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23 Protein Shake Recipes For A Tasty, Refreshing Treat

protein-shake
(Image credit: Unknown)

Drinking protein powder mixed with water can become quite monotonous, especially considering most of us can only afford to buy one flavour at a time. But all you need to turn your protein powder into a tasty treat is a blender and a little creativity – and while you’ll have to take care of the former yourself, the latter is supplied free here in the recipes from professional athletes, PTs and nutritionists.

Many of the recipes use milk instead of water, and although this will increase the calories you’re consuming, it may help to increase both muscular size and strength after a gym session. Research suggests that taking protein with carbs during the post-workout window hastens muscle recovery thanks to a faster replenishment of glycogen stores.

As well as peanut butter and other nut butters – which add an extra protein hit, healthy fats and a delicious creamy taste – fruit is widely used. Obviously fruit is good for you, but don’t fool yourself into thinking you’re knocking off multiple portions of your five-a-day in one glass. Blending releases sugars from the fruit, so advice from the NHS cautions that no matter how much fruit you throw in or how much you drink, it only counts as one portion a day.

If you like the idea of freestyling but also like to keep a close eye on your macros, the Nutribullet Balance blender (opens in new tab) comes highly recommended. Scales are built into the base and you can tell a partner app what you’re adding so it’ll calculate the calories and other nutritional information. The beaker comes with a protein shaker top so you can blend, screw on the lid and throw it in your gym bag for later.

NutriBullet 1059 Balance 9 Piece with Smart Nutrition Sensor and Bluetooth Technology, Black, 36.6 cm*40.0 cm*18.7 cm

(Image credit: Unknown)

NutriBullet 1059 Balance 9 Piece with Smart Nutrition Sensor and Bluetooth Technology, Black, 36.6 cm*40.0 cm*18.7 cm (opens in new tab)

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Read on for recipes that cover every type of situation and every time of day.

1. Chocolate And Peanut Butter Recovery Shake

This shake is the first of two recipes from double Olympic taekwondo champion Jade Jones, who is an ambassador for Optimum Nutrition (opens in new tab).

“I usually make this smoothie straight after a training session because it contains whey, which is a fast-digesting protein that helps to support muscle recovery ready for my next workout,” says Jones. “The protein from the peanut butter and the yogurt helps to rebuild and repair the muscles too, and it tastes great.”

Just make sure you’re working as hard as an Olympic champion would because this shake contains 556 calories, along with a healthy 48g of protein and 59 of carbs.

2. Morning Super Greens Smoothie

“I tend to have a super greens smoothie just before my morning workout because it’s jam-packed with goodness and feels like the perfect way to kick-start the day,” says Jones.

Blend together the below for a fruit and veg-filled shake that’s loaded with useful vitamins and minerals. At 414 calories with 39g of protein, 30g of carbs and 14g of fat it’s certainly got enough in it to fuel a workout.

  • 100g natural low-fat yogurt
  • 1 scoop of Optimum Nutrition 100% Gold Standard Whey Unflavoured
  • 200ml almond milk
  • 1 kiwi fruit
  • ½ banana
  • ½ medium avocado
  • 1 handful of spinach
  • 1 handful of kale

3. Fighting Fit Shake

This simple shake recipe comes from former pro boxer and Pure Brand Nutrition ambassador Tony Bellew. All you have to do is blend the below for a nutty, chocolatey treat that also contains a healthy portion of fruit.

4. Breakfast Shake

If you don’t have time for a sit-down breakfast, then this high-protein smoothie, which also contains good fats, fibre and a ton of vitamins and minerals, will keep you fully fuelled until lunch. “This fruity breakfast beverage contains cashew nuts and cinnamon, which can help stabilise blood sugar levels and prevent hunger pangs to give you a sustained release of energy all morning,” says personal trainer and Multipower (opens in new tab) ambassador Anthony Nyman. The yogurt and whey powder increase the protein content, while the pineapple and blueberries are packed with antioxidants and other health-boosting compounds.

