You’ve just mixed your protein shake. Maybe you’ve added some fruit or peanut butter. Maybe the flavor is just really tasty and you’re looking forward to it. Perhaps you just want to down it.
Then as you start sipping… or gulping depending on your preferred method of consuming a protein shake, ugh! A clump! Gulpers, did you choke?
How to get rid of clumps in protein shakes is a very common question, so you’re definitely not alone.
I’ve researched and tested out some ways to get rid of clumps in protein shakes, and even better, preventing them from forming in the first place.
Why Is My Protein Powder Not Dissolving?
The answer to this and clumping comes down to the chemical structure of the proteins and fats in your protein powder and the way they react to water and other liquids.
Protein powder, and in particular, animal-derived protein, contains fat. That’s not to say that vegan protein powders don’t contain any fat, they generally just contain less of it, especially saturated fat.
You know how oil doesn’t mix with water? This happens in your protein powder too, just to a lesser extent.
Some types of amino acids (building blocks of protein) are also hydrophobic (shy away from rather than attract water molecules).
If you find clumps in your powder itself, it’s because the fat molecules are pushed together by the water molecules. Make sure you seal your protein powder very well.
As for clumps forming when you’re preparing your shake, the same thing can happen.
How to Prevent Whey Protein from Clumping
This very simple trick will work for other types of protein powders too, whether animal-based like egg or casein or plant-based protein powders.
Ever noticed how things mix better in hot liquids? This is true of protein too.
Simply mix your powder with some warm water first. You don’t have to use boiling liquid. Warm liquid will help it dissolve and have a nicer consistency without denaturing it.
Denaturing just means that the chemical structure of the protein changes. This doesn’t mean that your bodies can’t use it. Just that it may be a little harder to digest.
So try warm liquid, not hot liquid if you have a troublesome tummy.
If you want a cold shake, you can add in cold liquid after that. Just make sure your powder and liquid mixture is smooth first.
If you find that it’s not as cold as you’d like it, just add some ice. Most blenders also have no problem grinding ice if you prefer dissolved or fine ice as opposed to blocks.
How to Get Rid of Clumps in Protein Shakes
If you don’t have access to appliances to warm your chosen liquid or if you prefer to mix your powder with juice and find it gross to heat it up (I don’t blame you), try these tips:
Use a Blender
If you can, use a blender. These wonderful appliances can turn most types of foods into smooth purées, sauces, and juices. They can do the same for your protein shakes.
Blend your shake for 30 to 60 seconds for the best results. If it needs to go a little longer after this, give it another 30 seconds.
You can use a blender like a Nutribullet which is enclosed or try a hand blender.
If you don’t have a blender and feel brave, you can try a mixer. But these may cause a lot of splatter.
Mix, Stir or Shake for Longer
While a blender may only need 30 to 60 seconds to get your shake really smooth, other methods may require even more time.
Shaking, and especially stirring, are less effective methods. A few seconds just won’t do the trick as you may have noticed.
You may need to go as long as two or three minutes.
Mix a Little of the Liquid and Powder First
I would even suggest that if you’re using a shaker, first add a little of the liquid and stir it until it’s as smooth as possible.
Then add the rest of the liquid and shake or stir it as if your life depends on it.
How to Stir a Protein Shake: Use a Whisk or Fork
If you don’t have a shaker or a blender, stirring is the only option left to you. Don’t be discouraged, you can still achieve a smooth shake.
Using the warm liquid first is the best advice I can give you. That, and ditch the spoon.
Forks are much better at breaking up clumps.
The same goes for whisks. They do make miniature whisks, which I find absolutely adorable if you prefer mixing your shake in a glass instead of a jug and feel a fork is too meh to use.
Again, I reiterate, stir for at least a minute. You’ll probably need to go a little longer. Patience is key. Haste makes waste. Keep repeating these lines like a mantra if you need motivation.
If you employ the method of mixing the powder with a little bit of preferably warm liquid along with a good long stir, you should end up with a much smoother shake.
A Few Extra Tips for a Smooth Protein Shake
The above-mentioned tips should work well, but here are a few more things to try for even greater success:
Choose a Brand that has Finer Powder
Smaller particles dissolve easier. These finer powders will also usually be less gritty or chalky, which is especially helpful for plant-based proteins.
Choose a Metal Shaker Over a Plastic Shaker
Metal shakers may include a shaker ball to create a bit of a blender effect.
They can never do as well as a blender in terms of speed, but you may find that if you shake it longer you will achieve a smoother protein shake than with a plastic shaker.
Use Ice as a Shaker Ball
This is great if your shaker doesn’t have a shaker ball and you enjoy ice cold protein shakes. Simply pop an ice-cube or three into your shake and go to town on it after closing the lid tightly of course.
What is the Best Liquid to Use for a Smooth Protein Shake?
The truth is that it doesn’t matter if you like water, milk (plant or animal-based), or juice. It’s more about the temperature than the liquid and mixing your shake very well.