There’s nothing worse than a watery protein shake, but what’s the best way to make a protein shake thicker?
The short answer is that you can use the following common kitchen ingredients to thicken up your protein shake really easily:
- Xanthan Gum
- 0% Greek Yoghurt
- Double Cream
- Coconut Cream
- Soft Cheese
That’s the very simple answer, but what makes each of these ingredients such a good addition to your protein shakes?
Read on to learn the pros and cons of using each one.
When you’re done here, make sure you read my article about preparing and storing protein shakes after mixing too! No amount of thickening or flavoring will save a shake that’s past its best, so make sure you’re not making a bad problem worse…
#1 Add Xanthan Gum
This is by far and away the most popular way to make a protein shake thicker.
If you’ve not come across this stuff before, it’s a white powder that’s nothing but fiber. It’s worth having some of this gum around the kitchen in general, as it’s useful for thickening up all kinds of cooking jobs.
Start with a small amount – approximately ¼ teaspoon – and add it after you’ve finished the main mix. See how the consistency feels at that point, then add another ¼ teaspoon if you feel like it needs a little extra.
You shouldn’t need any more than that, and you’ll have a significantly thicker protein shake.
It’s Just is one of the most popular brands if you’d like a recommendation. As the name suggests, this is nothing but a big bag of pure, unadulterated Xanthan Gum!
- One Ingredient / It's Just! Xanthan Gum is an essential and versatile pantry staple with dozens of everyday uses at home and in...
- Baking, Cooking, Sauces, Salad Dressing / Use xanthan gum to bake breads and cookies, especially when using alternative flours...
- Keto Diet Friendly / Xanthan gum is a prebiotic candidate and a natural byproduct of helpful microbes that may assist in gut...
- Personal Care & D.I.Y. Cosmetics / The gelling properties of xanthan gum will help add consistency to homemade personal care...
- Satisfaction Guaranteed / If you are not completely satisfied for any reason, please contact us and we'll make it right; All of...
(Heads up! If you click on a product link and make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you. I never recommend a product I wouldn’t use in my own kitchen, and this helps keep the site running. Thank you.)
Not everyone wants to use more powders to thicken their protein shakes!
The good news is that there are plenty of dairies and whole foods to explore, which I’ll do in the rest of this article.
#2 0% Greek Yogurt
You can consider this a solid runner-up option, and you’ll find it easier to find in your local grocery store as well.
Not only does this thicken a protein shake nicely, it’ll also add additional protein to the drink in the process.
As with the Xanthan Gum, start small and work your way up to find the right consistency. A tablespoon to start with is a good measure.
Dairy’s not necessarily an option for everyone though. What are the alternatives in that case?
#3 Fruit (Fresh or Frozen)
Unsurprisingly, you can add extra thickness to your protein shake by adding whatever fresh or frozen fruit is suitable and available at home.
Depending on the type of fruit you use, you’ll also be adding extra nutritional value to the protein shake.
Oats are a great way to not only quickly thicken up a protein shake, but also add a whole extra dose of essential vitamins and minerals.
They’re cheap to buy in bulk, but you don’t need to add an awful lot to your protein shake to make a big difference.
If you’re not sure if this is for you, smaller packs are readily available in pretty much every grocery store.
This is a good way to bulk out your shakes, but is there something just a little less stodgy? With that in mind…
#5 Add Ice
Ice is a go-to, readily-available ingredient for thickening up all kinds of drinks, not just protein shakes.
It’s also good for keeping your protein shake as close to the original recipe as possible, and chilling it down as well when the weather’s hotter.
The flipside? You only have a relatively small window of opportunity to enjoy the drink if you use this method.
Once the ice melts, the shake will not only lose its thickness, it’ll also become more diluted with the ice water. That might make the protein shake quite unpleasant to drink, so don’t hang around.
What about something a little more indulgent though?
#6 Double Cream
You’ll want to be careful with this stuff if you need to limit your carbs and calorie intake.
With that said, a couple of tablespoons of double cream does a nice job of making a protein shake thicker, without going too far.
In case this all sounds like too many calories, there is one very good alternative…
#7 Coconut Cream
Coconut cream is often preferred to double cream, mainly because of the pleasant flavor it adds at the same time as thickening your protein shake. Obviously you need to actually like that flavor…
You can make this method easy by buying a can of coconut milk. If you leave it out on the side for a day or two, the milk will separate from the cream. The cream itself rises to the top of the can.
Open the can, and simply spoon the cream off the top. Just be careful not to move or shake the can at all in the process, or you’ll mix the contents up all over again.
How about something a little controversial to wrap things up?
#8 Soft Cheese
I’ve put this one last because it’s a very divisive way of thickening any shake – protein or otherwise.
The problem, as you’ve likely already guessed, is the taste.
If you decide to try this one out, find the mildest option available at the store. I wouldn’t make a big batch with this method. Just try a sample first before potentially wasting your shake.
This will either be a big hit or a major miss, so I would suggest making this the last option you try!
About Protein Shakes & Working Out
If you’re a gym beginner and you’re wondering what all the fuss is about with protein shakes, this video provides an excellent overview.
It’s only around 5 minutes long and I highly recommend watching it!
Hopefully that’s given you enough inspiration to start making your protein shakes much thicker.
Making them taste good is a different matter, of course, but you’ll find some useful tips for improving flavor over in that article. Check it out if you’re struggling to get your shakes down without a grimace.
If you want to make life even easier, I’ve also conducted a huge amount of research to find the best blenders for protein shakes. It’s a big article, but it’s packed with everything you need to know about making the right choice for your own circumstances!