Nutritional Yeast – What is it and How to Use

a packet of nutritional yeast

Nutritional yeast is a savoury vegan food with a cheesy nutty taste and is also known as brewers yeast. It’s very popular in the healthy / raw / vegan world to add the cheesy taste that is difficult to achieve without dairy. It doesn’t sound like the most appetising food especially not as its best described as looking like fish food. However it is a staple in my kitchen and a deliciously versatile ingredient.

As you would expect from the name nutritional yeast it is loaded with nutrients. It’s rich in B vitamins, folic acid, zinc and some brands had added B12. A vegan diet can be very lacking in B vitamins without supplementation so nutritional yeast is a great food to use and reduce the need for supplements. It should however only be consumed in small amounts of about 5 grams at a time.

You can buy nutritional yeast in just about any health food shop. popular brands are engevita and braggs. It is heat sensitive so should not be used for baking or added before cooking, heating above 100°C will damage the nutritional content. I often sprinkle it on savory dishes after they have been cooked to use it as a seasoning.

Nutritional yeast is made by growing yeast of the genus Saccharomyces cerevisiae on natural molasses. This is the same yeast that has been in use for hundreds of years and is also used for bread, beer and yeast spreads such as marmite. The yeast is then harvested and dried to make flakes of inactive yeast. It is free from the Candida albicans yeast however some candida sufferers can’t tolerate nutritional yeast.


  • In place of Parmesan such as in vegan pesto
  • Sprinkled on popcorn to make cheesy popcorn
  • In raw vegan nut and seed cheeses
  • Sprinkled on stews or pasta in place of a hard grated cheese
  • On salads where you want a cheesy nutty taste


3 thoughts on “Nutritional Yeast – What is it and How to Use”

  1. I’ve tried using brewers yeast before and had a severe reaction to it. I have Celiac and the one I used did list wheat. Is there any brand that is 100% gluten free? Or even grain free?

    1. Bastian Durward

      Hi there, brewers yeast is a different product. The brand I use (Marigold Engevita) says it’s gluten free and I haven’t had a reaction to it. Check the packet of the nutritional yeast you find, it should be gluten free as it’s not normally made from grains.

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