Bulk Up with the 5 Best Tasting Protein Shakes

I’m not one of those muscle dummies, or even a muscle genius (i.e. Josh Scherer), but I like a quick, protein-packed meal as much as the next guy who casually lifts weights at home. I’ve always been more of a canned sardines, tuna, protein bars, and beef jerky kind of a guy. But after this taste test, I’m going to get some protein shakes in the mix. Especially in the morning.

For this specific taste test, we looked for flavor first (which explains our first pick), and not necessarily the overall macros. An important question we asked throughout this process was, “What doesn’t taste like chalky gloop?” Ideally, we’d like these to taste thick and creamy—like a good shake! Protein shouldn’t be something we notice in the taste, ya feel me? That said, the macros element did factor into some of our middling picks, even if the taste wasn’t amazing. 

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fairlife core power

Best of The Best

Fairlife Core Power Vanilla

This tasted like melted vanilla ice cream in a bottle, and it can’t possibly get any better than that (flavor-wise) from a bottled protein shake. It’s just so creamy and delicious! The macros aren’t bad, either. The overall fat and saturated fat isn’t outrageous, and there’s only five grams of sugar compared to 26 grams of protein. This is a delicious vanilla shake that just happens to contain a lot of protein. Big win.

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Amazon

Rating:

9/10

Sporks

premier protein strawberry

Best Strawberry

Premier Protein Strawberries & Cream

This reminds me of the strawberry milk I used to get in school as a kid. It’s really creamy, and the strawberry flavor isn’t overly pungent; it’s subtle and delicious. Premier also has a good salinity to it, which balances out the sweetness. This is really low in fat and sugar, but very high in protein (30 grams!). That’s good macros (are you sick of hearing the word macros yet?). Kind of incredible.

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Target

Rating:

8.5/10

Sporks

muscle milk chocolate

Best Zero Sugar

Muscle Milk Chocolate

Zero sugar and 25 grams of protein. That’s pretty good, but how is the taste? Well, the color is much darker than the others, which checks out because the chocolate flavor is really intense. It’s got almost a chocolate goo thing going on, so it doesn’t feel so much like a shake as it does a delicious chocolate sludge.  

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Amazon

Rating:

8.5/10

Sporks

equate protein shakes

Best Chocolate

Equate High Performance Protein Shake Chocolate

The chocolate flavor of this one is really mellow, but still nice and milky. There’s a real hot cocoa vibe here which is pleasant to taste and to smell. Equate’s chocolate protein shakes are low in sugar, with 30 grams of protein per serving. It’s hard to argue with the distinct chocolate flavor combined with the stacked amount of protein.

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Walmart

Rating:

8/10

Sporks

slim fast protein shake

Best with Caffeine

Slim Fast Advanced Energy Rich Chocolate

Slim Fast claims that one of these protein shakes contains as much caffeine as a cup of coffee. So if you’re looking to get a caffeine buzz along with your protein, this is the shake for you. The macros aren’t great (it’s a bit high in fat), but this shake contains more fiber than the others. Twenty grams of protein ain’t bad, either. But the caffeine is really the selling point with this one, since the flavor is pretty middling. It’s meant to be a meal replacement, and it does feel filling, so I’ll give it that.

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Amazon

Rating:

7/10

Sporks


Other products we tried: Muscle Milk Vanilla Creme, Fairlife Core Power Chocolate, Orgain Creamy Chocolate Fudge, Orgain Smooth Chocolate Vegan Protein Shake, Premier Protein Chocolate, Premier Protein Vanilla, Atkins Iced Coffee Protein Shake, Atkins Dark Chocolate Shake, Kellogg’s Special K French Vanilla Protein Shake, Kellogg’s Special K Strawberry Protein Shake.

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About the Author

Danny Palumbo

Danny is a comedian, cook, and food writer living in Los Angeles. He loves gas station eggs, canned sardines, and Easter candy. He also passionately believes that all the best chips come from Pennsylvania (Herr's!). If you can't understand Danny when he talks, it's because he's from Pittsburgh.

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  • Can you do this for vegan protein shakes? Would love to see how they rank! Same with vegan and regular protein powders (maybe mixed with water or almond milk?). Thank you! I personally really like OWYN Cookies and Creamless shakes, though I dismiss whey protein shakes since my body cannot handle whey.

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