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  • Writer's pictureRay Campbell

I Tested And Ranked The Best Protein Powders For Muscle Gain In 2024

Looking to bulk up those biceps? Check out my lineup of the best protein powders on Amazon to help you achieve your wellness goals.

best protein powder for muscle gain

FYI, prices and ratings are accurate as of time of writing.

1. Optimum Nutrition - 100% Whey Protein Powder

Top-rated: 208,664 ratings

best protein powder for muscle gain


Highlight: 24 grams of protein per serving.

Helpful review: "First off, I've purchased a bunch of different flavors of ON Gold Standard Whey. All of them have close to the same nutritional value, but they vary greatly in taste. Both my wife and I drink these protein shakes as part of our daily diet, and as a product, Optimum Nutrition is great. I've mixed both milk and water, and all of the shakes mix well and don't seem to clump. I've tried other manufacturers' whey, and I keep finding myself going back to ON for the price, nutritional value, and above all the taste.
So the flavor question. As I mentioned, each flavor has a different characteristic from the others. Some are bland, some taste sweet, some taste overly fake. We loved some, and we hated some. Below is a list based on what we like so far and why. Bear in mind that I hate diet drinks for their bad aftertaste. The drinks don't have to be sweet for me to like them, but I can't stand the garbage aftertaste of fake sweeteners.
Rocky Road - By far the single best tasting flavor. The downside is that it does taste a little sweet. The nutritional value is right on par with the other flavors, but it is a bit sweet. I could drink this all day. If you only buy one flavor, this is it. There is no real aftertaste, and the flavor is great.
Extreme Milk Chocolate - Another good flavor with almost no aftertaste. This one tastes like chocolate, and doesn't have a fake taste to it. If you are looking at the chocolate flavors, this one is perfect.
Natural Vanilla - This is a slightly different product, and it comes in a tub with yellow labeling instead of the red. It's on Amazon for the same price, and it has the same nutritional values. They claim it has less artificial sweeteners in it, hence the natural label. In any case, this is the best vanilla out there. There is no aftertaste, and it tastes like vanilla milk. It is not as sweet as the others, but it is the single best vanilla flavor I've found.
Cookies and Cream - This one is both good and bad. If you like the creamy vanilla taste, you will like the flavor. It doesn't have a bad aftertaste, but it is sort of bland. It is sweet, but bland. Also, the cookie chunks in it don't dissolve. This is the only flavor so far that has bits of stuff that you are swallowing when you drink it. It's odd. That said, I have reordered it in the past.
Chocolate Malt - It's just OK. The flavor is a little odd because of the malt. Given the choice, just order the Extreme Milk Chocolate.
Caramel Toffee Fudge - Again, just OK. They tried to hit too many flavors with this one, and it just turned out odd. Not a bad flavor, but don't start out here. I got bored so I tried it. I doubt I'll order it again.
Double Rich Chocolate - This flavor sucks. It tastes like fake chocolate. Not good fake chocolate, but generic fake chocolate. It has that bad aftertaste of fake sweetener, and is all around not good.
Vanilla Ice Cream - Another swing and a miss. This flavor tastes like bad fake powdered milk. It has that bad aftertaste, and is probably the single worst flavor they have. If you are looking for vanilla, avoid this at all costs and get the Natural Vanilla.
Tropical Punch - Another fake tasting flavor. When I got this, I could barely get through the first few shakes. Eventually it grew on me a little bit, and I was able to drink it without hating it. It tastes like strawberry milk with a bunch of fake sweetener. It's just wrong, and is not something you want to drink after a workout.
I know that taste varies from person to person, so take this with a grain of salt. I hate the taste of fake sweetener, so this list draws from that. I've taken to buying the 2lb tubs to try out a flavor, and then going with the 5 lb tubs if I like it. It costs a bit more that way, but it means there is only 2lbs to choke down if you get a flavor that you hate. Enjoy!
I stopped drinking powdered protein because the overwhelming taste of whey started to make me gag after a few years. I started relying on the pre-made container shakes, which we all know are not cost or space effective. I got tired of the cost of the premade ones, and decided to give powder a shot again. Boy, am I glad I did! This stuff is the real deal. The taste is great, it's not too sweet & you hardly taste the whey! Goes down like chocolate milk. To add additional protein to mine, I put 2 tbsp of powdered PB which has 8g of protein and it tastes delicious. Looking forward to trying more flavors, and to hitting my protein goals with ease again!" — Carrie Carleton

Get it from Amazon now: $41.99 & FREE Returns


2. Orgain - Organic Vegan Protein Powder

Top-rated: 147,049 ratings

best protein powder for muscle gain


Highlight: 21 grams of protein per serving.

