Protein is one of the most important building blocks in our bodies, but not everyone gets the right amount. Vegans and vegetarians often eat less protein than their omnivorous counterparts since meat is one of the best sources of protein. Building muscle also requires extra protein intake, so athletes and those trying to get in shape or get shredded often need more in their diet as well. But whether you’re trying to gain muscle or supplement a lopsided diet, there are options to help you bulk your daily routine.
Pea-based protein powders are one of the best ways to get healthy proteins into your diet without relying on whey (a milk product). But the market for pea protein powders is vast, and it isn’t often clear what differentiates each product. We’ve rounded up the seven best pea protein powders and reviewed them in this guide, analyzing their protein content, taste, cost, and other essential details.
If you don’t have time to dive in right now, check out our top picks below.
Naked Nutrition Pea Protein powder’s simple ingredient profile and high protein content makes it the healthiest choice.
Naked Nutrition only includes pea protein isolate- no chemicals or artificial sweeteners. Choose between 3 different flavors. Subscribe to save 20% on your first order.
Winner: Naked Nutrition
There’s no point in adding protein powder to your day if it’s not going to help you and your health. That means that it needs to give you a serious protein boost in a reasonable serving size. If a protein powder says it can give you 30g of protein, but it can only do that if you take multiple cups of powder, the impracticality takes away from the powder’s efficacy. We also consider additional requirements that may slip under the radar and make things less convenient, such as whether a powder requires you to take it with food.
Naked Nutrition barrels out of the gate with 27g of protein in every 4tbsp serving. While that isn’t the smallest serving on our list, it’s on par with several competitors. And considering that Naked Nutrition’s pea protein isolate is the only ingredient, the amount of protein per serving that you get packs a serious punch. Since it comes in a 5lb container, you won’t have to worry about running out any time soon, either.
Winners: KOS and Naked Nutrition
Some pea protein powders have long ingredient lists, while others only have one: pea protein. While the ingredients you prefer are a matter of personal preference, you should still keep an eye out for any ingredients that seem like they don’t belong. Pea protein-only formulas are more likely to have slightly funky tastes, whereas those with long lists are often fortified with other vitamins and minerals. There are also different forms of pea protein (primarily isolate and concentrate) that change the amounts of nutrients that your body gets. We also considered the protein content per serving, whether or not the protein powder is USDA certified organic, if the ingredients are sustainably harvested, and if there are any additives or fillers.
If you’re looking for a pea protein powder that’s made only from peas, Naked Nutrition has the best option. Their formula contains only pea protein isolate, the most protein-dense option, and is certified non-GMO. While they may not earn a USDA certification for organic ingredients, none of our top picks made solely from peas do. However, they are sustainably harvested from farms in North America, are independently tested for heavy metals and allergens, and are the only pea protein on our list that receives Informed Choice Trusted by Sport seal of approval.
On the other hand, KOS Organic Plant Protein powder is gluten-, soy-, and GMO-free, and receives USDA-certified organic status. Every single ingredient on their list is organic. While it looks at first like a bit of a laundry list, it’s easy to break down exactly what goes into it: pea protein, sweeteners, thickening agents, fruits and veggies, pre- and probiotics, and additional vitamins and minerals. You can rely on the fact that every ingredient is natural: no artificial sweeteners required.
Winners: Anthony’s and Naked Nutrition
The cost of a product involves a lot more than just the number on its price tag. We also consider each pea protein powder’s value (how much it costs you per serving), the quality of those servings, and any subscription options that could save you money or other saving deals.
Anthony’s Premium Pea Protein Powder costs $0.19 per serving, dramatically less than almost every other pea protein powder on our list. It’s a clean pea protein isolate powder, meaning you’re getting protein without any frills. However, it only offers 8g of protein per serving, which is about a third of most competitors’ protein content. Each bag is large enough to triple your serving size and match a standard protein intake without knocking Anthony’s out of the least expensive spot. And while it may not have the lowest sticker price, one 2lb bag still costs less than $20.
