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Here’s a familiar story: You bought what you thought was the best protein powder money can buy. It arrives at your door and you excitedly open up the box to try it out. You’re stoked about your get-swole prospects, but all that excitement comes crumbling down when you take a sip of this protein powder and almost spit it back out. Chunks and floaties and an aftertaste you just can’t place. Yuck. 

Good news: Thanks to our guide to the best-tasting protein powder, you’ll never have to endure that experience again. GGR product testers, personal trainers, and nutrition coaches have personally tested more than 100 protein powders to bring you the 14 top protein powders based on real-life taste tests. 

On top of the fact that we’ve actually taste-tested all of the protein powders we recommend here, our expertise in fitness and nutrition allows us to break down the supplement facts and recommend only the best protein powders for men, women, and everyone else based on objective information. 

  • Price per serving
  • Formulation
  • Taste and solubility
  • Transparency and Third-Party Testing

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-Tasting Protein Powders for 2024

Best-Tasting Protein Powder Video Review

Best-Tasting Protein Powder Overall: XWERKS Grow

Good for: People who want a high-quality supplement with an all-around great flavor lineup 

Best-Tasting Protein Powder

XWERKS Grow

GGR Score: 4.25 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
  • Tastes great
  • 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. It comes in a widely-loved range of flavors which are naturally sweetened, so they’re easily digested.

XWERKS Grow, a 100% whey isolate protein powder from grass-fed cows, comes in the four standard protein powder flavors: Chocolate, Vanilla, Peanut Butter, and Strawberry. Since this is a guide to the best-tasting protein powder, I opted to select one that tastes great across the entire flavor lineup— chocolate.

“The chocolate flavor tastes like a protein Yoohoo. ‘Nuff said,” according to certified nutrition coach Anthony O’Reilly, GGR product tester and performance editor. Agreed. Anthony also notes that he didn’t have any issues with solubility and enjoyed the smooth texture when mixed with milk. 

Members of our team have tested the Chocolate, Vanilla, and Strawberry flavors, and all have been a hit. And according to customer reviews on Amazon, people have been “blown away by the taste” and the “PB flavor is DELICIOUS,” yes, in all caps.

best-tasting protein powder overall xwerks grow

We love that this protein powder is high-quality yet clocks in at less than $2.00 per serving with 25 grams of protein per scoop. It also contains 6 grams of BCAAs and is free of artificial sweeteners like erythritol, flavors, and colorings.

Price per serving$1.99
Protein per serving25 g 
Carbs per serving1-2 g (depends on the flavor)
Fat per serving0-2 g (depends on the flavor)
Total Calories 110
Protein SourceGrass-fed whey protein isolate

Best-Tasting Grass-Fed Protein Powder: Transparent Labs Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate

Good for: Those who prioritize grass-fed protein sources and gold-standard manufacturing practices

Best Grass-Fed

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

Transparent Labs 100% Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate is a clean, high-quality protein powder that contains 28 grams of protein per serving.

We like Transparent Labs for, well, its transparency. You’ll never wonder where an ingredient is sourced from or why it’s in a product when you buy a Transparent Labs supplement. The company prides itself on using grass-fed protein sources and abiding by strict manufacturing practices. 

We also like Transparent Labs for its tasty flavors. Whatever they’re doing in the flavor lab is working! Transparent Labs Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate tastes rich and clean in both flavors we’ve tried: Peppermint Hot Chocolate, which is seasonal, and regular Milk Chocolate. 

best-tasting grass-fed protein powder transparent labs protein bottle in hand

Certified nutrition coach Anthony O’Reilly, GGR performance editor and expert product tester, tasted the Peppermint Hot Chocolate and says it tastes just like the real thing—“all you need is some whipped cream and marshmallows to complete the scene.” Although I will say, if you intend on mixing protein powder with hot water, use a frother to eliminate chunks and floaties. 

RELATED: Best protein powder for women

I’m about 10 servings into my tub of Milk Chocolate, and of the 12 tubs of protein sitting on my counter (I don’t have the pantry space, OK), this is one of the options I reach for most frequently. 

