The 7 Best Vegan Protein Powders, According to a Dietitian

How to choose a vegan protein powder that is right for you

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Best Vegan Protein Powders

Verywell

If you’re looking for a vegan protein there are many options on the market to fit your individual needs. These options include proteins derived from pea, hemp, pumpkin seed, brown rice, soy, chia, and flax, among other plant-based sources.

“Adequate protein intake is necessary for building muscle, so vegan protein powders can be a great addition for vegan athletes, given that it can be challenging to get enough protein on a vegan diet,” says Andrea Paul, MD, medical advisor to Illuminate Labs. “Another health benefit of vegan protein powders is they may have higher micronutrient levels than animal-based protein powders, given their sourcing”.

It's important to note that there are many plant-based protein powders, but not all of these are vegan. All vegan protein powders are made from plants; however, some plant-based proteins may contain animal-derived products such as honey.

What to Look for in a Vegan Protein Powder

Flavor:

While many protein powders are packed with essential nutrients, some may fall short in terms of taste. Fortunately, there’s a wide variety of flavors out there. You can also mix many of them with different beverages, fruits, and vegetables to tailor the flavor exactly to your liking.

Type of Protein:

There are a variety of vegan protein sources, including peas, soy, brown rice, and hemp. Some may agree with you 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).

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 from carbs, while other formulas offer purely protein.

Vegan Protein Powder Dosage

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.

The Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) for daily protein intake is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day for adult men and women, and it is widely accepted that protein needs increase with activity level. The current research shows no safety concerns at daily recommended intakes up to 2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight a day.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is all protein powder vegan?

    No, all protein powder is not considered vegan. Many protein powders are derived from animal-based products, like whey protein, which comes from milk protein isolates. 

    Plant-based proteins are derived from various sources, including soy, pea, rice, flaxseed, hemp seed, sunflower seed, and chia seed. Many of them are vegan, but some may contain animal-derived products like honey. Be sure to check the ingredient lists to make sure the product is compliant with your dietary modifications.

  • Is vegan protein powder keto-friendly?

    Most Vegan protein powders contain carbohydrates, some in the form of added sugars, which may interfere with your keto intake goals. If you follow a keto diet, look for powders low in overall carbohydrates and sugar—under 5 grams of each is best. 

    For a great keto-friendly vegan protein powder, try Sunwarrior Organic Vegan Protein Powder Warrior Blend (view at Amazon). One scoop (25 grams) contains 17 grams of protein and just 1 gram of carbohydrate and 0 grams of sugar. It also contains MCT oil to boost your healthy fat intake.

  • Is vegan protein powder healthier than non-vegan protein powder like whey?

    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 on what 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.

    Consider your individual health goals and concerns when selecting which protein powder is best for you.

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

We support supplements that are evidence-based and rooted in science, as well as clinically tested and approved for use in humans. We value certain product attributes that we find to be associated with the highest quality products. These attributes include non-GMO, Organic, and allergy-friendly products that are free of most artificial ingredients including colors, flavors, preservatives, and sweeteners. When possible, we recommend products that are third-party tested and certified.

It's important to note that the FDA does not review dietary supplements for safety and effectiveness before they go to market. Our team of experts has created a detailed, science-backed methodology to choose the supplements we recommend.

Here, the best vegan protein powders for your needs.

Best Overall: Sunwarrior Organic Vegan Protein Powder Warrior Blend

Sunwarrior Natural Warrior Blend
Pros
  • Zero grams of added sugar

Cons
  • Unflavored powder may not be palatable for some consumers

The USDA Organic, Non-GMO Project Certified Sunwarrior Warrior Blend takes the top pick for vegan protein powders with 19 grams of plant-based protein per scoop. Each serving also provides branched-chain amino acids and brain-boosting MCTs.

The high protein blend is allergy-friendly, as it is free of soy, gluten, and dairy. The protein 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 great choice. Each scoop also provides 6 milligrams of iron, which is helpful for those following a vegan diet that is commonly low in iron.

This protein powder is not third-party tested or certified vegan, but Sunwarrior is dedicated to creating high-quality, plant-based dietary supplements.

Key nutrients: Organic fermented pea protein, organic hemp protein | Vegan: Yes | Gluten Free: Yes | Organic: Yes | Non-GMO: Yes | Additives: None

Best Budget: Manitoba Harvest Hemp Yeah! Organic Max Fiber Protein Powder

Manitoba Harvest Hemp Yeah! Organic Max Fiber Protein Powder
Pros
  • Excellent source of dietary fiber

  • Single ingredient protein source

Cons
  • High fiber content may not be desirable for pre-exercise supplementation

If you’re looking for a high-quality protein source that is affordable (and has a ton of dietary fiber), Manitoba Harvest HempPro Fiber contains 13 grams of plant-based protein and fiber per 4-tablespoon serving. That’s about half of your recommended daily intake of fiber. The majority of the dietary fiber in the protein is insoluble fiber (12 grams), which speeds up digestion and adds bulk to stool. This is great to promote regularity and prevent constipation.

The Certified Organic and Kosher protein is made up of only one ingredient: organic hemp protein powder. Research shows that hemp seeds are a good source of protein that is easily digestible. This versatile protein checks the box as a fiber and protein supplement, so you won't need to purchase both products.

Key nutrients: Organic hemp protein | Vegan: Yes | Gluten Free: Yes | Organic: Yes | Non-GMO: Yes | Additives:  None

Best with Greens: Amazing Grass Plant Protein Superfood Powder Vanilla

Amazing Grass Protein Superfood Powder
Pros
  • Dairy free

  • Gluten free

  • Grain free

Cons
  • Small package has just 11 servings per container 

Amazing Grass boosted their regular greens superfood powder with plant-based protein. The USDA Organic greens protein powder contains seven types of alkalizing greens and two servings of fruits and vegetables per serving.

