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If you’re on this page, I’m assuming you’re someone who identifies as a woman and is looking for protein powder, or you’re looking to buy protein powder for someone who identifies as a woman. 

Before getting into the thick of things, here’s a quick dose of reality: Protein powders, unless they are specifically formulated for a particular women’s concern or life status (such as pregnancy), don’t affect men and women differently. The best protein powder for women and the best protein powder for men are largely the same: Men and women can drink the same protein powders and enjoy the same benefits, like enhanced muscle recovery after workouts, as one example. 

RELATED: Benefits Of Protein Powder 

That said, thanks to our roster of woman-identifying product testers and knowledge of women’s needs, we can recommend the best protein powder for women. 

Our roster of certified personal trainers and nutrition coaches has personally—as in, scooped and swigged—more than 50 varieties of protein powder. What’s more, five members of our editorial and product testing team are women who graded each product on the following factors:

  • Formulation: Does it have research-backed doses of protein and macronutrient ratios?
  • Ingredients: Do all the ingredients serve a purpose? Are there any harmful ingredients or anything that might cause digestive stress?
  • Third-party testing: Has it been tested for banned substances or toxins? Do they bear the NSF Certified for Sport or Informed Choice logo?
  • Solubility and Taste: Does it mix well and have no clumps? And could we stomach it?

Editor’s note: For the purposes of this article, from here on out, we will use the words “women” and “woman” to refer to woman-identifying individuals, and will use the word “female” for any statements specifically regarding female biology and physiology.

Medical disclaimer: This article is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for medical advice. For health advice, contact a licensed healthcare provider. GGR also recommends choosing a product that has been third-party tested for quality.

Best Protein Powder for Women

Best Protein Powder for Women Video

Best Overall Protein Powder for Women: Transparent Labs 100% Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate

Good for: Women who prioritize manufacturing and sourcing transparency 

Best Overall

Transparent Labs 100% Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate

GGR Score: 4 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • High-quality whey protein isolate
  • 28 grams of protein per serving
  • 15 flavors to choose from
  • $1.99 per serving

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • High-quality protein
  • No artificial sweeteners, food dyes, or preservatives
  • Lots of flavors to choose from
  • Good customer reviews
  • Whey isolate may be easier to digest for some people

Cons

  • Price per serving on the high end

Bottom Line

Our testers love Transparent Labs 100% Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate because we know exactly what's in it, and almost every flavor we've tried is a 5 out of 5 on taste. Yes, it's a little more expensive than other protein powders but you get what you pay for.

Transparent Labs makes an appearance on many of our nutritional guides, and it tops our overall best protein powder list. With 28 grams of protein from pure whey protein isolate—and just 1 to 2 grams of carbs and 0 grams of fat—a tub of Transparent Labs 100% Grass-Fed Whey Protein contains not much of anything else. 

It’s free preservatives, dyes, fillers, artificial sweeteners, emulsifiers, and gums. In fact, the ingredients list for the Milk Chocolate flavor contains just five items: grass-fed whey protein isolate, cocoa powder, natural flavor, sodium chloride, and stevia. 

transparent labs protein scoop in bottle

At $1.99 per serving, this protein powder is on the pricey side. But as our product testers can vouch, it’s worth it when you take the first sip. This protein tastes clean and pure, and it mixes well with any method. I personally love the Strawberry flavor mixed with almond milk. It tastes like, well, strawberry milk. 

In addition to the flavor and texture of this protein powder, our product testers love the product transparency you get from Transparent Labs (hence the name). We love feeling confident that what we see is what we get, and we don’t have to worry about poor manufacturing practices, sketchy product sourcing, or questionable ingredients. 

In fact, Transparent Labs posts its certificates of analysis and certificates of composition for all of its products. You can literally see right here that the Milk Chocolate whey protein isolate is 94.3% whey protein isolate and 5.7% flavor (such as cocoa and stevia).

Read our full Transparent Labs Protein Powder review.

Price per serving$1.99
Protein per serving28 g
Carbs per serving1-2 g
Fat per serving0 g

Best Vegan Protein Powder for Women: Ritual Essential Protein 18+

Good for: Women looking for vegan protein powder with high protein content

Best Vegan

Ritual Essential Protein Daily Shake 18+

GGR Score: 4.4 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Organic pea protein powder
  • 20 g of protein per serving
  • Formulated to support adults 18-49
  • Third-party tested
  • 150 mg of choline per serving 

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Soy-free, gluten-free, and vegan-friendly
  • No artificial sweeteners
  • Complete amino acid profile
  • Non-GMO
  • USA-grown peas

Cons

  • Only comes in one flavor
  • Price per serving is on the high end

Bottom Line

Ritual’s Essential Protein Daily Shake 18+ is specifically designed for 18-to-49 year-olds with 20 grams of protein per serving and 150 milligrams of chlorine (to support brain and nervous system function). This protein powder from Ritual is third-party tested and Informed Sport Certified, which means this formula has been screened for over 250 banned substances.

Ritual Essential Protein 18+ is one of the best vegan protein powders because it’s a high-quality and good-tasting protein that contains all the essential amino acids needed for muscle growth. Ritual uses pea protein, which is traditionally not considered a complete protein source because of its low methionine content. The company fixes this issue by adding methionine to the blend.

When it comes to taste, GGR Head of Content and competitive weightlifter Kate Meier scores it a 4 out of 5 and says it lacks the earthy and hempy taste found in some plant-based protein powders. “There is a very slight chalky aftertaste with water, but I could drink this with water alone and be fine with it,” Kate says. “That’s how decent I think this taste is.”

