Dairy-Free Protein Shakes: Why To Use Them & 8 Recipes To Try

Woman in activewear drinking a dairy-free protein shake


Nutrition plays a major role in how our bodies can perform. You already know how important it is to get adequate protein to fuel your workouts – but have you stopped to think if the type of protein you’re using is truly best for you? Should you switch to dairy-free protein shakes?

More and more athletes are going dairy-free when it comes to their protein supplement. And there are some very valid reasons behind this.

Today, we’ll be discussing why people are making the switch to dairy-free protein shakes and what the best dairy-free protein shake base is – and even adding a list of recipes for our favorite dairy-free protein shakes. 

So let’s start by explaining why changing to dairy-free protein shakes would be beneficial for the majority of the world’s athletes. 

Why to make the switch to dairy-free protein shakes

There are many reasons why an athlete would decide to switch to dairy-free protein shakes. Of course, some athletes are vegan, so they are simply going dairy-free to avoid using animal products. But you might be surprised at how many non-vegan athletes steer clear of dairy when it comes to their protein supplement. 

Besides dietary and lifestyle choices, here are the two main reasons you might want to start using dairy-free protein shakes:

You could be lactose-intolerant

Did you know that 68% of the world’s population is lactose intolerant? That means there is a decent chance that you are too! 

Almost all of us were born being able to digest our mother’s milk easily, but as we age, there is no biological reason to keep that adaptation. The majority of people lose the ability to digest milk easily (and specifically the sugar in milk called lactose) as we age. 

So, even if you could drink a glass of milk with dinner as a child, that doesn’t mean it would be a good idea to do so now. 

Do you ever struggle with bloating, discomfort, or gas that you just can find the culprit for? It might be dairy! 

Lactose intolerance can cause symptoms like stomach cramping (or even just gurgling), nausea, diarrhea, bloating, gas, and general intestinal discomfort. And, if you’ve been experiencing any of those symptoms randomly or regularly, it’s worth taking a look at your dairy intake. 

What many athletes don’t think about is that whey protein, one of the most popular protein supplements on the market, is made from milk.

Whey is the liquid that is leftover when milk is curdled to make cheese and other dairy products. That liquid (whey) is then dried and turned into a powder. Whey powder is 100% dairy. So, if you happen to be lactose intolerant, this can spell disaster for you.

No one wants to feel bloated and uncomfortable from their workout supplement. Your protein is supposed to IMPROVE your health, not hinder it! Of course, you can get a whey protein upset stomach even if you aren’t lactose intolerant. Let’s take a look at why. 

Whey protein is difficult to digest 

Whey protein isn’t easy for your stomach to digest. That’s why some people end up with the dreaded “too much protein stomach ache.” If you have a sensitive stomach, whey protein might not be the best option for you. You should find a supplement that is easier for your body to break down and absorb. 

When you examine collagen protein vs whey protein, collagen is naturally easier to digest. Collagen is also a completely dairy-free protein option. In fact, we would say it’s the best dairy-free protein available!

Here’s why.

Collagen: the best base for dairy-free protein shakes

Collagen protein provides numerous benefits that other protein supplements just can’t match – dairy-free or otherwise. While most protein supplements can help you bulk up (and collagen can too, of course), collagen also benefits your body because:

It can help prevent injuries

Collagen is the main structural protein in all your connective tissues. Unfortunately, we make less and less collagen naturally as we age. This makes us more injury prone, because our body can’t easily replenish the collagen fibers to make our muscles, tendons, and ligaments strong and flexible. 

This is where a collagen supplement comes in. When you add collagen to your protein shake, your body can put that powerful protein to work strengthening and stabilizing your tissues to keep you safe. 

It is good for gut health

If you’re looking for a protein powder for sensitive stomachs, collagen is a sure bet. Collagen is not only easy to digest, it may actually improve the symptoms of digestive issues like leaky gut syndrome or irritable bowel syndrome.  

It can keep your joints in top shape

As you’ve already read, collagen can improve the strength and health of your tendons and ligaments in your joints – but it can also improve the health of your cartilage. 

Collagen has been shown to reduce arthritis pain and even help to regrow damaged cartilage, making this supplement a complete powerhouse for your joints. 

It may speed up your healing and recovery time 

Sometimes injuries are unavoidable, or we need surgeries that have nothing to do with our athletic pursuits. That’s just life. But in those instances, we want to get back on our feet as quickly as possible. 

Collagen can help here too. 

Collagen is used in your body's natural healing process, which is why doctors regularly use collagen for wound healing. Taking a collagen supplement may drastically speed up your recovery time.

Even if you aren’t injured, the healing potential of collagen means it can help you recover faster after a hard workout, too. 

With all these benefits of collagen, you can see why it’s our favorite dairy free protein. But not all collagen supplements are created equally. Let’s discuss the best collagen protein to add to your dairy-free protein shakes. 

The top collagen supplement for your shakes

We would advise to stay away from most pre-mixed dairy-free protein shakes because they often contain sweeteners and fillers that aren’t good for your health, let alone your athletic performance. 

The best collagen supplement for dairy-free protein shakes is a hydrolyzed collagen supplement with no sugars or additives. 

Hydrolyzed collagen has been broken down into pieces that are easy for your body to digest. This means it is easier on your stomach, and more effective, since your body can actually absorb and utilize the protein.

