How to Make Protein Powder Taste Good

Three Methods:Making Your Own Protein ShakesAdding Protein Powder to FoodFinding a Tastier Protein Powder Brand

Taking protein powder can improve muscle growth, increase energy, and help the recovery process after hard workouts.[1] Unfortunately, many protein powders taste so bad that you have to choke them down. With a bit of effort, though, you can work protein powder into your diet in ways you can actually enjoy. Whether making your own shakes or hiding it in food, there are plenty of ways to make protein powder taste good.

Method 1
Making Your Own Protein Shakes

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    Choose a liquid. Some people prefer thin, watery drinks that they can drink quickly. Others find that a thicker liquid does a better job at masking the taste. You may have to experiment with trial and error to find out which consistency you prefer. Most people use about eight oz. of liquid per scoop of powder, but try using more for thinner drinks or less for thicker ones. You can also switch up the actual liquid base you use for your shake:
    • Water is a good option for weight loss because it adds no calories. But it does nothing to mask the taste of the powder. Instead, try different berry teas known to boost energy and support weight loss. A cold raspberry or acai tea, for example, could make your shake tastier while promoting weight loss. [2]
    • For a slightly thicker shake, try fat-free milk or milk substitutes like almond or soy milk. Many people find almond milk, in particular, to have a pleasant, slightly sweet flavor.
    • If you are trying to gain weight or if you prefer an extra-thick shake, try using whole milk. Be aware that the combination of whole milk and protein powder can be hard to digest. If your body can't adjust to it, step back to a thinner, fat-reduced milk.
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    Add a sweetener. Sugar has a powerful effect on the brain. Research shows that sugar releases dopamine, which controls the brain's reward and control response. [3] A dopamine rush makes us recognize rewards more clearly, and can improve motivation in the short term.[4] But beyond these workout benefits, sugar is just great at masking bad tastes. Try adding a couple teaspoons of sugar, honey, chocolate syrup, dextrose, or maltodextrin to your shake. If you're restricting your sugar intake, though, try healthier alternatives:
    • Peanut butter both sweetens and thickens shakes.
    • Chopped fresh fruit and fruit juice provide vitamins and fiber as well as sweetness. Banana is popular because of its strong flavor and thickness. Avoid citrus fruit if using a dairy-based protein powder, as it may cause curdling.
    • If you want sweetness without additional flavors, try an artificial sweetener. Splenda and stevia are popular options that sweeten without adding calories.
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    Consider stronger flavors to mask the taste.[5] If tea bases and sugar aren't doing enough to make the shakes palatable, you have other options. Try adding a couple spoonfuls of cocoa or vanilla powder to your shake. A half teaspoon of a full-flavored spice like cinnamon or nutmeg can go a long way as well. Sugar-free syrups intended for homemade sodas or coffee flavors are an easy way to add flavor to your shake that won't add any more powdery texture.
    • Mixing flavors can better mask the taste of the protein powder as well. Try adding more than one type of fruit — strawberries and bananas, for example. Add a shot of espresso and some vanilla flavoring.
    • Explore with combinations that work for you.
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    Thicken and sweeten with yogurt. Some people love a yogurt-based shake, while others despise it. Try it out a couple times to see whether you think it's deliciously creamy or just plain hard to get down. Simply add a spoonful of yogurt to your shake, or frozen yogurt if you want a "creamsicle" shake.
    • Try Greek yogurt for an even stronger, tangy taste and the added benefit of extra protein.[6]
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    Make an iced smoothie in the blender.[7] Some people find that they taste protein powder less when it's in a cold, icy drink. Making a blended ice smoothie with your protein shake will also thicken it a little bit, though not nearly as much as yogurt or peanut butter.
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    Consider a vegetable shake for a savory taste.[8] A kale smoothie is the subject of nightmares for some, but you may love it if you're a regular juicer. Any green vegetable from spinach to spirulina powder to zucchini works well with protein powder. A tablespoon of nuts and seeds can add more savory flavor and help thicken the smoothie. For a little sweetness to balance out the flavor, you can add chopped fruits like bananas or strawberries.
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    Invest in a good blender.[9] The worst type of protein shake is one with dry, un-dissolved lumps of protein powder in it. Small, single-serve blenders are an affordable option if you do not use your blender for other purposes.
    • Pour all the ingredients into the blender and blend on high until the texture is even and lump-free.
    • For shakes with many solid ingredients, use a "grind" option when available.
    • If you absolutely can't get access to a blender, put the shake ingredients into a sealed container and shake for a long time. Microwaving the liquid or heating it over the stove can also make it easier to mix together.
    • You may also consider buying a "shaker cup" specially designed to break up powder clumps for consistent texture. These products can dramatically improve your shakes at a fraction of the cost of a good blender.
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    Try out some classic favorites.[10] Many people enjoy experimenting with their own ingredients and flavor combinations. If you just want a tasty protein shake now, you can try out these classics:
    • Peanut butter honey shake: Blend one scoop of protein powder, one cup of ice, one cup of milk or milk substitute, 1/8 cup of peanut butter, and 1/8 cup of honey. Optional: add half a ripe banana, and/or a square of dark chocolate.
    • Fruit smoothie: Blend one scoop of protein powder, one cup of vanilla yogurt, three to four strawberries, one ripe banana, 1/2 cup milk or milk substitute, and a handful of ice cubes. Note that citrus foots make dairy-based protein powder less effective.
    • Nuts and spice drink: Blend one scoop of protein powder, ½ cup of berries, ⅓ cup of chopped nuts, one tbsp cocoa powder, ¼ tsp ground cinnamon, and one to two cups of milk of milk substitute. Optional: add more flavor and texture with ½ cup of raw oats.

