Blog Nutrition Recipes 19 Protein Shake Recipes for Weight Loss, Muscle Gain, and Delicious Flavors

19 Protein Shake Recipes for Weight Loss, Muscle Gain, and Delicious Flavors


Protein shake recipes aren’t only for bodybuilders. They have a variety of benefits that can help your wellness goals. Are you looking to shed a few pounds? Would you like to add different flavors to your protein smoothie diet?


Regardless of your goals, you’ll find several mouth-watering protein shake recipes on this list. However, let’s first understand what makes the best and healthiest protein smoothies. 

What Should I Mix in My Protein Shake?

Protein shake recipes can include any of the following high-protein sources:

  • Protein powder: whey, casein, soy, hemp, pea, and mixed protein (15)
  • Dairy: Greek yogurt, milk, and cottage cheese (18)
  • Nuts or nut butter: almonds, cashews, peanuts, pistachios, and walnuts (19)
  • Seeds: chia, flax, hemp, sesame, pumpkin, and sunflower (22)
  • Vegan: tofu, black beans, cannellini beans, oats, and buckwheat (23)
  • Non-dairy: protein-enriched almond or oat milk and ripple milk (16)

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Protein Shake Recipes 101: How to Make the Best Shake!

Let’s discover how to make protein shakes healthier with other additives and take a look at the benefits of protein shakes. We’ll also answer some common questions many people have before diving into the delicious selections. 

Healthy Protein Shake Additives

Protein smoothie recipes can be bland if you aimlessly add the same powders and ingredients. Instead, you can add different protein sources instead of powder or add ingredients bursting with flavor or benefits. Here are some high-protein additives you’ll enjoy:

  • Fruit: avocados, bananas, guavas, kiwis, apricots, berries, and grapefruit (13)
  • Vegetables: spinach, kale, cauliflower, and dandelion greens (3

Tip: Use frozen, pre-cooked veggies for a nicer consistency. The fruit can be either fresh or frozen.

Boost Protein Shakes With Supplementary Ingredients

In addition, you should eat the necessary macronutrients to get the best out of your protein shake. Nutritionists suggest eating macronutrients such as carbs, protein, fat, and fiber together (12). Focus on complex carbs for slow energy conversion and to add healthy fats to your shakes.

However, fiber is an essential macronutrient that can keep you feeling fuller for longer and prevent glucose spikes. Here are some healthy fat, fiber, and complex carb ideas to add to protein shakes: 

  • Apples
  • Avocados
  • Bananas
  • Berries
  • Dark chocolate
  • Nut butter
  • Nuts
  • Oatmeal
  • Sweet potatoes

Add More Flavor for Faster Muscle Recovery

Parkview Health states that foods with anti-inflammatory benefits may help speed up muscle recovery and reduce delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) following workouts (11). Cacao and turmeric are some of the nicest flavors, but ginger, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper also have anti-inflammatory benefits (4). In addition, cayenne pepper will add a new flavor. 

See also
21 Chili Pepper Benefits For Health And Weight Loss

protein shake recipes for weight loss

Use the Right Sweeteners

Protein shake recipes containing fruit should be sweet enough. However, you may need some sugar alternatives to sweeten the deal with other smoothies. Fresh or frozen fruit is the healthiest option, but alternatively, the Cleveland Clinic recommends using limited amounts of the top natural sugars (24): 

  • Agave nectar
  • Maple syrup
  • Raw honey
  • Raw sugar

Is it Better to Put Milk or Water in a Protein Shake?

Protein shake recipes with milk may be better if you want to consume more protein. A cup of 2% skim milk adds 8 g of protein (18). Water doesn’t contain any protein, carbs, fat, or fiber, but it’s an essential macronutrient and it’s helpful for weight loss (12). However, milk provides the protein you need for muscle gain. 

How Much Milk for 2 Scoops of Whey Protein?

A good amount of milk is 6-12 ounces. However, the sweet spot is eight ounces of milk for each 25-gram scoop of protein powder. If you’d rather keep your calorie content down, substitute milk for water.  

Can You Use Dairy-Free Protein Powder?

Dairy-free protein powder is an excellent alternative for vegans or anyone who wants to lose weight or gain muscle while limiting their animal product intake (9). Vegans have a variety of ways to add more protein to their shakes, but you could also use dairy-free powders. 

Can I Drink 1 Protein Shake Every Day?

