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13 Top Substitutes for Nutritional Yeast (Simple Options)

Nutritional yeast is a popular ingredient used in vegan and vegetarian cooking to add a cheesy, savory flavor to dishes. However, it may not always be readily available or suitable for all diets. Fortunately, there are plenty of options available when you need a substitute for nutritional yeast

Some of the top substitutes for nutritional yeast include yeast extract, brewer’s yeast, parmesan cheese, white miso paste, chickpea flour, and coconut aminos. These simple substitutes are available in grocery stores and can add some flavor and additional nutrition to your dishes.

Key Takeaways

  • Experiment with different substitutes to find the best option for your recipe and dietary needs.
  • Substitutes can add nutritional benefits to your dishes, such as B vitamins and amino acids.
  • Try these substitutes in recipes that call for nutritional yeast, and see how they enhance the flavor of your dishes.

Nutritional Yeast Alternatives

1. Brewer’s Yeast

If you’re looking for a nutritional yeast alternative, brewer’s yeast is an excellent option. Not only does it offer a similar cheesy flavor, but it’s also packed with B vitamins and is a good source of protein.

Brewer’s yeast is a byproduct of beer brewing and is typically sold as a powder. It has a slightly bitter taste on its own, but when added to dishes, it provides a delicious cheesy flavor that can make your recipes shine.

Brewer's Yeast

Brewer’s yeast is also a nutritional powerhouse, offering many of the same benefits as nutritional yeast. It’s a good source of B vitamins, including thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and vitamin B6, which are essential for energy production and nervous system function. Additionally, it provides a good source of protein, making it an excellent option for vegetarians and vegans.

When using brewer’s yeast as a nutritional yeast alternative, you can use it in the same amount as nutritional yeast. Try it in your favorite recipes, such as pasta dishes, soups, and popcorn, to add a delicious cheesy flavor and boost the nutritional value of your meals.

2. Yeast Extract

If you’re searching for a substitute for nutritional yeast, yeast extract is a great option. With its umami flavor and similar taste, you won’t even realize that it’s not the original ingredient.

Yeast extract contains amino acids and trace minerals that not only add depth to your dishes but also provide several health benefits. These include improved digestion, enhanced immune function, and lowered cholesterol levels.

One of the significant advantages of yeast extract is its savory flavor, which can add a rich depth to your recipes. Its umami taste is similar to that of nutritional yeast and can be used in a variety of dishes such as soups, gravies, and sauces.

Benefits of Yeast Extract Description
Umami Flavor Yeast extract has a savory and umami flavor, similar to nutritional yeast
Amino Acids It contains essential and non-essential amino acids, which help repair tissues and build muscles.
Trace Minerals Yeast extract has several trace minerals, including iron, zinc, and selenium, which can benefit overall health.

Yeast extract is also a great option for vegans who are looking for a substitute for nutritional yeast. With its similar taste profile and nutritional benefits, it is an excellent ingredient to add to your vegan recipes.

yeast extract

Overall, yeast extract is an excellent alternative to nutritional yeast, adding flavor and providing several health benefits. Its similar umami taste, amino acids, and trace minerals make it an ideal substitute for this popular ingredient.

3. Chickpea Flour

For those following a vegan diet, chickpea flour is a fantastic substitute for nutritional yeast. Not only does it provide a savory flavor, but it also contains high levels of B vitamins, which are essential for maintaining a healthy nervous system, creating healthy blood cells, and producing DNA.

Chickpea flour is versatile and can be used in many different recipes, including soups, stews, and sauces. It works particularly well in dishes that require a thickening agent or as a breading for frying or baking.

To use chickpea flour as a substitute for nutritional yeast, simply mix it with water or a non-dairy milk to create a paste or sauce. Use it in place of nutritional yeast in your recipes, or as a topping for popcorn or other snacks.

Try this recipe for vegan mac and cheese using chickpea flour:

Ingredients Instructions
1 cup of chickpea flour Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
1 tablespoon of olive oil In a saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
2 cups of non-dairy milk Add the chickpea flour and whisk until it forms a paste.
1 teaspoon of garlic powder Add the non-dairy milk and garlic powder, whisking until the mixture becomes thick and smooth.
1 teaspoon of onion powder Remove from the heat and pour the mixture into a baking dish.
1 teaspoon of salt Sprinkle the top with breadcrumbs or vegan cheese (optional).
8 oz of macaroni noodles Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and crispy on top.
  Serve and enjoy!

chickpea flour

4. Parmesan Cheese

When you need a cheesy flavor in your recipe, parmesan cheese can be a great substitute for nutritional yeast. It provides a distinctive cheese flavor to dishes that can make your recipes shine. Parmesan cheese is a hard cheese made from cow’s milk and is known for its nutty and rich flavor.

