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From the roster of product testers that brought you best whey protein powder, best pre-workout, and best mass gainer, we now bring you the best protein shakes for when scooping and shaking is simply not an option. (Yes, those times do happen.) 

This guide to the best protein shakes wasn’t created by a faceless internet forum anon. This guide is the culmination of weeks of product testing and tasting by our team of certified personal trainers, competitive weightlifters, nutrition coaches, triathletes, and workout fanatics. We personally ordered, unboxed, and tested more than 20 pre-made protein shakes to determine which are the best. I’m a certified sports nutrition coach who worked with several registered dietitians to put each product through Garage Gym Reviews’ multi-point rating system, evaluating each on factors that include:

  • Formulation: We rated whether the macronutrient breakdown is ideal based on scientifically-backed evidence, including protein content per serving.
  • Ingredients: We favor products with minimal ingredients or those that avoid a significant amount of artificial ingredients.
  • Price: Using market standards, we rated products based on if they fell within a reasonable price range.

Ahead, learn about some of the best pre-made protein shakes on the market for on-the-go days when you need a quick, easy, and tasty high-protein snack or meal replacement shake.

RELATED: Best Protein Powder

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.


Best Protein Shakes in 2024

Best Protein Shake Overall: Fairlife CorePower High-Protein Milk Shake

Good for: Folks searching for the best-tasting protein shake with over 40 grams of protein per serving

Best Overall

Fairlife Core Power

GGR Score: 4.5 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Contains all 9 essential amino acids
  • Ultra-filtered milk makes for high-quality protein
  • Ready to drink and lactose free
  • Helps to aid in post-workout recovery

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Ultra-filtered, lactose free
  • 42 g of protein
  • Low in sugar
  • Low cost per serving

Cons

  • Contains carrageenan
  • Not many flavor options

Bottom Line

Fairlife Core Power is a great option for those looking for a basic protein drink that tastes like a milkshake.

The Fairlife CorePower High-Protein Milk Shake snags this spot as the best overall protein shake for its high marks in taste, texture, and protein content. 

Certified personal trainer and GGR performance editor Anthony O’Reilly remarks that the texture is “like milk” and the Elite Vanilla flavor “tastes like my childhood vanilla ice cream cone but in protein form—slightly malted and you can truly taste the vanilla.” A 5 out of 5 on taste.

There are two versions of these Fairlife bottled protein shakes, regular and elite. The elite versions contain more protein—a whopping 42 grams compared to the still-good 26 grams in the regular version. 

fairlife core power bottle in hand

While the protein content per serving remains steady (26 or 42 grams), the counts for calories, sugar, fat, carbs, and micronutrients vary depending on which flavor you get. Regardless, the nutrient profile across the board is solid. 

Our one complaint about the Fairlife shakes is that they contain a multitude of sweetener types. In the vanilla flavor, there are four: Monk fruit juice concentrate, stevia leaf extract, acesulfame potassium, and sucralose. This isn’t inherently problematic, but something to watch out for a triple-check if you tend to have adverse reactions to sugar alternatives.

RELATED: Best BCAA Supplements

Calories per serving170 or 230
Protein per serving26 or 42 g
Fat per serving3.5 to 4.5 g depending on flavor
Carbohydrates per serving6 or 8 g depending on flavor
FlavorsVanilla, Chocolate, Strawberry Banana, Elite Vanilla, Elite Chocolate, Elite Strawberry
SweetenersMonk fruit juice concentrate, stevia leaf extract, acesulfame potassium, sucralose

Best Premade Protein Shake: Huel Ready-to-Drink

Good for: People who need a nutrient-packed, premade meal replacement while on the move

Best Meal Replacement

Huel Ready-to-Drink

GGR Score: 4.2 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Formulated to be a meal replacer
  • 27 essential vitamins and minerals
  • Contains no animal products or lactose
  • Slow-release carbs to help maintain your energy

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Balanced macros
  • Naturally sweetened
  • Low glycemic index
  • Nutritionally complete

Cons

  • Reviews mention products received close to expiration
  • Expensive

Bottom Line

Huel ready-to-drink is a great macro-balanced option for those who need a meal replacement on the go. Slow release carbs keep you full and vitamins and minerals give you everything you need.

Huel Ready-to-Drink is more than a protein shake: It’s a meal replacement, which conveniently contains 20 or 22 grams of protein, depending on the flavor you get. This is a great premade option if you find yourself constantly moving.

There are eight flavors, and some flavors have a v1 and a v2. The difference is that the v2 shakes include hemp, which allowed Huel to squeeze an extra 2 grams of protein into the shakes as well as reduce their environmental impact by using a more sustainable crop. 

As you might (unfortunately) expect, something so clean can’t possibly be the tastiest product on the market. This certified sports nutrition coach tried the complete lineup of Huel v2 Ready-to-Drink shakes, and while they’re not bad per se, I definitely wouldn’t compare them to the Premier Protein or Fairlife shakes. 

