BF Basics: How to Make a Hot Protein Drink

Mocha Toffee Twist 2

As it usually happens, this post came about because I thought I’d already done a tutorial post, went looking for it and found I did not. I mention how to make hot protein drinks in all of my hot protein drink posts, but there is no one post for how to mix one up, similar to the post about how to mix up triple thick protein shakes using the Triple X method.

Of course you can also find this tutorial – along with dozens of crave-worthy recipes – in The Bariatric Foodie Guide to Perfect Protein Shakes.

Now before we get into this method, let’s disspell some myths.

True or False: Once protein powder is heated above 130 degrees it is no good for you.


In this instance I defer to my favorite protein powder analogy: the egg. Protein powder and eggs act a lot alike. A raw egg is a very absorbable form of protein. That’s why you always see body builders putting them in their drinks or just downing them like shooters (ew). So then you cook it and the structure of the protein changes, but it’s still protein your body can use. Same deal with protein powder. So next time someone tells you that particular myth, tell them Nik told you to say the following: “Nuh uh!”

The first and most important thing you should know about making protein drinks is what NOT to do with them. Do not simply add boiling water to a scoop of protein powder. Wait…that bears saying a bit louder. DO NOT SIMPLY ADD BOILING WATER TO A SCOOP OF PROTEIN POWDER. Yes, you can have piping hot protein drinks…but that’s not the way to get them.

Now this, like many other aspects of post-WLS life, is one of those things where there are as many methods to do it as there are post-ops. This is my way. It doesn’t involve any special machinery and even though I live in the 1800’s and use a tea kettle, the whole thing takes all of about three minutes max.

Here’s how I do it:

Step One:

I put just enough water in my teapot for my protein drink, ensuring it will boil up quickly. Then I get out my favorite coffee mug and put in a scoop of protein powder and whatever dry flavor additives I’m using (Splenda, unsweetened cocoa, instant coffee, etc.). What’s in my cup? Tune in tomorrow and find out! But the important thing to remember here is to stir those ingredients thoroughly!

Step Two:

I add just enough milk to form a thick paste that resembles pudding before it is totally set. Then I spend about a minute stirring it to remove ALL the lumps. This is important. If there are lumps in your paste, they will form rubbery floaties in your hot drink. You don’t want that. So stir! When done, it looks something like this.

Edited to add: I had a few folks ask me why I do this as opposed to heating up all milk and mixing in protein. I find that making a paste gets the protein all smooth before adding your hot liquids. I do water because my cup is 12 oz. and that much milk tends to be too rich. BUT if you’d like to do all milk, I still think making the paste is a good first step. It allows you to work out all your lumps before you add hot liquid. Lumps + hot liquids = floaties. Ew!
Step Three:

By this time, my water is boiling. I couldn’t photo this part (cuz the divas were asleep and unable to be my photographer) but basically it goes down like this. With one hand (for me, my left if that matters to anyone), I pour the hot water into the cup SLOWLY. With my other hand I continuously stir the mixture. Do this until your mug is full. If you’ve done everything right, it should look something like this.

…and isn’t that lovely? And tomorrow you’ll get to find out exactly WHAT it is (no, it’s not cocoa, although I have a divine recipe for Salted Caramel Protein Cocoa if you’d like to try that). Now if it isn’t hot enough for you, no problem! If you have a lump free drink, you can now microwave it and it will just fine…and as hot as you like it!

Ok, so let’s talk troubleshooting:

“Nik, my hot drink is sludgy and thick!”

Use a bigger cup and add more water to your drink. Or use the same cup and less protein powder. Either way, that should yield a thinner drink.

“Nik, mine still had floaties! Blech!”


This could be for several reasons. You might have had a lump in your protein paste. Or you may have added the water too quickly. Or you may not have stirred enough at some stage. It sometimes takes a few tries to get it right.


“Nik, what’s this frothy stuff at the top of my drink?”
Yes, there is that. Surprisingly, it isn’t just from the protein. If you use Splenda, it froths up when you heat it as well. Give your drink a stir to get the sweetener incorprated. What’s left you can either keep (it’s a similar consistency as the froth on a latte) or skim it off. Your choice.


“Nik, I got it right! But now I’m addicted to hot protein drinks!”

Ok…and the problem is…?

