Best Vegan Protein Powder 2023

Image of a black package of plant protein featuring cream and gold branding, sat in front of someone wearing blue making a pink smoothie.
Credit: Optimum Nutrition

Image of a black package of plant protein featuring cream and gold branding, sat in front of someone wearing blue making a pink smoothie.
Credit: Optimum Nutrition

In sports and exercise, protein powder remains an invaluable asset for many individuals striving to achieve their fitness goals. For those following a plant-based diet though, the search for the perfect protein supplement is vital as protein is harder to come by. However, with an array of vegan options to pick from, each claiming to be better than the competition, finding the best vegan protein powder to support muscle building and recovery isn't easy.

Fortunately, we've curated a list of the best protein powders to guide and simplify your quest, taking into account factors like where the protein has come from as well as the price and reviews surrounding each of the supplements, helping you build, maintain, and grow muscle in the gym.

Of course, you can still obtain protein from whole food sources. However, what these powders provide is a convenient and effective solution to upping your daily protein intake when obtaining protein through plant-based sources is so tricky in the first place, hence why some of the best vegan protein bars are so popular as well.

So read on to discover the best vegan protein powders on the market to elevate your nutrition on your fitness journey to new, plant-fueled heights.

Best vegan protein powder

  1. Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Plant
  2. Nutiva Organic Hemp Powder
  3. MyVegan Clear Vegan Protein
  4. bulk Vegan Protein Powder
  5. Anthony's Premium Pea Protein
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Plant Protein product image of a black container featuring light brown and gold branding.
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Credit: Optimum Nutrition

1. Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Plant

Best overall vegan protein powder

Protein: 24g
Sugar: 0g
Fats: 3.5g
Calories: 150kcal

Optimum Nutrition's Gold Standard 100% Plant protein is perhaps the most well-rounded vegan protein supplement on the market, with the headline being that it delivers 24g of protein per serving.

That kind of protein content rivals non-vegan alternatives. And, what's even better is it contains 0g of sugar per serving, with a total of 150 calories in one scoop.

The vegan formula is made from a combination of pea, brown rice, and fava bean proteins to support muscle growth and recovery. Optimum Nutrition also boasts its blend contains no artificial flavours, sweeteners, or colours, and is gluten-free as well.

Taking all this into account, we'd go as far as to say it's one of the best, if not the best vegan protein powders on the market, hence its inclusion on our list.

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Nutiva Organic Hemp Powder product image of a green, sealed pouch featuring white branding and an image of hemp protein powder on the front.
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Credit: Nutiva

2. Nutiva Organic Hemp Powder

Best hemp vegan protein powder

Protein: 13g
Carbs: 11g
Sugar: 1g
Fats: 3g
Calories: 120kcal

Sifting gears slightly over to Nutiva Organic Hemp Powder, a high-quality powder derived from 100% organic hemp seeds, as its name suggests, carefully cold-pressed to yield an impressive 50% protein content by weight.

Each serving, therefore, provides 13g of protein, which may seem modest, but it's actually quite impressive for a hemp protein supplement. What makes this blend even more appealing is its rich profile of dietary fibre and essential minerals, such as magnesium, iron, and potassium, the latter playing a vital role in maintaining proper fluid balance in our bodies.

Furthermore, this hemp powder provides all nine essential amino acids, making it a complete protein source. And while 11g of carbs may seem high, it's important to remember that carbs are essential fuel for our bodies. So, whether you need post-workout recovery or a pre-training energy boost, incorporating this powder into your diet could be beneficial.

Flavour-wise, there's only one option, offering a mild, nutty taste. This makes it a perfect addition to smoothies, protein bars, yoghurt, or oats though, which is great if you're looking to kickstart your day with an extra dose of protein.

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MyVegan Clear Vegan Protein product image of a white container featuring green and yellow branding with images of lemons and limes on the front.
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Credit: MyVegan

3. MyVegan Clear Vegan Protein

Best-tasting vegan protein powder

Protein: 10g
Carbs: 2.5g
Sugar: 0g
Fats: 0g
Calories: 51kcal

Taste is subjective. However, MyVegan's Clear Vegan Protein blend comes in a variety of flavours that, no matter your preference, means you should be able to find a flavour you like.

What's more, the flavours are mainly fruit-based, providing a stark contrast to the stereotypical dairy-based flavours you see with the majority of more traditional protein supplements. Flavours include the likes of blood orange and lemon and lime, flavours more akin to a refreshing squash or juice, making this a particularly great option for hot summer days.

Nutrient-wise, each serving contains 0g of sugar and fat, plus one scoop is only 51 calories, which is great if you're looking to cut. It may only provide 10g of protein, but you can always double up on servings if you want to up your intake.

From personal experience, MyVegan's Clear Protein blend is a great-tasting and handy protein supplement to have around, providing a quick and easy way of upping protein in your diet.

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bulk Vegan Protein Powder product image of a light green pouch featuring black branding.
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Credit: bulk

4. bulk Vegan Protein Powder

Best unflavoured vegan protein powder

Protein: 23g
Carbs: 1.9g
Sugar: 0.2g
Fats: 2.1g
Calories: 131kcal

If it's an unflavoured blend you're after though, bulk's Vegan Protein Powder stands out as an excellent choice, especially as it provides 23g of protein per scoop.

To achieve this, the supplement features what bulk calls the V+ blend. This consistents of five premium plant proteins, including pea protein, brown rice protein, pumpkin protein, flaxseed powder and quinoa flour. It also contains DigeZyme (a popular blend of five digestive enzymes) to help you break down the protein for easy digestion.

