Portable, easy to use, and packed with essential nutrients, protein powders continue to be an extremely popular and reliable dietary supplement, as well as a weight-loss or muscle-mass tool.
And now, they are better tasting than ever. Hundreds of protein powders on the market today come in a variety of recognizable or inventive flavors; some even taste close to a calorie-rich shake.
Many make promises that they are the best-tasting protein powder out there, but not all deliver on the flavor front.
So how can you tell which protein powder will not only help you with your nutritional goals but taste great at the same time?
We’re here to help.
The Top 12 Best Tasting Protein Powders: They’re Delicious!
To get together a list of the dozen best protein powders based on taste, we did our homework.
We sampled many of the best-selling and most-available protein powders out right now to score each on how their taste matched out to their claims.
After much testing and taste comparison, here’s our definitive list of the yummiest protein powders you can try today.
#1. Huge Whey
Flavors: cookie and cream, chocolate peanut butter, vanilla milkshake, strawberry cheesecake
Cost: $44.95 for 30 servings (on sale)
Huge Whey made a huge impression on our taste testers. While having such dessert-like flavors is always a gamble — many protein powders rarely taste like the treat flavors they say they do — Huge Whey scored big points for its rich, satisfying, and, yes, delicious flavors across the board.
It’s worth emphasizing that the vanilla milkshake flavor tastes like a legitimate milkshake, and we’ve never tasted a cookie and cream flavor that fully delivered until we tried Huge Whey.
The chocolate peanut butter — two flavors that should always go well together — is similarly delicious and rich.
But the real standout here is strawberry cheesecake, which is probably why it was sold out at the time we reviewed the powder. It’s truly fantastic ’til the last drop and a great option for those bored with the standard protein powder flavors of just chocolate or vanilla.
Huge Whey nails all of its four unique flavors masterfully – you can find the official product page by clicking here.
Credit the high-quality ingredients, including top-of-the-line whey protein concentrate and cocoa powder.
That, in addition to the 23 grams of protein, 150 milligrams of potassium, and just 2 grams of fat makes Huge Whey the big winner in our survey.
If you’re looking for a plant-based option, Huge also offers a delicious and high-quality vegan protein powder.
#2. ProteinSeries Grass-Fed
Flavors: Chocolate peanut butter, cinnamon pastry, milk chocolate, mocha, salted caramel, strawberry, vanilla
Cost: $59.99 for 30 servings
They don’t call it “ProteinSeries” for nothing. It is sourced from grass-fed cows, it has to taste naturally great, right?
It does. The chocolate peanut butter, in particular, is outstanding, just a tiny notch below the taste of Huge Whey, and the unique cinnamon pastry option delivers a rich, satisfying baked-good taste while not being overly sweet.
Even the strawberry and vanilla flavors — standard taste options across the protein powder products board — are excellent and stand out from the pack.
And with natural ingredients like cocoa and natural chocolate flavor, as well as no artificial sweeteners and preservatives, ProteinSeries Grass-Fed tastes fresh and clean. You’ll want seconds.
The downside is that this option is a lot more expensive than our first pick, so make sure to keep that in mind.
#3. Ghost Whey
Flavors: Coffee ice cream, milk chocolate, cereal milk, peanut butter cereal milk, fruity cereal milk, marshmallow cereal milk, cinnamon cereal milk
Cost: $39.99 for 28 servings
Taste is one of the most powerful senses. It can instantly evoke memories of the first time you tried a particular dish or the first time you made that dish yourself. It can take you back to prom or your wedding.
Ghost Whey will take you back to your childhood with its trademarked cereal milk line that can quickly become a popular flavor option among the company’s fans.
Even the “plain” version, just “cereal milk,” is delicious, and will make you feel like you’re 8 years old again, getting up early to watch Saturday morning cartoons and eating your favorite not-so-great-for-you cereal.
Each cereal milk flavor reflects your cereal of choice, from the fruity and marshmallow flavors to the yummy cinnamon and peanut butter options. Each tastes exactly like what their name promises. And each can be reviewed just like Ghost Whey describes them: “F*;#!ing Delicious.”
The coffee ice cream flavor is also great, with no artificial coffee taste whatsoever. It was a pleasant surprise since coffee ice cream is often a difficult flavor to get just right. And, also surprisingly, all of the flavors taste wonderful when mixed in water.