  • 200g Greek yogurt
  • 50g pineapple, roughly chopped
  • 30g blueberries
  • 1 scoop of whey protein isolate
  • A handful of cashew nuts
  • A pinch of cinnamon
  • Water, to taste

5. Pre-workout Protein Shake

If you want to have the best workout possible, make sure you give your muscles all the fuel they need to perform to their maximum potential for the duration of the session. That’s what this performance-boosting smoothie helps to do, if you drink it an hour before training. The oats provide a steady stream of carbs for fuel while the protein powder will provide the amino acids that prevent too much muscle breakdown and encourage new muscle growth. “The banana in this creamy shake provides plenty of potassium, which helps to support muscle function during exercise,” says nutritionist Clare Baseley (forgoodnessshakes.com (opens in new tab)). Coconut water is high in other electrolytes to aid hydration and muscle contractions.

  • ½ a banana
  • A handful of porridge oats
  • 1 scoop vanilla whey protein
  • 1tbsp flaxseeds
  • 330ml coconut water

Chill all the ingredients in the fridge, blend them until smooth, then sprinkle some desiccated coconut on top and drink immediately.

6. Recovery Citrus Shake

After a hard training session your body is crying out for high-quality protein to repair damaged muscle tissue so it can grow back bigger and stronger. But your body needs more than just protein to recover quickly. “In addition to plenty of muscle-building protein, this citrusy and refreshing smoothie also contains vitamin A-rich carrots to help support your immune system which can be weakened by long and intense training,” says chef Dee Chauhan.

  • ½ a carrot, peeled and sliced
  • ½ an orange, peeled and chopped
  • ¼ of a cantaloupe melon, peeled and chopped
  • 1 scoop whey protein powder
  • 125ml cashew nut milk
  • 50ml water
  • A handful of ice

7. Muscle-Building Shake

Aiming to build muscle mass? Then you need to be eating more of the right kind of calories from carbs, fats and protein, which will give your body the energy surplus it needs to add size faster. “Upping your calorie intake with healthy ingredients is crucial if you’re trying to add size, which is why this smoothie features nutritious and calorie-dense ingredients like dark chocolate and coconut milk – as well as a good serving of fast-acting whey protein,” says nutrition specialist Scott Baptie (foodforfitness.co.uk (opens in new tab)).

  • 20g dark chocolate (85% cocoa)
  • 100ml coconut milk
  • 25g scoop whey protein isolate
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • 1 banana
  • 50g porridge oats, soaked in 100ml of water for five to ten minutes

See related


8. The Incredible Bulk Vegan Shake

If you’re looking for a plant-based shake, you can simply substitute the whey protein used in most of the shakes on this page for a vegan protein powder, though there are a few with other ingredients you’ll also need to switch out. Or you can just enjoy one of these two vegan shake recipes created by the good people from Starks Fitness (opens in new tab). The recipes feature Starks Fitness’s own vegan protein powder, but any plant-based vanilla protein will work.

Blend these ingredients for a fruity and refreshing shake that tastes a little like a Twister ice lolly. Sold!

  • 200ml coconut milk
  • 1 scoop SF Nutrition Vegan Madagascan Vanilla Protein
  • Handful of spinach
  • 50g pineapple
  • ½ a banana
  • ½ a lime

9. Wonder Berry Vegan Shake

This filling shake uses almond milk as well as vegan powder to keep it plant-based, with blueberries and strawberries thrown in to add flavour and antioxidants.

  • 200ml almond milk
  • 1 scoop SF Nutrition Vegan Madagascan Vanilla Protein
  • 20g blueberries
  • 20g strawberries
  • ½ a banana
  • 1tsp flaxseeds

protein_shake

Left to right: Super strawberries, power latte, punchy chocolate peanut, fruit fusion (Image credit: Unknown)

10. Super Strawberries Protein Shake

One regular strawberry contains 20% of your RDA of recovery-improving vitamin C, which is why this recipe contains five.

  • 1 scoop of strawberry whey protein
  • 5 strawberries, stalks removed
  • 400ml milk
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • Water, to taste

11. Power Latte Protein Shake

Trade your normal morning coffee for a bonus hit of calcium-heavy almond milk and insulin-regulating cinnamon.