Price per serving$1.99
Protein per serving28 g
Carbs per serving1-2 g (depends on flavor)
Fat per serving0 g
Total Calories120
Protein SourceGrass-fed whey protein isolate

Best-Tasting Casein Protein Powder: Legion Athletics Strawberry Casein

Good for: Anyone looking for a tasty casein supplement

Best-Tasting Casein

Legion Athletics Casein+ Protein Powder

GGR Score: 4.3 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Milk-derived casein protein powder
  • Thick texture
  • 5 flavor options
  • Sourced from grass-fed cattle
  • 25 g protein per serving 
  • 5 grams of BCAAs and 11.4 grams of EAAs per serving

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Sourced from grass-fed cattle
  • 100% micellar casein
  • Tasty flavor options
  • Smooth, rich, creamy texture
  • Analyzed for purity and potency in an ISO 17025 accredited lab
  • 0g added sugar
  • Includes BCAAs and EAAs
  • Subscribe-and-save option

Cons

  • Casein protein is significantly thicker than whey
  • Casein can cause bloating and gas, especially upon initial use
  • Takes quite a bit of shaking to get rid of all clumps

Bottom Line

Legion Athletics Casein+ Protein Powder comes in several delicious flavors, and we’re fans of the Banana Cream Pie. Casein can be consumed as a shake, or with less water, like a pudding. This protein has 25 grams of protein per 110-calorie serving.

Anthony O’Reilly, GGR performance editor and a certified nutrition coach, is a big fan of the Legion Athletics Casein+ protein powder, specifically the Strawberry flavor. 

“It reminds me of those strawberry shortcake ice cream bars,” he says, rating the flavor a 4 out of 5. “I took a point off because there is a slight aftertaste that either comes from the stevia (a natural ingredient) or the beet root powder used for coloring, but it’s still proof that Legion is one of the best when it comes to flavors.”

best-tasting casein protein powder legion casein+

It definitely needs a good amount of shaking to ensure no clumps, and fair warning: If you’ve never had a casein protein powder before, it’s much thicker than your traditional whey protein powders. But that thickness is exactly what makes casein so good in flavors like strawberry and vanilla, Anthony explains. 

“I’ll still give it a 5 out of 5 for solubility, but you’ll definitely need a little extra elbow grease,” he adds.

My own pro tip here is to make pudding out of it: Instead of using a shaker bottle and making a drink, put a scoop into a bowl and mix in a bit of ice-cold water. In a matter of seconds, you have delicious, protein-packed strawberry pudding!

On top of tasting good, Legion Athletics uses all-natural ingredients, inspects their supplements for heavy metals and toxins, and makes sure the cows that produce the dairy eat grass as nature intended.

Price per serving$2.00
Protein per serving26 g
Carbs per serving3 g
Fat per serving1 g
Total Calories130
Protein SourceGrass-fed whey protein isolate

Best-Tasting Plant-Based Protein Powder: Ritual Essential Protein 18+

Good for: Plant-based eaters who are looking for a delicious protein shake

Best Plant Based

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.

If you’re looking for a plant-based protein powder that doesn’t have an earthy or hempy taste to it, GGR Head of Content and competitive weightlifter Kate Meier recommends Ritual Essential Protein 18+. “I could drink this with water alone and be fine with it,” Kate says, scoring the Vanilla protein powder a 4 out of 5. “That’s how decent I think this taste is.” The lone point deduction comes from a slight chalky aftertaste.

Kate’s favorite way of enjoying this protein supplement is adding it to a morning smoothie with blueberries and strawberries.

ritual essential shake 18+ in blender next to bag

The solubility is a perfect 5 out of 5, and Kate says it’s a little scary how well it incorporates into any liquid. “It’s not thick, but it’s not watery like some proteins are,” she says.

We would’ve liked to see a few more flavor options but Vanilla goes well with just about anything. Also, Ritual is a subscription-based company, though you can cancel or pause your deliveries at any time through their website.

Price per serving$2.66
Protein per serving20 g
Carbs per serving3 g
Fat per serving2 g
Total Calories115
Protein Source Pea protein

Best-Tasting Whey Protein Powder: Nutricost Whey Protein Concentrate

Good for: Those looking for a good-tasting and highly nutritious whey protein powder

Best-Tasting Whey Protein

Nutricost Whey Protein Concentrate

GGR Score: 4.25 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.

Kate Meier, GGR’s Senior Head of Content and a certified personal trainer, has discerning tastebuds, so when she ranks a protein powder like Nutricost Whey Protein Concentrate a perfect 5 out of 5, we know it tastes good. “Honestly, no notes,” she says. “I love it.”

