Interestingly, the idea of baking with protein powder tends to elicit one of two responses.
Either it seems like a completely overwhelming challenge as to how to add protein powder to baked goods, or people assume that it’s so simple and straightforward that there are no special considerations that will need to go into place when baking with protein powder.
Ultimately, the reality lies somewhere in the middle of these two extremes.
Baking with protein powder isn’t particularly challenging once you get the hang of it, but there are some important considerations and recipe modifications you will need to implement if you want protein powder baked goods and protein powder recipes to come out well.
In this guide, we will discuss the benefits of baking with protein powder, the best type of protein powder to bake with, and how to add protein powder to baked goods.
We will cover:
- How to Add Protein Powder to Baked Goods
- What Type of Protein Powder Is Best for Baking?
- Tips for Baking with Protein Powder
Let’s get started!
How to Add Protein Powder to Baked Goods
Protein is necessary to build muscle and can help increase satiety and thus support weight loss, so adding protein powder to baked goods is a great way to make high-protein treats and add protein to your diet in a tasty way.
Baking with protein powder can make baked goods healthier and can disguise the chalky, gritty, or unpleasant taste of trying to drink a protein shake—a win-win!
However, in most cases, you can’t just substitute protein powder for flour when baking using a one-to-one ratio in a recipe and expect to have a tasty, good-textured baked good.Unlike cooking, in which you can generally modify recipes fairly easily without really changing the end product, pastry chefs consider baking to be a “science.“
What this means is that recipes for baked goods like breads, muffins, cookies, cakes, etc., need to be followed as written if you want to get the correct texture and taste you would expect from baking that type of food.
This is why you can’t just add protein powder to a baked good recipe without making any adjustments or specifically choosing a recipe with protein powder already worked into it.
Similarly, you can’t swap out some of the other dry ingredients in a baked good recipe with protein powder and come out with a high-protein muffin, bread, or cookie that actually holds together and tastes good.
Protein powder reacts differently to the other ingredients in most baked goods, and you have to make compensations for the textual changes when baking with protein powder.
What Type of Protein Powder Is Best for Baking?
There are several things to consider when you are learning how to bake with protein powder.
First and foremost, you have to decide what type of protein powder to use in baked goods.
There are pros and cons of baking with each type of protein powder (for example, baking with whey protein powder vs egg protein), as well as whether you should use flavored vs plain protein powder for baking recipes.
The density of a baked good using protein powder will change slightly depending on the type of protein powder that you use.
Furthermore, depending on how much protein powder you add to the recipe, certain types of protein powder may require more significant adjustments and how much liquid you add.
Otherwise, some protein powder baking recipes have the tendency to feel really dry and flavorless because the protein powder absorbs some of the moisture as the food bakes and/or sits in your refrigerator.
Let’s take a look at the different options:
Whey Protein Powder
Additionally, whey protein powder often causes digestive distress when consumed in excess or with anyone who has a dairy sensitivity.
Even though the lactose in whey protein should be relatively low, the bloating and gassiness seem to be attributable to something else about whey protein powder.
Baking with whey protein powder generally makes the baked good pretty dense and thick.
Therefore, if you want to add whey protein powder to baked goods, it tends to work best in pudding, protein ice cream, homemade protein bars, homemade protein fudge, and homemade protein cakes or muffins that you want to have a heft or density to rather than a light, airy texture.
It is also pretty challenging to find unflavored whey protein, so usually, if you are looking for how to add whey protein powder to baking recipes, you will need to think about the flavor you are using and what it might work well in.
Chocolate whey protein powder and vanilla whey protein powder are obviously going to be the most versatile options for baking, but even the more exotic flavors, like chocolate peanut butter protein powder, work really well in high-protein ice cream or high-protein overnight oats.
One thing to know is if you do use unflavored whey protein powder, some say that the final baked product has a mild cheesy flavor, which certainly isn’t ideal for certain baked goods unless you don’t mind a slightly salty, umami flavor.
Alternatively, you can try to mask this whey protein powder taste with stronger flavors in the baking recipe, like chocolate, peanut butter, or cinnamon, when adding unflavored whey protein powder to baked goods.
Soy Protein Powder
However, soy protein powder is vegan, and it is generally easier to add soy protein powder to baked goods because it has a nice, subtle but sweet, nutty flavor.
Soy protein powder tends to work well in high-protein brownie recipes, high-protein muffin recipes, and high-protein granola bars or protein bites you might make.
It can make for a slightly gritty texture if you use too much of it or don’t mix it in well, but the premium soy protein powders tend to work in baking recipes.
Pea Protein Powder
Pea protein powder is another good plant-based protein powder option.
However, the flavor does tend to be pretty earthy or grassy, sort of what you would expect from baking with pea protein, and it can be a little bit salty as well.
For this reason, if you are looking for how to add pea protein powder to baked goods, consider savory baking applications like high-protein bread, healthy zucchini muffin recipes, high-protein pizza dough, high-protein carrot cake, etc.
Baking With Other Protein Powders
Casein and egg white protein are other types of protein powders that can work well when you want to bake with protein powders.
Casein protein powder tends to have a notable cheese flavor, even stronger than whey protein powder, so a blend of casein and whey protein powder is usually a better choice.
Egg white protein powder can work well, but it is acidic, tends to be salty, and can make the baked good pretty dense because it really sucks up moisture.
Finally, plant-based protein powders that use a blend of ingredients like brown rice protein, pea protein, and pumpkin seed protein together work really well for a more well-rounded flavor profile in high-protein muffin recipes, high-protein brownie recipes, etc.
Tips for Baking with Protein Powder
Here are a few tips for baking with protein powder:
#1: Dissolve The Protein Powder
One tip for how to add protein powder to baking recipes without making the final product gritty or chalky is to dissolve the protein powder in the liquid for the recipe first and then add it to the rest of the dough or mixture.
Don’t add the protein powder directly to the dry ingredients.
Basically, add the protein powder to the liquid in the recipe and dissolve it into a homogenous liquid; you can then treat that just like the wet ingredients rather than keeping the protein powder with the dry ingredients.
#2: Use Small Quantities
Don’t substitute more than a quarter cup of flour for protein powder, at least to start.
See how the recipe responds after you have used protein powder instead of flour in just a small quantity before adjusting the recipe further.
#3: Lower the Oven Temp
Lower the temperature of the oven by 25°F when baking with protein powder to prevent your baked goods from becoming overly dry.
#4: Incorporate Liquid
Add at least equal parts liquid for the amount of protein powder you add to a recipe, even if you are substituting flour for protein powder.
For example, if you add a quarter cup of protein powder to the baking recipe instead of a quarter cup of flour that the recipe calls for, don’t just follow the rest of the recipe with the liquid portion as is; still, increase the liquid by an additional quarter cup.
#5: Don’t Overmix
Don’t overmix! Just stir until everything is combined.
Don’t expect perfection; it may take time to find protein powder baking recipes that work! Check out some of our protein powder recipes here.