Best Non-Dairy Protein Supplements To Build Muscle (Updated 2023)

protein

These non-dairy, plant-based protein supplements are perfect to build muscle and boost weight loss.

When it comes to a protein supplement we all know we need one, but non-dairy and plant-based products are perfect for that lean protein source while still allowing us to build muscle and promote weight loss. The vegan lifestyle is more popular now than ever and that means there are a lot more plant-based supplements on the market.

If you follow the vegan lifestyle then your reasons for avoiding dairy-based whey protein are obvious. But you don’t even have to be vegan to opt for a plant protein. For many people, it’s better on the stomach and ideal for those with dairy sensitivities in general. Now, many people may be skeptical about the completeness of plant-based protein sources. But you can rest assured; the products we’ve chosen contain complete protein sources.

This list of the Best Non-Diary Protein Supplements is perfect for all of your goals, whether it be to build muscle, promote weight loss, or continue to pack on that muscle mass with lean protein.

Best Non-Dairy Protein Supplements For 2023


Best Non-Dairy Protein Overall

Non-dairy proteins are perfect for those looking for a more plant-based option. Without the worry of dairy, you can maximize your gains with a great vegan option while still getting top tier ingredients.

MuscleMeds Carnivor

30% OFF

Carnivor is a 100% beef protein isolate that is fast digesting and great tasting for an effective non-dairy protein supplement.

Calories 110
Protein 23g
Carbs 4g
Fat 0g
Sugar 0g
Flavors Chocolate Peanut Butter, Chocolate, Vanilla Caramel, Cookies & Cream, Strawberry, Fruit Punch, and Rocket Pop
Number Of Servings 56

MuscleMeds Carnivor Beef Protein Isolate is a non-dairy and fast digesting protein supplement that is changing the protein powder game. MuscleMeds has pushed the boundaries in the sports nutrition game for over a decade and relies on innovation and premium ingredients to produce the best supplements for bodybuilders, strength and high-performance athletes. Focusing on those who seek to enhance training, build muscle faster, and perform at their best, MuscleMeds puts a focus on what counts so you see results.

Pros

  • No artificial ingredients and transparent label
  • Very low carb and high protein
  • Easy on your digestive system

Cons

  • Premium priced option
  • Only available directly from their website

Price: $69.74

Read our full MuscleMeds Carnivor Beef Protein Isolate review.


Best For Strength Athletes

Those strength athletes looking for a great non-dairy protein should fear not. With the right amount of quality protein, you are able to tackle any and all of your protein needs while still building strength.

Transparent Labs ProteinSeries Organic Vegan

Code GENIRON10 For 10% Off

Transparent Labs Organic Vegan is a 100% vegan protein powder with 24g protein that is easy on your digestion system. With no artificial additives, this is great for weight management and muscle growth.

Calories 130
Protein 24g
Carbs 3g
Fat 2g
Sugar 2g
Flavors French Vanilla, Chocolate
Number Of Servings 30

Making the list again is Transparent Labs ProteinSeries Organic Vegan as it is a 100% vegan protein free of artificial flavors and sweeteners, perfect for athletes that have to watch what they eat. Transparent Labs ProteinSeries Organic Vegan is packed with a protein base ratio of 2:1 rice to pea protein, meaning there is 24 grams of protein that is easy on your digestive system.

There are also 4 grams of fiber per serving, this protein will help you feel full longer for optimal weight control and management. This is one vegan protein you can trust from a company who prides themselves on transparent and honest labels.

Pros

  • No artificial ingredients and transparent label
  • Very low carb and high protein
  • Easy on your digestive system

Cons

  • Premium priced option
  • Only available directly from their website

Price: $49.00

Use the promo code GENIRON10 for 10% off!

Read our full review for Transparent Labs ProteinSeries Organic Vegan.


Best Vegan Protein Powder To Replace Whey

While plant-based proteins are great for replacing whey, there are those that stand out among the rest. With the same benefits using plant sources, you can get a clean and well-rounded powder for all your needs.

Kaged Muscle Plantein

Code GENIRON For 15% OFF

Kaged Muscle Plantein is a premium vegan protein that builds muscle like whey without the dairy. Superior texture and taste is matched by 300% more absorption so those nutrients hit you harder.