Her preferred method is to add it to a blender with water, strawberries, and blueberries to create a morning protein smoothie.

ritual essential shake 18+ in blender next to bag

Ritual is also lower calorie than other vegan protein supplements that often use a protein blend to get all essential amino acids. One downside is that it’s a subscription-based company, though you have 30 days to get your money back if you decide it’s not right for you.

Read our full Ritual protein powder review for more info. Also, those looking for a plant-based protein powder for women might also want to check out our No Cow protein bar review for our thoughts on a more portable protein supplement.

Price per serving$2.66
Protein per serving20 g
Carbs per serving3 g
Fat per serving2 g

Best-Tasting Protein Powder for Women: XWERKS Grow

Good for: Women who want a protein powder they can trust in multiple flavors

Best-Tasting

XWERKS Grow

GGR Score: 4.6 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Natural, healthy, convenient, and tasty way to get protein
  • Uses a microfiltration process to preserve critical biological nutrients in raw whey
  • Removes unwanted fats and carbohydrates
  • All flavors are naturally sweetened
  • Nicely flavored, easily digested, and low-carb protein powder
  • Promotes muscle growth and repair

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Keto-friendly
  • Naturally sweetened
  • Sourced from naturally raised grass-fed cows
  • Has a smooth and creamy taste
  • Soy- and gluten-free
  • Convenient

Cons

  • Expensive

Bottom Line

XWERKS Grow whey protein isolate provides a solid blend of amino acids, vitamins, and minerals in a whey protein isolate. Our testers have said this is one of the best-tasting protein powders they've tried, and they've had more than 100.

When I wrote our guide to the best-tasting protein powder, XWERKS Grow topped the list because its flavor lineup is trusty, and we’ve had multiple product testers (including myself and senior writer and certified personal trainer Anthony O’Reilly) test and enjoy them. 

xwerks grow

Aside from the fact that XWERKS Grow morphs into a fantastic Strawberry, Chocolate, Vanilla, or Peanut Butter quasi-milkshake, we love it for its standout nutritional profile. 

XWERKS Grow contains 25 grams of protein from 100% grass-fed cows living in New Zealand, which XWERKS says is “one of the strictest countries in the world when it comes to dairy quality.” Yet, it still costs less than $2 per serving. 

It’s also free from artificial sweeteners and flavors, dyes, colorings, soy, and gluten.

Read more in our XWERKS Grow whey protein review.

Price per serving$1.96
Protein per serving25 g 
Carbs per serving1-2 g (depends on the flavor)
Fat per serving0-2 g (depends on the flavor)

Best Budget Protein Powder for Women: Nutricost Whey Protein Concentrate

Good for: Women who want a high-quality protein powder at a low price

Best Budget

Nutricost Whey Protein Concentrate

GGR Score: 4.6 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • 25 grams of whey protein concentrate per serving
  • Available in 5 flavors, including unflavored
  • High-quality ingredients and third-party testing
  • Supports lean muscle growth and recovery after workouts

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Non-GMO and gluten-free
  • Manufactured in GMP-compliant facility
  • Unflavored option only contains one ingredient, instantized whey protein concentrate

Cons

  • Whey concentrate may not mix as well as whey isolate
  • Flavored options are higher in calories than other whey proteins

Bottom Line

Nutricost Whey Concentrate contains 25 grams of high-quality whey protein concentrate, available in five flavors. It's gluten-free, non-GMO, manufactured in a GMP-compliant facility, and third-party tested.

Nutricost Whey Protein Concentrate is one of the few protein powders that gets a 5 out of 5 on our pricing scale regardless of the size or flavor you order. A 2-pound container of the Chocolate Peanut Butter comes out to $1.15 per scoop, and a 5-pound container of the Unflavored protein powder will run you less than 80 cents per serving.

We know what some of you might be thinking: “If it’s that affordable then it’s probably not that good.” We’d usually agree with you, but in this case you’d be wrong. Kate Meier, GGR’s Senior Head of Content and a certified personal trainer, gave the Chocolate Peanut Butter a 5 out of 5 for taste and solubility.

“I like the taste, I love the protein content,” she says. “All around, a great product. Would definitely buy it again.” Kate said the protein powder — which she mixed with water and milk, in addition to adding it to smoothies — strikes a perfect balance of chocolate and peanut butter. “The peanuty flavor is just right,” she says. “Not too powerful and doesn’t overpower the chocolate.”

woman drinking nutricost whey protein

Registered dietitian Perry Nix is also a fan of Nutricost protein powder. “Each serving contains 25 grams of protein, which is plenty to stimulate muscle protein synthesis for building and repairing muscle mass,” she says.

We’re also happy to see that fat and carbs are kept low. If you’re someone who prefers all natural ingredients, you might want to steer clear of the flavored options because they contain artificial ingredients and flavorings. The unflavored protein powder, however, contains no such additives.

Nix notes that people who are sensitive to dairy might want to steer clear of whey protein concentrate because it contains more lactose than whey isolate.

Price per serving$0.78 – $1.26 (varies by flavor and container size)
Protein per serving25 g
Carbs per serving1-3g (varies by flavor)
Fat per serving1-3g (varies by flavor)

Best Low-Carb Protein Powder for Women: Onnit Grass-Fed Whey

Good for: Women who watch their macro count

Best For Athletes

Onnit Whey Protein

GGR Score: 4.2 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Sourced from New Zealand grass-fed cows
  • Made with whey protein isolate to filter out fats and carbs
  • Offers a complete amino acid profile
  • Website offers a subscription option to save money and auto-ship

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Low in carbs
  • High in leucine
  • Whey isolate gets to muscles faster
  • Non-GMO

Cons

  • High cost per serving
  • Can cause digestive issues for some people
  • The Mexican Chocolate flavor has mixed reviews

Bottom Line

Onnit Whey Protein is a great protein option for those looking for a grass-fed protein, however there are cleaner grass-fed protein powders on the market that are lower in cost.

