The Very Best Protein Powders for Women—According to a Nutritionist

That *actually* taste good.

By Langa Chinyoka
Woman running outside_workout foods

If the thought of adding more protein to your diet conjures up images of Rocky Balboa cracking an egg into a blender, I have good news for you. Getting more of this essential food group has never been easier—or tastier. (That’s right, no chalky powders or bars here.) From colorful protein smoothies to decadent protein pancakes, the best protein powders for women are giving this muscle-building macronutrient a makeover.

As women, many of us leads super active lives. Between running errands, chasing after kids, and sneaking in a workout, we do it all. And yet many of us don’t get enough daily protein. Partly, this is because it can be hard to know how much you really need. And even if you think you should probably be getting more protein in, overhauling your entire diet to make room for more protein-packed meals can be overwhelming. This is where protein powder comes in. And with more options than ever on the market, you can find the best protein powders for women to fit any diet, lifestyle, and goal.

Featured image by Riley Reed.

Edie Horstman
Edie Horstman

Edie is the founder of nutrition coaching business, Wellness with Edie. With her background and expertise, she specializes in women’s health, including fertility, hormone balance, and postpartum wellness.

A Nutritionist on the Best Protein Powders for Women

If you feel lost and overwhelmed wandering down the protein powder aisle, you’re not alone. I tapped holistic health coach Edie Horstman to help me decode just what we should be looking for in a protein powder.

“Protein powder supports any physical goal—whether you’re trying to lose weight, gain muscle mass, maintain your physique, etc.,” notes Horstman. “Adding protein powder into your meals and snacks is also super convenient and versatile. Take it on the go or while traveling to make sure you’re getting enough protein!”

Below, Horstman shares tips for finding the best protein powder to fit your needs. From what to look for to potential side effects to the nitty gritty of getting it into your routine, consider this your go-to guide to the best protein powders for women.

Black woman wearing zebra-print dress drinking green juice.
Image by Belathée Photography

How to Shop for a Protein Powder

Obviously, the primary goal of protein powder is to provide high-quality protein to support muscle recovery and growth… regardless of whether or not you identify as a woman. However, some protein powders may include additional ingredients/formulations that cater to women’s specific needs.

Some things to look for:

  • Quality. A high-quality source of protein (pasture-raised collagen peptides, whey protein isolate, whey protein concentrate, casein protein, or plant-based proteins like pea, hemp, or brown rice protein). These offer a complete amino acid profile—necessary for optimal muscle repair and growth. 
  • Protein content. Check the nutrition label for protein content per serving. Ideally, there are at least 20 grams of protein per serving to effectively support muscle recovery.
  • Low in sugar and additives. Look for protein powders with low sugar content and minimal artificial additives/unnecessary fillers. 
  • Digestibility. Consider the digestibility of the protein powder. Dairy allergies aside, whey protein isolate and hydrolyzed proteins are *generally* more easily digestible. 
  • Added nutrients. Some protein powders marketed toward women may contain additional ingredients such as iron, calcium, or folic acid to address specific nutritional needs. 
  • Flavors and taste. Read the reviews! Protein powders come in various flavors and textures, so choose one that appeals to you. Also, consider how you want to incorporate the protein powder. This could look like a shaker bottle with liquid (in this case, make sure the powder dissolves easily), in a smoothie, in baked goods, etc. 
  • Brand reputation and certifications. Choose a protein powder from a reputable brand that adheres to strict manufacturing practices and undergoes third-party testing (for quality and purity). Additionally, look for products with certifications such as NSF Certified for Sport. This ensures the absence of banned substances!
Protein powder ingredients.
Image by Michelle Nash

Tips for Adding Protein to Your Meals

While you’re welcome to enjoy a little boost of protein at any time, starting your day with protein is key. Adding protein powder to your breakfast is a win-win. It stabilizes blood sugar, keeps you fuller longer, and it’s crucial for muscle repair (which is especially important after a night of fasting).

Lastly, protein has a higher thermic effect of food. This means that it requires more energy to digest, which boosts metabolism! All in all, however, you want to consume protein all day long—even with your snacks to help balance blood sugar.

By adding protein to your meals and snacks, you can experience the following benefits:

  • Muscle growth and repair
  • Healthy weight management
  • Boosted metabolism
  • Increased satiety
  • Balanced blood sugar for sustained energy
Blonde woman walking dog outside.
Image by Kristen Kilpatrick

Potential Side Effects of Protein Powder

When consumed in recommended doses, protein powder is generally safe for most people. However, there are potential side effects, i.e., digestive issues (bloating, gas, or diarrhea). Excessive protein intake can put a strain on the kidneys and lead to long-term kidney problems, but this only tends to occur in those with compromised kidney function. Some protein powders may also contain allergens like dairy, soy, or gluten, which can trigger allergic reactions.

