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Casein is the most predominant type of protein in milk. In fact, it represents about 80% of milk’s total protein content (1).

It’s widely used as a pre-sleep protein supplement because it’s a more slowly digested protein source, allowing increases in overnight muscle protein synthesis and preventing muscle degradation while you sleep (2, 3).

Casein supplements provide it either in micellar form — milk’s natural casein form — or as sodium, potassium, or calcium caseinates, which are more rapidly digested.

Aside from being a more natural form of casein, micellar casein is usually preferred over caseinates because of its slower digestion rate, which sustains blood amino acid concentrations overnight (4).

This article examines casein protein powders based on the following criteria:

  • third-party testing and other quality certifications
  • the type of casein
  • the quality of its ingredients
  • the price

Here are the 12 best casein protein powders for 2021.

A note on price

General price ranges with dollar signs ($ to $$$) are indicated below. One dollar sign means the product is rather affordable, whereas three dollar signs indicate a higher price range.

Generally, prices range from $0.70–$1.72 per serving, or $29.96–$79.99 per tub, though this may vary depending on where you shop and which tub size you buy.

Pricing guide

  • $ = at or under $1 per serving
  • $$ = over $1 per serving
Healthline

ON Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Naturally Flavored 100% Casein

Price: $$

As one of the most reputable, high quality supplement brands, Optimum Nutrition’s casein powder is one of the most recommended casein supplements.

This casein powder provides 24 grams of protein per serving, along with 4.7 grams of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) — three amino acids that help increase the rate of muscle protein synthesis (5).

Additionally, ON’s facilities comply with the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) regulations.

Its products are also Certified for Sport by NSF International, a third-party testing organization that guarantees the absence of substances banned by many major athletic organizations.

Pros:
made with 100% micellar casein
contains no artificial flavors, sweeteners, or colors
available in two sizes — 2 and 4 pounds (900 grams and 1.8 kg)
available in two flavors — chocolate crème and french vanilla

Cons:
contains milk and soy ingredients — two major food allergens
packs 8 grams of carbs per serving and 4 grams of added sugars

Dymatize Elite Casein

Price: $

Dymatize Elite Casein protein powder is produced using cross-flow microfiltration processing, which helps preserve casein’s natural properties and quality.

This powder provides 24 grams of protein, with 5.3 grams of BCAAs per serving.

It’s also manufactured in GMP- and sport-certified facilities, further demonstrating its high quality standards.

Pros:
made with 100% micellar casein
provides just 3 grams of carbs per serving and no added sugars
certified gluten-free
available in two sizes — 2 and 4 pounds (900 grams and 1.8 kg)
available in four flavors — cinnamon bun, rich chocolate, smooth vanilla, and cookies and cream
widely available online and in stores

Cons:
contains milk and soy ingredients

Kaged Muscle Kasein Isolate Powder

Price: $$

Kaged Muscle Kasein Isolate Powder is also produced with microfiltration processing, this time using a cold-pressed filtration method that preserves casein’s integrity.

It provides 24 grams of protein and 4.75 grams of BCAAs per serving.

The brand’s products are third-party tested for purity and potency, as well as banned-substance-free.

Pros:
100% micellar casein
certified non-GMO, gluten- and soy-free
contains less than 1 gram of lactose per serving
naturally flavored and doesn’t contain artificial colors
available in two flavors — chocolate and vanilla

Cons:
only one size available — 2 pounds (900 grams)
contains milk

Legion Casein+

Price: $$

Legion takes pride in producing a casein protein powder — Casein+ — that’s made from high quality milk from small, sustainable Irish milk farms.

The brand works with farms that are certified by Ireland’s Sustainable Dairy Assurance Scheme (SDAS). Thus, its casein comes from farms that follow the best animal welfare, traceability, and soil and grass management practices.

Its casein powder provides 26 grams of protein per serving without added amino acids to avoid amino spiking.

It’s also manufactured in an FDA-approved GMP-certified facility.

Pros:
100% micellar casein
certified non-GMO, gluten- and hormone-free
naturally flavored and sweetened and doesn’t contain artificial food dyes
available in four flavors — milk chocolate, french vanilla, strawberry, and banana cream pie
free worldwide shipping when you order through Legion’s site

Cons:
contains soy and milk
manufactured in a facility that processes ingredients like eggs, nuts, shellfish, and wheat, and may contain traces of these ingredients

Ascent Native Fuel Micellar Casein

Price: $$

Ascent supplements are known for being the benchmark of product purity, and they’re Informed-Sport-certified — a global sports supplement testing program.

Ascent micellar casein powder provides 25 grams of protein per serving and 5 grams of BCAAs.

Pros:
100% micellar casein
certified gluten-free
contains no artificial ingredients
available in two sizes — 2 and 4 pounds (900 grams and 1.8 kg)
available in three flavors — chocolate, vanilla bean, and chocolate peanut butter

Cons:
contains milk
may contain trace amounts of tree nuts and peanuts
on the pricier side

BulkSupplements Casein Protein Powder

Price: $

Unflavored casein powders allow you to enjoy the protein’s benefits without the usual sweet taste, which is also great if you want to mix it with a savory meal or drink.

This casein powder provides 25 grams of protein per serving and less than 1 gram of carbs and fat.

It’s manufactured following cGMP standards in an FDA-inspected facility.

Pros:
casein is listed as the only ingredient
certified gluten- and sugar-free
sold in bulk in multiple sizes that range from 0.22 pounds (100 grams) to 44 pounds (20 kg)

Cons:
milk is reported in its allergen information
doesn’t specify the type of casein

Promix Unflavored Casein Protein Powder

Price: $$

Promix offers another unflavored casein protein option that’s easy to blend with about anything you like.