They are also extremely thick—like, makes-your-mouth-sticky thick. However, it’s not terrible. It’s smooth and creamy, but be prepared for how thick it is. They’re extremely filling and to date, I’ve not finished a single bottle in one sitting. I do like to have a quarter or half of a bottle before a morning long run in place of eating solid food! It’s hard for me to eat before morning training, so these help a lot in those cases.

RELATED: Best Plant-Based Protein Powder

Huel claims that its Ready-to-Drink shakes are the most nutritionally complete option available, and honestly, I believe it, based on the nutrition facts and ingredients. These shakes contain all 27 essential vitamins and minerals, as well as ample fiber, fat, carbohydrates, omega 3s and 6s, BCAAs, and phytonutrients. 

Huel Ready to Drink Shake being poured into a glass

Only some of the v1 flavors include the artificial sweetener sucralose, with all of the others utilizing stevia and ground coconut sugar instead. These shakes are gluten-free, lactose-free, non-GMO, and free of palm oil. 

Calories per serving400
Protein per serving22 g
Fat per serving18 g
Carbohydrates per serving35 g
FlavorsChocolate, Vanilla, Iced Coffee Caramel, Berry, Banana, Strawberry Shortcake, Cinnamon Roll, Salted Caramel 
SweetenersCoconut sugar, steviol glycosides, sucralose (v1 flavors only)

Best Chocolate Protein Shake: Transparent Labs Whey Protein Isolate

Good for: Anyone wanting a high-quality protein shake in a classic chocolate flavor

Best Chocolate

Transparent Labs 100% Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate

GGR Score: 4.2 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 100% Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate is our pick for the best chocolate protein shake, because of their variety. Even branching out to their protein bars and casein protein, Transparent Labs has a lot of chocolate flavors. 

With the whey isolate, there is Milk Chocolate, Dark Chocolate, Mint Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Peanut Butter, and more—GGR performance editor Anthony O’Reilly even got his hands on a limited edition Peppermint Hot Chocolate when testing out this protein powder.

transparent labs whey isolate being scooped

Anthony rates the taste and solubility both a 5 out of 5, saying, “The Peppermint Hot Chocolate tastes as if you dropped a candy cane into a cup of hot chocolate and added protein to it. Delicious.” he also has read customer reviews that say the standard flavors are just as tasty.

As a matter of fact, we had another product tester try out the Milk Chocolate flavor as well, and he claims, “The protein shake tastes exactly like chocolate milk when mixed with milk. It’s not too strong or weak, either—just right.” He does mention that the shake is a bit more textured than he’s used to with other protein shakes, however.

Since this is a powder and not premade, you’ll have to mix this, so it may not be the ideal choice if you’re crunched for time. However, with the quality of the whey isolate and the great flavor options, you just might find the time to fit this into your schedule. Read our Transparent Labs Protein review for more.

Calories per serving130
Protein per serving28 g
Fat per serving1 g
Carbohydrates per serving1 g
FlavorsMilk Chocolate, French Vanilla, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Mint Chocolate Chip, Vanilla Peanut Butter, Strawberry Milkshake, Unflavored, Dark Chocolate, Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie, Cinnamon French Toast, Sugar Cookie, Mocha, Peanut Butter, Vanilla Oatmeal Cookie, Blueberry Pancakes
SweetenersStevia extract

Best Low-Carb Protein Shake: Legion Whey+

Good for: Consumers looking for a low-carb protein shake sourced from quality whey

Best Low-Carb

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.

While not all the time, sometimes protein shakes can be loaded with other sugars and fats. Sometimes you just want a protein shake for the protein content alone; for that, there’s Legion Whey+, a low-calorie protein powder with single-digit fat and carb content, and up to 24 grams of protein in a single serving.

A woman smiles while standing behind a bag and shake of Legion Whey Protein Powder.

Out of the 17 flavors available, GGR performance editor Anthony O’Reilly tried out the cinnamon cereal, of which he rated a 4 out of 5. “There were hints of Cinnamon Toast Crunch in my protein shake when I mixed it with milk,” Anthony recalls, “but it tasted like the end of the bowl—when the cereal’s all soggy and the milk has absorbed all the cereal flavor.” In his shaker cup, the shake didn’t clump up or anything, earning it another 4 out of 5 for solubility.

It’ll ultimately depend on the flavor, but Legion Whey+ has as little as 0 grams of fat and 2 grams of carbohydrates, making it our pick for the best low-carb protein shake. Adding to that, the whey is sourced from grass-fed cows from Ireland. 

As Anthony notes in his Legion Whey+ Protein review, the location of the cows has little impact on the protein quality, but being grass-fed does. A February 2021 review1 shows that health-promoting phytonutrients are more prevalent in grass-fed milk. 

