Protein powders are the foundation of every bodybuilder and athlete’s supplement arsenal. They are a quick and convenient way to get high-quality extra protein in the diet. They promote recovery which helps increase muscle growth.
You can take whey protein both in the morning and post-workout due to the fact it digests quickly. Unlike whey, Casein protein powder digests slowly, making it the best choice before bed to help promote recovery.
But if you are at work or in school and don’t have time for a planned meal, a slow-digesting protein shake is a life-saver. (1) With that in mind, what are the best casein protein powders?
Let’s find out!
In a Hurry? Here is our top pick:
Quick Answer – 10 Best Casein Protein Powders in 2021
- Naked Nutrition Naked Casein Protein Powder – Best Overall
- NutraBio Micellar Casein Protein Powder – Best For Label Transparency
- Kaged Muscle Kasein Protein Powder – Best For Recovery
- MusclePharm Combat 100% Casein Protein Powder – Best For Mass & Strength
- Dymatize Elite Casein Protein Powder – Best Tasting
- Ascent Native Fuel Micellar Casein Protein Powder – Best For Athletes
- Bulksupplements Casein Protein Powder – Best For Women
- NOW Sports Micellar Casein Protein Powder – The Best For Dieters
- Six Star Elite Series Casein Protein Powder – Best Value
- Muscle Feast Grass Fed Micellar Casein Protein Powder – Best Natural Casein
Reviews – The Best Casein Protein Powders
1. Naked Nutrition Naked Casein Protein Powder – Best Overall
Naked Nutrition Naked Casein is the simplest protein powder on this list. That’s because it only contains one ingredient: micellar casein. That’s it. There are 26g protein and 110 calories. No sugar, no sodium, no flavoring. That makes this an exceptionally clean product.
It also has one of the highest amounts of BCAAs of any product in this guide. That makes it a good choice for recovery, nighttime use, or use during a long day.
Like most proteins, you can add Naked Casein to yogurt, any type of smoothie or you can bake with it. The lack of flavor means the taste of whatever you bake won’t be affected. The fact that you can use it this way supports your eating plan by adding quality protein without adding many calories.
The ultra-pure profile, high BCAA content and fully disclosed label make Naked Nutrition Naked Casein the best overall casein protein.
- 26g Micellar Protein Per Serving
- Includes A High 5.9g BCAAs
- Zero Sugar-Zero Sodium
- Only One Ingredient
- May Be Hard To Mix Without A Blender
- The Lack Of Flavoring May Be Hard To Get Used To For Some Users
2. NutraBio Micellar Casein Protein Powder – Best For Label Transparency
NutraBio Micellar Casein is a great protein powder, no doubt about it.
However, in this case, it’s not the best of the bunch. As always, the extreme full disclosure sets it apart, and it does have 25g micellar protein per serving. Micellar casein is the purest type of casein protein.
The downsides to this product is the fact that it has 1g sugar and uses sucralose. That may not seem like much sugar, but when the competition has zero sugar, it makes a difference.
Still, NutraBio Micellar Casein is so openly disclosed that it’s easily the best as far as seeing exactly what’s in your protein.
- 25g Micellar Casein Per Serving
- Includes 10g EAAs With 5g BCAAs
- Full Label Transparency
- 3rd Party Tested For Quality & Purity
- Uses Artificial Sweeteners
- Contains Sugar
3. Kaged Muscle Kasein Protein Powder – Best For Recovery
The primary benefit of casein protein is the slow digestion speed. Kaged Muscle Kasein features 25g of micellar casein protein with one notable exception.
It also contains coconut creamer which is designed to slow the digestion speed even more. Of course, that makes Kasein even better for nighttime use, post-workout use, or when you’re facing those long days and need a long-lasting protein.
Kasein also contains a high amount of EAAs and CAAs (or conditionally essential amino acids). That’s something not usually discussed when it comes to protein powder. There’s also glutamine & glutamic acid.
The downside is the use of sugar (1g) and sucralose. Still, with the extended digestion speed and the high glutamine content, Kaged Muscle Kasein is the best casein protein for recovery.