It boasts 20 grams of complete vegan protein from sources including pea, quinoa, chia, and hemp. Additional fruits and vegetables include organic acai, goji, pineapple, and sweet potato. The slightly sweet vanilla blend is sweetened using stevia.

Each scoop provides 3 grams of dietary fiber with less than 1 gram of sugar and only 4 grams of carbohydrates. Superfood ingredients in this protein powder include spirulina and chlorella. Spirulina is celebrated for its anti-inflammatory powers , and chlorella contains plant-based omega-3 fatty acids.

While it’s not third-party tested or Certified Vegan, we like this certified organic protein powder for its nutrient-dense ingredients, as well as the brand’s dedication to making high-quality plant-based supplements.

Key nutrients: Organic pea protein, organic hemp protein | Vegan: Yes, but not certified | Gluten Free: Yes | Organic: Yes | Non-GMO: Yes | Additives:  Natural flavor, xanthan gum

What Experts Say

"Eating a diet rich in plants has been shown to promote optimal health and reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and obesity. However, most plant proteins are not “complete,” which means that they don't contain all the essential amino acids that we need. If a client is vegan and having trouble thoughtfully combining plant sources of protein in his or her diet, or if a client requires higher protein intake and for some reason cannot get that through whole foods, I may recommend adding in a plant-based protein supplement." Nathalie Rhone, MS, RD

Best Grain-Free: Sprout Living Epic Protein Powder Original Flavor

Sprout Living Epic Protein Powder Original Flavor
Pros
  •  Zero grams of added sugar

Cons
  • Small package, only 13 servings in a bag

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 vegan protein powders include grain-based proteins such as quinoa, amaranth, and brown rice (although quinoa is technically a seed).

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 boasts 5 grams of dietary fiber, most derived from Jerusalem artichoke.

The vegan protein comes in four flavors: chocolate maca, green kingdom, vanilla lucuma, and original. Of note, the product is free of fillers and gums. While not third-party tested, we appreciate that this product is Certified Vegan and free of fillers and gums.

Key nutrients: Organic pea, organic sunflower seed, organic pumpkin seed | Vegan: Yes | Gluten Free: Yes | Organic: Yes | Non-GMO: Yes | Additives:  None

Best Brown Rice Protein: Sunwarrior Organic Brown Rice Protein Vanilla

Pros
  • Zero added sugar

  • Fermented protein powder increases bioavailability

Cons
  • Some consumers may not enjoy taste of stevia

Sunwarrior’s Classic Protein is a simple, organic, plant-based brown rice protein powder. It’s made up of 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. The vegan powder is also free of gluten, soy, and dairy.

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 increases the bioavailability of nutrients such as vitamins and fatty acids and decreased amounts of anti-nutrients such as phytates and tannins.

While this powder is not third-party tested or certified vegan, Sunwarrior is dedicated to creating high-quality, plant-based dietary supplements.

Key nutrients:  Fermented brown rice protein powder | Vegan: Yes | Gluten Free: Yes | Organic: Yes | Non-GMO: Yes | Additives: Guar gum

Best Stevia-Free: NAKED nutrition NAKED PEA 1LB Pea Protein Isolate

Pros
  • Single ingredient protein source

Cons
  • Unflavored powder may not be palatable to some consumers

Naked Pea Protein is a great stevia-free vegan protein powder to add to your routine. In fact, it’s free of all additives, because the only ingredient is Yellow Pea Protein. This powder is Certified Vegan, certified gluten-free, soy-free, and made with non-GMO ingredients. 

Each serving provides 120 calories and an impressive 27 grams of plant-based protein. It is certified by Informed Choice, which tests products to ensure they are not adulterated with substances banned in sports. The unflavored powder easily blends into your favorite beverages, smoothies, or can be used in baked goods.

Key nutrients: Yellow pea protein | Vegan: Yes | Gluten Free: Yes | Organic: No | Non-GMO: Yes | Additives: None

Best Soy-Free: Vega Sport Premium Protein Powder

Vega Sport Premium Protein
Pros
  • No added sugar

  • Contains probiotics for gut health

Cons
  • Not organic

Vega Sport Premium Protein Powder is soy-free and made from a blend of different vegan protein sources including pea protein, pumpkin seed protein, alfalfa seed protein, and sunflower seed protein. It provides all nine essential amino acids and 30 grams of protein per serving. It also has 5 grams of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) and tart cherry to support recovery.

Sweetened with stevia leaf extract, this protein powder has zero grams of added sugar, 6 grams of carbohydrates, and 2 grams of dietary fiber. It also provides 2 billion CFU probiotics bacillus coagulans for gut health. This protein powder is Certified Vegan, Non-GMO Project Verified, and third-party NSF Certified for Sport. 

Key nutrients: Pea protein, pumpkin seed protein, alfalfa seed protein, and sunflower seed protein | Vegan: Yes | Gluten Free: Yes | Organic: No | Non-GMO: Yes | Additives: Xanthan gum

Final Verdict

For a simple, vegan protein powder, try Sunwarrior Warrior Blend (view at Amazon). We like the allergen-friendly blend and the addition of branched-chain amino acids and MCTs to the mix.

For a budget-friendly vegan protein powder, try Manitoba Harvest Hemp Yeah! Organic Max Fiber Protein Powder (view at Amazon). We like the single nutrient ingredient list and high fiber content. 

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