Calories per serving100-130, depending on the flavor
Protein per serving21-24 g, depending on the flavor
Fat per serving0-3 g, depending on the flavor
Carbohydrates per serving2-6 g, depending on the flavor
FlavorsBirthday Cake, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Cinnamon Cereal, Fruity Cereal, Cocoa Cereal, Cookies and Cream, French Vanilla, Honey Cereal, Mocha Cappuccino, Pumpkin Pie, Salted Caramel, Strawberry Banana, Dutch Chocolate, Mint Chocolate, Apple Pie, Banana Bread, Unflavored
SweetenersStevia

Best Meal Replacement Protein Shake: Ka’Chava Shakes

Good for: Busy people who need a nutrient-packed, high-protein meal replacement

Best Meal Replacement

Ka'Chava Shake

GGR Score: 3.2 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Plant-based protein powder
  • 25 g of protein
  • Comes in 5 flavors
  • 21-25 g carbs and 7-8 g fat
  • Free from soy, dairy, and gluten

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Subscribe and save options
  • Money back guarantee
  • No preservatives or artificial ingredients
  • Contains vitamins and minerals
  • Contains all three macronutrients

Cons

  • Expensive price per serving
  • Contains tree nuts

Bottom Line

The Kachava Shake is plant-based protein powder packed with vitamins, minerals, adaptogens, antioxidants, and super greens. Although there are five delicious flavors to choose from, it’s worth noting that the price per serving is over $4. There is a subscribe and save option, which will bring the cost down to about $3.99 per serving.

If you need a quick meal for any time of day, Ka’Chava Shakes are a great meal replacement. With over 20 grams of protein in each serving, Ka’Chava provides a balanced amount of macronutrients, certified nutritionist Lindsay Boyers says in her Ka’Chava review—although the calorie count is a bit on the low side, earning the formulation a 4 out of 5.

GGR editor Frieda Johnson, NASM-CNC, tried the Chai flavor of Ka’Chava, and liked it, saying, “It’s a nice change from typical chocolate and vanilla flavors, but I wouldn’t say it necessarily tastes like chai.” She adds, “I wouldn’t have it everyday, but it’s pleasant enough to drink every once in a while.” She rates the taste a 4 out of 5. Keep in mind that the texture can be a bit gritty, however.

Ka’Chava is third-party tested, although the company is a bit vague on who does it or how the third-party testing is done. This, along with several proprietary blends, earns the shake a 2.5 out of 5 for third-party testing. With that said, Ka’Chava is pretty transparent on the ingredients used—just not the amount of each ingredient. The shake is gluten-free, soy-free, and vegan-friendly, plus it contains no artificial sugars, flavors or preservatives.

Woman holding Ka'Chava Shake while reading nutritional information on the bag

The main thing that might deter you from this is the price. This meal replacement powder comes at a whopping $4.66 per serving, which is one of the highest prices we’ve tested. However, if you need a natural protein shake to replace meals, this is a fantastic choice.

Calories per serving240
Protein per serving25 g
Fat per serving7-8 g, depending on the flavor
Carbohydrates per serving21-25 g, depending on the flavor
FlavorsChocolate, Vanilla, Coconut Acai, Chai, Matcha
SweetenersCoconut nectar, lo han fruit

Best Protein Shake for Building Muscle: MyProtein Clear Whey Isolate

Good for: People who are serious about upping their protein intake to pack on muscle

Best For Muscle-Building

MyProtein Clear Whey Isolate

GGR Score: 4.3 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Clear whey protein isolate
  • 20 g protein per serving
  • 8 flavor options
  • Fruit and candy inspired flavors
  • Subscribe and save options

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Light taste and texture
  • Low-calorie drink
  • Low carb and fat content
  • Free shipping with subscription

Cons

  • Sweetened with sucralose
  • Contains artificial flavoring
  • Protein content could be higher
  • Comes in small 1-lb containers

Bottom Line

MyProtein Clear Whey Isolate is ideal for anyone looking to consume more protein without the traditional milky taste and texture. This clear whey offers 20 grams of protein per serving with a light taste and texture with eight different flavors to choose from including Cola, Lemonade, and Peach Mango.

Getting an extra 20 grams of pure protein in your day is simple with MyProtein Clear Whey Isolate. This whey isolate comes in a bunch of neat flavors, too, including collabs with Jelly Belly and MIKE AND IKE, too. 

Plus, being a clear whey isolate, this protein powder is refined more so than typical whey powders, making it nearly fat- and carbohydrate-free. The refinement also leads to a thinner, lighter texture than typical milky protein shakes. These are also lower in lactose, which can help with digestion. If you’re trying to up your intake for building muscle, this is a huge benefit.

RELATED: Best Probiotic

A hand holds out a shaker cup full of pink Myprotein Clear Whey Isolate.

