Chocolate Protein Shake (Protein Powder-Free!)

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Glass of our Chocolate Protein Shake topped with fresh raspberries and hemp seeds

Protein smoothies are great and all, but sometimes it’s nice to just eat real food instead of a powder.

Would you believe us if we said you can make a delicious plant-based protein shake with more than 20 grams of protein, without any protein powder? It’s true!

Is it delicious? So delicious.
Is it easy? Probably the easiest.
Do you likely have all the ingredients you need right now? Yup.

Let’s do this!

Marble and wood cutting board filled with ingredients for making our Protein Powder-Free Chocolate Protein Shake

We don’t have anything against protein powders. They are convenient and sometimes even delicious — see our vanilla, chocolate, and flavored protein powder reviews for proof!

But there are times when it’s nice to put in the extra effort for a whole food, DIY version. Especially when it comes together with just 7 ingredients, 1 blender, and 5 minutes.

Blender filled with ingredients for making our delicious real food Chocolate Protein Shake

Frozen banana provides natural sweetness and a creamy texture while cacao powder adds chocolaty goodness. It basically feels like eating dessert for breakfast. I mean, does it get any better than that?

Hemp seeds, nut butter, and chia seeds are the whole food, protein-packed trio that makes this recipe such a game changer. Paired with some oats for fiber, they give this shake a seriously satiating effect to power you through to your next meal.

Pouring a serving of our Chocolate Protein Shake from a measuring glass

We hope you’ll LOVE this shake. It’s:

Creamy
Chocolaty
Protein-rich
Naturally sweetened
Healthy
& Delicious!

This would make the perfect nutritious breakfast meal (with 23 g protein per shake!), hearty post-workout recovery drink, or seriously tasty treat.

Into smoothies? Be sure to check out our Golden Milk Smoothie, Banana Avocado Green Smoothie, and Blueberry Almond Butter Smoothie!

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Sprinkling hemp seeds onto a glass of Protein Powder-Free Chocolate Shake

Chocolate Protein Shake (Protein Powder-Free!)

Simple 7-ingredient, plant-based shake made with protein-rich whole food ingredients and NO protein powder. Creamy, chocolaty, naturally sweetened, and just 1 blender and 5 minutes to prepare.
Author Minimalist Baker
Print
Glass of our plant-based Chocolate Protein Shake topped with fresh raspberries and hemp seeds
4.91 from 63 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 1 (generous)
Course Beverage, Breakfast
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Vegan
Freezer Friendly 1 month
Does it keep? 1 Day

Ingredients

  • 1 ripe banana (peeled and frozen)
  • 2 Tbsp hemp seeds*
  • 1/4 cup gluten-free oats*
  • 2 Tbsp natural salted peanut butter (or sub almond butter, cashew butter, or seed butter of choice)
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 - 2 Tbsp cacao powder (to taste)
  • 1 ½ - 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 - 2 pitted dates or maple syrup (to sweeten // optional)

Instructions

  • To a high-speed blender, add banana, hemp seeds, oats, peanut butter (or other nut or seed butter), chia seeds, cacao powder, and almond milk (starting with lesser end of range) and blend on high until creamy and smooth, scraping down sides as needed.
  • Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more cacao powder for chocolate flavor, nut butter for creaminess or saltiness, almond milk to thin, or dates or maple syrup to sweeten (optional).
  • Enjoy immediately, or store covered in the refrigerator up to 1 day (though best when fresh). See notes for freezing options*.

Video

Notes

*Hemp seeds can be hard for some people to digest. If you have trouble tolerating them, substitute an additional 1 Tbsp (12 g) chia seeds and 1 Tbsp (7 g) flaxseed meal (amounts as recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size).
*If you can’t tolerate oats, we recommend leaving them out and subbing in another Tbsp each of hemp seeds and chia seeds (amount as recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size).
*If desired, you can freeze leftovers into popsicle or ice cube molds, which should keep for up to 1 month in the freezer.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate for 1 shake calculated with peanut butter, greater end of range for cacao powder, lesser end of range for almond milk, and no additional sweeteners or optional ingredients.

