Nutritional Yeast Facts

Recipes sometimes call for ingredients that you may not have heard of, like nutritional yeast or agar-agar. Some familiar ingredients like cauliflower, black beans, and lentils may be used in unfamiliar ways to make good-tasting plant-based dishes. You may not be aware of nutritional and medicinal properties of familiar foods like sweet potato or avocado. You can find links to this information on the Glossary page. If you have a question or want to see a particular ingredient featured, send an email to

Nutritional yeast is a deactivated yeast, often a strain of Saccharomyces cerevisiae that is sold in the form of flakes or yellow powder. It has a strong flavor often described as nutty, cheesy, or creamy.

Here are just a few uses for nutritional yeast. It is used in cheese substitutes, as a flavor enhancer in mashed or fried potatoes, in scrambled tofu, and as a topping for popcorn.

Even in small amounts, nutritional yeast is a significant source of some Bcomplex vitamins. Some brands are fortified with additional B12. It has approximately 9 grams of protein in 2 tablespoons. It provides 9 amino acids that the human body cannot produce and 5% (unfortified) to 20% (fortified with B12) of recommended daily iron.

In large amounts, the high fiber content of nutritional yeast may cause digestive discomfort, and high niacin content can cause facial flushing. Some brands may contain tyramine, which can trigger migraines in some individuals.

Sources: Wikipedia / healthline