You’ve most likely heard fitness enthusiasts tout their favorite protein shakes to consume on a consistent basis, only to find out that what they’re drinking is nothing more than powder, ice, and milk—or sometimes even just water instead of milk. Sure, these beverages can help you meet your protein goals, which will ultimately help with building more muscle mass and meeting your weight loss (or weight gain) goals, but if the drink doesn’t taste good, what is the point? Thankfully, we found a handful of protein shake recipes out there that actually taste delicious.
But first, why would someone need a protein shake in the first place? These drinks can help you meet your protein goals if you struggle to eat enough high-protein foods during the day, and not only can adequate levels of protein help you maintain strong muscles and grow even stronger, but it can also help you lose weight in a healthy, sustainable way.
“Protein helps you to feel full, so you can feel satisfied and stop eating, and it also helps to preserve lean muscle, which correlates to your metabolism (the faster your metabolism, the faster you burn calories), says Lisa Young, PhD, RDN, author of Finally Full, Finally Slim and member of our Medical Expert Board. “Your body also burns more calories to process protein than to process carbs or fat.”
If you decide to try a protein shake recipe at home in order to help you meet your protein needs, there are a few things to consider when choosing the healthiest one. When it comes to protein shakes, Young suggests “using colorful fruits and vegetables (which are low in calories and rich in antioxidants), going easy on nuts, seeds, and avocado because a little fat goes a long way, and limiting added sugars when you can.”
For more inspiration on protein shakes to make at home for a nice nutrition boost, check out our list of 10 easy, healthy protein shake recipes. Then, for tips on which yogurt to use in your next shake, read about the 13 Best Yogurt Brands—and 3 To Avoid.
Protein can certainly leave you feeling full, satisfied, and energized, but what is even better when it comes to giving your body a boost of energy? The combination of both protein and caffeine. In this Iced Coffee Protein Shake, you’ll get a caffeine surge for instant energy and the staying power of protein to sustain you throughout the rest of the afternoon. This shake is also Paleo-friendly, which works for those following the Paleo diet.
Get our recipe for Iced Coffee Protein Shake.
You can sometimes use protein shakes as meal replacements, as long as they have enough protein and calories, as well as other helpful nutrients like fat and fiber to balance it out. This meal-replacement protein shake recipe uses protein powder, banana, coconut yogurt, almond milk, berries, spinach, and chia seeds, so you’re getting a well-balanced beverage in every glass. This recipe is also Paleo-friendly, but if you’re not following a Paleo eating plan and can consume dairy, you can switch out the coconut yogurt and almond milk for dairy products for even more protein.
Get our recipe for Meal-Replacement Shake.
So this one technically isn’t called a “protein shake” because the recipe doesn’t call for protein powder. Still, it made our list because with protein powder added, it becomes a well-rounded drink full of fiber, healthy fats, protein, and antioxidants. And if you’re following a Keto diet, this shake can meet your higher-fat, lower-carb needs. However, we recommend you talk with a doctor or dietitian before starting a Keto eating plan.
Get our recipe for Green Keto Shake.
You’ve heard of using avocado or yogurt for extra creaminess in your shakes, but what about tahini? This condiment has a nutty, earthy flavor and adds a dose of creaminess to your favorite protein drink. This recipe doesn’t call for protein powder, but you can always add in your favorite scoop for a chocolatey protein boost. This recipe is also low in sugar, using only dates to sweeten it.
Get our recipe for Tahini Chocolate Shake.
Kefir is a fermented drink that provides probiotics, vitamins, and protein. This Kefir recipe is unique on our list in that it provides enough protein from the kefir alone (about 12 grams) and doesn’t need protein powder added. Those who are watching their sugar intake will appreciate that the sweetness in this drink comes only from dates.
Get our recipe for Kefir Smoothie.
One of the best ingredients you can add to any protein shake or smoothie for a super-creamy texture is frozen cauliflower. With blueberries, chia seeds, peanut butter, and vanilla protein powder, all added in with some frozen cauliflower florets, you’ll have a protein-heavy drink that also includes healthy fats, fiber, and antioxidants.
Get this recipe for Berry Cauliflower Smoothie via Tone It Up.
You usually can’t go wrong with “chocolate” in the name, and this protein shake recipe uses chocolate wherever it can. This combination of almond milk, almond butter, banana, chocolate protein powder, and cocoa powder will instantly satisfy your sweet cravings but will keep you feeling full for hours.
Get the recipe from Chelsea’s Messy Apron.
Some people may think of protein shakes as just protein powder, milk, and ice. Still, as you can see from our list, protein shake recipes can include other flavorful, nutritious ingredients like fruit, veggies, nuts, seeds, and natural sweeteners. This recipe from Minimalist Baker is a great example, using blueberries, yogurt (or cottage cheese), maple extract, and the protein powder of your choice to deliver a burst of flavor and staying power.
Get the recipe from Minimalist Baker.
Take a handful of frozen strawberries, some protein powder, Greek yogurt, and graham crackers, and you’ll have yourself a protein shake that looks, tastes, and feels like a McDonald’s strawberry milkshake—minus the crazy amounts of added sugar.
Get the recipe from Fit Foodie Finds.
This banana protein shake from Fit Foodie Finds uses a tried-and-true combination of yogurt, frozen banana, vanilla, milk, and protein powder for a shake you can indulge in. To level up even more in your indulgence, add a drizzle of peanut butter and whipped coconut cream.
Get the recipe from Fit Foodie Finds.