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Best protein shake for weight gain

Which protein shake for weight gain is best?

Protein shakes designed for weight gain should have different nutritional values than those formulated to help you build lean muscle mass. They should both provide at least 20 grams of protein per serving, but those intended for weight gain should also contain a high number of calories, carbohydrates and even fat.

If you have dietary constraints, you also need to pay attention to the ingredients in any protein shake you are considering. Many contain soy, lactose or other products that some people want to avoid.

This is what makes Fairlife Core Power Elite High Protein Shake a top choice for many. It is not only high in protein and calories, but it is also lactose- and gluten-free. 

What to know before you buy a protein shake for weight gain

Protein shakes vs. protein powder

Protein shakes offer a clear benefit over protein powders in terms of convenience. Unlike powders, shakes don’t require any mixing on your part. They come ready to drink right out of the container, so you don’t need to worry about carrying around a shaker bottle.

This also means you don’t have to worry about improper mixing, resulting in you drinking big clumps of protein powder. Protein shakes are easier to keep cold, too, since the containers tend to fit in small work and office fridges better than shaker bottles, and there is less chance of them leaking if knocked over.

The downside to pre-made protein shakes is that they are more expensive than protein powders. While it is not uncommon to find protein powders that cost 50 cents to $1 per serving, protein shakes often double that cost. 

What are mass gainers?

Mass gainers are a type of protein shake extremely high in calories, most of them over 1,000 calories in a single serving. These are useful for gaining weight but may only be suitable for serious bodybuilders or those who need that many calories.

If you do want a mass gainer shake, make sure to read the label carefully. Many include a variety of non-protein nutrients that may not be ideal for your goals.


While chocolate and vanilla are the most common protein shake flavors, they are by no means the only ones. In fact, the variety is nearly endless. Flavors you may want to try include cookies and cream, strawberry, banana, chocolate peanut butter, coffee, butter pecan, and blueberries and cream. 

What to look for in quality protein shakes for weight gain

Nutritional content

One of the most important things to look at when purchasing a protein shake is the nutritional content. Not everyone has the same needs, and protein shakes vary wildly in terms of calories, fat, protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. Check the label before purchasing a protein shake to ensure it has the right nutritional content for you.

Protein source

Whey is the most popular protein source for protein powders and shakes because it is affordable, quickly burned by the body and ideal for building lean muscle mass. However, it can cause issues for people highly sensitive to lactose. You can also find shakes made with egg, soy, beef, plant and other protein sources.


Just like with most other foods, you can also find certified-organic protein shakes. But you will be limited in your options; many are meal-replacement shakes rather than true protein shakes. The main difference is that meal-replacement shakes contain more nutritional fats and carbs, while protein shakes are mostly protein.

How much you can expect to spend on protein shakes for weight gain

Most protein shakes cost $1.50-$3 per bottle and are sold in eight-  or 12-packs.

Protein shakes for weight gain FAQ

If I drink a protein shake, do I still need to supplement with BCAAs?

A. The answer to this depends on the type of protein shakes you are drinking and what they contain. Most non-vegan protein shakes contain enough branch-chain amino acids that you don’t need to further supplement them. If you are drinking plant-based protein shakes, it may be a good idea to also take a BCAA supplement, depending on their protein source.

Should I drink a protein shake before or after my workout?

A. This is hotly debated among gym-goers. Most studies have shown that it doesn’t really matter whether you take your protein before or after; the results will be the same. But some people may find that drinking a large shake immediately before working out can make them feel bloated or sluggish.

What is the best protein shake for weight gain to buy?

Top protein shake for weight gain

Fairlife Core Power Elite High Protein Shake

What you need to know: This gluten- and lactose-free high-protein shake is a good choice for those with food sensitivities who are looking to pack on some muscle.

What you’ll love: Unlike some other shakes, it doesn’t have a chalky aftertaste. It contains all nine essential amino acids too.

What you should consider: It contains 8 grams of sugar per serving.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top protein shake for weight gain for the money

Muscle Milk Pro Series Protein Shake

What you need to know: A top choice for those trying to pack on lean muscle, Muscle Milk Pro Series boasts 40 grams of protein per serving, but has only 1 gram of sugar.

What you’ll love: It's low in fat, contains 6 grams of fiber and has more than 20 vitamins and minerals.

What you should consider: It contains both soy and milk ingredients.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Boost Very High Calorie Complete Nutritional Drink

What you need to know: If you need a meal-replacement protein shake for busy days or are simply trying to inject more calories into your diet without having to eat a lot of extra food, this drink is the way to go. 

What you’ll love: It packs 530 calories into an 8-ounce serving, so you get the energy you're looking for without feeling bloated. It's made without any artificial flavors or sweeteners. 

What you should consider: Unless you are very active, you may wind up gaining some fat in addition to muscle mass.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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Brett Dvoretz writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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