Helpful review: "Orgain is a great product. We use both the powder, and the premixed drink boxes. I like the taste, compared to other powders I have tried. It is not a DQ shake, but for a vegan protein shake it is good. I only mix it in smoothies with frozen fruits, and fresh produce. So the powder only provides a little sweetness and a lot of protein. If you hate all protein powders, you will probably hate this one too. Maybe if you hate all protein powders, try drinking smoothies with just fruits and veggies, and get your protein from some other healthy source.
For protein powders, I prefer vegan protein. I get plenty of meat based protein in my diet, but whey protein is harder for me to digest, and process. Vegan protein powder gives me a more balanced amino acid profile, I get the aminos I would otherwise miss in my animal based diet, of milk, eggs, and lean proteins. As a male, I try to avoid soy proteins, and I’m cautious of legumes. Vegan proteins are great, but you want to get the correct vegan proteins, for your needs, goals, and limitations. Or gain uses high quality, safe, balanced vegan sourced proteins.
I realize there is a subset of people that say why smoothies? Just eat food. I was not 326 lbs because I was eating healthy foods. I was in the camp of people that thought fruit was a waste of calories. I mean come on, 2 apples have the same calories as a candy bar. But what I have learned is that two apples will nourish and fuel your body, leaving you satisfied. Sugar just trashes your hormones and metabolism. Calories are not the only thing that made me fat. Excess calories from poor nutrition made me fat. Protein smoothies were my baby step in learning how to eat the right stuff. I knew what to eat. I just did not want to do it. Protein smoothies taste good to me. They helped me to learn how to like eating fruit. I now eat whole fruits in place of junk food. I also eat a lot of fruits in smoothies with Orgain powder.
My overall review is fairly glowing, and I will let my 5 star rating stand, as I have lost over 100 lbs. The positive benefit of losing 100 lbs and keeping that weight off outweighs anything else for me. So maybe my thoughts are biased.
Protein smoothies and an otherwise terrible diet will not help you lose 100 lbs. But protein smoothies, and education may help you learn your triggers to bad eating, and they may help you compensate for cravings, and learn new cravings. It will be a struggle, and it will take time.
I do not use this powder in a shaker cup so I can not say how it does with those. I do use it as a component in a fairly complex smoothie with 3 or 4 types of fruit and some greens and juices. My smoothies are not low calorie. They are good calories with great nutrition. They are not a full meal replacement, but they are close.
My smoothies run about 300 calories per serving. I consider a meal 500 calories, for my size and activity level. The nice thing about a smoothie is you can pour what you need and share the rest with your family.
- The blendtec designer 625 blender with 4 sided jar
- Any powerful blender will work
- 4 oz of POM juice POM Wonderful Pomegranate Cherry, 100% Juice
- 2 oz of lemon concentrate (gives fruit smoothies a jolly rancher effect)
- 4 ounces of coconut milk.... So Delicious Dairy Free Organic Coconut Milk Beverage, Vanilla, 32 oz (Pack of 6) plus frozen strawberries, blueberries, and fresh green baby spinach.
This will make a thick smoothie, probably too thick for a ninja blender (been down that road) more liquid will help thin the smoothie if your blender can't handle it. When I had a ninja, the liquid had to be filled to the top of the greens at the least.
- 3 scoops Orgain vanilla protein powder (that makes 33 grams of protein for the full pitcher of smoothie)
- 2 handfuls of fresh organic power greens, baby spinach will work great too.
- 2 handfuls of organic frozen strawberries
- 1 handful frozen blackberry, raspberry, blueberry combo
This will make a full jar of smoothie. 48 ounces I think. This is the family size recipe. Don't drink this all by yourself!! As a meal, this will feed two people. As a snack it will feed 6.
My life is great now at 215 lbs, and I am active. I can play with my kids and ride my bike to work. I could not do that at 326 lbs.
Orgain protein powder helped me. It tasted good enough to make a new lifestyle possible. It has good organic ingredients. It is a great component in my organic smoothies, that we still have several times per week. Not everyone has the same goals, or problems I had. Your journey will be different.
For the best price, what I have found is that I can order 5 of these every other month, in the subscribe and save program. I use the Amazon store card. that gets me another 5% off. So I get 20% off each jug I order just by making sure I have 5 items shipped every time I get a subscription and save. If you end up liking this product as much as I do, and don't use it as much, you can order 5 and then skip months until it is all gone. I think subscribe and save even has an every 6 months option. Doing it this way gives you five for the price of four. That is how I get the best deal. But other than that I pay the same price anyone else would, and those discounts are available to anyone. Good luck and happy smoothing!
I think the key is to identify healthy choices and do them consistently. Protein smoothies can be an expensive way to get healthy. So using them as a supplement, may be a better choice for many. And eating healthy foods will be your best overall choice.
Getting exercise is also a great idea.
My hope with this review is to encourage and inspire someone to make healthy changes. To show them that someone else has had struggles (and I still struggle, I won't even mention how badly I did this past holiday season. But with effort and consistency, there can be hope. Maybe you won't lose 100 lbs. but maybe your clothes will fit better, and you will be able to be a little more active. I remember how happy I was that my size 42 jeans were not tight any more. Now I can wear 34's, and I have gotten down to 32's when I got my weight down to 206. But so far I have not found that weight very sustainable." — Michael Rauschenberg

