8 Best High Calorie Shakes in 2021 (Review)
High calorie shakes are some of the easiest tools to use when looking to gain weight. You can drink 600 to 1,200kcal in one go fairly easily at any point; which anyone putting on weight knows it’s not easy. I’ve been through periods where I tried to eat as much as I could. But getting to my calorie goals day in and day out soon became a chore. That’s where I started looking for high calorie drinks to supplement my food intake.
In fact, I found two types of high calorie drinks for weight gain: meal replacement shakes and weight gainers (protein drinks).
The first are complete food that contain all the nutrients your body needs. The second are usually a mix of carbohydrates and some protein; often found in protein powder manufacturer’s shops.
In here, I compile the best drinks to gain weight; including meal replacement shakes for weight gain and traditional weight gainers.
Best High Calorie Meal Replacement Shakes and Protein Powders at a Glance
Product NamePriceReasonBuy Now
Total Mass Extreme£5.36Best in Europe
Ample O/V$4.50Editor’s Choice
Serious Mass$3.12Best Weight Gain
Naked Vegan$5.44Best Vegan
1. Ample V
- Delicious, sweet and smooth shakes
- Opt from: Plant based, whey based and keto
- Gluten-free, soy-free, and without artificial additives
- Contains probiotics and prebiotics, more gentle than other weight gainers
- 600kcal per serving
- Not a real weight gainer
- Can be expensive
When it comes to Ample, it is not truly designed to be a weight gainer meal replacement, but it can function like one. For once, you can buy the 600kcal bottles. Otherwise, you can buy the powder format and increase the recommended serving to that of your liking.
Because of how smooth and tasty the shakes are, you will find Ample meals to be a delight to drink. Thus, you will be able to consume large amount of calories without suffering. Perhaps, this is not the best for hardcore weight gainers; but those who are looking for more natural and balanced shakes.
In fact, because Ample is made with real food ingredients and contains probiotics, as well as digestive enzymes, you won’t suffer of any bloating or stomach ache issues.
Thus, the combination of great taste, easiness to drink, and premium nutritional input makes Ample the best meal replacement for weight gain.
There are 3 variations of Ample: Keto, Vegan and Original. I suggest you choose the plant based or the Original version.
|per serving||Ample V||DV (%)
2. Total Mass Extreme
Best in Europe
- Designed as weight gainer: 1,000kcal and 60g of protein
- Thin shake, easy to drink
- Multiple delicious flavours available (10)
- Affordable pricing and multiple discounts
- Exact protein might vary with flavour
Total Mass Matrix Extreme is one of the best drinks to gain weight for men: 1,000kcal per serving, 60g of protein and with a mix of vitamins and minerals. Thus, this is a meal replacement shake that you can enjoy when trying to gain those extra pounds.
Nutritionally, it has a great balance of macros and a premium blend of protein to help you put on muscle. It also includes some MCTs, multiple sources of carbs (for more nutrients) and some creatine.
Unlike other meal replacements, Total Mass is quite thin and mixes very well with water; which makes it easier to drink. Plus, it is available in 10 flavours, so you don’t get bored easily. I would recommend starting with Smooth Chocolate or Chocolate Hazelnut heaven. Also, get a big bag or you will run out very fast.
Three are always discounts running, like HEYJUNE for an extra 15% OFF.
|per serving||Total Mass||RI (%)
3. Pro Gainer ON
- 60g of premium protein per 650kcal
- One of the best chocolate flavours
- Available in tubs and bags
- Only 2g of added sugar
- Mixes well without a blender
- Can be hard on the stomach
- Slightly more expensive than alternatives
Optimum Nutrition is king of weight gainers and high calorie nutritional drinks. The Pro Gainer version is their more balanced, and protein rich formula which also contains 32 vitamins and minerals.
Per serving, Pro Gainer contains 60g of premium protein (whey isolate, egg protein and whey peptides), but also carbohydrates and necessary fats. It is this blend of macros, combined with the protein that makes this a great nutrition shake to gain weight with.