A plus: Ghost Whey is also soy- and gluten-free.
#4. Now Sports Protein
Flavors: Creamy vanilla, creamy chocolate, unflavored, chocolate mocha, salted caramel, vanilla toffee
Cost: Starts at $27.99 for 27 servings
What Now Sports Protein lacks in flavor creativeness, it more than makes up for in powder variety. It’s a one-stop-shop for protein powders since it also includes more savory powder forms such as beef broth, chicken broth, and egg white protein.
The more traditional flavors are excellent, though — creamy and satisfying. Vanilla toffee, the most unique flavor offered, also happens to be our favorite. It’s distinctive without being too rich or filling.
The chocolate flavors, creamy or mocha, lack any type of chalky or artificial aftertaste.
We also appreciate Now Now Sports’ plant-based protein powder line. In addition to tasting great, all of the flavors and powder forms are compatible with some of the most popular diets today, including keto, vegan, and paleo.
Each powder is sugar-free and GMO-free.
#5. Optimum Nutrition Gold Whey
Flavors: Banana cream, chocolate coconut, chocolate malt, chocolate mint, chocolate peanut butter, coffee, cookies & cream, delicious strawberry.
Double rich chocolate, extreme milk chocolate, french vanilla creme, mocha cappuccino, rocky road, strawberries & cream, strawberry banana, unflavored, vanilla ice cream, white chocolate
Cost: Starts at $34.99 for 28 servings
If variety is the spice of life, Optimum Nutrition Gold Whey is the spiciest protein powder out there. Well, not actually spicy.
With more than 20 flavor options though, we had a lot to try — and we liked each one. The chocolates here offer a little bit for everyone and the double rich and extreme chocolate varieties are perfectly rich and creamy without being too intense.
The ice cream-esque flavors don’t disappoint in the flavor department either, especially rocky road and the vanilla.
The best part? Most of the Gold Whey line protein powders have naturally derived flavors, along with 24 grams of protein with branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) geared to those looking to build muscle mass quickly and effectively.
There’s a reason why Optimum Nutrition Gold Whey is one of the top-selling protein powders today.
#6. BSN Syntha-6
Flavors: Banana, chocolate cake batter, chocolate milkshake, chocolate peanut butter, cookies & cream, strawberry milkshake, vanilla ice cream.
Cost: $39.99 for 28 servings
Let’s start with the BSN Syntha-6 flavor that likely first caught your eye — and ours: chocolate cake batter. And we’re here to tell you that … It. Is. All you want it to be.
Lip-smackingly delicious and decadent, chocolate cake batter will become your new favorite protein powder as soon as you try it.
The other BSN Syntha-6 flavors, while simple, are also great. Your protein powder shake won’t just mix like a standard milkshake but tastes like one, too.
BSN Syntha-6, which comes from a company better known right now for its supplements, is designed to help build lean muscle as opposed to mass, which can be comparatively difficult. The taste of BSN Syntha-6 will help you greatly on that fitness journey.
For the preferred milkshake taste, try the powders with regular or non-fat milk. But, and this is kind of a big deal, the chocolate milkshake still tastes like a wonderful milkshake if you prefer to mix it with water.
#7. Rule One Protein
Flavors: Chocolate fudge, vanilla creme, strawberry banana, orange dreamsicle, frozen banana, lightly salted caramel, strawberries & creme, cafe mocha, mint chocolate chip.
Cookies & creme, white chocolate raspberry, chocolate peanut butter, fruity cereal, vanilla butter cake
Cost: Starts at $20.99 for 16 servings (on sale)
The 14 flavors of Rule One’s signature protein powder, a whey isolate, and hydrolysate, are all distinctive and on point.
They are notable for what they don’t have, including whey concentrates, creamers, gums, and a variety of fillers that usually make protein powders taste bland or artificial. There’s also no sugar, fat, or gluten.
What does all of that mean? Great taste.
We loved the white chocolate raspberry and Rule One’s take on chocolate peanut butter, rich but oh-so natural. Orange dreamsicle is, well, a dream tastewise.
And while we were skeptical that the frozen banana would deliver since it’s such a specific taste, it was one of the biggest hits.
