Protein Shakes: What’s The Best Milk To Use For You

All milk is not created equal. There is a time and place when you might want to choose one type of milk over the other when making your protein shake.

The best milk to use for a protein shake will largely depend on your fitness goal. Full-fat milk is great if you want all the added calories in your protein shake. While lower calorie milk, like almond milk, is better if you want to add fewer calories to your protein shake.

Below, I’ll go over in greater detail how to choose which milk is best for your protein shake, what to keep in mind when choosing which milk to use, the most popular milk to use with protein shakes, and whether water or milk is the better solution for you!

Protein Shake With Yellow Background

Choosing Which Milk Is Best For Your Protein Shake

The most significant impact when choosing what milk to use is going to be based on your fitness goals. But there are also a few other things you should keep in mind.

When choosing which milk is best for your protein shake, you should consider any dietary restrictions you may have. (being lactose intolerant or vegan, for example) As well as the flavor of the milk, cost, and the type of consistency your protein shake will have when using a particular milk.

Everyone has their own preferences. Milk and protein shakes are no different. Some people will love full-fat whole milk because of the taste, and it aligns with their fitness goals.

But at the same time, someone who is lactose intolerant and watching their daily calorie intake might consider almond milk over whole milk.

So, that’s why it’s important to know what goals you have in mind when picking out the right liquid for your shakes.

Milk In Different Glasses

Things To Keep In Mind When Choosing The Right Milk For Your Protein Shake

You’re fitness goals, and any dietary restrictions are going to be the biggest decision maker, in my opinion, when choosing what milk is best for your protein shake.


Not all milk is created equal. A full cup of whole milk can have around 150 calories, while a cup of almond milk can have as little as 30 calories per cup.

And that’s important to consider, especially if you are trying to lose weight and save on the extra calories you would rather have eating real food than drinking it from a protein shake.

Or you might be trying to build muscle and want the additional nutritional value whole milk can provide you. Then, you might want to opt for whole-fat dairy milk instead.

Green Red Peg And No Sign

Dietary Restrictions

This is another big one to consider…

Sometimes, there is a dietary restriction that prevents you from using a particular type of milk. Vegans won’t be able to use cow milk and may consider a vegan-friendly option like almond or oat milk.

But at the same time, someone allergic to nuts won’t be able to drink almond milk. And there are also those who are lactose intolerant, as I’ve mentioned earlier. They will have to drink milk that is lactose-free.

Fitness goals and dietary restrictions play a big role when choosing the right milk for your protein shakes.

Below on the list are a few things to consider, but they’re just things that are entirely based on preferences.

Chef Tasting Ladle


Flavor can change dramatically depending on which milk you end up using and mix with your protein powder to make your shakes.

Whole milk can give you a creamier protein shake that really enhances the flavor of the protein powder you are using.

Almond milk, on the other sometimes has hints of other flavors you can catch mixing into your protein shake and might throw off your taste buds.

This goes for all the other types of milk on the list. Each has its own unique flavor profile and impacts the taste of your protein shakes.


Also, every milk will give a different consistency or texture to your drink. Whole milk tends to make your protein shake thick, creamy, and rich. But at the same time, almond milk will give you a shake that’s thinner in consistency compared to whole milk.

Just like flavor, each type of milk will change the consistency of your shake. Some will make your protein shake thick, and others will be a bit more watery.

And sometimes, people like watery shakes over thick shakes, so it’s important you choose the right type of milk for what consistency you prefer.

Man With Money Bag On Plate


Lastly, let’s talk about pricing. Depending on your budget. You might opt for the least expensive milk or the pricey milk.

This will all depend on you and your budget, but it is something to take into consideration as well.

Now, let’s talk about the most popular types of milk people use with their protein shakes.

Milk Being Poured In Glass

Popular Kinds Of Milk To Use With Protein Shakes

This is by no means all the kinds of milk you can use. But it’s just a list of the most popular milks people like to mix with their protein powders.

A few honorable mentions are goat milk, coconut milk, rice milk, etc.

