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Easy Protein Recipes for the Rest of Us

Updated on September 11, 2014

The web is full of good protein recipes, from bars to cookies to cupcakes and everything in between. The only problem is that these recipes all tend to live at the nutritional extremes. has a wealth of excellent recipes, but these recipes call for a laundry list of expensive ingredients and obscure flavors of whey protein, like brown rice flour and cookie dough whey protein powder. These recipes are excellent for the bodybuilding enthusiast but a bit unreasonably costly for the average lifter to make on a weekly basis.

I like protein.  Do you like protein?
I like protein. Do you like protein?

On the other end of the spectrum, most cooking blogs (my favorite is Sally's Baking Addiction) offer a few very good recipes involving protein. The drawback here being many of them only call for one or two scoops of protein and plenty of butter and sugar besides. I don't know about you, but I'm not here to build a candy bar, I'm here to build house. In my world, 8-10 grams of protein isn't enough to even get out of bed for. So, with that in mind, here are some general tips for baking with protein and an example recipe.

If I wanted a candy bar, I'd just eat a candy bar.
If I wanted a candy bar, I'd just eat a candy bar. | Source

Protein powder is dry. Really dry.

When baking with protein powder, the batter tends to get very dry and clumpy, which leads to a dry and difficult to eat snack. To compensate for this, you need to add extra wet ingredients. Since you want to keep your protein snack relatively healthy, you can use Greek yogurt or apple sauce in place of extra butter. Greek yogurt is good for increasing the protein per serving while apple sauce is good for keeping overall calories per serving low.

When using a lot of protein, the final batter also tends to be very sticky. I highly recommend using a good quality electric mixer to combine the wet and dry ingredients.

Protein goes rancid fast. Really fast.

Snacks baked with a lot of protein tend to spoil and go rancid much faster than traditional baked goods. This is especially true if you're also including Greek yogurt and/or apple sauce. You don't want to make more than you can eat in 4-5 days. A lot of protein snacks also taste good cold, so making something that can refrigerate will also help to make your tasty treats last a few days longer.

What protein powder to buy.

It doesn't make much of difference (with some exceptions - see the below image). You don't need to worry about quality of taste since it won't be the predominant flavor in the final product. At the same time, you don't want some bottom-shelf bargain bin protein. Not only is the protein content dubious but the taste is awful no matter how you prepare it. I like to use MuscleTech Phase 8. It's too thick to mix well into a traditional shake, but the flavor is good and it's cheap to boot, so it's ideal for baking.

Body Fortress whey protein.  If you love yourself, you will never, ever buy this.
Body Fortress whey protein. If you love yourself, you will never, ever buy this.

With all that in mind, below is a favorite recipe of mine for vanilla protein cookies. It's a take on traditional sugar cookies that provides a delicious low calorie, high protein bedtime snack. You're not going to find a million pictures of each step because 1) there's only two steps and 2) if you can't figure out how to mix flour, baking soda, and protein powder, you might not need to be baking in the first place. You probably just scrolled down to find the recipe anyway.

Feel free to post any of your own protein creations in the comments!

  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 scoops vanilla whey protein powder
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 3/4 cup plain, non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup Stevia (or other calorie-free sweetener)
  • 1 large egg
Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 15 min
Ready in: 30 min
Yields: roughly 18 cookies
4 stars from 1 rating of Vanilla Protein Cookies

Vanilla Protein Cookies

  1. Combine the flour, baking soda, and protein.
  2. Mix in the melted butter, sugar, and greek yogurt.
  3. Drop by 1/8 cup (2 tablespoon) balls onto a greased baking sheet.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.
The final product.  I know what you're thinking: what's this low quality tin foil covered iPhone photo crap?  You're here for a recipe, not a pretty picture.
The final product. I know what you're thinking: what's this low quality tin foil covered iPhone photo crap? You're here for a recipe, not a pretty picture.

Nutritional Info

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 3 Cookies
Calories 283
Calories from Fat108
% Daily Value *
Fat 12 g18%
Saturated fat 7 g35%
Unsaturated fat 2 g
Carbohydrates 27 g9%
Sugar 3 g
Fiber 1 g4%
Protein 18 g36%
Cholesterol 64 mg21%
Sodium 700 mg29%
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

The nutritional info was calculated using myfitnesspal. Your cookies may be a bit off from this depending on what whey protein you use, but it should be within the ballpark. There are lots of good sites to choose from for calculating and tracking calories. I highly recommend the daily plate.


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    • PhillipJ profile imageAUTHOR

      Jeff Durst 

      4 years ago

      I would say an average lifter is anyone serious about lifting but not interested in competing.

      If you don't understand that fresh, healthy food can also come out of an oven, I think you're missing the core concept of how food works.

      Is body building (by which I assume you mean strength training) good for you? It has a substantially lower injury rate than running and other cardiovascular exercises ( and has shown benefits for retaining mobility and bone density as we age ( The list of health benefits for strength training goes on from there, but I think you get the point.

    • Jay C OBrien profile image

      Jay C OBrien 

      4 years ago from Houston, TX USA

      I saw this article while Hopping a Hub, so I thought I would write you.

      You wrote, "These recipes are excellent for the bodybuilding enthusiast but a bit unreasonably costly for the average lifter to make on a weekly basis."

      What is an average lifter?

      It is my understanding good health comes from fresh food. Stop baking.

      Is body building good for you?


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