When you’re looking to bulk up, a good whey protein powder is essential.And Optimum Nutrition’s Gold standard whey is one of the best powders on the market.
But… There are so many flavours available and it’s tough to know which one to commit to (because if you pick one you hate, you have to drink it for months!)
So, having tried them all, I’ve put together this quick review list of the best Optimum Nutrition flavours, and who I think will like them.
Hopefully it helps you make the right choice.
Optimum Nutrition Double Rich Chocolate
The Optimum Nutrition double rich chocolate is a combination of good-tasting protein and impressive nutritional profile. It has a chocolate flavour without the over-bearing taste of artificial sweetener, which a lot of protein powders have. It’s a really popular protein flavour, but one that may have been overtaken by others in the range. Despite being double chocolate flavoured, it’s not as sweet as you’d expect it to be which a lot of people like. It’s fine mixed with milk, but not great with water so best avoided if you’re cutting.
Best for: Chocolate lovers who don’t want something too sweet. Better for bulking than cutting.
The Banana Cream flavour is popular with lots of users, with some people likening it to the banana foam sweets that kids eat! It’s one of the smoothest mixing proteins on the market, with no lumps or bumps after a short shake in the mixer. The smell and taste are fairly sweet without being overpowering. It’s not one of the more popular protein flavours, but it should be. It mixes well with water and tastes great!
Best for: Banana foam sweets fans!
Caramel Toffee Fudge
The Caramel Toffee Fudge flavour ON protein is an interesting one – it tastes great and even has a surprising coffee hint to it. I thought maybe I was the odd one out, but other people say they can taste the same. It’s kind of like a sweet, caramel latte! It’s not an overpowering coffee taste, it’s still very much a caramel toffee flavoured shake, but in my opinion the coffee taste made it even better! Like other ON flavours it mixes well with water or milk.
Best for: Fans of a sweet caramel latte!
The ON chocolate hazelnut flavour is a controversial one – people seem to love it or hate it. Personally, I’m not a big fan, but then I don’t really like nut flavoured things anyway! I was hoping it’d be like Nutella, but in reality it’s really not – you don’t taste much in the way of chocolate and the hazelnut flavour isn’t especially nutty, instead it’s quite artificial, which is odd for Optimum Nutrition.
Best for: Nut fans – not chocolate fans!
As standard with Optimum Nutrition, the mixability of this protein is great – with both water and milk it mixes perfectly well. The flavour is great, the chocolate taste is strong enough without it being lost against the powerful mint flavour. It’s a bit like mint choc ice cream and if you’re a fan of this, you’ll love the ON chocolate mint. The great thing about the mint is that it’s a strong enough flavour without the need for too much sweetener in the recipe.
Best for: Mint choc chip ice cream lovers.
Chocolate Peanut Butter
Chocolate Peanut Butter from Optimum Nutrition is a flavour that rightly has a large fan base. It’s a flavour that mixes well with both water and milk, and despite being a flavour with a chocolate base, it’s not too sweet. The versatility is one of the reasons it’s popular with people who are both bulking or cutting – it tastes as good with water or milk. It’s an even balance between chocolate and peanuts, with neither one dominating the overall taste.
Best for: People who like peanuts but don’t want a strong flavour.
Optimum Nutrition went a little left-field with this flavour, because it’s not a naturally sweet one which is the typical flavour profile for a whey protein shake. In terms of the taste, it’s a clear but not too-strong cinnamon flavour and doesn’t have a particularly strong after taste. I can’t say it’s a favourite of mine – not because I didn’t like it, but because I think there are nicer flavours out there. If you love cinnamon though, give it a go!
Best for: Cinnamon lovers!
This is just like the cinnamon flavour , but with a pastry element that underpins the general taste profile. It mixes well with both milk and water, but I think it works better with water because milk can make it too sweet. It’s better than the pure cinnamon one, but again there are better flavours out there in my opinion.
