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Food & Recipes

Recipes Using Vanilla Protein Powder That Aren’t Smoothies — 5 Fast & Delicious Ideas

We've got waffles, carrot cake and more — and they're all so delicious!

We love a breakfast protein smoothie or shake as much as the next person. They’re quick, delicious and easy to pack full of nutrients our bodies need. But if you’d like to add a little variety to your morning routine, and you want to get the most out of that expensive jug of vanilla protein powder, we have good news. There are several tasty and convenient vanilla protein powder recipes that aren’t smoothies. That’s right — you can get your protein by eating pancakes, banana bread or even carrot cake. Keep reading to see what dietitians and nutritionists say about baking with vanilla protein powder and to check out some of our favorite recipes.

Benefits of adding vanilla protein powder to recipes

Adding vanilla protein powder to baked good recipes is a delicious and convenient way to hit your health targets in a variety of ways, according to Omaira Ferreira, FDN-P, HHP, founder of Ferreira Functional Health. She notes that some of the top benefits of boosting the protein content of your recipes are:

  1. Muscle recovery and growth: “Adding vanilla protein powder to recipes can help provide the amino acids needed to support muscle recovery after workouts and promote muscle building.”
  2. Nutrient density: “Protein powders often contain additional nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and sometimes fiber.”
  3. Weight management: “Protein is known to increase satiety and help regulate appetite, making you feel fuller for longer.” And that can help you lose weight. Click through to see how morning protein can boost weight loss and read about 62-year-old Pam Hambach, who lost 163 lbs!

Tip: Click through to learn why a protein-rich breakfast is a smart way to heal your adrenals to increase your energy and erase brain fog.

The best vanilla protein powders

Ultimately, the best protein powder is one that fits within your dietary and nutritional needs. There are both plant-based and dairy options. However, the world of protein powders is a vast one, so we asked Susan Van Raes, functional nutritionist, food psychology specialist and founder of Boulder Nutrition, how she picks her favorite.

“I have done so much research on protein powders over the years, and my favorites are those that are clean, have low-glycemic sweeteners and pure ingredients,” she says. Among her favorites: Ancient Nutrition Vanilla Plant Protein (Buy from Ancient Nutrition, $38.21) as a dairy- free option, and for those who can tolerate dairy, IsaLean by IsaGenix (Buy from IsaGenix, $52). (Want more options? Click through for some of the best protein powders for women over 40.)

How to bake with vanilla protein powder

Vanilla protein powder can be added to many baking recipes, and here are some tips to keep in mind to guarantee delicious results:

1. Keep goodies tender with extra liquid.

While adding vanilla protein powder to recipes packs on nutritional value, it can also change the texture of the finished product. “It can make recipes denser, drier or more crumbly,” says Ferreira. “To counteract this, you can try adding additional liquid ingredients or adjusting the overall recipe to ensure a moist and tender texture.”

2. Watch your sugar.

Because vanilla protein powder is already sweet, you should be careful when adding it to recipes so as not to over-sweeten. “There are some protein powders that have added sugar, honey or artificial sweeteners,” says Catherine Gervacio, RDN, Certified Exercise Nutrition Coach at Health Cana. “Therefore, it’s best to adjust the taste of a recipe and consider adjusting the levels of other ingredients, especially when making desserts.”

3. Pick this powder for high-heat baking.

Since the most popular way to consume vanilla protein powder is in smoothies and shakes, you might wonder whether or not baking it impacts its nutritional content. While heat can potentially alter the bioavailability and digestibility or protein powder, it isn’t likely to happen while baking, reassures Ferreira. “The impact of baking on nutritional value is generally minimal unless the protein powder is subjected to very high temperatures for a long time.”

“It’s worth noting that different protein powders have different heat stability levels,” she adds. “For example, whey protein isolate tends to be more heat-stable compared to plant-based protein powders like pea or hemp protein.”

Vanilla protein powder recipes that aren’t smoothies

Good news: You actually can have your cake and eat it too. By adding vanilla protein powder to these tasty breakfast and dessert treats, you’re satisfying your sweet tooth and your hunger in a healthy way. Keep reading for some of our favorite vanilla protein powder recipes.