Calories 160
Protein 26g
Carbs 5g
Fat 4g
Sugar 1g
Flavors Peanut Butter Cookie, Banana Bread, Cinnamon Roll
Number Of Servings 15

Kaged Muscle Plantein Premium Vegan Protein is a great plant-based protein powder for those looking for a clean, fully disclosed, and naturally flavored supplement. This protein builds muscle like whey without the dairy and is 300% absorption so all those nutrients hit you harder. With superior taste, texture, and mixability, this protein is made with MCT oil and provides a complete profile of EAAs and BCAAs. Being soy, dairy, lactose, and gluten free, this is a great pure plant-based option for athletes of all types.

Pros

  • Clean, fully disclosed, and naturally flavored
  • 300% better absorption
  • Soy, dairy, lactose, and gluten free
  • Great tastes with natural flavors

Cons

  • Could have more servings per container

Price: $29.99

Read our full Kaged Muscle Plantein review.


Best Beef Based Non-Dairy Protein Powder

Most of us get so used to whey protein that all other options don’t even cross our minds. For those who follow a plant-based diet, you obviously gravitate towards those vegan powders to avoid dairy and not deal with any of those unwanted side effects. But what if we told you there was a protein powder that wasn’t dairy or plant-based. In fact, one that uses beef protein as its primary source.

MuscleMeds Carnivor Beef Protein Isolate

30% OFF

Carnivor is a 100% beef protein isolate that is fast digesting and great tasting for an effective non-dairy protein supplement.

Calories 110
Protein 23g
Carbs 4g
Fat 0g
Sugar 0g
Flavors Rocket Pop, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Chocolate, Vanilla Caramel, Cookies & Cream, Strawberry, Fruit Punch
Number Of Servings 56

MuscleMeds Carnivor makes the list again, as it comes from a brand that has pushed the boundaries in the sports nutrition game for over a decade and relies on innovation and premium ingredients to produce the best supplements for bodybuilders, strength and high-performance athletes. Focusing on those who seek to enhance training, build muscle faster, and perform at their best, MuscleMeds puts a focus on what counts so you see results.

Pros

  • 23g of hydrolyzed beef protein isolate
  • Non-dairy to eliminate any dairy concerns or discomfort
  • Fast digesting and clean ingredients
  • Great flavors

Cons

  • Could have better mixability

Price: $69.74

Read our full MuscleMeds Carnivor Beef Protein Isolate review.


Best Pure Plant-Based Protein

A pure plant-based protein is awesome because it ensures quality gains with awesome ingredients. A clean source of protein will work to maximize your performance but also your overall health.

Kaged Muscle Plantein

Code GENIRON For 15% OFF

Kaged Muscle Plantein is a premium vegan protein that builds muscle like whey without the dairy. Superior texture and taste is matched by 300% more absorption so those nutrients hit you harder.

Calories 160
Protein 26g
Carbs 5g
Fat 4g
Sugar 1g
Flavors Peanut Butter Cookie, Banana Bread, Cinnamon Roll
Number Of Servings 15

Kaged Muscle Plantein Premium Vegan Protein is making this list again, as it is a great plant-based protein powder. It is ideal for those looking for a clean, fully disclosed, and naturally flavored supplement, that is 100% plant-based. This protein builds muscle like whey without the dairy, not to mention it is 300% absorption so all those nutrients hit you harder. Kaged Muscle Plantein has superior taste, texture, and mixability, and it is made with MCT oil, all while including a complete profile of EAAs and BCAAs. Being soy, dairy, lactose, and gluten free, this is a great pure plant-based option for athletes of all types.

Pros

  • Clean, fully disclosed, and naturally flavored
  • 300% better absorption
  • Soy, dairy, lactose, and gluten free
  • Great tastes with natural flavors

Cons

  • Could have more servings per container

Price: $29.99

Read our full Kaged Muscle Plantein review.


non-dairy plant-based weight loss build muscle lean protein

Non-Dairy & Plant-Based Protein Vs. Whey Protein

When it comes to the differences between vegan protein and whey protein, the evidence seems to point to them being fairly equivalent. When it comes to things like changes in body composition, weight loss, muscle growth, and recovery, both proteins seem to get the job done, which is great to hear. Other studies and ideas around these two seem to suggest that while plant-based proteins don’t offer any extra advantages, there are no disadvantages either (1), making this a very solid option for those seeking a non-dairy approach. This means you don’t lose out on any gains simply because you choose a non-whey product.

But one nutrient to be mindful of is B12 which is an essential vitamin for cell and DNA health. Plant-based diets often lack sufficient amounts so B12 fortified products are always recommended. Otherwise, supplementation is important if you cannot get enough through plant sources so that is something to keep in mind.

non-dairy plant-based weight loss build muscle

Benefits Of Non-Dairy Protein Supplements

Like all protein supplements, non-dairy proteins can pack you with all that protein while still giving you some plant-based love. The benefits of these protein supplements can greatly enhance your gains and offer the chance to see progress in your health and fitness journey.

