BestReviews is reader-supported and may earn an affiliate commission. Details
Micellar casein delivers a steady stream of BCAAs to muscles for up to eight hours, promoting recovery and growth even while you sleep. Delivers 24g of protein in exchange for only 120 calories. Enhanced with Aminogen to aid protein digestion and absorption. Available in a wide range of appealing flavors.
Contains some sweeteners and additives.
Unflavored with no added sugar and easy to blend. Derived from single-source Grade A dairy from Idaho. Slow protein absorption supports muscle development. Ultra-low lactose is great for those with dairy sensitivities.
With only 15 servings per container, some wish it came in a larger quantity.
Pure micellar casein provides a steady release of branched chain amino acids to help boost recovery and prevent muscle breakdown. Cold-pressed to preserve quality and purity. Offers 24g of protein per serving. 10 grams of BCAAS, L-Glutamine, and precursors per serving.
Scattered complaints about general taste and potability when mixed.
Quality, slow-release micellar casein and a low calorie count make this shake an ideal bedtime snack. Contains 25g of protein with 2.3g of L-leucine to stimulate protein synthesis. Mixes well and comes in a variety of rich and delicious flavors. No sugar, low carbs, and low fat.
Contains some artificial flavorings and sweeteners.
Micellar casein keeps muscles in an anabolic state for prolonged periods. Contains coconut oil powder to slow casein breakdown. High calcium content. Low in carbs, fat, and sodium. Delivers 25g of high-quality protein at 150 calories per serving. Simple ingredients with no artificial colors or flavors.
Flavors can be a bit hit and miss. Fine-textured powder is somewhat messy.
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.
Casein is a milk-based protein that contains all of the essential amino acids your body needs. It’s important to make an effort to eat foods containing amino acids because the body doesn’t manufacture them naturally. Whether you’re trying to lose weight or looking for a supplement that will help rejuvenate your muscles after a workout, casein protein powder is a popular option.
Casein protein isn’t the same as whey protein, though both are derivatives of milk. The proteins can be separated chemically, such as in the cheese-making process. Some people find casein protein powder to be the better supplement of the two; others prefer whey protein powder. We created this shopping guide to help you determine if casein protein powder would be a good addition to your diet.
Our guide to casein protein powders highlights the important facts you should know as a protein powder consumer and provides answers to frequently asked questions. We also point you in the direction of some excellent casein protein powder products.
First things first: why would you want to supplement your diet with a protein powder? After all, some would argue that you can get enough protein from eating meat and other foods.
One of the biggest reasons is convenience. It’s very easy to add a scoop or two of protein powder to a smoothie, shake, or your morning bowl of oatmeal. In so doing, you get a large amount of protein – often as much as 25 grams – along with a number of other fortifying components that your body needs.
There are numerous types of protein powder on the market today: casein, whey, soy, pea, and hemp are five of the most popular. Regardless of which type you choose, you’ll likely be using it for one or more of the following reasons:
Build muscle: Supplementing with protein powder can give you the protein you need to build and repair muscle. Athletes and bodybuilders in particular may be interested in this benefit.
Snack healthfully: With protein powder in your pantry, you have a snacking alternative (or a meal supplement) that can help you feel fuller longer. For dieters, satiety is one of the keys to a successful weight loss program.
Supplement a vegetarian diet: Vegetarians who wish to avoid eating meat, whether for health or ethical reasons, can receive a hefty portion of their daily protein requirement from any of the protein powders mentioned above. However, vegans would not want to use casein or whey protein powders because these contain animal products.
Consumers often confuse casein protein and whey protein, or they assume that the two are interchangeable. It’s true that both of these health supplements come from milk, but each offers distinct benefits.
The skinny on casein protein powder
Casein protein powder contains peptides that are good for your heart, digestive tract, and immune system. Consuming casein protein powder may have a positive effect on blood pressure, and it may boost your ability to digest nutrients like calcium and phosphorus.
Some people prefer casein protein powder because it moves at a slow pace through the digestive tract. Because of this slow movement, some people choose to consume a casein protein powder supplement at night, before going to sleep. For bodybuilders looking for a gradual and consistent release of protein in the body, drinking a casein powder shake an hour or so before bed can be an ideal regimen. Some dieters also find that casein protein powder helps them feel fuller longer.
The skinny on whey protein powder
Whey protein contains immunoglobulins that may help combat the growth of microbes and bacteria in the body. Promising studies suggest that the antioxidants found in casein protein may also help protect the body against tumors and cancer.
Whey protein accounts for 80% of the protein in milk, whereas casein only accounts for 20%. It doesn’t move slowly through the digestive tract like casein protein powder does. Some people with lactose intolerance may also have problems consuming whey protein powder.
