The Best Tasting Protein Powder
With such an abundance of protein powders on today’s market, it can often be difficult to find the right product for you.
If you are one of those thousands of people who are endlessly frustrated by protein powders that are too clumpy, taste like liquid cardboard, or are not made with the very best ingredients, look no further, we’ve found the best one there is.
#1 Best Tasting Protein Powder: Clear Whey Isolate
From European company MyProtein comes a product that is unlike any other on the market.
The Clear Whey Isolate protein powder comes in 4 flavors; Bitter Lemon, Mojito, Peach Tea, and Rainbow Candy, flavors that are, if they exist elsewhere at all, incredibly rare in the field of protein powders.
The result is, instead of a milky, thick, or creamy mixture, a light, fruity, juice-like mix, with the taste and texture to match.
One of the best parts of this powder is its supreme mixability. Most powders on the market have one massive struggle; clumps.
Few powders mix well unless they’re blended into a protein shake in a nutribullet or something similar.
But this protein powder mixes easily into water, and the flavors are much more refreshing after a workout than the generic (and often, overly rich) chocolate and vanilla that are so commonly found in other products.
Clear Whey Isolate is made from whey protein hydrolysate, citric and Phosphoric acid, and sucralose. It contains .1 grams of fat, .7 grams of carbs, and 20 grams of protein per 25-gram serving (one scoop).
This vegetarian powder comes in a 20-serving tub, and costs 20 euros, which is equivalent to $22 USD, a relatively affordable price, especially in comparison to other options.
Now, though we might say that the Clear Whey Isolate is the best protein powder, these kinds of products are very much open to your own interpretation.
Where one person might prefer a mango-flavored post-workout protein shake, you might prefer the standard chocolate.
Additionally, there are a myriad of types of protein powder, which allows each individual to tailor their preferred powder to their own personal needs.
Someone with Celiac disease will choose a gluten-free powder, where someone who is trying to lose weight might look for a powder that is lower in calories, while someone whose goal is to gain muscle mass might be looking for high levels of calories, protein, and carbs.
The point is this: everyone is different. Every body is different, every fitness and health goal is different.
And that’s fine, because, as I mentioned earlier, there is such a multitude of protein powder options on today’s market that finding the powder that fits your needs is no longer a struggle.
Here are a few general tips when looking to buy protein powder.
Tips for Choosing The Right Protein Powder
The first thing to keep in mind is that, if you eat right, you can get the right amount of protein your body needs, as well as all the nutrients from whole foods, rather than in pill or powder forms.
Protein shakes and powders don’t contain nearly the same amount of nutrients as whole foods do, and, even with the powders that are purposefully loaded with ‘super foods’ and the like, your body absorbs those nutrients better when it comes from real food.
This begs the question of whether using protein powder at all is really necessary. And, of course, that answer will vary depending on who you ask.
Some people swear by it. Others function just fine without it.
The thing that makes protein powders and shakes more valuable than sticking to whole foods, is that, often, the protein levels and general nutritional requirements your body needs are not easily accessible from whole foods, depending on your situation.
Think college dorm life, for example. With bad food at the dining hall, food is not easily accessible.
But, especially if you’re working out, you need to keep your body inundated with protein and other nutrients.
Enter, protein shakes. They’re a fast, convenient method to build, repair, and maintain muscle, as well as to get those nutrients that are sometimes inaccessible to you.
If you do decide that you would like to at least trial protein powder, you should first understand the (many) different types of protein that are used to make these powders.
Different Types of Protein
For starters, there is Whey protein, which is probably the most common type of protein powder. Whey protein is one of two types of protein derived from milk. (I’ll get into the other type later).
Whey protein is marked as a fast-digesting protein – this means it quickly absorbs into your muscles, allowing for instant repair and regeneration. Whey protein shakes are best used right after a workout, to replenish energy levels and kickstart the muscular-healing process.
There is also something called Casein protein, which is the other type of protein derived from milk.
Where Casein protein differs largely from Whey protein is in the time it takes to digest; Casein protein is known as a slow-digestive protein.
What happens when you consume Casein is that a clump of protein forms in your stomach, which then releases a consistent stream of Amino Acids into your bloodstream over a period of 4-6 hours.
Where Whey protein releases a higher volume of Amino Acids in a shorter period of time, Casein protein releases a lower volume of Amino Acids over a longer period of time.
Casein protein is best consumed before bed, as this allows for your muscles to recover and regenerate while you sleep, allowing you to wake up refreshed and ready for another hard day at the gym.
The argument over which type is better goes back and forth, and falls mainly into personal preference.
There are protein powders that use a combination of Whey and Casein, which allows for a quick protein boost as well as that slow protein supplement. It wouldn’t hurt to give each type a try, and figure out which works best for you.
A good option for vegetarians and vegans is Soy protein, which is derived from soybeans. Soy protein differs from many other vegan/vegetarian protein options in that it is considered a complete protein.