It’s also important to note that Anthony’s Premium Pea Protein Powder sold out as we were writing this article. If you can’t get it through their webpage, there aren’t many other viable options where you can find it for a reasonable price — some of the other outlets we saw were selling these 2lb bags for as much as $216.95. If it’s still sold out — or sells out again — when you’re ready to make a purchase, Naked Nutrition offers an equally strong alternative that relies solely on pea protein isolate for only slightly more per serving.
Here’s a look at how our top picks’ pricing compares.
Winner: KOS Organic Plant Protein Powder
Not all protein powders are created equally when it comes to taste. Considering you can’t put it in a capsule and avoid the flavor altogether, it’s important to find something that won’t upset your stomach and won’t taste like you’re eating chalk or sawdust, especially for daily consumption. When a protein powder has a high score for taste, it means that there’s a strong range of flavors that taste good, and it’s easy to mix into any liquid of your choice.
KOS Organic Plant Protein Powder won our top pick for taste. It comes in seven unique flavors — one of our widest varieties — and doesn’t have any grit or sandy feeling to it. Their unflavored formula has just a slight sweetness to it without the earthy undertones that so often come with pea protein powders. It’s easy to mix into any kind of liquid, though we recommend sticking with things that you don’t mind being a little bit sweet.
It can be difficult to tease out the little nuances between different kinds of protein powder. To help you out, we’ve put together a chart so you can easily reference the distinctions, overlaps, and best features of our top picks.
Pea protein powder is exactly what it sounds like: protein powder primarily made from peas. Most kinds of peas are exceptionally high in protein, providing a sustainable and vegan alternative to other kinds of protein powder. Pea protein powder is almost always made from yellow or split peas.
Peas are used as an alternative vegetable-based protein source for a few reasons. They’re one of the best non-meat sources of protein since one cup of peas has 8g of protein (2g more than one boiled egg, or roughly equal to two-thirds cup of cooked pinto beans).
There are three main kinds of pea protein.
When the protein is stripped from peas, it forms a beige powder known as pea protein isolate. Isolate contains all nine essential amino acids (though it’s low in methionine) and is rich in iron. It’s the most protein-dense form of protein powder, especially as the stripping process filters up to 95% of carbohydrates and fats.
If you’re looking to use protein powder to help slow down your hunger, pea protein concentrate is your best bet. It’s less processed than isolate, providing less dense protein but maintaining other healthy nutrients, including more fat, carbohydrates, and vitamins like B1, B5, K, and folate.
Pea protein hydrolysate, also known as hydrolyzed pea protein, is less common than isolate or concentrate. It is technically a pea protein isolate, but it has an extra round of processing that alters its chemical composition. After it’s been made, pea protein hydrolysate is cooked in diluted hydrochloric acid and then is pH-neutralized. This partial breakdown of proteins makes it easier to emulsify and neutralizes any bitter or earthy flavors.
Pea protein powder may also be combined with other kinds of protein powders. It’s most common to see pea protein and brown rice protein together, as brown rice is a great natural source of methionine (and peas aren’t).
Protein is one of the most important macronutrients our bodies need for daily functioning. Protein helps us build muscle mass, keep metabolism running, and grow hair and nails. Every cell in our bodies contains protein. When we eat protein, our bodies break it down into amino acids, which then repairs cells and makes new ones.
We need a substantial amount of amino acids to keep these bodily processes running smoothly. Some of these can be made in the body; others need to be consumed through food. These are called essential, nonessential, and conditional amino acids.
There are nine essential amino acids that the human body can’t make:
Nonessential amino acids can be made by the body, but we can still benefit from getting through our diets. These include:
Conditional amino acids are a specific subtype of amino acid. They are nonessential amino acids that are the first to be cut when you’re sick or under stress, so it’s particularly beneficial to add them when your body is under pressure. Conditional amino acids include:
If you’re interested in learning more about amino acids, including branch-chain amino acids (BCAAs), we have a guide that can help.
Protein powder supplements these essential and non-essential amino acids that might be missing from your diet or need to be bolstered if you’ve recently been stressed. Muscle damage — which happens when you work out — is the first step in the process that creates new muscles, and muscles are made of and repaired with these proteins. Ensuring that you eat enough means that your body can fix sore muscles and build new ones. And if you can’t eat the recommended daily amount of protein, a protein powder will help you make up the difference.