Incredibly pure tasting with an impressive list of high-quality ingredients, Rule One Protein also offers a variety of flavor profiles, everything from light to very creamy, that give you the option for going for milder tastes if you’re worried about something being a bit too overpowering for you.
#8. Granite Supplements Protein
Flavors: Peanut butter, chocolate, salted caramel, vanilla
Cost: $44.99 for 32 ounces
We know what you may be thinking. Granite Supplements Protein comes in four pretty basic flavors. We thought the same thing. Then we tried them.
Each may be simple, but they are simply tasty — no fuss, no muss. The peanut butter flavor is one of the best we’ve tried, even without the added chocolate flavor to its profile, and the vanilla is bold but refreshing. All keep their great flavor even when mixed with water.
Something that makes a difference is Granite Supplements’ commitment to top-notch specialized ingredients. Egg whites, rich with the amino acid leucine to promote muscle, add to the flavoring nicely.
As does the use of grass-fed beef, sourced from hormone-free cows in Sweden that abides by strict animal health regulations imposed by the European Union. You can get even more flavor out of these powders by mixing them with a milk alternative, especially dairy, nut, or soy milk.
#9. RSP TrueFit
Flavors: Chocolate, vanilla, cinnamon churro, cold brew coffee
Cost: $39.97 for 20 servings
We assume you’re a cinnamon churro fan. If not, then you should be. So let’s start there. RSP TrueFit is one of the few protein powders that offer a flavor based on the addictive treat and we can tell you that it didn’t let us down.
And since the company promotes its protein powder as a meal replacement, the taste matters even more.
You won’t be disappointed by cinnamon churro, a flavor that’s tough to replicate in powder form. The only downside was that it was so good that it made us crave the real thing.
Chocolate and vanilla are both stellar as well, and the cold brew coffee was not at all overpowering. It will make coffee lovers extremely happy and leave them satisfied throughout the day. The no artificial ingredients and preservatives go a long way in RSP TrueFit.
We were also pleased with how good it tasted since the powder is also stacked with vitamins and minerals, including 30 percent of one’s daily recommended intake in one serving, including Vitamins A, C, D, E, and B.
There’s an additional 1 gram of a blend of fruits and vegetables — including berries, carrots, and broccoli sprouts — but you won’t get a hint of their taste while you’re drinking your delicious cinnamon churro.
#10. Nutricost Whey
Flavors: Unflavored, chocolate, mocha, salted caramel, strawberry, vanilla, chocolate peanut butter
Cost: $44.95 for 27 servings
Nutricost is a well-known name in the supplement/protein powder market, with a great reputation among casual fitness buffs and bodybuilders.
The 30 grams of protein per serving in the Nutricost Whey is reflective of that. The taste of its protein powder reminds us why people trust the brand.
Yes, the flavors are all pretty standard, but they are far above average in the taste department, especially the mocha and strawberry varieties. The salted caramel flavor kept us coming back for more.
We also liked how the ingredients list was very low, including just a few items beyond the protein isolate and natural flavors. Even with the big flavors, Nutricost’s powder contains fewer calories than some of its competitors.
#11. Quest Nutrition Protein
Flavors: Chocolate milkshake, cinnamon crunch, cookies and cream, multi-purpose, peanut butter, salted caramel, vanilla milkshake
Cost: $33.59 for 24 servings
You’ve likely seen Quest’s nutrition bars in the grocery store checkout aisle. If like many, you’re a fan of those, you’ll love the flavors of Quest’s protein powders line. You won’t be alone.
The product is massively popular, and at the time of this review, ALL of their flavors were sold out on their website.
They’re worth waiting for. We loved the creamy vanilla and chocolate milkshake flavors and the cinnamon crunch tastes just like your favorite cereal That Must Not Be Named.
Quest also offers a unique “multi-purpose” flavor, which is designed so you can mix it into a variety of your favorite foods if you like, everything from bagels to pancakes to add a protein-rich punch to any dish.
Try the chocolate milkshake with real or dairy-free milk and some ice and it’s like you’re sipping a calorie-heavy milkshake from your favorite restaurant or drive-through.