Nutrition (1 of 1 servings)

Serving: 1 smoothie Calories: 646 Carbohydrates: 64.9 g Protein: 23.3 g Fat: 36.6 g Saturated Fat: 5.2 g Sodium: 265 mg Potassium: 1384 mg Fiber: 13.7 g Sugar: 18.4 g

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  1. SA says

    I left out the hemp seeds and added one spoon of maple syrup (I have a sweet tooth) and only used 1.25c almond milk because I ran out and it was really good! My baby is dairy intolerant and I’m breast feeding so this really hot the spot for a sweet treat! Thank you so much!

  2. Nicole says

    I LOVED this. This is amazing because I am very prone to “sugar crashes” (can’t drink fruit-forward smoothies), but had no problems with this delicious chocolatey one!

    I felt like I was eating chocolate pudding. (I add less mylk to my smoothies.) I could eat it for dessert, honestly. :-)

  3. Ericka says

    Yeah, I had this for dinner tonight…..winning, because I am exhausted and this took such little effort! I prefer room temp drinks sooo this was perfect for me!

  4. Brandy says

    This is a really great shake and I’ve made it a lot. It is a little too thick and not cold enough for me so I started making it with 2 cups almond milk and still adding ice. Love it! Then I took it a bit further and added frozen cubes of coffee plus a tiny pinch of salt for next level yum! I’ve also added a scoop of instant coffee with good results.

  5. Samantha says

    I didn’t use the oats because of the high carb rating but I ended up putting in collagen peptides powder, almond butter, a handful of spinach and frozen blueberries and it was a hit! I’ve never had a chocolate shake before and I’ve been missing out!!

  6. Kris says

    I made this today, lovely! I did 1 TB of salted peanut butter and 1 TB of Trader Joe’s Cookie butter (yes not the healthiest) but it was delicious!!

    Even without the 1 TB of Cookie butter, it’s scrumptious!

  7. Stine says

    My new favorite shake! It’s so holesome, filing, creamy and delicious. I have used almond or hazelnut butter and it’s yum. The perfect breakfast or snack.

  8. VK says

    One needs to soak all the seeds, including hemp (2-4hrs) and chia (30mins-1hr) and oats (12-24hrs) to break down phytic acid and naturally and making it easier for them to be digested. This is a lovely recipe and I am going to try it but I just wanted to let people know that pre-soaked nuts, seeds and oats are the ONLY way to consume them, even as per ayurveda.

    Thanks for the recipe and great pictures!

  9. Tracy says

    I was so excited to find a delicious protein shake with minimal, natural ingredients … thank you! The flavor is fantastic made exactly as outlined in the recipe.

    My shake did come out very frothy. Any suggestion(s) on how to minimize the frothiness? I used a Blendtec blender on the smoothie setting to combine the ingredients.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you enjoyed it, Tracy! Thanks for sharing! The frothiness could be from an additive in your dairy-free milk or perhaps too much liquid?

  10. Denise says

    Would quinoa or cooked lentils work as well for fiber instead of oats? Of course adjusting liquid and taste >>>>>>

  11. Srinivasanyadav says

    Nice & delicious.. along with this we can add the powder of Almonds, cashews, wallnuts & pistachios.. & instead of white sugar we can add honey.. & also we can add 1 tsp of Ashwagandha..

  12. Nina says

    The flavor is delicious. We subbed the extra chia and flax (per the recipe suggestion) because we don’t have hemp seeds and that combined with the oats made this SUPER THICK. So thick in fact that I ate it with a spoon like a pudding instead of drinking it. VERY FILLING! We might play around with the balance in the future to make it more drinkable but it’s a pretty yummy pudding in the meantime.

  13. Kym Shury says

    I love this smoothie! It’s so chocolatey and delicious. I’ve been adding avocado to mine and it makes it extra thick and creamy :-)
    Thanks for the recipe!