Get it from Amazon now: $28.97 & FREE Returns


3. Premier - 100% Whey Protein Powder

Top-rated: 49,760 ratings

best protein powder for muscle gain


Highlight: 30 grams of protein per serving.

Helpful review: "This powder has saved me money. I started buying the Premier Protein Powder Vanilla flavor when I started my weight loss journey 2 months ago and I have now reached -25pounds of my -35 goal. I walk on the treadmill right away before my brain is awake enough to procrastinate and then I drink one of these shakes. Then I always wait 2 hours before eating any food after my shake. I do quick hand weights a few times a day then treadmill in the evening 30 min and then have another Vanilla Shake after treadmill and then hand weights again before bed.
I cut out soda and sugar completely and these Shakes saved me from the cravings and the weight came off much faster than I expected. Just 10 more pounds to go and not worried a bit. The reason the shakes save me money is because I eat no junk food and these are what I crave now, so I don't buy low calorie stuff. Just natural foods and these shakes are my treat after the treadmill.
It's amazing how little I spend on food now. No matter what else I am eating, I know with these additional shakes each day I am getting the protein I need while losing weight. I use a 'Hand Blender' in my glass to mix ( Like the ones they use to make shakes at dinners but handheld ) and the shakes come out so good. But a spoon works fine for mixing. I like mine more frothy so I use the eclectic handheld drink mixer.
I'm serious, when I cut out all sugar these shakes are now what I crave but instead of drinking sugar you are taking in protein. I thought weight loss would be harder but it just all came off so fast but not sure if I could have done it without having something to drink that I craved after 30 min on the treadmill twice a day.
To be fair, I didn't cut out all sugar because the last thing I eat each evening is one chocolate chip cookie, but honestly I'm craving the shakes more and one shake is less calories than my cookie and I am drinking protein. The shakes worked for me, and it is weird seeing a thinner looking face in the mirror, but I'm getting used to it.
I am genuinely impressed with the Premier Protein Powder in Chocolate Milkshake flavor. As a fitness enthusiast, finding a protein powder that not only meets my nutritional needs but also satisfies my taste buds can be a challenge – but this product nails it! The 30g of protein per serving is a game-changer, helping me meet my protein goals for the day without compromising on flavor. The fact that it contains only 1g of sugar is a huge bonus, especially for those on a keto diet. The use of 100% whey protein ensures a high-quality protein source. The chocolate milkshake flavor is absolutely delicious, and it mixes smoothly with water, milk, or my favorite smoothie ingredients. It's versatile enough to be used in various recipes, adding a protein boost to my favorite treats. The packaging is convenient, and the resealable lid keeps the powder fresh. Overall, Premier Protein Powder has become my go-to protein supplement. It's a 5-star product that delivers on taste, nutrition, and versatility. Highly recommended!
This product is great, especially when you don't have time to eat breakfast right away - it gives you a little caffeine kick and doesn't leave you feeling like you're running on empty again in too short a time frame, besides being good for rejuvenation and recovery after longs days coupled with intense exercise - before or after the fact. Don't mix it into hot coffee or it will clump up, but mix it separately into water and/or milk and stir that into your hot coffee.. it will foam up on top just like the gourmet version and tastes great.. But if you like your coffee a little naughtier than this on occasion, just add sugar to taste. It can definitely hold its own with the big boys without making you too much of a big boy, or girl yourself. So if you're watching your diet and keeping an eye on your waistline just eat healthy - kick the amino acids out - and stick with a good, quality protein. I've purchased this product for some time now - both on Amazon and in supermarkets, and this is my unbiased opinion." — Charles Mitchell

