The 7 Best Plant-Based Protein Powders of 2020, According to a Dietitian

Boost your protein intake with these plant-based options

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Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Garden of Life Raw Organic Protein Powder at Amazon

"Made up of a unique blend of 15 plant-based legumes, grains, and seeds."

Best Hemp-Based: Manitoba Harvest Hemp Protein Powder at Amazon

"Contains 13g of plant-based protein and fiber per 4 tablespoon serving."

Best Rice-Based: Sunwarrior Classic Vegan Protein at Amazon

"A clean and simple organic brown rice protein powder."

Best Pea Protein: Sunwarrior Warrior Blend at Amazon

"The proprietary blend of organic pea protein, hemp protein, and goji berry contains 19 grams of plant-based protein per scoop."

Best Single Ingredient: Sprout Living Simple Pumpkin Seed Protein Powder at Amazon

"Provides 15 grams of protein per serving from non-GMO pumpkin seeds."

Best Stevia-Free: Aloha Organic Plant-Based Protein at Amazon

"Mixes pea, brown rice, hemp, and pumpkin seed protein to provide 18 grams of plant-based protein per serving."

Best Grain-Free: Sprout Living Epic Protein at Amazon

"Made from yellow pea and a mix of sunflower, pumpkin, sacha inchi, and cranberry seeds."

If you’re looking for a plant-based protein, there are many options on the market. It's important to note that "plant-based" and "vegan" are not interchangeable terms. All vegan products are plant-based, but not all plant-based products are vegan. Some plant-based supplements contain non-vegan ingredients such as honey, and a plant-based diet doesn’t always mean that you avoid consuming animal products. Rather, it emphasizes eating the majority of foods from plant sources.

That said, plant-based protein powders are a great supplement for anyone looking to increase their protein intake, including omnivores, vegans, and everyone in-between. Plant-based protein powders come from many sources including pea, hemp, pumpkin seed, brown rice, soy, chia, and flax. These plant-derived products are a versatile option for those who have a sensitivity to typical dairy-based protein powders such as whey or those who are simply looking to add more high-quality, easily digestible protein to their diet. Some products also contain beneficial ingredients such as probiotics, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids.

Here, the best plant-based protein powders.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Garden of Life Raw Organic Protein Powder

Made up of a unique blend of 15 plant-based legumes, grains, and seeds, Garden of Life’s Raw Organic Protein takes the top pick for plant-based proteins. Each scoop provides 22 grams of sugar-free, plant-based protein. One key protein source in the powder is pea protein, which is known for being easily digested. The powder is also easy on digestion, as it contains 3 billion CFU probiotics from lactobacillus and digestive enzymes including bromelain, papain, and protease.

No matter what your flavor preference is, Garden of Life has you covered. The sugar-free protein powder comes in four flavors including chocolate, vanilla, vanilla chai, and unflavored. Garden of Life’s Raw Organic Protein is also gluten-free and kosher.

Garden of Life highlights the importance of a raw protein, noting that heat can denature proteins, damaging the protein and reducing the effectiveness and availability to your body. This raw organic protein is produced at low temperatures to preserve the amino acids and is made without any added fillers to ensure a high-quality product.

Best Hemp-Based: Manitoba Harvest Hemp Protein Powder

If you’re looking for a great hemp-based protein, Manitoba Harvest HempPro Fiber is the top choice because of its great taste and impressive nutrition profile. Hemp protein has a unique nutty taste, but mixes easily into smoothies, oatmeal, or your favorite baked good. Many plant-based proteins have added ingredients to improve taste, nutrition, or consistency, but HempPro Fiber is made up of only one ingredient: organic hemp protein powder.

Each serving of HempPro Fiber contains 2.5 grams of plant-based omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which is important for vegetarians, vegans, or those who don't enjoy eating fish. The high-quality protein source contains 13 grams of plant-based protein and fiber per 4 tablespoon serving. The majority of the dietary fiber in the protein is insoluble fiber (12 grams) which speeds up digestion and adds bulk to stool, helping to promote regularity and prevent constipation. The product is also Certified Organic and Kosher.

Best Rice-Based: Sunwarrior Classic Vegan Protein

Sunwarrior’s Classic Protein is a clean and simple organic brown rice protein powder. The plant-based powder is made up of only 5 ingredients: brown rice, vanilla flavor, guar gum, stevia extract, and ancient sea salt. One scoop provides 20 grams of protein with 100 calories and zero added sugar. Interestingly, one study suggests that rice protein may be just as effective as whey protein in supporting body composition and exercise performance in resistance-trained athletes.

The brown rice powder is sprouted and fermented, meaning that the brown rice is soaked for a period of time and then allowed to germinate. This process leads to increased bioavailability of nutrients such as vitamins and fatty acids and decreased amounts of anti-nutrients such as phytates and tannins.

The plant-based powder blends well into to your smoothie, shake, or beverage. It comes in three delicious flavors including vanilla, chocolate, and natural. The vegan powder is also free of gluten, soy, and dairy.