Gervacio’s Protein Pancakes

Overhead shot of a plate of panckaes topped with bananas and nuts with a small bowl of nuts on the side.
Arx0nt/Getty Images

Gervacio easy protein pancakes are sure to be a new brunch staple.


  • 1 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1 ripe banana
  • ½ cup milk of choice
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 drop vanilla extract
  • 1 whole egg
  • Cooking spray or small amount of oil


  1. Blend all ingredients except oil until smooth, adding milk as needed for thinning.
  2. Heat a greased nonstick pan or skillet on medium high.
  3. Pour batter on skillet, flipping once bubbles form on surface of batter.
  4. Serve with fresh berries or Greek yogurt.

Skinny Crepes

A plate of crepes with jam, chocolate and a glass of milk in the background.
JupiterImages/Getty Images

This protein-packed version of the French classic would be delicious filled with a smear of peanut butter.


  • ¾ cup milk
  • 3 egg whites
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 5 scoops vanilla protein powder
  • 3 Tbs. coconut oil, melted
  • 2 Tbs. maple syrup


  1. In blender, blitz milk and egg whites. Add flour, protein powder, oil and syrup. Cover; chill 1-6 hours.
  2. Heat nonstick skillet over medium; coat with cooking spray. Add 3 Tbs. batter, swirling to cover bottom of pan.
  3. Cook until crepe starts to set, about 1 minute.
  4. Using a small spatula, gently lift and flip crepe. Cook until lightly golden, 1 minute.
  5. Repeat with remaining batter. Enjoy with low-sugar jam or preserves.

Protein-Packed Vanilla Belgian Waffles

Belgian waffle topped with mixed berries.
bhofack2/Getty Images

We like to finish these with a dollop of Greek yogurt and plenty of fresh berries.


  • 1 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tbs. butter, melted
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour


  1. In bowl, whisk first 5 ingredients until combined; gently fold in flour, 1 cup at a time, until batter just forms.
  2. Heat waffle maker according to manufacturer’s directions; coat with cooking spray. In batches, cook batter according to manufacturer’s directions.

Powered-Up Banana Bread

A loaf of chocolate chip banana bread on a white plate with one slice cut from it.

This treat has all the delicious flavors of Grandma’s banana bread along with an impressive 30 grams protein per slice.


  • 2 bananas, mashed
  • ¾ cup 2% milk
  • ½ cup nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 2 Tbs. maple syrup
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups self-rising flour
  • 1 cup vanilla protein powder
  • 6 Tbs. peanut butter powder
  • ¾ cup chocolate chips


  1. Heat oven to 350°F and line 8″ loaf pan with parchment paper.
  2. In large bowl, combine bananas, milk, yogurt, syrup and eggs; gently fold in flour, protein powder, peanut butter powder and chips.
  3. Transfer batter to pan.
  4. Bake until domed and golden brown, 45 min.
  5. Let cool completely before slicing.

Gooey Carrot Cake

Slice of carrot cake topped with whipped cream.
Cris Cantón/Getty Images

This treat, developed by personal trainer Courtney Nielsen, author of Protein Powder Cooking (Buy from Amazon, $17.95), is packed with just as much protein as it is flavor!


  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • ⅔ cup dates
  • 1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas
  • ¼ cup cashews
  • 1 cup vanilla protein powder
  • 4 oz. cream cheese
  • ¾ cup ground flax
  • 1 Tbs. coconut oil
  • ⅓ cup stevia
  • 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Puree ingredients in food processor, and pour into 8″ square pan.
  3. Bake for 25 minutes.

To discover more about how protein powder can help you feel your best:

Protein Brownies: Women Over 50 Are Eating Them for Breakfast and Losing 100+ Lbs

Top Nutrition Scientist: Adding Extra Protein To Your First Meal of the Day is The *Best* Way to Fire Up Metabolism

Stay Energized With the Best Vegan Protein Powders for Women

Adding This Powder To Your Daily Diet Can Help You Burn Stubborn Belly Fat Faster

This content is not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always consult your physician before pursuing any treatment plan.

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