The Best Vegan Protein Powders For Taste, Weight Loss, and More

We unveil the best vegan protein powders that are high in protein, rich in nutrients, and packed with flavor.

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Meat-eaters and plant-based eaters don’t always have much in common when it comes to what’s on their plate, but one fact remains — both need protein. From the serious strength athlete, looking to push herself on the platform or box gym, to the average consumer looking to hit his weight loss goals, everyone needs ample protein to help your muscles recover and keep your body functioning well.

However, vegans don’t drink whey protein (as it is sourced from animal products), so they need a plant-based formula with ample protein. On top of that, it may be beneficial to have added micronutrients in their protein powder that they may not be getting from their regular vegan diet. The good news is that these days plenty of companies put out top-notch vegan protein powders. However, since a main ingredient in protein powders is whey — a byproduct of dairy — it’s harder to come across a high quality vegan protein formula, which is why you may find that many of the options on this list are repeated. Don’t worry, these powders are top notch and vigorously tested by us for their award. Here’s our breakdown of the best vegan protein powders in specific categories to help you choose the perfect one for your needs.

Best Vegan Protein Powders

Editor’s note: The content on BarBend is meant to be informative in nature, but it shouldn’t take the place of advice and/or supervision from a medical professional. The opinions and articles on this site are not intended for use as diagnosis, prevention, and/or treatment of health problems. Speak with your physician if you have any concerns.

Best Vegan Protein Powders Video

Check out our video on the best vegan protein powders for an in depth look at our favorite products. 

Best Vegan Protein Powder Overall

A great vegan protein powder will have a robust formula that boasts protein, nutrients specific to plant-based eaters (like iron), and relatively few carbs and fats. This pick hits all these marks.

Swolverine Plant Protein

What sets Swolverine apart from other vegan proteins is its macronutrient breakdown. Typically, plant-based powders contain more carbs than powders derived from animal products since the protein comes from carb-heavy sources like oats. Swolverine delivers 130 calories broken up into 22 grams of protein, three grams of carbs, and just two and a half grams of fat in a single serving for both their Chocolate Cake and Salted Caramel flavors.

This formula also boasts 32 percent of your daily iron supplementation, which is extremely important for people who have a vegan or vegetarian diet, making this factor a huge bonus for Swolverine. It’s a lean protein comparable to whey protein powder. Swolverine’s vegan blend is a mix of pea and pumpkin seed protein and contains one gram of chicory root which may possibly aid in digestion.

Swolverine Plant Protein
Swolverine Plant Protein
Swolverine Plant Protein

This plant-based protein is made from pea isolate, hemp protein, pumpkin seed protein, sacha inchi, and quinoa. It's also pretty low in fats and carbs, boasting only 0.5 and seven grams, respectively.

Who Should Buy Swolverine Plant Protein

  • People who want a plant-based protein that mimics the macros of a whey-based formula — a breakdown that’s lower in carbs and fats and higher in protein.
  • Anyone who wants a blend of proteins will appreciate the pumpkin seed and pea protein make up of this formula.
  • Vegans who want extra iron in their diet to help supplement their micronutrients will love that this has 32 percent of their daily iron needs per serving.

Who Shouldn’t Buy Swolverine Plant Protein

  • Anyone who wants more carbs and fats. While some athletes want to keep protein high and carbs and fats low, other folks may be on the hunt for a more satiating shake. 
  • People looking for more interesting flavors or a wider variety to choose from. This product only comes in Chocolate Cake and Salted Caramel. 

With two delicious flavors, 22 grams of protein, and plenty of micronutrients, Swolverine Plant Protein isn’t just the best vegan protein, in our opinion — it can go head to head with any formula on the market.

Best Tasting Vegan Protein Powder

If you’re drinking protein powder every day, then you want to enjoy it. Here’s our pick for the tastiest plant based protein powder available.

Huge Supplements Vegan Protein

This vegan protein powder comes in five enticing dessert-based flavors — Birthday Cake, Cookies and Cream, Cinnamon Crunch, Graham Cracker, and Marshmallow Madness. The protein content here is between 20 and 21 grams, depending on which flavor you choose, and other macronutrients are relatively low with both fats and carbohydrates staying under five grams each. Each serving comes in at $1.79 and the container includes 25 servings in total.

The formula has a blend of different vegan proteins including pea, brown rice, fava beans, and mung beans making it 100 percent vegan, non-gmo, and delicious no matter which flavor you choose. This formula also includes potassium, which can be helpful for recovery, and muscle cramps.

Huge Supplements Vegan Protein
Huge Supplements Vegan Protein
Huge Supplements Vegan Protein

Huge Supplements Vegan Protein features a complete amino acid profile thanks to multiple sources of plant-based protein. The flavors are varied and fun with five options to choose from, like Marshmallow Madness and Graham Cracker, and the macros are just right.