GGR senior editor Erin Chancer, CNC, CPT, tried the MIKE AND IKE Sour Watermelon protein, and thought the taste was fantastic, earning the protein a 4.3 out of 5. “I used more water-to-scoop than is recommended, and still had plenty of flavor,” Erin adds. She does warn though that the sour flavors have a bit of a zing to them, so people with sensitive teeth or gums may want to try one of their other fruity flavors instead.

Since this is a protein powder, it’s not premade, so keep in mind you’ll need a bit of time to put together your protein shake before your head out for the day. It’s also sweetened with sucralose, as a warning for those avoiding artificial sweeteners. That said, it’s also a cheaper alternative to premade shakes, costing only $1.40 per serving.

Calories per serving80
Protein per serving20 g
Fat per serving0 g
Carbohydrates per serving<1 g
FlavorsJelly Belly Green Apple, Jelly Belly Sizzling Cinnamon, Lemonade, Lemon Lime, MIKE AND IKE Strawberry, Peach Mango, Strawberry, Strawberry Kiwi, Tropical Dragonfruit
SweetenersSucralose

Best Vegan Protein Shake: Suja Organic Protein Shakes

Good for: People looking for tasty vegan protein shakes to support health and fitness goals

Best Vegan

Suja Organic Protein Shake

GGR Score: 3.4 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Organic plant-based protein shake
  • 16 g of protein per serving
  • 200 calories
  • 10 g of fat
  • 12-14 g of carbohydrates
  • Comes in Vanilla Cinnamon, Chocolate, and Coffee Bean

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Vegan and organic
  • Contains all three macronutrients
  • Contains vitamins and minerals

Cons

  • Not as much protein as other premade protein shakes
  • Pricier protein shake
  • Contains tree nuts

Bottom Line

With 16 grams of plant-based protein in each shake, Suja Organic Protein Shakes can be a good source of protein for people following a vegan diet. However, with a healthy amount of carbohydrates and fats, this may be considered more of a meal replacement shake for most people.

For plant-based protein, Suja Organic Protein Shakes have you covered. One shake has 16 grams of protein, which for a 200-calorie drink, GGR head of content Nicole Davis, CPT, PN1-NC, says, “You’d be expecting a bit more protein.” However, with a good amount of carbohydrates and fats (thanks to coconut milk), and organic ingredients, we think Suja shakes can be a great protein drink that can double as a meal replacement.

woman holding a bottle of Suja Protein Shake

Nicole tried all three flavors offered: Vanilla Cinnamon, Chocolate, and Coffee Bean. Her favorite was the Vanilla Cinnamon, as she recalls, “It tastes almost like rice pudding.” The chocolate was her least favorite, although she notes that they all have a bit of a grassy flavor, indicative of pea protein powder.

The texture was very creamy and thick, earning it a 5 out of 5. Nicole mentions, “The smooth and creamy texture is probably due to the coconut milk.”

Suja Protein Shake poured in a glass

At nearly $5 a bottle, this is one of the priciest premade protein shakes on our list. However, if you’re looking for a well-rounded snack full of macronutrients, vitamins, and minerals, Suja Protein Shakes is a great option for anyone needing plant-based options.

Calories per serving200
Protein per serving16 g
Fat per serving10 g
Carbohydrates per serving14 g
FlavorsChocolate, Coffee Bean, Vanilla Cinnamon
SweetenersStevia

Best-Tasting Protein Shake: Slate Protein Shake

Good for: Those who want a tasty shake with a good amount of protein

Best-Tasting

Slate Protein Shakes

GGR Score: 4 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Lactose-free protein shake made with ultra-filtered milk
  • 20 g protein per serving
  • 0 g added sugar
  • 1-3 g net carbs

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • No added sugar
  • 20 g protein
  • Lactose-free

Cons

  • Some reviews note an aftertaste
  • Pricier protein shake

Bottom Line

Slate Protein Shakes are canned high-protein drinks, each packed with 20 grams of protein. Along with having a good amount of protein, these shakes have been made with ultra-filtered milk to make them lactose-free. Also, no sugars were added to the drinks, being sweetened with stevia and monk fruit.

If you’re used to having the best-tasting protein powder already, then you may want to try Slate Protein Shakes, our pick for the best-tasting protein shake. GGR performance editor and certified personal trainer Anthony O’Reilly tried out Slate’s chocolate shake, and thought it was great. 

“This reminds me of chocolate milk I used to drink as a kid. Good stuff,” he says. Anthony does dock a point on the shake, giving it a 4 out of 5 for overall taste, however, as he thought the chocolate flavor could’ve been stronger. Still, there’s no protein aftertaste, which is a big winner for us.

man drinking a can of Slate protein

There’s no added sugars in Slate drinks, as they opt for natural sweeteners like stevia and monk fruit instead. Plus, the milk used in the protein shake has been ultra-filtered, making the drink lactose-free. So people who have issues with dairy might be alright with this shake. Along with common flavors like chocolate and vanilla, there are latte flavors as well, with those having 175 milligrams of caffeine.