  14. Kiki says

    I made it this morning and absolutely loved it! I did make only half of the recipe, which was enough for me as an after workout snack.

  15. Mara says

    I love the recipe! I’d add less milk than stated because it got quite watery the first time. Other than that it’s a great recipe!

  16. Colleen says

    I have been making this on Saturdays, as written, except I use soy milk instead of almond milk. I have half before my open water swim and half when I get back, very satisfying and delicious! Thanks for another great recipe.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Lisa, the banana provides the sweetness to balance the other flavors so we aren’t sure it would work. You could try compensating with another sweetener or using some banana and some avocado. Let us know how it goes!

  17. Cassie says

    Loved this! I have been missing the completeness that protein powder gives a smoothie and don’t always want to use an avocado to get the right texture/fillingness. Thank you for this recipe!

    I modified a bit so i wouldn’t have such a large amount:

    1 cup homemade almond milk
    ~3/4 of a small frozen banana
    1tbsp of mixed flax/chia
    Slightly less than 1/4 cup oats
    2tbsp PB
    1tbsp cacao
    ~1 tbsp hemp (was afraid of adding to much and tasting them, couldn’t tell they were there at this amount)

  18. Tara says

    Was a very cool protein rich option without powder!!! My one concern in over 600 calories for a serving – is that not alot?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Tara, If you’d prefer to have this as more of a snack, feel free to divide it into 2 servings. One shake would be a substantial meal.

  19. Ruth says

    I really like the idea of this smoothie–I’m always looking for ways to get more plant protein in as a vegetarian. This tasted great, but it was maybe a bit too rich for me. Definitely it can be an entire meal in itself.

  20. Dina says

    So, I made this at the spur of the moment, because I was HUNGRY. So, I didn’t have a frozen banana. I did add a room temperature banana, as well as 6 frozen strawberries to cool it down. Other than that, I made everything according to the directions (with just 1.5 cups almond milk, 2 TBS of cocoa powder, 2 dates). It is thick and my blender did work hard for it, so I may add the extra half cup of almond milk next time. My five year old and I LOVED it, but not my smoothie-disliking 8 year old (I hoped this might win him over). I plan to make this A LOT, as I have a hard time getting protein into my 5 year old. Dana, please please, pretty please, will you make at least 10 variations on this theme?

  21. Laure says

    My new favourite chocolate smoothie! Taste and texture are so good! Better than proteins shake you can buy and so easy to make!

  22. Lucy says

    I made this twice this morning! The first time I added strawberries and my three year old daughter stole it. Second time around i made it for myself with blueberries. Yum.

  23. Rileigh says

    Absolutely fabulous, no modification required. I used 1.5 cups of almond milk and the 2 pitted dated for sweetness – will make again! Thanks! :)

  24. Bree says

    Yum! I really dislike chocolate protein powders so was super stoked when this recipe was released. Now I don’t just have to have vanilla protein powder shakes mixed with fruit/veggies. Nice to have another option for breakfast. Love this shake, it has great staying power until my next meal.

  25. olivia says

    gasp! can’t believe there’s 20grams of protein in this shake made from all natural food! Definitely wanna try this :) thanks for sharing!

  26. Erica r says

    So so good! My banana wasn’t frozen so I threw in some ice and it was fantastic. My 6 year old loves it too, the nut butter didn’t overwhelm the taste, so it was like a big chocolate shake. Perfect!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport says

      The unsweetened almond milk we used to calculate nutrition for this recipe had 1.4 grams protein per cup. Hope that helps!

  27. Kia Dungan says

    I saw this recipe come through my email, I had all ingredients so I decided to give it a try for my post recovery run. I made it as the recipe says and it was delicious. I didn’t want the whole amount so I put about half in the refrigerator and ate it with a spoon topped with berries the next day. I’m assuming it thickened due to the chia seeds and the lower amount almond milk. Still tasted amazing the next day! Thank you!

