How can you upgrade any protein-enriched drink so it tastes better – like a milkshake, even? And how can you do it if you don’t have all of the ingredients?
After a lot of research and trial and error testing, the best way to turn any protein drink into a milkshake has two simple steps. Start by combining the ingredients: milk, Greek yogurt, protein powder, and frozen fruit (or one of my approved substitute ingredients). Then, mix it in a blender to get a delicious milkshake flavor and texture.
And if you’re out of the primary ingredients? My kids and I have suffered through an amazing amount of recipes (see all of my recipes here – all-all of them!) and trials to find a surefire way to get the same delicious taste with different ingredient combinations.
How to Make a Protein Shake Taste Like a Milkshake
Okay, so before we can dive too far into how to make your protein shake taste like a milkshake, let’s start with the basics.
Waking up for an early morning workout is hard. Going through all of the exercises, half awake and wondering if I’m doing them or just dreaming it, is even harder. But the protein shake that tastes like a milkshake at the end? Totally worth it.
So to get started, here’s everything you ever wondered about why and when you should use daily protein shakes.
Next, you need a recipe to use every day. While you could just wing it, having a recipe every day is something I recommend for two reasons.
First, it makes counting your calories a ton easier – because you know exactly what’s in your shake.
Second, when you’ve got a great recipe, you can adjust it for flavors. But if you’re just guessing every day? You’re going to end up with quite a few duds, trust me.
So if you don’t already have a protein shake recipe that you love, there’s mine.
That being said, if you’ve already got a recipe you love, let’s help you turn it into a milkshake!
How to Make a Protein Shake Smoother Step 1: Assemble and Evaluate Your Tools
Most protein powder bags recommend using water or milk. Then, they say to mix it well with the powder in a blender bottle and voila, you’ve got a protein shake.
And while that’s true, I want you to look at your ingredients and tools. We’ll get to the ingredients next. First, let’s look at what you’re using.
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In a pinch, a blender bottle is perfect. It’s a great invention. But you’ll be
Because if you want a perfectly smooth milkshake-like
So use the blender. Sure, it means washing another dish – unless you get this (my favorite) single-serve smoothie blender. Then it’s easy, fast, and cleanup is a breeze.
In any case, even if you just throw your protein powder and some milk (or water) into your blender, you’re going to get a much creamier, smoothier, and milkshake-like protein shake.
However. If you want to really make it good, let’s take it one step further.
Let’s Make Your Protein Shake Taste Better Step 2: Uplevel Those Ingredients
To really turn any protein drink into a milkshake, what you need to do is look at your ingredients.
First off, you’ll want to add one of three things. You’ll either want to add:
- Greek yogurt
Essentially, all three of these things are related. But depending on which you add, you’ll vastly affect the flavor.
Adding yogurt will get you extra sweetness and some smoothness
Depending on the flavor of your yogurt, you’re going to get extra flavor, sweetness, and it’ll add a layer of creamy goodness to your shake.
That being said, if you’re looking to keep your sugar intake at a reasonable level, this won’t be your first choice.
Kefir adds a richer flavor with less sugar
Not familiar with kefir? It’s like yogurt – in fact, it’s exactly like yogurt. It’s just made with a different kind of bacteria, so it has a slightly different flavor.
Kefir is a tangier, richer flavor. And it’s typically got far less sugar than yogurt. So it can be a fantastic choice for adding to a protein milkshake.
And if you make your own kefir? You can actually skip adding any milk or water. Just add the kefir instead.
And in general, this is my second favorite option.
My go-to option, though, is Greek yogurt. Why? It’s just yogurt that’s been strained and condensed and made thicker, kind of like
Oh, wait. That’s why.
It’s a thicker, creamier yogurt that, when added and blended to a recipe, is a perfect ice cream replacement. And because I want a perfect milkshake (that just so happens to be a protein shake), my first preference is Greek yogurt.
I get the plain Greek yogurt that Costco sells – it’s the best price I’ve ever found, hands down.
Fruit: Fresh or Frozen?
While I could use syrup to flavor my protein shakes, I don’t like the artificial flavoring. And, generally speaking, the amount of calories I get from a splash of syrup is going to be the same or more than a handful of fruit.
So I prefer to stick with the fruit – real flavor, same calories.
But which do you pick: fresh or frozen?
Fresh fruit will give you the flavor. And if you’re using Greek yogurt with it? It’ll be a decent shake.
Frozen fresh fruit will give you the flavor AND uplevel your shake into a true milkshake.
So if you’ve got the choice between fresh fruit and frozen fresh fruit, go with frozen. Costco sells amazingly priced frozen, organic fresh fruit – so that’s my go-to pick.
But the real secret ingredient to the best way to make a protein shake is the protein powder you use
Finally, let’s evaluate the protein powder you’re using. If you’ve already got a protein powder you’re using, that’s fantastic. Use that.
But if your protein powder has ever left you with a gag reflex, it’s time to get better protein powder.
My go-to protein powder is Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard Vanilla. Why? Because if you want a proper milkshake, you need either some vanilla or chocolate flavor in there somewhere.
And I can’t stand the chocolate flavors – but I love the vanilla. So vanilla protein powder, Greek yogurt, and frozen fruit. Blend them together and get a perfect protein powder powered milkshake.
Although, I also recommend you add some benefiber – just because. But that’s a discussion for another day!