Unfortunately, it is more expensive than other alternatives, including ON’s Serius Mass itself. However, that premium is worth for the improved nutrition and the Double Rich Chocolate flavour. As any ON connoisseur might know, the best flavour they offer.
|per serving||Pro Gainer||DV (%)
|of which added (g)||2.0||4|
4. Redcon1 MRE
Best Low Fat
- 523kcal per serving
- 0g of added sugars and 0 cholesterol
- Real food based protein sources
- Good taste and multiple flavour to choose from
- Low in fats
- Does not have all micros
Redcon1 is a very popular US supplement brand. However, besides doing protein powders, they also make meal replacements like this one. In this case, this is a high calorie meal replacement that you can use to put on weight.
Each recommended serving will provide you with 530kcal, 47g of protein and 0g of added sugars. In fact, the protein blend is an odd one, since they use real food protein from beef, salmon and chicken. While this might sound disgusting at first, the taste is actually one of the strengths of this high calorie drink; as attested from the overwhelmingly positive reviews on Amazon and their own site.
Unfortunately, it lacks some of the essential vitamins and minerals, thus you might want to use a multivitamin to supplement your diet.
|per serving||Redcon MRE||DV (%)
|of which added (g)||0.0||0|
Best Weight Gain Powders
1. Serious Mass
Best Weight Gain
- Extremely high in calories: 1,250kcal per serving
- Includes 25 vitamins and minerals
- 50g of protein and only 9g of sugars
- Great taste and flavour choices
- Best for extreme weight gain
- Low in fats
- Better if you can use a blender
Serious Mass by Optimum Nutrition best drink to gain weight with. A namesake that most avid gym-goers recognize. Serious Mass is a high calorie powder that will provide you with up to 1,250kcal per serving!
I would recommend this high calorie for weight gain to those who are extremely active or desperate to put on mass; due to the sheer amount of calories that this drink provides. It comes mostly from high quality carbohydrates and 50g of premium protein. On top of that, it includes 25 vitamins and minerals that will boost your daily nutrient intake.
Plus, I can personally say that it tastes fantastic. I was an avid Chocolate Serious Mass user in the past; however, you can also get other flavours like, Banana, Chocolate Peanut Butter or Strawberry.
|per serving||Serious Mass||DV (%)
|of which added (g)||9.0||18|
2. Muscle Milk Gainer
- Very competitive price
- Chocolate is delicious
- 650kcal per serving
- Rich in micronutrients
- Could be higher in protein
Muscle Milk Gainer is a more affordable high calorie drink. While it is not at the same premium level as other choices, it still offers 650kcal per serving and 32g of protein from milk.
In fact, milk is a complete source of protein and efficient on promoting muscle growth. It is also low in sugars, with only 6g per serving and rich in dietary fiber.
Out of the three flavours they offer (Vanilla, Cookies’N Creme, and Chocolate), I think Chocolate is the best. However, it is not as good as the ready-to-drink bottles you might find on 7-Eleven and other retailers.
|per serving||Muscle Milk||DV (%)
|of which added (g)||0.0||0|
3. Clean Gainer
- High quality calories
- 560kcal per serving
- Includes essential fatty acids
- Mixes easily without a blender
- No banned substances certified
- Contains fructose (not naturally ocurring)
- Lower protein % than others
Clean Gainer is another high calorie powder designed for those who want to put some mass on. It contains 560kcal per serving, with 90g of carbohydrates from 8 sources, and 30g of protein. Furthermore, it has a varied fatty acid profile and includes essential fatty acids like omega-3.
On top of that, Clean Gainer has more flavours to choose from than other high calorie supplement drinks: Chocolate, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Cinnamon Toast Cereal, Cookies & Creme, S’mores, and Vanilla. I haven’t had the chance to taste all of them, but the ones I have blended pretty well and were nice to drink (if a little sweet).
|per serving||Clean Gainer||DV (%)
|of which added (g)|
4. Vegan Weight Gainer
- 1,230kcal and 50 of soy free protein
- Orgaic pea + rice protein blend
- Plant based, gluten-free, soy-free and GMO-free
- It is mainly carbs
- Flavoured versions have some added organic sugar
It’s about time that I discuss a vegan high calorie drink. Naked Nutrition’s Weight Gainer is just the ideal choice if you are looking for a vegan nutritional drink for weight gain.
Each humongous serving includes 1,230kcal, 50g of soy-free protein, and 10.3g of BCAAs. Instead, they use a rice and protein blend to deliver a complete amino acid profile. Nutritionally, it’s very simple since it only includes 3 ingredients: organic maltodextrin and the two protein sources mentioned above.