Who Should Buy Huge Supplements Vegan Protein

  • Frequent protein drinkers. You want to enjoy what you’re using, and Huge Supplements has five delicious flavor options.
  • Anyone who enjoys a mix of protein types — this formula boasts four varieties of vegan protein within their formula. 
  • Anyone who needs to keep their other macronutrients in check. This protein powder has under five grams of fat and carbs depending on flavor, and still packs at least 20 grams of protein per serving. 

Who Shouldn’t Buy Huge Supplements Vegan Protein

  • Folks who prefer chocolate-based flavors will want to look elsewhere. The closest this vegan protein line up gets to chocolate is Cookies and Cream. 
  • People who are on a budget may find a better bulk buy elsewhere.
  • Anyone with a soy or wheat allergy should carefully check their flavor choice, or look for a supplement line that adheres to high allergen standards. 

This vegan powder — which has five delicious flavor options — is the perfect choice for vegans who prioritize taste as their number one factor for protein choice.

Best Vegan Protein Powder for Weight Loss

Many people who are looking to lose weight may want to cut back on carbs, fat, and added sugar. This pick has a great macronutrient profile for anyone trying to burn fat or slim down a little bit.

Swolverine Plant Protein

Swolverine’s macronutrient breakdown tamps down carbs and sugar while still upping your protein intake with 22 grams of protein per serving. This formula has zero grams of sugar, three grams of carbohydrates, and two and a half grams of fat per serving for both the Chocolate Cake and Salted Caramel flavors.

This breakdown is ideal for anyone whose main goal is to lose weight due to the high protein, low sugar, and low fat content. This formula also contains one gram of prebiotics — which can aid in digestion and improve gut microbiota — and one gram of fiber, which is an important part of digestion and overall health, as well. 

Swolverine Plant Protein
Swolverine Plant Protein
Swolverine Plant Protein

This plant-based protein is made from pea isolate, hemp protein, pumpkin seed protein, sacha inchi, and quinoa. It's also pretty low in fats and carbs, boasting only 0.5 and seven grams, respectively.

Who Should Buy Swolverine Plant Protein

  • Vegans who want a protein with very few carbs, fats, and sugars to potentially help with weight loss. 
  • Anyone who wants the added benefits of fiber and prebiotics, which can help with digestion will love the added chicory root to this formula.
  • Athletes who want a mix of protein types —- this protein contains pumpkin and pea protein in both flavors. 

Who Shouldn’t Buy Swolverine Plant Protein

  • People who want to buy their protein in bulk — this product only comes in 30-serving containers. 
  • Lifters looking for a multitude of flavor options — this vegan protein only comes in Chocolate Cake and Salted Caramel for flavor options.

Swolverine offers up a lean vegan protein powder that may help you get or stay, well, lean. The added digestive benefits of chicory root are also a serious bonus here. 

Best Vegan Protein Powder for Bodybuilding

If you’re a bodybuilder who follows a vegan diet, it may be harder to eat the proper macro ratio to consistently make muscle gains. This pick is heavy on the protein, and easy on the carbs, fats, and sugars.

Legion Plant+ Protein

This protein has a rice and pea protein blend that boasts 24 or 25 grams of protein per serving depending on whether you choose Dutch Chocolate, Mocha Cappuccino, or French Vanilla. All three flavors contain one gram of sugar, between two and a half to three grams of fat, and between three and five grams of carbohydrates per serving making it ideal for bodybuilders who need to keep their protein high and their carbs, fats, and sugars low, in comparison. Though, it’s worth noting that there are only 130 to 140 calories in each serving of this powder, so if you’re looking to bulk, you may want to look for a vegan mass gainer

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Legion Plant+
Legion Plant+
Legion Plant+

Legion's Plant+ has 25 grams of protein per serving, just four grams of carbs, and is packed with vitamins and minerals that plant-based eaters may want more of. Use code "BARBEND" for 20% off!

Who Should Buy Legion Plant+ Protein

  • Bodybuilders who are looking for a protein powder with macros that are better suited to facilitate muscle growth with minimal fat gain will appreciate this lean formula. 
  • Customers looking for a product with delicious flavors — Legion has three delicious flavors to choose from including Dutch Chocolate, Mocha Cappuccino, and French Vanilla.
  • Anyone who wants a protein with no artificial sweeteners or sugars added to their supplement.

Who Shouldn’t Buy Legion Plant+ Protein

  • Folks who want more than three flavors to choose from will want to look for a company that offers more flavor variety.
  • Athletes looking to bulk who may want a higher calorie count in their protein powder. 
  • Vegans who want a protein with added fiber will have to look for other formulas that contain fiber content.

