It's no secret that investors are disappointed with their returns in 2022, with the S&P 500 down about 20% year to date. For investors looking to beat the market, there's evidence that consistent dividend-paying stocks are likelier to produce higher returns with lower volatility than non-dividend-paying stocks.

Therefore, it may be worth adding these three reliable dividend-paying stocks, which have outperformed the market in 2022, to your portfolio.

1. Costco

Most price-conscious consumers are familiar with Costco (COST 1.30%), the membership-only big-box retailer. Its stock is a favorite among long-term investors for its ability to beat the market and pay dividends consistently. Over the past five years, Costco stock is up 194%, compared to the S&P 500's 47%. 

Despite a lackluster 2022 with a negative 14% return, Costco stock is still beating the S&P 500 by about 6%.

On the surface, Costco's quarterly dividend of $0.90, which represents a dividend yield of 0.76%, isn't overly impressive. However, the third-largest retailer in the world is known for paying a special cash dividend about every three years. Its last one came in 2020 at $10 per share.

Costco's balance sheet is also one of the strongest in the retail industry. As of Aug. 31, the company had more than $11 billion in cash and short-term investments, compared to just $6.48 billion in long-term debt. As a result, Costco has a rare negative net debt (cash and short-term investments minus long-term debt), which equates to roughly negative $4.5 billion. By comparison, Costco competitors Target and Walmart have a net debt of approximately $14 billion and $35 billion, respectively. 

If Costco stock has a downside, it's unquestionably its valuation. Using the common valuation metric price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio, Costco's P/E ratio is roughly 37, whereas its competitors, Target and Walmart, are 18 and 28, respectively. Still, there's a reason Costco deserves a high valuation: Over the past three, five, and 10-year periods, Costco stock has handily beaten Target, Walmart, and the S&P 500.

Overall, Costco has proven to be one of the safest stocks an investor can own. With an unmatched balance sheet, it should continue paying dividends for years to come. 

2. PepsiCo

While PepsiCo's (PEP 0.47%) 4% year-to-date returns wouldn't be impressive in a bull market, the stock is outperforming the overall market by about 25% in 2022. The multinational food, snack, and beverage giant became a Dividend King -- an S&P 500 company that has paid and raised its dividend annually for at least 50 consecutive years -- earlier this year. At that time, it raised its quarterly dividend from $1.075 to $1.15 per common share. The stock's current dividend yield is about 2.5%, considerably higher than the S&P 500's 1.6% dividend yield. 

Pepsico is a mature business, and its management focuses on returning cash to its shareholders. In 2022, it will pay cash dividends of $6.2 billion and repurchase $1.5 billion worth of shares, for a combined $7.7 billion.

Beyond PepsiCo's dividend and share repurchases, the company posted revenue of $58.3 billion during the first three quarters of 2022, which represented 7.7% growth year over year. Better yet, the company posted net income of $8.4 billion during that same time period, representing a 33% year-over-year increase from $6.3 billion.

These results show that PepsiCo's snacks and sugary beverages will always be in demand whether the economy is booming or struggling. And as a market leader in the food and beverage industry, PepsiCo stock makes an excellent addition to any investor's portfolio.

3. Winmark Corporation 

Winmark Corporation (WINA -0.90%) is a small-cap stock with a market capitalization just shy of $1 billion. Consumers are likely aware of its franchise-based retail companies that specialize in buying and selling used goods: Music Go Round, Once Upon a Child, Plato's Closet, Play It Again Sports, and Style Encore.

Its stock is essentially flat in 2022, which is still a commendable 20% higher than the S&P 500. Winmark currently pays a quarterly dividend of $0.70 per share, which represents a dividend yield of 1.12%. The company has a history of paying and raising its quarterly dividend each year, dating back to 2010, with the exception of one quarter in 2020 when the COVID lockdowns occurred in the U.S and Canada.

Like Costco, Winmark also has a history of paying special cash dividends. In fact, Winmark is paying $3 per share on Dec. 1, 2022 to all shareholders at the close of business on Nov. 9, 2022. Prior to this-year's special dividend, Winmark last paid a special dividend of $3 per share and $7.50 per share in 2020 and 2021, respectively. 

Winmark is incentivized to open more franchises because the company's revenue comes from franchise fees and royalty fees. To open one, a franchisee must pay an initial franchise fee of about $25,000 in the United States and pay 4% to 5% of weekly gross sales.

As a result of Winmark's capital-light business model, the company generated $21.1 million in revenue and $10.3 in net income during its latest quarter. Those figures led to an impressive net profit margin -- net income divided by sales -- of 48%. For comparison, Costco had a net profit margin of 2.5% for its most recent quarterly earnings.

One negative for the otherwise glowing company is Winmark's slow franchise growth. Currently, the company has 1,291 franchises and only opened a net of 22 stores over the past 12 months, representing 1.7% growth. If the company can add more franchises at a faster pace, the stock should continue beating the S&P 500 -- just as it has done for years.

Are these dividend stocks buys?

In uncertain market conditions, dividend stocks can provide some comfort when you see payments hit your portfolio each quarter. Beyond that, if executives know that shareholders expect them to raise the stock's dividend each year, the company may take on less risk.

These three stocks, in particular, have established histories of beating the S&P 500 and should continue doing so -- all while paying you quarterly to hold them in your portfolio.