Get it from Amazon now: $22.44 & FREE Returns


4. Dymatize - 100% Whey Isolate Protein Powder

Top-rated: 61,794 ratings

best protein powder for muscle gain


Highlight: 25 grams of protein per serving.

Helpful review: "Dymatize ISO100 has hands down become my go-to protein powder. I have now tried 9 flavors, they are (in no particular order):
- Chocolate Caramel
- Chocolate Peanut Butter
- Cinnamon Bun
- Cocoa Pebbles
- Cookie and Cream
- Fudge Brownie
- Gourmet Chocolate
- Gourmet Vanilla
- Strawberry
There are really four main factors that matter to me in a protein powder; How well does it mix, What's actually in it, how much does it cost, and the most important factor of all, taste.
It mixes great, zero complaints on this front. It borderline mixes too well. I typically have my protein in one of two ways; a shaker bottle with a metal shaker, mixed with water or milk, or a protein shake/smoothie mixed in a ninja blender. In both situations, I have zero issues with the mix. Never comes out clumpy or lumpy. Some of the flavors mix so well they come out very foamy (more so than other powders) and I actually have to wait a bit so I'm not just drinking bubbles.
I am not a supplement expert, but Dymatize's ISO100 has significantly less cholesterol than a lot of competitors, and that's good enough for me. This factor matters the least to me. I don't look too much into ingredient labels, but heart disease does run in my family, so avoiding unnecessary cholesterol, which is common in a lot of powders, is a big plus.
I think the price is exceptional for the product. I will get to it in the next section, but even though I do not think Dymatize has the hands-down best flavors, for the cost I couldn't be happier.
Gourmet Chocolate is without question my absolute favorite chocolate flavored protein powder. Totally subjective obviously, but I don't think anything else even really comes close, and I've tried a pretty extensive selection of chocolates. For a reference point that a lot of people can relate to, I do not like Optimum Nutrition's chocolate at all, I think it's pretty disgusting.
I am giving an overall rating of 4 stars because aside from gourmet chocolate and cookies and cream, I do not think any of the other flavors I've tried are out of this world. Look above for the list of all the chocolate variants I've had. I won't bother buying any of them again, because the gourmet chocolate is just plain better than all of the others. The flavor difference is minimal enough that I don't care for them to add variety, but big enough that I see no reason to waiver from the king.
Chocolate Peanut Butter is an outlier on the chocolates. It's really good too... BUT when I want a chocolate peanut butter flavor, I think it tastes way better to just use gourmet chocolate, and then add a tablespoon or two of peanut butter powder, like PB Fit. It's a small amount more calories for a lot more protein and a much less artificial flavor.
Cookies and Cream is my second favorite. It's also super delicious. Now that I've experimented with most of the flavors, I will probably just be buying cookies and cream and gourmet chocolate, so that I don't get bored of one.
Gourmet vanilla and cinnamon buns are fine. If you really like those flavors I have no complaints.
Strawberry I could not get to taste good in a smoothie. Just wouldn't sit right with me. Mixed with just almond milk it's pretty yummy though. I got pretty tired of this flavor pretty fast and will likely not buy it again. I'm generally not crazy about fruit flavored protein powders though.
So, I didn't give 5 stars because not every flavor is my favorite. What is you might ask? I really love Ghost Protein. I think they have the best flavors if you want 3 or more choices. Their coffee flavor is my favorite protein of all time. BUT, Ghost is a lot more expensive. The ISO100 makes me a lot happier when I remember I'm spending quite a bit less per scoop (I usually buy the 3 lb tubs of ISO100, which is obviously cheaper per oz). It just comes down to price to performance, and right now ISO100 wins it for me. I still buy Ghost from time to time because I like it so much.
Just for funsies here is my fairly generic protein smoothie I have almost every morning for my breakfast:
- 1 scoop of either Gourmet Chocolate -or- Cookies and Cream ISO100.
- 3/4 cup milk
- 2 tablespoons peanut butter powder (I like PB Fit)
- 1 whole frozen banana
- 1/4-1/2 cup frozen black coffee ice cubes (you can of course just use regular ice cubes)
- About 35-40g of protein for a 350-400 calorie smoothie that tastes BANGIN.
If you try it out, blend the milk, PB powder, and protein together first. Then add the coffee ice cubes and blend for 30 seconds to a minute. Then add the banana and blend to desired thickness, another 30 seconds to a minute. If you try to do it all at once, there are too many cold ingredients and the protein and PB powder won't blend as well as it normally would otherwise." — Nicholas Carter