Pea protein powder has some obvious advantages over other kinds of protein powder. Pea protein is one of the most complete forms of protein that is vegan-friendly, allowing those who can’t or don’t eat meat, dairy, or other animal products to meet their daily protein requirements. Peas are also relatively allergy-friendly, and most pea protein powders are free of the top eight allergens. Plus, pea protein powder is one of the most sustainable options — making pea protein emits between four and seven times fewer greenhouse gases than making whey protein from milk.
On a nutritional front, peas have a considerable amount of fiber, which can help you feel more satisfied for longer. Processing pea protein isolate strips a lot of this fiber from protein powder, however, which can minimize the risk of bloating and GI problems from taking too much.
While whey protein is a good source of calcium and potassium, pea protein is a good source of iron, another big benefit for vegans. It has a more comprehensive amino acid profile than other vegan protein sources like rice and quinoa, meaning there are fewer gaps that your body can’t fill. As close as it might get, peas are not a complete source of protein, so make sure that you’re still mixing up the kinds of protein you eat during the day.
Protein-rich foods can be sorted into two categories: complete sources, which contain all nine essential amino acids, and incomplete sources, which don’t.
Complete sources of protein
Incomplete sources of protein
Peas are technically considered an incomplete source of protein because they don’t have as much methionine as many complete sources of protein. Adding another incomplete source of protein to your blend that’s high in methionine, such as brown rice, can help your body get everything it needs. Other kinds of proteins used in powder, such as whey, are complete sources of protein.
Several different factors determine how much protein you should consume daily. Your age, sex, activity level, and whether you’re pregnant affect your daily protein needs; men, active people, teenagers and adults, and pregnant people all need more protein.
To get a rough estimate of your daily protein needs, you can multiply your body weight by 0.36 (if you’re inactive, female, or not pregnant) or 0.45 (if you’re male, active, or pregnant). The U.S. daily recommended intake is 0.8g per kilogram of body weight. This is, of course, an estimate, so you may need more or less protein. There are also several calculators online to help you determine the right amount of protein for your daily diet and decide if starting to take a protein powder is right for you.
Pea protein powder is an excellent vegan alternative to standard protein powders, which are often made with whey. It provides healthy, sustainable protein to those who can’t have dairy but want to supplement their diet. Since vegans don’t have access to most sources of complete protein, protein powders can supplement missing amino acids from dietary restrictions.
But you don’t have to be vegan to enjoy pea protein powders. Anyone who wants to bring more protein into their diet — whether for building muscle, keeping your body moving through strenuous workouts, or feeling satiated for longer periods — can benefit from this supplemental source.
For most people, yes. Pea protein powder offers virtually identical benefits to eating several servings of split peas. That’s one of the biggest benefits of pea protein powder — it’s a very safe way of bulking up your daily diet. However, since it isn’t technically a food or medication, it isn’t regulated in the same ways by the FDA.
Eating a large quantity of peas can also mean eating a lot of fiber, which can cause stomach upset in some people. While most of the protein powders on our list strip a significant portion of fiber out of their formulas to avoid this, you may still experience some gas and bloating. Of course, if you’re allergic to peas, steer clear.
Some formulas also contain stevia as a sweetener. Some people find that stevia causes an upset stomach, gas, and bloating. If you notice these side effects, switch to a pea protein formula that doesn’t contain such sweeteners.
Pea protein powder isn't a great option if you have gout or a history of kidney problems. It contains purines, which break down into uric acid. Uric acid crystallizes in joints when you have gout, so it can make your symptoms worse. Talk to your doctor before starting a pea-based protein powder.
Most pea protein powders are safe for those who are pregnant or lactating. Still, reach out to your doctor first to confirm that there aren’t any potential risks you may not realize. It’s unlikely that a child would need the extra protein intake that pea protein powder provides, but supplementation in most cases wouldn’t be harmful. Consult with your pediatrician if you’re considering adding pea protein powder to their diet.
