What is up my Fit Foodie Squad! After lots of taste testing, baking testing, and smoothie testing, we’ve finally nailed down our list of the best protein powders (whey and plant-based). I’m sure the first thing you’re thinking is…who paid you to do this test?
Truth is…no one did!
We wanted to create a completely unbiased protein powder review for you guys to find the best tasting protein powder (and cleanest!) when it comes to nutrition profile, baking, and smoothies. Why? Because we’ve been there when it comes to feeling completely lost finding the right protein powder for you. Maybe you want to bake with your protein powder or maybe you need a gluten-free, plant-based protein powder specifically for smoothies. There are HUNDREDS (if not thousands) out there and we did the dirty work for you! Read on to find out how we performed this protein powder test and to find out what our top whey protein powder picks are as well as our top plant-based protein powder picks are!
>> The Protein Powder Test <<
First things first. We turned to you beautiful people for protein powder recommendations. We reviewed 14 total protein powders (scroll all the way to the bottom to see the full list) because these 14 protein powders were repeated time and time again when we asked you guys what your favorite protein powders were. We know there are many different kinds of protein powder and nutrition powders out there, but for this post, we specifically focused on VANILLA plant based protein powder and VANILLA whey protein powder. We found that anything chocolate -flavored was sort of masked by the chocolate flavor itself and that with vanilla we could sense the true flavor and texture.
When looking for the best protein powder, there is so much to consider. What does the nutrition profile look like? Is it gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, etc.? How many grams of protein are there per serving? How much sugar is involved? Is there stevia? We put together a protein powder test so that we could rank each protein powder on a 5-star system based off of a few qualities. Here’s what we considered when testing every protein powder…
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- Nutrition Profile: We broke down all of the protein powders to see if they were gluten-free, soy-free, vegan, organic, non-GMO, grass-fed, etc. You know, the important stuff about the product!
- Protein/serving: This is the number of grams of protein you actually get in 1 serving of the protein powder.
- Calories/serving: This is the number of calories consumed in 1 serving of the protein powder.
- Cost/serving: This is the cost of the protein powder in relation to serving. We used cost/serving so that we could compare the cost to all other protein powders in the market.
- Sugar/sweetener content: We looked at both the number of grams of sugar in each protein powder as well as what kind of sweetener was used. Lots of people are sensitive to stevia, so we made a note if the protein powder included stevia as well as what sugar sources or sweeteners were in the ingredient list.
- Smoothie taste test — what is the flavor, sweetness, and texture like when blended in a smoothie? We used a very basic smoothie recipe of frozen strawberries and almond milk so that we could really taste the protein powder.
- Baking taste test — what is the flavor, sweetness, and texture like when baked into a muffin? We used our banana chocolate chip muffins (without chocolate chips) as our muffin recipe. We separated the batter into 12 muffins and then mixed in a teaspoon of each protein powder right into the individual muffin.
The last two in this list are very special because obviously taste and texture matter almost more than the rest of the qualities. When we incorporate protein powder into our everyday life, we found that we mostly blended it into smoothies OR used a scoop or two in baked goods such as cookies or muffins.
>> The Winners <<
There was a clear winner in each category, whey, and plant based, and I wanted to call them out in a separate section so that they didn’t get lost. Continue reading below to get a full review of these two powders plus two more in each category!
>> Plant Based Protein Powder <<
Hello, my plant based protein powder lovers! Below you will find our 3 favorite plant based, vegan protein powder recommendations. We love plant based protein powder specifically baking. All three of these suggestions are organic, non-GMO, gluten-free, and vegan.
