10 Best Tasting Protein Powders with Water (2024 Updated)

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James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Published by James Cunningham, BSc, CPT | Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Last updated: March 26, 2024
We personally test every product featured in our reviews and guides. By ordering products anonymously and getting a group of independent testers, we are able to get first-hand experience and provide data-driven recommendations. Learn more.

Protein powders have evolved from niche gym supplements to daily dietary staples for many. However, mixing them with just water can sometimes result in bland flavors.

As a health and fitness coach, I researched and tested multiple protein powders to find the best-tasting option for our morning shakes, which turned out to be both good quality and surprisingly delicious.

If you’re trying to cut fat and carbs, or if you’ve got a sensitive stomach, here’s a list of our top recommended protein powders that taste good with just water (and ice).

The Best Tasting Protein Powder With Water

Editor's Choice
Transparent Labs Grass-Fed Whey Protein
Transparent Labs
Effectiveness
5.0
Taste
5.0
Ingredients
5.0
Price
5.0
Overall Score 5.0
5.0
Click For Best Price
2nd Best Choice
Ladder Whey Protein
Ladder
Effectiveness
5.0
Taste
4.8
Ingredients
4.9
Price
4.4
Overall Score 4.8
4.8
Click For Best Price
3rd Best Choice
Swolverine Whey Protein Isolate
Swolverine
Effectiveness
5.0
Taste
4.7
Ingredients
4.7
Price
4.6
Overall Score 4.8
4.8
Click For Best Price

Our Top Tasting Protein Powders With Water (April 2024)

1 - Transparent Labs Grass-Fed Whey Protein (Best Overall & Natural)

Rated 5.0/5

Rated With Total Shape's Scoring System

5.0
Effectiveness
5.0
Taste
5.0
Ingredients
5.0
Price
Transparent Labs Grass-Fed Whey Protein
  • Highest-Rated Flavor : Chocolate

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Comes in four flavors: chocolate, strawberry, french vanilla, and salted caramel
  • 28 grams of protein per scoop
  • 100% Grass fed whey
  • No artificial preservatives, sweeteners, or colors

Cons

  • May be pricey for some people

If you’re looking for a protein powder that packs a punch while being packed with flavor, then ProteinSeries 100% Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate by Transparent Labs should be on your list.

One scoop of this protein powder has one of the industry’s highest protein-by-weight ratios at 88%. That’s 28 grams of protein per serving.

The ProteinSeries 100% Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate comes in four yummy variants: chocolate, strawberry, French vanilla, and salted caramel.

I used 1-2 scoops of the oatmeal chocolate chip cookie flavor in my shakes, and I was impressed with how smooth and easy to drink.

2 - Ladder Whey Protein (Best CFS Certified)

Rated 4.8/5

Rated With Total Shape's Scoring System

5.0
Effectiveness
4.8
Taste
4.9
Ingredients
4.4
Price
Ladder Whey Protein
  • Highest-Rated Flavor : Chocolate

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • CFS Certified
  • Contains Probiotics
  • Tastes good even without artificial
  • sweeteners

Cons

  • Can be on the expensive side

Founded by LeBron James and Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ladder has undergone four years of meticulous development to cater to fitness enthusiasts by offering products that prioritize taste, quality, and safety.

When it comes to protein powders with great flavors, Ladder company will never go last. The product comes in two flavors: chocolate and vanilla.

After trying both flavors, I realized that the chocolate variant tastes better. This is likely due to the presence of cocoa powder, which effectively masks the stevia taste.

Check out our full Ladder protein review.

The product contains the optimal amount of essential amino acids and branched-chain amino acids to help repair your body fully [1].

