We test and review fitness products based on an independent, multi-point methodology. If you use our links to purchase something, we may earn a commission. Read our disclosures.

If your fitness goals involve weight gain, your diet might sometimes feel like a puzzle. It can be challenging to eat enough calories to counteract those hard-hitting workouts you’re rocking. When the energy you’re putting out exceeds the energy you’re taking in, you’re more likely to see weight loss instead of weight gain.

Packing on muscle mass requires a nutrient-dense diet, but who has time to cook all those meals? Life is busy, and sometimes you just don’t have the appetite to eat a bodybuilder’s diet. Enter mass gainers.

Mass gainer shakes are an efficient way to meet your increased calorie needs and support muscle building. You can always buy pre-mixed powders, but if you don’t want to be limited to what’s on the shelf, you might be interested in making your own shakes. We’ve got the scoop on DIY mass gainer shake recipes, and we’re sharing some of our favorites in this article. 

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.

DIY Mass Gainer: What You Need

Making a homemade mass gainer shake is easier than you think, and it offers a list of benefits that extend far beyond muscle gain. Because you get to hand-pick the ingredients in your weight-gain shake, you have complete control over its taste and formulation. The macro count is totally up to you, helping you fuel muscle growth efficiently and effectively. And if you’re running low on a specific vitamin or mineral, just pop in a food rich in that micronutrient!

RELATED: Mass Gainer Pros and Cons

Making your own mass gainer at home is relatively simple. You’ll just need a few key components:

Liquid Base

Start your homemade weight gainer shake by choosing a liquid base. Adding the protein powder to your liquid helps it mix efficiently, avoiding the dreaded puff of powder that almost always explodes when you mix them the other way around. The possibilities are endless, but options include water, cow’s milk, plant-based milk, and juice.

Want more calories in your shake? Opt for a more calorie-dense liquid. Need another boost of protein? Scoop some yogurt in there, too. The type of liquid and amount used will also affect your shake’s consistency. Want a thick shake? Go light on the liquid. Need it thinner? Add more.

Protein Powder

After you’ve got your liquid situated, it’s time to choose a protein powder. Whey protein powders tend to be the most popular, but any variety will do—casein, egg, pea, soy, or hemp. Go for the protein that you tolerate best and look for flavors that interest you. Like any other protein shake, you should enjoy your mass gainer.

A scoop of Truvani Protein Powder about to be poured into a shaker cup

Be mindful of your daily protein needs and portion your scoops of protein powder accordingly to help you hit your goal. Review the nutrition facts on the product’s container to know how many grams of protein are in each serving.

RELATED: Best Protein Powder for Weight Gain

Carbohydrate Source

Next up are your carbs. Adding a carb source to your weight gainer shake boosts its calorie count and adds a variety of essential nutrients. Carbohydrates contain 4 calories per gram, but the type and amount you use can change daily, depending on your nutrition needs.

Fruit might be best one day, while oats are better another day. That’s the bright side of homemade mass gainer shakes—you get to decide what’s best for your body!


Fat sources are an important component of many weight gain shakes. Fats contain 9 calories per gram, making them the most calorie-dense of the macros and an efficient way to bulk up your shake.

Plus, healthy fats offer a plethora of health benefits, as our bodies need fat to absorb fat-soluble vitamins. Common fat sources to add to your high-calorie shake may include avocados, coconut chunks, and nut butter like peanut butter or almond butter. You can also choose high-fat liquids, like whole milk and ice cream, as your liquid base to boost the shake’s calories per serving.

5 Mass Gainer Shake Recipes 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Smoothie

Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Smoothie from Sally McKenney at sallysbakingaddiction.com
Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Smoothie from Sally McKenney at sallysbakingaddiction.com

Recipe by Sally McKenney of Sally’s Baking Recipes

This recipe harnesses the rich flavors of bananas and cocoa powder with the protein content of peanut butter and Greek yogurt to create a deliciously creamy, high-calorie smoothie. To make this smoothie, you will need:

  • 1 banana
  • 3 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 6 oz Chobani Greek yogurt
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 Tbsp honey, maple syrup, or agave
  • 1 Tbsp peanut butter

While your nutrition facts will vary, depending on the types of yogurt, milk, and sweetener that you use, this shake is certainly a calorie-dense option. And because it contains milk and yogurt, it’s also a good source of calcium! 

