What is Nutritional Yeast + Best Nutritional Yeast Recipes (2024)

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Nutritional yeast! Nooch! Let’s find out the answer to the question, what is nutritional yeast?, learn about nutritional yeast benefits, and check out some tasty nutritional yeast recipes. Head to the end of the post for a creamy cashew cheese sauce.

What is Nutritional Yeast + Best Nutritional Yeast Recipes (1)

Nutritional yeast is one of those controversial ingredients. Like Brussels Sprouts, most people either love or hate it. When I first tried it in college after a vegetarian friend’s recommendation, I thought it was horrible. Now, though, I really enjoy it, especially after cutting back on dairy.

What is Nutritional Yeast

Also affectionally known as nooch, nutritional yeast is an inactive dried yeast that’s often fortified with vitamins, especially vitamin B-12. It looks a bit like fish food at first glance, however, it’s a tasty seasoning that has been specifically formulated to meet the nutritional needs of vegetarians and vegans.

With a “cheese-like” umami flavor that makes it a great substitute for any cheese, such as Parmesan, you’d sprinkle on soups, pastas, and other foods. It also works well blended into vegan cream sauces such as cashew cream based “queso” dip and Alfredo type sauces.

Like some of our other featured ingredients: tempeh, tofu, lentils, chickpeas, and quinoa, nutritional yeast is a popular plant-based staple.

Nutritional Yeast Benefits

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Some people use nutritional yeast for the flavor, others use it for the nutritional benefits. I love it for both! Nutritional yeast is often a good source of B vitamins, including B-12, and provides 8 grams of protein per 1/4 cup (Bob’s Red Mill brand). It’s also often fortified with folic acid, which is beneficial for a healthy pregnancy.

Exact vitamin and mineral content will vary from brand to brand depending on how and if it’s fortified. It’s important to check the label and talk with your doctor or nutritionist about if relying solely on B-12 from this product is safe for you, as this is an essential vitamin.

Nutritional yeast is usually low-sodium, gluten free, and vegan, but may be contaminated by nuts or other allergens during processing, so always check the packaging.

Where to Buy Nutritional Yeast

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How times have changed! When I first went looking for this ingredient 15 years ago I had to go to the small local health food store. Now, you can find it in many mainstream grocery stores, as well as Trader Joe’s, Sprouts, Whole Foods, and through my Amazon Affiliate link here (this means I make a small commission when you shop through the link). I most often buy this staple at Trader Joe’s, as I find it’s the best price and I enjoy the flavor.

  • Trader Joe’s costs around $3 per bag.
  • Bragg’sfound at Whole Foods, Amazon, and others. I paid $6.49 for a container at our local Whole Foods. I’m a big fan of Bragg products, especially as they are a local family (in my hometown), as mentioned in our Apple Cider Vinegar Drink recipe!
  • Bob’s Red Millwas just over $5 at our local Target. This is another brand I really enjoy.

Common Questions

Is nutritional yeast gluten free?

Yes, it should be. It’s important, however to double check for other ingredients and cross contamination if you have an allergy. Some brands, like Bob’s Red Mill, are “tested and confirmed” gluten free.

Nutritional Yeast vs. Brewers Yeast?

Both are derived from the same yeast species, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, but they are very different in terms of flavor, uses, and nutrition. Brewers yeast is a byproduct of brewing beer, and is often used as a dietary supplement (1).

Is nutritional yeast vegan?

Yes it is! In fact, it’s very popular in vegetarian and vegan diets, as it is high in protein and B vitamins.

Are there any dangers in using this product?

While healthy for most people, like all supplements, it should be used in moderation and may not be suitable for everyone. You may want to avoid it if you have a yeast sensitivity, IBD (2), or are sensitive to high-fiber foods.

Are there any nutritional yeast substitutes?

If you find you don’t enjoy the taste, look for other umami ingredients such as vegan Parmesan, truffle salt or oil as I use in my Vegan Ricotta, mushroom powder, soy sauce/liquid aminos, or miso paste.

Nutritional Yeast Recipes

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I usually use this seasoning for sprinkling, rather than as a recipe ingredient. My best tip for making it taste good is to use it with a little bit of pink salt or sea salt. Some tasty ways to use nutritional yeast include:

  • Wherever you’d sprinkle Parmesan
  • Popcorn
  • Roasted Veggies
  • Kale Chips
  • Tofu Scramble
  • Pasta
  • Avocado toast
  • Baked or roasted potatoes
  • Plant-based mac & “cheese”
  • Soups
  • Vegan Cheese Sauce (recipe at the bottom!)

