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12 Best Nutritional Yeast Substitutes You’ll Love

Anyone who is vegan is likely no stranger to nutritional yeast. The nutty, cheesy flavor of this ingredient is a staple in many recipes. However, you may not always have it on hand when you need it, so it’s essential to have a substitute.

However, the flavor of nutritional yeast can be pretty hard to replicate, so you have to make sure to use a really good replacement to get the same taste.

Read ahead to find out the best nutritional yeast substitutes.

What Is Nutritional Yeast?

Nutritional yeast, also known as nooch, is a form of deactivated yeast that comes from saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast.

This strain of yeast is heated and dried to deactivate the living yeast cells. The deactivated yeast cells form the flaky yellow powder that is nutritional yeast.

It has a cheese-like nutty flavor that makes it a common staple in many dairy-free and vegan recipes, where it is used to replicate the flavor of cheese and add a savory umami flavor.

Nutritional yeast is often used in many dishes like vegan mac and cheese, creamy sauces, and even popcorn.

Most nutritional yeast sold on the market are also fortified with vitamin B12 and proteins, so it is a great source of healthy nutrients.

Now, we’ve established that nutritional yeast is a great ingredient, but what if you’re new to the whole dairy-free thing and don’t have it on hand or you run out at the last minute?

Well, read ahead, and let’s find you an equally delicious alternative.

Nutrition Table

Nutrition Value TableCalories (Per 100g)
Vegemite174
Miso199
Brewer’s Yeast372
Vegetable Bouillon Powder7
Dried Mushrooms296
Soy Sauce53
Coconut Aminos40
Vegetable Broth7
Chickpeas Flour387
Parmesan Cheese431
Dried Seaweed298
Cashew Nuts553

1. Vegemite 

Vegemite is a yeast extract condiment made from leftover brewer’s yeast. It is a common kitchen staple in Australia, but you can also get it in many grocery stores in America. 

It is one of the best substitutes for nutritional yeast as it has a similar salty and savory umami taste.

In Australia, it is typically used as a bread spread, but you can add it to sauces, gravies, soups, or even dressings.

However, the taste of vegemite can be pretty intense, so it is best to use it in a recipe that only calls for small amounts of nutritional yeast.

How To Substitute

Use two teaspoons of vegemite for each tablespoon of nutritional yeast required in a dish.

2. Miso

Miso paste is a great substitute for nutritional yeast. It is a Japanese seasoning made from fermented soybeans.

It has a rich, savory umami flavor and is also slightly sweet. So, if you’re making a dish where nutritional cheese is being added solely for the flavor, miso is a great replacement. It will impart a similar salty umami flavor into any savory dish

However, since it is a paste, it is best to add it to hot cooked dishes where it can dissolve easily and create an even spread of flavor. 

If you’d like to properly replicate the nutty taste of nutritional yeast, try to get white miso paste. This type of miso has a nutty taste along with the rich umami.

How To Substitute

Use one teaspoon of miso paste for each tablespoon of nutritional yeast.

3. Brewer’s Yeast

Brewer’s yeast is a kind of yeast formed as a byproduct of brewing beer. Bakers commonly use it to leaven bread, but it makes a great substitute for nutritional yeast. 

It is made from the same strain of yeast which nutritional yeast comes from and has a similar texture.

However, brewer’s yeast has a slightly more bitter taste than nutritional yeast, so it is best to use it only in a recipe that calls for small quantities of nutritional yeast. 

If you are making vegan mac and cheese, for example, this might not be the best option to use.

How To Substitute

Use two teaspoons of brewer’s yeast for every tablespoon of nutritional yeast required in a dish.

4. Vegetable Bouillon Powder

Vegetable bouillon is a seasoning made of herbs, spices, and vegetables. It is used to flavor all kinds of dishes, and it is a great substitute to use in place of nutritional yeast. 

Vegetable bouillon imparts a savory umami flavor into food, so it is perfect for replicating the salty umami flavor of nutritional yeast. 

However, since it is a concentrated seasoning powder, you can really only use it for hot cooked dishes where it can dissolve properly.

How To Substitute

Use a 1:1 ratio when replacing nutritional yeast with vegetable bouillon powder.

5. Dried Mushrooms

Dried mushrooms are another great substitute for replicating the umami flavor of nutritional yeast. They are a very healthy option to use as they are rich in proteins, selenium, and vitamins C and B6. 

Dried mushrooms may not give you the same cheese-like taste of nutritional yeast, but they bring an earthy, savory flavor that will enhance the taste of any dish. You can add them to pasta or sauces and soups. 

To properly replicate the texture of nutritional yeast, it is best to blend dried mushrooms into a powder. All you’ll need to do is toss them in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.

How To Substitute

Use a 1:1 ratio when replacing nutritional yeast with dried mushrooms.

Here is a video to give you a more detailed explanation of how to turn dried mushrooms into a fine powder :

6. Soy Sauce

Soy sauce is another great substitute for nutritional yeast. It is a very common kitchen staple, so it is an ideal last-minute option.

Soy sauce has a bold salty, umami taste similar to that of nutritional yeast, so it will give you a similar savory taste.

However, using soy sauce will not give you the same cheesy and nutty taste. So, it is best used in dishes where nutritional yeast is primarily used for the umami flavor. 

Soy sauce also works best in liquid-based dishes like sauces and soups since it has a liquid consistency.

How To Substitute

Use half a tablespoon of soy sauce for each tablespoon of nutritional yeast.

7. Coconut Aminos

Coconut aminos are a great option to try if you want a gluten-free substitute that will impart a bold umami flavor. 

It is very similar to soy sauce in taste and consistency, but it is made from fermented coconut sap. So, it is often considered a healthier variety. 