Protein Powder and Hormone Health

High-quality protein powders can support female hormone balance in a few ways.

  • Adequate protein intake provides the building blocks for hormone synthesis and helps regulate hormonal fluctuations. In other words, we need protein for the production of hormones.
  • Protein also plays a role in stabilizing blood sugar levels, which can positively impact hormone balance. After all, unstable blood sugar can lead to potential hormonal imbalances.
  • Additionally, certain amino acids found in protein powders, such as tryptophan, can support serotonin production—a neurotransmitter involved in mood regulation and hormone balance. 
Brunette woman carrying yoga mat.
Image by Michelle Nash

The Best Protein Powders for Women

To understand exactly what to look for in a protein powder, we simplified the shopping process and broke it down into a few different things to consider.

  • Protein source. Different forms of protein can come from eggs, milk (whey or casein), or plants (soy, peas, hemp, and brown rice). This is important to know for dietary restrictions and to indicate protein content.
  • Protein content. How much protein per serving depends on the protein source and formulation. The amount of extra protein you need depends on your goals.
  • Added nutrients. Are there other beneficial ingredients?
  • Flavors and taste. Not all protein powders leave a chalky aftertaste! The best ones add flavor to your smoothies and other protein-packed recipes.

Whether you’re trying protein powder to support your fitness goals or simply boost your overall wellness, there’s an option that’s best suited for you. I asked Horstman, as well as other experts, to recommend the best protein powders for women. Read on for the full guide to find the protein powder for you.

Every product is curated with care by our editors and we’ll always give an honest opinion, whether gifted or purchased ourselves. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a small commission at no cost to you.

Best Overall: Vital Proteins Vital Performance Collagen Protein Powder

‘I’m obsessed with this!” says Horstman, and she’s not alone. This cult-favorite protein powder is ubiquitous for a reason. It’s packed with protein, collagen, and it tastes good. It’s a fan-favorite, crave-worthy chocolate powder that helps support all your wellness goals.

  • Protein source: Lactose-free milk protein
  • Protein content: 25 grams
  • Added nutrients: Collagen peptides
  • Flavors and taste: Chocolate

Vital Proteins Vital Performance Collagen Protein Powder

Get Vital Proteins’ signature collagen blend with added and lactose-free milk protein. Take it to boost your goals after a workout or any time for nutritional benefits like improved recovery and overall health.


Best Greens Blend: Form Superblend Protein

Camille Styles Managing Editor Isabelle Eyman is, in her words, obsessed with this protein powder. “For the last six months, my partner and I have been re-fueling after our workouts with a simple shake combining this powder, banana, almond milk, and some ice. We both love the vanilla flavor—it’s a refreshing, delicious, and easy way to incorporate protein into our diets without having to put too much thought into it.”

What’s more, Isabelle loves that while this powder packs 20 grams of plant-based protein into each serving, it’s also mindful to include other superfoods such as maca (great for improving mood and boosting energy), flaxseed, and greens (hello, seven grams of fiber!). And while some protein powders can tasty chalky on their own, this is a great option to simply blend with water and drink as an on-the-go, protein-fueled shake.

  • Protein source: Blend of organic pea protein with brown rice and hemp proteins
  • Protein content: 20 grams
  • Added nutrients: Maca, flaxseed, and a blend of greens and fruit powders
  • Flavors and taste: Chocolate Salted Caramel, Toffee, Vanilla

Form Superblend Protein

Combining 20 grams of plant-based, vegan protein powder with greens and superfoods, Form’s Superblend Protein powder helps you meet your daily nutrient needs in one easy shake that tastes amazing, even with just water.


Best for Building Muscle: Plantmade Protein

Made for recovery, energy, immunity, and metabolism, this plant-based powder is ideal for reaching your fitness or health goals. It helps build muscle and repair tissue after a workout, while also helping to fill in any nutritional gaps.

  • Protein source: Pea Protein, Hemp Protein, Sprouted Brown Rice Protein
  • Protein content: 20 grams
  • Added nutrients: Sunflower Oil, Triglycerides
  • Flavors and taste: Vanilla

Plantmade Protein

Made with a blend proteins and healthy fats—sunflower oil and triglycerides—this protein powder works as a supplement or a meal replacement to keep you full and help your body rebuild after a workout.


Best Organic: Ora Organic So Lean & So Clean

This organic protein powder is an all-around superfood supplement. Packed with organic fruits and veggies, you get more than just protein in each serving. Enjoy high-quality nutrition with a chocolatey taste.

