4 Delicious Ways to Use Protein Powder That Don’t Involve Smoothies

Hint: they taste like dessert

By: Lexy Parsons

Put the blender away — delicious protein powder recipes don’t have to be so predictable! Don’t get us wrong, we love a good protein smoothie recipe. But, there are plenty of delicious ways to use protein powder aside from the notorious protein shake. 

And if you’re wondering why we would use protein powder in the first place, well, that’s simple! Protein is a fundamental macronutrient that comes with many benefits. For starters, it’s been shown to increase metabolism and satiety, enhance weight management, increase muscle mass… the list goes on and on. 

And while protein-rich foods like fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, and lean poultry are important dietary staples, sometimes that just doesn’t cut it. 

That’s where protein powder comes in! Just as it sounds, protein powder acts as a great supplement to help us reach our dietary protein goals. And not only is it easy to mix into recipes (like smoothies), but it’s also nutritious and delicious. 

That said, not all protein powders are created equal — and neither are protein powder recipes! Lucky for you, we’re sharing the healthiest ways to mix it into your diet. Think: protein powder whisked into frothy coffee, and freshly baked protein-packed treats like healthy donuts, pancakes, and muffins.

How to Shop For a Healthy Protein Powder

Before we jump straight to the good stuff (don’t worry, mouth-watering recipes are coming right up), let’s talk about the protein powder basics. Because, as you know, there are a lot of products on the shelf! So, when shopping for a quality product, here’s what you should look for:

  • Ingredients you can identify and pronounce (no artificial ingredients, chemicals, or preservatives)
  • Superfood add-ins (such as probiotics or added greens like spirulina) 
  • A minimal ingredient list made from whole foods (ideally, one ingredient: the protein base)
  • Healthy labels (such as those indicating the product is dairy-free, soy-free, gluten-free, and/or non-GMO)

As for the type of protein you choose, that is a personal preference! If you’re plant-based, something like pea protein or hemp protein might best suit your needs. Whereas whey protein or collagen protein may be best for others. 

Now that we’ve identified how to shop for a high-quality protein, let’s get to the recipes! Ahead,  four delicious ways to incorporate protein powder into your diet.

RELATED: The 6 Healthiest Protein Powders According to an RD

4 Ways To Use Protein Powder That Don’t Involve Smoothies 

#1 Easy-Prep Protein Pancakes 

Yes, you can have your cake (your pancake, that is) and eat it too. A protein-packed breakfast that tastes like dessert yet is full of protein and is made from wholesome ingredients? Sign us up! When your sweet tooth hits, whip up these easy-prep protein pancakes. Enjoy them for breakfast, as a post-workout snack, or really, any time of the day! 


  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • ¼ cup oat flour
  • 1 egg (or flax egg)
  • ¼ cup unsweetened almond milk
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tsp maple syrup, optional
  • ½ tbsp ground flax, optional 
  • 1 tsp coconut oil

Optional toppings:

  • Fresh berries
  • Greek or coconut yogurt 
  • Nut butter drizzle
  • Maple syrup


Step #1: In a mixing bowl, combine the vanilla protein powder, oat flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and flax.

Step #2: In a separate bowl, whisk together the almond milk, egg, vanilla extract, and optional maple syrup.

Step #3: Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined (be mindful not to overmix the batter).

Step #4: Add the coconut oil to a non-stick pan and heat over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, pour ¼ cup of the batter onto the pan for each pancake. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side or until the edges start to dry and the surface of the pancake is bubbly and golden.

Step #5: Serve with your favorite toppings, such as fresh berries, yogurt, or pure maple syrup.

#2 Protein Overnight Oats

POV: It’s Monday morning. You’re hangry after completing a FitOn HIIT workout and scrambling to get to work on time. Before you empty your wallet on curbside pickup from the cafe down the street (a typical morning), you remember you’ve meal-prepped a week’s worth of protein overnight oats, and you give your past self a big hug. Meal-prep-friendly breakfast recipes that taste like a sweet treat but are packed with protein and will sustain you all day long? What’s not to love! And, there’s more — did we mention this recipe is the best (tasting) post-workout meal with the perfect combination of carbs and protein? Try for yourself! 

Here is a yummy Vanilla Protein Overnight Oats base recipe. To enhance your overnight oats with a burst of flavor, here are some tasty ideas!


  • ¾ cup rolled oats
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk, unsweetened (such as oat, almond, or cashew)
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract 
  • ½ tbsp maple syrup or raw honey

To serve:

  • Greek or coconut yogurt, optional
  • Fresh or frozen berries
  • Nut butter drizzle
  • Cacao nibs 


Step #1: In a large jar, combine the oats, non-dairy milk, chia seeds, cinnamon, and maple syrup. Stir until well combined. Then, stir in the protein powder, ensuring there are no clumps. 