Best for: Cinnamon lovers who want something a little sweeter!
Cookies and Cream
There are few flavours that divide opinion like Optimum Nutrition Cookies and Cream flavour. Some people love it, thinking it tastes like crushed Oreo’s and milk. Others hate it, saying it tastes way too artificial and sweet. Personally I think it’s a bit on the artificial and sweet side, but I don’t hate it like many people do. It’s still a decent protein flavour and I’d certainly drink it, I just wouldn’t want to buy a big tub.
Best for: Those with a sweet tooth.
The Optimum Nutrition delicious strawberry generally isn’t as popular as some of the other fruit flavours they do, with a lot of people citing clumping issues and a general lack of real strawberry flavour as reasons to not buy it. Like with a lot of protein powders, this one works best with milk. It’s not a bad tasting protein, it’s just not as good as some of the others in their range. It’s like a bland milkshake really.
Best for: Those who want a decent, not overpowering shake.
Extreme Milk Chocolate
Rarely do you find a protein powder as popular as this one! It seems to have taken all of the best bits of the ON range and combined them into one product. Nutritionally, it’s sound. That’s not the only why you buy this though – it’s basically a health drink that tastes like it should be really unhealthy! If you mix this with milk it’s chocolate milkshake – it’s smooth, tastes of chocolate, is sweet but not too sweet. It works really well in water too. It’s honestly probably the best tasting protein powder I’ve ever had.
Best for: Those who love chocolate milkshake!
French Vanilla Crème Flavour
The French Vanilla Crème flavour from Optimum Nutrition is another triumph. Whether you use milk or water to mix your protein, this is a smooth drink that contains no lumps and powder bombs. In terms of flavour, it’s like a melted vanilla ice cream, just not quite as sweet. It’s quite a subtle flavour so perfect for those who aren’t into powerful, strong tastes. It’s sweeter than the double rich chocolate, but not as sweet as the extreme milk chocolate, so perfect for those who want something in the middle!
Best for: People who want a vanilla protein without the extra sweetness.
Rocky Road Flavour
This is an interesting flavour because you’d think it’d be dominated by a heavy chocolate flavour, but instead it’s actually quite heavy on the marshmallow taste! This isn’t a bad thing by the way, just an observation. It’s pretty sweet (as you’d expect), but not too sweet. There’s an undertone of cherry flavour, which a few people love. I think it’s a nice protein – one that I’d be perfectly happy to order again in future.
Best for: People who want to try something different without going too far from chocolate!
Vanilla Ice Cream Flavour
This is one of the most popular Optimum Nutrition flavours of the lot. It’s like a better version of standard vanilla and is more interesting than normal white chocolate. If you’re looking for a protein that balances great texture, flavour and has the right amount of sweetness, this could be the one for you. Outside of the extreme milk chocolate flavour, I think this may be my favourite of the ON why protein range.
Best for: People who want a great tasting shake without going down the usual chocolate route.
White Chocolate Raspberry Flavour
The white chocolate raspberry flavour is interesting one – it has raspberry bits in, adding to the texture and flavour of the protein. It could be over-sweet and artificial, but it really isn’t. On account of the raspberry bits and the subtle white chocolate flavour I’d rate this up there with some of the best proteins on the market. It’s one of my personal favourites, because it manages to combine fruit flavours and chocolate flavours, which not many companies manage well!
Best for: People who want chocolate protein with a difference!
Choosing the best Optimum nutrition flavour for your protein shakes
With such a wide range of high-quality flavours, it’s hard to select just one. What I’d say is that in terms of mixability, they’re all great so you’re down to selecting based on your palate preferences and physique goals. Decide if you prefer chocolate-based proteins or the fruit-based ones to begin with. Then look at whether they mix best with water or milk – if you’re cutting you may want to go with a flavour that mixes best with water to keep the calories down.
It’s down to personal preference at the end of the day, but with ON you won’t go far wrong with any of them.