With 20 grams in an 11-ounce can, this shake packs a protein punch. Although a can will cost you around $3, if you’re looking for something delicious and easy to grab, Slate is a good find.

Calories per serving100-110, depending on the flavor
Protein per serving20 g
Fat per serving0-1 g, depending on the flavor
Carbohydrates per serving2-15 g, depending on the flavor
FlavorsClassic Chocolate, Dark Chocolate, French Vanilla, Mocha Latte, Vanilla Latte, Caramel Latte
SweetenersMonk fruit, stevia

Best Budget Protein Shake: Premier Protein Shakes

Good for: People wanting to up their protein intake but are on a budget

Best for Building Muscle

Premier Protein Shakes

GGR Score: 4.4 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • 30 g of protein
  • Only 1 g of sugar
  • Widely available at many different retailers
  • 24 vitamins and minerals
  • Won American Masters of Taste Gold Medal

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Widely available
  • Low in sugar and carbs
  • High in protein
  • Lots of flavor options

Cons

  • Contains carrageenan
  • Sweetened with sucralose

Bottom Line

Premier Protein Shakes are a great tasting, widely available protein shake option with a great amount of protein and very low sugar content.

Adding protein to your daily diet doesn’t have to break the bank with a Premier Protein Shake. The flavor lineup is so big you may not be able to choose just one, and each flavor packs 30 grams of protein in 160 calories. For those who are counting macronutrients, Premier Protein Shakes are a great choice due to that consistency among flavors. And at just about $2 a shake, these premade protein shakes can fit most any budget.

I’ve been drinking these on and off for years during my training as a triathlete, and I’m a big fan. The Vanilla flavor tastes like a vanilla milkshake and the Chocolate tastes like chocolate milk. They’re sweet but not too sweet, and even though they contain artificial sweeteners, I don’t get that distinct aftertaste. 

As for texture, Premier Protein shakes are smooth and creamy, and they go down easy. I sometimes use the Vanilla and Caramel flavors as coffee creamer and I love how rich and sweet it makes my morning cup of Joe.

Those concerned about artificial ingredients may be taken aback by the long ingredients list. But don’t overthink it: Most of that lengthy list is showing the individual micronutrients in Premier Protein’s nutrient blend, which is added to each flavor. Aside from protein, these shakes include 25 vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes. 

RELATED: How Much Protein Do I Need?

Calories per serving160
Protein per serving30 g
Fat per serving0.5 g
Carbohydrates per serving4 g
FlavorsChocolate, Vanilla, Caramel, Cookies & Cream, Cafe Latte, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Cake Batter Delight, Strawberries & Cream, Winter Mint, Pumpkin Spice, Cinnamon Roll, Root Beer Float, Bananas & Cream, Peaches & Cream
SweetenersSucralose, acesulfame potassium 

Best Organic Protein Shake: Orgain Organic Protein Grass-Fed Protein Shake

Good for: People who prioritize organic and natural ingredients 

Best Organic

Orgain Organic Grass-Fed Protein Shake

GGR Score: 4.1 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Organic and non-GMO ingredients
  • Made from all grass-fed protein sources
  • No artificial preservatives or carrageenan
  • Low in sugar and high in protein

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Clean ingredients
  • Great taste
  • Widely available

Cons

  • One flavor option
  • Contains erythritol

Bottom Line

Orgain Organic Grass-Fed Protein Shake is a great option if you are looking for a standard protein shake that is organic with clean ingredients.

Grass-fed milk protein concentrate is behind the 20 grams of protein in the Orgain Organic Grass-Fed Protein Shakes. Available in Creamy Chocolate Fudge and Vanilla Bean, these bottled protein shakes include just 3 grams of sugar and 2 grams of fat, with 11 grams of carbohydrates and 130 calories. 

Precision nutrition coach Nicole Davis, GGR senior editor and tester of these protein shakes, said they’re “pretty good, definitely chocolate-y.” And they have “a bit of an aftertaste, but it’s not super off-putting.” 

orgain grass fed protein shake

“If I was out and about and needed an easy protein source, I’d buy one of these again!” she says, noting that the texture is “very creamy, similar to whole milk.” 

“This was what sold me on these—you just can’t really achieve this consistency with protein powder at home, unless maybe you are mixing with whole milk, which I would never do,” Nicole says.

These Orgain shakes are free from artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols, such as sucralose and erythritol, respectively. They’re sweetened with organic agave, monk fruit extract, and stevia extract. They also contain a good bit of calcium (45% of the daily value) and small amounts of iron and potassium. 

