When it comes to what we eat, it’s best not to overlook protein. Most active people require about 1.5 grams of protein for every kilogram they weigh (that’s 89 grams for a 130-pound person). Protein helps build lean body mass (aka muscle) and keeps you feeling satiated to stamp out overeating, and protein powder is an easy and convenient way to help make sure you get what you need. But most people think of whey, soy, and plant-based protein powders as something to blend into smoothies, chug down after a workout, or throw together for quick breakfast. And while protein powders are perfect for that, there are so many other ways to use them in the kitchen. As these recipes show, you can employ protein powders to boost the muscle-building power of everything—from baked goods to oatmeal to soups—without needing the shaker cup. Use any protein powder you like here.
Tips for Successfully Cooking with Protein Powder
Cooking with protein powder isn’t rocket science, but it’s also not something you can do without any thought. Keep these tips in mind the next time you reach for your power powder.
- Flavor matters: It’s important to pick the right flavor of protein powder for your recipe. After all, chocolate protein powder may not go over too well in a soup. Try stirring a berry-flavored powder into yogurt, mixing a vanilla powder in muffins, and using a plain powder for savory applications.
- Hold the whey: When used in baked goods such as muffins, whey or casein powders have a tendency to cause a rubbery, less-tender texture if used too liberally. Generally, you don’t want to replace more than 25 percent of the flour in a recipe with whey protein powder or you’ll risk eating something that tastes like a tire. For better texture, try using plant-based protein powders for baking purposes.
- Liquid assets: When stirring whey or veggie powders into batters, add a little bit more of a moisturizer such as yogurt, applesauce, or pumpkin purée to avoid dry results. Also, don’t overmix the batter—stir gently just until everything is moist.
- Turn down the heat: A slightly lower baking temperature—say 325°F instead of 350—will help keep protein powder-infused baked goods moister.
- Bury the scoop: Many powders come with a scoop that is convenient when adding the protein to items like smoothies. But for recipes such as muffins and pancakes, where you want to use a specified amount, it’s best to measure out the powder using measuring cups.
- The cover up: Some powders such as pea and hemp can impart earthy flavors to dishes. Using ingredients like cinnamon, mashed banana, or cocoa can help mask these tastes.