41 Innovative Ways to Sneak Protein Powder Into Every Meal

Protein powder is a popular go-to after a workout: Put in a shaker cup, add water, shake, and you have a portable drink to revitalize your muscles and energy. Or add it to a blender with milk, fruit, greens, nut butter, or other fun add-ins, and it’s an anytime snack or meal replacement. (And a delicious one at that.)

But the supplement isn’t only for liquids—it can also be used to make a variety of dishes, from muffins and cupcakes to burgers and lasagna to dips and doughnuts and more! Check out these protein powder recipes (use your favorite powder if you don’t like the one called for), and experience how delicious it is to take a break from the shaker cup!


Photo: iFoodReal

1. Berry Banana Quinoa and Steel-Cut Oats Breakfast Bake

Inspired by our Quinoa Breakfast Bake, this easy breakfast is perfect hot or cold, plus it makes enough for a healthy start to your day throughout the week. Blueberries give this dish an antioxidant punch while ripe bananas make it naturally sweet. Bonus: it can be made vegan-friendly.

2. Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies

These sweet treats will make you feel good about eating cookies for breakfast. And with just five ingredients—including protein-packed peanut butter and protein powder—you’ll be full for hours. And it tastes like a PB&H sandwich!

3. Cocoa Banana Muffins

Chocolate, bananas, and muffins—this recipe checks all the boxes on “delicious.” These freeze well, so make an extra batch and pop in the microwave when you’re ready to chow down. Using oat flour also makes them gluten free! Just check the labels on your flour and protein powder to be 100 percent sure.

4. Paleo Pumpkin Protein Pancakes

Thanks to ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice, these fluffy, gluten-free pancakes are full of flavor (you honestly don’t even need syrup on top!) and nutritious to boot. They’re simple to make too. We love serving them at brunch.

5. Secretly Healthy Banana Bread

A few simple swaps make this banana bread a super healthy breakfast option. Half of the white flour is substituted for whole wheat, while the addition of protein powder gives this loaf much more staying power than the traditional version. Add chopped walnuts for omega-3 fatty acids.

6.Protein Crepes

Whether you like sweet or savory, there’s a portein-filled crepe for you to chow down on! The batter cooks in just minutes and is ready to be stuffed with your favorite fillings before you know it. We love using Nutella and fresh fruit for a sweet version or an egg scrambled with veggies for a savory kind.

7. Strawberries and Cream High-Protein Oats

There’s no reason oatmeal has to be boring. The simple addition of fresh strawberries (or another favorite berry—all are good sources of fiber) and vanilla protein powder make them taste like dessert. Cooked over the stove for 5 minutes, this beats the pants off of any packed, overly sugary version!

8. Chocolate Protein Waffles

Waffles aren’t only for weekends thanks to this one-serving recipe. Naturally sweetened with bananas and coconut flour, it requires few ingredients and provides a satisfying balance of fat, protein, and carbs. Serve with your favorite toppings like fresh fruit, cacao nibs, or a scoop of Greek yogurt.

9. Protein Pumpkin Pie Chia Pudding

A great recipe to make ahead and enjoy the next morning, this nutritious pudding tastes more like dessert than a healthy morning meal. It’s got energy-boosting chia seeds, vitamin A-rich pumpkin, almond butter, and loads of spices. It’ll keep for several days in the refrigerator, so make an extra batch for busy days.

Main Dishes

Photo: Bittersweet Blog

10. Pumpkin Protein Burgers

These vegan burgers are anything but boring or dry. Pumpkin purée provides moisture to the chickpea base, which is a good source of fiber and protein. The blogger recommends pumpkin seed protein powder, but any unflavored type will do. And with balsamic vinegar, mustard, cumin, and oregano, there’s really no need for additional condiments, just a few veggie toppings.

11. High-Protein and Low-Carb Chicken Pasta

If you’ve never tried pea protein powder, it’s great in savory pasta-heavy dishes. Give it a whirl here with low-carb pasta for a meaty, cheesy dinner with a nice, thick sauce. Add some broccoli or cauliflower for vegetables, and mix up the cheese to use whatever you love most (or have on hand).