Kate tried the Chocolate Peanut Butter flavor, which was a gamble on her part because she’s not the biggest peanut butter fan. That gamble, however, paid off. “The peanuty flavor is just right — not too powerful and doesn’t overpower the chocolate,” she says. “I really, really liked it.”

She recommends mixing it with milk instead of water because it gives the protein shake a creamier taste. “Mixed with just water is totally good, too, but it’s better with a milk product,” she says.

best-tasting whey protein powder nutricost

Taste isn’t the only reason we’re big fans of Nutricost. Registered dietitian Perry Nix says the 25 grams in each serving is perfect for building and repairing lean muscle mass. “Whey protein concentrate is a complete protein that contains all nine essential amino acids, including branched-chain amino acids, which are crucial for muscle growth,” Nix says.

Kate also says the whey protein powder mixes very well in a shaker cup and/or blender, giving it a 5 out of 5 when it comes to solubility.

While Kate loved it, we’d be lying if we said this protein powder is for everyone. “Whey protein concentrate typically contains more fat and lactose than whey protein isolate,” Nix says. “Those who are lactose intolerant may need to avoid whey protein concentrate.” It also contains some artificial ingredients, including the sweetener sucralose. On the bright side, it’s been third-party tested for harmful and banned substances.

Price per serving$1.76
Protein per serving25g
Carbs per serving2-3g (varies by flavor)
Fat per serving3g
Total Calories140-150 (varies by flavor)
Protein Source Whey protein concentrate

Best-Tasting Vegan Protein Powder: KOS Vegan Protein Powder

Good for: Anyone looking for a tasty vegan-friendly protein supplement

Best Vegan

KOS Vegan Protein Powder

GGR Score: 4 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Multi-source vegan protein powder 
  • USDA-certified organic, soy-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, non-GMO
  • Digestive support via DigeSEB to help maximize absorption

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Manufactured in the USA
  • Superfood-infused
  • 20 g protein per serving
  • Chocolate flavor is rich
  • Enhanced with digestive support enzymes
  • Under $1.50 per serving

Cons

  • Customers say it has a gritty/chalky flavor
  • Some users reported protein gave them stomach issues
  • Reports of strong sweetness and bad aftertaste

Bottom Line

KOS is a vegan protein with a lot of positive reviews, but a number of people experienced stomach issues using this protein powder.

It’s not often that a non-vegan dieter likes vegan protein powder. There’s a specific plant-protein taste that sneaks its way into all vegan protein powders, so the key as a whey-drinker is to find the one with the least amount of that taste. 

RELATED: Athletic Greens Review

According to certified sports nutrition coach and GGR senior staff writer Amanda Capritto (and the less-than-stellar taste-test notes on other options from our other testers), that is KOS Vegan Protein Powder. 

best-tasting vegan protein powder KOS Organic Plant Protein

“It’s pretty rich, which I feel is rare with plant protein powders,” she says, giving it a 3.5 out of 5 on taste.

Bonus points: This protein powder comes with probiotics for digestive support and includes 20 grams of protein sourced from five plant-based protein sources to create a complete protein source. 

Price per serving$2.00
Protein per serving20 g
Carbs per serving9 g
Fat per serving7 g
Total Calories160
Protein SourcesPea protein, flax seed protein, quinoa protein, pumpkin seed protein, chia seed protein

Best-Tasting Fruity Protein Powder: SEEQ Clear Whey Isolate

Good for: People who are tired of the chocolate and vanilla and want some exciting fruity flavors

Best Fruity Protein Powder

SEEQ Clear Whey Isolate Protein

GGR Score: 4 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Light, refreshing alternative to traditional protein shakes
  • Does not contain lactose
  • Has 4 g of BCAAs per serving
  • Microfiltration leaves protein clear and crisp

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Thinner texture
  • Sugar-free
  • Free from nuts, soy, and gluten
  • Light, juice-like flavors

Cons

  • Contains sucralose
  • Often sold out
  • Stevia causes digestive issues for some people

Bottom Line

A great alternative to traditional protein powder, SEEQ Clear Whey Isolate Protein makes drinking protein just like drinking your favorite juice. This protein powder is a great option for those who do not like the traditional thick protein powder texture or just want to shake things up.

Protein powder flavors have certainly become more exciting in recent years; however, it still feels like a sea of chocolate, vanilla, and peanut butter. If you’re looking to step away from the basics and dive somewhere new, check out SEEQ Clear Whey Isolate, which I tried as part of our testing process for supplements. 

