How to Make a Protein Shake



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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.

4.49 from 43 votes

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.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 1


Vanilla Protein Shake

  • 1 frozen banana, in chunks
  • 1 scoop (25g) vanilla protein powder
  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract or scraped vanilla bean
  • 1/2 Tablespoon chia seeds or flaxseed, optional
  • handful of ice

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

  • 1 frozen banana, in chunks
  • 1 scoop (25g) vanilla protein powder
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt, or more milk
  • 1/2 Tablespoon chia seeds or flaxseed, optional

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

  • 1 scoop (25 g) vanilla protein powder
  • 1 cup frozen mixed berries
  • handful of spinach, optional
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1 Tablespoon cashew or almond butter
  • 1/2 T chia seeds or flaxseed, optional
  • ice,, if necessary

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

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.


Additional Info

Course: Breakfast/Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: protein shake
Did you make this recipe?Mention @eatingbirdfood and tag #eatingbirdfood!

About Brittany

Hey there, I’m Brittany, the creator of Eating Bird Food, cookbook author, health coach and mama of two littles. Here you’ll find quick and easy recipes that make healthy fun and enjoyable for you and your family!

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    So good! I love cold brew, so naturally I had to try the cold brew protein smoothie. It was delicious, refreshing, and filling! My husband was jealous that I didn’t make him one, but he doesn’t like coffee. So, I made him the vanilla one. He loved it, and the sip I had was really tasty! Thanks, Brittany!

    1. Ah yay!! I love hearing this, Tedra! I’m so glad both you and your husband found a flavor that worked! Thanks so much for the review. I really appreciate it!

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

  2. 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. 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!

    1. 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. Yum! I am excited to hear that you are loving the vanilla shake, Kelly. Thank you so much for your review + star rating, I appreciate it!

  3. 5 stars
    I was legitimately speechless after tasting this for the first time. I made the peanut butter shake, but I substituted with almond butter. The milk I used was oatmilk. Altogether such a tasty and healthy snack! Exactly what I was looking for after a workout. 5/5 stars. ⭐️

    1. Ahh yay! I am SO excited to hear that you are loving this protein shake and it turned out great for you, Camille. Thank you for sharing your review + star rating, I truly appreciate it!