Get it from Amazon now: $33.43 & FREE Returns


5. Garden of Life – Plant Based Raw Protein

Top-rated: 11,705 ratings

best protein powder for muscle gain


Highlight: 22 grams of protein per serving.

Helpful review: "I do want to recommend potential buyers to do their research and not just read the reviews. While it is true there was lead, cadmium and tungsten found in this product, these are also found in many plants. It's naturally occurring!! The company DID refute the allegations & provide a formal response:
"To better understand the issues at hand, it's important to note that lead and cadmium are commonly tested in all foods and food supplements manufactured and sold in the United States. These metals are classified as minerals. Minerals, vitamins and other nutrients are commonly found in our environment, including air, water and soil. As a result, people who consume plant products as the majority of their diet consume more soil based nutrients including minerals (and metals) when compared to people who consume primarily animal based diets.
Tungsten is not a well-studied mineral. Tungsten is a naturally occurring mineral, present in air, water and soil. It is rarely tested. In fact, it's almost impossible to find a lab certified for tungsten testing. We note that there are no regulations for tungsten content in food, water or other common products in the US, Canada or Europe. Tungsten's safety has never been a concern of any government or scientific body. Our Phds have considered these trace amounts of tungsten are safe for human health."
Rather than being scared off by accusations of lethal toxins - I prefer to research and become an informed consumer.
I have been using this protein powder for a month now & love it!! I mix it with almond milk & 2 tbl Slim PB (powdered peanut butter) and it tastes great. The TEXTURE is chalky but not the taste. I'm currently following the alkaline/acidity diet & this is a great product to use since it does not have any animal products.
Our 8 year old son has ASD and ADHD and has always been an EXTREMELY picky eater (which won't surprise anyone with kids on the spectrum). His diet has always be extremely limited and it's hard to get him to eat enough protein, and fruit and vegetable nutrition. We have relied on making him a smoothie once daily and sneaking in as much good stuff as we can to make sure he stays healthy and growing optimally! While I've used different products over the years, this is currently our go to for his smoothies and has the stamp of approval of our pediatrician! I love that quality of ingredients, the fact that it's organic and doesn't contain sugar and has the nutrition he would otherwise be lacking. We blend it up with a little juice, a scoop of yogurt, some frozen avocados, peaches, strawberries and bananas and some other powdered supplements (probiotics, vitamins etc.) and he drinks it down! If it were too gritty or didn't taste good he WOULD NOT drink it! It's a little grittier than some of the whey protein powders we've tried, but I wanted to get away from dairy entirely and this has been a great start! My husband and I sometimes use it ourselves for our smoothies and I can vouch for the taste and quality. I have this on recurring ‘subscribe and save’ and will continue to buy for the foreseeable future! Great product. I sincerely hope this review has been helpful to someone else! And yes, I pay full price for this. Feel free to ask any questions!
As someone who has taken various protein powders over the last few years, this one has become one of my favorites (Vanilla flavor). Is this powder on the gritty side? Yes, it can be but it really depends on your blending method. I find that using a proper protein shaker cup makes this less gritty and does a great job of reducing any chunks. When I mixed it with just a spoon, it was nearly impossible to fully mix properly. However, the taste alone makes it all worth it. Maybe I'm one of the few who actually likes the taste and texture, but it's way better than any of the other overly sweet, artificial tasting protein powders that I've tried in the past (including whey protein). One day I'll try the unflavored version but the vanilla to me is perfect. It has a subtle taste of vanilla without tasting like a sugar filled dessert drink. I'm rating it four stars for the simple fact that the price has increased in just the few months that I've been purchasing. While I do love this product, I'm planning to keep an eye out for a cheaper alternative. Also, the amount of powder in the package seems a little questionable--will need to get this stuff on a scale one day." — Lance Blair

