25 Creative Ideas For What To Mix Protein Powder With

Are you tired of the same old protein shake? With so many ways to mix protein powder, there’s no need for boredom. Discover a world of flavors and textures to suit your unique taste buds and fitness goals. 

As a personal trainer, I’ve spent years testing different protein shakes, and with the help of a dietitian I have come up with many clever ways to improve the experience. 

In this blog post, we’ll explore 25 creative ideas on what to mix protein powder with, from dairy and non-dairy milk options to fruit juices, smoothies, coffee, tea, and even high-protein snacks, meals, and desserts. 

Get ready to upgrade your protein game.

Key Takeaways

  • Empower your body with my personally curated, nutritious, and scrumptious protein shake recipes, crafted from a blend of dairy/non-dairy milk, exotic fruit juices & smoothies, invigorating coffee & tea, and protein-packed snacks, all tried and tested in my own kitchen and fitness regimen!
  • Create a personalized shake tailored to your unique needs with the help of whey or plant protein powder.
  • Get creative in the kitchen with tips for mixing that will guarantee you a perfect blend every time!

Dairy and Non-Dairy Milk Options

shake, chocolate shake, protien shake

One of the most common ways to enjoy protein powder is by mixing it with various types of milk. Dairy and non-dairy milk options cater to different dietary preferences and nutritional goals, providing a wide range of choices for your protein shake.

Let me share with you some of my go-to milk options, including the often-overlooked coconut milk, each with their unique benefits that I’ve not only researched but also experienced during my protein shake experiments.

Skim Milk

Skim milk is a fantastic low-fat, low-calorie option for mixing protein, making it ideal for those watching their calorie intake [1]. With only 0.5% fat content compared to regular milk’s 3.5%, skim milk helps reduce body fat while still providing the additional protein, vitamins, and minerals found in dairy milk.

Additionally, it is an excellent source of calcium, crucial for bone and teeth strength.

Almond Milk

For a dairy-free, low-calorie alternative, almond milk is the way to go. Suitable for vegans and those with lactose intolerance, almond milk offers extra beneficial ingredients and a few additional calories compared to water.

Combining almond milk with protein powder and other healthy ingredients like fruits and nuts results in a delightful and nourishing blend. It’s one of my favorite options, and I mix this up almost daily. 

Soy Milk

Soy milk, a plant-based option, is lactose-free and offers additional protein and nutrients when mixed with protein powder. It’s an excellent choice for those seeking a vegan-friendly, protein-rich milk alternative.

Furthermore, the abundance of essential amino acids in soy milk makes it an all-inclusive protein source vital for muscle development and repair [2]. In my experience, there are some people who find soy doesn’t agree with them, but it’s worth trying. 

Coconut Milk

Adding a tropical twist to your protein shake, coconut milk provides a creamy texture and delightful flavor, all while being dairy-free and rich in healthy fats. When selecting coconut milk for mixing protein powder, opt for the carton version with a moderate amount of fat, as canned coconut milk is too high in fat and lacks the right consistency for a shake.

Remember to factor in the other ingredients when preparing a protein shake with coconut milk.

Fruit Juices and Smoothies

chocolate, milkshake, milk

Fruit juices and smoothies offer a refreshing and flavorful way to mix protein powder, providing additional vitamins and nutrients for a well-rounded shake. Whether you’re looking for a pre-workout energy boost or a post-workout recovery drink, fruit juices and smoothies can deliver the nourishment you need.

Here are a few popular choices to consider.

Apple Juice

Mixing protein with apple juice adds natural sweetness and extra carbs, ideal for pre/post-workout or gaining mass. Packed with vitamins and minerals like potassium and vitamin C, apple juice supports overall health and well-being [3].

To craft a protein shake that’s not only balanced but also a treat to your taste buds, let’s blend apple juice with other nutritious ingredients, a method I’ve refined to ensure every sip is a burst of vitality and flavor, supporting your health and fitness goals.

