Branched Chain Amino Acids, or BCAAs, are one of the best workout supplements you can take. Unlike other amino acids, BCAAs bypass the liver and can be utilized by the body virtually immediately. Thus, when it comes to when to take BCAAs, you can take the before, during, or after a workout for fuel and to improve muscle synthesis.
There’s just one problem though.
Most BCAA powders are in poor taste!
The good news is that top brands have gotten better at formulating their BCAA powders so they don’t taste terrible. I tested out a lot of different brands and combed through reviews. The best tasting BCAA powders I’ve reviewed below.
- The Best Tasting BCAA Powders
- 3 Tips for Making BCAA Powder Taste Better
- The Bottom Line?
The Best Tasting BCAA Powders
In choosing these best tasting BCAA powders, I also looked at some other features – like whether they actually hold up nutritionally. I also wanted to make sure that the taste wasn’t coming from loads of chemical additives.
It’s pretty hard to find a good tasting BCAA powder that doesn’t have artificial flavors. I don’t mind the artificial ingredients too much in this case though, especially if it is the difference between being able to stomach the BCAAs or not.
1. XTEND BCAAs by Scivation
Marketed as “the best-selling, most advanced BCAA drink mix on the planet,” XTEND certainly has a cult following. It is definitely a high-quality product. With 7 grams of BCAAs per serving, it also offers a higher dosage than many competing products.
The only problem you might have with the taste of XTEND BCAAs is that it is really sweet. If you aren’t a fan of super-sweet drinks, then you’ll need to dissolve your dosage in more water. Perfect because you probably need to be drinking more water anyway. 😉
- BCAAs Per Serving: 7 grams
- Other Nutrients: glutamine, B6, citrulline malate
- Taste Comes from: Sucralose, artificial and natural flavors
- Flavor Options: 16 flavors include blood orange, blue raspberry, grape, green apple, lemon lime, mango, orange, pineapple, pink lemonade, raw, strawberry kiwi, strawberry mango, tangerine, watermelon, strawberry kiwi free (contains sugar and electrolytes)
- My Favorite Flavor : I like the lemon lime flavor. It’s really refreshing!
2. BPI Sports Best BCAA Powder
What makes Best BCAA Powder by BPI Sports different is that it uses “Oligopeptide-enzymatic technology” to formulate the amino acids into a bond. According to the manufacturer, this helps the body utilize the BCAAs faster so you get better results.
As far as flavor goes, BPI Sports almost always gets positive reviews. I don’t particularly like the grape flavor because it reminds me of cough syrup, but that’s my opinion. All flavors of the BCAA powder are super sweet though. Instead of using stevia, BPI uses acesulfame-k, which is 200 times sweeter than sugar.
- BCAAs Per Serving: 5 grams
- Other Nutrients: CLA Matrix blend
- Taste Comes from: Maltodextrin, natural and artificial flavors, citric acid, malic acid, sucralose, acesulfame-K
- Flavor Options: 12 flavor options include artic ice, blue raspberry, fruit punch, blue lemonade, cherry lime, grape, green fusion, passion fruit, rainbow ice, snow cone, sour candy, watermelon ice
- My Favorite Flavor : Watermelon ice is really good.
3. Optimum Nutrition Amino Energy with Green Coffee Extract
This BCAA powder is different than the others. It also contains 160mg of an “energy blend” which consists of caffeine in various forms. For this reason, I would recommend Optimum Nutrition as a pre-workout supplement for women. It is also great for helping you lose more weight, if that’s your goal.
Some people don’t like that Optimum Nutrition Amino Energy contains 10 calories and 2 grams of carbs per serving. But, honestly, if you are working out hard enough, you shouldn’t be worried about this low amount of calories and carbs.
The only thing that I really don’t like about Optimum Nutrition is that they use propriety blends of amino acids, meaning we don’t know how much of each amino acid is in the formula.
