetened with saccharin. Aspartame has taken years and years to get used to. I hated most diet sodas at first when they started to use all nutra sweet. The diet pepsi in the fountain is still sweetened with saccharin, which is why it tastes so much better.

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