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When it comes to vegan protein powders, you have hundreds of options to choose from. And some of those picks are infinitely better than others. That’s why we asked registered dietitians and nutrition experts which ones they recommend.
“Vegan protein powders can be a great way to meet your daily protein needs, especially if you struggle to consume enough protein when following a plant-based vegan diet,” says Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, CDCES. “These powders can also provide a good source of on-the-go nutrition as many are fortified with additional vitamins, minerals, and nutrients beyond protein alone.”
Meet the Expert
- Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, CDCES, author of 2 Day Diabetes Diet and a nutrition advisory board member for Orgain.
- Kimberly Snyder is a three-time New York Times best-selling author, a plant-based celebrity nutritionist, holistic wellness expert, and the founder of Solluna by Kimberly Snyder.
- Elle Wittneben, RD, CSOWM, a registered dietitian at Greater Boston Urology.
- Ashley Nader, RD, a registered dietitian in Charlotte, NC.
- EA Stewart, MBA, RD, owner of Spicy RD Nutrition.
What to Look For in a Vegan Protein Powder
Snyder considers a supplement’s protein bioavailability, or its ability to be absorbed and used by the body, as the most important factor in deciding which product to use. While whey protein—which isn’t vegan—is considered to be one of the most bioavailable proteins, Snyder only recommends reaching for plant-based protein supplements made from a variety of plant-based bioavailable sources. “I recommend at least some sprouted sources, but hemp protein and brown rice protein are also great choices,” she says. “I also don’t recommend soy protein powders.” Other highly bioavailable vegan protein sources include pea, pumpkin, sunflower seed, sacha inchi, and chia proteins.
Non-GMO and organic
Snyder also stresses the importance of choosing a formula that’s non-GMO and organic. As someone who supports a food system that values both animal welfare and the environment, she only recommends protein powders made from ingredients grown without fertilizers or pesticides.
How well a product performs depends a lot on its ingredients. As you should with any supplement, Snyder recommends choosing protein powders that are made from clean, quality ingredients. This includes products that exclude synthetics and fillers from their formula. While it’s easy for a supplement brand to claim its products are clean and high-quality, you’ll need to thoroughly read through the ingredient list and do your own research on a company’s practices to ensure it’s truly top-notch.
Read on for the best vegan protein powders on the market.
Best Overall: Puori Plant Protein Booster
Minimal ingredient list
Vegan source of calcium
Contains steviol glycoside
What do buyers say? 90% of 100+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.
“I recommend this protein powder, as it has been tested for chemicals, toxins, and contaminants by the Clean Label Project and was granted its Purity Certification,” says Elle Wittneben, RD, CSOWM, a registered dietitian at Greater Boston Urology. “The powder includes a vegan source of calcium, a very important benefit for people who do not eat dairy.” Per serving, you get 10 grams of protein and 220 milligrams of calcium (17 percent of the daily value) for only 50 calories. The calcium, interestingly, comes from sea algae.
Key Ingredients: Pea protein isolate, algae calcium, and steviol glycoside | Age Range: Adult 18+ | Dosage: 1 scoop (13 g) | Certified: Clean Label Project purity certification
Best Budget: Orgain Organic Protein Plant Based Protein Powder Creamy Chocolate Fudge
Only 150 calories
No added sugars
Contains erythritol and stevia
“This organic plant-based protein powder provides 21 grams of vegan protein with only 150 calories per serving, making it a great choice for anyone looking to increase their protein while staying within their calories goal,” says Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, CDCES, author of 2 Day Diabetes Diet and a nutrition advisory board member for Orgain. “I also love that this protein powder contains a complete amino acid profile and has no added sugars or artificial sweeteners.” Each serving also provides 35 percent of the daily value for iron.
Key Ingredients: Organic pea protein, organic brown rice protein, organic chia seeds, and organic acacia | Age Range: Adult 18+ | Dosage: 2 scoops (46 g) | Certified: USDA organic, plant-based, kosher
Best Value: Amazing Grass Plant Protein Superfood Powder Vanilla
No added sugars
“This protein powder contains whole food ingredients that you can pronounce,” says Ashley Nader, RD, a registered dietitian in Charlotte, NC. “We want to be fueling our bodies with quality ingredients and eliminating sugar alcohols and artificial sweeteners. Also, one serving contains less than 1 gram of sugar, without any artificial sweeteners.” In each serving, you get 20 grams of protein.