The Blue Razz Freeze flavor is scrumptious; it reminds me of Nerds candy and Fruit Roll-Ups Fruit by the Foot. I was nervous about texture, considering most protein powders create a thick, rich substance—blue raspberry and cream isn’t an appetizing combo. 

best-tasting fruity protein powder seeq whey protein

But thanks to the pure whey isolate used in this protein powder, the texture is actually quite thin when mixed with plain water (I didn’t even try mixing it with something else). It tastes and feels like Kool-Aid, seriously! There is a slight grainy texture, similar to that of Ascent Recovery Water, but that’s to be expected. 

With 22 grams of protein, 1 gram of carbohydrates, and 0 grams of fat, the nutrient profile is on-point, too. Other flavors include Strawberry Splash and Mango Pineapple, both of which are on my to-try list. 

Price per serving$1.79
Protein per serving22 g
Carbs per serving1 g
Fat per serving0 g
Total Calories 100
Protein SourceWhey protein isolate

Best-Tasting Vanilla Protein Powder: Quest Nutrition Vanilla Milkshake Whey Protein Powder

Good for: Those who enjoy a smooth, rich, creamy texture

Best Vanilla

Quest Nutrition Protein Powder

GGR Score: 4 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Made with fast- and slow-absorbing proteins
  • Contains 9 amino acids
  • Sweet flavors help curb cravings
  • Complete proteins help keep you full

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Low in carbs
  • Comparably affordable per serving cost
  • Balanced for workouts

Cons

  • Contains sucralose
  • Contains soy
  • Thick texture

Bottom Line

With plenty of great flavors, Quest Nutrition Protein Powder is a great option for those who get bored of the same flavor of proteins.

Not only does GGR Head of Content and product tester Kate Meier love this protein shake, but her two kids drink it willingly, too. “This protein powder really does taste and feel like a milkshake,” Kate says. “It’s not just in the name!” 

The texture is ultra-rich and smooth, Kate emphasizes, and this is one of few protein powders that doesn’t give her an artificial aftertaste (although it does contain artificial sweeteners). That taste must be hiding behind the “rich taste that is very vanilla,” Kate says. 

best-tasting vanilla protein powder quest nutrition

Often, vanilla protein powders must be mixed with milk or a milk alternative to actually taste good. Not this one: According to Kate, “It is great mixed with water without tasting watery and gross, and you don’t need to mix this with anything else; totally awesome on its own.”

This is probably due to the fact that the protein is a blend of 60% whey and 40% casein. Casein gives the powder a much richer flavor and texture.

The price per serving changes slightly based on the current price on Amazon and the size tub you buy, but the nutritional profile remains awesome: 24 grams of protein, 3 grams of carbs, and 0 grams of fat per serving.

RELATED: How much protein do I need?

Price per serving$1.40 (but depends on price on Amazon)
Protein per serving24 g
Carbs per serving3 g
Fat per serving0 g
Total Calories110
Protein Source 60% whey protein and 40% casein protein

Best-Tasting Chocolate Protein Powder: Earth Fed Muscle Ca-Cow Chocolate Protein Powder

Good for: Anyone who wants their post-workout shake to taste like a chocolate milkshake

Best Chocolate

Earth Fed Muscle Ca-Cow

Product Highlights

  • Protein from whey
  • Grass-fed and sustainable
  • Clean ingredients
  • No fillers or synthetic ingredients 
  • GMP certified

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Easily mixed
  • Hormone-free
  • Only 4 ingredients
  • Soy and gluten-free

Cons

  • Relatively expensive
  • Stevia may cause digestive discomfort for some people
  • Some users report difficulty mixing in cold liquid

Bottom Line

With an average protein content and a higher cost per serving, this protein powder is better for those looking for a clean protein option rather than those just looking for great-tasting protein.

Another favorite of GGR head of content and certified personal trainer Kate Meier, Earth Fed Muscle Chocolate Protein Powder is not your run-of-the-mill boring chocolate powder. No, this protein is chock-full of grass-fed goodness and organic cacao beans. Sweetened with stevia, you won’t find an icky artificial taste in this tub. 

best-tasting chocolate protein powder  earth fed muscle protein

Weirdly, this protein powder contains zero fillers, flow agents, or synthetic blends of who-knows-what, yet it mixes unproblematically and creates one of the best protein shakes you can make at home. Earth Fed Muscle Ca-Cow only contains four ingredients total. Yes, you read that correctly: The ingredients label shows grass-fed whey protein isolate, organic cacao powder, organic stevia, and sunflower lecithin.

