Nutritional yeast is a staple of vegan diets.
Not only is it packed with important nutrients and fortified with vitamins, but it is also the best, animal-free alternative to your favorite cheesy treats.
If you find yourself missing cheese after adopting a vegan diet and find that the vegan cheese alternatives just don’t cut it, nutritional yeast could be the answer to your prayers.
Whether you want to add an extra cheesy flavor to your next vegan pizza or you want to try your hand at recreating your favorite vegan mac and cheese from that incredible vegan restaurant in town, this is the ingredient you need.
As with any ingredient that adds flavor, however, there are some brands that are superior to others and will take your vegan cooking to a new level.
In this article, we will look at the best nutritional yeast brands on the market that can help you satisfy your cheese cravings.
We have also included a helpful buyer’s guide at the end to help you make the most informed decision.
Why Is Nutritional Yeast So Good?
Apart from the cheesy flavor that it can bring to dishes such as mac and cheese, there are a slew of health benefits that are great to incorporate into a vegan diet.
Nutritional yeast is a vegan-friendly supplement that is gluten-free, versatile, budget-friendly, and provides an incredible source of B vitamins that can often be lacking in a vegan diet.
A tablespoon of nutritional yeast is capable of providing you with over 100% of the daily recommended amount of B12.
So, if you struggle to keep your B vitamin levels within a healthy range, this could really help you.
If you opt for a fortified version of nutritional yeast you will be getting a great source of antioxidants, folic acid, and trace minerals.
One of the best things about nutritional yeast, aside from the cheesy goodness, is that it is a complete protein that is perfect for adding to pasta, stews, curries, popcorn, cheese sauces, and even roasted chickpeas.
OUR TOP PICK
There are many reasons why Bragg Premium nutritional yeast seasoning is widely considered by vegans to be the best all-rounder product.
For starters, it is one of the most readily available brands of nutritional yeast on the market.
It can be found in almost any grocery store and has a very reasonable price point, although it is not the cheapest.
Bragg offers their nutritional yeast seasoning in a convenient shaker bottle that allows you to sprinkle the yeast flakes onto your food as a topping or into dishes such as sauces and stews.
Alternatively, you can purchase Bragg’s nutritional yeast in handy resealable pouch packaging which can be useful for adding larger amounts of yeast to things such as curries and chilis.
Bragg’s nutritional yeast is low in sodium and sugar and has been fortified with folate and B12 which are both great additions to a vegan diet.
This nutritional yeast has a nutty savory taste that makes for delicious popcorn flavoring.
- Affordable price point
- Low sodium
- Fortified with folate and B12
- Multiple packaging options
- The flavor is not as potent as some other brands
The KAL imported nutritional yeast flakes are one of the most affordable brands on this list and the best thing is that you don’t have to sacrifice quality for the cheaper price tag.
KAL Imported Nutritional Yeast Flakes contain a full spectrum of essential amino acids which help to maintain hormone levels and a variety of B vitamins.
They also contain 5g of protein per serving and feature a wonderfully nutty flavor.
One of the best things about these flakes is that they dissolve easily which makes them perfect for bringing extra nutritional value to dishes such as stews, soups, meatloaf, broths, protein shakes, and milkshakes.
The tin packaging for this product helps to keep the flakes fresh, flavorful, and most importantly, moisture-free when they are in your cupboard.
This provides the product with an even greater value for money as you won’t find yourself having to discard half of the flakes because they have gone stale or have formed one big lump because of humidity.
It is important to note that this product is not fortified with any B vitamins, this helps contribute to the lack of bitter taste that can sometimes occur in fortified nutritional yeast, however, it may not be the best choice if you have B vitamin deficiencies.
- Very affordable price
- mild, tasty flavor
- No bitter taste
- Tin packaging helps prolong shelf-life
- Not fortified with B vitamins
While we are on the topic of vitamin B deficiencies, B12 is a common deficiency for people who follow a vegan diet as it can be difficult to find in vegan foods.