#12. Naked Whey
Flavors: Unflavored, chocolate, vanilla, strawberry
Cost: $94.99 for 5 pounds
Naked Whey says it has “nothing to hide,” hence its name. That motto refers to its ingredients and not its taste. Even though the company has some of the most basic flavors compared to others on our list, they do them all extremely well.
The “nothing to hide” aspect of its ingredients seems to make a big flavor difference. Vanilla has three main ingredients. So does chocolate, which includes grass-fed whey, raw cacao, and coconut sugar.
The result is a refined and natural tasty flavor across the options, perfect for a palette that’s particularly sensitive to artificial ingredients or preservatives.
Why Protein Powder Is Good For You
Now that we’ve gone through our picks for the best-tasting protein powders, we don’t want to ignore why you should also be giving them all a try.
Protein powders have many different benefits, for everyone from the casual dieter to the gym rat. Here are the top ways protein powders are great for you and your body.
It Builds Muscle and Strength
Protein powders are popular aids in building either muscle mass or lean muscle, especially in adults who use them while dedicated to a routine of resistance exercise training.
Protein shakes offer a wide range of amino acids, the fundamental building blocks of proteins that help achieve muscle growth goals.
Protein powders are great for building muscle and strength because muscle protein synthesis is stimulated when undergoing resistance or strength training, such as weight lifting, calisthenics, and plyometrics.
Ingesting high-quality proteins through powders has the same impact. The body easily absorbs the amino acids found in protein powders, triggering accelerated muscle synthesis.
We’ve also featured protein powders in our best muscle-building supplements article, simply because it’s a staple product that’ll help with packing on size.
It Supports Weight Loss
Many people integrate protein powder into their daily lives by using them responsibly as meal replacements. That fact alone can lead to managed weight loss by helping you reduce your daily intake of calories.
In general, researchers agree that diets rich in protein may help you lose fat, especially belly fat. So when used as part of a lower-calorie diet, protein powder may be a powerful weight-loss tool.
It Boosts Exercise Performance
Endurance and boosted performance are an important part of the effectiveness of many exercise programs. Increased performance helps you both exercise longer or exercise in effectively short bursts that require less recovery time.
Protein powders can help with that.
Several studies have shown that powders help the endurance of older athletes through increased intake of protein, and since concentrated protein sources help with weight loss, that loss of weight tends to come with lasting longer while exercising.
It Reduces Hunger and Cravings
Protein in any form has been shown to help curb appetites. It usually helps you feel satisfied for longer, whether it’s through protein-rich foods or especially through mega protein-packed powders.
That’s thought to occur in part because protein powders release GLP-1 and PYY, two prominent satiety hormones.
Other studies have shown that a steady intake of protein may lead to reduced hunger throughout the day. One study focused on protein powders and hunger even found that intake of a whey protein drink actively lowered the appetite of participants.
The Best Tasting Protein Powder Flavors
We’re not going to go as far as calling ourselves protein powder connoisseurs, but we have tried dozens of dozens of different flavors. Here are the consistent standouts.
Whether it’s “plain” vanilla, vanilla creme, or vanilla ice cream, the subtle simplicity of everyone’s favorite baked goods ingredient works extremely well in protein powders.
It’s no wonder that vanilla continues to be Americans’ favorite ice cream flavor. It may just be our favorite protein powder flavor as well.
Ah, chocolate. It’s hard to go wrong with any type of chocolate, and that goes for protein powders as well.
Everything from less intense milk chocolate flavor to dark chocolate powders satisfied even the most hardcore chocolate fan in us.
Cookies and Cream
We can’t say that we expected there to be numerous cookie and cream flavors offered by our top protein powder manufacturers, but we aren’t going to complain about it.
The classic pairing is a natural fit for protein powders — satisfying, filling, and just plain yummy.
Naturally delicious in protein powders, whether it’s by itself or paired with chocolate, peanut butter, long revered for being rich in protein, tastes just as great in powder form as it does with jelly.
The Different Types of Protein Powder
When you’re researching the best protein powder for you, you’ll encounter different types of proteins utilized in a wide range of products. Here are some of the most common.
Whey protein is used in the majority of powders in our top-taste list. That’s because it’s revered for containing numerous essential amino acids that the body takes in extremely quickly.