Best overall and most protein
If you’re looking for a healthy dose of protein from only one ingredient — split peas grown on North American farms — Naked Nutrition’s Pea Protein Powder has your back. This Pea Protein Powder offers 27g of protein per 30g serving, 16% of your daily iron requirements, and only 120 calories. It comes in 5lb containers, guaranteeing that you’ll have protein for more than two and a half months without having to order a refill. Each batch of Pea Protein Powder is independently tested for heavy metals and common allergens such as gluten.
Because they don’t include anything other than the isolated pea protein, the earthy flavor of Naked Pea Protein is stronger than other protein powders. Some report that it takes a little while to get used to, so if you’re just starting to add protein powder to your life, you may want to add Naked Pea Protein Powder to stronger-tasting foods, particularly if you get the unflavored version.
This pea protein powder comes in three flavors: unflavored, chocolate, and vanilla. Both chocolate and vanilla flavors include two more ingredients than the unflavored version — coconut sugar and either cocoa powder or vanilla flavoring. They have slightly less protein, too, at 25g per serving. However, they still offer more protein than every other pea protein powder on our list.
Currently, Naked Nutrition only offers one size container: 5lbs. You can purchase it once for $57.99, or join their Subscribe & Save program for 20% savings on your first order. After that first shipment, however, your savings drop to 10%. This means that you’ll pay $46.39 for the first container and $52.19 for every container after. You can have these delivered every one, two, or three months, and you can skip or cancel your subscription anytime.
You’ll need to spend at least $99 to get free shipping from Naked Nutrition, so just ordering one container of Pea Protein Powder will cost $7.00 for standard shipping (5-7 business days) and $13.99 for expedited shipping (2-3 business days).
If you decide that their pea protein powder isn’t right for you, you can return an unopened and unused container within 14 days of ordering it for a full refund, minus the shipping cost.
Best budget pick with a big caveat
Anthony’s Goods offers a Pea Protein Powder that is simple and affordable. It’s made solely from isolated pea protein and comes unflavored to mix into your favorite sweet or savory dish easily. Each 2lb bag contains 91 servings but only 8g of protein (and 35 calories) per scoop. This is dramatically lower than every other protein powder on our list.
This protein powder is batch tested — meaning every batch they make is quality assured — and verified to be gluten-free, even though they make this protein powder in the same facility as they do gluten-containing products. Their Canadian pea protein is sustainably harvested, and while unsweetened, it has a notably less earthy taste than some other unflavored pea protein powders.
Anthony’s Goods only sells their pea protein powder in a 2lb bag and doesn’t offer any subscription programs. That means that your only option is picking up a bag for $17.49. (This is the lowest price on our list by far.) Luckily, Anthony’s Goods offers unlimited free shipping on every purchase, so this extremely low price stays low. Once you’ve ordered your bag of protein powder, it can take 7-10 days for your package to arrive.
Anthony’s Goods sold out of their pea protein powder as we were writing this article. Aside from their website, there aren’t many places to find this product, and those that do carry it charge upward of $200.00 for a 2lb bag. If you can’t find it on their website, hold tight until it’s restocked, or consider trying a different pea protein isolate powder (such as the offers from Bulk Supplements, at similar prices, or Naked Nutrition, at similar values).
Since pea protein powder is considered a food product, Anthony’s Goods does not provide any refunds or replacements. However, for such a low price, you won’t be out much if you try it and it doesn’t agree with you.
Despite this product winning our hearts for the best cost, each serving only contains 8g of protein. That’s about one-third of the protein as most of their competitors. However, each bag contains 91 servings of protein powder. You can triple your serving size (to three tablespoons and 24g of protein) and still have a month of product for $17.49, leaving the value per serving at $0.58. That’s still ten cents less than the next best value. Even with its low protein content per stated serving, there are easy ways to bulk your diet without sacrificing this product’s excellent price.
If you know you love this Pea Protein Powder, you can order in bulk for significant discounts.
You can order Anthony’s Goods from their website or their licensed Amazon page. These bulk discounts are only applicable through Anthony’s Goods’ website.
