You’ve heard that pea protein powder is an excellent source of protein. After all, it ticks many of the checkboxes: It’s plant-based, highly bioavailable, hypoallergenic, and mild-tasting.
Anyone on the hunt for the best pea protein powder to add to their supplement shelf probably has these questions swirling in their head:
- What makes a quality pea protein powder?
- What brand makes the best one?
- Do I have to compromise on taste when eating healthy?
- How much is this going to cost me?
Below, we’ll address all of your questions to help you find the best pea protein powder that suits your wellness goals.
Best Overall: Zen Principle Organic Pea Protein Powder
Most people have a hard time finding USDA-Certified Organic pea protein powders — the crop of the cream, so to speak. But at Zen Principle, you’ll find exactly what you’ve been looking for — the best pea protein powder of top-notch quality.
Meticulously sourced from small organic farms in the United States and Canada, our Organic Pea Protein Powder is made from a single ingredient: Yellow peas.
Each serving (about 30 grams) gives you:
- 25 grams of protein, consisting of eight essential amino acids and some branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) for optimal wellness.
- 1.1 grams of carbohydrates wholly made of dietary fiber
- Important micronutrients like calcium, iron, and potassium
- Zero added sugar
Our hypoallergenic ingredient list is free from soy, dairy, gluten, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), peanuts, and peanut derivatives. For that reason, you may take some time to get used to the powder’s neutral flavor and slightly gritty consistency. Thanks to its pure organic pea protein isolate, customers have described the supplement’s aroma as a “beany/legume flavor,” “faintly banana-like,” and “mild nutty taste.”
You can always add cocoa powder, frozen fruits (like bananas and blueberries), almond milk, chia seeds, cinnamon powder, and even peanut butter to amp up the deliciousness of your drink or dish. The light powdery texture mixes well with hot and cold liquids. This makes it a great addition to salads, soups, stews, baked dishes, and even savory sauces!
For peace of mind, we regularly test our pea protein supplement for heavy metals like arsenic, cadmium, mercury, and lead. You’ll be happy to know that all tests show extremely low levels of these heavy metals and are well within the range considered safe for people.
Because pea protein is exclusively derived from plants, we also test our Pea Protein Powder for herbicides like glyphosate. All of our tests have returned results of 'not-detected' for these chemicals, which is of course the only result that we accept.
Besides that, we do not use any synthetic chemicals to manufacture our Organic Pea Protein — it’s solely produced using a water process. In other words, no additional processing aids or chemicals are required.
Last but not least, we’re proud to announce that our Organic Pea Protein Powder is certified by Amazon as a Compact by Design product. This means that buying this pea protein supplement helps reduce the carbon footprint of shipping. Simply put, it’s one of the best pea protein powders for the eco-conscious if we do say so ourselves.
And for the proverbial cherry on top, this pea protein supplement comes in a value-for-money package at $44.99 for 3 lb. If you subscribe, you’ll save 5% ($2.25) on your first 5 orders and 10% ($4.50) on all remaining orders. Talk about the best bang for your buck!
Best for Sports: Naked Pea Protein Powder
Those who want a single-source protein powder to supercharge their fitness goals will want to check out Naked Nutrition’s Naked Pea Protein Powder.
Just like Zen Principle’s Organic Pea Protein Powder, Naked Pea is touted to enhance muscle growth and post-workout recovery. It bears the Informed Choice seal, meaning it’s tested monthly for banned substances. This makes it one of the best pea protein powders for professional athletes and fitness enthusiasts.
Similar to Zen Principle, Naked Pea Protein Powder is made from yellow split peas sourced from the U.S. and Canada. Every serving (roughly 30 grams) gives you 27 grams of protein and 120 calories. The supplement also contains essential minerals like calcium and iron. It boasts a relatively clean ingredient list as it does not include additives, artificial sweeteners, GMOs, and heavy metals. Vegans shopping for the best pea protein powders on the market will be glad to hear that Naked Pea is free of dairy, soy, and gluten.
That said, there are a few differences to take note of.
Firstly, Naked Pea packs two grams of sugar in each serving, while Zen Principle has none. This is something to bear in mind if you’re looking for a sugar-free supplement. Also, Naked Pea does not contain any fiber, whereas Zen Principle has 1.1 grams of dietary fiber in each serving.
Besides that, you’ll want to be careful about the substantial sodium content (110 milligrams) in Naked Pea’s formula (although this is on a lower scale than some pea protein powders on the market).
