You may be wondering what you can mix your protein powder with that best aligns with your nutrition goals, whether you’re bulking, cutting, or just looking to maintain weight.
What can you mix with protein powder? If you are losing weight, almond milk or hot water is the lowest-calorie option. A higher calorie option, good for those bulking, is chocolate milk. Around a workout, apple juice, orange juice, and Gatorade are the best high carb choice. If you want a filling snack or meal, I recommend greek yogurt or eggs.
I’ve tried mixing protein powder with just about everything…
In this article, I discuss the pros and cons of each option and what you need to consider before you decide what you can mix protein powder with.
What To Mix Protein Powder With?
Here are 13 examples of what you can mix with protein powder:
- Chocolate milk
- Almond milk
- Coconut milk
- Soy milk
- Apple juice
- Orange juice
- Hot Water
Learn more about Protein Powder With Milk or Water: Which Is Better?
Milk is good to mix with protein powder if you want the best taste and texture. Your shake will have a creamy taste and a thicker, milkshake-like consistency.
Milk will also help you to feel full longer after you consume it because of the additional fat and protein it provides. This makes it a good option for a high-protein snack or light meal. This extra protein is also helpful in helping you reach your daily protein goal, in particular, if you have multiple shakes per day.
It’s important to pick the type of milk that best aligns with your goals. If you are looking to reduce body fat, lower-fat milk like skim or 1% will have fewer calories. If you are looking to gain mass, whole milk will be higher in calories without making you feel as full.
If you are lactose intolerant you can still enjoy a protein shake with milk, just ensure you purchase lactose-free milk from the grocery store.
Want to learn more? Check out our complete guide on Mixing Protein Powder With Milk.
2. Chocolate Milk
Chocolate milk is one of the highest-calorie options to mix with your protein powder. The extra calories primarily come from sugar, which means that it won’t be very filling. This is beneficial for someone that finds it difficult to eat enough calories.
If you are looking to lose weight, though, there are lower-calorie and more filling options that are better to mix with your protein powder.
Chocolate milk is high in sugar which can be helpful around a workout. Drinking it half an hour before your workout will give you an extra boost in energy while consuming it after your workout will start the process of recovery and muscle repair.
It’s not a replacement for your pre or post-workout meal but is a good addition.
Want to learn more? Check out our complete guide on Mixing Protein Powder With Chocolate Milk.
3. Almond Milk
Almond milk is a great lower-calorie option to mix with your protein that still gives your shake a thick and creamy taste.
Almond milk is dairy-free, making it a good option for anyone that has a dairy allergy or is vegan.
Sweetened almond milk has extra carbohydrates so it’s great to mix with your protein around a workout. I recommend drinking it 30 minutes before a workout to provide extra energy or on the way home from the gym to start the recovery process. It doesn’t have enough calories to replace a pre-or post-workout meal but is a good addition.
When you are mixing almond milk with protein at a time that isn’t around a workout, unsweetened is a better option as it has fewer calories.
Want to learn more? Check out our complete guide on Mixing Whey Protein With Almond Milk.
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4. Coconut Milk
Coconut milk is a dairy-free milk option that when mixed with protein powder will give you a thick and creamy texture similar to that of milk. This makes it a great option for anyone that can’t consume dairy or lactose.
Coconut milk is also higher in fat, which helps to keep you full for longer after you eat. This is especially helpful for anyone looking to lose weight as it can keep you more full and satisfied between meals.
It’s important to pay attention to the amount of fat in the coconut milk you are choosing. The coconut milk that comes in a carton is a great choice with a moderate amount of fat. Coconut milk that comes in a can is very high in fat and does not have the right texture to mix with protein powder.
5. Soy Milk
Mixing protein powder with soy milk will help keep you full for longer after eating as it has protein and fat that slows down digestion. This makes it a great snack or light meal. It is also an easy way to increase your protein intake, especially if you have multiple shakes per day.
Soy milk is a lower calorie option to mix your protein powder with that will still give your shake a thick and creamy taste. Unsweetened soy milk is generally best as it’s lower in calories but sweetened is better if you’re consuming it around a workout.
