This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Vegans have known about nutritional yeast for decades, but now everyone else is starting to catch up as this savory substance is packed with goodness. 

If you’re wondering whether you should use nutritional yeast, learning more about it could help you reach a decision. While you can eat it as a dietary supplement, it’s a tasty ingredient in its own right. 

What is nutritional yeast? 

Nutritional yeast, also known as “nooch” by its devotees, is a type of deactivated yeast. This means you couldn’t use it to make bread dough rise as the live yeast is killed during processing. Instead, nooch is meant for use as an ingredient in recipes or a type of seasoning. 

What does nutritional yeast taste like?

It has a nutty umami flavor similar to cheese, though don’t expect it to taste like a perfectly aged cheddar or a piece of brie. This means it’s commonly used as a vegan cheese alternative, sprinkled on dishes that could use a savory kick or added into cheese sauce recipes. 

What’s the point of nutritional yeast? 

Just from the name, you’d expect nutritional yeast to be nutrient-dense. And that’s one of the main points of eating nutritional yeast: to get extra nutrients. However, it’s also enjoyed for its nutty, cheesy flavor and often used as an ingredient in dairy-free cheese sauces. 

The exact concentration of nutrients varies between brands and whether it’s fortified or unfortified. Unfortified nutritional yeast is a good source of dietary fiber and contains some iron, potassium, calcium and vitamins B1 and B2. Fortified nutritional yeast contains all this plus added vitamins. Most brands add the full spectrum of B vitamins and some also add vegan vitamin D. Studies have found that just a couple of tablespoons of fortified nooch can boost your daily value of some B vitamins, but you’ll need to check your chosen brand to see the exact levels. 

Should everyone use nutritional yeast? 

Nooch is traditionally used by vegans who need to take supplements or eat fortified foods to keep their vitamin B12 levels up. However, it has more than just vitamins. Many people love the taste. So, whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, trying to eat more plant-based foods or are a devoted carnivore, there’s room for nutritional yeast in your diet. 

It’s up to you to decide whether you should or shouldn’t eat it but, like most things in life, it’s worth trying at least once to see if you like it. 

Are there any risks to eating nutritional yeast? 

Nutritional yeast contains a naturally occurring compound called tyramine. It comes from an amino acid and there’s nothing inherently harmful about it, but studies suggest it may trigger migraines in some individuals. If you’re prone to migraines, you might not want to risk it, but the vast majority of people can eat it with no ill effects. 

How do you use nutritional yeast? 

It’s easy to introduce nutritional yeast into your diet by sprinkling on dishes you might normally top with grated parmesan or other cheese. This includes pasta dishes, risottos, soups and stews. It’s also delicious sprinkled on buttered toast or used as a savory seasoning for popcorn. 

Once you’ve got used to it as a seasoning, you may want to seek out recipes that contain larger quantities of nooch, such as vegan cheese sauces or cheese biscuits. 

Best nutritional yeast

KAL Nutritional Yeast Flakes

KAL Nutritional Yeast Flakes

These nutritional yeast flakes are particularly rich in biotin and vitamin B12, with 1,500% and 630% of your daily value, respectively, in just 1.5 tablespoons. They’re non-GMO and have a great flavor without any bitterness.

Sold by Amazon

Anthonys Premium Nutritional Yeast Flakes

Anthony’s Premium Nutritional Yeast Flakes

You can choose between unfortified and fortified versions of this nooch, depending on your preference. It comes in 10 ounce bags or large 1 pound bags that offer exceptional value for money. It contains a good range of B vitamins, alongside iron and potassium.

Sold by Amazon

Hoosier Hill Farm Nutritional Yeast Flakes

Hoosier Hill Farm Nutritional Yeast Flakes

This large flake nooch is ideal for people who don’t like small flakes and powdery nutritional yeast. It comes in a big 1 pound tub with a releasable lid to keep it fresh for longer. It has a huge 1460% of your daily value of B12 per 2 tablespoons.

Sold by Amazon

Bragg Premium Nutritional Yeast

Bragg Premium Nutritional Yeast

Available in plain, roasted garlic and smokey BBQ flavors, this is a great choice for people who want to try different flavors of nooch.

Sold by Amazon

Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals. 

Lauren Corona writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

Copyright 2022 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.