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What should I add to a protein shake to make it taste better?

Protein shakes help you meet your protein requirements and gain muscle, but they can taste awful. If you’re fed up with dutifully forcing them down, you might be wondering how to make protein shakes taste better. 

There are several ways to achieve this, whether you change your mixing technique or add extra ingredients to improve the flavor. 

Mix your protein shake the right way

bullet blender

If it isn’t so much the flavor of your protein shake that you find offensive, but a lumpy or grainy texture, changing the way you mix it can help. If you’re making it at home or somewhere with access to a kitchen, you’ll get a far better texture if you blend it with a stick blender or bullet blender than you will mixing it in a shaker bottle. That said, not all shaker bottles give you equally poor results. The BlenderBottle has a patented whisk that makes lumpy shakes a thing of the past.

If you’re looking for a thicker texture, consider blending your protein powder with some ice for a frappe-like drink. This is especially great on hot days. 

What makes protein shakes taste better

Another secret to making your shake taste better is as simple as throwing a few extra ingredients into the blender. Think about the flavor of your protein powder, as some additives work better with certain flavors than others. Once you’ve found a few combinations you like, your days of lackluster protein shakes will be behind you. 

Cocoa powder

Cocoa powder is the ultimate addition for chocolate lovers. It can cover a multitude of sins without adding many extra calories, as a little goes a long way. It blends nicely with vanilla protein powder or coffee protein powder to make a mocha flavor. You can even add a little to chocolate protein powders that aren’t chocolatey enough.

If mixing it with an unsweetened protein powder, add some sweetener or you’ll be left with a muddy, bitter shake. 


Some shakes can be improved with just a little extra sweetness. While this can come from fruit or juice, sometimes it makes sense to simply add some sweetener. 

You have a wide range of options when it comes to sweeteners. Artificial sweeteners add sweetness without sugar or calories, but they can have bitter notes or taste overly sweet, and some people prefer to avoid them altogether. Stevia is a natural sweetener that contains no calories and is a good alternative to artificial sweeteners, but some people don’t like the flavor. 

Then you have sugar-based sweeteners. These add calories and can cause blood-sugar spikes, so they aren’t everyone’s first choice. Agave nectar is a great alternative to granulated sugar and honey, as it has a significantly lower glycemic index, meaning it’s less likely to cause blood-sugar spikes. 

Nut butters

Not only can nut butters improve the flavor of your shake, but they also add extra protein and other nutrients. They’re relatively high in fat and calories, ideal for people looking to bulk up or for drinking after heavy exercise sessions. Plus, they thicken shakes, so if you find your protein powder too thin, nut butter is a great option. 

You can choose classic peanut butter (which technically isn’t even a nut butter) or other nut butters, such as almond, cashew or macadamia butter. It’s a great idea to switch every now and then to change up your nutrient intake. Nut butters taste great with chocolate, vanilla or even plain protein powders. 


Using juice instead of water (or half juice and half water) when you mix your protein powder adds sweetness from a natural source. It tastes good with fruity protein powders, but most juices don’t work well with chocolate powders and vanilla can be hit or miss. That said, orange juice and chocolate protein powder makes a chocolate-orange flavor some people love. 


Blend fresh or frozen fruit with your protein powder and either juice or water to make a protein smoothie. This thickens your shake, as well as flavoring it and adds all kinds of nutrients and a great dose of sweetness from the fruit. Banana makes a pleasant addition to chocolate- or peanut-butter-flavored protein drinks, while berries can liven up a strawberry-flavored powder. If you want to use a blend of fruits, it works best with unflavored or fruity protein powders. 

Consider changing your protein powder

Orgain Organic Plant Based Protein Powder

If you’ve only tried one or two varieties, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you don’t like the taste of protein powder — you might just not like the ones you’ve tried. Some people don’t like the taste of whey protein powders, so it’s worth trying a vegan protein powder if you haven’t already. Orgain Organic Plant-Based Protein Powder has a creamy chocolate fudge flavor that melds well with chocolate coconut and peppermint hot cocoa and is ideal for chocolate lovers.

What you need to buy to make protein shakes taste better

Barney Bare Smooth Almond Butter

Barney Bare Smooth Almond Butter

This nutritious organic almond butter contains nothing but almonds and oil. It’s free from added salt and sugar and is made from skinned almonds, so it’s an ideal additive for smooth, healthy protein shakes. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Milliard Organic Cacao Powder

Milliard Organic Cacao Powder

Certified organic by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and rich in antioxidants, this cacao powder makes a perfect addition to protein shakes for a chocolatey kick. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Agave in the Raw Organic Agave Sweetener

Agave in the Raw Organic Agave Sweetener

Thanks to its low glycemic index, agave nectar is great for adding to protein shakes that need some extra sweetness. This brand is non-GMO and has USDA organic certification. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Langers 100 Orange Juice

Langers 100% Orange Juice

If you want to add some natural sweetness and fruity flavor to your shakes, look no further. It’s made from pure concentrated orange juice with no added sugar. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Lauren Corona writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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