You can also enjoy Chocolate and Vanilla flavours, which contain organic coconut sugar. Simple, great and filled with calories.
|per serving||Vegan Weight Gainer||DV (%)
|of which added (g)||0.0||0|
Putting on weight can be a struggle for those who have high metabolic rate, are very active during the day or wrestle to eat tons of food. In fact, it is usually a chore to think and cook to get to 3,000kcal or more. Even more in a world where the most popular choices are low fat and low calorie.
For those, the highest calorie weight gain shakes can be really helpful. Each shake can pack up to 1,250kcal, and be much easier to prepare and drink than a meal that size. However, not all high calorie protein drinks are that large.
Nevertheless, if your aim is to put on weight you should be looking for caloric surplus. This is, consuming more calories from food than what you burn during the day.
Healthy Weight Gain
In order to do so, the easiest way is to start with a calorie tracker or a calorie calculator (like Myfitnesspal). These will give you an estimate of the amount of calories you need per day, and how many over that you need to put weight.
A popular method of adding weight is the “dirty bulk” or basically eating as much as you want of whatever you desire. Nonetheless, I think that meal replacements can be healthy high calorie drinks that can help you achieve the same goal in a more sustainable manner. They contain higher quality ingredients, more macronutrient balance and include micronutrients. You could also look at green powders to ensure that you are getting enough nutrients from vegetables and fruits.
Using The Best Meal Replacements For Weight Gain
There are many factors that make Ample so great to gain weight with and add muscle mass:
- Meal replacements make drinking calories easy.
- They are healthier and more balanced than standard weight gainers.
- The best meal replacements include vitamin and minerals, plus essential fatty acids.
- You can have vegan, gluten-free, soy-free or dairy free shakes.
- Convenient. You can have them on the go and make sure you don’t skip any meals.
- Tasty. In general, meal replacements have better consistency, texture and taste when compared to protein powders.
What High Calorie Drinks are Best?
When it comes to deciding for the best meal replacements for weight gain or best high calorie protein powders; it depends a lot on the preference. Meal replacements are going to be usually more balanced, and might contain less protein than traditional weight gainers. They might even be smaller in size with about 600kcal per drink; but also easier to use in the long run. Thus, more sustainable.
High calorie protein powders on the other hand are usually made with more processed ingredients and aim to boost your calorie intake and protein intake mainly. Hence, they do not look at essential fats or micronutrients. Nonetheless, they can be a great high calorie supplement to help you reach your goals.
Other Tips and Tricks
I’m not going to share any major trick here, but just a couple of ways you can easily and healthily increase your calorie count.
- Drink milk. Ideally you would drink full fat milk, since it’s the most calorie rich option. Nonetheless, adding milk to your high calorie nutrition drink will add another 200-400kcal easily.
- Peanut butter, banana and honey. Particularly if you are using drinks, blending these to your favourite meal shake can add few extra calories that you won’t notice while drinking.
- Eat green powders. When you are looking to add calories, you tend to ignore vegetables in favour of more calorie rich not nutrient dense alternatives. Green powders can be a great way to ensure you get your nutrients. You could also look at multivitamins.
- Eat often. Another trick is to getting used to eat every 3h. That’s where the high calorie drinks will come in handy, too.
More High Calorie Meal Replacement Shakes
Besides the ones mentioned above, there are more meal replacement shakes that can help you support your active lifestyle. Some of these are could easily be among the best meal replacements for weight gain.
|SBF Athlete Fuel||650||World*|
You might have heard of others like Ensure high calorie or Boost high calorie drinks; but in reality those tend to have less than 350kcal per serving.
Conclusion: High Calorie Shakes
… can be great for gaining weight or fueling your active lifestyle. While some of them are for more extreme cases, like Serious Mass, many high calorie drinks can be used regularly as part of a healthy diet.
In fact, the best high calorie meal replacements can help you sustain your caloric needs in a balanced manner. Look for quality ingredients and complete nutritional profiles to ensure you eating good nutrients.
No matter what you choose, though, make sure you never feel bloated, sick or have unwanted secondary effects. Because there’s something out there that will suit you better if that’s the case.
2. FDA Daily Values.