The dorsal raphe nucleus (DRN) is involved in organizing reward-related behaviours; however, it remains unclear how genetically defined neurons in the DRN of a freely behaving animal respond to various natural rewards. Here we addressed this question using fibre photometry and single-unit recording from serotonin (5-HT) neurons and GABA neurons in the DRN of behaving mice. Rewards including sucrose, food, sex and social interaction rapidly activate 5-HT neurons, but aversive stimuli including quinine and footshock do not. Both expected and unexpected rewards activate 5-HT neurons. After mice learn to wait for sucrose delivery, most 5-HT neurons fire tonically during waiting and then phasically on reward acquisition. Finally, GABA neurons are activated by aversive stimuli but inhibited when mice seek rewards. Thus, DRN 5-HT neurons positively encode a wide range of reward signals during anticipatory and consummatory phases of reward responses. Moreover, GABA neurons play a complementary role in reward processing.