Food & Drink

12 Best Nutritional Yeast Substitutes

Last Updated on February 22, 2024 | 0 Comments
There are lots of nutritional yeast substitutes to try

Nutritional yeast is an important ingredient for vegan cooking, but if you run out, you might find yourself looking for a nutritional yeast substitute at the last second. Instead of panicking, try one of these 12 nutritional yeast alternatives that can still add the right amount of saltiness and texture to your dish.


 Jump to Section

Gourmet Cooking Classes Near You
Take your culinary skills to new levels with guidance from five-star chefs.
Book Now

What Is Nutritional Yeast?

Nutritional yeast, often called “nooch,” is a deactivated yeast that is made from the same strain of fungus often used for baking and home brewing. The yeast is grown inside a growing medium before being dried to deactivate it. 

You’ll often find nutritional yeast sold as a powder or flakes. This might seem like an uncommon ingredient, but if you or anyone you know is vegan, nutritional yeast is an important pantry staple for adding flavor and texture to vegan dishes. 

A bowl with yellow nutritional yeast in it
via Canva

Purpose of Nutritional Yeast in Cooking

Whether you are new to veganism or have been vegan for a long time, learning to avoid products that seem to be so ever-present can be difficult. Sometimes finding substitutes for animal products is tricky. That’s where nutritional yeast comes into play. 

In cooking, nutritional yeast is used to replicate the flavors of cheese in vegan dishes. It can also be used as a topping for extra flavor, or used to thicken sauces or soups. You’ll often find nutritional yeast in recipes like vegan mushroom soup or vegan pesto.

Cheesy flavors can be especially difficult to replicate in vegan recipes, so nutritional yeast (or a nutritional yeast substitute) is an important ingredient to have on hand, especially if you are learning new recipes for the first time. 

If you are looking for different ways to practice your cooking skills, online cooking classes and cooking classes near you can be a great way to learn something new. Cooking classes can be especially useful if you are trying a new style of cooking or if you’d like to learn more about vegan cooking methods. 

You can use a nutritional yeast substitute in many recipes
via Cozymeal

12 Substitutes for Nutritional Yeast

1. Vegetable Bouillon Powder

If you are looking for a salty nutritional yeast substitute to add to a soup recipe, try using plant-based vegetable bouillon powder. You’ll get the umami kick that nooch would bring to the recipe, without having to use nutritional yeast. This is a great nutritional yeast substitute for anyone with a food sensitivity to yeast products. 

Vegetable bouillon is a convenient nutritional yeast substitute
via Canva

2. Vegan Parmesan Cheese

If your next vegan breakfast idea calls for nutritional yeast’s cheesy flavor, but you just happen to be out of that ingredient, vegan Parmesan cheese is a great nutritional yeast substitute. There are several different brands of this cheese to choose from, and it allows you to add as much cheese flavor to your dish as you’d like. 

A block of parmesan next to grated cheese
via Canva

Join a Live Online Cooking Class Today
Your kitchen is now your own culinary classroom. Connect with chefs from around the world right from the comfort of home.
Book Now

3. Miso Paste

Miso paste is also a common ingredient in vegan dishes and works as a nutritional yeast substitute. Made from soybeans, miso paste has a salty flavor that can be a bit more nutty than cheesy. Its strong flavors mean that you can cut down the amount you add to your recipe and still have a good nutritional yeast replacement.

Miso paste is a unique nutritional yeast substitute
via Canva

4. Coconut Aminos or Liquid Aminos

If you are looking for a nutritional yeast substitute that is both vegan and yeast-free, coconut aminos are a great option. This is a liquid ingredient that has a sweeter taste than nooch, but it still has the salty, umami kick you might be looking for. Liquid aminos, often made from soybeans, have similar qualities to coconut aminos and can work as a nutritional yeast substitute as well. 