It's also relatively low in calories, containing just 131, and keeps carbs, sugars, and fats to a minimum, containing 1.9g, 0.2g, and 2.1g a piece. They're not the lowest numbers we've seen, but they still only make up a tiny percentage of your daily intake.

So, as far as unflavoured vegan protein supplements go, bulk's vegan blend is up there with the best. However, it's also available in several delicious flavours if you'd prefer something with a bit more taste.

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Anthony's Premium Pea Protein product image of a brown pouch featuring darker brown branding and images of peas in pods on the front.
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Credit: Anthony's Goods

5. Anthony's Premium Pea Protein

Best budget vegan protein powder

Protein: 8g
Carbs: less than 1g
Sugar: 0g
Fats: 0g
Calories: 35kcal

Protein isn't overly expensive, but if you are a little strapped for cash, we'd recommend checking out Anthony's Premium Pea Protein.

Made, unsurprisingly, from peas, specifically yellow peas whose starch and fibre content has been removed, it contains 8g of protein with 0g of sugar and fat in total. That doesn't seem like much, but when you consider its scoop size is just 10g, it means you're actually getting 80% protein per serving.

Of course, there's always the option to double or even triple up on scoops, if you're looking to up your protein intake. Doing so won't even add a ton of calories either as one scoop contains just 35 calories overall.

Ultimately, it's a great budget-friendly option to consider for your plant-based diet. It's also unflavoured, unsweetened, and free from gluten, thus making it great for a wide range of dietary requirements.

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Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Don't panic if you've thought up any questions along the way. We've answered some of the most commonly asked queries below.

How much protein does vegan protein powder typically contain?

The protein content of vegan protein powder can vary depending on the specific brand and formulation. Typically, vegan protein powders are made from plant-based sources, such as pea protein, rice protein, hemp protein, soy protein, or a blend of these ingredients, which often lends itself to a lower protein content per supplement compared to plant-based powder.

Based on our list, we'd say the average protein content you can expect is between 10 to 25 grams per serving. However, some formulations might have higher or lower protein content, so it's essential to check the label to determine the exact protein content of the specific product you are interested in.

Keep in mind that different brands may offer different flavours and additional ingredients that affect the overall nutritional composition. For example, some vegan protein powders may also include added vitamins, minerals, fibre, or sweeteners. If you have specific dietary goals or preferences, be sure to choose a product that aligns with your needs and tastes.

When's best to take vegan protein powder?

When to take protein is a subject of intense debate with no definitive answer. Different viewpoints exist, some advocating pre-training consumption, others preferring post-training, and a few suggesting protein intake during the workout itself.

However, one of the most common times to consume protein is the "anabolic window," which refers to the time following a workout when the muscles are recovering and repairing. The duration of this window remains uncertain, with estimates ranging from 15 to 60 minutes after exercise. However, research isn't conclusive as to whether consuming protein during this time actually does anything. For example, a 2018 study by Schoenfeld & Aragon concludes by saying "Based on current evidence, it appears clear that any effect of protein timing on muscle hypertrophy, if in fact there is one, is relatively small," suggesting that the evidence is inconclusive.

On the other hand, the International Society of Sports Nutrition suggests that consuming protein within two hours after exercise can stimulate an increase in muscle protein synthesis, implying the existence of an anabolic window and a potential "optimal time" for protein consumption after training.

Given the lack of a clear answer though, determining the best approach may require a little trial and error. Ultimately, the key is to find a protein intake time that fits well with your routine and can be consistently maintained throughout your training week.

How much vegan protein powder should you take in one serving?

The amount of vegan protein powder you should take in one serving can vary depending on factors such as your age, gender, weight, activity level, and specific nutritional needs. However, there are some general guidelines you can follow.

Most adults, for example, need around 0.75g of protein per kilo of body weight per day, according to the British Heart Foundation. As a result, a typical serving size of around 20 to 30g is commonly offered by manufacturers through the little scoop you get in the package. This amount should provide a sufficient protein boost to supplement your daily intake from food sources. However, you may adjust the serving size based on your individual needs and protein goals.

That being said, it's essential to read the label and follow the manufacturer's instructions on the specific product you are using. Different protein powders can have varying protein concentrations, so the recommended serving size might differ between brands or types of plant-based protein powders (e.g., pea protein, rice protein, hemp protein, etc.).

If you have specific dietary requirements or health concerns, it's always a good idea to consult with a registered dietitian or a healthcare professional to determine the appropriate serving size for your needs. They can consider your overall diet, fitness goals, and any underlying health conditions to provide personalised recommendations.

Can vegan protein powder be used as a meal replacement?

Both vegan and regular protein powders serve as convenient and effective dietary supplements to aid in achieving your nutritional goals. However, it's crucial to emphasise that it should not be used as a sole replacement for your regular meals. This is due to the fact that protein, while essential for numerous bodily functions, does not encompass all the essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals found in a well-rounded meal.

Regular meals are designed to deliver a diverse array of nutrients, including carbohydrates, healthy fats, fibre, vitamins, and minerals, all of which are vital for your overall health and well-being. These nutrients play pivotal roles in sustaining energy levels, supporting digestion, and regulating various bodily functions that extend beyond the offerings of protein and protein powder alone.

Therefore, the most effective approach is to incorporate protein powder into your dietary regimen in conjunction with a balanced diet rich in a variety of whole foods. You can integrate protein powder as a post-workout snack, blend it into smoothies, or include it in recipes to augment your protein intake when necessary. Nevertheless, it remains imperative to maintain your regular meals consisting of whole foods to ensure you receive the full spectrum of nutrients required to promote optimal health.

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