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Smoothies are a great way to get a lot of nutrients in without needing to prepare a full meal. They’re also incredibly versatile and the different combination possibilities are endless.

However, they can quickly add up in calories and sugar and as most are made up of fruits and veggies, they tend to lack protein.

I recommend always adding a source of protein to your smoothie to help meet your overall daily protein needs and to help you feel full. You can do this by adding Greek yogurt or even liquid egg whites (you can’t taste them), or you can simply throw in your favorite protein powder.

This article will review our favorite protein powders for smoothies as well as some tips for how to choose the right protein powder for you.

Recommended Protein Powder For Smoothies Table

top recommendations for protein powders to add to smoothies

Protein Powder

Amount of Protein

Amount of Calories

FHM Taste Rating With Smoothie

Avg. User Rating

24g

140

4.9/5

4.9/5 (21,179 reviews)

20g

110

4.8/5

4.9/5 (431 reviews)

25g

120

4.8/5

4.7/5 (26 reviews)

27g

135

4.8/5

4.9/5 (159 reviews)

21g

150

4.2/5

4.5/5 (3,028 reviews)

What To Look For

There are so many different protein powders out there these days, it can be difficult knowing which one to choose. We chose our favorites based on the following factors.

choosing the best protein powder for smoothies

High Quality Ingredients

This should go without saying, but you’ll want to look for a protein powder that contains high quality ingredients.

Whey protein is typically considered superior when it comes to protein powders, especially when they are used for post-workout recovery. However, you may see casein or egg protein powders too.

If you prefer a plant-based diet, there are plenty of quality products available for you as well.

When choosing which vegan protein to purchase, it’s a good idea to look for one that has a blend of plant proteins. For example, a good option could contain a mix of pea and brown rice proteins. On their own, pea and rice proteins are incomplete, meaning they do not contain all of the essential amino acids. However, when they are combined, they become a complete source of protein.

Don’t forget to read the label for other ingredients too. Some protein powders will contain artificial sweeteners or other ingredients, like xanthan gum or sugar alcohols, that some individuals prefer to avoid.

Brand Transparency

One of the most important factors to consider when choosing a protein powder is whether or not the product has been third-party tested. This will ensure that the supplement has been tested for safety and quality, as well as accuracy in terms of what’s listed on the label.

Look for products that are certified by NSF, Informed Choice, Informed Sport, or carry the USP label. This confirms that the supplement does not contain any banned substances and that the ingredients are safe.

Nutrition/Macro Info

Ideally, your protein powder will be mostly protein, but it will mostly likely include some carbs and fat as well. A good rule of thumb is to look for a protein powder that contains at least 20 grams of protein.

As for carbohydrates and fats, consider how you’d like to use the protein powder. If you are using it as a post-workout recovery drink, you’ll want to keep it low in fat, because fat can slow digestion and the goal is to get protein and carbs into your system as quickly as possible.

Speaking of carbs, there’s nothing wrong with choosing a protein powder that contains them, but I recommend looking for one that is low in added sugars.

Texture and Mixability

Nothing is worse than taking a sip of your mixed up protein powder and finding a bunch of clumps. Be sure to read reviews on the mixability of protein powders when you’re shopping around.

Keep in mind, a lot of plant-based protein powders simply don’t mix as well as whey protein. To avoid a lumpy drink, try throwing it in your blender instead of just shaking it.

Taste

Of course, you’ll want to choose a protein that actually tastes good. Many powdered supplements can taste chalky and if they contain artificial sweeteners, some do not enjoy the aftertaste.

Think about how you’ll use your protein powder before deciding which flavor you’d like. If you will be making lots of different types of smoothies, I recommend sticking with a simple vanilla because it’ll be the most versatile, but you can always experiment with different flavors.

If you can, try to find samples of protein powders so that you can try them before committing to a full container. If that’s not an option, many companies offer money-back guarantees so you can return the protein powder if you don't like it.

The Top 5 Best Protein Powders to Add to Smoothies

We finally made it to the main event. Below, you'll find our top list of protein powders to add to your smoothie. Each one of these brands and products are legitimate, and, I've used each one to make my smoothies. After this list, I'll give you my favorite protein smoothie recipe. Let's begin!

1. 1st Phorm Level-1

1st phorm level 1 - great protein powder for smoothies

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1st Phorm Level-1 protein is processed with cross-flow microfiltration (meaning it will mix well) at a low temperature. At high temperatures, protein can be denatured, so by processing it at a lower temperature, the integrity of the protein remains.