Kate’s been buying Earth Fed Muscle protein for about five years and will continue to do so, she says. “This is probably the cleanest-tasting protein I’ve ever had. You can tell there isn’t a bunch of crap in it. Also, even blended with water, this protein has a very smooth, rich taste. I can drink just this and water and be a happy camper!” You can get her full thoughts in our Earth Fed Muscle review.

Price per serving$1.86 (but depends on price on Amazon)
Protein per serving25 g
Carbs per serving3 g
Fat per serving.5 g
Total Calories120
Protein SourceGrass-fed whey protein isolate

Best-Tasting Budget Protein Powder: Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey

Good for: Anyone who wants great flavor at a great price point

Best Budget

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey

GGR Score: 4.2 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.

I’ve been drinking Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard whey protein powder for years—since I first started strength training in 2014, to be exact. It’s remained a staple in my supplement rotation since then, and it’s a favorite of another GGR product tester, editor Nicole Davis, too. 

Part of the reason I love this protein powder so much is because there’s a vast flavor lineup—18 options, to be exact—and it’s available in 13 size options, although availability varies. I’ve tried five different Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey flavors and I’d buy any of them again. 

gold standard whey protein

Of the several I’ve tried (Double Rich Chocolate, Cookies & Cream, Extreme Milk Chocolate, Vanilla Creme, and Mocha Cappuccino), Double Rich Chocolate is, in my personal opinion, the best Optimum Nutrition flavor that keeps finding its way back into my pantry.

In addition to great flavor, 100% Gold Standard Whey comes at an affordable price point, dipping as low as $1.10 per serving for the largest size of 146 servings. That’s a lot to buy at once, but if you’re serious about cost savings, it’s the right move (if you know you’ll consume it all before the expiration date). 

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)
Total Calories120-130
Protein SourcesWhey protein isolate, whey protein concentrate, hydrolyzed whey protein

Other Protein Powders We Tried

The list of protein powders our product testers have tried is gargantuan. Aside from those you see above, we’ve also tried: 

testing protein powders
  • Muscle Milk Genuine Protein Powder
  • Kaged Whey Protein Isolate
  • Kaged Kasein
  • MyProtein Impact Whey Isolate
  • Muscle Milk Genuine Protein Powder
  • 1st Phorm Phormula 1
  • Orgain Organic Grass-Fed Whey
  • Sun Warrior Protein Warrior Blend
  • Performix ioWHEY
  • Jacked Factory Authentic Whey
  • Garden of Life Grass-Fed Whey Protein
  • GNC Lean Shake Burn
  • Ghost Whey Protein
  • Now Sports Whey Protein Isolate
  • MuscleTech Iso Whey Clear
  • Huge Supplements Whey Protein
  • Cira Bright Whey Protein
  • Dymatize ISO 100 Hydrolyzed Whey
  • Transparent Labs Casein
  • Dymatize Elite Casein
  • Naked Casein
  • MyProtein Vegan Blend Protein Powder
  • Bulk Supplements Soy Protein Isolate
  • Kaged Plantein
  • Now Sports Plant Protein Complex
  • Garden of Life Vegan Sport Protein Powder
  • Innermost Health Protein
  • Manitoba Harvest Hemp Yeah!
  • Ora Organic So Clean and So Lean Vegan Protein Powder

So, yeah, you could say we’re serious about this taste-testing business! 

How We Picked and Tested the Best-Tasting Protein Powders

As you can see from the behemoth of a list above, we actually tested a ton of protein powders to create our various guides to the best protein powder (see best vegan protein powder, best whey protein powder, and best protein powder overall). 

RELATED: Best protein bars

testing protein powders main feature photo

Research

Everything at GGR commences with research. We scour the web for customer reviews; we analyze products from popular and not-so-popular brands; we dig into manufacturing practices; perform cost-per-serving analyses; check ingredients and nutrition facts labels; and look at policies for shipping, guarantees, and returns. 

Testing

After creating a list of products to order and try for ourselves, testing begins. We keep detailed testing notes in a spreadsheet where we can collaborate and provide input on various products we try. Here’s a look at one such sheet for protein powders. These spaces are dynamic and change as we test more products and information such as pricing and nutrition facts change.