Orange Juice

Orange juice:

  • Provides a citrusy flavor
  • Contains extra energy-boosting calories from sugar
  • Makes a great pick-me-up
  • Is not suitable for weight loss
  • Pairs well with vanilla protein powder for a creamsicle-like taste experience.

A mix of orange juice and protein powder should be consumed either 30 minutes before or during a workout for an energy lift, or after a workout to initiate muscle recovery.

Green Smoothie

Green smoothies combine protein powder with leafy greens and fruits for a nutrient-dense and balanced meal option. Packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, green smoothies support overall health and well-being.

For a delectable green smoothie, you can follow these steps:

  1. Begin with a foundation of spinach, kale, or Swiss chard.
  2. Incorporate fruits such as bananas or apples.
  3. Conclude by mixing in a measure of protein powder.
  4. Add your preferred liquid (such as water, almond milk, or coconut water) to achieve the desired consistency.

Having incorporated these smoothies into my daily routine for years, and after numerous enlightening discussions with my dietitian, I can vouch for their efficacy in kickstarting your day with a burst of nutrient-dense energy, aligning perfectly with a holistic approach to health and wellness.

Coffee and Tea

milkshake, strawberry, cream

For a unique and energizing twist, try mixing protein with coffee or tea. These caffeinated beverages provide a pre-workout boost or a morning pick-me-up while still delivering the protein you need.

Here are some popular coffee and tea options you can combine with your protein powder.

Iced Coffee

Iced coffee mixed with protein powder offers a refreshing and caffeinated protein shake, perfect for hot summer days. To make a tasty iced coffee with protein powder, blend 1 cup of cold coffee, 1 cup of ice cubes, and a scoop of protein powder with any other desired ingredients.

Relish a delightful and invigorating iced coffee protein shake to keep you energized throughout the day!

Chai Tea Latte

Chai tea latte with protein powder provides a warm and spicy beverage packed with protein and antioxidants. The blend of black tea and spices in chai tea latte can help support a healthy immune system, making it a great addition to your protein shake routine [4].

Combine your protein powder with a freshly brewed chai tea latte for a soothing and tasty delight. To achieve the perfect consistency, simply mix with the powder until smooth.

Bullet Proof Coffee

Bulletproof coffee, a blend of coffee, butter, and MCT oil, mixed with protein powder delivers a high-energy, high-fat drink suitable for those following a ketogenic diet. The benefits of bulletproof coffee include:

  • The healthy fats in bulletproof coffee slow down the digestion of carbohydrates, providing sustained energy.
  • The high-fat content promotes weight loss by keeping you feeling full and satisfied.
  • The combination of coffee and MCT oil can enhance mental focus and clarity.

Blend the powder into your bulletproof coffee for a potent and stimulating shake [5].

High-Protein Snacks and Meals

almonds, oil, nutrition

Incorporating protein into snacks and meals can help maintain your daily protein intake while keeping things interesting and delicious. Here are some creative ways to include protein powder in your diet:

  • Protein pancakes
  • Protein-packed burgers
  • Protein smoothies
  • Protein energy balls
  • Protein oatmeal

Try these recipes to add a boost of protein to your favorite dishes.

Here are some high-protein options to consider.

Protein Pancakes

Protein pancakes offer a delicious and protein-packed breakfast alternative, made by adding protein shake powder to pancake batter. Mix oatmeal, eggs, yogurt, and protein powder in a blender for a mouth-watering protein pancake recipe.

Relish protein pancakes as a delicious and wholesome start to your day, or as a post-workout delicacy to aid in muscle recovery.

Protein Muffins

Protein muffins are a tasty and portable snack option, made by substituting protein powder for flour in muffin recipes. These nutritious muffins can be customized with various mix-ins like nuts, seeds, and dried fruit for a satisfying and convenient snack on the go.

Add the powder to your preferred muffin recipe for a tasty and protein-filled snack.