Calories per serving150
Protein per serving26 g
Fat per serving4 g
Carbohydrates per serving14 g
FlavorsCreamy Chocolate Fudge, Vanilla Bean
SweetenersOrganic agave, organic monk fruit extract, organic Reb A (stevia extract)

Best Vanilla Protein Shake: Pure Protein Shakes

Good for: People wanting a solid protein shake with a good vanilla flavor

Best Vanilla

Pure Protein Shakes

GGR Score: 4.5 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Protein shakes with 30 g of protein
  • Contains protein derived from milk
  • 24 vitamins and minerals
  • Less than 1 g of sugar
  • Non-GMO
  • Available in five flavors

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • 30g of protein
  • 24 vitamins and minerals
  • Low sugar
  • Non-GMO

Cons

  • Contains artificial flavors
  • Pricey shipping

Bottom Line

Pure Protein Shakes are milk protein shakes with 30 grams of protein in each shake. Coming in five different flavors, these shakes also have 24 vitamins and minerals, as well as added fiber. Plus, Pure Protein Shakes have less than a gram of sugar in each shake.

 With other classic flavors like Rich Chocolate and Strawberry Milkshake, our pick for best vanilla protein shake goes to Pure Protein Shakes and its Vanilla Milkshake flavor, packed with 30 grams of protein. 

While GGR writer and 2020 Olympian weightlifter Caine Wilkes hasn’t had this flavor, his wife Emelie has had it many times before and likes the vanilla milkshake. “The texture is pretty nice, and it’s not overly sweet,” she says. “It has a pleasant French Vanilla taste to it.”

Another writer on staff, certified personal trainer Lauren Strong, tried the strawberry milkshake, and loved the texture. “It’s creamy! While it’s not ultra dense like a milkshake, it’s got some thickness to it and it’s very reminiscent of a milkshake.” Although it does have some artificial flavors and sweeteners, Lauren never experienced any unpleasant side effects either, saying, “I felt great and I love that this has 30 grams of protein!”

Woman pouring the Pure Protein Shake into a glass

The protein comes from a whey and milk protein blend, and the shake has less than 1 gram of added sugars. It’s also certified to be non-GMO, but if you easily have problems from artificial sweeteners, then beware—Pure Protein uses some sucralose as a sweetener in addition to sugar.

Calories per serving140
Protein per serving30 g
Fat per serving1 to 2 g depending on flavor
Carbohydrates per serving5 to 6 g depending on flavor
FlavorsRich Chocolate, Vanilla Milkshake, Strawberry Milkshake, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Salted Caramel
SweetenersSugar, sucralose

Other Protein Shakes We Researched

Though the above protein shakes represent our top picks for this type of supplement, we looked at many other options, from ones you can buy in bulk on Amazon to the individual bottles you can pick up at Whole Foods. Some of those include: 

  • GNC Total Lean Shake Vanilla Protein Shake 
  • Orgain Plant Protein Shakes
  • Protein2o Whey Protein Isolate Infused Water
  • Evolve Plant Based Protein Shake
  • Dymatize ISO100 Clear 100% Whey Protein Isolate Drink
  • Optimum Nutrition 100% Gold Standard Whey Protein Drink
  • SlimFast High Protein Shakes
  • Aloha Organic Plant-Based Protein Shake
  • Labrady Lean Body Ready-to-Drink Protein Shakes
  • Ripple Protein Shakes
  • Chobani Complete
  • Ascent Recovery Water
  • Iconic Grass-Fed Protein Shakes
  • OWYN Plant-Based Protein Shake

Ultimately, the products you see above earned their places in this guide due to their taste, texture, and nutritional value.

How We Picked and Tested the Best Protein Shakes

As always, our team of expert product testers began with our own experience with protein shakes—we added the ones we like to our list and nixed the ones we didn’t. In addition to taste-testing, our team of experts used a strict testing methodology and 1-to-5-star point system to rank each protein shake on price, ingredient quality, and brand transparency or third-party testing.

During our testing, we took note of factors like taste and texture, mouthfeel, aftertastes, side effects, and satiety. We combined those findings with the nutritional profiles of each drink, plus any third-party certifications, to establish our list of the best protein shakes, which you see here. 

Formulation

One of the most important factors to we had to consider was how many grams of protein each shake offered per serving. We also analyzed the ratio of protein to fats and carbohydrates. Ideally, for a perfect 5-out-of-5-star rating, we wanted to see protein over 20 grams per serving with fairly low fats, carbs, and artificial ingredients.

For a low score in the formulation category, the protein content was typically outshined by the number of carbs and fats. Even lower scores were given to shakes if there were a ton of unnecessary ingredients or additives.

Price Per Serving

From our extensive protein shake testing, we found that price per serving can range from $2 on the low end to upwards of $5 on the high end. For a shake to earn a perfect 5-out-of-5-star score, it had to be less than $2.50 per serving. Anything over $4.50 earned at 1 or 2 star rating.