  • Aid in valuable growth: We all seek that valuable muscle growth so look to non-dairy proteins to still achieve that much desired increase in strength and size.
  • Enhance recovery: Work to recover and support muscle recovery with fast-acting and effective protein sources to aid in growth and to bounce back faster.
  • Reduce digestive stress: Protein sources with whey tend to cause digestive stress in those sensitive so eliminate that bloated feeling and work to help yourself.
  • Promote weight loss: Don’t waste caloric space and work to lose or maintain that weight so your desired physique becomes reality.
  • Add variety to your diet: Non-dairy alternatives offer great vitamins and minerals to enhance your health and wellness so look to achieve proper nutrient intake with a great plant-based product.
  • Environmentally friendly: Use less water, fuel, and land than with animal proteins and be more environmentally friendly and ethical.

non-dairy plant-based weight loss build muscle

Key Sources Of Plant-Based Proteins

The many different plant-based sources of protein all have something unique to offer regarding their nutrient profile. We’ve listed the more common protein sources you’ll find in most supplements and all have great potential to build muscle, aid in weight loss, and boost your other top goals with a lean protein source.

  • Pea

Made from yellow peas, this source of protein is one of the more common ones. One study found no statistical difference between pea and whey protein regarding the muscle and strength-building benefits. Therefore, pea is a very viable source of protein, although it contains 8 out of 9 essential amino acids (2). And another study showed a decrease in blood pressure for both rats and humans when taking pea protein supplements (3).

  • Brown Rice

One study compared rice protein and whey protein by giving 24 young, resistance-trained males 48g of either source for 8 weeks along with a training plan (4). Well, there were no differences whatsoever, and both forms of protein elicited the same results. So, brown rice is a powerful protein source, although, it’s still one amino acid (lysine) short of being complete.

  • Soy

Soy is the most commonly used source of plant-based protein which comes from the soybean. Now, not all plant-based proteins are complete sources. But soy actually contains all nine essential amino acids which are the building blocks of human tissue (5). That’s why many prefer to have a soy source, plus there is also heart health, obesity, and even menopause benefits from consuming soy. Popular soy food items for vegetarians and vegans include tofu and Tempeh but soy is also a viable plant-based meat alternative (6).

  • Chia Seed

Chia seeds are the richest plant source of omega 3 fatty acids which are necessary for heart health and cell membrane health. However, chia seeds contain the plant-based fatty acids linoleic and alpha-linolenic (ALA) which are not sufficient alone. We also need plenty of the fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) (7). Chia also has plenty of protein and fiber too, while containing all nine essential amino acids. But research also suggests chia seeds can stave off illness which is enough reason alone to include them in your diet (8).

Other Potential Plant-Based Protein Sources

  • Hemp: Has moderate levels of protein but is packed with fiber for a real boost to digestive health.
  • Sunflower Seed: A new form, it has BCAAs to offer the benefits of quality protein and is combined with others to optimize effectiveness.
  • Pumpkin Seed: High in antioxidants, it also contains good protein and fats with many other essential vitamins and minerals.
  • Sprouts: Highly nutritious and are popular for their protein content and many essential amino acids.

How We Choose

When it comes to choosing a great non-dairy protein source, we look to many options to really boost your gains. For this list, we sought the best products in a number of categories including quality of the product, reputation of the brand, effectiveness of the ingredients, and the price. Your product and the brand representing it should be a reflection of what you want to put into your body. These companies on this list work hard to produce great products to boost all of your gains. With top tier ingredients that are GMO-free, these powders are effective and will work to boost all areas of your muscle growth, recovery, weight loss needs, and lifestyle changes. We know how expensive a protein supplement can be so we sought to find the best products at the right price. You can still have a top ranked powder without totally breaking the bank.

non-dairy plant-based weight loss build muscle

FAQ Section

What is the best non-dairy protein?

Transparent Labs ProteinSeries Organic Vegan. This protein is a premiere product with the true power of plant based nutrition while also boosting all of their physique goals. Designed to maximize gains while also reducing body fat, this protein has a high-quality formula to reduce bloating and help digestion. A lean and clean protein, this will really work to enhance protein synthesis for optimal muscle building so you build muscle effectively.

Are organic protein powders better to use than non-organic?

Like anything, those that are organic don’t use pesticides or anything involved with the actually processing. Organic products may have better nutritional value so it is best to consider that and look for a powder you know is GMO-free and can enhance your goals to build muscle and promote weight loss.