Yes, as long as you don’t have any medical conditions where you need to limit protein intake. It is also recommended that you follow the serving instructions on the package (29). You should drink the shake after working out to help your muscles recover faster. 

How to Get More Protein Daily

Grab one of our low-fat, high-protein snacks when you feel hungry between meals (2). The low-fat snack options will keep you on track when you’re losing weight. This helps if you struggle to stay feeling full between meals or simply want to promote muscle protein synthesis.  

Add a Meal Plan to Lose More Weight

Finally, our 7-day protein diet plan for weight loss can help you get on the road to achieving your goals(1). It also helps you balance your meals with the other macronutrients to ensure you have everything you need to lose weight or build lean muscle mass. 

Read more: 4 Healthy Crockpot Recipes Anyone Can Make.

5 Protein Shake Recipes for Weight Loss

Low-calorie protein shake recipes will do wonders for weight loss. Let’s stick to recipes with fewer than 300 calories. It is also helpful to follow a workout plan to aid weight loss when drinking protein shakes (28). The recipes and macros are courtesy of Women’s Health, Get Inspired Every Day, and Chocolate Covered Katie (27, 14, 6). 

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Mustard Greens Benefits, Nutrition Facts, Side Effects, And Meal Ideas

chocolate protein shake recipes

Avocado Spinach Green Smoothie (27)

This protein-rich smoothie recipe uses kefir as a probiotic. At the same time, avocado and spinach are nutrient-dense ingredients, while lemon, cilantro, and ginger make it divine. 


  • 2 cups spinach
  • ⅔ cup water
  • ½ cup kefir
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 avocado
  • ½ tsp. ginger
  • 2 tbsp. cilantro
  • 1 scoop collagen powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • ¼ English cucumber
  • 1 cup seedless grapes

Macros: 4 servings, 259 calories, 43 g carbs, 6 g fat, 18 protein, and 6 g fiber

Strawberry Banana Smoothie (14)

This smoothie is a simple delight with far fewer calories than most. It contains plenty of fruit and has Greek yogurt for protein. 


  • 3 cups strawberries
  • 1 banana
  • ½ cup Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup almond milk
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • ⅛ tsp. almond extract

Macros: 2 servings, 174 calories, 33 g carbs, 2 g fat, 8 g protein, and 6 g fiber

Pink Energizer Smoothie (6)

The pink energizer smoothie allows you to choose your preferred type of protein powder.  


  • 1 small cooked beet
  • ½ banana
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp. maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp. cacoa powder
  • 1 scoop protein powder

Macros (not including protein powder): 2 servings, 127 calories, 23.9 g carbs, 2.7 g fat, 3.3 g protein, and 4.2 g fiber

Tropical Green Smoothie (14)

This smoothie is an excellent choice as it can be customized with added protein powder, chia seeds, or spirulina to increase your protein intake. 


  • 1 cup pineapple
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup mango cubes
  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 4 cups baby spinach
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract


  • 4 tbsp. chia seeds
  • 2 teaspoons spirulina
  • 2 scoops protein powder

Macros (including chia seeds and spirulina but not protein powder): 4 servings, 271 calories, 29.2 g carbs, 16.5 g fat, 6.2 g protein, and 7.6 g fiber

Vanilla Protein Frosty (6)

The vanilla frosty protein recipe has excellent macros, but it lacks fiber. You can add some buckwheat or oatmeal to get more fiber. However, the recipe is also suitable for vegans. 


  • 1 ½ cups vegan-friendly milk
  • ¾ cup silken tofu
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 3 tbsp. agave nectar

Macros: 2 servings, 84 calories, 3.3 g carbs, 4.3 g fat, 8 g protein, and 0.1 g fiber

protein shake recipes for muscle gain

5 Protein Shake Recipes for Muscle Gain

Protein shake recipes containing whey or with high protein counts will do wonders for your muscles. Combining strength training exercises with increased protein intake can help you build muscle mass (28). The recipes and macros in this section are courtesy of Men’s Health (17). 

Baked Apple Shake (17)

Fortunately, you don’t need to bake the apple slices for this protein shake. However, you can add cinnamon to improve the flavor and make it taste just like baked apple pie. 