Whey protein is also perfect for increasing strength, losing body fat, and gaining muscle.
Whey protein is composed of a mix of proteins that are isolated from whey, the liquid part of milk that is separated when making cheese. Whey typically takes up 20% of watery milk.
Whey protein is also used in protein bars and meal replacements.
Consistently used as whey protein, casein protein is also derived from milk and also contains many essential amino acids.
While the liquid substance when creating milk is whey protein, casein protein is created when adding additional acids or enzymes to heated milk in cheese production.
The enzymes cause milk’s natural caseins to become solid and separate from the liquid substance.
Casein protein is popularly used in protein powders but also in food like cottage cheese.
If you have desirable elastic skin and healthy joints, you can thank collagen protein. It’s found everywhere in your body, from your blood and bones to your muscles.
The bad news is that as we age collagen starts to break down. That makes collagen protein supplements popular in powder, liquid, and pill forms.
Collagen is considered essential to keeping yourself healthy and is commonly believed to help with joint pain, keep skin hydrated, and possibly lower blood pressure.
Eggs are good sources of protein, which comes from both the yolk and the egg white, the latter of which contains as many as 40 different types of proteins.
Ovalbumin is the main protein found in eggs, but other essential nutrients are found in eggs, including high levels of calcium, potassium, vitamin A, and beta carotene.
Egg protein is also popular as a dairy-free alternative to other forms of protein, such as whey.
What to Mix Your Protein Powder With — and How to Make a Tasty Protein Shake
Many protein powder manufacturers leave the mixing decision up to you; there’s no one best way to mix your powder. There are many options, and many come down to your taste preference.
You’ll need a cup, a shaker, a water bottle, or a cup that has been specially designed for shaking (they’re offered by many of the companies that make protein powders).
In addition to a scoop or two of the powder (follow the recommendations of the manufacturer), you can use everything from cold water and skim milk to plant-based milk, coconut water, or dairy-free milk to create the protein powder drink or shake of your choice.
All you do is secure a lid and give it a big shake.
If you’re trying out a new powder, it may take a few attempts to get the shaking and taste profile right.
What else you put into your shake can also factor into what you mix your protein powder with.
If you use fruit or ice, you may find almond milk to be best for taste and mixing. If you don’t use ice or prefer a less intense flavor in the morning, you may want to use just chilled water.
What’s the Best Time To Take Protein Powder?
It depends on your individual fitness goals and your health.
Since whey protein is quickly absorbed, it’s an ingredient in some of the most versatile protein powders, taken whenever people are working out or in deep training.
On the other hand, protein powder primarily composed of casein protein is often taken at night, since it takes longer to be absorbed in the body.
Your goals matter. If you prioritize losing weight, you may consider taking protein powder as snacks between meals since powder can curb hunger and lead to less calorie consumption.
Others like to take protein powder during meals where natural protein intake is minimal. Endurance athletes often take protein powders during exercise or immediately after a workout.
How Long Does Protein Powder Last?
The shelf life of protein powder varies.
Research is somewhat lacking, but several studies have indicated that whey protein powders generally last between 9 to 19 months when it’s stored properly.
However, the shelf life for most protein powders is extended up to two years through various additives.
Is your protein powder past its expiration date? It’s usually not a problem to consume them shortly after the expiration date since they are low moisture and thus not likely to foster bacteria.
However, when protein powders age, they tend to start losing their protein content.
Is Protein Powder Bad For You?
No. Protein powders are popular supplements with several benefits to your health and consuming them is not harmful.
They are mostly natural, concentrated protein supplements that come from plant or animal sources.
Protein powders are safe and beneficial ways to increase your protein intake on a daily basis, whether you’re looking to build muscle strength, lose weight, or simply need assistance making sure you meet the recommended protein intake.
The Bottom Line
There are hundreds of different types of protein powders available, so they are clearly not all created equal. That is especially true when it comes to taste.
Consider our top 12 tasting protein powders for a delicious supplement to your daily diet or if you’re looking to meet new fitness goals — and don’t forget to try both long-popular flavors like chocolate and vanilla and some of the more adventurous options, like cinnamon churro or fruity cereal.
This article has been provided by Huge Supplements, a paid advertiser. Content has not been independently verified by Los Angeles magazine.