  28. François says

    Wow, this looks like a great upgrade over powder based shakes !

    Just a couple of questions:

    – how long can this keep in the fridge (not the freezer).
    I would be tempted to make a very large batch for the whole week but it needs to keep.

    – what should I add to get more proteins into it ? And while I am at it, reduce the calories and sugar ?

    Thanks in advance !

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Storage information is found in the recipe box (near the top). For more protein you could up the amount of seeds but it’s going to have more calories and not taste as good. It sounds like you could actually benefit from adding a little protein powder here if those are your overall goals.

  29. Zoe Cressman says

    Love this recipe! First time followed recipe exactly (no sweetener). Second time didn’t have a frozen banana so subbed tofu. Did not taste very good. Put it back in the blender, added more water, frozen strawberries, some vanilla yogurt and some maple syrup and it was much better. I bet it would be good with frozen strawberries in addition to or instead of the banana.

  30. Kathryn says

    Delicious! I had to leave out the banana because I didn’t have any, so I added a cup of ice cubes to make it colder. I also added fresh ginger and ground cardamom. I thought I might not like the oats in this, but I couldn’t even taste them. I’m so excited to have a protein shake without protein powder (I have tried many brands and don’t like any of them.) Will definitely make this again. Thanks Dana!

  31. Amanda says

    I’m suprised you chose to use almond milk since you were trying to up the protein. Almond milk has very little protein (1g) in it compared to soy milk (7 g) per cup.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      You can definitely use soy milk, it just doesn’t agree with my digestion so I choose not to use it.

  32. Krissy Young says

    This is so amazing. I mean SO amazing! The only thing I did differently from the recipe was to use oat milk instead of almond milk. I think it made it a little creamier. Other than that I didn’t change a thing and it was perfect. I love that it doesn’t have any protein powder and yet it’s so filling. It’s basically a meal. A very tasty, chocolaty meal.

  33. Angie says

    I used 2 frozen bananas, 2 medjool dates, 1.5 cups of soy milk, almond butter and raw cacao powder. It was thick, creamy and delicious! Thank you

  34. Cassie Thuvan Tran says

    Looks absolutely delicious! You can never go wrong with the combination of peanut butter, banana, cacao powder, hemp seeds, and dates. EVER.

  35. Steph says

    Made this for a last minute meal. I used flax milk and didn’t have the hemp seeds so added more chia seeds. Great recipe. Delicious!! This is a keeper.

    • Audra says

      Perfect chocolate shake! Thank you for consistently sharing whole food/plant based recipes that make eating healthy easy and delicious!

  36. Chris says

    Another great recipe – I made it as listed _and_ still added a half scoop of vegan chocolate protein powder (I really like chocolate). It was totally amazing, and I don’t plan on eating again for at least 8 hours! :) It was, as a wise man once said: “thicker than a bowl of oatmeal.”

  37. Ella says

    Can I just say that you continue to amaze me with all these recipes you come up with. Forever excited when I open an email from you
    Ps, this shake is delicious

  38. Iman Hayani says

    I made it this morning, but with the adjustment of flaxseed meal and extra chia seeds (just because I don’t have any hemp seeds) and sweetened almond milk (that’s what I had) and then added additional sweetener of date syrup. Was really good, but I think that next time I’ll add a pinch of salt to enhance the flavour.

  39. Ellen says

    I made this for a post workout meal and loved it. I used two dates and added a handful of frozen spinach that I had. It was delicious! Thank you!!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks, Denise! Mind leaving a rating next time with your review? It’s super helpful for us and other readers!

  40. Allison K Dastrup says

    I just made this. I can’t do hemp so I increased the chia to 3 T, and added 1 T ground flax and it tastes like an amazing chocolate pudding!! Bonus rounds!!!