  • 12 oz. water
  • 2 scoops whey protein powder
  • 1 sliced apple
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 tbsp. almonds
  • 1 tbsp. flaxseeds
  • 1 tbsp. sesame seeds
See also
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Macros: 1 serving, 510 calories, 36 g carbs, 15 g fat, 57 g protein, and 10 g fiber

Chocolate, Peanut Butter, and Banana Shake (17)

Peanut butter and spinach welcome nutrients into this shake, while the whey protein powder packs a powerful protein punch. 


  • 12 oz. almond milk
  • 2 scoops whey protein powder
  • 1 tbsp. cacao nibs
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 2 tbsp. peanut butter

Macros: 1 serving, 585 calories, 38 g carbs, 22 g fat, 59 g protein, and 8 g fiber

Tropical Powerhouse Shake (17)

Tropical flavors will blow you away as you enjoy a high-protein shake before or after your hardcore workout


  • 12 oz. cashew milk
  • 2 scoops whey protein powder
  • ½ banana
  • 1 cup pineapple
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 tbsp. flaxseeds
  • 2 tbsp. coconut flakes
  • ½ cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract

Macros: 1 serving, 525 calories, 46 g carbs, 12 g fat, 58 g protein, and 9 g fiber

Vanilla Pumpkin Pie Shake (17)

Who said muscle-builders can’t enjoy vanilla and pumpkin flavors? Add some cinnamon as an optional extra to kick the flavors into overdrive.


  • 12 oz. Greek yogurt
  • 2 scoops whey protein
  • 3.4 cup pureed pumpkin
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp. flaxseeds
  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • 1 tbsp. walnuts 

Macros: 1 serving, 535 calories, 45 g carbs, 13 g fat, 60 g protein, and 13 g fiber

Very Berry Super Shake (17)

This protein shake is a massive hit as it blends a sweet treat with high protein content. You can further increase the protein by replacing the water with milk. 


  • 12 oz. water
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 2 cups frozen berries
  • ½ cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 scoops whey protein powder
  • 1 tbsp. walnuts
  • 1 tbsp. flaxseeds

Macros: 1 serving, 500 calories, 54 g carbs, 11 g fat, 57 g protein, and 14 g fiber

protein shake recipes without protein powder

5 Protein Shake Recipes Without Protein Powder

Some recipes don’t use protein powder or its use is optional. Other ingredients in the recipes will satisfy your protein needs. The recipes and macros in this section are courtesy of Eat the Gains and Self Magazine (10, 20). Please note that the calorie counts in some of these shakes are high enough to make them complete meals. 

Gingersnap Green Smoothie (20)

Oh snap! The ginger will blow your mind in this protein smoothie recipe. It also contains rolled oats, almond butter, vanilla extract, and spinach to pack those macros. 


  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • ⅔ cup Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup baby spinach
  • 2 tbsp. rolled oats
  • 1 tbsp. almond butter
  • ½ tsp. ginger
  • ¼ tsp. vanilla extract

Macros: 1 serving, 398 calories, 46 g carbs, 16 g fat, 23 g protein, and 8 g fiber 

Chocolate Beet Smoothie (10)

This smoothie uses cauliflower rice as a substitute for banana. It also replaces sugar with honey and uses Greek yogurt to add fiber. 


  • ½ cup almond milk
  • ¾ cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup diced cooked beets
  • 1 cup cauliflower rice
  • 2 tbsp. cacao powder
  • 1 tbsp. cashew butter
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 scoop protein powder
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Macros: 1 serving, 353 calories, 37 g carbs, 10 g fat, 30 g protein, and 9.1 g fiber

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie (20)

The pumpkin pie smoothie contains enough protein to shake things up with exciting flavors. It also uses almond milk, maple syrup, Greek yogurt, and oats as supplement ingredients.


  • ¾ cup almond milk
  • ½ cup Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup canned pumpkin
  • ⅓ cup rolled oats
  • 2 tsp. maple syrup
  • 1 ½ tbsp. almond butter
  • ¼ tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch salt 

Macros: 1 serving, 438 calories, 48 g carbs, 20 g fat, 22 g protein, and 9 g fiber

Peach and Pecan Smoothie (20)

This smoothie packs a protein punch, which is impressive as it uses no powder. However, it’s high in calories. However, the almond milk, rolled oats, and peaches make a sweet delight.


  • ¾ cup almond milk
  • ⅔ cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 peach
  • ½ banana
  • 14 pecan halves
  • 2 tbsp. rolled oats
  • ¼ tsp. vanilla extract 
  • Pinch of salt and cinnamon

Macros: 1 serving, 411 calories, 41 g carbs, 20 g fat, 21 g protein, and 7 g fiber

Cherry Chia Smoothie (20)

The cherry chia protein smoothie has a splash of fruity sweetness with supplement ingredients. It also uses almond milk, chia seeds, and avocado to meet the macros. 