In two delicious flavors, Mexican Chocolate and Vanilla, each serving of Onnit Grass-Fed Whey offers 20 grams of protein in a 110-calorie package. Its protein source is whey protein isolate, which is typically more easily digestible than whey protein concentrate. The whey protein is also derived from New Zealand cows, a country that prevents cows from being exposed to antibiotics, pesticides, or hormones.

RELATED: Best Greens Powder

Along with 20 grams of protein, Onnit’s whey isolate keeps the carbohydrate count low, too, with only 3 to 5 grams of protein per serving (depending on the flavor). This product is also tested for banned substances and Informed Sport Certified. This means athletes of all disciplines can safely consume it for nutritional support with no repercussions. 

An image of Onnit grass-fed whey

We know how important adequate protein intake is for growing and maintaining muscle mass—more on that below—and Onnit Grass-Fed whey is an effective supplement to support those goals. It tastes good, too—I thought the Mexican Chocolate actually had a different flavor than most chocolate protein powders, which pleasantly surprised me.   

Check out our Onnit Grass-Fed Whey Isolate Review for all of our thoughts on this product.

Price per serving$1.99
Protein per serving20 g
Carbs per serving3-5 g
Fat per serving2 g

Best Protein Powder for Women for Gut Health: Sports Research Whey Protein Isolate

Good for: Women with sensitive stomachs who want protein without digestive trouble

Best for Gut Health

Sports Research Whey Isolate

GGR Score: 4.7 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Whey protein isolate
  • 25 g of protein per serving
  • Available in chocolate or vanilla
  • Informed Choice-certified

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Third-party tested
  • 25 grams of protein per serving

Cons

  • Only two flavors available
  • Our tester had issues with solubility

Bottom Line

Sports Research whey protein isolate has 25 grams of protein per serving and just 150 calories. It's third-party tested, too. Although there are only two flavors available, our testers think it's worth a try.

More and more studies are coming out about how our gut health impacts our overall health, which is why we recommend Sports Research Whey Protein Isolate for anyone who’s looking to care for their second brain. 

Obviously, if you have an allergy to dairy, a whey protein isn’t your best bet. However, whey isolate has processed virtually all lactose out of the whey, making it far easier on the stomach. Plus the protein powder is GMO-free and gluten-free. 

Scooping Sports Research Whey Protein into Blender bottle

Our tester, certified personal trainer and nutrition coach Anthony O’Reilly, had no stomach trouble after trying it out multiple times—by itself and as part of a smoothie. “There’s no protein aftertaste at all, and my stomach felt fine, no distress or bloating,” he adds. It gets a 5 out of 5 for side effects.

As far as taste goes, Anthony rates it a 5 out of 5, saying, “It reminds me of instant hot cocoa, which is a good thing. I feel like I should be roasting marshmallows over a campfire with this.” He had Dutch Chocolate, but the protein is also available in Creamy Vanilla.

Perry Nix, RD, adds that the dutch chocolate is sweetened with artificial sweeteners—acesulfame and sucralose. These can cause digestive problems for those with sensitive stomachs, so for gut health, we recommend the Creamy Vanilla flavor.

It mixes mostly well, although Anthony noticed some clumping at the bottom of his shaker cup when he mixed it together that way. “What was mixed was smooth and had no lumps, so the texture is at least good,” Anthony says, rating the solubility a 3.5 out of 5. For a smooth consistency, just shake it longer, or use a blender.

Price per serving$1.15
Protein per serving25 g
Carbs per serving2-4 g
Fat per serving3.5-4 g

Best Organic Protein Powder for Women: Legion Whey+

Good for: Women looking for a organic protein powder with minimal ingredients and a rich taste

Best Organic

Legion Whey+

GGR Score: 4 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Sourced from small dairy farms in Ireland
  • Over 5 g of BCAAs per serving
  • Non-GMO and animal welfare approved
  • Third-party tested for banned substances

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Low in carbs and fat
  • Natural ingredients
  • Money-back guarantee
  • Made with ethically-sourced milk
  • Lots of flavor options

Cons

  • Comparably high cost per serving
  • May be clumpy when mixed
  • Some flavors have mixed reviews

Bottom Line

Legion Whey+ is a clean, sustainable protein powder that also is macro-friendly and a great option for anyone looking for a clean protein supplement. Many of our testers have brought this with their own money because they love the taste and easy mixability.

If going organic is important to you, consider Legion Whey+. It goes without saying that KOS plant protein is hormone- and antibiotic-free, non-GMO verified, and contains no artificial sweeteners.

Made of Truly Grass Fed whey protein, meaning it’s been verified that the cows that produced the milk ate what nature intended them to, Legion Whey+ is one of our favorite protein powders when it comes to taste. “It’s like the bottom of a Cinnamon Toast Crunch bowl where the cereal’s been sitting for a little bit,” says certified personal trainer Anthony O’Reilly in our Legion whey protein review.

legion whey protein pour

The taste of stevia, a natural ingredient, is pretty strong in some flavors, though we didn’t mind it.

