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

Garden of Life Raw Organic Protein is our top pick

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Best Plant-Based Protein Powders

Verywell / Sabrina Jiang

Plant-based protein powders are derived from a variety of sources including pea, hemp, pumpkin seed, brown rice, soy, chia, and flax, offering an alternative to animal-based powders (like whey and collagen). Because very few plants contain all essential amino acids, plant-based protein powders are often composed of a blend of more than one source in order to be considered a complete protein.

While there are a variety of whole food, plant-based protein sources, like beans, nuts, seeds, and whole grains, plant-based protein powders can be helpful if you are having difficulty meeting your individual protein needs. Try blending them with your milk of choice, frozen fruits and vegetables and nut butter or seeds for a balanced breakfast shake or snack on-the-go.

When selecting our top list of plant-based protein powders, we considered taste, protein content, amino acid profile and additional ingredients.

Verywell Fit Approved Plant-Based Protein Powders

  • Best Overall: Garden of Life’s Raw Organic Protein contains a blend of 15 plant-based protein sources, providing 22 grams of complete protein per scoop.
  • Best with Greens: Vega Protein & Greens contains 20 grams of complete protein from pea, brown and sacha inchi proteins, and a green powder blend for added nutrients.

Always speak with a healthcare professional before adding a supplement to your routine to ensure that the supplement is appropriate for your individual needs and which dosage to take.

Best Overall: Garden of Life Raw Organic Protein Powder

Garden of Life Raw Organic Protein Unflavored

Courtesy of Walmart.com 

Made of a unique blend of 15 plant-based legumes, grains, and seeds and containing all nine essential amino acids, 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 itself is also easy to digest, 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 Yeah! Max Fiber Protein Powder

Manitoba Harvest Hemp Yeah! Organic Max Fiber Protein Powder

Courtesy of Amazon

If you’re looking for a great hemp-based protein, Manitoba Harvest Hemp Yeah! Max 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. While many plant-based proteins have added ingredients to improve taste, nutrition, or consistency, Hemp Yeah! Max Fiber comprises only one ingredient: organic hemp protein powder. So you can rest assured knowing exactly what you’re intaking. 

Each serving of Hemp Yeah! Max Fiber contains 2.5 grams of plant-based omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which is important for vegetarians, vegans, and those who have an allergy to (or 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). This 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 Protein

Sunwarrior Organic Brown Rice Protein Vanilla

Courtesy of Walmart

Sunwarrior’s Classic Protein is a clean and simple organic brown rice protein powder. The plant-based powder is made up of only five 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. 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 your smoothie, shake, or beverage. It comes in three delicious flavors, including vanilla, chocolate, and natural. Good news for those with sensitivities: The vegan powder is also free of gluten, soy, and dairy.

Best Pea Protein: Sunwarrior Warrior Blend Organic

Sunwarrior Natural Warrior Blend

Courtesy of Amazon

Research from 2015 shows that pea protein may be just as effective as dairy-based whey proteins for athletes looking to improve muscle strength. Sunwarrior's Warrior Blend Organic 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 also allergy-friendly, as it is free of soy, gluten, and dairy.

Additionally, Sunwarrior's Warrior Blend Organic is free of added sugars and artificial sweeteners, ideal for those watching their sugar intake. It comes in five flavors, including berry, chocolate, mocha, vanilla, and natural.

The natural flavor doesn’t taste overly sweet so that it won’t overpower your favorite beverage. With only four ingredients: pea protein, hemp protein, goji berry, and ground coconut, Sunwarrior’s Warrior Blend Organic is a super clean choice. Note that the flavored versions contain additional ingredients, including the specific flavor and stevia.

Best Single Ingredient: Sprout Living Organic Pumpkin Seed Protein

Sprout Living Simple Pumpkin Seed Protein Powder

Courtesy of Amazon

Sprout Living’s Organic Pumpkin Seed Protein is made up of one ingredient: cold-pressed pumpkin seed powder. The USDA organic protein provides 15 grams of protein per serving from non-GMO pumpkin seeds, which 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 hypoallergenic plant-protein source. 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 Protein Powder

Aloha Organic Protein Powder

Courtesy of Amazon

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. The FDA acknowledges erythritol as a sugar substitute that’s not a high-intensity sweetener; however, it may cause digestive issues if overconsumed. ALOHA's protein blend mixes pea, brown-rice, hemp, and pumpkin-seed proteins 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 Powder comes in three flavors: 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 Vanilla Lucuma

Sprout Living Epic Protein Vanilla Lucuma

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. While any plant-based protein powders include grain-based proteins 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 two-scoop serving provides 26 grams of plant-based protein. It also boasts 5 grams of dietary fiber, most of which are derived from Jerusalem artichokes.