In other words, it contains all 9 essential Amino Acids. It also contains Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) including Leucine, which is imperative to the cellular protein-synthesis process.
The major drawback of a soy-based protein diet is that soy contains phytates, which act as anti-nutrients, which reduce levels of iron and zinc.
This, however, is only an issue if you rely on your protein intake as your sole source of iron and zinc.
Pea, Hemp, and Rice protein are all 100% plant based, and so are easily digestible, and are also good options for vegans, vegetarians, and people with celiac disease or gluten insensitivity.
What Are Your Fitness Goals?
Once you understand the different types of protein isolates that can make up a protein powder, you next must understand your own fitness goals, to match the best protein powder to your needs.
If your goal is to gain muscle, you’re going to want to look into Whey and Casein protein isolates. Additionally, you’re going to want these protein powders to be high in both calories and carbs, as this will help with the mass-building process.
If you are a vegetarian, vegan, or have extreme gluten insensitivity, you’re going to have to look into the 100% plant-based protein options, like Soy, Pea, and Hemp.
Within these, you’re going to want to make sure you are getting a good amount of nutrients, as well as high levels of protein; anywhere close to 20 grams of protein per serving is good.
If your goal is to lose weight, you should use a powder that is low in calories and carbs, but high in protein.
Additionally, you are going to want to closely examine the ingredients list and make sure artificial sweeteners are not used to improve the taste of the powder. Sucralose, for example, is a commonly used sweetener that is generally good to stay away from.
And, if sticking to a budget is important, look into the bulk tubs of powder instead of the pre-bottled shakes, as the shakes are more expensive due to convenience.
In terms of blending protein powder with shakes, there are plenty of delicious recipes out there that help mask the taste of protein powder.
One of my favorites involves bananas (preferably the over-ripe ones that you just can’t eat anymore), peanut butter, yogurt, milk, and a little bit of cinnamon and honey.
In terms of general rules, you’re going to want a protein powder that blends easily with water, doesn’t cost too much, and includes around 20 grams of protein per serving.
It certainly is not easy to find the best options that fit every different possible need you may have. So here’s a list of the best-tasting protein powder options for each of the main general needs you may have, including Vegan, Diet, Mass-Gainer, Chocolate, and Vanilla options.
#2 Best Tasting Vegan Protein Powder: Orgain Organic Plant Based Protein Powder
Orgain’s $27, 2 pound container of 100% plant-based protein powder, which has a 4 star Amazon rating and over 7,000 customer reviews, is one of the best overall protein powders, and so is an easy choice for the best Vegan protein powder.
With flavors such as Chocolate, Peanut Butter, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Cookies N Cream, and Peppermint Hot Chocolate, this powder contains 21 grams of protein derived from peas, brown rice, and chia seeds, as well as 7 grams of fiber, and 3 grams of carbs, 150 calories, and 0 grams of sugar.
The addition of fiber is important to slow the digestion of the protein, allowing it to provide an influx of protein to your muscles for a longer period of time.
On top of being easily mixable, this powder is also vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, lactose-free, soy-free, carrageenan-free, non-GMO, all natural, and USDA organic.
It works well as a meal replacement or as a post-workout protein supplement, allowing for an ample supply of nutrients and protein that not only fills you up, but tastes great in the process.
Orgain’s organic protein powder is one of the best overall options, as it is so readily accessible to all types of athletes, and contains clean ingredients, and high levels of clean protein.
Plus, it also tastes good, a sad rarity in the world of protein powder.
#3 Best Tasting Diet Protein Powder: Dymatize Elite Whey Cafe Mocha Whey Protein Powder
For people who are either on a diet or are trying to lose weight, using a protein powder that is low in sugars and calories is imperative.
Additionally, protein powders that include some level of caffeine make the process of weight-loss even easier, as caffeine promotes metabolic processes as well as adds an additional spurt of energy during workouts.
Regardless, keep in mind that there is no protein powder that can be used for weight loss. Weight loss comes from the result of general healthful lifestyles.
But, with more protein and less calories, your caloric intake is reduced, but, with the addition of protein, you will likely eat less food, which can help the weight loss process.
With a 4.2 star rating on Amazon and over 1,000 customer reviews, Dymatize Elite provides the best diet protein powder on the market.
A typical 5 pound container, which costs $47, contains only 140 calories, which is definitely on the low end in comparison to other protein powders.
Additionally, it contains 2 grams of total sugars, but includes 0 grams of added sugars, and has 25 grams of Whey protein. In addition to this, it includes both natural and artificial coffee flavoring, which provides a level of caffeine, which will help improve your metabolism.
This Whey protein powder also includes high levels of BCAAs and Leucine per serving. As I mentioned earlier, BCAAs, and specifically, Leucine, are essential in starting the cellular process of muscle synthesis.
The addition of these Amino Acids, (5.5 grams of BCAAs and 2.7 grams of Leucine) combined with a powder that is 100% Whey protein, makes for a quick-digesting, restorative, and powerful protein powder.
