The 5 Best Casein Protein Powders of 2020, According to a Dietitian

Fuel your recovery and feed your muscles with high-quality protein

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Our Top Picks
"Boasts a clean, minimal ingredient list and is certified gluten-free."
"Naked will ensure you’re not ingesting the excess sugars and fats found in some powders."
"Informed-Choice and Informed-Sport certified."
"rBST- and rBGH-free, grass-fed micellar casein."
Best for Nighttime Recovery:
Legion Athletics Casein+ at Amazon
"Derived from non-GMO, grass-fed cow milk from small, sustainable dairy farms in Ireland."

Similar to whey, casein is a milk-derived protein that comes in powder form and is often used as a protein supplement. Casein is a complete protein source—meaning it contains all amino acids—and it’s an excellent way to add protein to your diet. Evidence suggests that casein effectively boosts muscle growth and recovery over prolonged periods, so it is frequently used as a recovery protein rather than a pre-workout drink. The convenient, high-quality protein is simple to mix with your favorite liquid for a protein-packed beverage.

Here, the best casein powders.

Best Overall: Ascent Native Fuel Micellar Casein Protein Powder Vanilla Bean

The best casein powder is free of artificial ingredients, tastes great, and is full of top-quality protein. Ascent Native Fuel Micellar Casein Powder checks all the boxes. This delicious vanilla-flavored protein powder is sweetened using monk fruit extract and packs 25 grams of protein per scoop, with 11 grams of naturally occurring branched-chain amino acids.

Unlike many popular casein powders, the protein powder contains zero artificial ingredients. It boasts a clean, minimal ingredient list and is certified gluten-free. It's simple to mix with your favorite liquid or mix into a pudding for a tasty, protein-packed treat. Athletes can rest assured that the protein is safe, as it has the coveted Informed-Choice Trusted by Sport certification that signifies the protein is free of banned substances.

Good to Know

"There are two types of protein in milk—whey and casein, and both are high quality and complete proteins, meaning they provide all nine essential amino acids. Approximately 80% of the protein in milk is casein, whereas the other 20% is from whey."—Allison Koch, MS, RD, CSSD, LDN

Best Budget: NAKED nutrition Naked Casein Unflavored 100% Micellar Casein Protein

Many casein powders on the market are flavored with artificial ingredients that make the protein taste great, but may be potentially harmful. They can also be quite expensive. While naturally flavored products are an excellent choice, selecting an unflavored variety is an easy way to ensure you're getting a protein without tons of extra artificial ingredients. Naked Casein Unflavored protein powder is a great, budget-friendly choice. The protein will allow you to enhance your muscle development and recovery without excess ingredients that may do more harm than good.

This powder, available in 1- or 5-pound containers, includes only one ingredient—micellar casein. There are zero grams of fat, saturated fat, sugar, or carbohydrates per serving. Each scoop of the unflavored powder packs an impressive 26 grams of protein. Colorless, flavorless, and unsweetened, this bare-bones protein contains no growth hormones, rBGH, or rBST. The cold processing of Naked Casein protein also ensures that no chemicals or anything else is added before this protein gets to you. It is stripped down and ideal for those looking for an unflavored, effective casein protein.

Best Simple: Now Foods Micellar Casein Unlfavored Powder

For an excellent casein protein with simple ingredients, choose NOW Sports Instantized Micellar Casein Powder. The unflavored, slowly digested, complete protein contains only two ingredients: micellar casein and a small amount of sunflower lecithin, an emulsifier that reduces clumping and helps to make a smooth drink. Each scoop is packed with 19 grams of protein and over 4,500 milligrams of branched-chain amino acids.

The top-quality, non-GMO casein has multiple quality assurances. It's GMP Quality Assured, so you know it's made in a top-notch facility. It's also Informed-Choice and Informed-Sport certified, meaning the supplement is tested for banned substances and is manufactured using the highest quality processes so that it's safe for athletes—or anyone looking to boost their protein intake. While all casein products are not safe for those with dairy allergies, NOW Sports Casein is free of soy, tree nuts, corn, eggs, and gluten.