I make a batch of these every week and have them as a healthy snack. In my experience, they work great for making you feel full for longer. 

Protein Bars

Protein bars provide a convenient and nutrient-dense snack, made by combining protein supplements with nuts, seeds, and other ingredients. With endless flavor possibilities, protein bars can be tailored to suit your taste buds and nutritional needs.

Prepare a batch of homemade protein bars for a delightful and satisfying snack ready at your disposal for whenever you require a protein uplift.

Protein Cookies

Protein cookies offer a guilt-free treat, made by incorporating the powder into cookie recipes. Satisfy your sweet tooth without sacrificing nutrition by adding protein powder to your favorite cookie recipe.

Relish protein cookies as a post-workout snack or a delightful dessert that ensures your protein consumption stays balanced.

Protein-Packed Burgers

Protein-packed burgers use protein powder as a binder, adding extra protein to a classic meal option. By incorporating it into your burger recipe, you can create a tasty and protein-rich meal that fuels your body and supports muscle growth and recovery.

Try out various protein powders and additional ingredients to craft your ideal protein-rich burger.

Desserts and Treats

pancakes, crepe, pancake

Indulging in desserts and treats doesn’t have to mean compromising on nutrition. By incorporating protein powder into your favorite sweet recipes, you can enjoy delicious treats while still getting the protein your body needs.

Here are some tempting desserts and treats you can make with protein supplements.

Protein Brownies

Protein brownies provide a healthier alternative to traditional brownies, made by adding protein powder to the batter. These brownies offer more protein and fewer calories, making them a healthier indulgence.

Savor protein brownies as a post-workout indulgence or a guiltless dessert that fulfills your chocolate yearnings.

Just follow my dietitian’s advice and limit the sugar content. With the right amount of dark chocolate you won’t need sugar. And in my experience, you get fewer hunger cravings with that approach too. 

Protein Ice Cream

Protein ice cream offers a nutritious and satisfying dessert option, made by blending protein supplement with milk and other ingredients. Create your own protein ice cream by experimenting with different protein powders, milks, and mix-ins for a truly unique and delicious frozen treat.

Delight in protein ice cream as a refreshing and nutritious dessert that ensures your protein consumption is well-balanced.

Protein Parfait

Protein parfaits are a delicious and nutrient-rich dessert or snack. Here’s how to make a protein parfait yogurt:

  1. Layer protein, yogurt, and your favorite fruits and nuts in a glass or bowl.
  2. Repeat the layers until you reach your desired amount.
  3. Enjoy your tasty and satisfying protein parfait!

Relish it as a dessert, a post-workout snack, or a swift and wholesome breakfast alternative.

Customizing Your Protein Shake

belly, body, calories

Customizing protein shakes to suit specific goals, such as weight loss, muscle building, or pre/post-workout nutrition, allows for personalized nutrition plans. By choosing the right mix-ins and protein supplement, you can create a protein shake tailored to your unique needs and goals.

Here are a few ways you can customize your protein shakes.

Weight Loss Shakes

Weight loss shakes focus on low-calorie mix-ins, such as water, skim milk, or unsweetened almond milk. These shakes help maintain a low-calorie diet, making it easier to shed those extra pounds [6].

Try different low-calorie ingredients to craft a tasty and fulfilling weight loss shake that keeps you satiated and dynamic.

Muscle Building Shakes

Muscle-building shakes incorporate higher-calorie ingredients, such as whole milk, nut butter, or fruit, to support muscle growth. These shakes provide the extra calories and nutrients needed to fuel your workouts and build muscle mass.

Experiment with various combinations of high-calorie ingredients to create a muscle-building shake that matches your preferences and fitness objectives [7].

Pre and Post-Workout Shakes

man, exercise, fitness

Pre and post-workout shakes utilize ingredients like fruit juice, Gatorade, or coffee for energy and recovery benefits. These shakes provide the nutrients and energy needed to power through your workouts and support muscle recovery after exercise.