  • Protein source: Pea Protein, Rice Protein
  • Protein content: 21 grams
  • Added nutrients: 19 superfoods
  • Flavors and taste: Chocolate

Ora Organic So Lean & So Clean

This plant-based protein supplement works to support overall nutrition alongside 19 superfoods like quinoa, blueberry, cranberry, pomegranate, turmeric, acai, kale, broccoli, and more.


Best Collagen: Ancient Nutrition Collagen Peptides Protein

Collagen is an essential nutrient that your body stops producing as you get older. This powder formula packs a healthy dose of protein alongside collagen to give you firmer and smoother skin, improved complexion, and even support gut health.

  • Protein source: Egg and Bovine
  • Protein content: 18 grams
  • Added nutrients: Collagen
  • Flavors and taste: Unflavored

Ancient Nutrition Collagen Peptides Protein

This blend of eggshell and bovine collagen contains 18 grams of protein to supplement your wellness and fitness goals in just two scoops.


Best Taste: Just Move Banana Pudding Protein

Putting an end to the myth that protein powder can’t taste good, Just Move has a variety of flavors including Banana Pudding, Blueberry Muffin, Buttercream Cupcake, and yes—Chocolate Cake. Whatever mix with it, this protein powder’s bound to taste great. Sneak it into your breakfasts and desserts for easy nutritional support.

  • Protein source: Pea Protein, Organic Rice Protein
  • Protein content: 20 grams
  • Added nutrients: Green Tea Extract
  • Flavors and taste: Banana Pudding

Just Move Banana Pudding Protein

This plant-based protein powder tastes great while being gluten- and dairy-free. With two different forms of protein, just one scoop gives you 20 grams of rice and pea protein and a full burst of flavor.


Best Budget: Alani Nutrition Whey Protein

Whey Protein Isolate and Whey Protein Hydrolysate combine to make this easy to blend and easy to digest. Plus, its digestive enzymes complex makes it easy on the tummy—as do the real cookie crumbles in every bite.

  • Protein source: Whey Protein Isolate, Whey Protein Hydrolysate
  • Protein content: 23 grams
  • Added nutrients: Enzyme Blend
  • Flavors and taste: Chocolate Cookie

Alani Nutrition Whey Protein

Formulated with a mix of Whey Protein Isolate and Whey Protein Hydrolysate, this blend is suitable for athletes or anyone with ambitious fitness goals.


Best Vegan: Be Well Vanilla Plant-Based Protein Powder

“I’m obsessed with all of the protein powders by Be Well,” says Horstman. With both vegan and grass-fed beef options, Be Well combines great ingredients with great taste. They also have chocolate and unflavored options so you can choose your favorite or try them all.

  • Protein source: Chocho powder
  • Protein content: 20 grams
  • Added nutrients: Monk fruit
  • Flavors and taste: Vanilla

Be Well Vanilla Plant-Based Protein Powder

This clean, vegan formula is full of carefully sourced, no-BS ingredients. Monk fruit and vanilla bean give it flavor while chocho, a complete plant protein, yields a muscle-building boost. Add to the mix vitamin E, magnesium, plant fiber, and all nine essential amino acids, and you have a clean protein powder worth the splurge.


Best Fiber: Truvani Chocolate Peanut Butter Plant-Based Protein

Getting enough protein shouldn’t mean derailing your efforts in prioritizing other essential nutrients like fiber. In one delicious powder, you can supplement both protein and fiber thanks to the plant-based formula containing chia seeds and pumpkin seeds—both known for being dense in fiber and nutrients. Truvani comes in flavors like Vanilla Chai, Banana Cinnamon, and Matcha—but this nostalgic Chocolate Peanut Butter one is a fan favorite.

  • Protein source: Pea Protein
  • Protein content: 21 grams
  • Added nutrients: Chia Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds
  • Flavors and taste: Chocolate Peanut Butter

Truvani Chocolate Peanut Butter Plant-Based Protein

Made of only seven ingredients, this powerhouse powder delivers fiber, protein, and delicious flavor to make the perfect dietary supplement.


Best for Pregnancy and Postpartum: Ritual Essential Protein Daily Shake Pregnancy & Postpartum

Ritual’s highly personalized products are tailored to fit your specific needs. This pregnancy and postpartum shake supplement is no exception. Get extra support providing all the nutrients your baby needs with its super-safe formula to help with nutrients, postpartum, and lactation.

  • Protein source: Pea protein
  • Protein content: 20 grams
  • Added nutrients: Choline (for baby’s neurological development)
  • Flavors and taste: Vanilla

Ritual Essential Protein Daily Shake Pregnancy & Postpartum

Support your physical needs during and after pregnancy, while providing the baby with essential nutrients for growth and development.