In today's low interest rate environment a lot of investors are turning away from traditional income providers like bonds, opting instead to profit from dividend paying stocks. Companies which increased their dividends for 25 years in a row get the title 'Dividend Aristocrat'. As a group, they have historically outperformed the S&P500. Today, I will be listing my 3 favorite Dividend Aristocrats.

I'm loving McDonald's dividends

 MCD Dividend Per Share (5 Year Growth) Chart

MCD Dividend Per Share (5 Year Growth) data by YCharts

The graph above should clearly show why I love McDonald's  (NYSE: MCD) so much. Its 5-year dividend growth rate stands at an amazing 13.94%. The current dividend yield stands at 3.21%, with a payout ratio of only 56.95% over the past twelve months, leaving plenty of room to raise the dividend even more.

The company has a very good balance sheet, with a current ratio of 1.56 and a quick ratio of 1.53, indicating excellent short-term financial health. McDonald's is currently trading at $100.88 per share, which is 17.5 times expected earnings for the current fiscal year. This is slightly higher than its 5 year average p/e ratio of 17.0, but a lot cheaper than its largest competitor Yum!Brands, which is trading at a forward price to earnings ratio of 21.6.

Buy Chevron for safe, growing dividends

 CVX Payout Ratio (TTM) Chart

CVX Payout Ratio (TTM) data by YCharts

Chevron (NYSE: CVX) recently increased its dividend by 7%, to $1.07 per quarter. At the current price per share, this gives us a dividend yield of 3.41%. Despite having the highest dividend yield of the 3 stocks highlighted in this article, Chevron's trailing twelve month payout ratio stands at only 39.09%. I like companies with low payout ratios, as a drop in income won't automatically lead to a dividend cut.Furthermore, a low payout ratio gives companies opportunities to reinvest large sums of money into the business.

The company is currently trading at 11.8 times expected earnings, which is quite high when compared to its 5 year average price  to earnings ratio of 10.3. Chevron's Shiller p/e,which looks at a longer timeframe stands at 11.6, which is very close to its median of 11.39.The industry average p/e stands at a much higher 13.6, meaning Chevron is still not very expensive.

Chevron has a current ratio of 1.40, which I consider to be very good. Furthermore, the company has close to $16 billion in cash, which provides an extra level of safety for the dividend.

Take a look at these two beverage stocks

 KO Dividend Per Share (5 Year Growth) Chart

KO Dividend Per Share (5 Year Growth) data by YCharts

Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO) has a 5-year dividend growth rate of 8.06%, and currently pays $0.305 per share in dividends each quarter, providing its shareholders with a current yield of 2.97%. This is very close to its largest competitor PepsiCo (NASDAQ:PEP), which currently yields 2.96%. The dividend growth rate has dropped a bit over the past years, but even at only 8.06%, the dividend still doubles every 9 years.

Looking at the balance sheet we can see that Coca-Cola's current ratio stands at 1.03, which is a bit lower than Pepsi's 1.20. A current ratio of more than 1.0 means current assets are bigger than current liabilities, indicating good short-term balance sheet health. Both Coca-Cola and Pepsi are currently trading slightly above their 5-year average p/e ratios. Coca-Cola is currently trading at 19.7 times this year's expected earnings (5-year average p/e is 18.3) , while PepsiCo has a forward price to earnings ratio of 19.5 (5-year average p/e is 17.2).Both companies are a bit expensive when looking at the p/e ratio compared to their 5-year averages, but I wouldn't wait for a pullback, as these tend to be quite rare with quality companies like Coca-Cola and PepsiCo.

These Dividend Aristocrats have been rewarding their shareholders with ever-increasing dividend distributions for decades.I especially like Chevron, because of its low payout ratio. McDonald's is by far the best in this list in terms of dividend growth, and I consider Coca-Cola and PepsiCo to be among the safest dividend paying stocks. An investment made in a company that regularly increases its dividends can turn into an incredible stream of income when given enough time. I have listed the stocks I feel are most attractive right now, but that doesn't mean I don't like the other Dividend Aristocrats.

I'd love to hear your opinion on Dividend Aristocrats (or any other stock for that matter), so feel free to leave a comment!