This protein powder packs a solid 24 to 25 grams of protein, and its rice to pea protein ratio keeps the grit texture down, so it’s easy to consume to keep you on track with your bodybuilding goals. 

Best Vegan Protein Powder for Women

Some women tend to lean toward proteins that track on the lighter side — meaning they’re lower in carbs, fats, and sugars, still high in protein, and easy to digest. This Kaged Muscle pick is a great match for all of these traits. 

KAGED Plantein

At 160 calories per scoop, this pea protein powder packs a whopping 26 grams of protein per serving with just five grams of carbs, four grams of fat, and no added sugar at all. Many women may also value additional fiber in their supplement to help with digestion, and this product contains an extra two grams.

Kaged Muscle also implements Ingredient Optimized® Technology, which may make this protein more bioavailable, as it increases the surface area of protein, which can help enhance amino acid absorption and utilization. In fact, the amino acid bioavailability — including leucine, BCAAs, and EAAs — in this pea protein was comparable to that of whey protein, making it one of the more powerful vegan options on the market.

Kaged Muscle Plantein
Kaged Muscle Plantein
Kaged Muscle Plantein

This plant-based formula is made from pea protein and boasts a macronutrient profile similar to whey — 26 grams of protein, four grams of carbs, and five grams of fat.

Who Should Buy KAGED Plantein

  • Women who may want to limit the carbs, fats, and sugars in their protein powder. 
  • Athletes looking for a protein powder that is easily absorbed and comparable to whey protein. 
  • Folks who prefer unique flavors in their protein powder, rather than basic vanilla or chocolate. 

Who Shouldn’t Buy KAGED Plantein

  • Anyone who doesn’t value having BCAAs in their protein powder — Kaged puts a big focus on amino acid bioavailability. 
  • Those who want more basic flavors like vanilla or chocolate that they can mix into smoothies. 

With the help of Kaged Muscle’s Optimized Technology, this protein powder is easily absorbed, and at only 160 calories, with 26 grams of protein, and zero sugar, it’s a great option for women who don’t want a protein shake to weigh them down. 

Best Vegan Protein Powder for Athletes

Athletes require a balanced intake of both protein and carbs to facilitate intense training sessions, as well as a complete formula that covers their micronutrient needs. This pick checks both of those boxes.

Swolverine Plant Protein

Swolverine made good with their pea and pumpkin-based protein powder that provides 22 grams of protein per serving. This formula boasts a terrific micronutrient and omega-heavy profile for both the Chocolate Cake and Salted Caramel flavors. Included in the line up are phosphorus, magnesium, iron, calcium, selenium, zinc, and copper. This blend also contains a 3:1 balance of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids, which support the possibility of healthier joints and mobility. This blend makes it ideal for athletes who tend to be hard on their bodies and need ample recovery supplements.

Swolverine Plant Protein
Swolverine Plant Protein
Swolverine Plant Protein

This plant-based protein is made from pea isolate, hemp protein, pumpkin seed protein, sacha inchi, and quinoa. It's also pretty low in fats and carbs, boasting only 0.5 and seven grams, respectively.

Who Should Buy Swolverine Plant Protein

  • Plant-based dieters who want a nutrient-dense protein powder that contains added iron and calcium.
  • Athletes who prefer the addition of omegas that may help with joint health and recovery.
  • If you’re a vegan athlete who wants a high dose of protein at 22 grams per serving, you’ll be happy that both flavors contain that dose. 

Who Shouldn’t Buy Swolverine Plant Protein

  • Customers who are looking for a vanilla flavor will want to look elsewhere since Swolverine’s vegan blend only comes in Chocolate Cake and Salted Caramel flavors.
  • Athletes who partake in vigorous exercise and need a lot of carbohydrates may want to look for a product higher in carbs. Yes, this formula can facilitate tough training, but three grams of carbohydrates may be too few for some people. 

Swolverine is a lower-carb formula with plenty of protein to help athletes recover from tough training sessions. It also has a host of vitamins and other supplements that can facilitate performance and joint health, like omega-3 fatty acids.

Best Vegan Chocolate Protein Powder

With so many chocolate protein powders on the market, it’s a difficult task to narrow it down and find the best tasting options. We were lucky enough to have the opportunity to try a lot of chocolate powders, and this pick is one of our absolute favorites. 

Legion Plant+

A chocolate protein powder goes great in a peanut butter-banana smoothie, blended with an iced coffee, or even on its own. The Chocolate flavor of Legion Plant+ stands out. This formula also has a solid blend of protein and nutrients to boot. With 25 grams of pea and rice protein, 5.6 grams of BCAAs, 160 calories, calcium, iron, potassium, and no sugar, this delicious blend may be one of the most effective vegan options out there. If you want to spice things up after you’re done savoring their chocolate flavor, Legion Plant+ also comes in Vanilla and Mocha Cappuccino. 