Method 2
Adding Protein Powder to Food

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    Add flavored protein powder to sweet treats.[11] If you're working out hard on a regular basis, you deserve a reward from time to time. That doesn't mean you can't try to sneak some extra protein into your cookies, brownies, or pancakes.
    • Replace cocoa powder in baked goods with chocolate-flavored protein powder. A scoop of protein powder is equal to about 1/4 cup of cocoa powder.
    • If the recipe does not include cocoa powder, you can typically add a scoop of protein powder without affecting the taste. It may still be a good idea to use half a scoop on a small batch when trying it for the first time.
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    Whip up a protein icing for baked goods.[12] Some people love protein icing, and some people hate it. It doesn't hurt to give it a try, though! Stir protein powder into yogurt or a very small amount of water or milk to create a thick "icing." When you spread it onto muffins or other baked goods, you get the benefit of the protein while masking its taste with your tasty treat!
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    Stir protein powder into thick foods.[13][14][15] Thick foods like oatmeal, pudding, yogurt, or applesauce can mask the taste of protein powder well. They moisten and dissolve the powder on their own, so you don't have to pull out your blender. Just make sure to stir thoroughly to make sure the powder dissolves all the way.
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    Make protein peanut butter cups.[16][17] Blend one scoop of flavored protein powder, one scoop of vanilla ice cream, and one spoonful peanut butter in your blender. Pour the mixture into some type of mold — an ice cube tray will work fine if you don't have anything fancy on hand. Freeze the mixture for a few hours to allow it to set and harden.
    • This works best with chocolate-flavored protein powder, but strong flavors like cinnamon can work as well.

Method 3
Finding a Tastier Protein Powder Brand

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    Read online reviews for different brands and flavors. Protein powder can be extracted from a variety of foods, including dairy products, egg whites, and vegan alternatives. This is why different brands of protein powder can have such significantly different flavors. Before spending your money on a powder that might turn your stomach, spend some time surfing the web for information. Many health, exercise, and bodybuilding forums have threads where users discuss their favorite and least favorite protein powders.
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    Test different protein powders in small amounts. If you're on the hunt for a better tasting powder, don't invest in a giant tub of it. Buy the smallest container you can find. If you don't like it, you can either discard it or power through until you run out — hopefully quickly!
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    Test out flavored protein powders.[18] The problem may be that you can't stand the taste of unflavored protein powder. Luckily, many brands sell products that are already flavored with chocolate, vanilla, and cinnamon. You can even find wilder flavors like cookies and cream!
    • If these flavors don't work for you on their own, try mixing them together. Half a scoop of cinnamon with half a scoop of chocolate may be your new favorite flavor.
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    Look for powders with sugar or artificial sweetener. Protein powders are marketed to health-conscious people, so most of them don't have sugar or corn syrup in them. In fact, they often advertise that they have no added flavors or sweeteners. Sugar always helps mask the taste of the powder, though, no matter what you mix it with. Look for the few brands that do include some kind of sweetening agent.[19][20]


  • Try dividing your protein scoop into two or three parts. Use one part to make a mini-shake, then adjust the next batch for sweetness, thickness, or flavor if you disliked the first.


  • Follow the recommended consumption advice on your protein powder label. Protein powder is usually intended to be consumed before a workout or in limited quantities.

Sources and Citations

  2. TWEED, VERA. "Losing It." Amazing Wellness 5.1 (2013): 41-46. Consumer Health Complete - EBSCOhost. Web. 16 July 2015.
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Categories: Protein