How to Make a Protein Shake


Protein shake 101! Everything you need to know about making a protein shake, the difference between shakes and smoothies, why protein shakes are good for weight loss and six protein shake flavors.

Protein shakes seem to have made a comeback in the health world! But gone are the days of putting protein powder and water into a blender bottle and shaking it up… the recipes I’m sharing are blended and packed with so many delicious ingredients!

Bird's eye photo of 6 different protein shakes.

Sure, you have to get your blender out, but I promise it’s worth it! These protein shakes are so simple to make, tasty and filling!

Protein Shake FAQs

What is a protein shake?

If the first thing that comes to mind when you think of protein shakes is body builders… you’re not wrong but also not 100% right! Protein shakes are essentially a blended drink like a smoothie that has high amounts of protein.

Why would you want to add more protein to your diet?

So many reasons! It’s great for balancing out your snacks and meals so you feel fuller and more satisfied. It can help you build muscle, increase energy and can help with weight management.

What’s the difference between a protein shake and smoothie?

The biggest difference is the protein! Both are blended drinks that can contain a variety of ingredients, but smoothies don’t always include protein and they tend to be very fruit forward.

Are protein shakes good for weight loss?

Yes! Protein shakes are amazing for weight loss and weight management. My recipes are made with whole food ingredients and packed with nutrients and protein. Enjoy one for a snack or replace a meal with a protein shake.

Bird's eye photo of 6 different protein shakes.

How to Make a Protein Shake Without Banana

A lot of protein shake recipes call for a frozen banana which gives the shake that thick and creamy texture. They also add a bit of sweetness, without being too overpowering, as well as, extra nutrients like potassium.

That said, I know that some people simply don’t like bananas, need a low-sugar option and/or are allergic so I have some options for how to make shakes without banana:

  • ice – replace the frozen banana with additional ice (about 1 cup). It will give the shake volume and add a nice, frozen slushy texture.
  • frozen milk ice cubes – this is the same concept, but instead of using regular ice cubes, make frozen cubes using your favorite non-dairy milk (like almond or coconut) and use about 1 cup of these cubes instead of the frozen banana.
  • frozen cauliflower rice – I use frozen cauliflower rice in my shakes all the time and it works as a low-sugar replacement for frozen banana. I do find that it adds a different texture to shakes, especially if you use a large amount. I’d start with 1/4 cup, give the shake a taste and then add more if needed.
  • frozen zucchini – Like frozen cauliflower, frozen zucchini works great as a low-sugar replacement for frozen banana. It also doesn’t add a ton of flavor! You can blanch or steam your zucchini before freezing if you want to make it easier to digest, but I don’t find this necessary.
  • frozen fruit – other frozen fruit options like frozen berries or frozen peaches work great as a substitute for frozen banana, but they usually have more flavor and can change the taste of your smoothie more than banana does. Just keep that in mind if you’re planning to use them as a sub.
Side by side photo of ingredients for a peanut butter protein shake before and after being blended.

How to Incorporate Protein Shakes into a Healthy Diet

While protein shakes are a great addition to your diet they are just one piece of the puzzle! Make sure you are getting a variety of nutrients in through a balance of fruit, vegetables, lean proteins and healthy fats. Here’s an example meal plan that includes a protein shake:

  • Breakfast: I have been hooked on oatmeal for breakfast lately! So many different ways to enjoy this yummy breakfast.
  • Lunch: I typically have a salad for lunch – it’s always a mixture of lots of vegetables, protein and healthy fats.
  • Snack: Protein shake – make a protein shake for an energy boost to get over the afternoon slump. You’ll get energy and feel satisfied until dinner.
  • Dinner: Take your pick when it comes to dinner options! Again, make sure there’s a mixture of vegetables, protein and fat.

Ways to Add Protein

While your mind might go straight to “protein powder”, there are actually multiple ways to add protein to your shake!

  • Protein powder – I’m hooked on Nuzest protein powder because of their minimal, clean ingredient list but check out my full post about protein powder as well.
  • Greek yogurt – yogurt packs a punch when it comes to protein!
  • Cottage cheese – just like yogurt, you can add cottage cheese to shakes for an added protein boost.
  • Nuts – add nuts or nut butter to your shake for added protein. Add peanuts, almonds or cashews for the most protein.
  • Seeds – seeds also have protein! Add pumpkin, hemp, flax or chia seeds to your smoothie for an extra protein boost.
6 protein shakes in Mason jars on a wood board. Bamboo straws are on the table.