You can add coconut aminos to just about any dish that calls for nutritional yeast. However, it won’t work well for dishes where nutritional yeast is being used to mimic the taste of cheese.

How To Substitute

Use one teaspoon of coconut aminos for each tablespoon of nutritional yeast required.

8. Vegetable Broth

Vegetable broth is another great substitute for replicating the savory, umami taste of nutritional yeast.

Using broth won’t result in the same cheesy taste, but it will impart a bold flavor that will surely enhance the taste of your dish. 

However, since it is a liquid, it is essential to either only use it for liquid-based dishes like sauces and soups or add a very small quantity.

How To Substitute

Start with 4-5 tablespoons of vegetable broth and then add more as needed.

9. Chickpeas Flour

If you want a substitute you can use in a recipe that calls for large amounts of nutritional yeast, chickpea flour is the ideal option to try. 

It is made from ground chickpeas and is a great gluten-free option for those with gluten intolerance. 

Unlike most of the other substitutes, it doesn’t have an intense flavor that could overpower a dish.

The taste of chickpeas is neutral and slightly nutty, so it works well in any dish, and you can enhance the flavor by combining it with other seasonings. 

How To Substitute

Use a 1:1 ratio when replacing nutritional yeast with chickpea flour.

Although you can find chickpea flour sold in most grocery stores, you can save the cost of buying it by making it yourself. Here is a video to show you how :

10. Parmesan Cheese

Nutritional yeast is best known for being used to replicate the flavor of parmesan cheese, so if you’re comfortable with eating dairy, parmesan is the perfect substitute to try.  

With parmesan, you’ll get a bold nutty, and tangy flavor with a whole lot of umami. Its gritty texture also mimics that of nutritional yeast really well, so you can add it to anything from sauces and pasta to popcorn. 

You can also opt for vegan parmesan cheese if you’re on a vegan diet and still want that rich, savory flavor.

How To Substitute

Use a 1:1 ratio when replacing nutritional yeast with parmesan cheese.

11. Dried Seaweed

Most fans of sushi rolls might be familiar with dried seaweed as a key component of the wrap, but it actually makes a great substitute for nutritional yeast. 

It has a salty umami taste that mimics the flavor of nutritional yeast really well, and its texture is very similar when it is broken up into flakes.

Seaweed is also versatile enough to be added to both hot and cold dishes.

How To Substitute

Use a 1:1 ratio when replacing nutritional yeast with dried seaweed. You’ll need to grind the seaweed into a fine powder to get the same texture.

12. Cashew Nuts

Cashew nuts are a great alternative you can try. They are typically combined with nutritional yeast to make vegan cheese, so they are a fantastic nutritional yeast substitute. 

Cashew nuts have a rich nutty flavor with mild sweetness, but their taste isn’t too overpowering, so you can add them to just about any dish. 

The best way to use them for a dish is to blend them into a fine powder; that way, you get the same texture as nutritional yeast. You can then add other seasonings to enhance the flavor.

How To Substitute

Use a 1:1 ratio when substituting nutritional yeast with cashew nuts.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Skip Nutritional Yeast In A Recipe?

You can skip nutritional yeast in a recipe. However, you can only do so if the recipe calls for small amounts of nutritional yeast and you wouldn’t the absence too much. 

If you are making a recipe like vegan mac and cheese that depends heavily on nutritional yeast to give it the cheese flavor, then you may not be able to get away with skipping nutritional yeast.

Can You Use Normal Yeast Instead Of Nutritional Yeast?

What most people consider normal yeast, which is active yeast, and it cannot be used in place of nutritional yeast. The two are very different and used for very different purposes.

Active yeast is used as a leavening agent, and its main purpose is to make pastry dough rise, while nutritional yeast is used more as a flavoring agent to add a cheesy, nutty flavor to food.

Using normal yeast will not give you the same taste or result as nutritional yeast.

What Is The Purpose Of Nutritional Yeast?

Nutritional yeast is used in cooking as a flavoring ingredient. It has a cheesy flavor, so it makes a great cheese replacement in recipes that are vegan and dairy free.

Can I Substitute Cheese For Nutritional Yeast?

Since nutritional yeast is usually used to mimic the taste of cheese, you can absolutely substitute cheese for nutritional yeast.

However, this is only if you are comfortable eating dairy, as most recipes that use nutritional yeast are vegan.

Why Does Nutritional Yeast Taste Like Cheese?

Nutritional yeast is made from active yeast which has been heated and essentially killed. Once the yeast cells die, they are broken down into glutamic acid.

It is that glutamic acid (glutamate) which gives nutritional yeast its cheesy and salty flavor.

What Is The Flavor Of Nutritional Yeast?

Nutritional yeast has a cheesy and nutty flavor with a savory layer of umami.

Where Can I Find Nutritional Yeast?

You can find nutritional yeast sold in pre packed jars at your local grocery store. It will typically be stocked either in the healthy food aisle, the spice aisle, or the baking and dry goods section.

You can also find it online on many e-commerce websites.

12 Best Nutritional Yeast Substitutes You’ll Love

5 from 4 votes
Prep Time

15

minutes
Cooking Time

30

minutes
Total Time

45

minutes

Nutritional yeast is used in cooking as a flavoring ingredient. It has a cheesy flavor, so it makes a great cheese replacement in recipes that are vegan and dairy free.

Ingredients

  • Vegemite

  • Miso

  • Brewer’s Yeast

  • Vegetable Bouillon

  • Dried Mushrooms

  • Soy Sauce

  • Liquid Aminos

  • Vegetable Broth

  • Chickpeas

  • Parmesan Cheese

  • Cashew Nuts

Directions

  • Pick any substitute you prefer from the lists above.
  • Follow the recipe instructions for your preferred substitute and use the proper ratio required while cooking.

Recipe Video

Jess Smith