There are tons of different options for milk these days! From animal-based to plant-based, there are over 50 types of milk to choose from depending on your dietary preferences. Which milk has the most protein, though?
Some of the highest protein milks include sheep milk, ultra-filtered milk, and chocolate milk, among several others.
In this article, we’ll review 14 of the highest-protein milks and compare them nutrition-wise.
14 high-protein milks
There are over 50 types of milk out there, but we only included the ones with at least eight grams of protein per cup in this list! (That means that popular milk like coconut milk and oat milk won’t be on here, but we still love them!)
Sheep milk – 15 grams of protein
Sheep milk is very rich in protein, but it’s also incredibly high in fat. Because it’s so high in fat, sheep milk isn’t drunk on its own, but is great for making yogurt and cheese!
Ultra-filtered milk – 13 grams of protein
Ultra-filtered cow’s milk is filtered to remove excess water and lactose (natural sugar in milk), which makes it lower in carbs/sugar and higher in protein compared to non-filtered milk.
Several milk brands offer ultra-filtered milk now, but the “pioneer” of ultra-filtered milk is the brand Fairlife, which was one of the first to introduce this type of milk.
You can find ultra-filtered milk in regular/unsweetened versions as well as flavored (chocolate, strawberry, etc).
Another bonus – ultra-filtered milk typically has the enzyme lactase added to it, which essentially makes it “lactose-free” since the lactase enzyme breaks down lactose.
Chocolate milk (2% fat cow’s milk) – 11 grams of protein
Chocolate milk is delicious, thanks in part to its very high sugar content. It’s slightly higher in protein compared to plain cow’s milk, but contains the most sugar out of any type of milk (16 grams of added sugar per cup).
Like regular cow’s milk, chocolate milk is typically fortified with vitamins A and D.
Buttermilk – 10 grams of protein
Buttermilk was traditionally made by collecting leftover liquid after churning butter, but today it’s made by adding a live and active culture (probiotic) to regular milk.
Buttermilk has a tangy flavor similar to yogurt thanks to the fermentation process. While buttermilk isn’t super popular for drinking straight, it’s typically used in cooking and baking.
Buffalo milk – 9 grams of protein
Made from water buffalo (not bison), buffalo milk is lower in cholesterol than cow’s milk while being higher in protein and calcium. However, it’s much higher in fat compared to cow’s milk with 17 grams of fat per cup.
Buffalo milk might be easier to digest than cow’s milk, thanks to it only containing the A2 protein (more on that next when we explain what A2 milk is!).
A2 milk – 8 grams of protein
A2 milk comes from cows that only produce a natural protein called A2. “Regular” cow’s milk typically contains proteins A1 and A2. Of these two proteins, A2 is believed to be easier to digest than milk with the A1 protein.
Even though A2 milk might be better digested compared to regular milk, it’s not suitable for a cow’s milk allergy or if you have lactose intolerance since it still contains lactose.
Acidophilus milk – 8 grams of protein
How do you make acidophilus milk? You simply add a probiotic called Lactobacillus acidophilus, which is a beneficial type of bacteria that lives in your digestive system.
The presence of the probiotics means acidophilus milk might be better tolerated if you have lactose intolerance. Why? The bacteria help break down the lactose molecules, which means you might experience fewer symptoms of lactose intolerance.
Cow’s milk (all fat levels, including powdered) – 8 grams of protein
Cow’s milk is naturally rich in protein no matter the type (nonfat, low-fat, whole, or powdered). It’s the most popular type of milk consumed worldwide, so some people refer to it as “regular milk”.
Cow’s milk can be pasteurized (heated to kill bacteria) or raw, but it doesn’t impact the protein levels. Pasteurized versions are usually homogenized (treated so the fat globules stay evenly mixed vs. separating) and fortified with nutrients like vitamins A and D.
Flax milk – 8 grams of protein
Flax milk is one of the highest plant-based milk alternatives on the market thanks to the addition of protein in the form of pea protein. It’s also high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are healthy fats that can help reduce inflammation.
Note that flax milk with added pea protein isn’t Paleo-friendly since peas are a legume, which isn’t allowed on Paleo.
Goat milk – 8 grams of protein
Goat milk is similar to cow’s milk nutrition-wise, making it a good alternative for people with a cow’s milk allergy. Goat milk isn’t low in lactose, but it is naturally rich in calcium.
Some types of goat milk may be fortified with vitamin D, similar to cow’s milk.
Lactose-free milk – 8 grams of protein
Lactose-free milk is essentially the same as regular cow’s milk but with the addition of the lactase enzyme.
If you have lactose intolerance, you don’t have enough of the lactase enzyme in your digestive tract. Without lactase (which breaks down lactose), you can experience symptoms like stomach pain, gas, diarrhea, and other unpleasant GI upset.
Pea milk – 8 grams of protein
Pea protein is growing in popularity in terms of plant-based protein. Some popular brands of pea milk add ingredients like sunflower oil and added nutrients like algal oil and vitamin B12 to boost the nutrition content.
Sesame milk – 8 grams of protein
The protein in sesame milk is considered to be a complete protein, meaning it contains all of the amino acids you need to get through your diet because your body doesn’t make them. Like flax milk, sesame milk is one of the highest-protein plant-based milks on the market.
Strawberry-flavored (cow’s) milk – 8 grams of protein
Like chocolate milk, strawberry-flavored milk is rich in protein but high in added sugar. One cup of strawberry milk contains 14 grams of added sugars.
Nutrition comparison of high-protein milk
-? = reliable information not available (e.g. commercial versions not available, incomplete information, etc.)
|Per cup (237 ml/8 oz.)||Calories||Total fat (sat. fat)||Total carbs||Total sugars (incl. added)||Protein|
|Sheep milk||264||17 g (11 g)||13 g||?||15 g|
|Ultra-filtered milk (2% fat)||120||4.5 g (3 g)||6 g||6 g (0 g)||13 g|
|Chocolate milk (2% fat)||220||5 g (3.5 g)||33 g||31 g (16 g)||11 g|
|Buttermilk (1% fat)||120||2.5 g (2 g)||15 g||11 g (0 g)||10 g|
|Buffalo milk||237||17 g (? g)||12 g||?||9 g|
|A2 milk||130||5 g (3 g)||12 g||12 g (0 g)||8 g|
|Acidophilus milk (sweet, 1%)||100||2.5 g (1.5 g)||12 g||12 g (0 g)||8 g|
|Cow’s milk (2%)||130||5 g (3 g)||12 g||12 g (0 g)||8 g|
|Flax milk||70||3.5 g (0 g)||2 g||0 g||8 g|
|Goat milk||140||7 g (4 g)||11 g||0 g||8 g|
|Lactose-free milk (2%)||130||5 g (3 g)||13 g||12 g (0 g)||8 g|
|Pea milk||80||4.5 g (0.5 g)||1 g||0 g||8 g|
|Sesame milk||90||5 g (0.5 g)||2 g||0 g||8 g|
|Strawberry milk (whole)||210||8 g (5 g)||27 g||25 g (14 g)||8 g|
Some of the highest protein milks are sheep milk, ultra-filtered cow’s milk, and varieties of cow’s milk (regular and flavored). There are also higher-protein milk alternatives like flax milk and pea milk for plant-based dieters or those with allergies or intolerances to mammal milk!
Which milk alternative has the most protein?
Flax milk has the most protein of all the plant-based milk alternatives with 8 grams of protein per cup.