Get it from Amazon now: $33.91 & FREE Returns


6. GHOST - Whey Protein Powder

Top-rated: 9,310 ratings

best protein powder for muscle gain


Highlight: 25 grams of protein per serving.

Helpful review: "As a dedicated fitness enthusiast, I've experimented with numerous supplements, but the Ghost Protein Powder combined with Kill Vice Pre Workout Stack has been a game-changer for my regimen. This duo stands out for several reasons.
Firstly, the Ghost Protein Powder is phenomenal. It's not just about the protein content, which is top-notch, but also about its digestibility and taste. It mixes smoothly, and the variety of flavors available is a treat for the taste buds, making it something I look forward to after every workout.
However, the real star of the show is the Kill Vice Pre Workout Stack, especially its Pump Stack component. What sets it apart is its superior formulation compared to Ghost's own pre-workout. The blend of ingredients in Kill Vice not only prepares me for an intense workout by boosting energy and focus but also significantly enhances muscle pump and endurance.
Most impressively, the combination of these two products seems to synergistically enhance protein synthesis and muscle growth. Since I started using this stack, I've noticed a marked improvement in my muscle recovery and growth. It's like the Pump Stack in Kill Vice primes my muscles, and the Ghost Protein Powder provides the perfect building blocks for growth and repair.
Another aspect worth mentioning is the absence of any jitters or unpleasant side effects often associated with pre-workout supplements. Kill Vice provides a smooth, sustained energy boost without any crash, making my workout sessions productive and enjoyable.
In conclusion, for anyone serious about their fitness and looking for supplements that truly complement each other, this combination of Ghost Protein Powder and Kill Vice Pre Workout Stack is a must-try. It's not just about individual excellence but how these products work together to bring out the best in your workout and recovery phases. Highly recommended!
Cereal Milk was my first GHOST protein flavor because it was on sale at my local GNC. It's different from a classic vanilla flavor, and tastes really good for overnight oats, but not enough to write home about. Chips Ahoy is the flavor I see people online rave about the most, so I decided to splurge on it since I was curious. I was really disappointed to know that it's just Cereal Milk with the mini chocolate chips inside. I thought the flavor of the protein itself would be different, but it's not. So if you've tried Cereal Milk, you'll know what Chips Ahoy tastes like. If I drank this as a protein shake, the chocolate chips would stick to the bottom of my blender bottle and I'd have to tap it upside down like a mad woman to eat it. Not worth the effort, to be honest. My friend told me Cinnabon tastes delicious, so maybe when I get bored of the much more affordable MyProtein wheys, I'll splurge on GHOST again.
I like it! The Oreo has real cookie bits in it. It actually had a good taste without that chalky consistency to it. I always mix mine with vanilla almond milk and sometimes dilute the almond milk with just a small amount of water just depending. I also tried it with 2% milk diluted with a little bit of water and it was still delicious. I suggest using some sort of milk to mix it with and if you’re on a particular meal plan then do almond, oat or coconut milk or also 1% or 2% milk and dilute with a small amount of water. It’s not as good with just water. If you like that Oreo or cookies n’ cream flavor you will love the Oreo flavor. I like it. It tastes good, but not for every day. I like chocolate almost daily before or after a workout and maybe once or twice a week I drink a different flavor, so I have been drinking the Oreo a few times a week. I look forward to trying the other flavors as well!" — Brian Pray

Get it from Amazon now: $44.99 & FREE Returns


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