We also recommend looking for a liquid collagen protein like Frog Fuel liquid protein shots. These are easy to throw in your dairy-free protein shakes, and you don’t need to worry about clumping or uneven mixing like you would with a protein powder. 

In fact, you can even drink the protein shots on their own and still make use of all the liquid collagen benefits for your body. 

Of course, some of us actually like making protein shakes, so let’s take a look at some of our top dairy-free protein shake recipes.

8 tasty dairy-free protein shake recipes to try 

Not sure where to start with dairy-free protein shakes? Here are our favorite recipes:

1. Mixed Berry Protein Shake

When it comes to our protein shakes, we love to use berries. Berries are chock-full of vitamins and antioxidants, and studies are showing that increased intake of berries may result in lower risk of inflammatory issues, cardiovascular disorders, and cancer. 

Plus – they’re delicious. 

This Mixed Berry Protein Shake is very easy to make. All you need is:

  • 2 sliced, frozen bananas
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk of choice
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 cup frozen raspberries
  • 1 Frog Fuel collagen protein shot

2. PB & J Protein Shake

PB & J isn’t just for sandwiches. It’s also delicious in dairy-free protein shakes. Not only are you getting the benefits of collagen and berries, you’re also getting an extra helping of protein from the peanut butter. 

To make a PB & J Protein Shake, you need:

  • 3 sliced, frozen bananas
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk of choice
  • 2 cups frozen strawberries
  • ¼ cup natural peanut butter
  • 1 Frog Fuel collagen protein shot 

3. Blueberry Spinach Shake

Why not add some veggies to your dairy-free protein shakes? While this might not immediately sound appealing to some people, we’ve tried this shake and can promise – it’s super tasty! 

There are so many benefits of adding spinach to your protein shake. For one, spinach is very high in vitamin C, which is necessary for collagen synthesis. It will help you put your protein supplement to work! In addition, spinach may balance blood glucose levels and improve bone health.

To make a Blueberry Spinach Protein Shake you need: 

  • ¾ cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 cup frozen spinach
  • ½ of a frozen banana
  • 1 cup dairy-free milk of choice
  • 1 Frog Fuel collagen protein shot

4. Strawberry Banana Protein Shake

Strawberry-banana is a classic flavor combination, and now you can use it in your dairy-free protein shakes! All you need to make a Strawberry Banana Protein Shake is:

  • 1 sliced, frozen banana
  • ¾ cup frozen strawberries
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk of choice
  • 1 Frog Fuel collagen protein shot 

5. High-Protein Berry Banana Peanut Butter Shake

Up until now, our protein shake recipes have been fairly simple, but if you want to get a bit more complex with your shakes, you can have a lot of fun adding nutritional elements! 

Hemp and flax seeds are both excellent sources of plant-based protein. AND they are rich in omega-3s, which have numerous health benefits. 

Dates are a healthy way to sweeten your shake without adding actual sugar. Dates are also high in fiber, which may help to aid digestion. 

To make this High-Protein Berry Banana Peanut Butter Shake you need:

  • 1 sliced, frozen banana
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 2 tablespoons of peanut butter
  • ¼ cup old fashioned oats
  • 2 tablespoons of hemp hearts
  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk of choice
  • 1 or 2 pitted dates
  • 1 Frog Fuel collagen protein shot

6. Chocolate Raspberry Protein Shake

Continuing to play with nutritious shake ingredients, this decadent Chocolate Raspberry Protein Shake contains chia seeds, which have been shown to improve heart, intestinal, and immune system health. 

This shake tastes almost too good for how healthy it is. It’s like treating yourself to a post-workout dessert! To make this Chocolate Raspberry Protein Shake you need:

  • 2 sliced, frozen bananas
  • ½ cup frozen raspberries
  • 3 tablespoons cacao powder
  • 3 tablespoons nut butter
  • 3 tablespoons hemp hearts
  • 3 tablespoons ground flaxseed
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1-2 pitted dates
  • 1 cup dairy-free milk of choice
  • 1 Frog Fuel collagen protein shot

7. Berry Cobbler Protein Shake

Speaking of dessert-like protein shakes, why not make dairy-free protein shakes inspired by everyone’s favorite: berry cobbler? This delicious shake contains spices and flavors that you would expect from baked goods – but that go perfectly in your post-workout beverage. 

To make a Berry Cobbler Protein Shake you will need:

  • 1 sliced, frozen banana
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk of choice
  • ¼ cup old-fashioned oats
  • 2 teaspoons ground flaxseed
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup (or to taste)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 Frog Fuel collagen protein shot

8. A plain Frog Fuel protein shot

Don’t feel like mixing up a dairy-free protein shake? No problem! You don’t need to make a shake to get your daily dose of protein. You can simply toss back your Frog Fuel collagen protein shot as is. 

One of the cons of protein powder is that you have to mix it with something. But with liquid protein shots, there is no mixing necessary. You don’t have to measure or shake or blend. You don’t even need to do the dishes. It’s the most convenient way to meet your daily protein needs!

Frog Fuel liquid collagen protein comes in single-serving pouches that are ready to go whenever you are. Put a protein shot in your gym bag, or throw it in your pocket, and it's ready to give you all the protein you need to hit your performance goals. 

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