  41. Sydney says

    YUM!!!! Left out the oats, added additional
    hemp seeds, used almond butter -> still
    fantastic!!! Another win from Dana! (I love this girl. )

  42. Rachel says

    What is the difference between cacao and cocoa? I saw this recipe yesterday and ran out to the store to get some stuff, but I think I bought cocoa instead (from Bulk Barn so I don’t have a tag to look at). Can I use whatever I bought? Or did I mess up? Haha

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      cacao is powder cold-pressed, unroasted cacao beans. And cocoa powder is cacao beans that have been processed and roasted at high temperatures. Both should work here!

  43. Susan says

    Spectacular breakfast smoothie (and is perfect with a cup of black coffee.) I’ve always wanted a non-store-bought-protein-powder chocolate smoothie recipe, and yours is delicious and easy! I actually had all the ingredients but skipped adding dates to see if it was sweet enough sans dates and it was. With hot weather on the horizon (translation: lots of bananas will be peeled & frozen) this recipe is divine to get through summer. Thank you!

  44. Chiara says

    Made this as a study snack and oh I am in love! I made the hemp seeds free version and used oat milk instead of almond and it was delicious. It was so simple and quick to make that I am definitely gonna add this to my favourites.

  45. Kelly says

    I happen to have all the ingredients so I decided to try it for breakfast. The shake was actually really delicious! I used maple syrup instead of dates to sweeten. It’s pretty good as is, although I decided to add a few ice cubes which I liked a little bit better. I would definitely make it again, especially if I’m craving chocolate!

  46. Caroline says

    If only this wasn’t about half of my ideal daily calorie intake ? looks delicious, will make it this weekend for sure!

  47. Heather says

    Yummy and easy peasy! Made it in my regular old blender and everything got processed nicely. It is a very generous portion, so I have set aside the rest in the freezer to make fudgecicles for tomorrow! Can’t wait to try them! ?

    A caution: I didn’t get to drink it straightaway (life happens), and it turned quite gelatinous. Still tasty, but a spoon was required. I wondered about pre-soaking and rinsing the oats. I think that’s supposed to make them less gummy or something??

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Lovely – thanks for sharing Heather! For a thinner shake add more dairy-free milk!

  48. John says

    I agree with you. This may work only for persons who want alot of energy right before a workout.

  49. Terri says

    Five Stars! And a million thanks! I used organic sunflower butter and coconut milk to make this — and it is the high calorie, high protein meal I needed as I complete radiation treatment this week. I can actually taste the fantastic blend of flavors, without the powdery aftertaste. It is dessert for dinner!

  50. Jenna says

    So happy to see this recipe after this morning’s run. I’ve never had oats in a smoothie before – it was like my beloved PB/Chocolate overnight oats in smoothie form :) Extra satisfying!

  51. Jasmine says

    I just made this for my boyfriend and I for lunch and he literally slurped it down in under 2 minutes and asked for more. I made a small substitution for chia seeds with flax seeds since that’s what I had on hand. I used 1 1/2 cups almond milk but will use the full two next time. This might be a daily go to for now on! I would make another but I’m all out of almond milk. Bravo Dana! You’re a genius. So simple, yet so effective. Thank you for another healthy, delicious recipe!

  52. Martin E Rico says

    This is my staple smoothie after the gym, taste soo good, a bit caloric, but worth, since i have ckd i cant be near protein powders, this.does.the trick!. Cheers!

  53. Kelly says

    Just made this and am really enjoying it. I followed the recipe for the most part, except replaced hemp seeds with flax meal and used low sugar almond milk and no dates. Delish! I’m not a fan of protein powder so I’m excited to add this recipe to my smoothie arsenal. :)

  54. MARILYN HANSEL says

    I see that there is saturated fat in this recipe. Can you tell me where that fat comes from?

  55. Robin O'Shields says

    What do you you suggest for people with nut allergies including almond milk allergies?

      • Robin says

        And a coconut allergy. Tough to find proteins we you can’t do nuts, peanut butter, almond milk and coconut. Any more suggestions. PS. I don’t eat red meat either.

        • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

          Robin, that’s tough. My best suggestions are to stick with a pea-based protein powder – such as Nuzest. Otherwise, fill up on chia and hemp seeds. Use sunflower butter. And stick to rice milk.