For More Great Protein Drink Ideas…

Again, you’ll find this hot protein drink tutorial – along with how to make your protein shakes into ice cream, popsicles, frosties and more – in The Bariatric Foodie Guide to Perfect Protein Shakes.  Here are a few recent reviews.

“What a great little book! The recipes are delicious and it’s worth the money for the “Triple-X” blending secret alone. My protein shakes taste like milkshakes now! If you’re planning on having WLS, buy this book – if you gotta have upwards of 5 protein shakes a day, at least they should taste good.” Yitzchok G.

“I use recipes out of this book ALL the time. The best thing, in my opinion, however was the information about how to control the texture and thickness of the shakes. I was clueless and this made me feel like an expert! Great book!” Jen H.

See for yourself what the buzz is all about. Get your copy on hardcopy or Kindle on Amazon – or on iPad and Nook from Smashwords!



    I use a shaker cup, shake up my protein with milk or water, heat in the microwave for 2 min (after removing the little shaker ball thingy) and then stir and skim off any scummy stuff on the top. Works like a charm! 🙂

  2. Also a valid method. Thanks for sharing!

  3. I add milk and dry ingredients, mix using immersion blender, then add coffee(or espresso powder) and heat to the desired temperature. I found this tempers protein so it doesn't "curdle" and keeps the foam to a minimum.

  4. Yep…as many methodsa as there are post-ops! Other folks have told me about that one too. That's too much equipment for me, but if it works for you…rock on!

  5. I get one scoop of vanilla protein powder add coffee and put in Ninja for a few seconds and wala…a Vanilla Latte!

  6. Thank you! I appreciate you.

  7. I really enjoyed the hot chocolate, no sugar added chocolate of course.

  8. I just stumbled upon this method, and made myself one as soon as I finished reading.
    Vanilla protein, stevia, instant coffee, then milk and hot water.
    Easily the best hot drink I've ever had. Wish I'd found this earlier.
    Thank you.

  9. Wow I love hot drinks and always wished I could make a hot protein drink and now, yes I can, Thanks will be a staple to my day.

  10. Hi,

    Best Protein Shaker Cup makes cleaning much easier. This order is obviously more difficult if you are drinking your shake at the gym, because you will be using the shaker bottle to carry the powder. Thank you…

  11. Thank you for including this in your recent newsletter……I love hot chocolate, and I've been making my hot protein drink with luke warm water……this sounds much better….will start to get a little more creative with all the suggestions on here, thank you!

  12. How much cocoa, how much sweetener????

  13. Hi Sharon. For cocoa, I'd say 1 tbsp in addition to your protein powder. Sweetener is up to you. What's just right to me may be too sweet for you!

  14. Do you name specific protien products in your recipes?

  15. I’m new here, and was just reading this, n’ thought I’d add my trick to the hot drink thing… I have a mini wire whisk and it works wonders!

  16. Hi Nik!
    I love your tips! I am a newbie, (26 weeks, RNY) and I am miss having something hot to drink, especially Cocoa! Thanks for showing me the way!!

    • This blog is a GODSEND I tell ya. I’m 3 years post bypass and putting on some weight. Figured I’d go back to the beginning and needed some recipes and lo and behold I came across your books and then your website. Oh where were you three years ago….”sigh” Oh well. when the student is ready, the teacher will appear. Drinking my hot chocolate as I type this and man is it DELICIOUS! Thank you thank you thank you!!!

  17. I just heat up the water or milk to WARM temp first, mix in protein powder and whatever else, then heat in the microwave for 20 seconds at a time, stirring after each, for 60 seconds. Piping hot cocoa with no lumps, and nothing but a dirty spoon and cup.

  18. Wow ty I tried this today yummmmm gonna be having this an a cold day no lumps for me .

  19. I look forward to trying this. I should be getting my surgery date (BPD-DS) this week or next so am looking for all the help I can get. I’ve ordered the book mentioned above. If there are certain types of Protein Powders that are extra good I’m all ears.

    • Hi Sandra,

      Most any protein powder can be mixed easily into a hot drink. It just takes practice and patience! I’d say start with a powder you like then take it from there.

  20. Thank you so much for this article! It’s helped me out. I use unflavored protein powder in my coffee with unsweetened almond milk….This is wonderful!

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