Whole Milk

Whole milk is great if you don’t have any dietary restrictions and don’t mind the higher fat content and additional calories compared to other types of milk on this list.

This milk will give you a thick and creamy protein shake that’s packed with flavor.

Whole milk has around 150 calories, 8 grams of fat, 8 grams of protein, and 12 grams of carbs per cup.

Reduced Fat Milk

This is a good choice if you want a little fewer calories than whole milk but still want to retain as much of the creaminess and flavor of whole milk.

My favorite reduced-fat milk would be Fairlife 2% reduced-fat milk. The macros on that milk are great and contain more protein than other types of milk.

Reduced-fat milk typically has around 120 calories, 5 grams of fat, 8 grams of protein, and 12 grams of carbs per cup.

Almond Milk With Almonds

Almond Milk Unsweetened

Keep in mind that there is flavored almond milk. This will change the nutritional value of this milk and the taste if you go with a flavored almond milk version.

But almond milk is great for those watching calories or looking for a vegan-friendly option. Remember that your protein shake’s texture and consistency will be much thinner than traditional milk.

Unsweetened Almond milk has around 30 calories, 2.5 grams of fat, 1 gram of protein, and 1 gram of carbs per cup.

Milk With Soy Beans

Soy Milk

I am personally not a fan of soy milk in protein shakes. But this is an excellent option for a dairy alternative to milk and contains a decent amount of protein per serving.

Soy milk has around 70 calories, 4 grams of fat, 7 grams of protein, and 3 grams of carbs per cup.

Oat Milk

Oat milk is great for someone looking for something that is vegan and free of soy and dairy. You can get a creamy and thick consistency similar to cow’s milk. My only complaint with this milk is the high amounts of carbs compared to protein.

Oat milk has around 120 calories, 5 grams of fat, 3 grams of protein, and 16 grams of carbs per cup.

Milk With Soy Beans

Pea Milk

Just a quick warning. Some people online tend to say this milk has a bitter taste to it, and they’re not really a fan of the taste.

I’d definitely try a sample first personally to see if you are a fan of this milk before purchasing a whole container if you can.

But what does this milk have going for it? Is the fact that it tends to be a little creamier than almond milk and has very few calories.

Pea milk has around 70 calories, 5 grams of fat, 4 grams of protein, and 0 grams of carbs per cup.

Hemp Milk

Hemp milk is gaining popularity with the vegan crowd as an alternative to cow’s milk. This milk is made from water and hemp seed.

Also, this seed-based milk is very low in calories, making it a good choice if you want something to boost the flavor of your protein shake but skip out on the additional calories.

Hemp milk has around 60 calories, 5 grams of fat, 3 grams of protein, and 0 grams of carbs per cup.

Milk Or Water

Is It Better To Mix Water Or Milk With Protein Powder

All this talk about milk might make you wonder if using water instead of milk is better.

Well, I’ve already answered that here in this post. Is it better to mix protein powder with milk or water?

When choosing if water or milk is better for you, there are many things to consider. And I go into greater detail in that post.

But here is the cliff notes version…

the main things you want to remember are taste and calorie content. Those are the two things most affected when choosing between milk or water.

Milk tends to taste better but adds additional calories. While water doesn’t taste as great as milk, it adds no additional calories.

So it’ll depend on you, your goals, and your preferences.

Protein Tub With Scoop

Conclusion To What Milk Is Best For Protein Shakes

This sums up my post about choosing the best milk for your protein shake.

Now you know the most popular kinds of milk to use with protein shakes.

You should also understand that two main things to consider when picking the best milk for you will be based on your fitness goals and any dietary requirements you might have.

After that, the following factors you should consider might be the flavor, consistency, and cost of the milk you choose.

From there, you should be able to choose what milk suits you and your needs.

Jordan Arenas

My name is Jordan Arenas and I am the owner and author of RFKN Fit. I created RFKN Fit to help others achieve their fitness goals. My mission is to share helpful workouts, nutrition tips, delicious recipes, tips on mindset, some motivation, and some good ol' gym humor with this blog of mine. Hope you enjoy!

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