  • 1 scoop of vanilla whey protein
  • 100ml chilled coffee
  • 300ml almond milk
  • 1tsp cinnamon
  • Water, to taste

12. Punchy Chocolate Peanut Protein Shake

Like liquid Snickers in a glass (but a lot healthier) with high levels of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat.

  • 1 scoop of chocolate whey protein
  • 400ml milk
  • 1tbsp peanut butter
  • 2tsp cocoa powder
  • Water, to taste

13. Fruit Fusion Protein Shake

Winter’s the best time of year to enjoy seasonal citrus fruits, when their levels of health-boosting vitamin A are highest.

  • 1 scoop of plain whey protein
  • 1 orange, peeled
  • 400ml pineapple juice
  • 1 banana, sliced
  • Water, to taste

protein_shake_recipes

Left to right: Berry blast, energy banana, blue flu fighter protein shakes (Image credit: Unknown)

14. Berry Blast Protein Shake

  • 1 scoop of strawberry whey
  • Handful of blueberries
  • Handful of raspberries
  • 200ml milk
  • Water, to taste

15. Energy Banana Protein Shake

One banana contains 25% of your RDA of brain-boosting vitamin B6.

  • 1 scoop of vanilla whey protein
  • 400ml coconut milk
  • 2tsp honey
  • 1 banana, sliced
  • Water, to taste

16. Blue Flu Fighter Protein Shake

  • 1 scoop of strawberry whey
  • Handful of blueberries
  • Handful of blackberries
  • 2tsp manuka honey
  • Water, to taste

protein_shake_recipes

Left to right: Healthy honey, green and lean, big breakfast protein shakes (Image credit: Unknown)

17. Healthy Honey Protein Shake

  • 1 scoop of vanilla whey protein
  • 2tsp manuka honey
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 400ml coconut water
  • Water, to taste

18. Green And Lean Protein Shake

  • 1 scoop of chocolate whey
  • 2tsp supergreens
  • Handful of kale
  • 1tsp flaxseed oil
  • Water, to taste

19. Big Breakfast Protein Shake

This morning milkshake has four different sources of bulk-building protein.

  • 1 scoop of vanilla whey
  • Handful of porridge oats
  • 1tbsp Greek yogurt
  • 400ml almond milk
  • Water, to taste

20. Great Grape Protein Shake

The grapes are a great source of vitamin C, potassium and manganese and the berries contain plenty of antioxidants, while chia seeds deliver an extra hit of protein.

  • 2 scoops vanilla flavour protein powder
  • Handful of purple grapes 
  • Handful of blueberries
  • 1tsp dry chia seeds
  • 1tsp flaxseed oil
  • 120ml of water

21. Oat-Some Energy Protein Shake

Anything with bananas and oats is going to be packed with energy making this the perfect pre-workout, energy boosting concoction. As well as energy this shake will help to prevent muscle cramping and sustain your blood sugar too. 

  • 2 scoops banana or vanilla-flavoured protein powder
  • 2tbsp of rolled oats
  • 2 bananas
  • 240ml of unsweetened almond milk 
  • 120ml of cold water
  • ¼tsp of cinnamon
  • 1tsp of honey
  • 4 ice cubes

22. Chocolate And Peanut Butter Protein Shake

Who doesn’t like chocolate and peanut butter together? As well as being a decadent mixture of two milkshake favourites, this recipe is actually good for you. The peanuts are full of good stuff including protein, folate, vitamin E and manganese.

  • 2 scoops of chocolate protein powder
  • 1 banana
  • 2tbsp of good-quality peanut butter (the less sugar the better)
  • 240ml of unsweetened almond milk, skimmed milk or soy milk
  • Ice cubes to taste

23. Peachy Green Protein Shake

A nutrient-rich breakfast smoothie. It’ll come out green and may look fairly unappetising but it will start your day off the right way with a hearty serving of fruit, veg and protein.

  • 2 scoops vanilla protein powder
  • Handful of frozen pineapple
  • ½ a banana
  • 2 handfuls of kale
  • ½ a frozen peach
  • 240ml of unsweetened almond milk

Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.

With contributions from