Protein Shake Recipes That Are Better Than Packaged Ones

Whether you’re looking for some post-workout fuel or just need a fast grab-and-go meal, a purchased protein shake is super convenient. While they might contain plenty of the namesake nutrient, purchased beverages also come loaded with sugar. On top of that, the flavors aren’t always delicious. Chocolate and vanilla might be safe choices, but anything fruity tastes completely artificial. Break the bottle habit with one of these seven protein shake recipes you can make in your own kitchen. They take just minutes to make, and deliver flavor that goes above and beyond anything packaged.

1. Honey and Walnut Spiced Protein Shake

Walnuts

Walnuts, an ingredient for one of our favorite protein shake recipes | iStock.com

If you find yourself bored by the same rotation of chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry flavors in your post-workout shake, this recipe will wake up your taste buds. Minimalist Baker’s honey-nut beverage, inspired by a recipe on Dashing Dish, gets protein from cottage cheese and a little bit of protein powder. Walnuts offer a delicious toasty flavor, while the cardamom and coriander make it just a bit exotic. The method calls for drizzling the glass with honey, but you can easily skip the extra step.

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup low-fat cottage cheese
  • 2 tablespoon walntus
  • 10 to 15 ice cubes
  • ⅓ cup cold water
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • Honey, to taste, plus more for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch cardamom
  • Pinch coriander
  • ½ teaspoon xanthan gum, if desired

Directions: Blend all ingredients together until smooth. Add more ice to thicken, or water to thin. Drizzle glass with honey, if desired, and pour shake into glass. Serve.

2. Strawberry Protein Smoothie

strawberry smoothie

Strawberry protein smoothie | iStock.com

A classic strawberry-banana smoothie is always a treat, and can also be a pretty great way to gulp down some protein. This version from The Café Sucré Farine is one of our favorite protein shake recipes thanks to great taste and plenty of satisfying Greek yogurt. Keep in mind this method is pretty lean, so you may want to add a scoop of almond butter to give it a little bit more staying power and a dose of healthy fat.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups strawberries, hulled, and sliced
  • 1½ cups Greek yogurt
  • ½ medium ripe banana
  • ½ cup almond milk
  • 2 teaspoons honey, plus more
  • 1 cup crushed ice

Directions: Combine berries, yogurt, banana, almond milk, and honey in a blender. Blend on high until smooth. Add ice cubes, and blend 1 minute. Taste, and sweeten with additional honey, if desired. Pour into two glasses, and serve.

3. Healthy Chocolate Peanut Butter Milkshake

chocolate smoothie

Chocolate peanut butter milkshake | iStock.com

If you like peanut butter cups, then you’ll love this power-packed shake from Lauren’s Latest. It tastes like dessert but gives you all the nutrients you want in a post-sweat session drink. The secret is cottage cheese. Though it might sound like an odd addition, the creamy ingredient packs 14.4 grams of protein in ½ cup. While cheese is sometimes frowned upon for its high sodium content, it’s a great way to replace electrolytes after exercising.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup fat-free cottage cheese
  • 1 scoop chocolate protein powder
  • 1½ tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons sweetener of choice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1 scoop ice
  • Splash unsweetened almond milk
  • Chopped peanuts

Directions: Combine all ingredients, except for peanuts, in a blender. Blend until completely smooth. Divide between two glasses, and garnish with chopped peanuts. Serve.

4. Banana-Cinnamon Protein Smoothie

banana smoothie, dates, nuts

Banana-cinnamon protein smoothie | iStock.com

Not everyone who likes bananas enjoys pairing them with chocolate. This smoothie from Maxine Ali pairs the fruit with cinnamon and almond butter for a different, but still delicious, flavor profile. It’s also a great choice for those with dietary restrictions, because it can be made vegan as long as you get the right kind of protein powder. If you don’t have frozen bananas, you can use a room temperature fruit and add a few ice cubes, but the texture won’t be quite as creamy.

Ingredients:

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 to 2 medjool dates
  • ½ to ¾ cup almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter
  • Small handful sunflower seeds
  • 1 scoop protein powder
  • 1 heaping teaspoon cinnamon

Directions: Combine all ingredients in a blender, and blend until creamy. Add additional liquid to thin, if desired. Serve.

5. Almond Joy Protein Smoothie

chocolate coconut shake

Almond Joy protein smoothie | iStock.com

If an afternoon at the gym spikes your sweet tooth, this candy bar-inspired shake from Oh Sweet Basil is one of the best choices. It’ll calm your craving for something sugary while still giving you plenty of protein to help your muscles recover. It’s certainly a better choice than an actual candy bar.

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup coconut-flavored Greek yogurt
  • 1 scoop chocolate protein powder
  • ¼ cup skim milk
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons sliced almonds, plus more
  • 1 handful ice
  • Chocolate shavings
  • Shredded coconut

Directions: Add yogurt, protein powder, milk ice, and 1 to 2 tablespoons almonds to a blender, and blend until smooth. Top with more almonds, chocolate shavings, and coconut, if desired. Serve at once.

6. Blueberry Pineapple Oatmeal Smoothie

blueberry smoothie

Blueberry pineapple oatmeal smoothie | iStock.com

For an easy way to get a dose of fruit in your diet, give this delectable smoothie from Honest Cooking a try. You’ll get tons of antioxidants from the berries, and a serious amount of vitamin C from pineapple. Adding oatmeal to this blended beverage ups the fiber, but you might want to leave it out if you’re drinking this directly after hitting the gym; too much post-workout fiber might lead to an upset stomach.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 banana
  • ½ pineapple, cut into chunks
  • 10 ice cubes
  • ½ cup almond milk
  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • ½ cup Greek yogurt

Directions: Add all ingredients to blender. Blend until smooth. Pour into glasses, and serve.

7. Tangy Vanilla Mango Protein Smoothie

mango smoothie

Vanilla mango protein smoothie | iStock.com

Turn mango into a protein-filled smoothie with Apple of My Eye’s four-ingredient recipe. The recipe calls for frozen mango, so it’ll stay nice and frosty without getting watered down by ice. For a fun twist, you can even turn this base into popsicles. Just pour the mixture into small cups, load into the freezer, and then add sticks after an hour or two.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup frozen mango
  • ⅔ cup orange juice
  • 1 cup nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions: Combine all ingredients in a blender, and blend until smooth. Pour into two glasses, and serve.