Soy milk has isoflavones, which can interfere with our own hormone functions. It’s recommended to consume 50-90mg per day (about 2.5 cups of soy milk). If you are eating other soy products, which is likely if you are a vegetarian or vegan, mixing protein with soy milk may not be best as it could put you over this limit.
Soy milk is lactose-free and would be a good option for someone that is lactose intolerant or has a dairy allergy.
Want to learn more? Check out our complete guide on Mixing Whey Protein With Soy Milk.
6. Apple Juice
Apple juice is good to mix with protein powder if you don’t like the taste of protein shakes. You can mix unflavoured protein powder with apple juice without any change to the flavor.
Apple juice is high in sugar and carbohydrates which makes it a good option before or after a workout. The sugar will give you an extra boost of energy before your workout and will aid in recovery post-workout.
The extra carbohydrates make it high in calories without being very filling. This is beneficial for anyone looking to put on extra mass but has difficulty eating enough. It’s not a good option for someone looking to improve body composition as those calories would be more filling coming from food.
Want to learn more? Check out our complete guide on Mixing Whey Protein With Apple Juice.
7. Orange Juice
Orange juice is a higher-calorie liquid to mix with your protein powder. The extra calories are primary from sugar, which means it won’t be very filling. This is helpful if you are having trouble consuming enough calories in your day but isn’t a good option if you are looking to lose weight.
The sugar is helpful around a workout, however. Consuming it 30 minutes before, or during a workout will give you an extra boost of energy. Post-workout it’s great to sip on while you’re headed home, starting the muscle recovery and repair process.
If you aren’t into the taste of protein shakes, mix it with unflavoured protein. This will just leave you with the flavor of the orange juice. My personal favorite is to mix with vanilla protein powder, it tastes similar to a creamsicle.
Want to learn more? Check out our complete guide on Mixing Whey Protein With Orange Juice.
Gatorade is a very flexible option to mix with protein powder as it’s easy to customize to your taste preference and nutrition goals.
Gatorade sugar-free has very few calories making it a great option for anyone losing body fat. Regular Gatorade is high in sugar and is best for someone having trouble eating enough calories or around for a pre-or post-workout option.
The sugar in Gatorade provides a quick boost of energy either before or during a workout. Post-workout, it’s a great way to get carbs and protein in quickly to optimize recovery. Gatorade also contains electrolytes that are also beneficial for increased hydration.
Gatorade can be mixed with unflavoured protein powder if you prefer tasting just the Gatorade. However, some flavor combinations of protein powder and Gatorade are quite tasty. My personal favorite is orange Gatorade and vanilla protein powder, it tastes similar to a creamsicle. Strawberry protein powder also mixes well with fruit punch Gatorade.
Want to learn more? Check out our complete guide on Mix Whey Protein With Gatorade.
9. Hot Water
Hot water is the lowest calorie option to mix with protein powder, perfect for those looking to lose weight. By mixing your protein powder with hot water, you can create a healthy, high protein hot chocolate option that satisfies your sweet cravings.
Hot water is also a good option for continuing to consume whey protein during the winter months when a cold protein shake is just not as appetizing.
Whey protein will clump if added to water that is too hot so it’s important to mix it properly. It’s important to first dissolve the protein in a room temperature liquid before mixing it into hot water. Stir well until it’s completely dissolved then slowly add your warm, not boiling, water while constantly stirring. A rapid mixer can be helpful with this process.
Want to learn more? Check out our complete guide on Mixing Whey Protein With Hot Water.
Mixing collagen with protein powder creates an extra high protein shake, which is helpful for anyone that struggles to hit their protein goals.
Since it is liquid, it’s not a very filling way to consume a lot of protein. This makes it a good option for someone bulking that wants a less filling protein source but for someone losing weight, those calories are better consumed in the form of whole food.
If you are eating collagen, mixing it with protein powder is recommended as it will turn the collagen into a complete protein, giving you the muscle-building benefits you are likely after.
