34 Surprisingly Delicious High-Protein Smoothie Recipes
Not a bodybuilder? Enjoy a protein smoothie anyway! Studies show protein works as a building block for healthy skin, hair, bones, and heart in any ol’ person (1)(2). Plus, a protein-packed breakfast can prevent overeating, and a dose of protein after resistance traininghelps build and repair muscle tissue (especially when mixed with soy) (3).
Generally speaking, adults (18 and older) should strive to eat .36 grams of protein for every ounce they weigh, per day. That means a person who weighs 150 pounds should aim to consume 54 grams of protein daily. Protein smoothies are an easy, portable, and (if you use one of these recipes) delicious way to guarantee you get your recommended dose.
The secret to mixing something up you’ll look forward to sipping is striking the right balance between protein sources, such as superfoods like Greek yogurt, chia seeds, and eggs, with sweet and/or savory add-ins—something all of the recipes below have nailed. In order to qualify for this list, recipes had to have eight or more grams of protein, be derived from whole food sources with minimal ingredients, and make us drool a little bit. Bottoms up!
The right carb-to-protein ratio will jumpstart energy levels and keep them steady throughout the day, says Jeff Thomas, Director of Nutrition at Creative Edge Nutrition.
1. Sunrise SmoothieProtein source: Greek yogurt Take a (sort of, not really) vacation when sipping this tropical-tasting smoothie. It calls for Greek yogurt and antioxidant-rich berries, an orange, and banana.
2. Kale, Berry, and Acai Power SmoothieProtein source: Kale, flax seeds, chia seeds, hemp protein powder Green smoothie ingredients sometimes get a bad rap, but superfood banana and berries mask the bold taste of kale in this recipe. Bonus: The tablespoon of acai powder boosts energy, while cinnamon helps reduce inflammation.
3. Roasted Strawberry Protein SmoothieProtein source:Cottage cheese, dairy milk, chia seeds For a serious flavor boost, roast strawberries (yet another superfood!) before tossing them into this blend. The creamy cottage cheese is a tasty alternative for those not partial to Greek yogurt’s tangy flavor profile.
4. Coffee Banana SmoothieProtein source: Greek yogurt, flax seeds Enjoy a breakfast of yogurt, banana, and coffee—all from the same cup. Caffeine pairs with protein for an exceptional energy boost.
5. Hot Chocolate Protein ShakeProtein source:Dairy milk, egg, whey powder A volatile vortex means it’s worth having this warmed-up recipe on hand at all times. Not to mention it makes a (healthy) meal out of classic hot chocolate, working in both protein-packed whey and unsweetened cocoa powder.
6. Skinny Green Monster SmoothieProtein source: Peanut butter, Greek yogurt Holy vitamins, Batman! The spinach alone serves up vitamins A, C, K, fiber, magnesium, and calcium! Allergic to peanuts? Try one of these tasty peanut butter alternatives.
7. Coconut Almond Ginger Protein ShakeProtein source: Almonds, protein powder Switch up a savory breakfast when opting for this sweet, still-healthy smoothie. Almonds and spices deliciously complement the crazy-versatile coconut oil.
8. Peanut Butter, Banana and Oat SmoothieProtein source:Peanut butter, flax seeds All the fixings of a healthy breakfast—peanut butter, banana, and rolled oats—but with a creamy taste of a milkshake. Need we say more?
9. Banana Raspberry Chia SmoothieProtein source:Greek yogurt, protein powder, chia seeds Frozen bananas, raspberries, and spice make busy mornings nice (and full of antioxidants!). The best part: This recipe takes only five minutes to make.
10. Almond and Cookie Butter Protein ShakeProtein source:Protein powder, almond butter Cookie butter (essentially gingerbread cookie crumbs mixed into almond butter) is totally a thing, and the littlest bit doesn’t really offset the nutritional quality of this protein-rich, almond-butter-based smoothie. #blessed
11. Strawberry Banana Smoothie with Chia SeedsProtein source:Chia seeds Don’t fix what isn’t broken, right? Bland but nutrition-packed chia seeds sneak protein into the classic strawberry-banana smoothie combo.