Transparency and Third-Party Testing

Since dietary supplements are not approved by the FDA, having an independent third-party lab verify that what’s on the label is truly what’s in the shake is important for your health and safety. For this reason, low scores were given to any protein shake with no third-party testing or ingredient transparency.

For middle-of-the-road 3-star ratings, the protein shake brand had be fairly transparent but the product is not certified by a major organization like NSF, Informed Choice, Informed Sport, or Banned Substance Control Group (BSCG).

And for 4- and 5-star scores, the company is fully transparent and the product is third-party tested by one of the organizations I named above.

Buying Guide: What to Look for in Protein Shakes

As you search for your new go-to protein shake, consider the following factors. 

Protein Per Serving

We recommend looking for a protein shake that has at least 20 grams of protein per serving. This is considered the industry standard, although you’ll find some with more, such as the Premier Protein Shakes and Fairlife CorePower Elite shakes that we recommend. 

Calories Per Serving

Calories aren’t everything, but forgoing a quick check could be detrimental to your goals if you’re either trying to lose weight or gain weight. To find a protein shake for weight loss, look for one that fits into your diet plan. In other words, make sure it’s low calorie and has enough protein to keep you full. Make sure consuming one each day won’t pull you out of your calorie deficit.

Nutritional Profile 

Do you eat a specific sort of diet, such as soy-free, keto, or gluten-free? Make sure to check the ingredients list, not just the nutrition facts label. The ingredients list is where you’ll find things you won’t necessarily see on the nutrition label. Such ingredients might include soy lecithin, sunflower oil, collagen, soluble fiber, carrageenan, maltodextrin, and others.

Sweeteners

Look to the ingredients label to find sweeteners used in the drink, too. Artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols aren’t inherently bad, but if they cause you digestive problems, it’s probably best to steer clear. Many shakes include natural alternatives to sugar as well, such as stevia extracts and monk fruit extract. 

As we note in our No Cow protein bar review, there are some people who will experience no symptoms and others who may feel ill after consuming a protein supplement with artificial sweeteners or sugar alcohols.

Storage Needs

If you plan on using protein shakes as a way to curb hunger on busy days away from home, make sure to check the storage needs. Many shakes must be kept refrigerated, although not all. 

Third-Party Testing

It’s important to know if the ingredients listed on a label are actually in the product. Third-party testing helps keep supplement companies honest by testing that these supplements actually have what they claim, and that they don’t have contaminants or banned substances for athletes.

Just like being vague with proprietary blends, companies can be vague about who’s doing their testing, or if they’re testing at all. We recommend NSF-Certified for Sport, Informed Choice, and Informed Sport as the best third-party certifications for athletes.

Benefits of Protein Shakes

Protein shakes, like protein powder, bring many potential health benefits to the table. Here’s a look.

Increase daily protein intake: If you aren’t getting enough protein each day, a protein shake is one great way to increase your daily amount of protein, as well as your daily intake of essential amino acids and other nutrients. Even vegan protein powders and shakes can help, but remember: plant proteins aren’t complete proteins, meaning they don’t contain all nine essential amino acids. 

Support satiety: Protein can help you feel more full throughout the day2, which is helpful if you’re trying to lose weight, struggle with cravings, or tend to be on-the-go and can’t always eat at opportune times. 

May help with weight loss: Increasing your dietary protein intake may help with energy regulation and appetite, thus contributing to successful, long-term weight loss, according to a 2012 study in the British Journal of Nutrition.3 

May help build muscle: Perhaps the most well-known benefit of protein among fitness-minded individuals is its ability to assist in the muscle-building process. Aside from water, muscle tissue is primarily composed of bundles of proteins called myofibers4, which means a big key to packing on more muscle mass is consuming more protein to support the growth of new muscle tissue5. Additionally, consuming protein post-workout is shown to assist with muscle recovery, according to a 2019 study published in the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine.6

Quick easy snack: Finally, pre-made protein shakes can support your overall wellness goals by providing a healthy and tasty snack to hold you over until your next meal. 

Side Effects

Typically, the side effects of ingesting protein powder and shakes is minimal, with the most common side effect being gastrointestinal distress. This can include bloating, stomach pain, flatulence, or diarrhea. This can be due to whey or casein protein having lactose, or from using ingredients like sugar alcohols.

One of the greatest concerns when taking protein powder is for the kidneys; however, the common myth that protein can compromise a healthy pair of kidneys has largely been debunked7. Still, if your kidney function is impaired already, you may need to limit your protein intake. Talk with a doctor or registered dietitian for your best course of action.

RELATED: Is Protein Powder Bad For Your Kidneys?

Dosing and Interactions 

There’s nothing to really be concerned about in regard to protein and its relationship to other nutrients. 