Step #2: Place the lid on the jar or container and refrigerate overnight, or for at least 4-6 hours.

Step #3: Once the mixture has set, stir in any additional add-ins (such as Greek yogurt or nut butter). If the mixture is too thick, add any additional almond or non-dairy milk as needed. Serve with toppings of choice, and enjoy!

#3 Vanilla Chia Protein Pudding

Whether you’re making breakfast, lunch, dessert, or a snack, there’s no wrong time to eat this protein-packed chia pudding. Made with 5 simple ingredients, what may sound like an indulgent meal is actually a healthy treat. It’s full of protein, fiber, antioxidants, and omega-3! Best of all, it’s easy to customize. Use this as your base recipe, then add any flavors of your choosing! 


  • 1 cup creamy non-dairy milk of choice, unsweetened (such as almond, cashew, oat, or coconut milk)
  • ¼ cup chia seeds
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp raw honey or maple syrup (optional, for sweetness)
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon, optional 

Optional Toppings:

  • Mixed berries, (fresh, frozen, or warmed)
  • ½ banana, sliced 
  • 1 tbsp granola or trail mix
  • ½ tbsp nut butter drizzle
  • Greek or coconut yogurt 

Optional Flavor add-ins:

  • Chocolate: Base recipe + 1 tbsp of unsweetened cocoa or cacao powder
  • Matcha: Base recipe + 1 tsp matcha powder
  • Almond: Base recipe made with almond milk + ¼ tsp almond extract + ½ tbsp almond butter
  • Coconut: Base recipe made with coconut cream + 2 tbsp unsweetened coconut flakes


Step #1: In a bowl, whisk together the almond milk, protein powder, vanilla extract, and sweetener (if using). Stir in the chia seeds until well combined.

Step #2: Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight. Stir occasionally to prevent clumping.

Step #3: Serve chilled. Top with favorite toppings (such as fresh fruit, yogurt, or nut butter) if desired.

#4 Berries & Cream Protein Acai Bowl 

Acai bowls may seem like the epitome of health, but these tropical delights can be a sugar bomb waiting to happen. While this doesn’t hold true for every bowl, it’s not unusual to discover recipes made with an overload of fruit, added sugar, and one too many spoonfuls of peanut butter. That’s why we love homemade smoothie bowls that double as protein powder recipes! Protein powder replaces some of the not-so-healthy ingredients added to typical smoothie bowls — in fact, it is the secret ingredient to making this acai bowl so thick and creamy! 


  • 1 packet frozen acai puree, unsweetened
  • 1 ripe banana, frozen
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • ½ – 1 cup plain or vanilla non-dairy milk, unsweetened (such as almond, oat, or cashew milk)
  • ½ cup frozen mixed berries
  • 1 tbsp almond butter 
  • ¼ cup Greek or coconut yogurt, unsweetened (optional)
  • 1 cup spinach, optional 
  • Optional sweetener (such as 1-2 Medjool dates or 1-2 tsp raw honey)

Optional toppings:

  • Fresh berries
  • Unsweetened shredded coconut
  • Hemp seeds
  • Nut butter 
  • Raw cacao nibs


Step #1: In a high-speed blender, add the non-dairy milk base. Then add the protein powder, spinach, berries, acai, banana, Greek yogurt, nut butter, and optional sweetener.

Step #2: Blend until smooth and creamy. You may need to stop and scrape down the sides several times to blend. If the mixture is too thick, add a tbsp or two of non-dairy milk at a time to blend.

Step #3: Pour into a bowl and serve with your favorite toppings. Enjoy!

Other Delicious Ways to Enjoy Protein Powder

If you think protein shakes are the only way to enjoy protein powder recipes, think again. Protein powder can be easily incorporated into any meal, any time of the day! It’s an easy, healthy, and delicious way to meet your daily protein needs. Try some of these yummy ideas! 

  • Whisk a spoonful of collagen or vanilla protein powder into your coffee
  • Add a serving to your favorite energy balls recipe
  • Mix protein powder or collagen into your warm oatmeal bowl
  • Sneak a scoop into any baked goods like muffins, donuts, or pancakes
  • Create a protein parfait by adding a spoonful to your yogurt bowl

Say Goodbye to Boring Protein Powder Recipes 

Gone are the days of watered-down protein shakes! With so many ways to incorporate protein into your diet, why opt for boring protein powder recipes? If you’re looking for inspiration in the kitchen, give some of these meals a try! Whether you’re trying to maximize your gains in the gym or simply looking to boost the nutritional value of your meals, creating your own protein powder recipes is a great way to enjoy a delicious, nutritious treat while helping you reach your fitness goals.