To use parmesan cheese as a substitute for nutritional yeast, simply add it to your recipe in the same amount that you would use nutritional yeast. You can also sprinkle it on top of dishes for added flavor.

While parmesan cheese is not vegan like nutritional yeast, it is still a great option for those who are not vegan or dairy-free. It also provides nutritional benefits such as calcium and protein.

Next time you’re out of nutritional yeast, consider using parmesan cheese instead. Its cheese flavor can elevate your dishes to new heights and make them even more delicious.

parmesan cheese substitute for nutritional yeast

5. White Miso Paste

White miso paste is a versatile ingredient that can add a savory and umami flavor to your recipes, making it an excellent substitute for nutritional yeast. This paste is made from fermented soybeans, rice, or barley, giving it a unique taste and a nutritional punch.

One of the benefits of using white miso paste as a substitute for nutritional yeast is its umami flavor. Umami is known as the fifth taste, often described as a savory or meaty flavor. This flavor profile can help enhance the overall taste of your recipes, making them more satisfying and flavorful.

When used in vegan cooking, white miso paste can add a depth of flavor that can often be missing. It works particularly well in soups, stews, and sauces, providing a savory taste that complements vegetables and grains.

In addition to its taste, white miso paste also offers nutritional benefits. It contains essential amino acids that help support healthy muscle function and can also improve immune system function. It is rich in antioxidants, vitamins B, E and K, and minerals like manganese and zinc.

If you want to use white miso paste as a substitute for nutritional yeast, keep in mind that its flavor is stronger. You may want to use it in smaller quantities, adjusting to your taste preferences. It pairs well with other umami-rich ingredients like mushrooms, soy sauce, and seaweed.

Overall, white miso paste is a great substitute for nutritional yeast, providing a savory and umami flavor to your dishes while also offering nutritional benefits. Experiment with this paste in your recipes and see how it can elevate your cooking game!

Recipe Inspiration: Vegan White Miso Soup

Try this delicious and easy-to-make vegan white miso soup at home. It’s a perfect way to experience the savory flavor of white miso paste:

Ingredients Directions
4 cups of water or vegetable broth 1. In a large pot, bring the water or vegetable broth to a boil.
1/3 cup of white miso paste 2. In a separate bowl, whisk the white miso paste with a small amount of the hot water or broth until smooth.
1 cup of cubed tofu 3. Add the cubed tofu, sliced mushrooms, and chopped scallions to the pot, and reduce the heat to a simmer.
1 cup of sliced mushrooms 4. Gradually add the miso paste mixture to the pot, stirring gently to combine.
2 scallions, chopped 5. Simmer for an additional 2-3 minutes, then serve hot.
white miso paste  

6. Coconut Aminos: A Savory and Umami Substitute for Nutritional Yeast in Liquid-Based Recipes

Coconut aminos is a fantastic substitute for nutritional yeast in liquid-based recipes, providing a savory and umami flavor to your dishes. It is a soy-free alternative to soy sauce, made from coconut sap and sea salt.

Coconut aminos are an excellent addition to your kitchen if you’re looking for a soy-free, gluten-free seasoning option. They can be used as a marinade or a dipping sauce, and they work exceptionally well in stir-fries, soups, and stews. Coconut aminos can add depth and complexity to your recipes without overpowering the other flavors.

The savory flavor of coconut aminos comes from the amino acid content, which gives it a salty flavor similar to soy sauce. The umami flavor is from the glutamic acid content, which makes it a suitable substitute for nutritional yeast.

Coconut aminos are also low in calories, with only 5 calories per teaspoon, making them a great option for those watching their weight. They are also rich in vitamins and minerals, including potassium, magnesium, and B vitamins.

To use coconut aminos as a substitute for nutritional yeast in liquid-based recipes, simply add a splash or two to your dish during the cooking process. It is a simple and easy way to enhance the flavor of your recipes while providing the nutritional benefits of coconut aminos.

Add coconut aminos to your pantry today and experiment with different recipes to see how it can elevate the flavors of your dishes.

7. Fortified vegan cheese

Fortified vegan cheese can serve as a suitable substitute for nutritional yeast in various dishes, particularly for those seeking a cheesy flavor and added nutrients. This alternative is especially popular among individuals following vegan or dairy-free diets.

Fortified vegan cheese offers several advantages. First, it provides a savory, umami-rich taste similar to nutritional yeast, making it a versatile choice for enhancing the flavor of dishes. Secondly, many brands of vegan cheese are fortified with essential vitamins and minerals, such as B vitamins, calcium, and vitamin D. This fortification mimics the nutritional profile of nutritional yeast, making it a suitable replacement.

