nutritional yeast substitutes

Top 6 Nutritional Yeast Substitutes To Make Your Meals Taste Better

If you love cooking or baking a lot of things, you might have come across dry yeast, active yeast, yeast flakes and other yeast products.

If you follow a vegan or vegetarian diet, then you know about nutritional yeast. This food is full of vitamins and minerals, which makes it ideal for those that don’t eat meat. However, it can be scarce sometimes, thus, knowing what replacements work is important.

What Is Nutritional Yeast?

This species of yeast is known as Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which is the same kind added to make bread and beer.

This yeast, though, is cultivated to provide nutritional purposes, so the yeast cells are killed in the process. The flavor and texture resemble cheese with an undertone of nuts.

There are two types of nutritional yeast, either unfortified or fortified. The unfortified kind doesn’t have any added vitamins or minerals, but only the ones naturally found in yeast. The fortified kind has synthetic vitamins that boost its nutritional content.

Nutritional yeast is a complete protein that contains all nine essential amino acids. This is why it is often used to boost the nutrient content of vegan and vegetarian meals.

What Can I Replace Nutritional Yeast With?

If you can’t find it or don’t like the flavor, then these nutritional yeast substitutes are perfect for any of your dishes:

For Cooking, Thickening, and Cheese

#1. Brewer’s Yeast

Because it is technically the same type of yeast, brewer’s yeast can work great in recipes that call for nutritional yeast.

Keep in mind that in this case, the yeast cells are still alive, thus your product will be a bit denser. Since this yeast is part of the beer-making process, the flavor in your meals will also have a beer aftertaste.

You can probably find brewer’s yeast in a health store or online store. You should use double the amount that the recipe indicates, but keep in mind the flavor will be slightly different. Use this yeast when cooking, thickening, and in making vegan cheese.

#2. Yeast Extract

While it may not be as thick, yeast extract is a good replacement in terms of flavor and nutrients. You may have seen Marmite or Vegemite in the grocery store or organic market, and it is commonly used as a spread for baked goods, sandwiches, or toast. 

While it is very high in sodium, this is a good choice for some cooking, thickening sauces or soups, and making vegan cheese.

You can use the same amount of yeast extract that the recipe indicates, but consider that this option adds a lot more sodium, too. Consider reducing the total salt of your dish to compensate for the extra one in yeast extract.

#3. Vegetable Bouillon

This choice is simply the essence of boiled vegetables that are compressed in a cube or powder. You can find vegetable bouillon cubes everywhere, as they are a common ingredient when preparing soups, sauces, and stews. 

To replace nutritional yeast, you can use about the same amount of vegetable bouillon but consider the extra salt content.

If you can’t find bouillon cubes, the powder or liquid forms can work too, but you will need to adjust for the rest of the ingredients. Use vegetable bouillon any time you are cooking, when you need to thicken sauces, or when you want to make vegan cheese.

For Soups, Sauces, and Umami

#4. Dried Mushrooms

It may seem odd to consider using dried mushrooms instead of nutritional yeast, but the truth is, this fungus is very nutritious and has a ton of flavors. 

You can buy dry mushrooms in any organic or health store, or dry them yourself at home. Shiitake mushrooms are a great choice, as they pack a ton of umami power.

Use dried mushrooms when cooking soups, sauces, and when you want to add umami to your meals. For every teaspoon of nutritional yeast, use a teaspoon of dry mushrooms and a bit of salt. 

You should be aware that this option is not as thick as the rest, so you can add more if you need to.

See More: Mushrooms Shelf Life

#5. Parmesan Cheese

This is a common substitute for nutritional yeast, as it has a very similar flavor and results in a similar texture. However, keep in mind that parmesan cheese is not vegan and not as nutritious. You can find this option in any grocery store, usually by the deli meats and cheese section.

Since parmesan cheese has more salt and fat, you may want to cut the amount you use in half. You can use this choice when making soups, sauces, and when thickening a meal.

See More: Does Parmesan Cheese Go Bad?

#6. Soy Sauce

This option is the result of fermenting soybeans along with salt. Soy sauce is salty, umami, and has a meaty flavor. You can find soy sauce in any grocery store, usually by the international food aisle, as it is a common ingredient in plenty of Asian dishes.

If your recipe calls for a teaspoon of nutritional yeast, use half a teaspoon of soy sauce. You should keep in mind that this choice also has more sodium, so you need to reduce the amount of salt you use. Add soy sauce to your favorite soups, sauces, vegetables, and more.

See More: Soy Sauce Substitutes


Can you use nutritional yeast in place of yeast?

Although it may seem like an option, nutritional yeast is not an adequate substitute for active yeast. Also known as baker’s yeast, this active form will make products rise due to the activity of the live yeast cells.

Is nutritional yeast necessary?

As you can see from this list, nutritional yeast is not essential in any dish, but it can be a good addition to plenty of meals for a nutrition boost. Nutritional yeast can give vegetarian and vegan meals more vitamins, minerals, and protein. If you can’t use it, though, try any of these substitutes.

Does nutritional yeast really taste like cheese?

Nutritional yeast has a strong and pungent flavor. Some often refer to it as resembling cheese, but in some cases, it can be too overpowering. Make sure you try a bit first before using, to make sure you like it.


Using nutritional yeast can be a good way to make a meal more fulfilling and nutritious. However, some people dislike the flavor or can’t seem to find it. No matter what the reason is, try any of these 6 alternatives for very similar results and tasty flavors.

nutritional yeast replacement

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