3 - Swolverine Whey Protein Isolate (Best Low Carb)

Rated 4.8/5

Rated With Total Shape's Scoring System

5.0
Effectiveness
4.7
Taste
4.7
Ingredients
4.6
Price
Swolverine Whey Protein Isolate
  • Highest-Rated Flavor : Honey Cinnamon Peanut Butter

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • 26 grams of protein per serving
  • Low carb content
  • Includes a digestive enzyme blend for better gut health

Cons

  • Contains artificial flavoring

One of the most interesting whey flavors I’ve ever tasted is the honey cinnamon peanut butter from Swolverine.

I’ll be honest, this unique flavor is intimidating, especially if you’re used to plain, bland proteins, but I didn’t regret trying it. It’s tasty and filling, and gives me 26 grams of protein per serving.

It blends smoothly and the texture is like a real milkshake.

The only reason Swolverine isn’t up higher on this list is because it contains some artificial flavors.

4 - Future Kind Vegan Chocolate Protein Powder (Best Vegan-Friendly)

Rated 4.7/5

Rated With Total Shape's Scoring System

4.9
Effectiveness
4.6
Taste
4.6
Ingredients
4.5
Price
Future Kind Vegan Chocolate Protein Powder
  • Highest-Rated Flavor : Chocolate

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Vegan-friendly pea protein
  • Easy to mix
  • Many positive reviews about texture

Cons

  • More flavor options would be great

I found that the Future Kind mixes well, resulting in a creamy, great-tasting protein powder.

Future Kind pulls off a great texture with organic pea protein, no easy task as plant-based proteins tend to be less creamy and more chalky than the popular whey protein options.

Available in chocolate and vanilla, this protein powder is manufactured in an FDA-approved, GMP-certified facility and third-party tested to ensure quality.

5 - BSN SYNTHA-6

Rated 4.6/5

Rated With Total Shape's Scoring System

4.8
Effectiveness
4.6
Taste
4.5
Ingredients
4.4
Price
BSN SYNTHA-6
  • Highest-Rated Flavor : Chocolate Milkshake

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Cold Stone Creamery taste
  • 10g of amino acids for better muscle building
  • Hi-tech Syntha-6 protein

Cons

  • Great taste comes with a few extra carbs

If there’s one thing BSN gets right time and again, it’s flavor. And, since we were looking for the best product, we turned to the chocolate milkshake flavor from their famous Cold Stone Creamery Series. The peanut butter cookie flavor was a close contender.

When both protein powder and water were combined, it was delicious. The company claims it tastes like ice cream and mixes like a milkshake. We wouldn’t go that far, but for a shake without milk, it was pretty good.

This product contains 22 grams of their ultra-premium “Syntha-6” and 10 grams of amino acids per serving, so you get max muscle-building powder with the taste to match [2].

See this related article on the recommended low carb and keto-friendly protein powders.

6 - SFH Pure Whey Protein

Rated 4.5/5

Rated With Total Shape's Scoring System

4.7
Effectiveness
4.3
Taste
4.5
Ingredients
4.3
Price
SFH Pure Whey Protein
  • Highest-Rated Flavor : Chocolate

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • The cleanest protein on the market
  • High-protein/low-carb, and low-fat
  • No artificial ingredients

Cons

  • Doesn’t taste as good as competitors
  • Lack of carbs could slow down muscle recovery

Next up is the cleanest entry on the list. If you’re looking for the leanest powder, then this is probably for you. Pure Whey Protein from SFH lives up to its name.

This product contains 24 grams of protein per serving, only 130 calories, and only 2g of fat and 4g of carbs, which is quite impressive. It’s 100% grass-fed and contains no artificial ingredients.

I've tried all the flavors, and each one offers a pleasant taste. The stevia flavor is very subtle. They're great, even when mixed with just water.

Combining this protein powder mix with water provides a lot more breathing room without sacrificing taste even when mixed with water.