Try various energizing ingredients to craft a pre or post-workout shake that ensures you perform at your peak.

Choosing the Right Protein Powder

Choosing the right protein source depends on individual preferences, dietary restrictions, and nutritional goals. With options like whey protein and plant-based protein available, there’s a protein supplement to suit everyone’s needs.

Here are some popular protein sources, which can be considered as protein supplements, and their benefits.

Whey Protein Powder

Whey protein is a popular choice for its high protein content, quick absorption, and versatility in recipes. Derived from milk, whey protein is easily digestible and contains all the essential amino acids your body needs.

Whether your goal is muscle building, weight loss, or simply maintaining a healthy lifestyle, whey protein is a dependable and efficient choice.

Plant Protein Powder

For those seeking a vegan-friendly alternative or have dairy allergies or lactose intolerance, plant protein powder is an excellent choice. Made from nutrient-rich plant sources such as:

  • Pea protein
  • Hemp protein
  • Brown rice protein
  • Quinoa protein

Plant protein powders provide a complete protein source without animal products.

Try various plant-based protein powders to discover the one that best aligns with your taste preferences and nutritional requirements.

Tips for Mixing Protein Powders

For a smooth and enjoyable protein shake experience, follow these tips for mixing protein supplements:

  1. Use the right tools, like a blender or shaker bottle, to ensure proper mixing.
  2. Break up clumps beforehand by sifting or stirring the powder.
  3. Add liquid before powder to prevent clumping.
  4. Experiment with different mix-ins to create a shake that suits your taste buds and nutritional goals.

By keeping these tips in mind, you’re positioned to craft the ideal protein shake.

The Science Behind Protein Absorption

The medium with which protein powder is mixed, be it milk, water, or juice, can significantly impact its absorption and subsequent utilization by the body. For instance, integrating protein with fat, as found in certain milk types, might decelerate its absorption, providing a sustained release of amino acids into the bloodstream.

Conversely, blending protein powder with vitamin C-rich juices, such as orange or kiwi, could potentially enhance its absorption, thanks to the vitamin’s ability to boost nutrient uptake. This delicate interplay between protein and its mixing agent not only influences our muscle recovery and growth but also impacts our metabolic responses and overall nutritional status.

Thus, understanding these dynamics allows us to strategically optimize our protein consumption for our unique health and fitness goals [8].

Environmental and Ethical Considerations

The production of protein powders, derived from varied sources like whey, soy, and peas, each carries its own environmental footprint and ethical implications. Pea protein, for instance, has been spotlighted as a particularly environmentally friendly option.

It typically demands less water and land to produce compared to its whey counterpart, aligning with more sustainable practices and potentially offering a choice that resonates with eco-conscious values.

On the other hand, whey protein, derived from dairy, might raise questions regarding animal welfare and the utilization of resources in dairy farming. Thus, the selection of protein powder extends beyond nutritional benefits, intertwining with our ethical beliefs and the collective impact on our planet [The production of protein powders, derived from varied sources like whey, soy, and peas, each carries its own environmental footprint and ethical implications.

Pea protein, for instance, has been spotlighted as a particularly environmentally friendly option. It typically demands less water and land to produce compared to its whey counterpart, aligning with more sustainable practices and potentially offering a choice that resonates with eco-conscious values. On the other hand, whey protein, derived from dairy, might raise questions regarding animal welfare and the utilization of resources in dairy farming.

Thus, the selection of protein powder extends beyond nutritional benefits, intertwining with our ethical beliefs and the collective impact on our planet [9]. This knowledge empowers us to make choices that align with our nutritional needs while also honoring our values and the environment.

In-depth on Digestive Health and Protein Powders

The intersection between protein powders and digestive health unfolds a narrative that is pivotal for those prioritizing both muscle health and a robust digestive system.

Different protein powder mixes can have varied impacts on our gut, influenced by components like fiber content, potential allergens, and added digestive aids. Some protein powders go the extra mile by incorporating probiotics and digestive enzymes, designed to facilitate smoother digestion and support gut health.