Finally, Naked Pea Protein Powder isn’t certified organic, so that’s something else to keep in mind.
Best for Protein Blend: Sunwarrior Warrior Blend Organic
If you want a ‘lil extra in your pea protein powder, try Sunwarrior’s Warrior Blend Organic.
This pea protein powder features a proprietary blend of organic fermented pea protein, organic hemp seed protein, and organic goji berry. It comes in five flavors: unflavored, berry, mocha, vanilla, and chocolate. Depending on which flavor you choose, each serving (about 25 grams) will give you 16-19 grams of protein. Only the unflavored variant is unsweetened, while the other flavors contain organic stevia leaf extract (a common sugar substitute). All flavors come with a mix of BCAAs, calcium, iron, and potassium.
Given the variety of flavors, is Sunwarrior the best pea protein powder for you? Well, that depends on your individual health goals.
For starters, Sunwarrior’s pea protein powders are keto-friendly — the calories per serving are capped at 100. Also, every flavor is infused with coconut-derived medium-chain triglycerides oil, which functions as a fast-burning fuel that promotes brain and heart health. Plus, its formulation is free of soy, gluten, GMOs, and dairy.
Acacia gum functions as an emulsifier and stabilizing agent to enhance the look and texture of a food product. Meanwhile, guar gum is often used as a filler and bulking agent in processed foods. Some people have reported side effects after consuming foods that contain guar gum, mostly in the form of digestive upsets like bloating and gas.
Another thing to note about Sunwarrior’s pea protein powders is that each of them possesses a relatively high sodium content. Its vanilla flavor has 352 milligrams of sodium per serving, while its berry flavor has 372 milligrams. That said, Sunwarrior’s pea protein blend has a relatively high methionine content compared to other single-source pea protein powders on the market. After all, the humble pea is naturally low in this essential amino acid.
What Should I Look For in a Pea Protein Powder?
So, how do you choose the best pea protein powder for your unique health needs? There are three factors to keep in mind:
1. Single-Source or Protein Blend
There are pros and cons to using a single-source pea protein powder or a protein blend consisting of pea and other plant-based goodness.
Single-source pea protein powders are typically made of 100% pure pea protein. Their hypoallergenic formulations are ideal for those who seek a clean ingredient list and want to avoid common allergens found in other types of protein powders like whey. Also, you’re less likely to deal with artificial ingredients in single-source pea protein supplements.
Meanwhile, if you want to supercharge your protein powder, try a pea protein blend with superfoods. Think cranberry seeds, goji berries, and quinoa.
Whichever pea protein blend catches your eye, go through the ingredient list carefully to ensure there are no artificial ingredients or fillers.
2. Flavor and Taste
Pea protein powders usually come in two forms: Flavored and unflavored.
Those who prefer to drink their protein powder on its own may like to tantalize their taste buds with delicious flavors like chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry. But beware that flavored pea protein supplements usually come with added sugars and sugar substitutes like stevia and monk fruit.
Go for the neutral variety if you want to cut down on your daily sugar intake. Unflavored protein powders also go well with most drinks and dishes. Pea protein powders made with a single ingredient (aka peas) usually have a slight, earthy taste that your taste buds will eventually get used to.
3. Third-Party Certifications
When shopping for dietary supplements like pea protein powders, just reading the product packaging may not be sufficient. After all, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulates dietary supplements as food, despite their health and wellness claims that sometimes creep into the medical territory.
This is where third-party certifications come in handy to ensure you get what you pay for. To illustrate, Zen Principle is upfront about the production methods of all its supplements. In the case of our Organic Pea Protein Powder, we’re happy to announce that it’s USDA-certified organic. It's made in the U.S. in a GMP-compliant (Good Manufacturing Practices) and organic-certified facility.
The Best Pea Protein Powder for You Is Out There
In a market saturated with dietary supplements, the search for the best pea protein powder can be a little overwhelming. But with this guide at your fingertips — and a few choice recommendations — you may be able to narrow down your selection.
No matter which pea protein powder you end up with, bear in mind that there is much more to it than the product’s aesthetics. Consider if you prefer a single-source protein or blend. Are you keen on a neutral flavor profile over a delicious yet often artificially sweetened one? Most importantly, does the brand have any third-party certifications to verify its product claims?
The bottom line is, it’s important to do your research before you purchase. Only then will you truly be able to find the best pea protein powder for you.