22G protein // 0g sugar // 110 calories // $1.56 per serving// vegan // gluten-free // soy-free // non-gmo // organic
Garden of Life Vanilla Protein Powder was our all-around winner for this entire test! We absolutely loved the true vanilla flavor, the price-point (on the cheaper end of all of them!) and nutrition profile. There is 0 grams of sugar and 22 grams of protein in every serving AND being a plant based protein powder, it doesn’t taste chalky or earthy at all! It was perfectly sweet in the smoothie and left the muffins moist and very fluffy. We HIGHLY recommend this product for sure consider it the best tasting protein powder on the market. Buy now on Amazon for $31.25 (20 servings)
18g protein // 0g sugar// 100 calories// $1.19 per serving // vegan // gluten free// non-GMO// no artificial flavor // organic
A close second was Sun Warrior (Warrior Blend) Organic Protein Powder. It has 4g less protein than GOL, but we love that the vanilla flavor wasn’t super overpowering. The price point of Sun Warrior is on point and it’s widely available everywhere. This product is vegan, gluten-free, non-GMO, and organic. It tasted great in smoothies and baked really well. Buy now on Amazon for $35.99 (30 servings)
Aloha – 3.5 stars
18g protein // 4g sugar// 140 calories//$1.87 per serving// organic// vegan// non GMO// gluten free// dairy free// no stevia
I’ve been a longtime Aloha user and I’m so glad it scored in the top 3 of plant based protein powders. While Aloha has 4g of sugar, it comes from coconut sugar because this product does NOT include stevia. I know lots of you are sensitive to the flavor of stevia, so if that is you…Aloha is your girl! We love this plant based protein powder in smoothies because it was relatively flavorless and had a great texture. Buy now on Amazon for $28.49 (15 servings)
>> Whey Protein Powder <<
Whey girl wheyyy! When looking for the best whey protein powder we not only looked at flavor and price, but how the animals were raised and fed. Whey protein is great because it’s typically not chalky and has a great ice cream-like flavor. Our top picks are made with few, naturally high-protein ingredients Check out our favorite whey protein powder recommendations below!
SFH Pure Whey Vanilla Protein Powder – 4.25 stars
24g protein // 1g sugar// 130 calories// $1.66 per serving// gluten-free// non-GMO// no artificial flavors // grass-fed // all-natural
Never heard of SFH? We hadn’t either until one of our favorite gyms in Minneapolis, Alchemy, started selling it. SFH IS SO GOOD. Like, handsdown our #1 pick for whey protein powder. SFH has 24g of protein and only 1g of sugar. In both the smoothie and baking test, we found that SFH didn’t have a super overpowering flavor and the vanilla tasted very natural. This product is made with 100% grass-fed cows and is a super clean product full of BCAA’s and Omega 3’s. Buy now on Amazon for $49.99 (30 servings)
21g protein // 3g sugar// 110 calories// $1.24 per serving// gluten free// non GMO // grass-fed // organic
Tera’s Whey is such a great product for its price point. Out of our top 6 picks, it is the second cheapest at $1.24/serving. Tera’s Why has 21g of protein and is made from grass-fed, organic cows. We loved the subtly sweet vanilla flavor and the fact that it wasn’t overly sweet! Buy now on Amazon for $29.82 (24 servings)
26g protein // 3g sugar // 140 calories // $2.68 per serving // organic // non GMO // gluten free // soy free
Even though Organic Valley comes in at the most expensive of the 6 protein powders, we still love this product! It definitely came in as the best whey protein powder to bake with and it was slightly sweet (but with good flavor) in the smoothie test. This product is organic and antibiotic-free and gives you 26g of protein per serving, the highest of all 6 proteins! Buy now on Amazon for $26.85 (10 servings)
>> Complete List of Protein Powder We Reviewed <<
Before I let you go, I wanted to share our complete list of protein powders that we tested along with the 5-star rating we gave them and a few notes. Like I mentioned above, we got all of these recommendations straight from the Fit Foodie community. We know there are many that we did not test, but girl, we can’t test them all! This list is from 5-star (best) to 1-star worst.
- Garden of Life – 1st place – 5 stars – see above for complete review
- SFH – 2nd place – 4.25 stars – see above for complete review
- Organic Valley – 3rd place – 4 stars – see above for complete review
- Sun Warrior – 3rd place – 4 stars – see above for complete review
- Tera’s Whey – 3rd place – 4 stars – see above for complete review
- Aloha – 4th place – 3.5 stars – see above for complete review
- Vega Sport – 5th place – 2.75 stars
- Amazing Grass – 6th place – 2.5 stars – While this one provides a lot of nutrition, it left both the smoothie and muffins very chalky and grainy.
- Tone It Up – 7th place – 2 stars – Tastes like fake vanilla and very very sweet. The monk fruit is overpowering and there is only 15g protein per serving.
- Trader Joe’s – 7th place – 2 stars – Flavor was good, but the ingredient list was not super clean and included cane sugar.
- Nuzest – 8th place – 1.5 stars – Metallicky aftertaste and overall bad flavor.
- Orgain – 8th place – 1.5 stars – Tangy/weird aftertaste, grainy, and left muffins dry and flakey.
- ON Gold Standard – 9th place – 1 star – Tasted like chemicals and fake vanilla. Would not recommend.
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