Best protein-loaded recovery drinks for cycling 2024 rated and reviewed

We look at the best available protein and recovery drinks to ensure you’re recovered and good to go for your next training session

Male cyclist drinking a protein-packed recovery drink after cycling
(Image credit: Future)

Recovery drinks are massively helpful for any cyclist looking to make maximum gains from their training sessions. These products ensure you’re getting the right amount of carbohydrates and protein for optimal recovery.

For effective recovery after cycling, carbohydrates are needed to refill our glycogen stores, so that we can train again the next day, while protein is needed to allow the muscles to repair and build up stronger and ready for the next workout.

Your approach to cycling nutrition is one of the essential areas to focus on to ensure you reap the positive adaptations from training.

We have split this guide into best recovery drink powders, best ready-made recovery drinks and best vegan recovery drinks.

Below we rate the best recovery drinks and why some are better for some than others. Then, we answer your questions about recovery drinks. 

The quick list

Recovery powders

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Vegan recovery powders

Best recovery drink powders for cycling

Best value

Wiggle Nutrition Recovery powder which is one of the best protein recovery drinks for cycling

(Image credit: Andy Turner)

1. Wiggle Nutrition Recovery

Best value

Specifications

Protein content per serving: 17g
Carb content per serving: 39 - 41g (dependent on flavour)
Energy per serving: 235 - 241 kcal (dependent on flavour)
Price per serving: $0.91 / £0.91

Reasons to buy

+
Tastes good
+
Low price
+
Mixes well
+
Great carb to protein ratio

Reasons to avoid

-
Only available in bulk

The Wiggle Recovery drink does exactly what it needs to and for almost half the price of most of its competitors.

With around a 3:1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein, this drink provides the optimum amounts of both for recovery after a tough or long training session. Add to that the carbs and proteins being faster acting, and this recovery drink will help you be primed and ready for your next training session.

The drink mixes very well, leaving no clumps at all, and with the guided amount of water, the drink was a good consistency similar to a milkshake with a nice natural taste to match. The banana flavour has no artificial taste to it and after drinking we felt like it left us full enough.

Based on performance and value, there was nowhere that this recovery drink faltered, hence the 5/5 perfect score!

Best ratio of carbohydrate to protein

High5 Recovery which is one of the best protein recovery drinks for cycling

(Image credit: Andy Turner)

2. High5 Recovery

Best ratio of carbohydrate to protein

Specifications

Protein content per serving: 18g
Carb content per serving: 36g
Energy per serving: 236 - 238 kcal
Price per serving: $2.72 / £2.21 per sachet or $1.68 / £1.88 per serving from 1.6kg tub

Reasons to buy

+
Mixes well
+
Option for batch tested

Reasons to avoid

-
Some flavours weak tasting

The High5 recovery drink was the only other protein powder on test to offer the same ~3:1 carbs to protein ratio. It’s the right balance for getting sufficient protein in for rebuilding your muscles, without having to take on an excessive amount of carbs.

A bonus point for High5 is the option to get the product batch tested, which helps to put your mind at ease that there isn’t contamination with any banned products that would fail a doping test. Although most of us won’t get tested, it is good to know what you are taking is ‘clean’.

The drink mixed very well and gave a more watery consistency than many of the drinks, possibly preferable for some after a hard session, as it’s easier to drink than a thicker shake. The flip side is that it’s maybe a little less filling – not by much, though. Flavours were good on the whole, but I found the banana one to be a little too weak. 

Value was pretty good among competitors, and the only reason we docked half a mark was due to the inconsistency between flavours. Other than that, an ideal recovery drink.

Best with whey and casein protein

OTE Sports Whey Protein which is one of the best protein recovery drinks for cycling

(Image credit: Andy Turner)

3. OTE Sports Whey Protein

Best with whey

Specifications

Protein content per serving: 25g
Carb content per serving: 19.2g
Energy per serving: 122 kcal
Price per serving: £2.75 per sachet or £2.13 per serving from 1kg tub

Reasons to buy

+
Mixes well
+
Contains essential amino acids

Reasons to avoid

-
Slightly artificially sweet aftertaste
-
Not enough carbs

OTE Sports’ Whey Protein recovery drink offers a little more protein than most of the others on test, landing it slap-bang in the middle of the recommended 20-30 grams. The carb content, on the other hand, was a bit lacking for a recovery drink, though.

