Wondering how to make protein shakes thicker?

Written by Jack Schrupp and reviewed by Ella McGonagle, M.S. Nutrition

Wondering how to make protein shakes thicker? Keep reading for a few easy tricks to make your protein shake thick and creamy.


“It has ingredients you can actually pronounce and is freaking delicious.”


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How to make your protein shake thicker.

Why use protein powder?

6 easy ways to make a thick protein shake.

Why drink wholesome?

Why use protein powder?

First of all, there are two types of protein shakes: ready-to-drink (store-bought) protein shakes, and protein shakes made with protein powder. In order to make a protein shake with protein powder, you have to mix the powder with milk or water. This requires a blender or a shaker bottle.

If you prefer thick protein shakes, I recommend making your own protein shakes with protein powder. This way you can adjust the recipe until you achieve the desired thickness. Below are a few tricks that will quickly turn watery shakes into thick, creamy perfection. Please note that most of these tricks require a blender.

6 easy ways to make a thick protein shake. 

Use less liquid.

The less liquid you use, the thicker your protein shake will be.

Use milk. 

If you prefer thick protein shakes, use milk instead of water. Any type of milk will do the trick, but if you want a milkshake consistency, I recommend using coconut milk.

Add ice. 

If you are using a blender, adding a handful of ice cubes is an easy way to make your protein shake thicker. I find that 5 medium sized cubes is the perfect number. Keep in mind that blended ice melts quickly, so if you do not drink your shake right away, ice will just make it more watery.

Add avocado or banana.

If you are using a blender, adding avocado or banana, especially frozen avocado or banana, is an easy way to make your protein shake thicker. I always keep a few bananas in my freezer for this reason.

Add nut butter.

If you are using a blender, adding a spoonful of nut butter is an easy way to make your protein shake thicker. I like to use creamy peanut butter.

Add chia seeds.

1-2 tablespoons of chia seeds will instantly thicken up a protein shake. Keep in mind that chia seeds will also change the consistency of your shake, however, so this trick might not be for everyone.


Some people recommend using xanthan or guar gum to thicken a protein shake. I DO NOT recommend doing this. Xanthan and guar gum are popular food additives found in many protein powders and ready-to-drink protein shakes. They can certainly help thicken your shake, but they can also cause uncomfortable side effects. Keep reading to learn more.

Although not necessarily bad for you in small quantities, additives can add up quickly (especially if you drink a protein shake every day) and cause gastrointestinal (GI) side effects like bloating, constipation, diarrhea, gas, and stomach pain. This is because food additives are, generally speaking, hard to digest. They sit in your gut for longer than food should, which gives your gut bacteria more time to eat. As they eat, these bacteria produce gas, which causes bloating and stomach pain. Gas also slows colonic transit (the amount of time it takes food to travel through the colon) and can lead to constipation. In the long term, food additives can disrupt regulatory pathways in the intestine, which can result in the development of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and systemic inflammatory disorders. 

Here is a list of the most common food additives in protein powder:

acacia gum, acesulfame potassium, artificial flavors, aspartame, carob bean gum, carrageenan, cellulose gum, dextrin, dextrose, erythritol, gellan gum, guar gum, gum arabic, inulin, locust bean gum, “natural” flavors, maltodextrin, rice syrup solids, soy lecithin, silica, sucralose, sunflower lecithin, xanthan gum, xylitol

When it comes to identifying food additives, go with your gut. 😉 As a rule of thumb, they are the ingredients that you cannot pronounce. 

our ingredients: 

egg whites, coconut, cocoa, monk fruit

the alternative:

Protein Matrix Comprised of (Whey Protein Concentrate,  Whey Protein Isolate, Calcium Caseinate, Micellar Casein, Milk Protein Isolate, Egg Albumen, Glutamine Peptides), Polydextrose, Sunflower Creamer (Sunflower Oil, Corn Syrup Solids, Sodium Caseinate, Mono- and Diglycerides, Dipotassium Phosphate, Tricalcium Phosphate, Soy Lecithin, Tocopherols), Natural and Artificial Flavor, MCT Powder (Medium Chain Triglycerides, Nonfat Dry Milk, Disodium Phosphate, Silicon Dioxide), Lecithin, Cellulose Gum, Salt, Yellow 5, Sucralose, Acesulfame Potassium, Papain, Bromelain.

*This is the actual ingredient list of one of the best-selling protein powders in the United States.

Why drink wholesome

Sick of watery protein shakes? Switch to drink wholesome. Our protein powders make thick protein shakes every time because we use minimally-processed ingredients. Most protein powders, on the other hand, are made with heavily-processed protein isolates.* Protein isolates, which appear on the ingredient list as “pea protein” as opposed to “peas,” have been stripped of everything but the protein, meaning they contain virtually zero fats or carbohydrates. Fats and carbohydrates are what make protein shakes thick, and without them you can expect a watery protein boost. This is also why most protein powders contain food additives. Ingredients like xanthan gum and sunflower lecithin are added to replace the fats and carbohydrates removed during processing. 

drink wholesome is the best tasting protein powder.

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This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. drink wholesome is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.