- 25g Micellar Protein Per Serving
- Added Glutamine For Improved Recovery
- Added Coconut Creamer For Even Slower Digestion
- Fully Disclosed Label
- Contains Sugar
- Uses Sucralose
- Unclear Whether The Protein Content is 24g Or 25g
4. MusclePharm Combat 100% Casein Protein Powder – Best For Mass & Strength
MusclePharm Combat 100% Casein has 28g protein per serving, one of the highest on this list. It also includes digestive enzymes to support complete digestion. There’s 1g of sugar and just 2g of total carbs in one serving.
Like some of the powders in this guide, Combat 100% Casein is banned-substance tested by Informed Choice, a supplement testing program. It’s available in a 4lb container that provides a huge 52 servings. That’s a good deal because you can find this product at a great price in certain retail chain stores.
It’s also a fully disclosed label so you can see exactly what you are getting.
The downside to this product is the use of artificial flavors and sweeteners. In a category that features several premium quality, naturally flavored and sweetened options, it seems like MusclePharm could have done the same and had a better product as a result.
Still, with a whopping 28g protein and improved digestion, MusclePharm Combat 100% Casein is the best casein protein for mass and strength.
- A Huge 28g Protein Per Serving
- 52 Servings Per 4lb Container
- Includes A Digestive Enzyme Blend
- Uses Artificial Flavors
- Uses Artificial Sweeteners
- Contains Sugar (1g)
5. Dymatize Elite Casein Protein Powder – Best Tasting
Like the other powders reviewed so far, Dymatize Elite Casein contains 25g micellar protein. However, in this case, there is absolutely zero sugar. Elite Casein does not use any banned substances in the manufacturing process. In fact, it’s tested banned substance-free by Informed Choice.
Elite Casein is also known to be one of the best tasting casein powders on the market. While taste should never come before results, it’s nice to know this product is enjoyable to drink. Dymatize plays up the fact that it tastes good by advertising “delicious” recipes.
Certainly, the fact that it can be made into various great tasting snacks and shakes sets it apart from the competition. For this reason, Dymatize Elite Casein is the best-tasting casein protein.
- 25g Micellar Casein Per Serving
- Zero Sugar
- Fully Disclosed label
- Excellent Taste
- Uses Artificial Sweeteners
6. Ascent Native Fuel Micellar Casein Protein Powder – Best For Athletes
Ascent Native Fuel Micellar Casein is a premium quality protein powder with 25g protein, zero sugar, and 2g carbs per serving. This product does not contain any artificial ingredients whatsoever and is sweetened naturally with monk fruit. Native Fuel Micellar Casein contains a high 11g EAAs that includes 5g BCAAs.
This product is Informed Choice certified and is meant for athletes. In fact, the entire line is designed for athletes and is the “Official Performance Nutrition Partner of USA Weightlifting”. Of course, a quality casein protein powder can be used by anyone, athletes included, and the results will be the same.
Still, Ascent Native Fuel Micellar Casein is a pure formula that sets itself apart with an exceptionally clean product, making it all about results. That makes it the best casein protein for athletes.
- 25g Protein With A Solid 11g EAAs
- Naturally Sweetened With Monk Fruit
- Clean Formula Designed For Athletes
- Zero Soy
- May Be Too Pricey For Some Users
7. Bulksupplements Casein Protein Powder – Best For Women
There are quite a few high-quality casein protein powders on the market. Bulksupplements Casein Protein Powder is another one that’s near the top of the list. This is a brand you may not always find in guides like this.
Yet, their Casein Protein Powder is one of the best. It’s a simple product that contains just two ingredients, micellar casein and soy lecithin. It provides 26g protein with less than 1g of sugar and only 112 calories. The label is fully disclosed and the packaging is to the point. You won’t find lots of bright colors or graphics here. It’s all about the quality of the product.
Bulksupplements Casein Protein Powder provides high amounts of calcium and phosphorus, two minerals that are essential for healthy bones. Strong bones form a solid foundation for anyone lifting heavy weights.
You can bake with it or mix it into any drink you’d like to without adding a lot of calories. That makes this an ideal protein for women who are following a healthy eating plan and who may lift weights. For these reasons, Bulksupplements Casein Protein Powder is the best casein for women.
