Pea protein is one of the best alternatives to whey that you’ll find on the market. It’s less problematic than soy, it’s hypoallergenic and it can be produced with quality ingredients and no additives.
Whether you’re not getting enough protein in your diet, or you’re looking to supplement your intake to bulk up, pea protein is an excellent option for vegans and non-vegans alike.
Is pea protein as effective as whey protein? A study from 2019 compared physical performance and recovery when supplementing whey versus pea protein and found that there were no significant differences between the two. Switching to a vegan alternative is unlikely to affect your gains.
However, most plant protein does not naturally contain all of the essential amino acids that your body needs. In fact, pea protein is one of the best plant alternatives because of its unique essential amino acids profile. It contains EAAs that are hard to find in other sources like soy or rice. Most importantly, it has leucine – an essential compound in the process of muscle building.
Even so, pea protein does fall short when it comes to the amino acid methionine so make sure that the brand you choose includes other plant protein sources that contain the compound or try to get it from your diet.
But what are the best pea protein powders out there? And how do they measure up to the whey standard? Let’s find out!
If you’re looking for a protein powder that can take on your best whey alternative, the Onnit Plant Based Protein is the definite winner. It’s primarily derived from pea protein but it also contains amino acids from pumpkin, sunflower and watermelon seeds to give it a fully rounded EAAs profile.
The Onnit Plant Protein powder also goes gram for gram with any whey powder when it comes to absolute protein content. A serving contains 20g while packing less fats and fewer calories.
Plant proteins are notorious for their chalky, earthy aftertaste. Onnit will stand for none of that. Their vegan friendly alternative is created for smooth easy mixing and it contains a keto friendly avocado powder that not only increases the amount of healthy fats but also elevates the texture. Finally, the monk fruit sweetener gives it a pleasantly sweet taste without the sugar content.
It’s the winner in our book!
Sunwarrior is well known for the quality of its products and its keto centered approach to fitness. The Clean Keto Protein upholds both of these values.
This protein powder will feed muscle growth while keeping you in ketosis! That’s not something that you can say about a lot of products in this market. Even low sugar ones contain enough carbs to knock you out of keto.
Sunwarrior’s product is also chock full of essential fatty acids that will help your joints and your brain and will curve your cravings. It contains pea protein, fava bean protein, peptides from rice, MCT oil and a bunch of essential vitamins and minerals. This makes it so much more than a protein powder. It’s a go to keto friendly supplement that will provide 14g of protein per serving and will keep you fueled and full!
Now Sports is a trusted name in the supplement industry and it delivers on this non-GMO vegan friendly protein powder. It contains pea protein isolate and at 25 g of protein per serving it packs quite a punch.
It’s both gluten free and dairy free and a scoop of this stuff will also keep you covered with 4,400 mg of the BCAA and 2,000 mg of arginine. It also digests very easily and will be tolerated by even the more digestively sensitive.
The vanilla toffee flavor is mild but pleasant and the powder blends best with almond milk so if you don’t have a nut allergy, give it a shot. The mix will be creamier and easier than a simple water mix and you won’t be adding too many calories. All in all, this powder is a great bang for your buck!
The best Orgain Pea Protein is hands down the Vanilla flavor. 21 grams of protein and 150 calories per serving for half a day of fuel with a subtle taste and little to no chalkiness. Add in half a banana and get some potassium in an absolutely delicious smoothie.
The formula also contains brown rice powder to supplement the amino acid profile. It’s versatile and it does the job without fuss or breaking the bank. The new formulation is gluten free and soy free with no artificial ingredients. We also recommend this one for cakes or muffins as the vanilla flavor will easily adapt to any kind of baking without overpowering it.
Purely Inspired has hit it out of the park with this protein powder. With only 2g of sugar per serving, 0 sugar alcohols and 4 g of net carbs, this brand is diet friendly and completely vegan. Our preference is the French Vanilla but Decadent Chocolate is just as good if you’re a choco fiend.
The blend is ideal for smoothies and the formula mixes easily in a shaker or blender. The texture is excellent and it’s a complete protein powder meaning you won’t need to supplement your diet with additional vegan protein sources or amino acids.
With no artificial coloring and no artificial sweeteners, the 22g of protein per serving comes cheaply. We recommend a banana and a creamy base of barista coconut milk if you really want to turn it into a decadent treat.
If you’re looking for a pea based protein powder that is guaranteed to be gentle on your stomach, this is the product for you. From digestive issues to acid reflux, the Growing Natural formula won’t cause any discomfort.
It’s friendly to any type of allergy sufferer and ensures no cross contamination with gluten, soy, dairy or corn. What’s more, the powder is 100% organic. The brand doesn’t use chemical solvents to produce, separate or concentrate their powder.
A serving also includes a hefty portion of iron that you can combine with any vitamin C fruit to increase the absorption of this essential mineral. The original flavor contains no stevia or other sweeteners which makes it an excellent option for those of us who can’t stand the stevia aftertaste and would rather adjust the sweet factor ourselves.
Vegan Smart is a world leader in making vegan protein smooth. It’s one of the nicest mixes we’ve tried, no grit, no chalkiness, pure delight! The aftertaste is great and the mixing is easy even without a blender. The taste is pleasant and the pea flavor is unclockable. To be honest, it almost tastes like cake batter. This protein powder will make you feel like you’re cheating!
Fair warning though the mix can be on the sweet side despite its low glycemic index. If you think that’s going to be an issue go for an unflavored version or maybe add some extra cocoa to offset it.
Great value for money with no bells and no whistles. Nutricost is a great budget option that ticks enough boxes to make our list. It’s non-GMO, gluten free and 100% vegan. It’s made from pure pea protein isolate so you know exactly what you’re getting. For one serving it delivers 20g of protein and only 100 calories.
This protein powder is completely unflavored so the pea taste will be noticeable but you do have complete visibility over the ingredients. It contains no sweeteners, no thickeners, no exotic blends and no artificial flavoring. If you’re worried about the veggie flavor, rest assured. Combining it with half a banana and some low calorie plant milk in a blender will likely compensate for any shortcomings.
In our view, the price and the one ingredient composition makes Nutricost the top contender in the budget category.
20 g of protein, 170 calories and an absolute treat! The KOS Chocolate protein powder is made with organic peruvian cacao, monk fruit, Himalayan salt and coconut milk. It’s basically an organic, vegan chocolate bar in protein shake form.
The KOS formula includes a five protein blend to cover a complete amino acid profile. From pea to quinoa, flax seed, chia seeds and pumpkin seeds, this protein powder will not only provide a well rounded post-workout shake but also plenty of extra nutrients and essential vitamins and minerals.
Great for vegans and non vegans alike, this product is responsibly sourced and mindful of their environmental impact.
And there you have it! The ultimate list of the best pea protein powders you’ll find based on taste, composition and mix-ability!
Our absolute winner remains the Onnit Plant Based Protein while Nutricost takes home the Best Budget Option award and KOS wins for overall taste. But don’t take our word for it. See what matches your own needs and give it a go!