Just bought a new protein powder and now find yourself desperately searching: “How to make vanilla protein shakes taste better”?
Yip. I feel you. It’s not that vanilla is necessarily a bad flavor. But it can just be so… vanilla. Boring. Bland. It can get old pretty fast.
On the other hand, sometimes these vanilla protein powders can be way too sweet. Or perhaps the type of protein powder just doesn’t taste good despite the vanilla flavor.
Before you throw it out, or mentally brace yourself before gulping it down as fast as you can each time, get creative instead.
Whichever issue you’re stuck with, there’s a solution that will suit your taste buds. It might surprise you to find out what tastes good with vanilla protein.
Add Some Nut Butter
If you have a good blender, adding nut butter not only adds an enjoyable flavor but thickens the shake too.
Peanut butter, almond butter, macadamia butter, and cashew nut butter all go well with vanilla. Select a sugar-free version if you find that your vanilla protein shake is too sweet.
PB2 is a good option if you only have a shaker or need to mix your shake with your fork. If you aren’t familiar with it, PB2 is powdered nut butter.
There are plain or flavored versions of both PB2 peanut or almond butter.
Use High-Quality Blender
If you are a texture person, this will definitely be something to check out. But it’s not just unmixed clumps that are the problem.
It’s also that not all the powder gets blended leaving you with a watered-down version of a vanilla protein shake. Plant-protein especially needs to be blended well.
A decent blender will also make it easier to add things like fruit and nuts and get a smooth shake.
Add More Water or Reduce the Amount of Water You Use
If you prefer using water, adjust how much you use. Add less water if you need more flavor or prefer a thicker consistency.
If your vanilla protein powder is too sweet, use more water. Naturally, if you prefer a thinner consistency, this will also do that for you.
Is Your Vanilla Protein Powder too Sweet? Add Vegetables for a Healthier Taste
This might sound disgusting, but don’t knock it until you try it.
Is your protein powder too sweet, but you hate diluting to the point that it loses all flavor? Try adding veggies.
They’re full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. You’ll essentially end up with a delicious and nutritious meal replacement shake.
Still not convinced? There are a few chefs who not only pair vanilla with veggies, but with potato, chicken, and fish too! It was quite the trend a few years ago in the culinary world.
The best veggies to try are those that are on the sweeter side of things:
- Butternut squash
You can also make a green smoothie using spinach, kale, arugula, etc, and add vanilla protein powder to it. It will mask the greens, especially if you add fruit too.
Not Sweet Enough? Add a Sweetener
I don’t recommend adding sugar. It’s not good for your teeth, your gut, or health in general. If you do add some, use it sparingly.
Artificial sweeteners may have a negative effect on gut health, so I don’t recommend them either. There are healthier ways to add sweetness.
Sugar alcohols, found naturally in fruits and even some vegetables, are a much better choice. They may even benefit the digestive system and even your teeth instead.
Try one of these:
Add Fruit Combinations that Match with Vanilla
Many fruits go well with vanilla. You’re likely to end up with something tasting like dessert. Who doesn’t like dessert? And bonus points, it’s healthy!
Citrus fruits, like the last two mentioned, should only be used with vanilla plant-based protein. Whey and Casein are derived from cows milk and may curdle if used with citrus fruits.
Use a Creamier Base
Vanilla works with desserts so well because it goes so well with cream. Use milk instead of water.
Using a creamier base retains that slightly creamy flavor that vanilla has even if you dilute it more on account of the sweetness.
If you enjoy the slightly sour flavor of yogurt, you can put the protein powder into the yogurt. Alternatively, play with the ratio of milk to yogurt until you get a consistency you like.
You can also use plant milk. Many people prefer almond, soy, and macadamia nut milk.
Plant-based yogurt won’t have same slightly sour flavor as dairy yogurt. But it will still be a nice creamy base and thicken your shake.
Avocado is a fruit that works well with not only savory flavors but sweet flavors like vanilla too. It’s a very nutritious way to add a creamy taste and texture. It will also thicken your shake up.
Try Multiple Vanilla Protein Recipes
You can make shakes, smoothies, breakfast, dessert, or snacks. It’s just a case of finding what you enjoy. There are many different recipes out there.
- Make your usual bowl of oatmeal, but then put in a scoop of vanilla protein powder for a tasty breakfast.
- Blend together a scoop of vanilla protein powder, almond milk, and a banana for a thick shake/smoothie.
- Make vanilla protein muffins. Depending on the recipe, the ratio differs between the flour and protein powder. You would use half a cup to two and a half cups of protein powder.
The No-Bake Vanilla Protein Cake
By Livestrong. It only takes around 10 minutes from start to finish. This recipe makes one serving.
- 1 egg (or flax egg- 1 tbsp ground flaxseed + 3 tbsp water)
- 3 tbsp applesauce
- 2 tbsp vanilla syrup
- 3 tbsp milk 2% (or plant-based alternative)
- 1/2 tsp organic vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp white flour (try chickpea or cassava flour for a gluten-free approach)
- 3 tbsp pancakes, plain, dry mix, incomplete
- 1 scoop 100% whey protein powder vanilla (or a plant-based vanilla protein powder)
- Blend all of the ingredients together in a blender (except for the flour, pancake mix, and protein powder) until well mixed.