12. Spinach, Kiwi and Chia Seed SmoothieProtein source:Chia seeds A green smoothie that tastes anything but. Bananas sweeten it up, while tart-tasting kiwis keep it from feeling too much like dessert.
13. Blueberry Mango SmoothieProtein source: Greek yogurt, dairy milk Really, you can sip this smoothie anytime—but the fresh taste of antioxidant-rich blueberries and mango is a convincing reason to get out of bed in the morning.
Talk about a liquid lunch. Instead of a mid-day rager, these options source fiber- and protein-packed ingredients that work as a wholesome meal replacement or accompaniment to lighter lunches.
14. Kale, Banana, Chia, and Hemp Superfood SmoothieProtein source: Hemp and chia seeds A sugar hack for smoothies? Pitted dates. They’re a natural, fiber-filled sweetener that will satisfy a sweet tooth without added sugars (they also break down easier in a blender when soaked beforehand) (4).
15. Papaya Ginger SmoothieProtein source:Greek yogurt Thanks to its high fiber content, papaya has been shown to promote digestion, says nutritionist Michelle Davenport, PhD. So if breakfast isn’t sitting well with your stomach, stick to this smoothie RX. Bonus: It also includes ginger.
16. Green Warrior Protein SmoothieProtein source: Hemp hearts A ¼ cup of hemp hearts—seeds similar to sunflower seeds and pine nuts—provides about 15g of protein, almost 3g of fiber, and may help to prevent hypertension, says Dr. Davenport. Mixing them with super fruits, like bananas and apples, makes for a sweet, creamy sip.
17. Peanut Butter and Jelly SmoothieProtein source: Peanut butter, whey powder It’s peanut-butter-jelly time! Berries, peanut butter, rolled oats, and protein powder give the bread (and taste buds) a break.
18. Vanilla Matcha Avocado SmoothieProtein source:Vegan protein powder So, those amazing benefits of green tea? Get them by sprinkling a half teaspoon of matcha powder—finely-ground green tea—into this smoothie.
19. Blueberry Pineapple Oatmeal SmoothieProtein source: Protein powder, Greek yogurt Here’s a sunny twist on a staple breakfast. But, feel free to break this recipe’s rules by adding whatever fruit or greens you have on hand.
These sweet, protein-rich drinks will satisfy cravings and keep you full until your next meal.
20. Pineapple Coconut MilkProtein source: Chia seeds, Greek yogurtIf you like piña coladas…then spring for this smoothie edition! Pineapple and coconut milk mimic the signature cocktail’s taste, while chia seeds, Greek yogurt, and rolled oats ramp up nutrition. Tiny drink umbrellas optional.
21. Dark Chocolate Peppermint Protein ShakeProtein source: Protein powder Between the dark chocolate protein powder and the cocoa powder, chocolate lovers are going to want this drink morning, noon, and night. Which is fine, since dark chocolate is high in antioxidants and can help regulate stress.
22. Cool N’ Creamy Cantaloupe SmoothiesProtein source:Greek yogurt Fruit salads are a great snack—almost as great as this creamy mix of cantaloupe chunks, Greek yogurt, and honey.
23. Cherry Almond SmoothieProtein source: Almond butter, protein powder, dairy milk Put a craving for cherry ice cream on, well, ice when sipping this cherry smoothie instead. Cherries are also an anti-inflammatory, so this snack choice is pretty painless (get it?).
26. Strawberry-Banana Quinoa SmoothieProtein source:Greek yogurt, quinoa, chia seeds Not only is it a complete protein, but quinoa is a prime source of fiber, iron, and magnesium. And its taste is cleverly paired with other smoothie ingredients, including strawberries, bananas, and vanilla almond milk.
27. Chocolate Peanut Butter SmoothieProtein source: Greek yogurt, dairy milk, peanut butter Treat yo’self to a creamy, candy-inspired smoothie that fuels both muscles and taste buds (and is way more nutritious than a Reese’s).
With the right ingredients, protein shakes and smoothies can help your body bounce back faster from the muscle breakdown that often occurs during exercise (5).
