How to Cook with Nutritional Yeast

Move over salt and pepper, nutritional yeast is the new seasoning on the block. Made popular by plant-based dieters, nutritional yeast adds extra vitamins to almost any dish and imparts an earthy cheese flavor.

Nutrients + cheese? Tell us more.

Here’s everything you need to know about inactive dried yeast and why you should consider giving it a shake.

What Is Nutritional Yeast?

Nutritional yeast is a plant-based dried yeast with inactive cells. Sold in grocery stores around the country, nutritional yeast comes in flakes and granules and is popularly used as a seasoning.

nutritional yeast seasoning
Olga Miltsova/Getty Images

Does Nutritional Yeast Have a Specific Taste?

“Nutritional yeast has a nutty and even cheesy flavor, which is why it is a common dairy-free alternative to cheesy dishes,” says functional medicine dietitian Brigid Titgemeier, MS, RDN, LD, IFNCP.

How Much Nutritional Yeast Should You Have?

Check the serving size on the nutritional facts notice but traditionally one tablespoon is all you need. Some brands like Bragg Nutritional Yeast Seasoning can pack up to 500% of your daily vitamin needs so eating in large doses could feed your body a ton of B vitamins.

What Happens If You Eat Too Much Nutritional Yeast?

Titgemeier reassures us, “B vitamins are water-soluble so it can be harder to see adverse effects from high doses. The two most likely concerns would be losing most of those extra nutrients through the urine and getting face flushing for people who get flushing from high doses of niacin (vitamin B3).”

What Are the Health Benefits of NutritionalYeast?

While different brands have slightly different nutrient makeups, Titgemeier says Bragg “is a very unique food product that provides a wide array of important nutrients for very little energy consumption.” Among those nutrients are:

  • Fiber: “Just 1 tbsp provides 2 grams of dietary fiber, which is mostly made up of beta-glucans and soluble fiber. Soluble fiber has been associated with lower cholesterol levels and a healthy gut microbiome. Fiber is, in fact, one of the most critical food components for creating and maintaining a healthy gut microbiome, decreasing appetite, and regulating blood sugar levels,” Titgemeier says.
  • Plant-based protein: “Just 1 tablespoon gives 5 grams of protein, which is a dream for vegetarians. Protein is super important for regulating blood sugar levels, increasing lean body mass, and feeling fuller after meals.”
  • B vitamins: “Fortified versions of nutritional yeast are some of the highest sources of B vitamins available in food. Bragg adds B vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B6, B9, and B12) to the nutritional yeast, which you can see in the ingredient list. Deficiencies in B vitamins are quite common and this is problematic because B vitamins are required for energy production and cell metabolism,” says Titgemeier.

Nutritional Yeast Can Also Help Replace Dairy.

Titgemeier adds that a lot of people unknowingly suffer from inflammation as a result of eating dairy. This may manifest in breakouts, congestion, acid reflux, and GI distress. “Bragg Nutritional Yeast provides a useful alternative to dairy that still tastes like cheese, just without the inflammatory response,” she says.

being brigid spaghetti squash and cheese nutritional yeast
Being Brigid

How Do You Cook Nutritional Yeast?

Making rice, pasta, or lentils? Mix it in! Warm, grain-based dishes get a boost of creaminess when mixed with nutritional yeast. It’s also fun to sprinkle on popcorn, salad, or roasted vegetables. Here is a full recipe for Spaghetti Squash and “Cheese” made with nutritional yeast, made by food blogger BeingBrigid. (It’s perfect for fall!)

Any No-Nos When Using Nutritional Yeast?

The biggest thing, Titgemeier says, is that you may not need to take an additional B vitamin anymore. Check if your multi includes a B complex, and consider one without if you come to love nutritional yeast.

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