More High Protein Snacks to Try

Be sure to check out my full collection of high protein snacks as well.

How to Make a Protein Shake

4 from 35 votes
Protein shake 101! Everything you need to know about making a protein shake, the difference between shakes and smoothies, why protein shakes are good for weight loss and six protein shake flavors.
Bird's eye photo of 6 different protein shakes.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 1


Vanilla Protein Shake

Coffee Protein Shake

  • 1/2 cup cold brew
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk, I like oat or coconut milk for extra creaminess
  • 1 frozen banana, in chunks
  • ¼ cup frozen cauliflower rice, or ice
  • 1 scoop (25g) vanilla protein powder, (or chocolate protein powder)
  • 1/2 Tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 Tablespoon almond butter

Banana Protein Shake

Chocolate Protein Shake

  • 1 scoop (25g) chocolate protein powder
  • 1/2 Tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1 frozen banana, in chunks
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 Tablespoon chia seeds or flaxseed,, optional
  • handful of ice
  • coconut whipped cream, for topping, (optional)

Vegan Berry Protein Shake

Peanut Butter Protein Shake


  • Add all ingredients except any toppings to a blender.
    Banana, cinnamon, vanilla protein powder, chia seeds, almond milk and vanilla in a blender.
  • Blend until smooth. Taste and adjust ice or ingredients if needed. Add toppings (if using) and enjoy!
    Blended vanilla protein shake in a blender.




Serving: 1vanilla protein shake Calories: 237kcal Carbohydrates: 31g Protein: 23g Fat: 4g Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g Monounsaturated Fat: 1g Sodium: 496mg Potassium: 575mg Fiber: 5g Sugar: 15g
Course: Breakfast/Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: protein shake


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Recipe Rating

    1. Kathy
      January 2, 2023 AT 10:44 am

      Haven’t tried it yet, but when I go to the store this weekend I’m buying the stuff I need. You also had a detox one too. But can’t find it would you please send it to me thank you.

      1. Kathy
        January 27, 2023 AT 9:57 am

        5 stars
        I tried the coffee one and it was very good. Yes I’m talking about the green detox one, but didn’t get the link. Please send it to me again.

        1. Brittany Mullins
          January 27, 2023 AT 10:11 am

          Hi Kathy – I am glad that you are loving the coffee protein smoothie. Here is the link for the Green Detox Smoothie, enjoy!

      2. Brittany Mullins
        January 2, 2023 AT 12:36 pm

        I hope you love this recipe, Kathy. Are you looking for My Green Detox Smoothie? Here is the link: Green Detox Smoothie. Enjoy!

        1. Kathy
          January 29, 2023 AT 2:18 pm

          Thank you for the recipe can’t wait to try it. How often should I drink this?

          1. Brittany Mullins
            January 30, 2023 AT 3:25 pm

            Hi Kathy – It all depends on your personal preference. I like to drink them 1x a day to a few times a week to make sure I am getting in enough protein each day. But again, it is different for each person. Hope you enjoy this!

    2. Hayley
      August 20, 2022 AT 12:06 am

      5 stars
      The banana one is so yummy. Cant wait to try the rest

      1. Brittany Mullins
        August 21, 2022 AT 4:58 pm

        So glad you enjoyed the banana shake, Hayley. Thanks for coming back to leave a review. I appreciate it!

    3. Sarah
      April 11, 2022 AT 12:27 pm

      5 stars
      I loooove these recipes! Besides being a healthy way to add protein to your diet, I like the versatility of the flavors. Thank you for sharing this article!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        April 12, 2022 AT 8:13 am

        Thanks, Sarah! I’m glad you found this useful 🙂

    4. Richard
      December 25, 2021 AT 4:05 am

      5 stars
      Thank you for sharing this useful information. I followed it very easily.

    5. Steven M Sharpe
      September 28, 2021 AT 9:43 pm

      Very effective information for everyone. Thanks for sharing.

      1. Brittany Mullins
        September 29, 2021 AT 10:36 am

        So glad you enjoyed it, Steven!

Parchment paper lined with protein balls.


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