Ritual protein getting ready for the blender

Protein is an essential nutrient and a macronutrient, which means human bodies need it in large quantities. Eating too much protein or too much of a specific type of protein isn’t a concern for most people; in reality, many individuals could stand to consume more than they currently do. 

One thing worth noting is that protein will slow the digestion of carbohydrates, so if you need a boost of quick energy for a workout, it’s best to consume carbohydrates in isolation. 

RELATED: Best Pre-Workout for Men

How Much Protein Do You Need?

The USDA and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day for adults (g/kg/d).

Athletes, bodybuilders, and anyone else who regularly exercise recommend 1.2 to 2.0 g/kg/d to support muscle recovery and performance.

Who Might Not Benefit From Protein Shakes?

People with dairy sensitivities or digestive issues may not benefit from protein shakes due to the dairy content in most protein shakes, though there are many plant-based, non-dairy protein shakes available. Protein shakes may not be suitable for people who have specific nutrient deficiencies, such as anemia (lack of dietary iron).

Best Protein Shakes: FAQs

What is the most effective protein shake?

There are many great protein shakes available. Here are our top recommendations:

-Best Protein Shake Overall: Fairlife CorePower High-Protein Milk Shake
-Best Premade Protein Shake: Huel Ready-to-Drink
-Best Chocolate Protein Shake: Transparent Labs Whey Protein Isolate
-Best Low-Carb Protein Shake: Legion Whey+
-Best Meal Replacement Protein Shake: Ka’Chava Shakes
-Best Protein Shake for Building Muscle: MyProtein Clear Protein Lemonade
-Best Vegan Protein Shake: SUJA Shake
-Best-Tasting Protein Shake: Slate Protein Shake
-Best Budget Protein Shake: Premier Protein Protein Shakes
-Best Organic Protein Shake: Orgain Organic Protein Grass-Fed Protein Shake
-Best Vanilla Protein Shake: Pure Protein Shakes

Which protein shakes are best for weight loss?

The best protein shakes for weight loss will lack a lot of filler ingredients. Typically, you’ll want a lot of protein in a serving—at least 20 grams—with a moderately low amount of other macros. These options can also be lower-calorie options. Some shakes may have more sugars, but the emphasis should be on natural sweeteners and avoiding artificial sugars and flavors.

What is the healthiest meal replacement shake?

The best meal replacement shakes will have a balance of macronutrients, as well as a good amount of micronutrients and calories. Here’s our picks for the best meal replacement shakes:

-Best Meal Replacement Shake Overall: Huel Complete Ready-to-Drink
-Best Meal Replacement Shake for Weight Loss: Ka’Chava Shake
-Best Plant-Based Meal Replacement Shake: Rootana Real Food Shake
-Best-Tasting Meal Replacement Shake: Kaged Clean Meal
-Best Gluten-Free Meal Replacement Shake: 310 Meal Replacement Shakes
-Best Vegan Meal Replacement Shake: Huel Complete Powder Black Edition

What is the healthiest protein?

The best protein you can get will be from natural whole foods. Protein powders and shakes should be supplementary to a well-rounded diet. The largest source of protein in foods is from animal protein (and they have all nine essential amino acids), but there are quite a few plant-based sources of protein, too—although you’ll have to make sure you’re getting all of your essential amino acids. Plant-based protein doesn’t always have nine essential aminos.

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. van Vliet, S., Provenza, F. D., & Kronberg, S. L. (2021). Health-Promoting Phytonutrients Are Higher in Grass-Fed Meat and Milk. In Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems (Vol. 4). Frontiers Media SA. https://doi.org/10.3389/fsufs.2020.555426
  2. 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
  3. 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/S0007114512002589
  4. McCuller C, Jessu R, Callahan AL. Physiology, Skeletal Muscle. [Updated 2022 Mar 25]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK537139/
  5. Mielgo-Ayuso J, Fernández-Lázaro D. Nutrition and Muscle Recovery. Nutrients. 2021;13(2):294. Published 2021 Jan 20. doi:10.3390/nu13020294
  6. 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.
  7. Cuenca-Sánchez M, Navas-Carrillo D, Orenes-Piñero E. Controversies surrounding high-protein diet intake: satiating effect and kidney and bone health. Adv Nutr. 2015 May 15;6(3):260-6. doi: 10.3945/an.114.007716. PMID: 25979491; PMCID: PMC4424780.

Further reading

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From the roster of product testers that brought you best whey protein powder, best pre-workout, and best mass gainer, we now bring you the best protein shakes for when scooping and shaking is simply not an option. (Yes, those times do happen.) This guide to the best protein shakes wasn’t created by a faceless internet forum anon. This guide is the culmination of weeks of product testing and tasting by our team of certified personal trainers,  » Read more about: The Best Expert-Tested Protein Shakes in 2024: High In Protein and In Flavor  » Read more