Reviews Protein Supplements

5 Best Dairy-Free Protein Shakes in 2024

Reviewed by: Jacek Szymanowski (Certified Nutritionist, S&C specialist, M.Sc.Eng. Biotechnology)

Whether you’re lactose intolerant, allergic, or vegan, there are plenty of reasons why you may choose to avoid dairy products. That’s why we’ve created this list of the best dairy-free protein shakes available today, so you can find a protein supplement that fits your dietary needs!

Our team of certified nutritionists and professional athletes has reviewed 15 products and 5 of the best ones made it to this list. We’ve based our evaluations on 5 key factors and we have spent 2 weeks testing most of these products out. Additionally, we have also analyzed hundreds of online user reviews. Feel free to share your experiences in the comments section because our list is regularly updated.

best dairy free protein

Top 5 Best Dairy-Free Protein Shakes Reviewed

  1. ORGANIC VEGAN by TL – Top-Pick
  2. Orgain Vegan Protein Shake – Highest in Iron Option
  3. Evolve Protein Shake
  4. ALOHA Organic Protein Shake – Best Ready to Drink
  5. MuscleMeds Beef Protein Shake – Best With Beef Protein
ProductTotalMacro
Breakdown
Taste/FlavorTextureNutrition Label
Transparency
Value
for Money
TL47.5109.58.5109.5
Orgain479.59109.59
Evolve46.59.5999.59.5
ALOHA469.5999.59
MuscleMeds45.59.589109
TOP PICK

1. ORGANIC VEGAN by TL

ORGANIC VEGAN by TL
  • Best For: Fat Loss, Building Muscle, Recovery
  • Suitable for Vegans: Yes
  • Protein Source: Rice Protein and Pea Protein Isolate
  • Serving Size: 37g
  • Price per Serving: ~$1.67
  • Calories: 130-160
  • Protein per Serving: 24g
  • Carbohydrates: 3-7g
  • Fat: 2-2.5g
  • Added Sugar: 0g
  • Company Founded: 2015
  • Recommended by Athletes: Hafthor Bjornsson, Paul Sklar, Sean Harris

Starting our list of the best non-dairy protein shakes is Transparent Labs with their Organic Vegan Shake. Transparent Labs is well-known for its high-quality supplement formulas, and this product is no exception.

With 130 calories per serving and 24g of protein, this is one of the most protein-packed vegan shakes available. The rest of its macros come from 2g of fat and 3g of carbs. This macro split makes Transparent Labs’ shake a good fit for both fat loss and muscle-building diets. You’ll also be getting a moderate 20% DV of iron in each serving, which may be a solid boost to your dietary intake.

Like all Transparent Labs products, their vegan protein doesn’t contain any unnecessary artificial ingredients. Also, this supplement is completely organic in case this is important to you. One minor downside to this product is its flavor variety, coming in only 2 basic flavors.

Along with having an exceptional macro breakdown and formula, Transparent Labs is also the most budget-friendly option on our list at ~$1.67 per serving. So, if you’re looking for a great dairy-free shake without breaking the bank, this will be a great choice for you.

47.5 EXPERT SCORE

Between its excellent formula and great value for money, Transparent Labs earns its spot at the top of our list.


Macronutrient Breakdown:0
Taste/Flavor:0
Nutrition Label Transparency:0
Texture:0
Value for Money:0

Positives:

  • Great simple formula
  • High protein content for a vegan shake
  • 100% Organic

Could be better:

  • Limited flavor variety
  • Only comes available in one package size
HIGHEST IN IRON OPTION

2. Orgain Vegan Protein Shake

  • Best For: Building Muscle, Recovery
  • Suitable for Vegans: Yes
  • Protein Source: Pea Protein
  • Serving size: 330ml
  • Price per Serving: ~$2.25
  • Calories: 140
  • Protein per Serving: 20g
  • Carbohydrates: 8g
  • Fat: 4.5g
  • Added Sugar: 0g
  • Company Founded: 2009
  • Recommended by Athletes: Alex Morgan, Etienne Maurice, Myranda Hausheer

Next on our list of non-dairy protein drinks is Orgain’s Vegan Protein, which is the first pre-mixed shake we’ll be covering on our list. While powders like Transparent Labs’ vegan shake offer more ability to add ingredients or change serving sizes, pre-mixed shakes like Orgain’s are undeniably convenient for taking on the go.