  56. Tina says

    I have an annoying banana intolerance. Any suggestions for substituting the banana?

    Thanks so much! ?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Other people suggested cooked sweet potato (add ice in that case), and / berries and sweetener to taste.

  57. Camille says

    So VERY excited to try this! I absolutely hate protein powders. Idk they just weird me out and I hate the way they taste. I’m so thrilled to have a post workout protein shake that doesn’t have powder. Thank you for creating this recipe, I will be making it this weekend ❤️

  58. Marilia says

    I make frozen banana and dates smoothies all the time. I mean just those two ingredients with a splash of water or milk and it comes out tasting just like a milkshake. This recipe takes that smoothie up a notch! It’s delicious! Love the added protein and silkyness, it’s like a pudding or chocolate mousse. Must try!

  59. Sue Halfyard says

    DELICIOUS! I just watched the video and immediately went to make this. I had to swap the almond milk for oat milk, didn’t need to add dates or maple syrup as the frozen bananas I had were sweet enough. I also added half a teaspoon of ground cinnamon. So, so good. Thank you.

  60. Kavita Nagpal says

    Can’t wait for my vegan 7 yr old to try this – he loves all things chocolate flavored. Question though – can you taste the oats? I can taste raw oats even in oat energy balls, if not previously toasted/cooked!

  61. Kristin Smith says

    I was searching the internet for a non pea-protein based protein powder when this popped into my inbox. Perfect timing!

    I just made it and subbed in hazelnut milk for the almond milk and added in a dash of Ceylon cinnamon. Absolutely delish!! Super chocoately and sweet without being overly sweet. (I left out the date because my hazelnut milk is sweetened with dates). Another winner, Dana!!

  62. Sophie says

    I loved the sound of a high protein shake without protein powder but there’s no way I can justify drinking 646 calories just to get 23g of protein… I’ve never seen anything like it!! It’s very high carb and high fat too. It’s great trying out new protein shake recipes but I think I’m going to stick with the powders mixed in with some nut butter and fruit.

    • Rosemary says

      I think this recipe is for 2 people! The 600+ calories is too much for a meal. But also, 2 cups of almond milk and 2 bananas are the basis for 2 portions. I made this, it is a lovely chocolatey shake…I forgot to add the maple syrup, and it was still good. I rate it 4 stars only because, I wouldnt want it every day!!

  63. Ana says

    Amazing recipe, it is really nice to see a protein-powder-free vegan recipe – a lot of vegans I know, including myself, don’t use protein powders, so you’re saving a lot of us a lot of research by posting this. Thank you!

  64. Bree says

    Genius! Can’t wait to try it! I hate the flavor of every protein powder I’ve tried, excited to try this out! Thanks!

  65. Emily says

    Sooo delicious. Thank you. Please keep the plant-based recipes coming. Super grateful for all you do in sharing these healthy recipes ?

  66. Kirk says

    I made this today. I used regular organic milk and extra chia and ground flaxseed in lieu of hemp. I added some blueberries I had lying around. It was delicious. Hardest thing about this recipe is cleaning the blender. Make it. Enjoy it. Repeat.

  67. Rachel says

    This looks wonderful, but does it really have 265g of sugar?? Might as well eat 20 peanut butter cups (which would be extremely delicious but tummy-ache inducing)! ?

  68. Leanne says

    This was amazing! Super easy to make and delicious. Always an added bonus to get protein from natural foods, as well!

  69. Lucy says

    Hi! Curious if the 265g of sugar for the powder free chocolate protein shake is a typo or true? It seems like a lot for that ingredient list! Thank you!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Collectively the ingredients total this amount. If you’d prefer to have this as more of a snack, feel free to divide it into 2 servings. One shake would be a substantial meal.

  70. Diamond says

    Delicious and satisfying! I used two bananas instead of 1 and 1 date. Definitely will make this regularly. Thanks for the recipe!