Price per serving$1.99
Protein per servingVaries by flavor
Carbs per servingVaries by flavor
Fat per servingVaries by flavor

Best Protein Powder for Pregnancy: Huel Black Edition

Good for: Expectant moms who want a protein powder to supplement their diet

Best for Pregnancy

Huel Complete Powder Black Edition

GGR Score: 4.16 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Plant-based complete nutritional shake 
  • 400 calories, 40 g protein, 5-8 g fiber, 4-6g sugar
  • No artificial sweeteners
  • 9 flavor options
  • Gluten-free meal shake

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Doesn’t need to be refrigerated
  • Resealable bag
  • 40 g protein in each serving
  • Contains all essential vitamins and minerals
  • 9 flavors available

Cons

  • Must sign up for subscription
  • Bit of an aftertaste from plant-based protein

Bottom Line

Huel Complete Protein Powder Black Edition is a nutritionally complete meal replacement shake powder, containing 400 calories per serving along with 40 grams of protein in all of the nine flavors. Fat, carb, and fiber content varies by 1 to 3 grams across flavors, but you can expect to find a healthy serving of unsaturated fats, complex carbohydrates, and fiber in each shake. Plus, each shake contains all essential vitamins, minerals, and amino acids with no artificial sweeteners or gluten.

When looking for the best protein powder for pregnancy, you may not start with a meal replacement shake, but it’s packed with macronutrients and micronutrients that you’ll need throughout your pregnancy, most notably 40 grams of plant-based protein, earning it a 5 out of 5 for formulation.

Registered dietitian Perry Nix adds, “Plant proteins on their own often lack certain essential amino acids, but combining pea protein, ground flaxseed, and brown rice protein ensures a rich and complete amino acid profile.” 

Perry was also impressed with the 27 included vitamins and minerals, saying, “These micronutrients provide countless benefits, including enhancing muscle function, supporting energy metabolism, bolstering immune health, and promoting bone health.” Among the micronutrients in Huel Black Edition is choline, which has been shown to be beneficial for the baby’s development5 during pregnancy.

Woman drinking Huel Black Edition

GGR social media manager and mother Brittany Combs tried out Huel Black Edition, and loved the taste, opting for the Cookies and Cream flavor. She gave the protein powder a 5 out of 5 for taste, saying it was just the right amount of sweetness: “It was very sweet, but not too sweet. Just right.” It scored a 4.5 out of 5 for solubility, as Brittany mentions that it mixes well, but she can still feel the graininess of the protein.

I wouldn’t recommend having this for every meal; it’s best when joined with a balanced and complete diet. And at $3.12 per serving, you may not want to spend that much anyway; however, as a meal replacement, this is a safe, transparent powder that can be great during your pregnancy.

Price per serving$3.12
Protein per serving39-41 g
Carbs per serving20-25 g
Fat per serving17-18 g

Best Protein Powder for Women for Smoothies: Gainful

Good for: Those who don’t mind paying a premium for a customized protein formula

Best Personalized

Gainful Customized Protein

GGR Score: 4 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Specifically formulated for you 
  • Choose from a variety of flavor boosts
  • Contains all 9 essential amino acids 
  • Tailored to meet your dietary needs 
  • Subscription-based service renews each month
  • Unlimited access to registered dieticians

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • High-quality ingredients
  • Ability to work with registered dietitians
  • Personalized to your needs and goals
  • Solid profile of amino acids
  • No gluten, soy, artificial sweeteners, or dyes

Cons

  • Subscription-based
  • Expensive

Bottom Line

Gainful protein powder is a subscription-based supplement that is personalized by dietitians to meet your specific needs and health goals.

Gainful is a cool concept, and it allows for the ultimate in supplement customization. The personalization is one strength that lends itself to smoothies; you can literally customize the protein to fit with your typical shake or smoothie.

You’ll head to the Gainful site and take a quiz about yourself, answering questions about your lifestyle—dietary restrictions, workout habits, etc.—as well as your goals—maintain muscle, gain muscle, recover better, etc.—and Gainful will design a custom-made protein powder formula just for you. The powder is unflavored, and you’ll add on eight Flavor Boosts per order to give your powder the perfect taste.

gainful-personalized-protein-poeder

GGR senior editor, certified personal trainer, and expert product tester Nicole Davis tested out Gainful, and they prescribed her a whey/casein blend to support her goals of muscle maintenance, workout recovery, and satiety. She then added on the variety pack of Flavor Boosts so she could try different flavors, including Strawberry Cream, Sea Salt Caramel, and Cookies & Cream. “I didn’t want to like this because it’s so darn expensive, but I do,” says Nicole. “The protein, although a bit clumpy, tastes great and makes me feel good.”

Nicole’s protein blend offers 24 grams of protein per serving as well as 110 calories, but it will vary based on your body and goals.

Read our full Gainful Protein Powder review.

Price per servingApprox. $3
Protein per servingVaries based on your results
Carbs per servingVaries based on your results
Fat per servingVaries based on your results

Best Whey Protein Powder for Women: Cira Bright Whey Protein

Good for: Women who want to buy a high-quality, nutritionally sound, and tasty protein powder from a women-focused nutrition brand

Best Whey

Cira Bright Whey Protein

GGR Score: 4.8 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • 25 grams of whey protein isolate and concentrate 
  • Contains Himalayan rock salt 
  • Available in vanilla, cookies & cream, and cinnamon swirl
  • No added sugar
  • Subscribe and Save option

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Tastes good
  • Mixes well
  • Contains Himalayan rock salt
  • Several flavors available

Cons

  • No information on amino acid profile
  • Contains sucralose and stevia

Bottom Line

Cira Bright Whey Protein provides 25 grams of whey protein isolate and whey protein concentrate per serving, as well as Himalayan salt providing added electrolytes.

A guide to the best protein powder for women would not be complete without a shoutout to Cira Nutrition. This brand caters specifically to women and keeps female biology in mind when developing its products. Cira has a lot of female-specific products, such as its complexion support and hormone symmetry supplements. 