Best Pea Protein: Sunwarrior Warrior Blend

Research published in 2015 shows that pea protein may be just as effective as dairy-based whey proteins for athletes looking to improve muscle strength. Sunwarrior Warrior Blend takes the top pick among pea protein powders. The proprietary blend of organic pea protein, hemp protein, and goji berry contains 19 grams of plant-based protein per scoop. The USDA Organic, Non-GMO Project Certified blend is allergy-friendly, as it is free of soy, gluten, and dairy.

Sunwarrior Warrior Blend is also free of added sugars and artificial sweeteners. It comes in five flavors including berry, chocolate, mocha, vanilla, and natural. The natural flavor doesn’t taste overly sweet, so it won’t overpower your favorite beverage. With only four ingredients: pea protein, hemp protein, goji berry, and ground coconut, Sunwarrior’s Warrior Blend Natural is a super clean choice. Note that the flavored versions contain additional ingredients including the specific flavor and stevia.

Best Single Ingredient: Sprout Living Simple Pumpkin Seed Protein Powder

Sprout Living’s Simple Pumpkin Seed Powder is made up of one ingredient: cold-pressed pumpkin seed powder. Sprout Living's USDA-Organic protein provides 15 grams of protein per serving from non-GMO pumpkin seeds. Pumpkin seeds offer a wide range of nutrients including an array of amino acids and essential fatty acids.

This super clean product checks all the boxes: organic, vegan, grain-free, soy-free, gluten-free and kosher. The 100% pure, single-ingredient powder has a slightly nutty flavor and is a great source of hypoallergenic plant protein. Sprout Living doesn’t use gums or stabilizers, so the powder may settle and require a bit of mixing before blending into your favorite beverage.

Best Stevia-Free: Aloha Organic Plant-Based Protein

Aloha’s USDA-Organic plant-based powder uses coconut sugar and monk fruit as alternatives to erythritol or stevia. While stevia is declared “generally accepted as safe” by the FDA, some people prefer to avoid the natural sweetener. Aloha’s protein blend mixes pea, brown rice, hemp, and pumpkin seed protein to provide 18 grams of plant-based protein per serving. The blend contains 3 grams of dietary fiber per serving likely attributed to acacia fiber, which is rich in soluble fiber.

The vegan powder also contains medium-chain triglycerides from coconut oil. Made with simple, whole-food ingredients, Aloha protein comes in three flavors including vanilla, chocolate, and banana. It’s a great option to add to your favorite smoothie, baked good, or oatmeal.

Best Grain-Free: Sprout Living Epic Protein

If you’re looking for a paleo-friendly (gluten-free, dairy-free, grain-free) plant-based protein powder, Sprout Living’s Epic Protein is a great choice. Many plant-based protein powders include a grain-based protein such as quinoa, amaranth, and brown rice. Epic Protein is made from yellow pea and a mix of sunflower, pumpkin, sacha inchi, and cranberry seeds. Each 2-scoop serving provides 26 grams of plant-based protein. It boasts 5 grams of dietary fiber, most derived from Jerusalem artichoke.

The super clean plant-based protein comes in four flavors: chocolate maca, green kingdom, vanilla lucuma, and original. The delicious product is also free of fillers and gums. Produced in a cGMP-certified facility, Epic Protein is known for its purity and dedication to ultra-clean ingredients.

What to Look for in a Plant-Based Protein Supplement

Type of protein: There are a variety of plant-based protein sources, including those made from peas, brown rice, and hemp. Some may agree with your digestive system more than others; you might also have to base your choice on any dietary restrictions you have. Fortunately, there are varieties that can work for most diets (including organic formulas). To get a wide array of nutrients, try to rotate which protein source you use. For example, alternate between hemp and brown rice protein in your morning smoothie.

Fillers: When it comes to protein powder, you want to make sure you know what else is included besides protein. Some brands contain fillers that add extra calories and carbs, while others offer more pure formulas. Read the ingredients carefully and choose one that supports your goals without getting in the way of them.

Flavor: Taste and flavor are two important considerations when choosing a protein supplement. You may prefer something that is relatively neutral in flavor or a product that provides rich chocolate or vanilla taste. Whatever your preference is, always check out the ingredients and aim to choose a product without artificial flavors or additives.

A note on Soy: Soy protein is a controversial supplement, and you may note that soy-containing products are not included in the round-up above. While there is plenty of research to support the consumption of soy protein, there is an equal amount of research that recommends avoidance. Since there are many great protein alternatives on the market, consider hemp, pea, or any of the other plant-based options.

What Experts Say

"When looking at plant-based protein supplements, it’s important to read the ingredients to ensure that they aren’t full of fillers, additives, artificial sweeteners or sugar. Try to choose a supplement with a short ingredient list, and only clean, organic ingredients." —Nathalie Rhone, MS, RD at Nutrition By Nathalie

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 research on various types of plant-based proteins and looking at multiple products and brands. I believe the protein supplements in the round-up are made by trusted brands that I would feel comfortable recommending to my clients, friends, and family. I personally have tried the majority of the powders recommended, and use plant-based protein powder on a regular basis in smoothies, overnight oats, and chia pudding. Eliza Savage, MS, RD, CDN

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