However, Hoosier Hill Farm has come to the rescue with its nutritional yeast flakes.
This brand of nutritional yeast has been specifically fortified with vitamin B12 and a two-tablespoon serving provides a massive 1,460% of your daily recommended amount of B12.
That amount of B12 is not to be sniffed at, especially when it is so easily incorporated into your daily diet.
The price point of this product is incredibly reasonable too, making it one of the best options on this list.
The Hoosier Hill Farm nutritional yeast comes in one of the biggest containers of all the yeast products on this list, available in a one pound plastic jar that features a wide opening.
It doesn’t come with its own scoop so you may need to use your own measuring spoons to portion this out correctly.
If you are looking to sprinkle nutritional yeast onto your food as a topping rather than an ingredient in sauces and stews, you will likely have to use your hands to ensure you don’t end up dumping a pile of flakes onto your food.
If sprinkling yeast as a topping is your main goal with nutritional yeast, this may not be the best product for you.
- Affordable price point
- Large container
- High levels of vitamin B12
- Perfect for making large batches of stews and curries\
- The container isn’t great for sprinkling on food
Red Star’s nutritional yeast flakes are another great all-rounder product that is fortified with essential vitamins and minerals.
This nutritional yeast is also high in protein which can be a huge benefit for your diet and lifestyle, particularly if you struggle to eat enough protein sources on a regular basis.
The amino acids in this product also mean that the protein content of the yeast can be properly utilized by your body to help promote the growth and repair of muscles and collagen.
These nutritional yeast flakes work really well as both a topping sprinkled on salads and popcorn, and as an addition to gravies, sauces, soups, and casseroles.
You can also add a 1.5 tablespoon serving to your favorite smoothies or juices to give them an extra kick of protein and vitamins.
You don’t even have to worry about dealing with a bitty or grainy texture as these flakes dissolve readily in any liquid.
- Versatile use
- High protein content
- Fortified with essential vitamins and minerals
- Great in smoothies and juices
- The flavor might be too mild for some
The nutritional yeast from Foods Alive is another non-fortified option.
This product is a great source of dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals despite not being fortified.
It is also a complete protein source, which means that it provides the essential amino acids the body cannot produce itself.
As with all nutritional yeast Foods Alive nutritional yeast is naturally low in sodium and calories, as well as being fat-free, sugar-free, and gluten-free.
This Nutritional yeast also contains antioxidants which are useful in helping to protect your body from chronic diseases that can be caused by oxidative stress.
Because it is not fortified in any way, it contains NO folic acid and no artificial vitamins.
It is simply pure and natural nutritional yeast.
The resealable foil pouch packaging that this product comes in helps to keep the product fresher for longer and allows you to make the most of the shelf-life.
It is important to make sure that you have resealed the pouch properly to keep the yeast in the best condition and prevent it from going stale or being exposed to moisture.
- Fat, sugar, and gluten-free naturally
- No artificial vitamins
- High in antioxidants
- Resealable packaging
- Lower levels of B12 than fortified versions
The biggest selling point of Anthony’s nutritional yeast flakes is the protein content which is second to none at around 8g per recommended serving or over 5g per tablespoon.
Despite the fact that this is a fortified product, the company claims that there are no artificial vitamins or minerals in their nutritional yeast.
Instead, they say that this product is fortified through a natural fermentation process that eliminates the need for synthetic ingredients.
Because of this, this brand is the top choice if you prefer to stay clear of fortified products because of their synthetic nature but still struggle with various vitamin deficiencies.
These flakes are a lot smaller than many of the others on this list and present an almost dust-like consistency.
This makes them great for blending into batters, smoothies, and juices without having to worry about coming across a rogue flake or two.
This product also has great reviews for the strength of the flavor that it provides.
If you are someone who enjoys using nutritional yeast to add extra flavor to your food this can be a great option.