Perhaps one of the most important features to consider before buying a particular casein protein powder is flavor. After all, if it doesn’t taste good, you won’t want to consume it.
The taste of unflavored casein protein powder leaves something to be desired. If you plan to mix it in a smoothie with fruits and perhaps a veggie or two, however, you’ll want a powder that’s unflavored. If you intend to mix it with just milk or water, a flavored casein protein powder will be more appetizing. Common flavors are chocolate and vanilla, but we’ve seen other delicious options as well, such as mocha, cookies and cream, strawberry, and butter pecan.
If you’re cutting back on carbs or perhaps even following a keto diet, you’ll want to find out how many carbs are in a particular casein protein powder supplement before you buy it. If you’re counting calories, you’ll also want to know how many calories are in a serving. And of course, you’ll be interested to know how much protein you’re getting per serving of casein protein powder.
Carbs: Most casein protein powders contain few carbs. Some powders have up to six grams of carbs per serving, but there are many with fewer. Even if you were to consume a serving of a casein protein powder with six grams of carbs, this would only account for about 2% of your carb intake for the day. If you’re following a zero-carb regimen, however, be sure to find a protein powder with zero carbohydrates.
Calories: Your container of casein protein powder should come with a scoop you can use to measure out one serving. In most cases, the number of calories per scoop is well below 200. Based on our research, the actual calorie count in a scoop of casein protein powder ranges from approximately 110 to 140. Of course, you’ll want to consult the nutritional label on your canister to find out for sure.
Protein: On average, you can expect to get about 25 grams of protein per serving of casein protein powder. Just like carbs and calories, however, this number may vary from package to package. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), average adult men need about 56 grams of protein each day, and average adult women need about 46 grams of protein each day.
Milk allergy is a problem that usually kicks in at infancy, if it starts at all. Symptoms of milk allergy can include congestion, hives, and facial swelling. Anaphylaxis may also occur. Children often outgrow their allergy to casein and/or whey protein, but some adults deal with this problem for their entire lives.
If you have a milk allergy, you should not consume casein protein powder. Instead, consider a nondairy option, such as hemp protein powder or pea protein powder.
Price per ounce: If you want to truly compare the price of one casein protein powder to another, it helps to know how much each product costs per ounce. For example, there are casein protein powders that cost as little as $0.50 per ounce and others that cost as much as $1.50 per ounce.
A product that costs over a dollar per ounce is more likely to be free of additives and fillers. The ingredients are likely to be of premium quality, and the powder is also likely to taste better. If you’re a serious athlete or bodybuilder and/or a frequent consumer of protein powder, it may be worth your while to pay this higher price.
However, if you’re trying protein powder for the first time or just want an occasional supplement, you might wish to consider a lower per-ounce price. A lot of casein protein powders that cost less than a dollar per ounce also contain whey protein.
Price per container: The price of a container of casein protein powder isn’t necessarily an indicator of quality. You could get a large $15 container of protein powder that costs only $0.15 per ounce, or you could get a much smaller $15 container of protein powder that costs $1.50 per ounce. In other words, the price tag alone doesn’t reflect the quality of the supplement inside.
That said, you can expect to spend anywhere from $15 to $215 for a container of casein protein powder. Most of the containers on store shelves cost somewhere between $20 and $90.
Q. Some casein protein powders are called “micellar” casein while others are not. What’s the difference?
A. The difference lies in how the casein is extracted from the milk. In the case of micellar casein, the casein is extracted from the milk via filtration. Other forms of casein are extracted from milk using heat or acid. Manufacturers of micellar casein protein powder tout their form of casein as superior. The reason: the protein is thought to degrade less during the filtration process, allowing it to maintain more of its nutritional integrity.
Q. I’m lactose intolerant. Can I supplement with casein protein powder?
A. To fully answer this question, it’s important that you first understand the mechanism behind lactose intolerance. Lactose is a milk sugar that, in most people, is broken down by an enzyme in the body called lactase. People with lactose intolerance do not have sufficient lactase to break down lactose. It has nothing to do with casein, which is a milk protein. However, a person who is lactose intolerant could also have a milk allergy.
If you have a milk allergy, you should not supplement with casein protein powder. An allergic reaction to the protein found in milk could cause symptoms ranging from mild to severe – anything from minor itching to anaphylactic shock. If you have doubts about the safety of incorporating protein powder into your diet, it’s best to consult your physician first.
Get emails you’ll love.
Learn about the products you’re wondering if you should buy and get advice on using your latest purchases.