12. Quiche With a Chickpea Crust

This ultra-healthy quiche is perfect for dinner or brunch. Protein powder is baked right into a chickpea crust, while egg whites and spinach keep the filling light and green. Omit the turkey bacon to keep it vegetarian-friendly.

13. Coconut and Curry Pumpkin Soup

Nothing like homemade soup to warm up—and muscle up! This version goes to the tropics with the addition of coconut oil, coconut milk, and Thai red curry paste, and using protein powder quadruples the protein content with minimal calories. Don’t skip the sriracha if you like a lot of heat!

14. 10-Minute Power Pizza

Even pizza benefits from the powdered stuff. With toppings (including buffalo mozzarella), this recipe ups the protein content of the Friday night fave to a whopping 46 grams and is prepared in 10 minutes. Skip the delivery guy and get thee to this pie instead.

15. Chicken Parmesan Florentine Meatballs

The ingredients list is a tad long, but the flavor is high and the cooking is easy in this Italian-inspired recipe. Best of all, you’ll likely have many of the items in your pantry already. Oats keep these meatballs moist while fresh spinach adds a dose of veggies. Serve with your favorite pasta or in a meatball sub.

16. Black Bean Veggie Burgers

Just because there’s no meat doesn’t mean these burgers aren’t full of protein. They’re made with black beans, a great source of fiber, and carrots, potatoes, and leeks. That makes for moist, chewy patties with some smoky heat from paprika and cayenne.

17. Meaty Lasagna

While this lasagna calls for making pasta from scratch, it’s not just ordinary pasta—it’s infused with protein powder. And you can always use packaged noodles in a pinch since the ricotta layer adds an extra dose of protein too. With 49 grams of protein per serving, this is a meal to have ready for a post-workout dinner.


Photo: Healthful Pursuit

18. Oil-Free Carrot Cake Protein Bars

Who knew carrots could taste this decadent? These gluten-free bars use bananas and a touch of maple syrup for sweetener, plus spices like cinnamon and nutmeg for extra flavor. If you’re not a raisin fan, you can opt out of including them or even swap in chocolate chips instead. Coconut butter drizzled on top takes their deliciousness over the top.

19. Mini Pizza Muffins

Perfect for afternoon pizza cravings or as a party appetizer, these little guys have all the toppings—plus protein—baked right in. With bits of pepperoni and mozzarella in every bite, they make perfectly sized snacks and are easy to freeze for later too.

20. Chia Peanut Butter Protein Balls

You’ll never believe how easy these protein balls are to make. Dates, protein powder, peanut butter, and ground chia seeds get pulsed together in a food processor and chilled to perfection in the fridge. Throw them in your gym bag for a quick snack before or after a workout.

21. Red Velvet Protein Bars

These homemade, red velvet protein bars may not taste exactly like the cake you’re used to, but you just might like them even more! Perfect for an on-the-go snack or after-dinner treat, vanilla protein powder gives these simple bars extra flavor and coconut flour adds decadence.

22. Almond Butter Protein Granola

Granola is often be loaded with more not-so-great-for-you ingredients than good ones, but that’s not the case in this recipe. Creamy almond butter, oats, and flaxseed all have staying power, and a serving of vanilla protein powder makes it even more flavorful. Eat on its own, with milk (like cereal), or mixed in with yogurt.

23. Pizza Dip With Parm Topping

Perfect for dunking crackers or fresh veggies in, this pizza dip is crazy-good for you—thanks to iron-rich beans and raw walnuts bringing both crunch and healthy fats to the table. With the help of basil, oregano, garlic, tomato paste, and cheesy nutritional yeast, it honestly tastes like pizza!

24. Rosemary Oat Crackers

These tasty little crackers use only a handful of ingredients, but they’re big on flavor. Brown rice and oat flours keep things gluten free, while fresh rosemary gives a fresh taste. If you’re a rosemary fan, try another fresh herb like thyme.

25. Cake Batter Balls

Cake batter you can eat with your hands? Yes, please! With just five ingredients and no baking necessary, these satisfy your sweet tooth while providing a dose of protein—sans risk of salmonella since they’re vegan.

26. Quinoa Nut Butter Power Bar

These power bars feature popular health food faves: almonds, quinoa, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, nut butter, coconut milk, and protein powder! Of course they taste amazing then. Plus, they’re easily customizable to include your favorite ingredients.