28. Spinach Banana SmoothieProtein source: Almond butter, protein powder Handfuls of pureed spinach may not sound appetizing (unless you’re Popeye), but a ripe banana sweetens the taste. The taste being spinach’s high levels of vitamin A and iron.
29. Green Vanilla Almond Post-Workout ShakeProtein source: Almond butter, protein powder Milkshakes can go green, too—and this one excerpted from the new book Clean Green Drinks gets rave reviews. The sweetness of the banana, coconut milk, and vanilla protein powder overpowers the spinach flavor, while keeping things healthy.
30. Pomegranate Protein SmoothieProtein source:Protein powder Keep recovery simple with superfood pomegranate juice, seeds, and protein powder. Not only are they tasty, but pomegranates have high contents of vitamins C, K, fiber, and antioxidants with anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties, says Dr. Davenport.
31. Strawberry Almond Protein Dream SmoothieProtein source: Almonds Using almonds for DIY milk allows you to source more of the nut’s protein, calcium, and good-for-you fats. Strawberries keep things sweet and antioxidant-y.
32. Peachy Strawberry Protein SmoothieProtein source: Protein powder Sit back and unwind with this refreshing, fruity smoothie that’s basically fro-yo in a glass (but with non-dairy, delicious coconut milk and vanilla protein powder instead of processed sugars and dairy milk). You’re welcome.
33. Orange Mango Recovery SmoothieProtein source:Protein powder, cashews After protein, super spice turmeric is what sets this recovery smoothie apart. The spice is an anti-inflammatory that’s also high in antioxidants.
34. Carrot Cake Protein SmoothieProtein source: Protein powder For a dessert that won’t undo a workout, blend carrot juice, almond milk, a banana, and sugar’s healthy swap, cinnamon. Then sip. Aaaahh.
A Primer On Protein Powders
If you’ve already locked down your favorite smoothie recipe on account of particular tastes and/or food allergies, you can always just scoop in protein powder. When choosing a protein powder, “The two most important things to consider are brand and nutritional breakdown,” says Dr. Davenport. She points out that protein supplements are not regulated by the FDA, so it’s important to research safe brands before purchasing. (Start with our easy-to-follow supplement guide.)
It’s also important to note how you’re using the protein powder—whether it’s to replace a meal or recover from a workout. “Whey, milk, casein, and egg protein all absorb differently, and you want to get the maximum absorption with each meal,” Thomas says. Don’t worry, non-animal-protein-eaters: There are plenty of plant-based options for you, too, including rice, pea, hemp, and soy protein.
Research can also help you navigate the options on the supplement shelves. Our bodies may be better able to utilize whey and egg proteins better than soy protein, says Dr. Davenport, while whey and rice proteins may perform equally in terms of increasing power and strength. The bottom line? Choose the most unprocessed form of the source that best suits your needs.
- Dietary protein—its role in satiety, energetics, weight loss and health. Westerterp-Plantenga MS, Lemmens SG, Westerterp KR. Human Biology, Nutrim, MUMC, Maastricht University, Maastricht, Netherlands. British Journal of Nutrition. 2012 Aug;108 Suppl 2:S105-12
- Major Dietary Protein Sources and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in Women. Adam M. Bernstein, Qi Sun, Frank B. Hu, Meir J. Stampfer, JoAnn E. Manson, and Walter C. Willett. Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA. Circulation. 2010 Aug; 122(9):876-83
- Soy-Dairy Protein Blend and Whey Protein Ingestion After Resistance Exercise Increases Amino Acid Transport and Transporter Expression in Human Skeletal Muscle. Reidy PT1, Walker DK, Dickinson JM, et al. Journal of Applied Physiology, Circulation. 2014 Apr.
- Nutritional quality of 18 date fruit varieties. Habib HM1, Ibrahim WH. International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, 2011 Aug;62(5):544-51
- Age and aerobic exercise training effects on whole body and muscle protein metabolism. Short KR, Vittone JL, Bigelow ML, et al. American Journal of Physiology, Endocrinology, and Metabolism. Circulation. 2004 Jan; 286 (1):E92-101