- BCAAs Per Serving: Propriety blend containing BCAAs plus other amino acids equals 5 grams total
- Other Nutrients: Energy blend (caffeine, green tea extract, green coffee extract)
- Taste Comes from: Natural and artificial flavors, malic acid, citric acid, sucralose, tartaric acid
- Flavor Options: 21 flavor options include blue raspberry, blueberry mojito, concord grape, cotton candy, fruit passion, green apple, iced caramel macchiato, ice chai tea latte, ice mocha cappuccino, iced vanilla latte, lemon lime, orange cooler, peach lemonade, pineapple, strawberry lime, and watermelon
- My Favorite Flavor : Blueberry mojito is delicious mixed with just water. Orange cooler and watermelon are also really popular.
4. Alpha Amino Performance BCAAs
Alpha Amino Performance isn’t as popular as some of the other BCAA powders here, but it is worth considering.
Not only does it have a good ratio of BCAAs, it also contains other amino acids. This makes it great for people who do marathon workouts, or who need a slower-acting source of fuel for their muscles.
I also really like that the BCAA powder contains electrolytes. It is incredibly important to stay hydrated, and few people are actually getting enough fluid. One study found that nearly 32% of athletes started training in a dehydrated state. And serious athletes are people who should know better!
- BCAAs Per Serving: 5 grams
- Other Nutrients: Hydration blend (1750mg), Amino Acid Complex (3750mg), magnesium, sodium, potassium, phosphorus
- Taste Comes from: Citric acid, natural and artificial flavors, sucralose, acesulfame
- Flavor Options: 6 flavor options include fruit punch, grape, lemon lime, pink lemonade, watermelon, and ice blue razz
- My Favorite Flavor : Lemon lime is good. Grape and fruit punch are also okay, but I wasn’t too impressed with the other flavors.
5. BSN Amino X Endurance and Recovery Powder
One of the reasons that this is the best tasting BCAA powder is because it isn’t too sweet. For people who aren’t used to super-sweet drinks, flavored BCAAs can be seem nasty.
BSN doesn’t overdo the sweetness in their BCAA powder (the sweetness comes from sucralose in this case).
The powder also delivers 10 grams of amino acids per serving. However, because it’s a propriety blend that also consists of alanine, taurine, and l-citrulline, I can’t say for sure exactly how much is BCAAs.
- BCAAs Per Serving: Propriety blend consisting of other amino acids totals 10 grams.
- Other Nutrients: Vitamin D (500IU), sodium (160mg), Effosorb EnDura Composite
- Taste Comes from: Sucralose, citric acid, malic acid
- Flavor Options: 9 flavor options include fruit punch, blue raz, grape, green apple, watermelon, tropical pineapple, strawberry orange, dragonfruit, and unflavored
- My Favorite Flavor : Watermelon also wins as the best flavor for this BCAA powder. For whatever reason, watermelon flavor disguises the bitterness of BCAAs very well! Blue Raz and dragonfruit are also good.
3 Tips for Making BCAA Powder Taste Better
Obviously, you want to choose the best tasting BCAA powder available. However, even these might not taste so great to you. In that case, use these tips to make the BCAA powder taste better.
1. Drink BCAA Cold
With anything that tastes nasty, it is always easier to drink it cold. I even know one person who mixed BCAA powder into homemade popsicles. She was using the BCAA powder to prevent muscle loss while dieting, so popsicles worked great.
2. Dissolve the BCAA Powder Completely
BCAA powder is a bit hard to dissolve. It forms clumps, which then end up stuck to your tongue (meaning the nasty taste lingers for a long time!).
To properly dissolve BCAA powder:
- Do not use cold water. It will clump.
- But don’t use insanely hot water either. It will clump.
- Instead, mix the BCAA powder with lukewarm water. Stir until dissolved.
- After it has dissolved, add some ice cubes and drink up.
- Alternatively, mix up your BCAA drink the day before.
3. Take BCAA as a Shot
If you really can’t stomach it, just mix up a dosage of BCAA powder with as little water as possible. Put it in a small glass and down it like a shot. It won’t taste good, but at least it will be over with soon.
The Bottom Line?
There’s sure to be at least one flavor of BCAA powder that you actually like to drink.