We’ve all been there. We researched a new supplement, pulled the trigger, and ordered it. After it arrives, we can’t wait to try it. We scoop it into a glass of ice cold water and take a swig. Yuck …it tastes horrible!
We found 4 of the best tasting BCAA powders that we know you’ll love. This article will save you the trouble of throwing out yet another supplement product that you just can’t stomach. After covering these products’ main specs, we also talk about what BCAAs are, what the research says about them, and what we believe is the best flavor.
In a hurry?
In a hurry?
In a hurry and can’t keep reading? How about you check out the Transparent Labs Glutamine BCAA.
Transparent Labs introduces a top-tier BCAA supplement, renowned for its quality, featuring a significant amount of BCAAs per serving and an additional dose of L-Glutamine for improved endurance and recovery, making it an ideal option for runners.
Top 4 Best Tasting BCAAs Reviewed
We looked at 4 of the best tasting amino acids, not only for taste, but also for the components breakdown (amino acid profile, vitamins, etc.), nutrition label transparency, and best value for money. They are listed in order of highest to lowest overall scores. Check out the table for the individual scores and overall rating.
The main specs are listed under each product, including suitability for vegans, BCAAs per serving, price per serving, and more. Check out the pros & cons list for each BCAA powder supplement to help bring you further clarity on the one that may be best for you!
1. BCAA Glutamine by TL – Top Pick
BCAA Glutamine has a lot going for it. It is vegan-friendly, has a whopping 8 g of BCAAs per serving, and is third-party tested.
It comes in 4 unique flavors: sour green apple, tropical punch, strawberry lemonade, and blue raspberry. It is free of any artificial flavors, coloring, or preservatives, which makes these BCAA flavors stand out.
Photo by @thorbjornsson
Out of over 1000 customer reviews, BCAA Glutamine got a 4.7 out of 5! There were hundreds of positive comments about how it tastes great and mixes well.
BCAA Glutamine has a lot going for it. It is vegan-friendly, has a whopping 8 g of BCAAs per serving, and is third-party tested. It comes in 4 unique flavors: sour green apple, tropical punch, strawberry lemonade, and blue raspberry.
8 grams of BCAAs
4 great tasting flavors
Suitable for Vegans
No artificial sweeteners, coloring, or preservatives
Could be better:
Priced high at ~$1.25 per serving
2. XTEND® Original BCAA – Runner-Up
XTENDⓇ Original BCAA comes in both 30 and 90-serving containers in 11 different flavors, including Blue Raspberry Ice, Mango Madness, and Watermelon Explosion. This variety of amino acid flavors contain 7 g of BCAAs per serving, is FDA-registered, and is GMP-regulated. It is less than $1 per serving, which is a great price.
Even though this product mentions the total g of BCAAs, it lost points for nutrition label transparency because it doesn’t contain a breakdown of the specific types of amino acids on the label. The other 3 products provided more detailed information.
Photo by @calolohea
It contains an 1100 mg-electrolyte blend (for rehydration) made up of sodium citrate, potassium chloride, and sodium chloride. It does contain 220 mg of sodium per serving, which is important to be aware of if you are watching your salt intake.
It does contain some artificial flavors (depending on the flavor), and it is not suitable for vegans. XTENDⓇ products may be manufactured on equipment that processes milk, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, and shellfish, so be aware if you have any allergies to these foods.
XTENDⓇ Original BCAA comes in both 30 and 90-serving containers in 11 different flavors, including Blue Raspberry Ice, Mango Madness, and Watermelon Explosion. This variety of amino acid flavors contain 7 g of BCAAs per serving, is FDA-registered, and is GMP-regulated.
Offers 11 different flavors
Contains an electrolyte blend
FDA-registered and GMP-certified
Could be better:
Not vegan friendly
Contains 220 mg of sodium per serving
Hydro BCAAⓇ +Essentials by ProSupps contains 7 g of BCAAs per serving, as well as an additional 3 grams of other essential amino acids (including lysine, phenylalanine, and tryptophan). ProSupps is a reputable, long standing company that has been making health supplements since 1996.
It is GMP-certified and comes in 3 flavors: blue raspberry, fruit punch, and watermelon. It is plant-based and suitable for vegans. There are zero calories and carbs. It contains an electrolyte solution with 150 mg of electrolytes.