That said, the inclusion of essential and branched chain amino acids was a bonus for muscle recovery. And the option for batch testing, along with everything being made in a facility that is Informed Sport Certified is another perk. 

The drink mixed very well and left us feeling full, ready for a proper meal later on. However, there was a strange artificially sweet taste – although there are apparently no artificial sweeteners present.

The drink is quite expensive compared to some of the more value-oriented options, but it still sits around the middle of the spectrum when bought in bulk. The option for sachets is useful for those travelling or bikepacking, but it is more expensive. 

One point is lost due to the reduced carb amount and funny flavour, but when bought in bulk this offers a great protein drink at a solid value.

Best recovery drink Informed Sport tested

SiS Rego which is one of the best protein recovery drinks for cycling

(Image credit: Andy Turner)

4. SiS Rego Rapid Recovery

Best Informed Sport tested

Specifications

Protein content per serving: 20g
Carb content per serving: 20g
Energy per serving: 184 kcal
Price per serving: $1.92 / £1.78 per 50g serving from 1.6kg tub

Reasons to buy

+
Tastes good
+
Mixes well
+
Informed Sport tested
+
Very good vitamin and mineral content for recovery and hydration

Reasons to avoid

-
Soya protein perhaps not as fast acting as whey
-
Not enough carbs

SiS REGO Rapid Recovery has been around for a long time, and does well with a high amount of protein and solid amount of carbs. It is a 1:1 ratio, though, so the carb content is perhaps a little lacking – but it can be consumed alongside a meal more rich in carbs.

The drink mixes very well with no lumps and has a nice flavour without any artificial taste. A nice addition is a full profile of electrolytes, which makes this a great drink for rehydration – an aspect sometimes forgotten by other recovery drinks and a big bonus. 

The drink left me feeling satisfied after a workout, but still a bit hungry after around 30 minutes or so. When bought as a 1.6kg tub, the value is exceptional. Additionally, all SiS products are batch-tested, which is a great feature.

The lack of carbohydrates is the only point we could mark down, but the addition of salts and other vitamins and minerals for better hydration was a big enough bonus so we only docked half a mark – especially as it’s quite easy to get your carbs from another source.

Complete meal replacement

Torq Recovery which is one of the best protein recovery drinks for cycling

(Image credit: Andy Turner)

5. Torq Recovery

Best meal replacement

Specifications

Protein content per serving: 11.5g (per 50 g sachet)
Carb content per serving: 32g (per 50 g sachet)
Energy per serving: 171 kcal
Price per serving: $1.70 / £1.70 per 50g serving from a 1.5kg bag

Reasons to buy

+
Tastes good
+
Complete recovery meal
+
Mixes well

Reasons to avoid

-
Might be too much of a meal replacement for some
-
Smaller sachets don't provide enough protein
-
Expensive

Torq’s recovery drink is very different to most on this list, in that it contains a huge amount of carbs. The price per serving is high, but the recovery drink you get is near enough a meal replacement which – for people having just finished a race or short on time – might actually be ideal. 

The drink also features branched chain and essential amino acids, as well as a very long list of vitamins and minerals that are essential to recovery and hydration. 

When mixed, the drink is quite thick but has no lumps and tastes delicious – it was one of my favourites in that regard. Due to the high carb and protein content, it left me very full afterwards and not in need of any additional fuelling. 

Torq recommends a different serving size dependent on the duration and intensity of exercise, from one 50g sachet for a moderate workout up to two for a hard session (or none for a light workout). 

The smaller sachets don’t really offer either enough protein or carbs for recovery from a hard session. The ratio is good, but the total content is low. To get enough protein, you do need the full two-sachet dose – but that will constitute a meal replacement for most people, with around 340kCal of energy content. 

Consumed like this, the value isn’t bad. But given the $3.40/£3.40 per serving we couldn’t give it higher than a 4, despite its great hydration benefits that are only present to this extent in a few recovery drinks.