Cira also makes a dang good whey protein powder for women. You can read all of our thoughts in our Cira Nutrition Bright Whey protein review, but here are my quick thoughts: I tried Cira Bright Whey Protein as part of our testing, and I was very pleased with the taste and solubility. I got the Cookies n Cream flavor, and it tastes fantastic mixed with oat milk. 

cira pour

The texture leaves a bit to be desired when mixed with water (it’s thin), but I think all protein powders should be mixed with milk or a milk alternative, personally. 

At about $40 for 30 servings per tub, you’re looking at a low cost-per-serving of about $1.30. Each serving is packed with 25 grams of protein from whey protein isolate and concentrate, and it’s sweetened with sucralose and stevia. 

Aside from Cookies n Cream, Cira Bright Whey is also available in Cinnamon Swirl and Vanilla. 

RELATED: Best Pre-Workout for Women

Price per serving$1.30
Protein per serving25 g
Carbs per serving2 g
Fat per serving1.5 g

Best Protein Powder for Women to Gain Weight: Optimum Nutrition 100% Gold Standard Whey Protein

Good for: Women who need high-quality protein that can help them put on quality size

Best to Gain Weight

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey

GGR Score: 4.5 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Contains 3 different kinds of whey protein
  • Tested for banned substances
  • Over 5 g of BCAAs per serving
  • Instantized to help prevent clumping

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Affordable
  • High in protein
  • Plenty of flavor options
  • Low in carbs

Cons

  • Some users say it's overly sweet
  • Contains artificial flavors
  • Most flavors contain sucralose

Bottom Line

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey is a team favorite for its budget-friendly prices and taste. Our team has tried multiple Optimum Nutrition flavors, and every one is ranked a 4 or 5 out of 5.

Optimum Nutrition contains more than 20 grams of protein (the exact amount varies by flavor) and contains a moderate amount of carbs, which can be good for women who are looking to add muscle mass to their frame. While we typically like to see carbs closer to zero, the extra calories can help you achieve a slight caloric surplus.

Almost every person on our testing team has at least one Optimum Nutrition flavor they love. I love Double Rich Chocolate, Nicole enjoys Mocha Cappuccino, and staff writer Lauren Strong (CPT) swears by Extreme Milk Chocolate. 

If you’re really budget-conscious, we recommend purchasing the largest container you can find in your favorite flavor. The price per serving goes down as the container size increases. Although it’s more money you have to spend up front, it reduces your costs over time. 

gold standard whey protein

Plus, as stated in our guide to the best protein powder overall by registered dietitian nutritionist  Laila Ouldibbat, there’s a lot to love about Optimum Nutrition protein powder despite its use of artificial sweeteners: It uses two good protein sources (whey isolate and concentrate and hydrolyzed whey protein) sourced from hormone-free cows, to name just one.

Read our Optimum Nutrition 100% whey gold standard review for more.

Price per servingAs low as $1.10 per serving
Protein per serving24 g
Carbs per serving3-4 g (depends on flavor)
Fat per serving0-1.5 g (depends on flavor)

Best Unflavored Protein Powder for Women: NOW Sports Unflavored Whey Protein

Good for: Women who prefer to mix their protein powder into oatmeal, mug cakes, or smoothies rather than drink it plain

Best Unflavored

NOW Sports Whey Protein Isolate

GGR Score: 4 starstarstarstarstar
Community Score: 5 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • 25 g of whey protein isolate per serving 
  • NPA A-rated GMP certified 
  • No artificial colors, flavors, or additives
  • Packaged in the USA

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • No additives
  • Pure protein isolate
  • Budget friendly
  • Mixes well

Cons

  • Some reports of a sour aftertaste
  • Some users complained of missing scoopers

Bottom Line

NOW Sports Whey Protein Isolate is an unflavored protein which delivers 25 grams of protein per serving along with a good profile of BCAAs.

If you’re the type who needs something more than a protein shake post-workout, consider getting an unflavored protein powder that you can make an actual meal out of. Unflavored protein powder such as the NOW Sports Unflavored Whey Protein is a great addition to flavored oatmeal, fruity smoothies, and even for making healthy single-serve cakes. 

Now Sports whey protein isolate

Our product tester and GGR writer Lauren Strong (CPT) says this protein definitely has a “whey” flavor and aftertaste when taken alone with water, but she only did that for testing purposes to get the full effect—and wouldn’t recommend it. 

RELATED: How Much Protein Do You Really Need?

Instead, Lauren suggests adding this protein powder into something more substantial, like a homemade acai bowl, to add a boost of protein to an already nutritious meal. Even in plain water, the NOW Sports unflavored protein powder mixed well, creating a smooth and creamy liquid. 

Read our full thoughts in this NOW Sports whey protein isolate review.

Price per serving$0.66-$1.38 (varies by size)
Protein per serving25 g
Carbs per serving< 1 g 
Fat per serving0.5 g

Best Protein Powder for Women for Building Muscle: Kaged Re-Kaged

Good for: Women who are serious about putting on muscle mass

Best for Building Muscle

Kaged Re-Kaged

GGR Score: 4.7 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Recovery blend includes L-glutamine, digestive enzymes, and creatine HCI
  • Formulated to build lean muscle and improve recovery time 
  • Scientifically-researched ingredients at appropriate ratios
  • Unique flavors: strawberry lemonade, iced lemon cake, and orange kream
  • Banned-substance free

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Mixes well
  • Unique flavors
  • Reportedly highly effective
  • Only 1 gram of sugar
  • Contains L-glutamine and creatine

Cons

  • Too sweet for some people
  • Contains sucralose
  • May cause digestive issues

Bottom Line

If you are looking for a post-workout product that not only improves recovery but also is designed to build muscle mass, Kaged Re-Kaged may be the right option for you.

Twenty-eight grams of protein. 3 grams of L-glutamine. 1.5 grams of creatine HCL. 12 grams of essential amino acids. 6 grams of BCAAs. 280 milligrams of digestive enzymes. 