Conversely, certain protein sources or additives, such as lactose or artificial sweeteners, might pose challenges for individuals with sensitivities or intolerances, potentially disrupting digestive wellness.

Therefore, choosing a protein mix becomes a nuanced decision, where understanding the ingredients and their potential impact on digestive health becomes paramount. This choice should harmonize with our fitness aspirations while also nurturing our digestive system, ensuring that our path towards health is holistic and sustainable [10].

This knowledge enables us to craft a protein strategy that is not only muscle-friendly but also gut-friendly.


What’s best to mix with protein powder?

Mix protein powder with milk, coconut water, or water for the best results. Milk and coconut water add great flavor to your drink, while water is a great low-calorie choice if you’re looking to lose weight or have a shorter workout session.

Should I mix protein powder with milk or water?

When building muscle mass, mixing protein powder with milk is recommended for better results. However, if you’re looking to limit your calorie intake, water is a more suitable option. Regardless, you can decide based on what best suits your goals and preferences.

What not to mix protein powder with?

When mixing protein powder, it’s best to stick to milk and water as your base liquids. Avoid ingredients like casein, whey protein concentrate, soy protein, skim milk powders, artificial sweeteners, dextrins/maltodextrin, vegetable oils, thickeners, and gums, which can lead to bloating, constipation, hormonal disturbance, and other adverse effects.

What are some low-calorie mix-ins for weight loss shakes?

Staying hydrated and full is key for weight loss success, so try adding low-calorie mix-ins like water, skim milk, and unsweetened almond milk to your shakes for a satisfying and nutritious boost!

Can I add protein powder to my coffee or tea?

Yes, you can add protein powder to your coffee or tea for an energizing boost. The combination of slow-release energy and mental boost from caffeine can make a huge difference on how you start your day. 

What Are You Goint to Mix With Protein Powder?

Mixing protein powder with a variety of liquids, snacks, meals, and desserts allows for endless creativity and customization, ensuring you never get bored with your protein intake. 

From dairy and non-dairy milk options to fruit juices, smoothies, coffee, high-protein snacks, and even desserts, there’s a mix-in for everyone. By choosing the right protein supplement and mix-ins to suit your preferences and goals, you can create delicious and nutritious protein shakes that fuel your body and help you reach your fitness goals. 

Make sure you check out our test and research results of some of the best supplements available: 


  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7360438/
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2666154321001678
  3. https://www.goodnature.com/juice-archives/does-apple-juice-have-potassium-how-much
  4. https://www.webmd.com/diet/health-benefits-chai-tea
  5. https://www.bulletproof.com/recipes/bulletproof-diet-recipes/bulletproof-coffee-recipe/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7539343/
  7. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/how-much-protein-do-you-need-to-build-muscle
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3905294/
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6893534/
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6723444/

Hey everyone, I’m Sandra Ryan and I’ve been contributing to this website for almost a year now.

My professional background is in finance where I work at a small bank outside Austin, TX, as an accounting technician. I’m still gradually working towards becoming an accountant by attending night classes, but my real passion is sport.

I’ve been involved in martial arts since I was about 8 years old when I had to figure out ways to outdo my 3 older brothers who were in constant WWE style fights. Nothing ever happened more than bruises and the occasional cut, but once I started Taekwondo I just couldn’t get enough.

I have won many state championships over the years, but have started to take a bit of step back from competitive fighting. Mainly down to a few leg strain injuries that basically mean that I cannot perform at my absolute best anymore.

My hunger for competition has been replaced by running marathons and in the past 2 years also competing in triathlons. So far I have completed 7 marathons and 2 triathlons and my aim is to complete an Ironman in the next couple of years.

When the opportunity came up to contribute to a website with training tips I immediately loved the idea. You’ll see a lot of my blog posts on triathlon training, and if you have questions, just leave some comments.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

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