How to Choose a Vegan Protein Powder [Beginner-Friendly Guide]

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If you’ve never taken protein supplements before, it can be overwhelming to pick one.

First you have the type of protein. Is pea protein best? Or soy? What about a blend?

And what about the amino acid profile?

How much should you be prepared to pay?

Is there any way to make sure the shakes taste alright?

Those are some of the biggest questions you need to answer before choosing a protein powder.

Luckily, the answers are fairly simple once you understand them. 

I’ve tested over 20 of the best vegan protein powders, so I have a bit of experience here. I’ll break down all the things you need to know into a 5 minute (or so…) read, so stick with me here.

What Type of Plant Protein is Best?

This is the first thing that trips people up.

Most vegan protein powders will have one of the following protein sources:

  • Pea protein (most common by far)
  • Soy protein
  • A blend of proteins from different sources (pea, quinoa, brown rice, etc.)

Which one do you need?

In almost all cases, it doesn’t matter.

The only difference between them is that the amino acid profile will be a bit different

The only time this would matter would be if you were only drinking protein shakes and not eating or drinking anything else. In this case you’d want a blend, which would give you the most complete amino acid profile.

But other than this extreme case, it literally will have 0 effect, so don’t worry about the type.

How Much Does a Good Protein Powder Cost?

Vegan protein powder is much more expensive than whey protein powder.

Hopefully that will change in the future, but for right now, you need to budget more for protein.

Look for sales and buy in bulk if possible to save money.

Most good vegan protein powders will work out to costing about $1-1.5 per shake.

For 20-30 grams of protein, that’s really not terrible. But it’s going to get expensive if you rely on shakes for all your protein, so get as much as you can from food.

Here’s a list of the best vegan protein food sources if you need help with that.

One last final warning: In my experience, cost doesn’t have too much to do with quality. Some of the most expensive vegan powders taste terrible. 

So when you’re comparing them against each other, don’t use cost as an indicator of quality (to a reasonable degree). You also don’t want to buy the absolute cheapest ones either.

How Do You Know If a Protein Shake Will Taste Good Enough?

Finding a protein powder you like is the most important part of this whole process, because a lot of vegan powders taste terrible.

I can stomach just about anything, but there were a few I couldn’t choke down no matter how hard I tried.

Find one that you like, even if it costs you a bit extra.

While everyone’s tastes are a bit different, I’ve tested just about all of the most popular ones. You can see the shakes I thought were the best tasting here. That should at least help you narrow down your choices.

Next, there are some things you can do to make your shakes taste better:

  • Test water and non-dairy milk – Some powders taste better in water, and some taste better in non-dairy milk (I don’t know why).
  • Add liquid before powder – In all my testing, I figured out that putting in the liquid first before adding protein powder made it mix significantly better, which of course improves the taste.
  • Shake it longer – I typically shake mine for at least 30 seconds to make sure it mixes as well as possible. Try making a few shakes in a blender to see what sort of consistency is possible and you should be aiming for.
  • Dilute it – If your shakes aren’t mixing well, use a higher water to protein ratio, even if that means you need to drink another shake.

If you have any other questions still, just leave a comment below and I’ll try to clear them up.

About the author

Dale C.

Your friendly neighborhood vegan from Toronto. Chemical engineer turned semi-professional soccer player and freelance writer. Trying to do my small part in making the world better by writing about the wonderful world of veganism.

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