Can I use a vegan protein powder if I’m not vegan?

Plant-based and vegan protein powders can be used by anyone. For those with dairy sensitivities, or for those who just want to avoid dairy, a non-dairy protein is a great option for you to still get all the benefits of a lean protein without the potential stomach problems or discomfort. Plus, added benefits like being GMO-free are great for your overall health.

Will I lose out on gains if I use a plant-based powder over whey?

Plant-based powders tend to have similar traits to those whey products so you will not lose any gains. For those looking to build muscle and aid in those weight loss goals, while also enhancing recovery, you can’t go wrong with a non-dairy and lean protein.

How Much do These Protein Products Cost?

Price is definitely important when it comes to purchasing supplements. You do not want something that is too expensive. Let’s look at the comparisons.

Category Product Price
Best Non-Dairy Protein Overall Transparent Labs ProteinSeries Organic Vegan $69.74
Best Non-Dairy Protein for Strength Athletes Transparent Labs ProteinSeries Organic Vegan $49.00
Best Vegan Protein Powder to Replace Whey Kaged Muscle Plantein $29.99
Best Beef Based Non-Dairy Protein Powder MuscleMed Carnivor Beef Protein Isolate $69.74
Best Pure Plant-Based Protein Kaged Muscle Plantein $29.99

Wrap Up

Non-dairy and plant-based proteins are great sources of lean protein to help build muscle and aid in your weight loss goals. While whey protein tends to be more popular, there are a host of reasons why someone would use a vegan protein as opposed to a whey product. With similar benefits and no real obvious disadvantages, having a non-dairy protein in your diet can add variety and shake things up for the better. Check out a good plant-based protein powder today and see what it can do for all your goals.

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References

  1. Lynch, Heidi; Johnston, Carol; Wharton, Christopher (December 1, 2018). “Plant-Based Diets: Considerations for Environmental Impact, Protein Quality, and Exercise Performance”. Nutrients. 10 (12). doi:10.3390/nu10121841. ISSN 2072-6643. PMC 6316289. PMID 30513704.
  2. Babault, Nicolas; Païzis, Christos; Deley, Gaëlle; Guérin-Deremaux, Laetitia; Saniez, Marie-Hélène; Lefranc-Millot, Catherine; Allaert, François A. (2015). “Pea proteins oral supplementation promotes muscle thickness gains during resistance training: a double-blind, randomized, Placebo-controlled clinical trial vs. Whey protein”. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 12 (1): 3. doi:10.1186/s12970-014-0064-5. ISSN 1550-2783. PMC 4307635. PMID 25628520.
  3. Li, Huan; Prairie, Natalie; Udenigwe, Chibuike C.; Adebiyi, Abayomi P.; Tappia, Paramjit S.; Aukema, Harold M.; Jones, Peter J. H.; Aluko, Rotimi E. (September 28, 2011). “Blood pressure lowering effect of a pea protein hydrolysate in hypertensive rats and humans”. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 59 (18): 9854–9860. doi:10.1021/jf201911p. ISSN 1520-5118. PMID 21854068.
  4. Joy, Jordan M; Lowery, Ryan P; Wilson, Jacob M; Purpura, Martin; De Souza, Eduardo O; Wilson, Stephanie MC; Kalman, Douglas S; Dudeck, Joshua E; Jäger, Ralf (June 20, 2013). “The effects of 8 weeks of whey or rice protein supplementation on body composition and exercise performance”. Nutrition Journal. 12: 86. doi:10.1186/1475-2891-12-86. ISSN 1475-2891. PMC 3698202. PMID 23782948.
  5. Boston, 677 Huntington Avenue; Ma 02115 +1495‑1000 (August 6, 2018). “Straight Talk About Soy”. The Nutrition Source. Retrieved August 18, 2019.
  6. Montgomery, Kristen S. (2003). “Soy Protein”. The Journal of Perinatal Education. 12 (3): 42–45. doi:10.1624/105812403X106946. ISSN 1058-1243. PMC 1595159. PMID 17273351.
  7. “Essential Fatty Acids”. Linus Pauling Institute. April 28, 2014.
  8. Boston, 677 Huntington Avenue; Ma 02115 +1495‑1000 (March 19, 2018). “Chia Seeds”. The Nutrition Source.
Jacob Ladon is a staff writer and former amateur bodybuilder. He has been passionate about bodybuilding since he was 15 years old and discovered the joys of training in the gym. He reports and comments on all bodybuilding related matters.