In recipes, you can use fortified vegan cheese in a manner similar to nutritional yeast. Sprinkle it over pasta, salads, or popcorn for a cheesy kick. Melt it into sauces, casseroles, or on top of pizza for a creamy and indulgent taste. When selecting fortified vegan cheese, be sure to check the label for added nutrients and choose one that aligns with your dietary preferences and nutritional needs.

Overall, fortified vegan cheese can be a convenient and delicious alternative to nutritional yeast, offering both flavor and nutrition to a variety of dishes, particularly for those looking to incorporate plant-based or dairy-free options into their diets.

8. Almond Flour

Almond flour, while not a direct substitute for nutritional yeast in terms of flavor, can be a useful ingredient for those seeking alternatives, particularly in gluten-free and low-carb diets.

Nutritional yeast is known for its cheesy, umami flavor, which is difficult to replicate exactly with almond flour. However, almond flour does offer some benefits. It can provide a mild nuttiness and a pleasant texture to dishes when used as a thickener or coating. Almond flour is rich in healthy fats, protein, and fiber, making it a nutritious addition to various recipes.

In situations where you’re looking to add thickness or a subtle nutty note to a dish, almond flour can step in as a suitable option. For example, in creamy soups or sauces, almond flour can be used as a thickening agent. It’s also handy for breading proteins or vegetables as it provides a crispy, golden coating.

While almond flour can’t mimic the distinct cheesy taste of nutritional yeast, it can serve as a viable choice in specific recipes, particularly when flavor nuances aren’t critical, and the focus is on maintaining dietary restrictions or achieving a desirable texture.

9. Dried mushrooms (for umami)

Dried mushrooms can serve as an intriguing substitute for nutritional yeast in various culinary applications. While they don’t replicate the cheesy or nutty flavor profile of nutritional yeast, they introduce a unique umami depth to dishes that can be exceptionally satisfying.

Mushrooms, particularly varieties like shiitake or porcini, are renowned for their rich umami taste. When dried and ground into a fine powder, they become a concentrated source of this savory flavor. This quality makes them an excellent choice to enhance the taste of vegan or vegetarian dishes.

To use dried mushrooms as a nutritional yeast alternative, simply grind them into a powder using a spice grinder or food processor. Then, incorporate the mushroom powder into recipes where nutritional yeast is typically used, such as soups, sauces, or vegan cheese substitutes.

One notable advantage of dried mushrooms is their nutritional value.

They provide essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, making them a healthy addition to your diet. However, it’s worth noting that their flavor is distinct from nutritional yeast, so the substitution may not be suitable for all recipes. Nevertheless, for those seeking an umami boost with added health benefits, dried mushrooms can be an intriguing and flavorful choice.

10. Ground flaxseed

Ground flaxseed can serve as a nutritious alternative to nutritional yeast in certain recipes. While it doesn’t replicate the cheesy or nutty flavor of nutritional yeast, it offers a range of health benefits and a subtle nutty taste that can complement various dishes.

Flaxseeds are known for their high content of omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and essential nutrients. When ground into a fine powder, they become a versatile ingredient that can be sprinkled or mixed into recipes for added nutritional value.

To use ground flaxseed as a substitute for nutritional yeast, simply replace it in equal proportions. Keep in mind that the flavor is milder than nutritional yeast, so it won’t provide the same cheesy or savory notes. However, it does bring a delightful nuttiness that pairs well with dishes like salads, oatmeal, smoothies, and baked goods.

One significant advantage of ground flaxseed is its nutritional profile, which includes heart-healthy fats, fiber for digestion, and essential vitamins and minerals. It’s particularly beneficial for those seeking to increase their intake of omega-3 fatty acids and dietary fiber.

While ground flaxseed can be a versatile and healthful ingredient, it may not be the ideal substitute for nutritional yeast in recipes that rely on the specific cheesy or umami flavor of yeast. However, for those looking to enhance the nutritional content of their meals while adding a nutty undertone, ground flaxseed can be a valuable addition to their culinary repertoire.

11. Soy sauce or tamari

Soy sauce or tamari can be used as a flavorful alternative to nutritional yeast in various recipes, particularly when you’re seeking a savory and umami-rich profile. While they won’t replicate the cheesy notes of nutritional yeast, they offer a unique depth of flavor that can enhance the taste of your dishes.

Both soy sauce and tamari are derived from soybeans and are fermented to develop their distinct umami taste. They also share similar saltiness, making them suitable replacements in recipes that require nutritional yeast for its salty and savory attributes.

To substitute, you can typically use soy sauce or tamari in equal proportions, adjusting to taste. These sauces work well in savory dishes like soups, stews, marinades, stir-fries, and salad dressings. Keep in mind that the saltiness level may vary among brands, so it’s essential to adjust accordingly and taste as you go.