- High protein content
- Strong flavor
- Small flakes make blending into foods easier
- Natural fortification process
- Reseal strip can be fiddly to close properly
Sari Foods nutritional yeast is one of the best non-fortified nutritional yeasts on the market and is often marketed as a low sodium salt substitute.
This marketing choice does suggest that the flavor of this yeast is not as strong as some of the other options that are available, however, if the taste isn’t a main priority for you then this product can still be a great source of vitamins and nutrients.
Sari Foods claim that their nutritional yeast provides you with all eighteen amino acids that help contribute to hormone balance and protein utilization.
The packaging of this product is a resealable foil pouch that keeps the flakes fresh throughout their shelf-life which makes them great value for money.
The consistency of the flakes is even with the majority of flakes looking crystal-like.
Because of their slightly different consistency, these flakes work really well as a topping for foods such as salads and popcorn.
- Low sodium content
- Works as a salt substitute
- Even consistency
- Great as a topping
- Mild flavor
Although it may seem like there is very little difference between different types of nutritional yeast, there are a few things that should be considered when purchasing a new brand.
The strength of flavor, for example, is something that is very individual to each person.
However, there are some things that can be considered before purchasing the yeast that apply to everyone.
Fortified Vs Non-Fortified
One of the biggest things to consider when looking at purchasing nutritional yeast is whether you want fortified or non-fortified yeast.
There are a few differences between the two types of yeast that can affect whether you will enjoy them or not.
The most important difference is the presence of synthetic vitamins and minerals, while these are not inherently bad for your health, some people like to keep their diet as natural and free from additives as possible.
Although non-fortified nutritional yeast does not tend to contain nutrients in the sky high amounts that fortified nutritional yeast does, it still contains plenty of nutrients that contribute to a healthy diet.
Fortified nutritional yeast can also have a slightly bitter after taste which some people find unpleasant or unenjoyable.
While most nutritional yeast brands that are available in grocery stores are extremely reasonably priced and affordable, there are some discrepancies between brands.
One of the main things to consider when purchasing nutritional yeast is how much you are going to be using.
If you use nutritional yeast on a daily basis and particularly if you use it for the whole family, it is a better idea to purchase a bigger tub like the Hoosier Hill Farm product.
If you use nutritional yeast less often, or are trying it for the first time, a smaller container or pouch might be a better option so that you don’t end up wasting money.
Large Or Small Flakes
Nutritional yeast comes in various sizes.
A lot of the time, the sizes that you get in your tub are random and might even be a mixture, however, there are brands that specify the size on their packaging.
For example, the Bob’s Red Mill flakes are labeled as large on the packaging so you know that you are getting larger flakes.
Anthony’s nutritional yeast flakes on the other hand are more dust-like although this is not stated on the packaging but in reviews.
The size or consistency of yeast flakes don’t affect the flavor of the flakes but it does have a small impact on what the flakes are best used for.
For example, flakes that are smaller or a dusty consistency are perfect for blending into things such as batter and smoothies as they are much less likely to create any kind of unwanted texture in the food.
Alternatively, larger flakes are great for creating toppings for salads or even casseroles as they are less likely to accidentally dissolve into the food.
This one might be a little concerning on the surface, but all nutritional yeast products available in grocery stores are approved by the FDA and are perfectly safe to consume.
There are some brands of nutritional yeast that have been found to contain trace amounts of lead.
None of the levels are high enough to cause any harm, no matter how much of the product you consume thanks to stringent food safety regulations.
However, lead is lead and for obvious reasons many people do not feel comfortable consuming food that contains such a substance.
Luckily there are also plenty of nutritional yeast products that do not contain any traceable amounts of lead in them.
There are so many options for nutritional yeast brands that are affordable and readily available both online and in most grocery stores.
Each brand brings their own benefits and downsides, but all of them contain huge health benefits and plenty of nutrients that can help to ensure you and your family are as healthy as possible.