Key Ingredients: Protein blend, green food blend, organic coconut oil creamer, organic flavor | Age Range: Adult 18+ | Dosage: 1 scoop (37 g) | Certified: CCOF organic certified, kosher
Best for Minimalists: Noosh Unsweetened Almond Protein Powder Unflavored
Minimal ingredient list
Single-serve packets are easy to use
Not for those with a nut allergy
“This is a favorite of mine,” says EA Stewart, MBA, RD, owner of Spicy RD Nutrition. “Almonds are the only ingredient, the taste is mild, and it has a nice, creamy texture. As a bonus, Noosh provides 21 grams of plant-based protein per serving and 5 grams of fiber.” This protein powder is particularly useful for adding to baked goods, such as muffins or pancakes. It comes in a single-serve packet for easy use.
Key Ingredients: Almond protein powder | Age Range: Any | Dosage: 1 packet (35 g) | Certified: Non-GMO, kosher, certified Women’s Business Enterprise
Meet the Expert
- Kelly Jones, RD, founder of Student-Athlete Nutrition.
- Ashley Larsen, RD, a registered dietitian in Fresno, CA.
- Cristina Sifuentes-Ayala, RD, CSP, IBCLC, a registered dietitian.
- Lacey Dunn, MS, RD, CPT, owner of Uplift Nutrition.
- Matthew Magnante, senior editor of Fitness Volt.
- Jonathan Isbill, MS, RDN, a registered dietitian and health educator in Columbus, IN
Best for Athletes: Momentous Essential Plant-Based Protein Chocolate
Contains steviol glycosides
“As a sports dietitian, I often recommend Momentous plant-based protein since it is NSF-certified for sport, which is a third party that ensures the product is free of banned substances,” says Kelly Jones, RD, founder of Student-Athlete Nutrition. “This is great whether you’re an athlete or not, but the powder itself has a really smooth texture and there was intention in its development for the ratios of essential amino acids.” Per serving, you get 20 grams of protein.
Key Ingredients: Pea protein isolate, rice protein concentrate, cocoa, medium-chain triglycerides | Age Range: Adult 18+ | Dosage: 1 packet (38 g) | Certified: NSF certified sport, informed sport
Best Organic: Garden of Life Raw Organic Protein Powder
No added sugars
Promotes gut health
Only 110 calories
Facility handles milk and eggs
Unflavored protein powders make a great canvas for anything from baked goods to smoothies. “This product contains no sugar or sugar substitutes, has 22 grams of protein per serving with all nine essential amino acids, and is NSF certified,” says Ashley Larsen, RD, a registered dietitian in Fresno, CA. “There are also added probiotics for additional gut health benefits. When using an unflavored protein, you can add your own flavor with fruit or use it with a pancake or waffle mix.” Plus, each serving contains only 110 calories.
Key Ingredients: Organic pea protein, organic sprouted brown rice protein, organic amaranth sprout, and organic buckwheat sprout | Age Range: Adult 18+ | Dosage: 1 scoop (28 g) | Certified: USDA Organic, non-GMO, NSF, gluten-free, Informed-Choice Trusted by sport, kosher
Best Veggie-Infused: Vega Protein & Greens Berry
Various flavors available
No added sugars
Facility handles milk and eggs
Hello, veggies! “This powder has fiber, which is a win for any protein powder,” says registered dietitian Cristina Sifuentes-Ayala, RD, CSP, IBCLC. Per serving, you get 20 grams of protein, as well as a dose of veggies from pea protein, spinach powder, beetroot powder, pea starch, organic kale powder, organic alfalfa grass powder, and broccoli powder.