This powder may not mix as easily as other options, but that issue can be remedied with a blender or nutribullet. It creates a thick, creamy drink that has a strong, tasty flavor.
It also includes a large variety of other flavors, each of which remain good diet-protein powder options, as they are low in calories and sugar.
#4 Best Tasting Mass Gainer Protein Powder: Real Gains Weight Gainer Protein Powder
While a lot of people go to the gym with the goal of losing weight, an equally large number of athletes are trying to gain muscle weight. The key thing to keep in mind if you are trying to gain weight is caloric intake.
To gain weight, you have to be consuming more calories than you are burning. The best mass-gainer protein powders are loaded with not only protein, but also a really high quantity of calories and carbohydrates, which get converted partially to glycogen which then fuel your muscles during your workouts.
And the purpose of the extra-high amount of protein in each serving of mass-gainer protein powder is that protein supplies amino acids to your body, and amino acids are the things that biochemically stimulate cellular muscle-synthesis.
With a 4.2 star rating on Amazon and nearly 300 customer reviews, Real Gains Weight Gainer protein powder is one of the best options if you’re looking solely to gain muscle weight.
A 10.6 pound container costs only $55, which is incredibly cheap considering the amount of powder you get.
This powder contains 601 calories, 87 grams of carbs, only 7 grams of sugars, and 52 grams of protein in each serving.
A compelling thing to note about the protein used in this product, is that Real Gains utilizes a combination of Whey and Casein protein, both of which are derived from milk.
This is important in consistent weight-gain, as Whey protein digests quickly, providing more temporary boosts of energy and muscle-recovery, while Casein protein provides very long-term levels of muscle-recovery. That in turn allows you to gain size, while it also allows you to wake up recovered and refreshed; fully prepared for another intense workout.
This product, which comes in a handful of flavors, has been a trusted protein powder for weightlifters, powerlifters, Olympic lifters, and Olympia bodybuilders since 1983; they know what they’re doing.
Obviously, it’s not the healthiest option out there, but the real mass-gainer protein powders won’t be healthy.
But, in comparison to some other options, it is low in sugar and fat, and does not contain any toxic chemical additives, making it one of the cleaner options.
If you’re looking to put on serious weight, this is your best option.
#5 Best Tasting Chocolate Protein Powder: Legion Whey Protein Powder
Chocolate-flavored protein powders are one of the more traditional and popular flavors; it’s hard to go wrong with chocolate. And while many brands still put out chalky, nasty-tasting chocolate powders, there are a few actually tasty options.
The best in this category is the Legion Whey + Chocolate Whey Isolate Protein Powder, which has a 4.5 star rating on Amazon and over 2,000 customer reviews.
It’s low in calories, at only 100 calories per serving, and high in protein, at 22 grams per serving. The Whey isolate they use is made from milk from grass-fed cows from small Irish farms, which just ensures that their product is both as clean and as natural as possible.
A 1.9 pound container only costs $40, and while this might seem like it’s on the higher end, it comes with a 100% satisfaction guarantee – if you’re having any issues with Legion Athletics’ products, they’ll give you a full refund if they can’t resolve the problems.
This product, which is made in the United States, is non GMO, hormone and antibiotic free, and contains no artificial flavoring or sweeteners.
Legion Whey protein powder is highly mixable, easily digestible, and tastes delicious.
#6 Best Tasting Vanilla Protein Powder: BSN Syntha-6 Whey Protein Powder
The two main flavor camps are chocolate and vanilla. If you fall into the vanilla side of things, the pinnacle of vanilla protein powder is the BSN Syntha-6 Vanilla Ice Cream Whey Isolate and Micellar Casein Protein Powder.
With a 4.5 star rating on Amazon and over 7,000 reviews, this powder costs only $45 for a 48-serving container.
It’s on the higher side in calories, at 200 per serving, and has 15 grams of carbs, 4 grams of sugar, and 22 grams of protein.
The protein consists of both Whey Isolate and Micellar Casein, which allows you to get both the fast and slow digestive protein types, providing the best overall protein combination.
But the best thing about this powder is its fantastic taste, which is almost unbeatable.
Clearly, there is an abundance of protein powder options, made even more readily available by Amazon.
And while finding a healthy protein powder that fits your needs and tastes good is difficult, they do exist.
And most of those healthy and delicious options are right here. That’s not to say that there are no other options that might serve you better; the world of fitness and fitness supplements is very open to personal preference and interpretation.
And while this is a great place to begin and further your research, the best thing you can do is give a few different options a try; test different brands for a week at a time and see how your body responds to them.
These physical, personal tests are the only way you can truly find your best powder.
I’m a personal trainer based in Denver (Matrix Gym) and a true fitness nerd. If I’m not training clients or working out at my home gym, I’m probably skiing, cycling or hiking with my dog Rufus.