Kaged Muscle Plaintein
Kaged Muscle Plaintein
Kaged Muscle Plaintein

This vegan-friendly, plant-based protein powder packs 26 grams of protein per single scoop serving. Fifteen-serving tubs are available in three flavors: Peanut Butter Cookie, Banana Bread, and Cinnamon Roll.

Who Should Buy Legion Plant+

  • Athletes who want a great chocolate protein powder that they can blend in a smoothie or drink on its own. 
  • Vegans who are looking for a protein powder that also contains nutrients like iron and calcium (that are harder for them to incorporate into their plant-based diet) will like the micronutrient blend in this powder. 
  • If you’re conscious of your sugar intake, and want a protein powder free of added sugars, this pick is for you. 

Who Shouldn’t Buy Legion Plant+

  • Buyers looking for a wide variety of flavor options — there are brands out there that offer more than three flavors to choose from. 
  • Athletes looking to bulk who may want a powder that’s higher in calories and carbs. 

If you’re looking for a delicious chocolate flavor that may also help fill some gaps in your vegan diet, look no further than Legion Plant+.

Best Vegan Vanilla Protein Powder

Vanilla protein powder is one of the most versatile flavors on the market — you can mix it into pretty much any smoothie or shake for an added boost of protein, and this pick is one of the best-tasting vanilla flavors we’ve tried. 

Transparent Labs Organic Vegan

Transparent Labs Organic Vegan protein powder only comes in two flavors, and while both are quite tasty, their French Vanilla definitely steals the show. On top of its great flavor, Transparent Labs also boasts a 24-gram 2:1 rice to pea protein ratio, which creates a smooth texture that’s easier on the digestive system than many plant based protein powders. In addition, this pick contains fiber, calcium, iron, and potassium for a well-rounded fixing of nutrients. It’s also great for those looking to buy their vanilla powder in bulk as you can buy up to three tubs at once for a discounted price.

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Transparent Labs Organic Vegan Protein
Transparent Labs Organic Vegan Protein
Transparent Labs Organic Vegan Protein

A surprisingly delicious vegan protein powder that's totally free from artificial ingredients and soy, Transparent Labs Organic Vegan Protein contains  a 2:1 ratio of rice to pea protein powder, and four grams of fiber. Use the code BARBEND10 to get 10% off!

Who Should Buy Transparent Labs Organic Vegan

  • Anyone who wants a great-tasting vanilla protein powder to mix into their smoothies or simply drink on its own.
  • Vegans looking to sneak an added dose of nutrients like calcium and iron into their protein powder to supplement their plant-based diet. 
  • Those who favor a protein blend that contains both pea and rice proteins will like this formula.
  • Customers looking to buy their protein powder in bulk — you can buy up to three tubs of this powder at once for discounted bulk pricing.

Who Shouldn’t Buy Transparent Labs Organic Vegan

  • Buyers who want more than two flavors to choose from — this pick only comes in Chocolate and French Vanilla. 
  • Athletes who are looking to gain weight may want a protein powder higher in carbs or calories. 

For a great vanilla flavor, a solid blend of nutrients, and 24 grams of protein, this vegan powder packs a punch without the gritty texture that many vegan protein powders have. 

Best Vegan Protein Powder for Probiotics

Though having probiotics in protein powder may not be super common, this pick provides a solid dose of them. Probiotics are thought to help revitalize your gut health for better digestion and nutrient absorption. 

Pure Food Plant-Based Protein Powder

In terms of its protein content, Pure Food’s formula has 20 grams of protein, which is a little less than other options on this list — so that’s something to keep in mind. It also contains nine grams of carbs. However, this plant protein powder has far more redeeming qualities. That is four grams of branched chain amino acids — the building blocks of protein — four grams of glutamine and fiber, and one billion colony forming units (or CFUs) of probiotics. 

Pure Food Plant-Based Protein Powder
Pure Food Plant-Based Protein Powder
Pure Food Plant-Based Protein Powder

With one billion colony forming units (CFUs) of probiotics, Pure Food's vegan protein powder should be your pick for more optimal gut health. This powder also contains 20 grams of protein and four grams of BCAAs. 

Who Should Buy Pure Food Plant-Based Protein Powder

  • People who want a protein powder with probiotics will appreciate the one billion CFUs of probiotics in this formula.
  • People with digestive issues. The probiotics may help improve your digestion.
  • Those who aren’t looking for a high dose of protein will like that this powder only offers 20 grams per serving — a dose much lower than most powders on this list.