That’s what you’ll get when you sink a shaker bottle of Kaged Re-Kaged, our protein recommendation for women who are serious about packing on new muscle. It’s sports nutrition at its finest.

It’s high in all the good stuff and low in all stuff you don’t need in a post-workout shake: Kaged Re-Kaged contains just 1 gram of sugar, 3 or fewer grams of carbohydrates, and 1 or fewer grams of fat. 

re-kaged on counter

Our one gripe is that the flavors are limited—and unusual. You can’t get this protein in your basic chocolate peanut butter, but it does come in Orange Kream, Iced Lemon Cake, and Strawberry Lemonade. 

If you’re wondering why these flavors are fruity rather than dessert-y, here’s my hunch: This powder uses MicroPure whey protein, which is so micronized that it’s tough to create a thick texture with it—even if you were to mix it with half-and-half (which, gross, and good luck to your large intestine). 

Our product tester’s notes say in our Re-Kaged review that the Orange Kream flavor tastes like an orange Creamsicle, so we’re good with it.

RELATED: Kaged Coupon Code!

Price per serving$2.25
Protein per serving25 g
Carbs per serving2-33 g
Fat per serving0.5-1 g

Best Protein Powder for Baking: Bulk Supplements Pea Protein Isolate

Good for: Those who like to bake high-protein snacks

Best for Baking

Bulk Supplements Pea Protein Isolate

GGR Score: 3.8 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Pea protein isolate 
  • Gluten-, soy-, and lactose-free 
  • No additives

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • 1 ingredient: pea protein isolate
  • Vegan
  • No additives
  • Large variety of sizes available
  • Affordable multiple sizes at less than $1 per serving

Cons

  • Only save 5% with subscription
  • Larger sizes are sold out
  • No scoop included
  • Users share it doesn’t mix well

Bottom Line

Bulk Supplements Pea Protein Isolate is a very affordable pea protein option for customers looking to add a vegan protein without breaking the bank.

Have a hankering for some high-protein baking? If that’s the case, Bulk Supplements Pea Protein Isolate is our pick to add to your favorite recipe. GGR editor Frieda Johnson, CNC, SET, used it for baking in her testing of the protein powder, and it tasted pretty good. 

An image of Bulk Supplements pea protein in brownies

Frieda says, “Pea protein might have a strong taste if you’re not used to it,especially on its own. I mixed this in with some baked goods, though, and there wasn’t any noticeable flavor coming through.” She rates the taste on its own a 3 out of 5, but the taste in baked goods depends on the chef!

Bulk Supplements Pea Protein Isolate is just that—pea protein, and a lot of it. This is very vegan-friendly, and also is gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, and has no added sugars either. Because of the purity of this plain, unflavored protein powder, it’s the perfect addition to your baking to make some high-protein meals and snacks.

RELATED: Creative Ways To Use Protein Powder

One serving contains 21 grams of protein, which is high, but it’s important to remember that although pea protein does contain all nine essential amino acids, it is severely lacking in methionine, meaning it’s not truly a complete protein. This shouldn’t be your only source of protein; you can mix it with rice protein to get a decent amino profile. Still, at $0.70 per serving, Bulk Supplements Pea Protein Isolate can make a lot of protein-filled baking snacks, and for a low price, too.

Price per serving$0.70
Protein per serving21 g
Carbs per serving2 g
Fat per serving1 g

Best Greens Blend Protein Powder for Women: Sakara Protein + Greens Super Powder

Good for: Anyone looking for a greens powder blended with plant-based protein

Best Greens Blend

Sakara Protein + Greens Super Powder

Product Highlights

  • Protein and greens powder blend
  • 12 g of protein per serving
  • Pea, hemp, and pumpkin protein
  • Available in 10 or 30 servings
  • Subscribe-and-save options

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Variety of plant-based proteins
  • Subscribe-and-save options
  • Mixes well

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Contains tree nuts
  • Lower protein content than most protein powders

Bottom Line

Sakara Protein + Greens Super Powder is a great way to get both protein and greens in one serving. The protein is made from a blend of pea, hemp, and pumpkin protein—all certified organic. Although the protein content is a bit lower than other protein powders, the convenience of having greens and protein at the same time may make the powder worth it to some people.

If you’re in the market for a bit of variety in your protein powder, you can try the Super Powder from Sakara. This protein powder is blended with a greens powder to provide both plant-based protein and nutrients from various greens and veggies. This can be a great option for anyone following a vegan diet as well, since the protein is sourced from a blend of organic pea, hemp, and pumpkin protein.

The plant-based blend has no added refined sugars, as well as no dairy or gluten. People with allergies should be mindful, however, that Sakara’s Super Powder does contain tree nuts—coconut, in particular.

Sakara Protein + Greens Super Powder is flavored with a hint of vanilla, although our product tester may disagree. Our product tester, a daily user of protein powders, says on the taste, “It was underwhelming, just like bland protein with an earthy, grassy taste. I didn’t taste any hints of vanilla.” He rates the taste a 1 out of 5. The solubility gets high marks, though, with a 5 out of 5; our product tester adds, “The powder mixed amazingly well—even with just a spoon.”

At $3 per serving for the 30-serving container of Sakara Protein + Greens, this is a pretty pricey powder, and we’d like to see more protein than the low 12 grams each serving. Still, this can be a unique way to fill some nutritional gaps if you’re needing more veggies and protein in your diet.