  • 1 cup frozen cherries
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • ½ cup Greek yogurt
  • ¼ medium avocado
  • 2 tbsp. chia seeds
  • ¼ tsp. vanilla extract

Macros: 1 serving, 396 calories, 42 g carbs, 20 g fat, 20 g protein, and 16 g fiber

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2 Best Chocolate Protein Shake Recipes

Let’s also cover more tasty and healthy chocolate protein shake recipes because they’re quite popular.

Chocolate Protein Shake (8)

Let’s start with a simple chocolate protein shake that includes nutrient-dense ingredients. 


  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 banana
  • ¼ cup chocolate protein powder
  • 1 tbsp. cacao powder
  • ¼ cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp. cashew butter
  • ½ tbsp. flaxseeds
  • 1 cup almond milk

Macros: 2 servings, 279 calories, 37 g carbs, 10 g fat, 17 g protein, and 6 g fiber

Chocolate Protein Shake With Dutch Cacao (7)

The addition of Dutch cacao powder will make the chocolate flavor pop with bold undertones. 


  • ¾ cup vanilla almond milk
  • 1 scoop of chocolate protein powder
  • 1 tbsp. Dutch cacao powder
  • ½ banana
  • 1 tbsp. almond butter
  • ¼ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 6 ice cubes

Macros: 1 serving, 293 calories, 30 g carbs, 14 g fat, 22 g protein, and 10 g fiber

vanilla protein shake recipes

2 Best Vanilla Protein Shake Recipes

Let’s not forget to add some vanilla protein recipes to make sure you’ve got enough choices. 

See also
Bok Choy: Health Benefits, Nutrition Facts, Calories, And Side Effects

Vanilla Protein Shake With Dates (26)

Adding dates to a protein shake also sweetens it, but they add carbs and fiber. However, their addition makes it taste incredible as a complete meal. 


  • 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder
  • 3 medjool dates
  • 1 tbsp. almond butter
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 banana
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • 8 ice cubes

Macros: 1 serving, 556 calories, 92 g carbs, 14 g fat, 26 g protein, and 11 g fiber

Low-Calorie Vanilla Protein Shake (25)

Lowering the carbs and calories in flavored protein shakes requires a simplified recipe.


  • 1 cup cashew milk
  • ½ cup ice cubes
  • 1 banana
  • 1 scoop of protein powder
  • 2 tsp. honey
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract

Macros: 2 servings, 183 calories, 26 g carbs, 2 g fat, 17 g protein, and 2 g fiber

Read more:  Easy Homemade Recipes for Healthy Peanut Butter Cookies.


What liquid is best for protein shakes?

Whether you use milk or water is dependent on your goal. Protein shake recipes with milk are better for increasing your protein intake and increasing muscle gain. A cup of 2% skim milk adds 8 g of protein (18). Water is an essential macronutrient, and can be used when making lower-calorie shakes if you want to lose weight (12). 

What should you not mix with protein?

You should avoid mixing protein powder with hot liquids. The Times of India warns that protein powder reacts badly with hot drinks (5). It doesn’t mix well, releases gas, and may squirt from a blender. Instead, you should mix the powder with room-temperature water or milk before you add it to the blender with hot liquids. 

Is it OK to have 2 protein shakes a day?

Yes, as long as there is no medical reason for you to limit your protein intake. It’s also not recommended to replace meals of whole nutritious foods with shakes or smoothies. Protein shakes can be a helpful addition to your diet, particularly after a workout for helping provide extra nutrients for muscle building and recovery, but you should still eat regular balanced meals that include nutritious foods. 

Is it OK to drink protein shakes without working out?

Livestrong doesn’t recommend drinking protein shakes without exercising (28). Protein shakes and smoothies often have high calorie counts and may result in rapid weight gain if you don’t exercise. It’s okay to drink a protein shake on a rest day between workouts, but it won’t provide any real benefits if you aren’t following a workout plan to build muscle or lose weight. 

The Bottom Line

Protein shake recipes can vary according to your goals. You should choose recipes that are aligned with your goals before you blend any delicious ingredients together. It’s also important to remember to pack those macros more wherever possible. 



This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!


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