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 (use my code eatingbirdfood for 15% off your order) 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.

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4.56 from 50 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

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!

More about Brittany
Chicken fajita filling on a sheet pan with a wooden spoon. Tortillas are resting on the bottom of the sheet pan.
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Recipe Rating


  1. Hey i love the recipe! I just worry about ruining my blender by putting ice cubes in it, it is really okay to do this?

  2. 5 stars
    Can’t wait to try these! Can they be made ahead of time? My husband works super early, and I’d love to have these in the fridge ready for him.

    1. Hi Jennifer – Unfortunately making these ahead of time won’t result in the shake like consistency.

  3. Are the nutrition facts listed above just for the first recipe (the vanilla protein shake) or are they valid for all the recipes?

    1. Just the Vanilla. For the others, you’d need to input the info into a nutrition app my My Fitness Pal. Enjoy!

  4. 5 stars
    Hi Brittany,
    A big thank you for all your terrific recipes.

    Question for you — How do you get your nut butter to drizzle? Mine is always clumped no matter what.

    1. Of course, I’m so glad you’re enjoying them. As for the nut butter, I always buy natural peanut and almond butter so the ingredient list is just the nut and salt. When you buy this variety, when it’s fresh the nut butter tends to be thin and perfect for drizzling. Lately I’ve been buying peanut butter and almond butter from Trader Joe’s and it always drizzles. Of course as you get to the bottom of the jar it tends to be thicker and won’t drizzle. Oh and Crazy Richards peanut butter is also great for drizzling!

  5. 5 stars
    Recipes are super good and easy which is what I like. I struggle with getting enough protein especially when trying to balance carbs and fats. Can’t wait to try the protein shakes!

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