Price per serving$3
Protein per serving12 g
Carbs per serving3 g
Fat per serving2.5 g

Best Protein Powder for Women With Collagen: Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides

Good for: Women who want a boost of protein with support for joints, hair, skin, and nails

Best With Collagen

Vital Proteins Collagen Peptide Protein

GGR Score: 4.7 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Designed to improve the health of hair, skin, nails, and joints 
  • Each serving provides 20 grams of collagen
  • Derived from grass-fed, pasture-raised bovine
  • Certified paleo and whole30 friendly
  • Available as flavorless, chocolate, lemon, and vanilla

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Over 200,000 positive reviews on Amazon
  • No added sugar or sweetener
  • Available with added vitamin C and hyaluronic acid
  • Mixes well

Cons

  • Some users report canisters arrived with no safety seal
  • Flavorless powder reportedly tastes bad

Bottom Line

Vital Protein’s Collagen Peptide Protein is formulated to improve the health of joints, bones, skin, ligaments, tendons, nails, and hair.

Not all protein is created equal. And some would argue that collagen peptide protein doesn’t belong on a list to the best protein powders, since collagen isn’t a complete protein (it lacks one essential amino acid: tryptophan).

However, we stand by our recommendation of Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides for the positive impact that collagen is known to have on certain tissues in the body, including hair, skin, and nails. Collagen may also play a role in protecting joint integrity, as evidenced by a study on how collagen affects osteoarthritis symptoms.

vital proteins powder

Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides come in a couple of flavors, but we recommend unflavored, because you can dissolve it into juice, coffee, add it to another protein powder, or even drink it in plain water. The powder is fine, not granular, and it’s barely noticeable in any beverage—and I’ve tried it in many.

And, despite the argument that collagen is an incomplete protein, it still packs 18 grams of protein into one serving.

Read our Vital Proteins review for more information.

Price per serving$1.67 (for 20-ounce container)
Protein per serving18 g
Carbs per serving0 g
Fat per serving0 g

Other Protein Powders We Tried

Across our team of product testers (five of those being women), we’ve tested more than 50 protein powders from brands like Garden of Life, Vital Proteins, Optimum Nutrition, Kaged Nutrition, Transparent Labs, Cira, Bulk Supplements, NOW Sports, Vega, Onnit, Muscle Milk, GNC, Quest Protein Powder, and others. 

While the above list represents our top picks for the best protein powder for women, we have plenty of other expert recommendations: 

RELATED: Best Protein Bars

How We Picked and Tested the Best Protein Powder for Women

Here’s a peek into our process for creating a guide like this one.

Research

We began by researching online and using our various personal experiences with protein powders to create a long (very long) list of products that we thought might contend for this guide. 

Testing

We ordered dozens of protein powders and tested them over the course of several weeks, mixing them with various liquids, drinking them as post-workout shakes, or on-the-go snacks. 

RELATED: Best Protein Chips

Finalizing

We took detailed notes regarding the taste (and aftertaste) of products we tested, what types of diets they suit (e.g., gluten-free, vegetarian, etc.), flavor options, nutrient profiles, and more. What you see here is the culmination of this lengthy process. For a more detailed look, check out our GGR Supplement Testing Methodology.

Benefits of Protein Powder for Women

It’s important to eat enough protein for a lot of reasons, but here are some of the most notable benefits of a high-protein diet.

Increases Daily Protein Intake 

Increasing your daily protein intake doesn’t get any easier than swigging a protein shake, or adding a scoop of protein powder to your smoothie. Keep in mind that the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for protein6 is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight per day. If you’re regularly active that moves up to 1.6 grams of protein.

Aids In Muscle Building

Consuming enough protein is important for muscle health in general, but prioritizing protein after your workouts can be an anabolic strategy7 (that is, one that helps you build muscle).

Also Aids In Muscle Recovery

Scientific research points to dietary protein, which is what you get from protein shakes, as an important nutrient for muscle repair after exercise8.

Helps Control Appetite

If one of your goals is weight loss, protein powder may be able to assist: Research shows us that dietary protein is important in both appetite regulation9 and energy balance10.

RELATED: Best protein powder for weight loss

Who Shouldn’t Take Protein Powder

While generally safe, protein powder should always be treated as a supplement and never take the place of a well-balanced diet where your protein requirements are met with whole-food sources. Additionally, protein powder may not be the best choice for those with dietary issues like lactose intolerance, as the majority of protein powders contain this ingredient. If you are dairy-averse, but still interested in trying a protein powder supplement, a plant-based protein will be your best bet.

Types of Protein Powder for Women

Protein powders are sourced from two different places: plant-based sources and animal-based sources. Generally speaking, animal proteins contain all nine essential amino acids needed in a healthy diet, making them complete proteins. On the other hand, plant proteins lack all of the essential amino acids (with a few exceptions), making them incomplete proteins. Different plant proteins are usually blended together in powders to have a more complete amino profile.

Common animal-based protein powders include:

  • Dairy-based protein (whey and casein)
  • Egg white protein powder
  • Beef protein powder
  • Collagen (usually not a complete protein)

Plant-based protein powders can include:

  • Pea protein
  • Hemp protein
  • Rice protein
  • Pumpkin seed protein
  • Soy protein
  • Chia protein

Buying Guide: What to Look for in Protein Powder

As you’re shopping for a great protein powder, keep this criteria in mind.

Taste and Texture

Take it from us: You won’t consume your protein supplement if it doesn’t taste good. We’ve tested plenty to know there are a lot of great-tasting protein powders and a lot of gross ones. A good protein dietary supplement mixes into a smooth, tasty treat.

Protein Per Serving 

Make sure the product you buy meets your protein needs. A good amount of protein is 20 grams per serving. (Also check whether the serving size is one scoop or two.)

muscle milk scoop

Other Nutrient Information

Check the ingredients list for artificial sweeteners, artificial flavors, added sugar, monk fruit, stevia. Many high-quality protein powder brands pride themselves on using minimal ingredients, but sometimes, the ingredients list can key you into positives, too: Some brands add superfoods like greens blends to add more vitamins, or use probiotics to support digestion.

