A convenient small-scale extraction method for lyophilized micro-algae is described that dispenses with labor-intensive homogenization and is widely applicable to algae from different phyla. The procedure employs an optimized sequential extraction in trichloroacetic acid (TCA) and NaOH to achieve chemical lysis. Conditions were tested using several micro-algal strains to develop a method that was generally applicable. Incubation of lyophilized material in 24% (w/v) TCA at 95°C followed by a hot alkaline treatment was found to be effective for strains that are resistant to conventional extraction approaches, such as the Chlorella and the Eustigmatophycean species. The single-tube extraction procedure can be complete in 4h and is conveniently followed by the Lowry assay, requiring a further 30min. Overall, this method proved to be generally applicable and ideal either for single samples or for high-throughput screening of multiple algal strains for protein content.