Photo by @prosupps
This amino acid product contains artificial flavors and sweeteners, along with the natural additives. Based on dozens of customer reviews, there are several complaints about it being too sweet or even having an artificial taste.
Hydro BCAAⓇ +Essentials by ProSupps contains 7 g of BCAAs per serving, as well as an additional 3 grams of other essential amino acids. ProSupps is a reputable, long standing company that has been making health supplements since 1996.
Contains 3 grams of additional EAAs
Suitable for Vegans
Could be better:
Contains artificial flavors & sweeteners (for those who prefer natural ones)
Flavor may be too sweet/artificial tasting
4. Promix BCAA
Promix BCAA is vegan-friendly, has 5 great flavors, and is micronized for easy mixing. It contains only natural ingredients, including lime juice, berry extract, and monk fruit (varies for each flavor). It also contains the 100% daily value (DV) for vitamin C, which is a powerful antioxidant.
This amino acid product is GMP-certified. It also undergoes independent lab testing for several heavy metals, allergens, and a few other chemicals.
It could be better in a couple of areas. It only has 5 g of BCAAs in 2 scoops of powder (many products have a 1-scoop serving size, which is more convenient). This also means your value for money isn’t great, when the serving size is based on only 5 g of BCAAs.
Promix BCAA is vegan-friendly, has 5 great flavors, and is micronized for easy mixing. It contains only natural ingredients, including lime juice, berry extract, and monk fruit. It also contains the 100% daily value for vitamin C, which is a powerful antioxidant.
Independent lab tested
Micronized for great mixability
Contains 100% DV for vitamin C
Could be better:
Contains only 5 g BCAAs per serving
Serving size is 2 scoops (instead of 1)
What Are Bcaas?
Out of the 20 amino acids that make up the thousands of proteins in our bodies, 9 are considered essential. The essential amino acids aren’t produced by the body and, therefore, have to be obtained through your diet.
The branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are a group of 3 specific essential amino acids: leucine, isoleucine, and valine. Branched-chain refers to their chemical structure, which just means there are one or more side chains attached to the atom (usually carbon).
BCAAs are found in protein-rich foods such as meat, eggs, dairy products, and dietary supplements. BCAAs play an important role in building muscle, in conjunction with the other essential amino acids.
BCAA supplements are often taken by athletes to boost muscle growth and enhance exercise performance. Other benefits a BCAA supplement may provide are decreasing muscle soreness, reducing muscle fatigue, and preventing muscle wasting.
What Can Make BCAAs Taste Better?
BCAAs, unfortunately, have a naturally bitter taste profile. Leucine is known to have the bitterest taste. So supplements with high concentrations of leucine can be very unpalatable.
To offset the terrible taste, most manufacturers end up adding all kinds of sweeteners, both natural and artificial. Along with something sweet, the addition of a sour ingredient can help to suppress the bitterness of BCAAs. It can be a balancing act, to say the least. So, what are the desired characteristics in a good tasting BCAA?
The most popular way to mask the bitter flavor of BCAAs is to add sweeteners.
Artificial sweeteners are synthetic sugar substitutes that provide sweetness without the calories found in sugar. They are often much sweeter than sugar, so only small amounts are needed to achieve the desired level of sweetness. Common artificial sweeteners include aspartame, acesulfame, sucralose etc.
There have been debates about their long-term health effects, and some studies have linked them to potential adverse effects. However, they are considered safe in moderate dosages.
If you want to stick to natural sweeteners, look for ingredients like stevia or monk fruit. Natural sweeteners are generally considered healthier options than regular sugar because they often have fewer calories and a lower impact on blood sugar levels.
One of the most popular natural sweeteners is stevia,a sugar substitute made from the leaves of the stevia plant and is 100 to 300 times sweeter than sugar. Keep in mind that it does have a distinct flavor that is not appealing to everyone’s taste buds.
Monk fruit is a sweetener derived from monk fruit, which is a small round fruit native to China. It is 100 to 250 times sweeter than sugar and doesn’t contain calories, so only small amounts are needed to get the same sweetness level as sugar. It has a milder taste than stevia.