Protein Source

There are many types of protein powders that get their protein content from different sources. There are plant proteins, like pumpkin seed protein, brown rice protein, pea protein, and chia and hemp protein. 

Then there are milk-derived sources that contain lactose, like whey protein isolate, whey protein concentrate, and casein. Remember that no single vegan-friendly protein source is a complete protein (meaning they don’t contain all nine essential amino acids), but whey protein powder and casein protein powder are complete proteins.

P.S. If you’re looking for amino acid supplementation, check out our picks for the best BCAA for women.

Third-Party Certification

If it’s important to you, check for things like the NSF Informed Choice certification or the Non-GMO Project verified label. 

Price Per Serving 

A good target is under $2.00 per serving, but for some of the best protein powders, you’ll pay more (especially if you buy small packages rather than buying in bulk).

Flavor Options

Whether you crave a chocolate flavor, prefer peanut butter, or always go after vanilla flavor, there’s something out there for you. Most protein powders at least come in some variation of chocolate, vanilla, and peanut butter.

Best Protein Powder for Women: FAQs

Is protein powder worth it for women?

Protein is an important nutrient for men and women alike. It supports lean muscle growth, helps you maintain muscle mass, assists with muscle recovery, and much more. Protein powder can help women intake up to 30 extra grams of protein and reap the many benefits of this macronutrient. 

Which protein is best for women’s weight loss?

While losing weight, it’s important to keep your protein intake high still, to maintain muscle mass and help lose fat. Try to get protein from lean sources of whole foods. If you supplement with protein powder, ensure that your protein powder has a good amount of protein each serving (at least 20 grams), and that there is low carb and fat content as well.

What is the best form of protein for women?

The best protein for anyone is the type that comes from healthy, whole foods. Animal sources like lean chicken or fish are excellent high-protein foods, but you can also get protein from plant sources such as soy, peas, rice, and more.

What kind of protein powder is healthiest?

While whey and casein protein powders are the most common and popular types of protein powder, they aren’t always the best option for everyone. Some with dairy sensitivities may need a plant-based alternative. Still, for the healthiest protein powders, you’ll want a powder with a good amount of protein without a lot of filler ingredients.

Here are our top picks for the best clean protein powder:

-Best Clean Whey Isolate Protein Powder: Transparent Labs Whey Isolate
-Best Clean Plant-Based Protein PowderRitual Essential Protein 18+
-Best-Tasting Clean Protein PowderLegion Whey+
-Best Clean Protein Powder for Weight Gain: Organifi Complete Protein
-Best Clean Collagen Protein Powder: Transparent Labs Grass-Fed Collagen Hydrolysate
-Best Clean Protein Powder for Athletes: Klean Athlete Klean Isolate
-Best Clean Vegan Protein Powder: KOS Vegan Protein Powder
-Best Personalized Clean Protein Powder: Gainful
-Best Clean Casein Protein Powder: Naked Micellar Casein
-Best Clean Grass-Fed Protein Powder: Momentous Essential Grass-Fed Whey Protein

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any diseases.

References

  1. Paul C, Leser S, Oesser S. Significant Amounts of Functional Collagen Peptides Can Be Incorporated in the Diet While Maintaining Indispensable Amino Acid Balance. Nutrients. 2019;11(5):1079. Published 2019 May 15. doi:10.3390/nu11051079
  2. Hexsel D, Zague V, Schunck M, Siega C, Camozzato FO, Oesser S. Oral supplementation with specific bioactive collagen peptides improves nail growth and reduces symptoms of brittle nails. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2017;16(4):520-526. doi:10.1111/jocd.12393
  3. Choi FD, Sung CT, Juhasz ML, Mesinkovsk NA. Oral Collagen Supplementation: A Systematic Review of Dermatological Applications. J Drugs Dermatol. 2019;18(1):9-16.
  4. García-Coronado JM, Martínez-Olvera L, Elizondo-Omaña RE, et al. Effect of collagen supplementation on osteoarthritis symptoms: a meta-analysis of randomized placebo-controlled trials. Int Orthop. 2019;43(3):531-538. doi:10.1007/s00264-018-4211-5
  5. Korsmo HW, Jiang X, Caudill MA. Choline: Exploring the Growing Science on Its Benefits for Moms and Babies. Nutrients. 2019 Aug 7;11(8):1823. doi: 10.3390/nu11081823. PMID: 31394787; PMCID: PMC6722688.
  6. Wu G. Dietary protein intake and human health. Food Funct. 2016 Mar;7(3):1251-65. doi: 10.1039/c5fo01530h. PMID: 26797090.
  7. Mielgo-Ayuso J, Fernández-Lázaro D. Nutrition and Muscle Recovery. Nutrients. 2021;13(2):294. Published 2021 Jan 20. doi:10.3390/nu13020294
  8. Poulios A, Georgakouli K, Draganidis D, et al. Protein-Based Supplementation to Enhance Recovery in Team Sports: What is the Evidence?. J Sports Sci Med. 2019;18(3):523-536. Published 2019 Aug 1.
  9. Moon J, Koh G. Clinical Evidence and Mechanisms of High-Protein Diet-Induced Weight Loss. J Obes Metab Syndr. 2020;29(3):166-173. doi:10.7570/jomes20028
  10. Westerterp-Plantenga MS, Lemmens SG, Westerterp KR. Dietary protein – its role in satiety, energetics, weight loss and health. Br J Nutr. 2012;108 Suppl 2:S105-S112. doi:10.1017/S000711451200258

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