Finalizing

The culmination of research and testing is what you see in guides like this one. We create a shortlist of products and send it to our wider team as an opportunity for critique and collaboration. This step is so, so important—especially for guides based on subjective matters, such as taste. Various subject matter experts and product testers on our team provide more input and make a case as to why a product should or shouldn’t be on a given list. 

RELATED: Best pre-workout for women

Nutrition/Protein Content

On top of having to taste good, we also wanted to make sure the protein powders we looked at had at least 20 grams of protein and a moderate amount of carbs and fats.

Protein source

There are many different types of protein powders out there, so we wanted to make sure to include options for people with all types of diets and lifestyle. We typically prefer whey protein isolate, since it’s the most bioavailable type of protein — meaning your body can absorb more of it than casein, soy, or plant-based protein powders.

Sweeteners

We picked XWERKS Grow as our best-tasting protein powder not only because it tastes good, but it’s also free of any sweeteners. Many of our other top picks are also free from natural or artificial sweeteners, though some products contain stevia (which is natural) or sucralose (an artificial ingredient).

Added Ingredients

We’re not against additional ingredients in protein powders, though our preference went to ingredients that served other nutritional or muscle-building needs (such as creatine and BCAAs).

Flavor/Solubility

While taste is a subjective thing, we made sure not to include any protein powders that we spit out during our testing. We also looked at things like solubility, ensuring that each choice was thoroughly mixed after 15-30 seconds of shaking.

Price

We made sure to include options for people with large and small budgets.

Benefits of Protein Powder

Protein powder is an extensively studied supplement, second perhaps only to creatine. As a whole, protein is one of the most important nutrients for anabolism (muscle growth), according to a 2021 review in the journal Nutrients1. The benefits of protein powder are well-known, but here are just a few reasons why it’s one of the most popular health and fitness supplements.

  • Easy Way to Increase Protein Intake: Protein powder is a quick, convenient way to consume 15 to 30 grams of protein, especially compared to cooking an entire meal.
  • Helps Build Muscle: As a whole, protein is one of the most important nutrients for anabolism (muscle growth), according to a 2021 review in the journal Nutrients1. Other scientific research shows that consuming protein supplements can lead to increases in protein metabolism2, an important part of the process by which new muscle mass is formed, especially when taken around the time of training and in conjunction with a strength training routine. 
  • Helps With Muscle Recovery: When consumed post-workout, protein powder can aid in the muscle recovery process. Specifically, protein supplements have been shown to “facilitate muscle repair” and “mitigate muscle damage markers during recovery,” according to a 2019 study published in the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine3.
  • Keeps You Full and May Support Weight Loss: It’s well-known that higher-protein diets can help with satiety, or keeping your appetite down and feelings of fullness up. Protein is an important nutrient for weight regulation4, and some research tells us that eating more protein may help with weight-loss efforts and weight maintenance thanks to its satiating properties. There’s little evidence that protein supplements directly support weight loss, but we know that more protein in your day-to-day helps with satiety5, and protein supplementation is a convenient way to consume more grams per day.

RELATED: Best protein chips

legion whey protein pour

Buying Guide: What to Look for in Protein Powder

To help you on your hunt for the best protein supplement, here are my top things to look for. 

Taste, Texture, and Solubility 

Solubility is inarguably important in protein powder. Without good solubility, protein powder is trash, no matter how good the taste is—I don’t know anyone who can down a chunky, gritty serving of liquid and go back for seconds. 

Unfortunately, there’s no real way to know if the taste, texture, or solubility of a protein powder will be acceptable to you until you try it. However, it’s helpful to read customer reviews to learn more about these factors, as well as in-depth guides (like ours!). 

man standing at desk scooping powder from bottle performix protein powder

Protein Per Serving 

We like to see at least 20 grams of protein per serving, regardless of the type of protein powder. Sometimes, vegan protein powders have fewer grams per serving, but the vegan options on our list meet that 20-gram benchmark. More than 20 is great, and you’ll see some with up to 30 grams per serving.

Macronutrients

Don’t make the mistake of only looking at the protein blend on the supplements facts label. Check the carbs, fat, fiber, and sugar per serving. Also check the ingredients list to look for any ingredients that may cause digestive problems for you, such as artificial sweeteners, sugar alcohols, added sugars, and certain thickeners, preservatives, emulsifiers, or gums. 