7 - Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard

Rated 4.4/5

Rated With Total Shape's Scoring System

4.7
Effectiveness
4.2
Taste
4.5
Ingredients
4.3
Price
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard
  • Highest-Rated Flavor : Double Rich Chocolate

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Powerful chocolate taste
  • Clean protein
  • Goes down smoothly

Cons

  • Would be better without sugar
  • Double chocolate might be a bit much if not used to it

Optimum Nutrition's great-tasting flavors have a great reputation around the fitness world, so we went with their highest rated one for our taste test.

The double chocolate flavor was creamy, delicate, and, most importantly for us, easy on the stomach.

My personal favorite is the double-rich chocolate flavor, but some of my clients also rave about the vanilla variant. Speaking of, I've tested and jotted down the list of the best-tasting vanilla protein powders and I highly recommend you give them a try.

It’s also extremely lean—only 1g of fat and 3g of carbs (1g from sugar) per serving.

8 - Ultimate Nutrition Prostar

Rated 4.4/5

Rated With Total Shape's Scoring System

4.7
Effectiveness
4.2
Taste
4.3
Ingredients
4.2
Price
Ultimate Nutrition Prostar
  • Highest-Rated Flavor : Chocolate

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Low in carbs, calories, and fat
  • Inexpensive
  • Mixes well with water

Cons

  • Contains soy, lactose
  • Contains artificial sweeteners

Ultimate Nutrition is well known for their high-quality products at rock bottom prices, but their Prostar whey powder is their first foray into low-carb, all-around proteins for workouts.

First, it packs 25 grams of protein per serving (quite a lot!) and is very low calorie, fat, and carbs.

Second, it tastes pretty good (especially with ice). In fact, it tastes good enough considering its low price.

My first morning shake went down great and didn’t give me any of that overly full feeling during my workout.

9 - MuscleTech Phase 8 Protein Powder (Cheapest Option)

Rated 4.3/5

Rated With Total Shape's Scoring System

4.7
Effectiveness
4.2
Taste
4.2
Ingredients
4.2
Price
MuscleTech Phase 8 Protein Powder
  • Highest-Rated Flavor : Milk Chocolate

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Smooth, thick, creamy taste
  • 8-hour sustained release of protein
  • 7 protein sources

Cons

  • Not suited for people that are lactose intolerant

If we had to choose one word to sum up this product, we would choose: BOOM.

Phase 8 is best known for their 8-hour multi-phase formula: the slow release of amino acids for 8 hours after consumption. In our opinion, this formula makes it one of the top choices of proteins for post workouts.

Milk Chocolate is our personal favorite flavor and we were surprised at how much we liked this one. The flavor is just right and is easy on the tummy, too.

It delivers a standard 26 grams of whey protein isolate, with 5.6 grams of BCAAs and 5 grams of glutamine, per serving.

We’d recommend this to anyone who likes that creamy rich flavor.

10 - Drink Wholesome Protein Powder

Rated 4.3/5

Rated With Total Shape's Scoring System

4.7
Effectiveness
4.2
Taste
4.2
Ingredients
4.1
Price
Drink Wholesome Protein Powder
  • Highest-Rated Flavor : Peanut Butter

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Natural taste
  • Provides 20 grams of protein per serving
  • Made from clean and pure protein source

Cons

  • It doesn't come with a scoop so you have to buy it separately

The last on this list is the protein powder by the brand Drink Wholesome.

One thing I appreciate about this brand is its simplicity -- it contains minimal ingredients. No artificial protein sources and flavoring so you consume real food and get your 20 gram of protein dose instantly.

My favorite is the peanut butter flavor but if you're looking for pure protein, go with the unflavored option. It's made of just egg whites for pure, clean, protein serving. And don't worry about it tasting 'eggy' because with their pasteurization process, it's literally flavorless and goes perfect with just water.

You can also order sample sizes to see if you'll like it.

How We Tested the Best Tasting Protein Powders with Water

We scoured online stores, fitness forums, and social media and consulted with nutritionists and fitness experts to compile a list of popular protein powders. Then we established a set of criteria to evaluate each product effectively:

Taste Assessment

To eliminate bias, our panel conducted blind taste tests. They were not informed about the brand or type of protein powder they were tasting.