Total calories 1527
Protein35 g
Carbs78 g
Fat11 g

1,000-Calorie Smoothie

1,000-calorie smoothie from highcalorierecipes.com
1,000-calorie smoothie from highcalorierecipes.com

Recipe from High-Calorie Recipes

To gain weight, you have to end your day in a calorie surplus. And what better way to add calories than with a 1,000-calorie smoothie? This recipe calls for just seven ingredients, but it’s packed with nutrients that work together to help you gain or maintain weight. To make this smoothie, you will need:

  • ½ cup frozen strawberries
  • 2 Tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 banana
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1 cup oats
  • 2 scoops vanilla protein powder
  • 1 1/2 cups almond milk

Simply combine all the ingredients in a blender and allow them to blend until smooth. If you use fresh berries, consider adding a handful of ice cubes to help with the smoothie’s consistency. The recipe also suggests drinking the smoothie immediately after blending, as the oats will cause the mixture to thicken up over time. No one wants to chew their smoothie.

Total calories980
Protein70 g
Carbs118 g
Fat29 g

Apple Cinnamon Smoothie

Apple Cinnamon Smoothie by Laura Lawless at therecipewell.com
Apple Cinnamon Smoothie by Laura Lawless at therecipewell.com

Recipe by Laura Lawless

This Apple Cinnamon Smoothie is a crisp fall morning in a cup! It’s a flavorful smoothie that’s packed with nutrient-dense ingredients, such as chia seeds, rolled oats, and apples. To make your own Apple Cinnamon Smoothie, you will need:

  • 1 1/2 cups almond milk
  • 2 large apples
  • 1/3 cup rolled oats
  • 2 Tbsp almond butter
  • 2 Tbsp hemp hearts
  • 2 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 pitted Medjool date
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 handfuls ice cubes

It’s simple to prepare—simply put all your measured ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. And the best part? It makes two servings! One for now and one for later. Want to bump the protein content? Consider adding an unflavored or vanilla protein powder. However, adding a protein powder may require more liquid to thin the smoothie’s consistency.

Total calories456
Protein14 g
Carbs54 g
Fat23 g

RELATED: Protein Shakes for Bulking

Chocolate Avocado Smoothie

Chocolate Avacado Smoothie by Liz Thomson at iheartvegetables.com
Chocolate Avacado Smoothie by Liz Thomson at iheartvegetables.com

Recipe by Liz Thomson of I Heart Vegetables

If you haven’t combined the sweet taste of chocolate with the creamy goodness of avocado yet, you’re missing out! This Chocolate Avocado Smoothie is rich in nutrients and packed with delicious flavor. And while each serving only provides 337 calories, you can always add a scoop of chocolate protein powder to boost the protein and calorie content.

To make this recipe, you will need:

  • 1 small banana
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1/2 cup ice cubes
  • 1/3 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1-2 tsp maple syrup or to taste

To enjoy your own Chocolate Avocado Smoothie, simply place your ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth. You can use frozen avocados and bananas to thicken the consistency of your smoothie, and you can increase the calories in each serving by adding toppings to your finished product.

Total calories337
Protein8 g
Carbs49 g
Fat19 g

Vegan Blackberry Smoothie

Vegan Blackberry Smoothie by Dave Bell at hurrythefoodup.com
Vegan Blackberry Smoothie by Dave Bell at hurrythefoodup.com

Recipe by Dave Bell on Hurry The Food Up

Making a vegan-friendly mass gainer recipe, like this Vegan Blackberry Smoothie, gives you the opportunity to get creative in the kitchen. It’s packed with unique ingredients, such as flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, and soy milk, to give you a wide variety of flavors that fit within your plant-based lifestyle. To make this recipe, you will need:

  • 1 ½ cups soy milk
  • 1 cup blackberries
  • ½ mango, diced
  • 2 Tbsp rolled oats
  • 1 Tbsp pumpkin seeds
  • 1 Tbsp flaxseeds
  • 1 tsp almond butter
  • 1 ½ tsp sugar
  • 1-2 ice cubes

Like any other smoothie, it’s super easy to make. Simply combine all the ingredients in your blender until it reaches your desired consistency. Want to bump up the protein content and add a few more calories? Add a scoop of your favorite vegan protein powder.