Best for sampling
Bulk Supplements offers a huge range of supplements at discount prices, from green tea powder and beets to from vitamin A and zinc. Yet they still use third-party testing and guarantee high-quality products. Their pea protein isolate is no exception.
This pea protein powder is another example that exclusively uses pea protein isolate. There are no other ingredients, so it’s an unflavored powder without any flavored options. Though it’s unflavored, it has a slightly sweet tinge, making it excellent to add to sweet-leaning foods like shakes and smoothies. It tends to be a little thicker than other pea isolate powders but isn’t gritty. Every serving has 21g of protein, 110 calories, and 7mg of iron.
Bulk Supplements lives up to their name. You can order anywhere from a 3.5oz bag to a 44lb bag of pea protein powder, giving you the flexibility to sample it or get bulk discounts so that you never run out. (Their 44lb bag is frequently out of stock, so we won’t be discussing it in more detail below.)
We’ve put together a chart to compare the costs of these different sizes with both a one-time purchase and a Subscribe & Save discount. Because the Subscribe & Save program only offers 5% savings, the overall value per serving doesn’t change.
Bulk Supplements offers free shipping to the contiguous United States on orders over $59. If you live in Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, or in a different country, you’ll pay varying amounts depending on your exact location, how fast you want your package, and how much it weighs. Because of trade restrictions, they cannot ship Pea Protein Isolate to Australia.
KOS delivers with their excellent taste. Their Organic Plant Protein is sweet but never grainy and comes in seven flavors:
These flavors mix well with other sweet foundations like smoothies, shakes, oatmeal, cakes, and muffins.
There are many more ingredients in KOS’s list than our other favorites. Everything is USDA-certified organic, and is sourced responsibly. The vanilla flavor, for example, includes:
So while this isn’t a pure pea isolate formula, the additional ingredients provide more protein, fiber, vitamins, and pro- and prebiotics. It has slightly less protein (20g) and slightly more calories (150) per serving than some of our other top picks, but if you’ve struggled to find a protein powder with a decent taste, the trade-off may make it worth it.
Stevia is also on the list of ingredients, which can cause stomach upset (particularly gas and bloating) in some people. However, stevia is what allows the fun flavors to shine.
There are several different sizes of Plant Protein you can choose from, including single-serving packets, a 14-serving bag, and a 28-serving bag. You can order any of these in bulk for additional discounts or utilize a Subscribe & Save option that will give you 15% off and regular packages.
In order to clarify some of this confusing pricing, we’ve put together a chart that maps the standard cost, subscription cost, and any bulk savings you might get below.
On their website, KOS references both a 60-day and 90-day money-back guarantee. We can confirm that the latest policy dictates a 60-day money-back guarantee. If you aren’t happy with your Organic Plant Protein, you’ll have 60 days from the day you received it to return your open or unopened package for a full refund.
All orders over $49 receive free shipping; as a fun bonus, orders over $25 also receive a free single serving of a different flavor of Organic Plant Protein than what you’ve put in your cart.
Best pea-based blend
Brown rice protein is an excellent pairing with pea protein. It’s full of methionine, the amino acid that’s lacking in pea protein, and is still a relatively sustainable vegan protein option. Transparent Labs uses both pea and brown rice protein to make their plant-based Rice & Pea Protein, an organic and vegan option in their protein series. This protein powder is made with organic rice protein and pea protein isolate, providing a well-rounded protein boost to your day.
Transparent Labs also includes Himalayan rock salt and organic stevia in both flavors they offer (vanilla and chocolate). Unlike other brands, there’s no difference in total protein content between the two flavors, and while there are slight differences in calories, fat, and carbohydrates, the nutritional differences are minimal. (Watching your carbs? Stick to the vanilla flavor.) Each serving contains 24g of protein. Plus, every ingredient is organic, and a minimal list means they can guarantee it’s all vegan.
There is no option for a subscription at this time, meaning that you’ll need to order these jars of protein powder individually. It comes in one size — 2.12lbs — that rings up at $49.99. Transparent Labs offers free shipping on orders to the United States over $99; if you want to order one Organic Vegan Rice & Pea Protein container, you’ll pay $7.99 for standard shipping (5-7 business days). They also offer several faster shipping options, though the price varies depending on what you’ve ordered and where you live.