Nutritional Yeast Recipes

Wondering how to use nutritional yeast? Look no further! Nutritional yeast can add tasty umami flavor to a variety of dishes and is a great substitute for cheese. It works for adding depth of flavor to soups, pastas, potatoes, kale chips, and even popcorn. Here are some recipes that use nutritional yeast as an ingredient or taste great with it sprinkled on top.

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Tofu Scramble

This easy tofu scramble recipe makes a delicious breakfast. Find out how to make vegan scrambled eggs with a basic tofu scramble or farmers market veggies.

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Garlic Mashed Cauliflower

Mashed cauliflower! Cauliflower "mashed potatoes" are a creamy and cozy healthier side dish perfect for the holidays or any day. This garlic cauliflower mash recipe is keto and vegan friendly.

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Italian Vegetable Soup

The best homemade veggie farro soup recipe! This healthy Italian vegetable soup is easy to make on the stovetop or in the Instant Pot pressure cooker. Top with a pinch of nooch instead of Parmesan.

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Vegan Caesar Dressing

Easy vegan Caesar dressing for making the most delicious vegan Caesar salads! Cashews make this dressing extra creamy and dairy-free.

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Vegan Broccoli Soup with Cashew Cream

Smooth cashew cream makes this dairy-free broccoli soup extra creamy. Try this nutritious soup for a comforting lunch or dinner.

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Instant Pot Pressure Cooker Lentil Soup

A hearty and delicious lentil vegetable soup made easy in the Instant Pot. Instant Pot lentil soup is a wonderful hearty plant based dinner.

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Vegan Breakfast Burrito

Breakfast burritos filled with tofu scramble, potatoes, avocado, and arugula make a delicious high protein vegan breakfast.

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Stovetop Popcorn

Find out how to make popcorn on the stove with this simple recipe. Enjoy alone or with one of these seasoning ideas.

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Instant Pot Risotto with Peas and Artichokes

The Instant Pot pressure cooker makes risotto easier than ever. Try our favorite combination of peas and artichokes!

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Vegan Spinach Artichoke Dip

A delicious warm spinach artichoke dip with hearts of palm and a creamy cashew based sauce. This wholesome dip is perfect for snacking or as part of a crudite platter.

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Pea Pesto Pasta

Creamy pea pesto penne pasta is a light plant-based dinner filled with the bright fresh flavors of basil, lemon, garlic, and peas. This recipe doesn't currently include nutritional yeast, but it would be delicious sprinkled on top or mixed in.

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Avocado Toast

How to make the best avocado toast ever! From simple to loaded up with healthy toppings, try all of these delicious avocado toast recipes. All of these easy avocado toast recipes are vegan. My favorite: avocado on sourdough with a sprinkle of sea salt, nutritional yeast, and sprouts.

Yield: about 1 1/2 cups

Vegan Cheese Sauce

Prep Time8 hours

Cook Time5 minutes

Total Time8 hours 5 minutes

A creamy vegan cheese sauce made with raw cashews and nutritional yeast. This nutritional yeast cheese sauce is delicious on pasta as a vegan mac and cheese, or over baked potatoes and steamed vegetables. A great simple recipe for using nutritional yeast.

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight
  • 1/8-1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup of water, as needed
  • freshly cracked black pepper

Instructions

  1. Drain and rinse the soaked cashews.
  2. Add the cashews to a blender or food processor. Add the nutritional yeast (1/8 cup to start, or 1/4 cup if you love nutritional yeast flavor), garlic powder, lemon juice, salt, and half the water.
  3. Place the lid on the blender or food processor and turn on to blend. Slowly add water through the hole at the top until the sauce has reached your desired consistency. You may need even more than the 1/2 cup of water to thin.
  4. Taste and add more nutritional yeast, lemon, garlic powder, or salt to taste. Season with a good pinch of pepper.
  5. To serve, immediately pour over hot pasta or serve alongside steamed vegetables (baked potatoes or broccoli are great options).

Notes

If you're in a hurry, you can quick-soak the cashews by pouring boiling water over them and letting sit for 1 hour. To skip soaking all together, first finely grind the cashews in a blender (you'll need extra water with this method). We found the overnight soak resulted in the least amount of "nuttiness" in the sauce.