At 140 calories per serving, Orgain has a similar calorie count to Transparent Labs. Keep in mind this will likely work out to be a lower-calorie shake because you won’t be mixing it with any additional liquid, like plant-based milk. Orgain also has slightly less protein than our top pick with 20g per serving. You can also expect 4.5g of fat and 8g of carbs.

Performing Orgain Protein
Photo by @drinkorgain

A bonus of this shake is 40% DV of iron, which may be especially beneficial to those following a vegan diet. With many people not getting enough iron regardless of diet, this is a great bonus to this supplement.

As with Transparent Labs’ product, Orgain doesn’t appear to have any artificial ingredients in its formula. However, it also doesn’t offer any flavor variety, with these shakes only being available in chocolate.

Also, as to be expected considering these are pre-made shakes instead of a powder. Orgain is more expensive than Transparent Labs at ~$2.25 per serving. While they’re certainly convenient, keep this in mind if you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option.

49 EXPERT SCORE

Orgain offers pre-made shakes that offer a solid macro breakdown along with a high percentage of your daily Iron.


Macronutrient Breakdown:0
Taste/Flavor:0
Nutrition Label Transparency:0
Texture:0
Value for Money:0

Positives:

  • High iron content
  • Pre-made shakes are very convenient
  • All-natural, vegan-friendly formula

Could be better:

  • Pre-made shakes make it more difficult to customize serving sizes
  • No flavor variety
BEST READY TO DRINK

3. Evolve Protein Shake

Evolve Protein Shake
  • Best For: Building Muscle, Recovery
  • Suitable for Vegans: Yes
  • Protein Source: Pea Protein Isolate
  • Serving size: 330ml
  • Price per Serving: ~$2.42
  • Calories: 140
  • Protein per Serving: 20g
  • Carbohydrates: 15-16g
  • Fat: 1.5-2g
  • Added Sugar: 4g
  • Company Founded: 2017
  • Recommended by Athletes: Robin Arzon, David Giglio, Gabe Kennedy

Next on our list of dairy-free protein drinks is another pre-made shake similar to Orgain. Although Evolve comes at a slightly higher price point than Orgain, it offers significantly more flavor options with a higher fiber content, making this another great option for a pre-made dairy-free shake.

At 140 calories and 20g of protein per serving, Evolve has a similar macro breakdown to Orgain. The main differences are that this is a higher-carb lower-fat shake with 15g of carbs and 1.5g of fat. There’s also a solid 10g of fiber here, and with high fiber intake being ideal for optimal health. This will make it more satiating, and makes it a good option as a meal replacement, especially for those on a weight loss diet.

Iron, Zinc, and Calcium are all dosed at 20% DV per serving, along with 15% of your daily B12. This makes Evolve the most nutritionally rounded shake we’ve covered so far.

Like the last 2 shakes on our list, this is a high-quality, all-natural formula. It also offers the best flavor variety on our list with 5 different options available.

Finally, keep in mind this is the most expensive supplement on our list at ~$2.42 per serving. However, when compared to Orgain which is only slightly cheaper, Evolve does have plenty of additional benefits!

46.5 EXPERT SCORE

If you’re after a high-fiber dairy-free shake, Evolve will be your best bet with 10g of fiber in every serving.


Macronutrient Breakdown:0
Taste/Flavor:0
Nutrition Label Transparency:0
Texture:0
Value for Money:0

Positives:

  • The highest fiber option on our list
  • A good amount of flavor variety
  • Solid micronutrient blend

Could be better:

  • Pre-mixed shake makes it difficult to customize serving size
  • Some reviews suggest a strong flavor and offputting texture compared to other protein shakes

4. ALOHA Organic Protein Shake

ALOHA Organic Protein Shake
  • Best For: Building Muscle, Recovery
  • Suitable for Vegans: Yes
  • Protein Source: Protein Blend (Pea Protein, Brown Rice Protein)
  • Serving size: 355ml
  • Price per Serving: ~$3.33
  • Calories: 170
  • Protein per Serving: 20g
  • Carbohydrates: 11g
  • Fat: 5g
  • Added Sugar: 4g
  • Company Founded: 2013
  • Recommended by Athletes: Sam Does Her Best, Traveling Mainers, Juliana Folk

The next protein drink without milk on our list is another pre-made shake similar to Orgain and Evolve, Aloha offers a similarly high-quality formula with a slightly higher-calorie macro breakdown.

Each serving contains 170 calories, which is about 30 more than Orgain and Evolve. However, it has the same amount of protein at 20g per serving. The rest of the calories come from 5g of fat and 11g of carbs. There’s also a decent 5g of fiber in every bottle.