Our primary criterion was the taste of each protein powder when mixed with water. We prepared each product according to the manufacturer's instructions, typically one scoop of powder with a specified amount of water. Our panel of testers tasted each mixture. They rated the flavor on a scale, looking for a balance that wasn't overly sweet or too bland.

Mixability Evaluation

We tested how well each protein powder dissolved in water. This involved shaking or stirring the mixture in a standard-sized shaker bottle or glass and observing if there were any undissolved clumps or residue left behind. A smooth, lump-free consistency was considered ideal.

After initial mixing, we let the shakes sit for a short period and then re-evaluated them to see if there was any separation or sedimentation, which could indicate poor mixability.

Nutritional Analysis

We closely examined the nutritional labels of each product. This included assessing the protein content per serving, the presence and amount of added sugars, and other key nutritional elements like fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

Ingredient Quality Check

We scrutinized the source and quality of the ingredients used in each protein powder. This involved verifying the type of protein used (whey, casein, soy, pea, etc.), its origin, and the presence of any artificial additives or preservatives.

We prioritized products with high-quality, safe, and beneficial ingredients, giving preference to those with natural and organic components.

Tasty Protein Powder Buyer's Guide

Here are some key considerations when choosing a protein powder that not only tastes good with water but also aligns with their dietary needs, health goals, and personal values.

Flavor Selection and Taste Balance

Protein powders come in a diverse range of flavors, from classic chocolate and vanilla to more exotic options like salted caramel or berry blends. To find your preferred taste without committing to a large quantity, consider starting with small samples or single-serve packets.

This approach allows you to experiment with different flavors and find the one that best suits your palate.

Protein Content and Amino Acids

One of the most important factors in choosing a protein powder is its protein content per serving. Ensure that the product provides a substantial amount of protein (more than 20g) and includes essential amino acids, which are crucial for muscle repair and growth.

Brand Research and Transparency

The brand behind a protein powder plays a significant role in the product's quality. Research the brand's reputation in the market to gauge the reliability and the quality of its products.

Look for brands that are known for their high standards in product formulation and manufacturing.

Why Mix Protein with Water?

I remember the days when I’d mix my protein with anything that made it taste better, milkshakes being my favorite. But as my fitness journey progressed, I realized the need to cut back on extra calories and focus on clean, efficient nutrient intake.

That’s when I started mixing my protein with water. It was a game changer. Not only did my body absorb the proteins faster, but I also eliminated those extra calories, fats, and carbs from my diet.

Mixing protein powder in water accomplishes two goals:

  1. Your body absorbs proteins faster
  2. It cuts unneeded calories, fats, and carbs out of your diet

When you mix whey powder with water, you are getting all of the good with none of the bad, unless you're trying to bulk up. And in that case, you might want to add some milk in there for the extra calories.

Protein with Water vs Milk

Milk and water outdoors

The main difference between milk and water is in nutrient intake. The best protein powder shake with milk will contain roughly 250 + calories, 10 + grams of fat, and 12 + grams of carbs. If you mix it with water, you are looking at roughly 120-150 calories, 2g of fat, and very few carbs per serving.

If you can’t take your protein with just water, almond milk is another alternative. It creates a thicker smoothie compared to water while adding only 20-30 calories (depending on the brand).

On the flip side, drinking a shake with milk provides your body with more protein and more carbs, which is beneficial if you are trying to increase your endurance [3][4].

Verdict: Unless you’re vegan, take protein with milk when bulking and with water when trying to lose weight.