This protein is meant to be used as a meal replacement or with your meals because it’s designed to digest more slowly than a whey protein isolate. This means it’ll help fill you up, making it a perfect addition to a smoothie.

1st Phorm products are third-party tested, which means you can trust the quality and safety of the ingredients. All of their products are also processed in FDA inspected, SQF Level-3 certified, & cGMP (Current Good Manufacturing Practices) compliant facilities.

There are 12 different Level-1 flavors, ranging from Caramel Latte to Blueberry Muffin, and more.

Pros

  • Mixes very well 
  • Third-party tested and produced in an FDA-compliant facility
  • 23-25 grams of protein per serving
  • Low in sugar

Cons

  • Relatively expensive at $1.83 per serving
  • Contains artificial sweeteners (sucralose and acesulfame potassium) that some may prefer to avoid
excellent protein powder to add to smoothies rating - 1st phorm

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2. Clean Simple Eats

clean simple eats protein powder for smoothies

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Clean Simple Eats protein powder comes from grass-fed whey protein isolate and has 20 grams of protein per serving along with 0 grams of fat and 0 grams of added sugars. Clean Simple Eats protein is cold-processed as well, meaning the integrity of the protein remains through its processing.

Digestive enzymes are added to this protein, which are meant to help your body break it down so it’s easier on the stomach. However, there is really no research supporting the use of digestive enzymes in healthy individuals (your body already makes those enzymes naturally).

Clean Simple Eats products (read review) are third-party tested for heavy metals and banned substances. The protein powder is also free from artificial sweeteners, flavors, and colors.

Clean Simple Eats supplements are third-party tested for heavy metals.

There are quite a few different flavors available, including vanilla, snickerdoodle, and mint chocolate cookie. There are some vegan flavors, which get their protein from a combination of hemp, pumpkin seed, flax seed, and chia seed, available too.

This protein is a little less expensive, at $49.99, which comes to about $1.67 per serving.

Pros

  • No artificial sweeteners
  • Fat free
  • No added sugars
  • 20 grams of protein per serving
  • Third-party tested
  • Vegan option

Cons

  • Contains sugar alcohols, which may cause an upset stomach in some individuals 
  • Contains xanthan gum, which may also cause bloating or other stomach upset in some

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3. Cira Nutrition

cira nutrition bright whey protein powder for smoothies

Cira Bright Whey contains a blend of whey protein isolate and whey protein concentrate, as well as Himalayan Rock Salt for a boost of electrolytes. One serving contains 25 grams of protein and 0 grams of added sugars.

This protein is pretty straightforward with just whey protein, salt, flavors, and sweeteners. It comes in two different flavors, Cinnamon Swirl and Cookies n Cream.

It’s unclear whether or not Cira Nutrition products are third-party tested, but the website does mention that they are produced in a cGMP-certified, FDA-registered facility.

Pros

  • No added sugars
  • Simple ingredients
  • 25 grams of protein per serving
  • Less expensive than others at $1.33 per serving
  • Processed in a cGMP-certified, FDA-registered facility.

Cons

  • Contains an artificial sweetener (sucralose) that some may prefer to avoid
  • Only 2 flavors available
  • Not third-party tested

4. Dioxyme

protein powder for smoothies - dioxyme grass fed

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Doxyme contains grass-fed, pasture-raised whey protein made from a mix of isolate and concentrate that is cold-processed and derived from hormone and antibiotic-free cows. One scoop contains 27 grams of protein and is low in fat and added sugars.

This protein powder contains digestive enzymes as well, but remember, most individuals don’t really need these as the body produces them already. However, they can be helpful for those with certain conditions,  such as lactose intolerance.

This protein is crafted by chefs, which is not very common in the supplement world, so you can bet the taste will be great.

Dioxyme products carry the Informed Sport seal, which means they have been third-party tested and produced in FDA-compliant facilities.

Unlike others on our list, this protein has a Raw & Unflavored option, along with flavors like Vanilla, Chocolate, and Cinnamon Bun.

Pros

  • Higher in protein, with 27 grams
  • Third-party tested
  • No artificial sweeteners
  • Unflavored option
  • Flavors crafted by chefs
  • More affordable option at $1.50 per serving

Cons

  • 3 grams of added sugars (this is not a lot by my standards, but may be a con for some)
  • Contains xanthan gum, which could lead to stomach upset depending on the person

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5. Orgain Organic Protein

Orgain Organic protein powder for smoothies

There are quite a few different types of Orgain protein powder products available. There is a plant-based protein, made of pea, brown rice, and chia seed, as well as a whey protein. More recently, Orgain has created an Oat milk protein that contains plant-based protein as well as an oat milk powder.