Total calories482
Protein22 g
Carbs56 g
Fat22 g

DIY Mass Gainer: Final Thoughts 

To build lean muscle mass, we have to provide our bodies with all the necessary tools. Our dietary intake is key for building muscle and gaining weight. Mass gainer protein powders are a convenient way to boost your caloric intake, but you can also create your own high-calorie shakes at home that appeal to your tastebuds and individualized nutrition needs.

While many DIY mass gainer shakes contain enough calories and macros to be considered a meal, they should not regularly act as a meal replacement shake. In your quest to add more nutrition for weight gain, don’t lose sight of the importance of well-balanced meals.

  • You can add creatine to your favorite DIY mass gainer recipe for added performance benefits.
  • The ideal timing of your mass gainer depends on the ingredients used. High-protein, high-fat shakes might be better post-workout, while those that are more carbohydrate-dense might be better pre-workout.
  • A registered dietitian nutritionist can help you calculate your estimated nutrition needs and design a meal plan that supports your weight gain goals.
  • If you’re lactose-intolerant, you can opt for plant-based shakes to help you build muscle.

DIY Mass Gainer: FAQs

How can I make my own mass gainer?

The options are endless! Start with your chosen liquid base and add your protein source. You can use your tried and true protein powder or opt for whole-food protein sources. Mix in some carbohydrates and healthy fats, and you’re all set!

What’s a good substitute for mass gainer?

To make a mass gainer substitute, you can mix your all-time favorite protein powder with calorie- and nutrient-dense ingredients like whole milk, peanut butter, chia seeds, avocados, and fruit. Pair it with a balanced training schedule, and you’re on your way to some serious muscle gain!

How can I make a 1,000-calorie bulking shake?

The types and amounts of the ingredients you use in your mass gainer will determine the calorie count of the shake. So, to make a 1,000-calorie bulking shake, you will need to add high-calorie ingredients like multiple scoops of protein powder, avocados, whole milk, full-fat yogurt, and more. 

Can I gain mass without mass gainer?

Absolutely! There is no such thing as a magic mass gainer. It’s all about your overall nutritional intake. While a mass gainer powder is convenient for boosting your calorie intake, you can easily create your own high-calorie shakes at home. 

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.


  1. U.S. Department of Agriculture. FoodData Central

Further reading

Gripedo Trainer In-Depth Review: Versatile Landmine Tool Cover Image
Gripedo Trainer In-Depth Review: Versatile Landmine Tool

The Gripedo Trainer is an incredibly versatile grip building tools that is a swiss army knife of sorts. Thanks to its unique design and ability to be used in multiple ways, we recommend the Gripedo Trainer to anyone looking for a piece of equipment to increase training versatility with minimum space, although we would like to see the price decreased. Read more

8 Best Stair Climbers for Home (2024): Budget, Foldable, and Versatile Options Cover Image
8 Best Stair Climbers for Home (2024): Budget, Foldable, and Versatile Options

We tested and rounded up the best stair climbers for your home gym so you don’t have to wonder which machine is right for you. Read more

How to Do the Kettlebell Clean for Explosive Strength and Power Cover Image
How to Do the Kettlebell Clean for Explosive Strength and Power

Are you afraid of the kettlebell clean? Don’t be! We’re breaking down how to perform this excellent compound exercise so you can add it to your arsenal stat! Read more

No Cow Protein Bar Review (2024): Not Our Favorite, But Worth Trying Cover Image
No Cow Protein Bar Review (2024): Not Our Favorite, But Worth Trying

Find out if No Cow bars live up to their reputation as the best vegan protein bar in our No Cow protein bar review. Read more