See related posts:

DIY Flavor Enhancements

To boost taste without adding sugar or calories, consider these tips:

  • Cinnamon: A dash of ground cinnamon adds warmth and depth to your shake. It's a natural flavor enhancer that complements many protein flavors.
  • Cocoa: Unsweetened cocoa powder brings a rich, chocolatey note without the sugar. It pairs well with vanilla or chocolate protein for a guilt-free treat.
  • Vanilla Extract: A few drops of pure vanilla extract can transform your shake into a smooth, aromatic delight. It complements various protein flavors and provides a subtle sweetness.
  • Almond or Peppermint Extract: These extracts can add a refreshing twist to your protein mix. A drop or two goes a long way.

Remember to experiment with these additives in moderation, as their potency varies. With these natural enhancers, you can elevate the taste of your protein shake while keeping it low in sugar and calories.

FAQs

Is It Better to Mix Protein With Water or Milk?

It is better to mix protein with water if you’re goal is to look toned and lean, but if you want to build muscle and mass, it is best to mix protein with milk.

How Do You Make Protein Shakes With Water Taste Better?

You can protein shakes with water taste better by adding yogurt or any kind of milk. You may also add orange juice or any other strong-flavored juice you prefer.

Our Verdict on The Best Tasting Protein Powder with Water

Drinking protein powder with water instead of milk keeps you from consuming extra unnecessary calories. Drinking protein powder with water also makes it more important that your protein powder tastes good.

That's why ProteinSeries 100% Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate by Transparent Labs is my top recommended product. Their yummy protein powder comes in four different flavors that can fit your taste.

Not only that, 28 grams of protein per scoop makes this protein powder more loaded with proteins than the other products on this list. I never have to worry about not getting my protein macros in for the day, as Transparent Labs is one product that can help me achieve that.

Our #1 Best Tasting Protein Powder With Water

Transparent Labs Grass-Fed Whey Protein (Best Overall & Natural)

Transparent Labs Grass-Fed Whey Protein
Effectiveness
5.0
Taste
5.0
Ingredients
5.0
Price
5.0
Overall Score 5.0
5.0
Pros
  • Comes in four flavors: chocolate, strawberry, french vanilla, and salted caramel
  • 28 grams of protein per scoop
  • 100% Grass fed whey
  • No artificial preservatives, sweeteners, or colors
  • Get the BEST PRICE until the end of April
Cons
  • May be pricey for some people
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About The Author

James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
James Cunningham, BSc, CPT holds a BSc degree in Sport & Exercise Science from University of Hertfordshire. He's a Health & Performance Coach from London that brings a unique blend of academic knowledge of health supplements and practical exercise experience to the table for his readers.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Harshi Dhingra, MBBS, MD is a published peer-reviewed author and renowned physician from India with over a decade of experience. With her MBBS from Bharati Vidyapeeth and an MD from Rajiv Gandhi University, she actively ensures the accuracy of online dietary supplement and medical information by reviewing and fact-checking health publications.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Kristy June Dayanan, BS, MD is an author with a BS degree from University of the Philippines and an MD from University of Perpetual Help System. Her ability to simplify medical science complexities and dietary supplement jargon for the average reader makes her a valued medical fact checker and reviewer.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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4 thoughts on “What’s The Best Tasting Protein Powder With Water?

  1. I always mixed my BSN whey protein with milk because these supplements make me want to gag. But hey, I tried it with water after reading your article and BOOM! It’s truly the best tasting protein powder with water. Thank you!

  2. I personally prefer my protein to be whey-based. I’ve tried a few on this list and agree they taste great with just water.

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Our ingredients score is based on 3 factors including: transparency, blend disclosure, and dosage accuracy. We conduct third-party lab verification of ingredients. The score is an objective measure of the lab test results compared to the product label. For more information see our ingredients score explanation here.
Our price score is based 3 factors including: cost justification, market comparison, and overall value. The score is a subjective measurement of the product's value against its price when compared to similar products. For more information see our price score explanation here.
Our scoring system is the result of objective testing data and subjective expert analysis by a team of fitness coaches and medical experts. Our scoring factors are weighted based on importance. For more information, see our product review guidelines.