What is Nutritional Yeast?

What is Nutritional Yeast?

Publish Date April 6, 2022

Nutritional yeast, also affectionately known as “nooch,” might just be your new best flavoring friend. Not only does this plant-based pantry staple have a deliciously cheesy-nutty flavor, it’s also rich in essential vitamins and nutrients. So, if it tastes cheesy but it’s dairy-free, what is nutritional yeast, exactly?

What is Nutritional Yeast Made From?

Nutritional yeast is grown from sugar cane, molasses or natural wood pulp and manufactured specifically for human consumption. It comes from a deactivated form of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which happens to be the same strain used to bake bread or brew beer. It’s heated, pasteurized, washed and dried, killing the yeast cells and creating a golden flake or powder that can alter a food’s texture and add lots of savory flavor.

Is Nutritional Yeast Good for You?

Rich in vitamins and free from dairy, gluten, soy and sugar, nutritional yeast benefits go far beyond its great taste. Not only is it perfect for those with food sensitivities or dietary restrictions, it’s a nutritious addition to any diet. Just one tablespoon of this tasty superfood packs a surprising amount of protein, vitamins and trace minerals. Since some varieties come fortified with extra vitamins, check the label to find a brand that meets your needs.

What’s a Good Nutritional Yeast Substitute?

While it won’t taste exactly the same, a nutritional yeast substitute can be made from brewer’s yeast. Grown on malted barley or other grains, this variation is a byproduct created by brewing beer. The flavor of brewer’s yeast is more bitter, but it has a rich nutrient profile similar to nutritional yeast. Since they’re so often confused for one another, here’s a simple breakdown of brewer’s yeast vs. nutritional yeast:

  • Nutritional yeast: Grown specifically to be used as food. Has a distinctly cheesy, nutty flavor.
  • Brewer’s yeast: Removed from fermented beer. Has a more bitter flavor.

Thanks to its nutty, savory flavor profile that’s almost identical to nutritional yeast, Parmesan cheese can also be used as a substitute in recipes or foods that call for nutritional yeast. Keep in mind that this option isn’t vegan-friendly.

How Do I use Nutritional Yeast?

Ready to go for the gold and test your soon-to-be favorite pantry staple? Add nutritional yeast to eggs, popcorn, soups, stews and sauces, or treat your taste buds to one of these deliciously “cheesy” nutritional yeast recipes. The limits on how to use nutritional yeast are endless.

Vegan “Cheesy” Broccoli Soup

In this soup, cashews lend a creamy richness without the use of cream, and nutritional yeast adds a cheesy flavor without the use of cheese.

Serves: 6

Total time: 45 minutes


  • 1½ cups raw cashews
  • ¾ cup water, plus more for boiling
  • ½ cup Simple Truth™ Nutritional Yeast Seasoning
  • 1 Tbsp. avocado oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 large carrots, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 12 oz. broccoli florets, cut into bite-sized pieces


  1. Soak cashews in boiling water at least 30 minutes. Drain.
  2. In blender, combine soaked and drained cashews, fresh water and nutritional yeast. Blend until smooth and creamy. Set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, in 4-quart or larger saucepan over medium heat, heat oil. Cook onion, carrots, garlic, salt and pepper 4-6 minutes, until fragrant and tender.
  4. Stir in broth; bring to simmer. Add broccoli. Continue cooking 5-7 minutes, until broccoli is tender.
  5. Stir in cashew mixture. Let cook a few minutes or until thickened. Adjust seasoning to taste. Refrigerate leftovers.

Vegan Chickpea Flour Scramble

This high-protein dish uses chickpea flour, oatmilk, nutritional yeast and a smattering of spices to create an appetizing and vegan-friendly, egg-like breakfast dish.

Serves: 4

Total time: 20 minutes


  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced into strips
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced into strips
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 cup chickpea flour
  • 2 cups Simple Truth™ Oatmilk
  • ¼ cup Simple Truth™ Nutritional Yeast
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tsp. onion powder
  • 2 tsp. turmeric powder


  1. In medium skillet over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons oil. Sauté bell peppers and onion until soft and onion is translucent. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from pan; set aside.
  2. In same skillet, heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil.
  3. In large bowl, whisk together flour, oatmilk, yeast, garlic powder, onion powder and turmeric.
  4. Pour mixture into skillet; let set 30 seconds. Use rubber spatula to fold mixture. Cook, continuously breaking apart, 7-10 minutes, until mixture is lightly browned and firm.
  5. Serve scramble with bell peppers and onion on side.

The nutritional yeast uses don’t stop there! Read more nutritional yeast facts, find more specialty diet inspiration and score big savings with digital coupons and more.