Like Evolve, Aloha offers a solid 40% of your daily Iron, although there are no other significant doses of any micronutrients.

As mentioned, Aloha also offers a high-quality all-natural formula. They also have some of the best flavor variety on our list with 4 options to choose from.

Finally, there is a noticeable jump in price here from the previous 2 products. At ~$3.33 per serving, you’ll be paying nearly a dollar more for each bottle of Aloha when compared to Orgain or Evolve.

46 EXPERT SCORE

Although they are somewhat expensive, Aloha’s shakes are a high-quality formula with an excellent macro breakdown.


Macronutrient Breakdown:0
Taste/Flavor:0
Nutrition Label Transparency:0
Texture:0
Value for Money:0

Positives:

  • High-quality, all-natural formula
  • Good flavor variety
  • A solid dose of iron

Could be better:

  • One of the most expensive products on our list
  • Not many micros beyond iron
BEST WITH BEEF PROTEIN

5. MuscleMeds Beef Protein Shake

  • Best For: Cutting, Recovery
  • Suitable for Vegans: No
  • Protein Source: Hydrolyzed Beef Protein Isolate
  • Serving size: 500ml
  • Price per Serving: ~$3.42
  • Calories: 190
  • Protein per Serving: 40g
  • Carbohydrates: 2g
  • Fat: 0g
  • Added Sugar: 0g
  • Company Founded: 2008
  • Recommended by Athletes: Robert Willmote, Julia De Pompeo, Cenat Ricardo

Closing out our list, and the first non-vegan shake on our list comes from MuscleMeds. The reason this isn’t a vegan-friendly option is that it’s the only product on our list to be formulated with beef protein. Still, because of its high protein-to-calorie ratio, this is likely the best non-dairy protein shake for weight loss on our list.

This is the highest calorie option on our list with 190 calories, however with 40g of protein per serving, it’s easily the highest protein option on our list. As a result, this is a great option for those cutting, as well the best option for those on keto, or those with dairy intolerances/allergies. Considering that it only has 2g of carbs and 0g of fat, it will help those in a caloric deficit maximize protein intake without too many extra calories.

With that being said, this product is the first option on our list to contain several artificial ingredients such as sucralose. It also appears to only come in 2 different flavors, which is fairly limited for our list.

Also, this is the most expensive product on our list at ~$3.42 per serving. While this may seem pricey, the cost is justified by exceptional macro breakdown and beef protein-based formula.

45.5 EXPERT SCORE

While it’s not suitable for vegans or vegetarians, this is still an exceptionally high protein shake with 40g of protein per serving and minimal other macros.


Macronutrient Breakdown:0
Stimulation:0
Taste/Flavor:0
Label Transparency:0
Value for Money:0

Positives:

  • Highest protein option on our list by far
  • Low amount of carbs and fats make this ideal for those who struggle to hit their protein goals on a caloric deficit
  • Animal-based protein will likely raise plasma AA more than vegan protein

Could be better:

  • Not vegan or vegetarian-friendly
  • Most expensive product on our list

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Are There Dairy-Free Protein Shakes?

Yes, as shown by our list there are plenty of excellent options available for dairy-free protein shakes! They most commonly come in the form of plant-based shakes, but as shown by MuscleMeds, you can also get beef-based protein shakes if you’re not vegan or vegetarian.

As we’ll be covering more in-depth below, there are any number of reasons somebody may want to avoid dairy in their protein shakes. Whether it’s an allergy, intolerance, or just a preference, there are plenty of dairy alternatives when it comes to protein shakes.

4 Reasons for Using Dairy-Free Protein Shakes

There are numerous reasons someone may need to avoid dairy-based protein shakes. Considering your own dietary needs can help you make a more informed choice on which product is right for you. Below we’ll be covering some common reasons why people avoid dairy-based shakes, and some recommendations if you fall into any of these groups!

Doing Snatch

1. Cow Milk Allergy

Milk allergies are just like any other allergies, with symptoms such as hives, shortness of breath, vomiting, and more occurring when milk is ingested. It appears the vast majority of milk allergies are found in children under 3, and are usually outgrown as children age.

With that being said, it is possible to maintain a milk allergy into adulthood. If you’re unsure whether you’re allergic to milk, we recommend getting checked out by a doctor to confirm this. If you’re an adult, it’s more common that any problems with dairy are caused by a lactose intolerance instead.

2. Milk Protein Intolerance

Not to be confused with milk allergy or lactose intolerance – which we’ll be covering below – Cow’s Milk Protein Intolerance (CMPI) is caused specifically by the protein found in cow’s milk.