Some protein powders also include digestive enzymes to help prevent bloating and other potential gastrointestinal side effects. Other ingredients you may find on the label are branched-chain amino acids, essential amino acids, vitamin C, calcium, and other micronutrients.

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Protein Source

Whey protein concentrate and whey protein isolate are the most common protein sources in non-vegan (meaning not dairy-free) protein powders. In vegan protein powders, you’re likely to find blends of brown rice protein, soy protein, and pea protein. All of these are fine; it’s just about personal preference. Although, it’s worth noting that plant proteins aren’t complete proteins, meaning they don’t contain all nine essential amino acids.

An image of MyVegan-vegan-protein-blend

Price Per Serving 

Price per serving is another important factor to consider. You may see a tub of protein for $30 and think it’s a great deal, only to find out that it only contains 15 servings. Then you’re looking at $2 per serving, which is on the higher end. Our list of the best-tasting protein powders contains options with pricing as low as $1.10 per serving up to $2.50 per serving, which is quite pricey. However, when you want a great taste and to satisfy several dietary preferences, you’ll be looking at those higher prices. 

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Flavor Options

Are you a vanilla bean fiend? Or more of a chocolate peanut butter fanatic? Perhaps chocolate chip cookie dough is your go-to? On today’s market, you’ll find a seemingly endless selection of flavor options among protein powders, so you’re allowed to be picky and forgo the overdone basic chocolate and vanilla flavors. 

Sweeteners

Sweeteners are used in most protein powders, so if you’re sensitive to things like stevia or sucralose it might be worth spending a little extra time investigating the ingredients’ list. It should be noted that most natural sweeteners provide little to no calories and, according to most research, aren’t nearly as harmful as some social media influencers want you to believe.

Third-Party Testing

Check to see if your protein powder has been tested by an independent organization for banned substances, heavy metals, and other potentially harmful substances. The NSF, Informed Choice/Sport, and Banned Substance Control Group (BSCG) are considered the gold standard for third-party testing, especially for those who may be drug tested.

Best-Tasting Protein Powder FAQs

What is the best-tasting protein powder?

Our top picks for the best-tasting protein powder include: 

Best-Tasting Protein Powder Overall: XWERKS Grow
Best-Tasting Grass-Fed Protein Powder: Transparent Labs Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate
Best-Tasting Casein Protein Powder: Legion Athletics Strawberry Casein
Best-Tasting Plant-Based Protein Powder: Ritual Essential Protein 18+
Best-Tasting Whey Protein Powder: Nutricost Whey Protein Concentrate
Best-Tasting Vegan Protein Powder: KOS Vegan Protein Powder
Best-Tasting Fruity Protein Powder: SEEQ Clear Whey Isolate
Best-Tasting Vanilla Protein Powder: Quest Nutrition Vanilla Milkshake Whey Protein Powder 
Best-Tasting Chocolate Protein Powder: Earth Fed Muscle Ca-Cow Chocolate Whey Protein
Best-Tasting Budget Protein Powder: Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey

Is vegan protein powder good?

It depends on who you ask. To most people who don’t eat a vegan diet, vegan protein powder isn’t as tasty as whey protein powder. For people who are used to a vegan diet palate, vegan protein powder probably tastes fine.

What is the best protein powder flavor?

While this is a very subjective question, the most common answer seems to be vanilla or chocolate. Our best-tasting protein powder is XWERKS Grow‘s chocolate flavor.

How can I take protein powder in ways other than a protein shake?

Protein powder can also be used in pancakes, baking recipes, or mixed with oatmeal.

Are protein powders safe?

Generally, yes. Protein powder is simply dehydrated milk proteins that last a long time if stored in a dry, cool place. If you want to be extra-cautious, look for protein powders that have been third-party tested for heavy metals or toxins.

RELATED: Does protein powder expire?

References

  1. Mielgo-Ayuso J, Fernández-Lázaro D. Nutrition and Muscle Recovery. Nutrients. 2021;13(2):294. Published 2021 Jan 20. doi:10.3390/nu13020294
  2. Cintineo HP, Arent MA, Antonio J, Arent SM. Effects of Protein Supplementation on Performance and Recovery in Resistance and Endurance Training. Front Nutr. 2018;5:83. Published 2018 Sep 11. doi:10.3389/fnut.2018.00083
  3. 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.
  4. 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
  5. 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

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