- Clean Formula With Only Two Ingredients
- 26g Protein Per Serving
- High In Calcium & Phosphorus For Healthy Bones
- Unflavored, Good For Smoothies Or Baking
- Taste May Be Too Bland For Some Users
8. NOW Sports Micellar Casein Protein Powder – The Best For Dieters
NOW is a brand you don’t always see in any of these guides, but they have knocked it out of the park here. Their Micellar Casein is one of the cleanest products on this list.
It’s also only 90 calories per serving with 19g protein, perfect for anyone on a calorie-restricted diet. That includes users who want to drop body fat and get in shape, competitive bodybuilders, or any athlete that needs to drop excess body fat.
NOW Sports Micellar Casein is tested by LGC, a program that tests sports nutrition products. NOW Sports Micellar Casein features the Informed-Sport seal on the label.
It also features the GMP Quality Assured seal. This means that every component of the manufacturing process has been examined, including both the lab and testing methods.
You can count on quality when you purchase a NOW product. The quality and low calories per serving make NOW Sports Micellar Casein the best casein protein for dieters.
- Only Two Ingredients
- Less Than 1gSugar – 90 Calories
- Tested For Quality & Purity
- Only 19g Protein Per Serving
- Taste May Be Too Bland For Some Users
9. Six Star Elite Series Casein Protein Powder – Best Value
Six Star Elite Casein is not a true casein protein because it uses a blend of milk protein isolate and micellar casein. It’s a good combination but milk protein isolate also contains whey protein. What that does is create a protein that not only features a slower digestion speed for nighttime or post-workout use, but also has the fast-digesting elements of whey protein.
Milk Protein isolate is only 20% whey, but it still has whey nonetheless. The digestion speed elements make it a great post-workout protein source. Six Star doesn’t advertise this aspect, instead they choose to push the nighttime recovery benefits.
Six Star Elite Series Casein contains just 20g protein per serving, lower than the other products on this list. It also has 1g sugar and uses artificial sweeteners as well as flavors.
Still, the cost is significantly less than the other options presented here, making it the best value in a casein protein powder.
- Contains A Protein Blend That Includes Both Casein & Whey
- Features Both Slow & Fast Digesting Protein
- Great Value
- Contains Artificial Ingredients
- Contains 9g Carbs With 1g Sugar
10. Muscle Feast Grass Fed Micellar Casein Protein Powder – Best Natural Casein
Muscle Feast Grass Fed Micellar casein is not only grass-fed, soy-free, kosher certified, and hormone-free. You’re getting 20g of protein and just two ingredients from this unflavored powder: micellar casein and sunflower lecithin.
You’ll also get a huge 82 servings from a 4lb. container, making this product a good value. Not to mention, this product contains just 88 calories per serving.
One of the reasons this product has more servings and fewer calories is that the scoop size is smaller. That’s why it’s just 20g of protein when the competition is at least 25g or higher.
Still, even though it’s a tough race, this is about as natural as you can get. This makes Muscle Feast Grass Fed Micellar Casein the best natural casein protein powder.
- Only Two Ingredients
- Zero Sugar
- 82 Servings Per 4lb Container
- May Taste Too Bland For Some Users
Buying Guide – How To Choose The Best Casein Protein Powder?
What is Casein Protein?
Casein protein originates mainly in dairy products and digests slowly because it consists of long chains of molecules called micelles. Each of these micelle chains contains 20 amino acids, making it heavier and slower digesting than whey and other protein sources. Casein can take up to 7 hours to completely digest, (2) as opposed to whey, which can completely digest in just 2-3 hours. This is why casein is so important for use at night, or at the start of a long day where protein consumption may be questionable. This keeps you in an anabolic state virtually around the clock. Of course, many users consume whey in the morning and post-workout, while also consuming a casein protein at night and during the day.