Nutrition Information:

Yield: 4Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 225Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 278mgCarbohydrates: 16gFiber: 4gSugar: 2gProtein: 12g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated by Nutritionix. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee accuracy. If your health depends on nutrition information, please calculate again with your favorite calculator.

What is Nutritional Yeast + Best Nutritional Yeast Recipes (2024)

FAQs

What is nutritional yeast for in recipes? ›

A source of complete protein, you can use nutritional yeast to thicken and flavor soups and stews, sprinkle it onto crunchy snacks and so much more. For those following a vegan diet, it's a good source of cheese flavor when making pastas or anything where you'd want cheese.

How much nutritional yeast should I eat per day? ›

No consensus exists regarding how much nutritional yeast a person can eat daily. But eating even a 5 g serving per day can benefit you. However, you may want to start with 1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast per day. You can increase that amount if you do not have any reaction.

What is the easiest way to eat nutritional yeast? ›

The simplest application is to use nutritional yeast the same way you would grated Parmesan cheese. Toss a couple of tablespoonfuls with a little bit of olive oil, salt, and freshly popped popcorn for a “cheesy” snack with a subtle nutty flavor to rival even the most tempting flavored chip or corn puff.

Who should not eat nutritional yeast? ›

People with a sensitivity to yeast products should not consume nutritional yeast. Nutritional yeast may also worsen symptoms in people with inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn's disease. Nutritional yeast is an excellent source of fiber. A two tablespoon serving contains about 20% of your daily intake.

Does nutritional yeast need to be refrigerated? ›

Storing nutritional yeast in the fridge increases its shelf-life, but it does not need to be stored in the fridge or freezer to maintain its quality. What is the best way to store nutritional yeast? If stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark, and dry place, nutritional yeast can keep for up to 2 years.

Can you put nutritional yeast in eggs? ›

Scrambled Eggs

Nutritional yeast is all you need to add a savoury (and healthy) kick to this go-to breakfast. Just whisk in 1 Tbsp with two eggs, 1/4 tsp salt and 1 Tbsp of milk (dairy or plant-based). Cook slowly in a non-stick pan over medium heat.

Why do people cook with nutritional yeast? ›

Most often, it's used to add cheesy flavor to plant-based recipes, like my Vegan Mac and Cheese. There, it creates the umami that Parmesan or cheddar cheese would add to regular mac.

Is nutritional yeast anti inflammatory? ›

Nutritional yeast is a rich source of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory plant compounds. Every day, our cells work tirelessly to protect themselves against free radicals, molecules that can damage and ultimately destroy the healthy cells in your body.

Is nutritional yeast good for high blood pressure? ›

If you're trying to watch your blood pressure, nutritional yeast can be your go-to salt swap. Nutritional yeast has zero sodium in it but plenty of flavor, so you can sprinkle it onto foods you'd normally salt, such as eggs or broccoli.

Can you get enough B12 from nutritional yeast? ›

Nutritional yeast is a product commonly fortified with vitamin B12 and often recommended for use in patients consuming plant-predominant diets to reduce the risk of deficiency. Approximately 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast contain the amount equal to the US RDA (2.4 mcg/day) for adults.

What is the cleanest nutritional yeast? ›

Sari Foods Nutritional Yeast

This nutritional yeast for vegans is low in calories, sodium, and fat, and is dairy-free, gluten-free, and MSG-free, making it ideal for dietary restrictions and healthier eating habits.

Can you just sprinkle nutritional yeast on food? ›

People can add it as a savory seasoning to a variety of dishes, including pasta, vegetables, and salads. Some ways to use nutritional yeast include: sprinkling it on popcorn instead of butter or salt. mixing it into risotto instead of Parmesan cheese.

What are the benefits of nutritional yeast before bed? ›

Nutritional yeast: eating just 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast contains more than the full daily value (DV) for vitamin B12 and 480% of the DV for vitamin B6. Studies have found significant correlations between B12 and duration of sleep, while B6 helps boost serotonin levels, which, when depleted, disrupt sleep.

Is too much nutritional yeast bad for you? ›

When used in large doses, nutritional yeast may cause digestive discomfort or facial flushing due to its high fiber and niacin content. Nutritional yeast may also contain tyramine, which may trigger migraine headaches in some people.

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