Who Shouldn’t Buy Pure Food Plant-Based Protein Powder

  • Athletes who want as much protein as possible; other vegan protein options on this list dole out more protein at a similar cost.
  • Diet-focused folks. Depending on the type of diet you’re following, the nine grams of carbs may be unwanted. 

A healthier gut can mean improved digestion, performance, and maybe even overall health. If that’s a concern for you, then this formula — packed with probiotics — is what you’ll want to buy.

Best Vegan Protein Powder to Replicate Whey

Whey protein powders are notorious for being lower in fat and carbs, making them one of the most protein-dense formulas. We found a vegan formula that is low in both fat and carbs and still high in protein.

Legion Plant+

This formula uses a pea and rice protein blend, which may be as effective as whey for building muscle. Macro-wise, it’s on par with traditional whey powder. Each serving contains just 140 calories, 2.5 grams of fat, five grams of carbs, and 25 grams of protein. Just like whey, it also contains 5.6 grams of BCAAs, and boasts calcium, iron, and potassium. For those who care about how their protein is sweetened, Legion Plant+ is naturally sweetened and doesn’t contain any artificial dyes or flavors. It comes in Chocolate, Vanilla, and Mocha Cappuccino. 

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Legion Plant+
Legion Plant+
Legion Plant+

Legion's Plant+ has 25 grams of protein per serving, just four grams of carbs, and is packed with vitamins and minerals that plant-based eaters may want more of. Use code "BARBEND" for 20% off!

Who Should Buy Legion Plant+

  • Plant-based athletes who want the low-fat, low-carb macros typically found in whey protein powders. 
  • Folks who want a naturally sweetened product will appreciate that this product uses sweeteners like monk fruit and stevia.
  • If you’re looking for a protein powder that may be just as effective as whey for building muscle, this product’s rice and pea protein blend may do the trick. 

Who Shouldn’t Buy Legion Plant+

  • Athletes who may want more carbs to fuel intense conditioning workouts or lifting sessions. 
  • If you don’t really care about artificial sweeteners, then you may want to look elsewhere. Typically, natural sweeteners jack up the price a bit. 

This low-fat, low-carb pick is the perfect pick for the person — plant-based eater or not — who wants to consume fewer animal products but maintain the macros that a whey protein powder provides.

Best Vegan Protein Powder for Antioxidants

Antioxidants can help battle inflammation and protect against free radicals. If you’re concerned about either of those things, then you want a vegan protein that’s packed with nutrients and antioxidant vitamins

Vega One Organic: All-in-One Shake

Vega One Organic is an absolute nutrient powerhouse. It has 18 vitamins and minerals, nine of which offer half or more of your daily recommended intake. As far as antioxidants go, it offers vitamins A, C, and D, which can help boost your immune system to help protect against illness and ward off inflammation. Also, it boasts a hefty dose of probiotics for more optimal gut health. One thing to note, this is marketed as an “all-in-one” formula. While it does offer 20 grams of protein, it also has five grams of fat and 10 grams of carbs at 150 calories per serving. 

Vega One Organic All-in-One Shake
Vega One Organic All-in-One Shake
Vega One Organic All-in-One Shake

This plant-based shake boasts 140 calories, 20 grams of protein, and an ample amount of the antioxidants Vitamins A, C, and D — which help boost your immune system and fight inflammation.

Who Should Buy Vega One Organic: All-in-One Shake

  • People who are hyper-focused on overall vitamin and nutrient intake. This is by far the most robust vitamin and mineral formula on the list.
  • Those who want to consume more probiotics may appreciate the two billion CFUs of probiotics in this formula.
  • People who like flavor options. Vega offers seven different flavors — berry, chocolate mint, plain, coconut almond, mocha, chocolate, and French vanilla. 

Who Shouldn’t Buy Vega One Organic: All-in-One Shake

  • Athletes who want fewer grams of fat and carbs. This formula is similar to a meal replacement shake compared to other protein powders on this list. 
  • Budget-conscious shoppers. This is the most expensive option on this list. 

Also, it boasts a significant dose of probiotics for more optimal gut health. One thing to note, this is marketed as an “all-in-one” formula. While it does offer 20 grams of protein, it also has five grams of fat and 10 grams of carbs at 150 calories per serving. 

Best Vegan Protein Bars

If you’d rather chew your protein than drink it, but still want something convenient you can take with you if you’re running out the door, these bars are the way to go. 