- Slow Digestion Speed
- Promotes Recovery
- Supports Muscle Growth
- Helps Prevent Catabolism
- Supports Fat Loss
The slower absorption rate can prevent catabolism by supporting an anabolic state. By supporting an anabolic environment at such important times as while you sleep or during a long day, casein promotes recovery and muscle growth. Casein also supports fat loss by helping you feel full for a longer period of time. (3, 4)
The Different Types Of Casein Protein
Casein protein, sometimes known as sodium caseinate, is the primary protein from cow’s milk. Casein protein feeds the muscles over time because it forms a lining in the stomach. This leads to a steady flow of amino acids to the bloodstream that can last as long as 7 hours.
Here are the various types of casein protein:
Calcium Caseinate – This is the protein that’s taken from the insoluble part of milk which then undergoes a purification process to make it usable. Calcium caseinate is the lowest quality type of casein protein. It’s also very common in many protein supplements.
Micellar Casein – This is the purest form of casein protein available. It is digested and absorbed more easily than other types of casein. Micellar casein forms a gel in the small intestine. It’s then released gradually over 6-7 hours. This is the type of casein to look for in a good protein powder.
Hydrolyzed Casein – This is micellar casein that’s broken down into smaller particles. There’s not really any extra benefits to this form of casein and it tends to cost more. It’s listed here for reference, you won’t see it in too many protein products.
Milk Protein Isolate – This is a blend of casein and whey. Therefore, it’s not a pure casein protein. Still, it works well as part of a protein blend.
The Differences Between Casein & Whey
Whey vs casein. Which is better? They’re both essential types of protein. Whey digests faster than casein, making it the protein of choice for use first thing in the morning and post-workout.
As we’ve seen, casein is the ideal choice anytime you need a slower digesting protein. The combination of both types is ideal for serious bodybuilders and athletes. Even if you aren’t a serious athlete, well-timed protein intake can help preserve muscle. This is important if you’re trying to lose body fat or if you have a hard time making all of your meals due to a busy lifestyle.
What You Should Look For In A Casein Protein Powder
Here’s what to look for in a good casein protein powder:
- Quality Ingredients – What kind of casein protein is in the product? You should look for high-quality micellar casein. Look for low sugar and clean formula. There’s no reason for artificial ingredients. Keep it simple.
- Protein – Look for at least 20g. Many of the products on this list have 25g.
- Value – There’s no reason to pay more than you really need to. What is the cost per serving? How many servings are you getting for the price? Compare, compare, and compare some more.
- Taste/Texture – Taste is not the most important factor. Still, it needs to be enjoyable if you’re going to drink it at least once a day. Not to mention, it should mix up easily with no clumps.
How Do I Take Casein Protein
Always read the label directions before using casein protein, or any supplement. Many of these products can be used to bake with. Most can be added to yogurt or oatmeal. You can use any beverage you like, from water to almond milk to yes, even coffee. A blender may be necessary for complete mixing. At least one serving per day is suggested to help users meet their daily protein requirements. The best time to take casein protein is about 30 minutes before bedtime.
When it comes to casein protein powder, there are quite a few exceptional choices. Many of the available options consist of just a couple of ingredients. This level of quality makes picking the best overall really tough.
In this case, the best overall casein protein powder is Naked Nutrition Naked Casein Protein Powder. This product contains just one ingredient – that’s it. With an excellent 26g protein per serving, it’s unbeatable.
If taste is what it’s all about for you, there’s Dymatize Elite Casein. This tastes so good, it’s won “Best Taste” awards.
Finally, if you’re looking for value, Six Star Elite Casein is the way to go. It may not have quite the same level of quality, but it’s a good protein at a great price.
As always, the choice is yours. Happy Training!
- Boirie, Y., Dangin, M., Gachon, P., Vasson, M. P., Maubois, J. L., & Beaufrère, B. (1997, December 23). Slow and fast dietary proteins differently modulate postprandial protein accretion. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9405716
- Phillips, S. M., Tang, J. E., & Moore, D. R. (2009, August). The role of milk- and soy-based protein in support of muscle protein synthesis and muscle protein accretion in young and elderly persons. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20368372
- Tarnopolsky, M. A., MacDougall, J. D., & Atkinson, S. A. (1988, January). Influence of protein intake and training status on nitrogen balance and lean body mass. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3356636