Symptoms of milk protein intolerance are more commonly related to the gastrointestinal tract than those related to true milk allergies. This is because intolerances don’t relate to the immune system, while allergies do.

Similar to milk allergies, milk protein intolerance appears to be most common in babies, and is usually outgrown by 1-3 years of age. Again, if you’re experiencing issues with milk as an adult, it’s much more likely due to lactose intolerance, which we’ll be covering more in-depth below.

3. Lactose Intolerance

This brings us to the most likely reason an adult will have issues with dairy products, which is lactose intolerance. While milk allergies and CMPI are both incredibly uncommon in adults, lactose intolerance is exceedingly common with an estimated 65% of the world’s population being lactose intolerant.

Lactose intolerance is caused by a lack of the enzyme lactase, which is used in the body to break down lactose. Symptoms mainly involve gastrointestinal distress including flatulence, nausea, cramps, and bloating. Sensitivity to lactose and severity of symptoms will vary from person to person, largely depending on how much lactose is consumed and how well the individual can tolerate lactose.

Performing Creatine

Although lactose intolerance is a very common reason someone will avoid all dairy products, some dairy-based protein shakes may still be suitable for lactose intolerant people. Whey isolates are highly filtered forms of whey protein. Oftentimes, a majority of the lactose is filtered out from these protein powders, making them suitable as lactose-free nutritional drinks.

While the amount of lactose will vary from product to product, you can find whey isolates labeled as “lactose-free”. Individual tolerance will also vary, but if you are looking for lactose-free protein shakes, you may still be able to use whey isolates and hydrolyzed whey isolate instead of relying entirely on dairy-free protein shakes.

4. Veganism

Finally, one of the other most common reasons someone will opt for dairy-free protein shakes is veganism. Whether you’re vegan for ethical, religious, or health-related reasons, if you’ve decided to completely cut out animal products, then there are plenty of high-quality plant-based shakes available.

It’s worth noting that if you’re on a vegan diet, it can be tough to maximize complete protein intake. When looking for a plant-based protein powder, we recommend buying a shake that contains a complete blend of different protein sources so you’re getting all of 10 essential amino acids.

Training With Dumbbells

How to Choose the Best Dairy-Free Protein Shake?

If you’re looking for dairy-free protein shakes for whatever reason, there are a few tips we can give you to make a more informed choice. These include the macro breakdown, the flavor, and texture, as well as the cost.

1. Macro Breakdown

Arguably the most important thing to consider when buying a dairy-free protein shake is its macro breakdown. This is where you’ll want to consider your goals, mainly whether you’re trying to lose weight or put on muscle.

Regardless of goals, we recommend getting around 0.7-1g of protein per pound of body weight every day. With all the products on our list having 20g+ of protein, they should all help you achieve this goal. If you truly want to maximize protein intake, consider MuscleMeds’ product which offers a whopping 40g of protein per serving!

It’s worth noting that all of the products on our list can work for either bulking or cutting. Just keep in mind that products higher in calories – mainly carbs and fats – may make it slightly more difficult to stay in a caloric deficit while hitting your protein goals.

2. Flavor and Texture

Another important factor to consider with dairy-free shakes is their flavor and texture. To be fair, dairy-free shakes commonly get a bad rap for not being as good as dairy-based shakes. While they are usually a bit chalkier than dairy-based protein, they really aren’t that different.

Making Protein Shake

With this being said, there are a lot of plant-based shakes out there that are downright unpalatable. This is why we recommend checking the reviews of any given product to see what the general consensus on the flavor and texture is. For our articles, we like to do a deep dive on reviews to find which products people love the taste of, and which products people don’t seem to enjoy as much.

Checking the reviews is a great starting point to see which products will generally taste the best. However, because taste is suggestive, there’s no way to truly know whether or not you’ll enjoy a shake without trying it yourself.

3. Cost

Finally, whenever buying any supplements, you should always consider how a given product fits into your budget. While dairy-free shakes can be super cheap, these will typically be relatively low-quality supplements. Because we only want to recommend the best products possible on our lists, some of the options may end up being fairly expensive.

With this being said, we highly prioritize value for money when deciding on the rankings for our list. We aim to recommend high-quality products that are still budget-friendly, this is a big reason Transparent Labs ended up taking the top spot on our list!

FAQ

What Protein Shakes Do Not Have Dairy?