2. Citric Acid
Citric acid is an organic compound and common food additive that can improve a food’s or product’s color, texture, and taste. It’s used to boost acidity, enhance flavor, and preserve ingredients. Even though you can get citric acid from citrus fruits, 99% of citric acid comes from a manufactured form. It is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) through the FDA.
3. Coconut Water Powder
Coconut water contains natural ingredients that give it a slightly sweet flavor, perfect for offsetting the bitter flavor of the BCAAs. It also contains additional electrolytes to help keep you hydrated during or after a workout. Different products contain varying amounts of coconut water powder, so check the label for the specifics.
What is the Best Way to Use BCAAs?
Even though BCAA products say to mix their powders with water, it's not always optimal in terms of taste.. Often it still tastes, well, bitter. Try one or more of these ideas to enhance the flavor.
1. Fruit-Infused Water
Whether you make your own fruit-infused water with fresh fruit or buy a convenient, single-serve can or bottle, the possibilities are endless. Spindrift, Baì, and Hint are a few popular flavored sparkling water brands. Mix your BCAA into one that is a blend of sweet and citrusy to balance out the unpleasant taste.
2. Energy Drinks
If you are used to drinking energy drinks (like Red Bull, Monster, Rockstar, etc.), this is a great option for you. Not only do they contain caffeine, but they also already contain sweeteners that are perfect for masking a bitter taste. Go for the sugar-free varieties if you want to avoid extra calories.
3. Black Coffee
Another simple and great way to use BCAAs is with black coffee, instant or fresh brewed. Due to coffee’s strong, rich aroma and flavor, it hides the amino acid powder quite well.
How Can I Make My BCAA Taste Better?
Besides mixing your BCAA powder in one of the drinks mentioned above, there are a few other ideas to elevate its overall taste. Amino acid supplements tend to taste better cold, so try blending it in a smoothie with fresh fruit, veggies, or Greek yogurt, then add some ice.
What is the Best Flavor of BCAA?
Gone are the days of having only a few flavor choices. It used to be strawberry, grape, and maybe lemon/lime. Now, BCAA supplements come in dozens of flavors and flavor-combinations. The most popular 3 in the history of BCAAs are grape, blue raspberry, and watermelon. Our favorite flavor is watermelon! But, we know that everyone has unique taste buds, so it’s okay if you disagree.
In summary, because of the bitter taste of BCAAs, it can be a challenge to find a great product. Once you find the one that’s best for you, make it taste even better with some of our suggestions above. The benefits of taking a BCAA are worth the effort.
After comparing the 4 BCAA powders in several key areas, our Top Pick goes to BCAA Glutamine by TL! Not only is it free of artificial flavors and preservatives and is third-party tested, it also packs 8 g of BCAAs into each serving.
We want to know your thoughts or experiences with BCAA supplements. Share your questions or comments below.
- Alejandra Arroyo-Cerezo, "Intake of branched chain amino acids favors post-exercise muscle recovery and may improve muscle function", NCBI, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33586928/ (acessed Feb 15, 2021).
- J Hum Kinet, "Effects of Oral Branched‐Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) Intake on Muscular and Central Fatigue During an Incremental Exercise", NCBI, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7126259/ (acessed Mar 31, 2020).
- Junji Mukai, "Inhibitory effect of aroma on the bitterness of branched-chain amino acid solutions", NCBI, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17978515/ (acessed Nov 2007).
- "Aspartame and Other Sweeteners in Food", FDA, https://www.fda.gov/food/food-additives-petitions/aspartame-and-other-sweeteners-food (acessed July 14, 2023).
- Peter J. Garlick, "Overcoming bitterness in BCAA-based nutrition products", nutraceuticalbusinessreview, https://bit.ly/3YCvfUB (acessed Apr 10, 2017).
- Gavin Van De Walle, "What Is Citric Acid, and Is It Bad for You?", HealthLine, https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/citric-acid (acessed Sep 30, 2021).
Why Trust Us?
Sports Nutritionist, MSc
Experience: 7 years
Specializing in: Weight management, Fitness / Sports nutrition
Oleksandr is a professional fitness nutritionist, certified by FPA (Fitness Professional Association). Oleksandr adheres to the principles of evidence-based dietetics and instills in his clients a healthy relationship with food - without strict prohibitions on favorite foods and regular disruptions. His main task – not only get a result for you, but also maintain it for many years, enjoying tasty and delicious food.
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