Promix Casein Protein Powder provides 25 grams of protein and 5.3 grams BCAAs per serving. Users report less bloating and stomach aches, compared with other brands — although it may have a grainier texture.

The brand also uses third-party testing to ensure the quality of its products.

Pros:
100% micellar casein
contains no carbs or fat
certified non-GMO, corn-, soy-, and gluten-free
available in two sizes — 1 and 5 pounds (450 grams and 2.3 kg)
available in chocolate flavor as well

Cons:
contains milk

MuscleTech NitroTech Casein Gold

Price: $

MuscleTech is another reputable and internationally recognized brand consumed by both elite athletes and fitness enthusiasts.

Its NitroTech Casein Gold Protein Powder provides only 110 calories per serving and 24 grams of protein from a casein blend comprised of both micellar and calcium caseinate.

Furthermore, the protein is manufactured in a GMP-certified facility.

Pros:
only 2 grams of carbs per serving and virtually no fats
packs 10 grams of BCAAs per serving
available in two sizes — 2.5 and 5 pounds (1.1 kg and 2.3 kg)
available in two flavors — chocolate supreme and creamy vanilla

Cons:
contains milk and soy ingredients and possibly traces of nuts, wheat, and egg

Nutricost Casein Protein Powder

Price: $

Nutricost Casein Protein Powder is another 110-calorie alternative for those looking for a lower calorie option.

Each serving provides 24 grams of protein, and the supplement is manufactured in a GMP-compliant, FDA-registered facility.

Pros:
100% micellar casein
certified gluten-free and non-GMO
naturally flavored
available in two sizes — 2 and 5 pounds (900 grams and 2.3 kg)
available in two flavors — chocolate and vanilla

Cons:
contains milk

Hardbody Amazing Micellar Casein Protein Powder

Price: $$

Hardbody’s Amazing Micellar Casein Protein Powder is one of the few protein supplements that contain a probiotic and blend of digestive enzymes.

Each serving packs 26 grams of protein, including all 3 BCAAs and 9 essential amino acids.

Hardbody’s products are third-party quality tested and manufactured in an FDA-registered facility.

Pros:
100% micellar casein
certified non-GMO, antibiotic- and hormone-free
available in two flavors — chocolate supreme and vanilla cream
free shipping in the United States when you order through Hardbody’s site

Cons:
contains sunflower lecithin and milk
manufactured in a facility that processes ingredients like eggs, peanuts, tree nut, sulfites, shellfish, and wheat
on the pricier side

SYNTHA-6 Ultra-Premium Protein Matrix

Price: $

SYNTHA-6 Ultra-Premium Protein Matrix offers a protein blend comprised of whey protein, casein, and egg protein. Its whey and casein are in calcium caseinate and micellar form.

It provides 22 grams of protein, 15 grams of carbs, and 6 grams of fat per serving, making it the highest calorie option on this list — with a whopping 200 calories per serving.

Additionally, the protein contains papain and bromelain — two fruit-derived enzymes that aid digestion.

The protein is also manufactured in a cGMP facility.

Pros:
available in three sizes — 2.9, 5, and 10 pounds (1.3, 2.3, and 4.5 kg)
available in five flavors — chocolate cake batter, chocolate peanut butter, vanilla, vanilla ice cream, and pumpkin pie

Cons:
contains milk, soy, egg, and wheat

Pro JYM Ultra-Premium Protein Blend

Price: $$

Pro JYM Ultra-Premium Protein Blend is another higher calorie alternative that contains multiple types of protein.

It provides 22 grams of protein per serving, comprising 7.5 grams of whey protein isolate, 7 grams of micellar casein, 7 grams of milk protein isolate, and 2.5 grams of egg white protein.

However, its carb and fat contents are significantly lower than Syntha’s protein blend, with only 4 grams of carbs and 2.5 grams of fat per serving.
Lastly, all of JYM’s supplements are manufactured in a cGMP-compliant facility.

Pros:
available in four sizes — 2, 2.13, 4, and 4.2 pounds (900 grams, 968 grams, 1.8 kg, and 1.9 kg)
available in nine flavors — cookies and cream, caramel macchiato, chocolate cookie crunch, chocolate mousse, chocolate peanut butter, smores, Tahitian vanilla bean, vanilla peanut butter, and rocky road

Cons:
contains milk, soy, egg, and peanuts
manufactured with equipment that also processes tree nuts and wheat

When shopping for a casein protein powder, make sure to opt for a brand that uses third-party testing to make sure you’re getting the best protein quality and quantity per scoop.

Additionally, be sure to go for one with a high micellar casein content, as this is the purest form of casein available.

You could also try to stick to brands that use the fewest number of ingredients in their products. This way you’ll know you’re buying a clean protein that’s not full of fillers and additives.

Lastly, check the grams of protein provided per serving, which should range from 24–28 grams.

If you’re looking to bulk up, you may want to go for a protein powder with a higher protein and calorie content — even if it has a higher carb and fat content.

In contrast, if you’re trying to lose weight, stick to those that provide only protein and virtually no carbs and fats — and thus a lower calorie count.

Casein is a slowly digested protein that allows your body to keep growing your muscles even in your sleep.

Still, when choosing a casein protein powder, you want to make sure you’re getting the best protein quality for your buck.

Thus, make sure to buy one that complies with high quality standards and meets your specific preferences and needs regarding flavor, purity, and calorie content.