What Does Protein Powder Taste Like? (Plus 10 tasty tips for delicious protein shakes!)

You’re already hooked on the benefits of protein shakes: they’re convenient, easy to use, and help you to build muscle and lose weight fast without calorie counting or special meal prep. But you still have one major question: what do protein shakes taste like?


Caught between horror stories of bad tasting protein and rave reviews for delicious protein shakes, you may be left wondering how you can pick a great tasting protein shake? And can you make your shake taste even better?


What Do Protein Shakes Taste Like?

There’s no easy way to answer the question of what protein powders taste like, because the taste can vary by brand, protein type, and the flavour of protein powder. A great quality protein powder can taste delicious, just like a milkshake, smoothie or your favourite dessert. But low-quality protein powders have been said to taste like cardboard or sand![1]


How to Choose A Great Tasting Protein Shake?

The good news is that new formulations and technology have resulted in the development of protein shakes that actually taste really good, while still helping you to lose weight. Here’s what to look for to choose a great tasting protein shake for weight loss.


Always Choose Whey Protein or Pea Protein

When it comes to protein powders, whey protein is the gold standard, both for results as well as taste. Whey protein is derived from milk, so it’s smoother and creamier, and it also provides the most essential amino acids, including branched chain amino acids (BCAAS). Whey protein is rapidly absorbed in the body, fuelling your muscles and boosting energy, and it’s generally agreed to be the best tasting protein supplement source.[2]


If you’re avoiding dairy, pea protein is the best option for vegan protein shakes that help you lose weight while also tasting great. Pea protein is also rapidly absorbed by the body, and as a bonus is totally hypo-allergenic, so you’ll never have an upset stomach after your protein shake again.[3]


Go With A Quality Brand

Cheaper brands use lower quality protein in their shakes, and these can end up tasting gritty, bland, or grossly artificial. It’s a good investment in the long run to choose a better-quality protein powder, as it will taste better and give you better weight loss results.


Choose Your Flavours Carefully

Protein powders like whey protein and pea protein naturally have a very bland or unsavoury taste, so they come in a variety of different flavours that you can choose from to match your taste preference.


While experimenting with flavour choice can be a great way to find a taste you love (dessert flavoured protein shakes anyone? YUM!), you don’t want to go too far out on a limb getting locked into a big jar of a protein powder you hate the taste of. If in doubt, stick to a safe choice like chocolate or vanilla before branching out!


10 Tips to Make Your Protein Powder Taste Delicious

  1. Add Fruit

Make your protein shake pop with natural flavour by blending it with some fresh or frozen fruit. Berries are popular for their rich flavour and low calories! If you choose to add sweeter fruits like banana or mango, just watch the portion size and calorie count.


  1. Add Milk/Milk Alternative

Protein shakes are usually mixed with water, but if you want a creamier taste, try mixing your protein powder with skim milk or low-calorie milk alternatives such as soy or almond milk.


  1. Keep It Chill

Protein shakes are often tastier and more refreshing when served chilled. Some protein shakes denature or ‘cook’ when warmed, creating an unappealing taste and texture. If you want to drink your protein shake warmed, be sure to check with the manufacturer first, as some protein shakes can stand up to heating.


  1. Use It In a Recipe

Getting your daily dose of protein powder is easy when it’s mixed into a tasty dessert, snack or meal recipe!


  1. Add Cocoa Powder or Cinnamon

Cocoa powder, cinnamon and other low/no-energy flavours are a great way to switch up the flavour of your shake without adding calories.


  1. Turn It Into A Tasty Dessert

Adding a little chia, psyllium husk or low-calorie jelly mix can turn your protein shake into a tasty dessert pudding.


  1. Add Low/No Fat Yoghurt

Turn your shake into a tasty smoothie by blending it with low/no-fat yoghurt for a protein and creaminess boost!


  1. Add Coffee

An espresso shot or powdered instant coffee contains no calories and instantly adds a hit of flavour and caffeine to your protein shake.


  1. Make It A Little Sweeter

Adding a little honey, agave, or low-calorie sweetener can help to improve the taste of your shake if you feel it’s a bit bland – just be aware that some sweeteners contain calories so watch the portion size!


  1. Check You’re Making it Right

If your shake just continues to not taste quite right, double check the preparation instructions and check you’re adding the right amount of water and mixing it right.





[1] http://swolept.com/posts/the-perfect-whey-protein-shake#.Wwl4hVMvzVo

[2] https://health.clevelandclinic.org/7-tips-choosing-best-protein-powder/

[3] https://www.menshealth.com/nutrition/a19522523/should-you-buy-pea-protein/

About the Author

Cara Dibdin is a Dietician & Exercise Scientist and a writer, originally from Sydney, Australia. Specializing in health, nutrition, behaviour change and meditation, Cara is passionate about finding innovative ways to nourish mind and body.

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