Best Grass-Fed: Muscle Feast Grass Fed Micellar Casein

If you're looking for a casein powder that is sourced from hormone-free, grass-fed dairy, Muscle Feast's Micellar Casein is a top choice. The rBST- and rBGH-free micellar casein is an easy way to boost your diet with clean protein. Each scoop provides 20 grams of protein with only 1 gram of sugar and 1 gram of carbohydrates. The low-carb content also makes Muscle Feast's Micellar Casein powder a great choice for those who follow a keto diet.

For a super clean protein with only two ingredients, the unflavored variety is the best choice. However, if you prefer a bit more flavor, the supplement also comes in Chocolate and Vanilla varieties that are sweetened with stevia and use natural flavors. Muscle Feast recommends mixing the powder with milk or a milk substitute instead of water for a better-tasting beverage. All three varieties of Muscle Feast's Micellar Casein are kosher certified and approved by the American Vegetarian Association.

Best for Nighttime Recovery: Legion Athletics Casein+ Vanilla Pure Micellar Casein Protein Powder

What sets casein powder apart from whey, pea, and other protein powders is its slow release and absorption. For this reason, many athletes use it before they go to sleep and let their bodies keep working while they rest. Evidence suggests that consuming casein before bedtime may improve the resting metabolic rate and the ability to do resistance exercise the next morning. If you want to reap the benefits of casein at night, try the Legion Casein+ Vanilla Pure Micellar Casein Protein Powder.

Legion Casein+ is derived from non-GMO, grass-fed cow milk from small, sustainable dairy farms in Ireland. It's made with only natural flavors and sweetened with stevia. The low-carb, keto-friendly powder contains 26 grams of protein and 5.2 grams of branched-chain amino acids in each scoop. Each scoop is free of added sugars and fat, and it has only 2 grams of carbs.

Final Verdict

For a great-tasting casein powder that’s packed with protein, free of artificial sweeteners, and Informed-Choice certified, choose Ascent Native Fuel Micellar Casein Powder.

What to Look for in a Casein Protein Supplement

Taste: It’s a no-brainer that people would rather drink something that tastes good—and protein powder is no exception. Selecting a natural or unflavored protein powder is best to avoid artificial sweeteners and flavors, but the taste may not appeal to all individuals. If you prefer a bit more flavor, choose a naturally flavored casein powder or consider mixing the powder into a tasty liquid. You may have to sample a few powders to find your favorites, though, because taste is such an individual thing.

Type of Casein Protein: Most casein powder supplements come in micellar form, which is the natural slow-digesting, slow-release form of casein protein. When possible, choose a grass-fed, GMO-free micellar casein powder.

Ingredients: While all casein protein powders contain protein derived from casein, their other ingredients can vary widely. It's best to look for a micellar casein powder that's free of artificial ingredients like sweeteners, colors, or flavors. If you have dietary restrictions, some formulas are free of common allergens. There are also organic, kosher, and sugar-free options that can likely meet your needs.

What Experts Say

"Casein is an excellent protein for those who are looking to build muscle mass or athletes who struggle to get enough protein into their diet. We can think of casein as the protein that spares muscles from breakdown because it provides a slow stream of amino acids over more time (due to slow digestion) to help delay muscle tissue breakdown. For this reason, I recommend consuming casein before bed so that while you sleep, you are continuing to work on muscle repair and rebuilding."—Allison Koch, MS, RD, CSSD, LDN

Why Trust Verywell Fit

A personal note on my recommendations written above. As a dietitian, I am careful to recommend supplements, including protein powders. I spent time reviewing the most current clinical research on casein protein supplementation and optimal forms and looking at multiple products and brands. I believe the casein protein powders in the round-up are made by trusted brands that are devoted to product purity and are composed of high-quality ingredients.— Eliza Savage, MS, RD, CDN

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Article Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Devries MC, Phillips SM. Supplemental protein in support of muscle mass and health: advantage whey. J Food Sci. 2015;80(Suppl 1):A8-A15. doi:10.1111/1750-3841.12802

  2. Madzima TA, Melanson JT, Black JR, Nepocatych S. Pre-sleep consumption of casein and whey protein: effects on morning metabolism and resistance exercise performance in active women. Nutrients. 2018;10(9):1273. doi:10.3390/nu10091273

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