High quality natural ingredients

Veloforte Vita which is one of the best protein recovery drinks for cycling

(Image credit: Andy Turner)

6. Veloforte Vita

Most natural

Specifications

Protein content per serving: 13.1g
Carb content per serving: 39.3g
Energy per serving: 226 kcal
Price per serving: £2.99 per sachet, price decreases based on quantity ordered (3, 10, 15 and 24)

Reasons to buy

+
Natural ingredients
+
Refreshing taste
+
Good fibre levels
+
3:1 carb to protein ratio

Reasons to avoid

-
Low protein content compared to some
-
Gritty texture from natural ingredients may not appeal to everyone

The Veloforte Vita recovery drink is ideal for those who want completely natural ingredients, without excessive processing or artificial flavours. This does lead to a slight grittiness in the drink when mixed, so it tastes more like a smoothie or fruit juice than a milkshake. The flavour was refreshing and natural and I did quite like it. 

It is a little weak, though, and didn’t leave me very full. The amount of carbs and the ratio of that to the to protein is quite good, but the overall protein quantity is still too low. You can mix it with milk, though, which will boost the carbs and protein as well as leading to a thicker consistency. 

The price per serving is high, likely due to the quality of the ingredients. Another nice touch is that Veloforte has a recycling service for all their waste and wrappers, as well as not using any plastic in their delivery. This is really the only option for those who are environmentally conscious. But considering the lower protein content and the high price, it missed out on the top scores.

Best ready-made recovery drinks for cycling

Best pre-mixed drink

For Goodness Shakes Recovery Drink which is one of the best protein recovery drinks for cycling

(Image credit: Andy Turner)

1. For Goodness Shakes Recovery Drink

Best pre-mixed

Specifications

Protein content per serving: 16.1g
Carb content per serving: 48.3g
Energy per serving: 261 kcal
Price per serving: $2.20 / £1.69

Reasons to buy

+
Tastes great
+
High protein and carb content
+
Practical
+
Price

Reasons to avoid

-
More expensive than powders

The For Goodness Shakes Recovery drink was as close to perfect as possible. Not only a great ratio of carbs to protein but also a good profile of vitamins and minerals for hydration and recovery. Obviously not lactose-free, but using milk as a base gives a great source of protein and calcium (great for cyclists where bone mineral density is important), but also very good for hydration post-exercise.

The taste and consistency are close to that of a really good milkshake, and left me feeling very satisfied after drinking. The taste may be a little sweet for some, especially the vanilla fudge flavour, but I loved it and my desire to raid the sweets cupboard after a training session was quenched!

The price is good too, with the ready-made shake being one of the more competitively priced options, there isn’t a need to buy in bulk! Being pre-mixed, it’s also easier to bring along with you for consumption after a race or a gym session. 5/5 was well deserved!

Easiest to drink

For Goodnews Shakes Protein Shake which is one of the best protein recovery drinks for cycling

(Image credit: Andy Turner)

2. For Goodness Shakes Protein shake

Easiest to drink

Specifications

Protein content per serving: 25g
Carb content per serving: 25g
Energy per serving: 205 kcal
Price per serving: $2.55 / £1.99

Reasons to buy

+
Tastes great
+
High protein content
+
Practical

Reasons to avoid

-
Not many carbs for a recovery drink

The For Goodness Shakes Protein drink is a great-tasting recovery drink that I really liked after short, sharp sessions or gym workouts. The protein amount is higher than most and right in the 20-30g range that is recommended. However, the carb content is a bit low with the 1:1 ratio.

The taste and consistency of these drinks is fantastic and I absolutely loved them – just like a milkshake! They also contain a good profile of vitamins and minerals for recovery and hydration, leaving me feeling satisfied after one serving – but wanting more for the taste!

The price per serving sits pretty much bang in the middle of what we saw with recovery drinks. Buying in bulk doesn’t offer much of a discount, although the single helping option is a nice inclusion. 

It only slightly lost out in its score due to the lack of carbs compared to the protein, but the taste, practicality, and good amount of protein were all on point.

Best vegan recovery drinks for cycling

Best value vegan drink

MyProtein Vegan which is one of the best protein recovery drinks for cycling

(Image credit: Future)

1. MyProtein Vegan Protein Blend

Best value vegan

Specifications

Protein content per serving: 22g
Carb content per serving: 3.9g
Energy per serving: 111 kcal
Price per serving: £0.51 per 30g serving from 1kg bag