Vega Protein Snack Bar

With 10 grams of protein and four to five grams of carbs (depending on the flavor you choose), these filling protein bars still pack a solid punch for their size. They’re both crispy and chewy, and only 190 calories, which makes for a great snack pre- or post-workout. They come in four tasty flavors, which include Chocolate Peanut Butter, Chocolate Caramel, Blueberry Oat, and Coconut Almond. However, they do contain more fats, carbs, and sugars than the other protein powders on this list, so if you’re looking to cut back on any of those ingredients, you’ll want to look elsewhere. 

Vega Protein Snack Bar
Vega Protein Snack Bar
Vega Protein Snack Bar

Vega Protein Snack Bars contain 10 grams of protein and four to five grams of carbs (depending on the flavor you choose). These bars are both crispy and chewy, and only 190 calories

Who Should Buy Vega Protein Snack Bar

  • Anyone who wants a tasty, convenient protein bar they can take with them on the go. 
  • Athletes looking for a low calorie, high-protein snack they can sneak into their diet throughout the day. 
  • Folks who prioritize flavor will appreciate that all four of these flavors are delicious. 

Who Shouldn’t Buy Vega Protein Snack Bar

  • Bodybuilders looking for a higher dose of protein — these bars only have 10 grams.
  • People who want to cut back on carbs, sugars, or fats — the protein powders on this list are much lower in all of those macros. 
  • If you prefer to drink your protein rather than chew it, you’ll want to opt for a powder.

While these bars are a great option for sneaking a small dose of protein into your diet when you have a busy schedule, they don’t have the same macros (high protein, low carbs/fats/sugars) that many of the other protein powders on this list do have. If that isn’t a priority to you, these bars are quite delicious and still a filling option as far as snacks go. 

Why Protein is Important for Vegans?

If you eat a plant-based diet, you need to be extra conscious of your protein intake. One article published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition states that “veganism creates challenges that need to be accounted for when designing a nutritious diet.” The article cites that plant-based sources are typically lower in protein, B12, iron, iodine, zinc, calcium, vitamin D, and long-chain fatty acids such as EPA and DHA (both of which are found in fish oils). That same study also noted that creatine supplements and beta-alanine might be of particular use to vegan dieters too. (1)

These specific nutrients are important for your overall health, but protein — and the nine essential amino acids that makeup protein — are vital in your quest to gain muscle and preserve it as you lose fat. 

This isn’t to say that vegans can’t get protein from whole foods. Plenty of plant-based foods contain protein — tempeh, quinoa, lentil, chia seeds, tofu, and beans are all decent sources. The problem is, however, that these sources 1) aren’t complete proteins, and 2) are also accompanied by more grams of carbs and fats compared to lean animal proteins. This may not be an issue for some people, but bodybuilders and strength athletes who are attempting to adhere to a strict high-protein, moderate-carb, low-fat diet won’t want to eat these particular protein sources.

For example, four ounces (or half a cup) of chicken breast contains about 110 calories, 23 grams of protein, two grams of fat, and zero carbs. By comparison, four ounces of lentils contain roughly the same calories from 10 grams of protein, 23 grams of carbs, and zero grams of fat. 

It’s also worth noting that plant-based proteins tend to be less bioavailable — and potentially less potent for building muscle — so companies often have to go the extra mile to ensure what’s in the container is a complete, high-quality, bioavailable protein that humans can actually digest pretty well. Whether that’s through ingredients like digestive enzymes or probiotics, these blends may have added ingredients to help with this downside of plant based protein powders.

How Much Protein Do You Need

Whether you’re a vegan or meat-eater, strength athletes need the same amount of protein —.072 to one gram per pound of bodyweight. For a 180-pound man, that comes out to between 123-180 grams of protein per day. Even a meat-eater will most likely need to supplement with protein powder to meet their intake. Now, consider that most vegan protein sources pack even less protein per serving than animal protein, and a protein supplement is looking even more like a necessity. Want to know how much protein you need? Use our protein calculator below:

Protein Intake Calculator

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Part of what makes a protein powder so great is the convenience factor. This is particularly helpful if you’re in a bulking phase and are sick of choking down whole foods. You can mix your protein powder of choice in some water, chug it down, and you just ingested 20 to 25 extra grams of protein. Of course, you want to ensure you’re consuming many of your nutrients from whole foods and supplementing with the ones you may be missing. The good news is that many vegan protein powders contain those missing nutrients (mentioned above).

[Related: What You Need to Know About How to Increase Strength]

When Should I Take Vegan Protein Powder?

One of the myths about protein powder is that you need to drink a protein shake right after you finish your workout to nourish your depleted muscles or else you’ll lose all of your gains. While it doesn’t hurt to drink a protein shake right after you exercise, it’s not necessary to retain the benefits of working out. Plus, on a vegan diet, the micronutrients included in protein powder can help fill the gaps in your diet due to your dietary restrictions at any point in the day. 