If you decide it isn’t the best time to start a new protein powder, Transparent Labs offers a 60-day money-back guarantee. Refunds may take up to a week to process, but be sure that you haven’t opened the jar yet. Transparent Labs only accepts unopened, unused food items (like their Organic Vegan Rice & Pea Protein) for a refund within 60 days of purchase. You’ll be responsible for paying for return shipping, too.
Your body is unique. So are its nutritional needs. Gainful recognizes this, and works with you to formulate a protein powder that will fit your goals exactly to help you become your best self. To begin, you’ll take a 5-minute quiz that asks about topics like:
One of our testers reports the following ingredient breakdown in their customized Gainful protein powder:
These protein powders are naturally unflavored and do not contain artificial sweeteners. However, since unflavored protein powders can be difficult to drink on their own, Gainful sends seven individual-sized Flavor Boosts that you can add to your protein powder. There are nine different Flavor Boost types:
You can mix and match two Flavor Boosts per order. If you can’t decide or want to try something new, you can also grab a variety pack, randomly selecting a flavor for you. Their team recommends Strawberry Cream and Chocolate Peanut Butter, which makes sense — higher fat content in those two flavors makes a slightly richer, more filling drink.
The nutrition information varies depending on your personalized formula, but you’ll get anywhere from 19g to 27g of protein per serving. But no matter what your protein powder includes, you’ll be matched with a registered dietician for expert nutritional advice while working toward your goals.
Gainful’s Personalized Protein Powder is sold as a subscription only. The prices vary depending on what goes into your powder, so an exact price is difficult to nail down. However, their website quotes that prices start at $45.00, and our testers found that their pea-based protein powders all rang in around $45.00, so it’s unlikely that you’ll have to pay much more than $45.00. That price is for 14 servings, however, or two weeks’ worth of formula.
Personalized Protein Powder is only available as a subscription that delivers about once a month, though that may change depending on your quiz answers. You can cancel your subscription anytime, so if you try it and don’t like it, you can cancel without penalty. And if you need a refill faster than expected, you can sign in to your account and force a shipment ASAP.
If you are a student, part of the military, or a health and safety worker (including doctors, nurses, and first responders), Gainful will give you a 20% discount on your first six orders. You’ll need to verify your status first, but you’ll receive notice when the discount has been approved. Gainful also offers a 50% off coupon for every friend you refer to their program (who also gets 50% off).
If the thought of being stuck with one size and flavor of pea protein makes your stomach roll, Orgain may have the best option for you. They offer a whopping eight flavors of their Organic Protein Plant Based Protein Powder, which comes in 1.02lb, 1.59lb, 2.03lb, and single-serving packets. (The 1.59lb serving is often out of stock, so we won’t discuss it in detail below.) This USDA-certified organic protein powder is made primarily from pea protein isolate but also contains brown rice protein and organic chia seeds to round out the amino acid profile. It’s also certified plant-based and non-GMO.
Each serving of Orgain’s Organic Protein Plant Based Protein Powder contains 21g of protein, 150 calories, and 6.4mg of iron. Its ingredient list looks a little hefty, but its creamer base (made primarily from sunflower oil), sugar, cocoa, acacia, sea salt, and guar and xanthan gum make sure that the powder sticks together and emulsifies well. It comes in eight flavors, including:
While they advertise being naturally smooth and clump-free, one of our testers found that their formula was still quite grainy, even when mixed with high-fat liquids.
If you know you like Orgain’s plant-based protein, you can join their Subscribe & Save program for 25% off your first purchase. After that first purchase, however, the savings drop to 10% per package. We’ve put together a quick breakdown so that you can see exactly how much you’ll save.
Orgain offers free shipping on all orders over $45 and all of their Subscribe & Save purchases. If you try their Organic Protein Plant Based Protein Powder and don’t like it, you can get a full refund within 30 days. You can find Orgain’s products in a wide range of brick-and-mortar stores, including:
Curious about Orgain’s other offerings? Check out our full review.
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