A brown liquid being poured from a bottle into a bowl
via Canva

5. Dried Mushrooms

If you are a fan of mushrooms, try using dried mushrooms as a nutritional yeast substitute in your next meal. Like yeast, mushrooms are a type of fungus, so they offer many of the same flavor benefits.

Some mushrooms taste more like meat than cheese, but there are many varieties (like chanterelle, oyster, shiitake and porcini) that work as a nutritional yeast alternative when dried and ground into a powder.

Dried mushrooms are a good nutritional yeast substitute
via Canva

6. Soy Sauce

While it might not seem like an obvious nutritional yeast substitute, soy sauce has a salty kick that adds a lot of umami flavor to your dishes, meaning it can work well in the place of nutritional yeast. 

To use this nutritional yeast substitute, be sure to check the amount of salt in your recipe and consider cutting it slightly to compensate for soy sauce’s saltiness. You’ll also want to use less soy sauce than the amount of nutritional yeast called for because of the salt and flavor differences. 

A bottle of soy sauce being poured into a bowl
via Canva

7. Tamari

Tamari is similar to soy sauce, meaning it also makes a good nutritional yeast substitute. One of the benefits of tamari is that it is a little less salty than soy sauce. Therefore, you don't need to adjust the amount of nutritional yeast a recipe calls for as much as with the more salty soy sauce. 

A bowl of tamari on a black surface
via Canva

8. Chickpea Flour

Chickpea flour is one nutritional yeast substitute that adds a very similar texture to your dishes. One thing to be aware of is that chickpea flour doesn’t carry the same cheesy or salty flavors, even though it almost perfectly replicates the texture of the nutritional yeast. This is an especially good alternative if you’re looking for something that has the same thickening power as nutritional yeast but a lighter flavor.

Chickpea flour is a good nutritional yeast substitute for thickening sauces
via Canva

Shop Chef-Approved Cookware
Beloved brands. Easy returns. Price-match guarantee. Kick your kitchen confidence up a notch with cookware loved by chefs.
Shop Now

9. Brewer’s Yeast

Brewer’s yeast is made from the same type of bacteria that nutritional yeast is made from, so it is a good substitute. It’s important to note that brewer’s yeast is actually a byproduct of the brewing process, so it does have a slightly different flavor. However, it is still a good nutritional yeast alternative if you’re looking to add a hearty, cheesy flavor to your dish.

A bowl of yeast
via Canva

10. Yeast Extract

Also known as vegemite or marmite, yeast extract is a thick, sticky substance that is a byproduct of beer brewing. However, this nutritional yeast substitute has a more bitter flavor. Because it is not a dried powder, it should only be substituted in recipes that allow for its sticky texture. 

Yeast Extract can be used as a nutritional yeast substitute
via Canva

11. Cashews

Nutritional yeast is often used to give a hearty, cheesy flavor to vegan dishes. When you run out of nutritional yeast, cashews can be used as a nutritional yeast substitute in a pinch. Use them to add flavor and crunch to the top of your dish. Cashews won’t work as well in sauces or soups, but they can add a different element of both texture and flavor to your recipe.

Cashews in a bowl next to a jar of crushed cashews
via Canva

12. Onion Flakes

Onion flakes are another potential nutritional yeast replacement. Whether you purchase pre-made dried onion flakes or you make fried onion flakes at home, these savory toppings can add a burst of flavor and texture to your dish. The one downside of these is that they don’t have as many nutritional benefits as some of the other nutritional yeast substitutes on the list.

An unusual nutritional yeast substitute is onion flakes
via Canva

We hope this guide to 12 nutritional yeast substitutes has shown you both traditional and creative ways to swap this ingredient in your recipe next time you run out of nooch. Even if you aren’t making vegan dishes, nutritional yeast and its substitutes can add a new and unique texture and flavor to your meals.

For even more ways to explore your favorite foods, check out other experiences happening on Cozymeal.

Chef comments icon


Join the conversation.

Please Log In to leave a comment