As long as you are consistently consuming enough protein throughout each day, it can still help build the muscles you’re working for, no matter if it’s directly after your workout or as a late night snack. Your daily calories and macronutrients are the primary determinants related to whether you gain muscle and lose fat, as opposed to when you eat.

How Much is Vegan Protein Powder? 

If you’re just peeping at the cost of the container before deciding which protein powder is in your price range and which isn’t, you’re not actually getting a sense of how much your powder costs. You want to know how much you are paying per serving and what you’re getting in each scoop, rather than just going for the least expensive jug. To do this, you’ll need to compare the cost of the container to the number of servings — this number tends to be around $1 to $2 per serving, depending on brand and ingredients.

Best Vegan Protein Powder Overall Swolverine Plant Protein $52.99

$1.76 per serving

Best Tasting Vegan Protein Powder Huge Supplements Plant Protein $44.95

$1.79

Best Vegan Protein Powder for Weight Loss Swolverine Plant Protein $52.99

$1.76 per serving

Best Vegan Protein Powder for Bodybuilding Legion Plant+ Protein $49.99

$2.49 per serving

Best Vegan Protein Powder for Women Kaged Plantein $26.99

$1.79 per serving

Best Vegan Protein Powder for Athletes Swolverine Plant Protein $52.99

$1.76 per serving

Best Chocolate Vegan Protein Powder  Legion Plant+ Protein $49.99

$2.49 per serving

Best Vanilla Vegan Protein  Transparent Labs Organic Vegan $49.99

$1.66 per serving

Best Vegan Protein Powder for Probiotics  Pure Food Plant-Based Protein Powder $39.93

$1.33 per serving

Best Vegan Protein to Replicate Whey Legion Plant+ $44.99

$2.25 per serving

Best Vegan Protein Powder for Antioxidants Vega One Organic All-in-One Shake $59.99

$3.53 per serving

The cost per serving is affected by the type of vegan powder, additives, protein density, and more. The more natural, organic, or transparent protein powders are likely to cost a little more. In addition, added ingredients that may be good for filling gaps in the vegan diet or assisting with absorption (like micronutrients, digestive enzymes, or probiotics) can also increase the cost. The more basic the powder, generally, the less it should cost you. 

What to Consider Before Buying

When choosing which plant based protein powder to buy, here are some important factors you should consider before making your purchase.

Protein Content

Sounds obvious, right? Of course, how much protein you need depends on your goals. For vegans, like we’ve mentioned before, getting enough complete protein in your diet can be a challenge. Athletes will want up to one gram of protein per pound of body weight. A less intense gym-goer who’s trying to keep their nutrition in check may want to pack added protein into their diet as well.

It’s also worth noting that the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for protein, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, is 50 grams per 2,000 calories. A study found that this specific amount of protein may lead to muscle loss in older folks. (2)

On this list, none of the picks dipped below 20 grams of protein per serving, and some go up to 25 grams. 

A Balanced Macronutrient Profile

Your caloric intake matters the most when you’re trying to gain or lose weight, but macros matter, too. There are three main macros — protein (which we’ve already covered), carbohydrates, and fat. Carbs essentially give you the energy to work out (though the carbs you don’t burn are stored as fat, so you need to balance these well). Fats generally regulate your hormones like testosterone and leptin. When it comes to carving out a more impressive physique, you want your macros dialed in. Otherwise, you may be lacking in one macro, like protein, while eating too much of another, such as fat (which contains nine calories per gram). 

One key to managing your macro intake is choosing foods that enable a healthy macro split (depending on your goals). This way, you can better manage your overall intake and create more balanced meals. For example, one Big Mac has 540 calories and 30 grams of fat, 45 grams of carbs, and 25 grams of protein. For 100 fewer calories, you can have a cup of rice and half a pound of chicken with spinach — a meal that packs 55 grams of protein, 40 grams of carbs, and four grams of fat. 

For this reason, we chose vegan protein shakes that had minimal grams of carbs and fat to ensure you were getting mainly protein. 

Vitamins and Nutrients that Vegans Need

There are specific vitamins and nutrients in meat that vegans might not be getting enough of. To recap, those are B12, iron, iodine, zinc, calcium, vitamin D, and long-chain fatty acids such as EPA and DHA. One study says that vegetarians are at risk of being deficient in vitamin B12, and the long-term effects — though not fully understood — can be “adverse effects on pregnancy outcomes, vascular, cognitive, bone, and eye health.” (3)

The protein powders on this list contain most of the recommended nutrients and vitamins that plant-based eaters want. 

How We Decide the Best

Vegan protein powders require different considerations than animal-based protein powders. Not only is the protein they’re derived from different, but vegans also look for different nutrients in their protein powder. Here are the ingredients and factors we took into consideration when putting together this guide.