Want to learn more? Check out our complete guide on Mixing Whey Protein With Collagen.
11. Greek Yogurt
Mixing protein powder with Greek yogurt is a good way to turn your protein shake into a high-protein snack or light meal. Greek yogurt is not only high in protein but also has fat, which will slow down your digestion and keep you feeling full for longer after you eat. This is especially beneficial for anyone losing weight.
Greek yogurt comes in a range of milk fat percentages that will impact the calories so it’s important to choose what aligns with your goals. A lower fat option is recommended if you are losing weight or if you are eating it around a workout. A higher fat option is best if you are looking to put on muscle mass and struggle to eat enough calories.
Greek yogurt is not a good option if you can’t or don’t eat dairy. If you are lactose intolerant, however, there are lactose-free Greek yogurt options at most grocery stores.
Want to learn more? Check out our complete guide on Mixing Whey Protein With Greek Yogurt.
Mixing whey protein with cereal is a great way to switch up your usual protein shake and turn it into a more filling snack or meal. Adding protein into your cereal in the morning will create a filling breakfast keeping you from the dreaded mid-morning crash that has you reaching for those high-calorie snacks.
The cereal will add carbs to your protein powder, perfect for around a workout. Consuming it before will give you consistent energy throughout your workout while consuming it after will help with muscle repair and recovery.
Cereal is a high carb way to consume your protein powder and isn’t likely the best option for someone looking to reduce body fat. This is a better meal choice for pre-or post-workout or for someone that is bulking and struggling to eat enough calories.
Want to learn more? Check out our complete guide on Mixing Whey Protein With Cereal.
Mixing whey with eggs is an easy way to make your usual protein shake into a full meal. Eggs provide significant variety with how you mix them with whey. My two favourite options are with egg whites in a smoothie or with oats and cottage cheese to make a protein pancake.
If you are losing body fat, egg whites are the best option to mix with protein powder as they are high in protein but low in calories. If you are maintaining or looking to increase muscle mass, whole eggs in a protein pancake are best as it provides a meal with a well-balanced macronutrient profile.
Before a workout, I recommend sticking to egg whites. Having a fat-free option around a workout will ensure your body can quickly use carbs to get the energy it needs. After a workout, whole eggs are a great option as fat is beneficial in the recovery process.
Want to learn more? Check out our complete guide on Mixing Whey Protein With Eggs.
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What Else Can You Put In Protein Powder?
People following the ketogenic diet, or those that need to find more ways to include healthy fats in their diet, often mix certain types of oil with their protein shakes. Read more in the following articles:
- Can I Add Olive Oil To Protein Shakes? (5 Pros + 3 Cons)
- Can I Add MCT Oil To Protein Shakes? (4 Benefits + 2 Cons)
- Can You Mix Whey Protein With Ice Cream? (Yes, Here’s How)
- Can You Mix Whey Protein With Alcohol?
- Can You Put Oats In A Protein Shake? (6 Reasons Explained)
Other Whey Protein Resources
- Protein Bars vs. Shakes: Pros, Cons, & Which Is Best?
- Can You Dry Scoop Protein? (A Registered Dietician Answers)
- Are Ready-Made Protein Shakes Good For You? (Ask A Dietician)
- Does Protein Powder Have Caffeine? (30+ Brands Inspected)
- Why Is Protein Powder So Sweet? How To Make It Less Sweet
- How Many Calories Are In A Protein Shake? (9 Examples)
- Can Teenagers Take Protein Powder? (What The Science Says)
- Does Protein Powder Have Carbs? 8 Types of Protein Explained
- Can You Mix Creatine With Protein Powder? (Yes, Here’s How)
- 1 or 2 Scoops of Protein Powder: How Much Is Right For You?
About The Author
Laura Semotiuk is a Precision Nutrition Level 1 certified nutrition coach. She works with athletes and active individuals looking to improve performance and develop healthy nutritional habits and behaviors. She has a passion for cooking, meal prepping, and creating simple and healthy recipes. You can connect with Laura on Instagram or through her Website.