What Is Dirty Soda—& Why Is It All Over TikTok?

A Utah trend goes national.

May  4, 2022
Photo by Swig

In a world obsessed with “clean” eating, a food trend called “dirty soda,” seems like an unlikely candidate for virality—even less so considering it comes from Utah. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a wonderful state, but in the popular imagination it doesn’t have much of a culinary reputation to speak of beyond funeral potatoes. Having spent a year living in Utah, though, I actually find it easy to believe Utah started a viral food trend—I’ve asked more than once why the rest of the country doesn’t follow the state’s example of having readymade fry sauce at any fast-food restaurant.

Dirty soda has been popular in Utah for almost a decade. An easy, sweet drink for a state with a large population of folks who don’t drink alcohol or coffee, it’s basically a diet cola over ice with coconut syrup, lime juice, and a bit of half-and-half (or just coconut creamer and lime juice, for a simplified version). Consider it the Italian-American cousin to the Italian soda: the Snooki to Sophia Loren, or the Guy Fieri to the Pasta Grannies. The Beehive State even has chains (multiple!) devoted to the drink—a fact less known outside the region.

That changed recently, with Eater chalking that up to the moment Olivia Rodrigo posted a photo with the iconic oversized Styrofoam cup from one of said chains, Swig, on Instagram. Since then, Utah’s TikTok has picked up the viral bait and begun instructing the world on the precise methods behind the state’s special drink, with the #DirtySoda hashtag garnering more than a million views and (as always with TikTok trends) endless variations—including how to order one at Sonic—not surprising from a drink that’s basically an easy-to-make, shelf-stable variation on a drinkable ice cream float.

Have you tried this viral TikTok trend? Tell us your Dirty Soda stories in the comments!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Sandra Garratt
    Sandra Garratt
  • zeldie
  • Dolo
  • Floosie
  • Bayerski
Naomi Tomky

Written by: Naomi Tomky

The world's most enthusiastic eater of everything


Sandra G. May 14, 2022
BTW all colas have caffeine in them as does Mountain Dew(even higher % than colas), making them off the list for no caffeine Mormons.
Sandra G. May 14, 2022
Q: what is "ready made fry sauce"? I have been to Utah but did not notice "fry sauce", what is it?
As a kid we had cola w/ milk over ice, my Mom called it a "black cow"
Bayerski June 12, 2022
Fry sauce is a ketchup and mayo mixture and really yummy!
zeldie May 14, 2022
ewwww no matter which version
Dolo May 13, 2022
“Laverne” on the tv show Laverne & Shirley, a Happy Days spin off, used to mix her Pepsi with milk when she was upset & needed comfort-SO, 1975…..waaay before!
Floosie May 7, 2022
That's not a Dirty Soda, a Dirty Soda is just soda but with milk or cream

MacGuffin May 13, 2022
A Latina friend got me into Goya Malta with condensed milk years ago. And Coke or 7 Up with milk was popular when I was a kid.