Type of Protein and Texture

There are four main types of vegan protein powder — pea protein, hemp protein, brown rice protein, and soy protein. The powders on this list may come as a blend of two or more types of these powders or as a single type. Either way, mixability and texture are key with vegan protein powder, as many of these powders are grittier than whey protein. We made sure that all the powders on this list — no matter what they are derived from — have solid mixability. 

Macronutrients

Protein, fat, and carbs are considered macronutrients (macros). Many vegan protein powders tend to contain more carbs as they are derived from plants. But most of the powders on our list provide macros similar to whey protein, which is much lower in carbs and fats. However, we have still included options that are a touch higher in carbs and fats for those who prefer that. No matter your preference, you’ll be able to find the proper macro split to meet your needs in this list.

Micronutrients

Some of the micronutrients that vegans may miss in their diet include B12, iron, iodine, zinc, calcium, vitamin D, and long-chain fatty acids such as EPA and DHA — all of which are much easier to sneak into an animal-based diet. We wanted to include protein powders on this list that featured some of these added micronutrients as well since many vegans look to protein shakes to fill these gaps in their diet.

Different Types of Vegan Protein Powder Sources

Vegan protein powders aren’t all made from the same sources. Here’s a breakdown of the four most common vegan protein powder sources. 

Pea Protein

This protein source derived from peas is one of the newer types of protein to hit the market. Its appeal is that it contains all nine essential amino acids and is considered relatively easy to digest. It’s also effective. One study showed that supplementing with pea protein while on a strength training program significantly increased biceps muscle size as effectively as whey protein. (4)

Hemp Protein

In addition to containing the nine essential amino acids, hemp protein — which is the product of ground-up hemp seeds — also has a solid dose of fiber and healthy fats. Since this type of product is high in fiber, it may help with digestion, but it may also cause gas and bloating in some.

Brown Rice Protein

Though it’s not a complete protein, brown rice protein is derived from the protein in brown rice and is void of allergens like gluten, soy, eggs, and nuts. It also digests very quickly, especially compared to a whey product that is derived from dairy. 

Soy Protein

First, if you have a soy allergy, you’ll want to pick another option from this list. That said, for anyone else, soy protein — which is derived from soybeans — is a fine protein option. And though some may try to steer clear thinking it affects your testosterone levels, more recent studies have shown that to be largely untrue. 

Final Word

Any strength athlete will need more protein compared to folks who don’t train. And if you’re a plant-based eater, then you’ll need to choose your protein with more careful consideration. For one, you want to ensure it fits your dietary restrictions, and two, you want to make sure the powder you choose contains the proper amount of protein, vitamins, and minerals to fill the gaps in your vegan diet. Review this list of best vegan protein powders carefully, make your selection, and then get to training.

FAQs

Is vegan protein powder just as good as whey?

A high quality vegan protein powder can be just as effective as whey. Though good vegan powders are more difficult to find, a pea protein powder or pea protein blend provides the same muscle-building benefits as whey, and in some cases, similar macros as well.

Does vegan protein powder mix well?

Since vegan protein is derived from plants and plants contain more fiber, some blends can be grittier than animal-based whey proteins. However, the difference is not significant, especially if you blend vegan powder into a smoothie or shake that contains plant-based milk and/or other ingredients.

Do I need a vegan protein powder to complement my diet?

It’s possible for vegans to have nutritional gaps in their diet, and since vegan protein powders often include a lot of these vitamins and minerals (as well as protein), they can be a great option for anyone looking to fill vegan dietary gaps.

References

  1. Rogerson D. Vegan diets: practical advice for athletes and exercisers. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2017;14:36. Published 2017 Sep 13. doi:10.1186/s12970-017-0192-9
  2. Campbell WW, Trappe TA, Jozsi AC, Kruskall LJ, Wolfe RR, Evans WJ. Dietary protein adequacy and lower body versus whole body resistive training in older humans. J Physiol. 2002 Jul 15;542(Pt 2):631-42. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.2002.020685. PMID: 12122158; PMCID: PMC2290421.
  3. O’Leary F, Samman S. Vitamin B12 in health and disease. Nutrients. 2010;2(3):299-316. doi:10.3390/nu2030299
  4. Babault N, Païzis C, Deley G, Guérin-Deremaux L, Saniez MH, Lefranc-Millot C, Allaert FA. Pea proteins oral supplementation promotes muscle thickness gains during resistance training: a double-blind, randomized, Placebo-controlled clinical trial vs. Whey protein. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2015 Jan 21;12(1):3. doi: 10.1186/s12970-014-0064-5. PMID: 25628520; PMCID: PMC4307635.