The 2 types of dairy-free shakes we covered on our list are plant-based shakes, usually made up of a blend of pea and brown rice protein, and beef-based shakes.

Many people likely avoid dairy-based shakes because they’re vegan, which makes plant-based shakes the obvious choice. However, if you avoid dairy but still eat other animal products, beef and egg protein may be a great alternative.

Are Non-dairy Protein Shakes Better?

If your diet allows you to drink dairy-based protein shakes, they are generally a better option than plant-based shakes. They typically have better macros, more bioavailable protein, and a more appealing taste and texture. However, if you can’t consume dairy products for whatever reason, dairy-free protein shakes still make a great alternative.

Is Whey Protein OK for Lactose Intolerance?

While most whey concentrates contain too much lactose for somebody with lactose intolerance to digest, certain highly-filtered whey isolates and hydrolyzed whey isolates are labeled as “lactose-free”, and may be suitable for those with an intolerance. As a result, the best lactose-free protein shakes are typically high-quality whey isolates.

While people with severe lactose intolerance may still want to avoid these products, those with a mild intolerance may want to consider trying a whey isolate as an alternative to dairy-free shakes.

Conclusion

Overall, while dairy-based protein shakes will be the go-to choice for most people, there are any number of reasons why these may not be an option for you. Luckily, there are plenty of dairy-free shakes available that can rival the quality of their dairy-based counterparts.

If you’re looking for protein drinks without milk, our top pick is Transparent Labs’ ORGANIC VEGAN protein shake. This is because it offers a high-quality formula with a great macronutrient breakdown while still being budget-friendly. Hopefully this list is able to help you make a more informed choice!

What’s your reason for avoiding dairy? Do you have any favorite dairy-free nutritional drinks? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Also read:

Referenses:

  1. Conditions and Diseased, “Milk Allergies”, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, https://www.chop.edu/conditions-diseases/milk-allergies (Accessed Dec. 12, 2023)
  2. Pediatric Gastroentology, Hepatology and Nutrition, “Cow’s Milk Protein Intolerance,” University of Rochester, Golisano Children’s Hospital https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/childrens-hospital/gastroenterology/conditions/cow-s-milk-protein-intolerance.aspx (Accessed Dec. 12, 2023)
  3. Genetic Conditions, “Lactose Intolerance,” MedlinePlus https://medlineplus.gov/genetics/condition/lactose-intolerance/#frequency (Accessed Dec. 12, 2023)
  4. Howard E. LeWine, MD, “Lactose Intolerance,” Harvard health Publishing, https://www.health.harvard.edu/a_to_z/lactose-intolerance-a-to-z (Accessed Dec. 12, 2023)
  5. The Nutrition Source, “Fiber,” Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/carbohydrates/fiber/ (Accessed Dec. 12, 2023)
  6. Everson A. Nunes, et. al, “Systematic review and meta-analysis of protein intake to support muscle mass and function in healthy adults,” Journal of Cachexia, Sarcopenia and Muscle, 13, 795–810, (2022)

Why Trust Us?

With over 20 years in Olympic Weightlifting, our team does its best to provide the audience with ultimate support and meet the needs and requirements of advanced athletes and professional lifters, as well as people who strive to open new opportunities and develop their physical capabilities with us.

All products we select are primarily approved and tested by the Olympic Weightlifting Champion Oleksii Torokhtiy. Under his guidance, we provide honest and reasonable assessments of the products we review by checking their characteristics, packaging, design, comfort and durability features, and general product rating. We select products from only high-quality and trusted sports brands, thus vouching for their quality.

The product testing process is described in more detail here

Camila Parente Santos

Author: Camila Parente Santos
Nutrition and Sport Nutritionist

Experience: 7 years

Camila has worked as a Nutritionist for 7 years. In addition to being a nutritionist, she is an amateur weightlifting athlete for 2 years. Camila has experience at Flamengo’s football base and in a food supplement company and currently provides services at a clinic. At the moment she is coursing a postgraduate study in Sports Nutrition.

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Jacek Szymanowski

Reviewed by: Jacek Szymanowski

Certified Nutritionist,
M.Sc.Eng. Biotechnology
Performance architect
,
Strength and Conditioning Specialist

Experience: 20 years

With over 30 years of fighting experience, specialization in nutrition coaching for athletes, and expertise in metabolic health and dietary strategies, Jacek offers a comprehensive approach to optimizing your performance and well-being. Backed by a Master of Science degree in Biotechnology, Jacek remains at the forefront of scientific advancements, ensuring that his coaching is always evidence-based and up-to-date.

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