The super clean, plant-based protein comes in four flavors: chocolate maca, green kingdom, vanilla lucuma, and original (unflavored). 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.

Best Protein + Greens: Vega Protein & Greens Plant-Based Protein Powder

Vega Protein and Greens Vanilla - Vegan Plant Based Protein Powder

Courtesy of Amazon

If you're looking to boost your protein powder with a dose of greens, try Vega Protein & Greens. You should always aim for at least five cups of vegetables a day. However, green plant-based powders are a convenient way to help increase your daily vitamin and mineral intake.

The pea-protein base offers 20 grams of protein per one-scoop serving. Spinach, kale, broccoli, and alfalfa-grass powders add 25% of your daily intake needs for iron and 60% of your vitamin K needs. Additionally, it offers calcium, potassium, and vitamins A and C. Vegan, non-GMO, and sweetened with stevia, this powder is a great addition to a plant-based diet.

Final Verdict

For a high-quality, plant-based protein made of 15 grains, legumes, and seeds, try Garden of Life's Raw Organic Protein (view at Amazon), which comes in a variety of flavors (and an unflavored option).

What to Look for in a Plant-Based Protein Powder

Type of Protein

There are various 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, some varieties can work for most diets (including organic formulas). To get a wide array of nutrients, try to rotate your protein sources—for example, alternate between hemp and brown-rice proteins in your morning smoothie.

Fillers

When it comes to protein powder, you want to make sure you know what is included besides protein. Some brands contain fillers that add extra calories, sweeteners, and carbs, while others offer more pure formulas. Read the ingredients carefully and choose a powder 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 relatively neutral in flavor or a product that provides a rich chocolate or vanilla taste. Whatever your preference, always check the ingredients and choose a product without artificial flavors or additives.

Be Wary of Soy

Soy protein is a controversial supplement, and you may note that soy-containing products are not included in the roundup above. While plenty of research supports soy protein consumption, an equal amount of research recommends avoiding it.

Since there are many great protein alternatives on the market, consider hemp, pea, or other non-soy plant-based options.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do you use plant-based protein powder?

    Consuming an adequate amount of protein on a vegan or vegetarian diet can be challenging, considering plant-based foods tend to be lower in protein than animal-based foods. Plant-based protein powder can be an effective way to boost your daily protein intake. Omnivores can also benefit from plant-based protein powders, as diversifying your protein intake from both plant- and animal-based proteins supports a healthy, balanced diet. 

    Plant-based protein powder is best mixed in smoothies—we recommend blending it with unsweetened plant-based milk (like oat, almond, or coconut), a serving of fruit, and a serving of leafy greens like spinach. You can also try mixing it into your morning oatmeal. Depending on the product, some powders are water-soluble and can be simply mixed into water.

  • Is plant-based protein powder better than typical whey or animal-derived protein powders?

    The nutritional content and ingredient lists vary greatly from one protein powder to another, whether they are plant-based or animal-derived. Therefore, it’s important to compare specific product information when deciding which powder to choose. 

    Animal-based proteins are considered higher quality protein sources based on their amino acid levels and ratios and their protein digestibility or bioavailability. Whey and animal-derived protein powders tend to have a higher amount of protein per ounce, and they are considered complete proteins, meaning they contain all nine essential amino acids. However, plant-based proteins tend to have higher levels of antioxidants and fiber.

    Some plant-based proteins, like soy, contain all nine essential amino acids and have a relatively high protein content per ounce. Other plant-based protein powders contain complementary protein blends, meaning they combine different plant proteins to create a complete protein.

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 plant-based proteins and looking at multiple products and brands.

I believe the protein supplements in the roundup are made by trusted brands that I would feel comfortable recommending to my clients, friends, and family. I have tried the majority of the powders recommended and use plant-based protein powder regularly in smoothies, overnight oats, and chia pudding. Eliza Savage, MS, RD, CDN

Anne Cook Carroll, MS, RD, contributed to the FAQs.

How We Select Supplements

Our team works hard to be transparent about why we recommend certain supplements; you can read more about our dietary supplement methodology here

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