- Add the flour, pancake mix, and protein powder into the blender and mix together.
- Add the mixture into a non-stick bowl and microwave for 2 minutes (if it’s still “wet” looking at the top, microwave for an additional 10 seconds at a time).
Avoid Vanilla Protein Pitfalls
Unless you enjoy strange combinations, I would advise steering clear of blending your vanilla protein with savory foods.
Unless it contains no sweetener at all. But most vanilla protein powders contain sweeteners of some sort.
For other ideas, stick to these guidelines to make sure you enjoy your vanilla protein creations:
Add Flavours That Go well with Vanilla
Some spices and dessert flavors work well vanilla. Try combining a different flavored protein powder with your vanilla protein powder.
If you can’t find a protein powder that you like in one of the below flavors, you can usually simply add the raw ingredients into your shake.
- Cookies and cream
- Chocolate (Cocoa powder will also help if it’s too sweet)
Go For Decent Tasting Vanilla Protein Powders
Here are the best tasting vanilla protein powders as voted by thousands of users:
BSN Syntha-6 Vanilla Ice Cream flavor is sweet, just like its dessert-like name implies. If you don’t like sweet protein powder, give this one a skip.
It only contains 4g of sugar per serving, which is the equivalent of a teaspoon of sugar. The additional sweetness is provided by sucralose.
Sucralose is an artificial sweetener. I would recommend that you stay away from it if you have digestive issues.
It’s a blend of whey protein isolate, whey protein concentrate, calcium caseinate, micellar casein, milk protein isolate, egg albumin, and glutamine peptides. Each scoop gives you 22g of protein.
It’s definitely best to use this one with a good blender since it’s hard to mix.
MusclePharm Protein Powder
Muscle Pharm Combat Protein Vanilla is delicious on its own or with other ingredients added in.
It only contains 2g of sugar. The sweetness is due to sucralose. There is added potassium, a nutrient that many people don’t get enough of.
The protein is a blend of whey protein isolate, whey protein concentrate, whey protein hydrolysate, micellar casein, and egg albumin. Each scoop gives you 25g of protein.
Another thing that Muscle Pharm has going for it, is the whey protein hydrolysate.
Protein hydrolysate, or hydrolyzed protein, may speed up recovery time after workouts compared to isolate or concentrate.
It’s best to use this protein powder with a good blender.
Dymatize ISO100 Hydrolyzed Protein Gourmet Vanilla is another one that those with a sweet tooth will enjoy. It tastes good even when mixed with just water.
It’s sweetened with a combination of sucralose and stevia. The overall sugar content is 1g per serving.
It’s a combination of hydrolyzed whey protein isolate and whey protein isolate. Each scoop gives you 25g of protein.
This protein powder mixes well. Plus, it’s organic.
Ora Organic Vegan Protein Powder (Vanilla flavour)
Ora Organic Vegan Protein Powder Vanilla has a great, clean taste. The flavor is good even when mixed with water.
There is no sugar in this protein powder. It’s sweetened with stevia and monk fruit extract.
Part of the flavor comes from a fruit and vegetable blend that adds extra vitamins and minerals to the shake.
Ora Organic contains a blend of pea protein, rice protein, cranberry, sacha inchi, hemp protein, sprouted quinoa, and amaranth. Each serving provides 21g of protein.
An enzyme blend makes it easier on your stomach. It needs to be mixed well as it can have a bit of a gritty texture.
KOS Organic Plant Based Protein Powder (Vanilla)
KOS Organic Plant Protein Vanilla tastes slightly nutty and earthy with a hint of vanilla. If you prefer a milder flavor, this one is for you. It goes particularly well with fruity smoothies.
It contains 3g of sugar per serving. The subtle sweetness is due to stevia and monk fruit extract. There is a blend of fruits and vegetables that also contribute to the overall nutrition and flavor.
KOS uses a blend of pea protein, flaxseed, quinoa, pumpkin seed protein, and chia seed to give you 20g of protein per serving. The digestive blend makes it easier to digest.
It’s best to use a good blender with this protein powder.
Final Piece of Advice. Wrapping It Up
Don’t be afraid to experiment. This may be one of the easiest and most stress-free ways to get out of your comfort zone.
To compliment bland vanilla powder or boost the sweetness, use fruit, add it to your porridge, make desserts with it.
I’m betting that very few of you thought vegetables would be an option when looking up how to make vanilla protein shakes taste better.
But they really can tone down the sweetness. Cocoa powder with its naturally bitter flavor will also balance the sweetness. Plus vanilla and chocolate go perfectly together.
Spice it up using cinnamon, cardamom, allspice, nutmeg, or ginger. Achai spice blend tastes great with vanilla. Chai spices are cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, pepper, and cloves.
It turns out that vanilla is quite a versatile flavor. It may take some experimentation, but you will find combinations that you enjoy. Vanilla protein powder may even become your favorite.
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