Both the plant-based and whey proteins contain about 20 grams of protein per serving. Orgain tends to be a little higher in fats and carbohydrates than other brands, with around 3-4 grams and 10-15 grams, respectively.

Orgain supplements are third-party tested and meet FDA-standards for their processing facilities. 

There are several flavor options for the plant-based protein, including Peanut Butter, Creamy Chocolate Fudge, and even Natural Unsweetened. The oat milk and grass-fed whey protein powders come in vanilla or chocolate.

The price for Orgain varies, but generally falls between $1.60 to $2.17, depending on which protein you choose.

Pros

  • 20 grams of protein per serving
  • No artificial sweeteners
  • Third-party tested
  • Natural Unsweetened option
  • Plant-based, whey, or plant-based with oat milk options

Cons

  • Contains sugar alcohols, which can cause bloating and stomach upset in some
  • Higher in carbs and fats than others

What Are the Benefits Of Adding Protein Powder to Smoothies?

Adding protein to your smoothie will help you reach your overall protein goal for the day. Many individuals, especially women, aren’t consuming enough protein. Protein powder offers an easy way to add an extra 20-25 grams of protein.

It’ll also help make your smoothie more filling, which can help if you are trying to lose weight. Plus high protein diets can be effective for both fat loss and muscle gain.

Who Should Try It?

Anyone can try adding protein powder to their smoothies. I especially recommend it to anyone who is having a hard time getting enough protein during the day, or for active individuals who are looking to improve their post-workout recovery routine.

That being said, it’s always a good idea to run any new supplements by your doctor before beginning them. Additionally, pregnant and breastfeeding women, as well as anyone taking medications, should always use caution with supplements.

Are There Any Potential Drawbacks?

There really aren’t any drawbacks to adding protein powder to your smoothie.

Some claim that consuming a high protein diet can be dangerous for your kidneys, but this has ultimately been debunked.

So, you have nothing to lose by adding protein to your smoothie!

My Favorite Protein Powder Smoothie Recipe

recipe protein powder with smoothie

There are so many different combinations and ways to make smoothies. My favorite smoothie contains:

  • ½ cup frozen blueberries, strawberries, or cherries
  • ½ frozen banana
  • Handful of spinach
  • 1 tbsp peanut or almond butter
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1-2 scoops protein powder

It’s fun to experiment with your smoothie. Try adding in ground flaxseeds or chia seeds for a fiber and omega-3 boost, or throw a nitrate-rich beet, which could help improve athletic performance and lower blood pressure.

Final Thoughts

Adding protein to your smoothie is a fantastic way to make it a more well-balanced, filling meal.

There are so many different protein powders available these days, so be sure to do your research before deciding which one to purchase.

One of the most important factors when buying any supplements is whether or not they have been third-party tested, as this ensures they are both safe and transparent.

Additionally, cost can vary widely, though in many cases, you do get what you pay for.

If protein powder isn’t in your budget, try throwing some Greek yogurt or liquid egg whites (pasteurized of course!) into your smoothie instead.

Protein Smoothie Tips From An RD

  • Frozen fruit can be expensive. If you’re looking to save a couple bucks, buy fresh fruit and cut it up to freeze it yourself.
  • Additionally, don’t be afraid to throw some greens into your smoothie. If you have fruit and other ingredients in there, you won’t taste a handful of spinach. It will simply boost the nutrient profile of your smoothie and give it a green color. What’s more, you can freeze your spinach too! That way, you don’t need to worry about it going bad before you get to it all.
  • Lastly, plan ahead of your smoothies by preparing smoothie kits for yourself. Throw together all of your frozen ingredients into sandwich ziploc bags and pop them in the freezer. When you’re ready to make your smoothie, simply dump one of the bags into your blender, add your protein powder and liquid, and maybe some nut butter for healthy fats, then blend and enjoy!
About the Author
Ellen Landes

Ellen Landes, MS, RDN, CPT is a registered dietitian, freelance writer, and university instructor. She holds bachelor and master's degrees in human nutrition and dietetics and is a certified personal trainer through ACSM. Her writing focuses on evidence-based nutrition, fitness, and other health topics.

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