One advantage of using soy sauce or tamari is their accessibility; they are readily available in most kitchens. Moreover, they contribute to the savory and salty components of a dish while adding a touch of umami, making them valuable alternatives when nutritional yeast isn’t an option.

While soy sauce and tamari are versatile substitutes for nutritional yeast, they may not be suitable for those with soy allergies or sensitivities. In such cases, it’s essential to explore other alternatives that align with dietary restrictions while maintaining the desired flavor profile in your recipes.

12. Hemp seeds

Hemp seeds can serve as a valuable substitute for nutritional yeast, especially if you’re looking for a more natural and nutritious alternative. While they won’t mimic the cheesy flavor of nutritional yeast, hemp seeds offer a rich and nutty taste with added health benefits.

Hemp seeds are packed with essential nutrients like protein, healthy fats, and various vitamins and minerals, making them a wholesome choice. They also provide a slight earthy and nutty flavor, which can complement many dishes.

To use hemp seeds as a replacement for nutritional yeast, you can blend or grind them into a fine powder and then sprinkle or mix them into your recipes. This approach works well in vegan cheese sauces, salad dressings, and pasta dishes, offering a similar texture to nutritional yeast.

One significant advantage of hemp seeds is their nutritional profile. They are an excellent source of plant-based protein and contain all essential amino acids, making them a valuable addition to vegetarian and vegan diets. Additionally, they provide omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, fiber, and minerals like magnesium and iron.

Hemp seeds also cater to those with dietary restrictions, as they are gluten-free and generally well-tolerated by individuals with food sensitivities or allergies.

13. Dried seaweed (for a sea-like flavor)

Dried seaweed can be a suitable replacement for nutritional yeast, especially if you’re searching for a savory and nutrient-rich option. While it won’t exactly mimic the cheesy flavor of nutritional yeast, dried seaweed offers a unique umami taste that can enhance your dishes.

Seaweed, such as nori or dulse, is abundant in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It is particularly renowned for its iodine content, which supports thyroid health and helps regulate metabolism. Additionally, seaweed provides a range of other essential nutrients like vitamin B12, vitamin A, iron, and calcium, making it an attractive choice for those looking to boost their nutritional intake.

To incorporate dried seaweed into your recipes as a nutritional yeast substitute, you can grind it into a fine powder or use small flakes. Sprinkle it over salads, soups, or pasta dishes to add a savory and slightly briny flavor. Seaweed’s natural saltiness can also reduce the need for additional salt in your cooking.

Furthermore, dried seaweed aligns well with various dietary preferences, as it is vegan, gluten-free, and low in calories. However, it’s essential to use seaweed in moderation due to its intense flavor, which can overpower the dish if used excessively.

Final Thoughts

Finding a suitable substitute for nutritional yeast is easier than you may think. With the 15 options we’ve explored, you can enhance the flavor of your recipes even if you don’t have the original ingredient on hand.

Whether you’re looking for a cheesy flavor, a savory umami taste, or nutritional benefits, there is an alternative for you. Brewer’s yeast, yeast extract, chickpea flour, parmesan cheese, white miso paste, and coconut aminos are just a few examples of substitutes that can work wonders in your kitchen.

Try experimenting with different substitutes to find the perfect fit for your recipes. With a little creativity and some simple options, your dishes can shine without nutritional yeast.


Q: Can I use nutritional yeast substitutes in all recipes?

A: Yes, you can use nutritional yeast substitutes in most recipes. However, the flavor and texture may vary slightly depending on the substitute used.

Q: Are nutritional yeast substitutes suitable for vegan cooking?

A: Yes, many nutritional yeast substitutes are suitable for vegan cooking. Options like brewer’s yeast, chickpea flour, and white miso paste are all vegan-friendly alternatives.

Q: Which substitute provides a cheesy flavor similar to nutritional yeast?

A: Parmesan cheese is a great substitute if you’re looking for a cheesy flavor similar to nutritional yeast.

Q: Do nutritional yeast substitutes offer the same nutritional benefits?

A: While nutritional yeast substitutes may offer some nutritional benefits, it’s important to note that they may not have the exact same nutrient profile as nutritional yeast.

Q: Can I use nutritional yeast substitutes in liquid-based recipes?

A: Yes, substitutes like yeast extract and coconut aminos can be used in liquid-based recipes to add flavor and enhance the overall taste.

Q: Where can I find the nutritional yeast substitutes mentioned?

A: Nutritional yeast substitutes like brewer’s yeast, chickpea flour, and white miso paste can usually be found in health food stores, specialty grocery stores, or online.

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Jeff Campbell