Cakes, Cookies, and Brownies

Photo: Dashing Dish

27. Funfetti Protein Angel Food Cake

Healthy funfetti? Well, it may not top a dietitian’s recommendation list, but this dessert still isn’t horrible for you with 9.5 grams of protein per slice. Don’t forget to add the sprinkles!

28. Chocolate Peanut Butter “Cheesecake”

This cheesecake fake-out uses cottage cheese, chocolate protein powder, and peanut butter to mimic the dessert favorite. No baking necessary, just a little patience if you decide to let it set in the freezer before devouring.

29. Dark Chocolate Chip Protein Cookies

It’s hard not to nibble on cookies every hour (minute?) when a batch makes 30 or so. Not the case here! This mix of powdered peanut butter, flaxseeds, chia seeds, and protein powder makes only six cookies, so restraint isn’t hard, and they bake up nice and crispy.

30. Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Chip Chickpea Protein Blondies

If you’re a fan of traditional blondies, this version will surprise you in all the right ways. This is a dessert you can feel good about eating, thanks to the addition of chickpeas, bananas, peanut butter, and protein powder. And it’s so simple to whip up!

31. Pumpkin Vanilla Protein Cookies

Almost as easy as break and bake, these go well with tea for a sweet snack. We love the idea of adding ground vanilla beans for even more vanilla flavor or throwing in a handful of chocolate chips since they go perfectly with pumpkin.

32. Dark Chocolate Protein Cupcakes With Peanut Butter Greek Yogurt Frosting

Let’s see, fluffy cupcakes with added protein plus Greek yogurt icing? How can you say no? Chocolate protein powder plus cocoa makes the cakes extra chocolatey, and the trio of yogurt, peanut butter, and cream cheese whips into an ultra creamy topping.  

33. 3-Ingredient Cookie

All you need are bananas, oatmeal, and protein powder to make  these treats. They’re great on their own, but experimenting with add-ins means you can customize to suit your cravings. Dried fruit, nuts, or pumpkin puree with pumpkin pie spice would all be amazing.

Other Desserts

Photo: Desserts With Benefits

34. Healthy Chocolate Fudge Truffles

These scrumptious bites are secretly loaded with heart-healthy avocados, Greek yogurt, and protein powder. And with no baking involved, they are easy to whip up too. They only keep for two days, so try various coatings (nuts, coconut, cinnamon), and take some to the office to share!

35. Protein Ice Cream

When you need to satisfy your sweet tooth but don’t want to derail your eating habits, this ice cream will become your go-to. With just three ingredients—protein powder, almond milk, and almond butter—it’s a quick fix. Use flavored protein powder for even more flavor.

36. Hot Chocolate With Peanut Butter Whipped Cream

Cold drinks aren’t the only way to use protein powder in beverages. Perfect for chilly nights or as an after-dinner sub for coffee, hot cocoa gets a blast of protein powder, while the peanut butter whipped cream gives yet another dose of staying power. Topped with a chocolate drizzle, you’ll love this one.

37. Green Smoothie Protein Pops

Perfect for when it’s warm out, try putting your green smoothie on a stick! Each pop has 4 grams of protein plus banana for more staying power than a regular popsicle, plus coconut water for hydration and spinach for some vitamins—and color, of course.

38. Blueberry Crisp

Crisps bake up nice and juicy with a crumbly topping—and this blueberry one doesn’t disappoint. Pumpkin, sunflower, and chia seeds combine with oats for a crunchy crumble that has added protein powder. Go ahead, top with a scoop of ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream.

39. Passion Fruit Protein Mousse

With no added sugars, the ability to add in whatever fruit you have on hand, and a blast of protein powder, this refreshing mousse is unexpectedly good. Using passion fruit packs in fiber (4 grams per serving from the fruit alone!), and all the work is done by a food processor.

40. Cinnamon-Sugar Doughnuts

When you’ve got a doughnut craving, this recipe’s got your back, with a sweet coating to boot. Just the right size, light, and airy, they’re better than anything Dunkin has to offer.

41. Peanut Butter Cups

Put down the Reese’s and grab these instead. With five ingredients (including Greek yogurt), they may be a bit messy to make, but that’s never stopped us! Store in the freezer and grab one when nothing but candy will do.

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