Key Ingredients: Pea protein, natural flavors, spinach powder, and beetroot powder | Age Range: Adult | Dosage: 1 pack (30 g) | Certified: Non-GMO, vegan, B Corporation
Best for Baking: PEScience Select Vegan Protein Chocolate Peanut Butter
“This is my go-to, due to its incredible baking abilities that don’t cause drying or a weird aftertaste,” says Lacey Dunn, MS, RD, CPT, owner of Uplift Nutrition. “I love that it is third-party tested are has a combination of brown rice and pea protein to maximize muscle protein synthesis for athletes.” Per serving, you get 20 grams of plant protein.
Key Ingredients: Pea protein concentrate, brown rice protein concentrate, natural flavor, and peanut flour | Age Range: Adult 18+ | Dosage: 1 scoop (29 g) | Certified: GMP
Best Adaptogenic: Four Sigmatic Plant-Based Protein Can Unflavored
May help reduce stress
Contains 2 grams of added sugars
This protein powder contains ingredients like Chaga, lion’s mane, cordyceps, and turkey tail mushrooms—as well as ashwagandha, which can help reduce stress and fatigue. “With 18 grams of plant-based protein per scoop, Four Sigmatic vegan protein is a great option for people who prefer adaptogenic herbs along with their protein intake,” says Matthew Magnante, senior editor of Fitness Volt.
Key Ingredients: Organic pea protein powder, organic hemp protein powder, organic chia protein powder, and organic pumpkin protein powder | Age Range: Adult 18+ | Dosage: 1 scoop (32 g) | Certified: USDA organic
Many quality vegan protein powders exist in the market, and it’s best to look for one with minimal or no added sugars. Some contain ingredients that provide additional benefits, such as probiotics, adaptogens, or calcium. Team Byrdie’s top pick is Puori Plant Protein Booster, which offers an additional bone-helping calcium benefit. Another great powder to try: Noosh Unsweetened Almond Protein Powder Unflavored, which contains just one ingredient—almond protein powder.
What are the benefits of vegan protein powders?
Protein is key for good health, and this is often a nutrient that vegans struggle to get enough of. “Vegan protein powders can help meet your daily protein goals, especially if you’re in a time crunch or are low on groceries and not able to prepare a full meal,” says Larsen.
“Vegan protein powders are often made with plant-based proteins from sources like peas, hemp seeds, soy, nuts, and seeds—all of which contain heart-healthy fats, protein, and fiber,” adds Larsen. “These plant-based foods can help prevent chronic diseases like heart disease and obesity. A study in Nutrition & Diabetes showed that a vegan diet when compared to a standard diet, was superior in helping to improve body weight, fat mass, and insulin resistance markers.”
How often should you take vegan protein powders?
As with most processed foods, moderation is key. “While protein powders can be a fan favorite for many people, I always strive to encourage a whole-food, plant-rich diet approach as the foundation for anyone’s nutrition,” says Jonathan Isbill, MS, RDN, a registered dietitian and health educator in Columbus, IN. “Vegan protein powders, while rich in plant proteins are often void of the beneficial fiber and other nutrients found in whole food plants like phytochemicals, antioxidants, and additional vitamins and minerals.”
Do vegan protein powders expire?
Yes, so be sure to check the expiration date on the protein powder you purchase. “Every manufactured product has a given shelf life for safety, efficacy, and optimal nutritional quality,” says Isbill.
Why Trust Byrdie
Byrdie contributor Amy Gorin, MS, RDN is a registered dietitian nutritionist and has over a decade of experience in the nutrition industry, writing for some of the biggest magazines and websites out there. She specializes in plant-based nutrition and is one of the most recognized nutrition experts in America. For this article, she consulted 11 additional experts to share their insights, as well as their go-to vegan protein powders.
According to our Diversity Pledge, 15% of products in our newly-published market roundups will feature Black-owned and/or Black-founded brands. At the time of publishing, we were not able to find any vegan protein powders from a Black-owned and/or Black-founded business. If you know of one we should consider, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will evaluate the product ASAP.
Chandrasekhar K, Kapoor J, Anishetty S. A prospective, randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study of safety and efficacy of a high-concentration full-spectrum extract of ashwagandha root in reducing stress and anxiety in adults. Indian J Psychol Med. 2012;34(3):255-262. doi:10.4103/0253-7176.106022