What is Nutritional Yeast?

What Is It?

Nutritional yeast is a deactivated yeast, not to be confused with Brewer’s Yeast and no, it doesn’t taste like beer or bread. πŸ˜‰ It is an organism grown on the molasses plant and then harvested and deactivated by heat. It tastes more like a nutty, cheesy flavor and is PACKED full of nutrients. I think it should be called Nutrition Flakes, then maybe more people would want to eat it? Okay, maybe not, but who wants to eat something with yeast in the title? Trust me when I say type this, you’re gonna’ want to start adding these little power flakes to your diet if you haven’t already.

Fun Nutrition Stuff

1.5 Tablespoons of Nutrition Flakes…er Yeast on Average =

  • 8 g of protein
  • 4 g of fiber
  • 5 g carbs
  • 1 g fat
  • 9.6 mg Thiamin (B1)
  • 9.7 mg Riboflavin (B2)
  • 56 mg Niacin (B3)
  • 9.6 mg B6
  • 240 mcg Folate
  • 7.8 mcg B12
  • 24 mg Magnesium
  • .1 mcg Copper
  • .1 Manganese
  • 3 mg Zinc

But what does all of this mean? It means nutritional yeast is a great source of protein (8g for 1.5 Tbs!), fiber (4g for 1.5 Tbs!), essential minerals and B-complex Vitamins. It is also low in fat and sodium. B-complex vitamins are necessary for metabolic activity and even our mental state. We need B vitamins to transform food into energy, as well as strengthen our immune system and balance our hormones.

In my Western Nutrition class over the weekend, we specifically talked about the importance of B12. It is needed for red blood cell formation, DNA and a functioning nervous system. Vegans and Vegetarians and nursing babies of Vegans and Vegetarians are particularly vulnerable to deficiency of B12. Why? B12 is not found in plant foods, but largely in animal foods. Those who drink heavily/often are also susceptible to a B12 deficiency because alcohol consumption reduces B12 absorption.

But, they’re not the only ones. New York Time’s: It Could Be Old Age, or It Could Be Low B12

There have also been studies showing a number of Americans are deficient in B6.

Four groups were found to have the highest prevalence of B6 deficiency including “women of reproductive age, especially current and former users of oral contraceptives, male smokers, non-Hispanic African American men, and men and women over age 65.” “…alcoholics are also at a higher risk for vitamin B6 deficiency” (Natural News).

Guess what? Nutritional yeast is a great source of both B12 & B6!

How Do I Eat Nutritional Yeast?

Sprinkle it on everything that you would cheese or food that you want a nutty, cheesy or savory flavor. Popular uses:

Benefits of Nutritional Yeast | Freshly Grown

  • Sprinkle over popcorn
  • Use in place of cheese on pizza, sprinkle on top after it comes out of the oven
  • In rice
  • Use in mashed potatoes instead of cheese
  • Over broccoli
  • In pasta
  • Sprinkle on kale chips
  • On salads
  • In Soups

20 Great Ways to Use Nutritional Yeast

What are your favorite uses? Tell us! I am personally looking for more ways to incorporate this fabulous stuff into my diet.

How Should You Store It?

Store in a cool, dry place in an airtight container. Some folks refrigerate it when it is summer or if they live in a humid area. It can even be kept in the freezer. Discard if not used after 1 year.

What Brand?

You can find nutritional yeast in the bulk section of your grocery store or natural food store or in the aisles from brands you prefer or on Amazon if you don’t have access to a variety of natural food sources, (which I know some of you don’t because you have told me this :)). These are all good brands in my opinion, but I am pretty sure the ‘yeast’ I have in my cupboard right now is from the bulk section of New Seasons.


Eat Nutritional Yeast!

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Disclaimer & Such:

In no way, shape, or form should this post or any of my posts be used to treat a medical condition or replace medical advice from your doctor. When in question about anything, always consult a physician and do your own research. There are also affiliate links in this post and I would never recommend anything I wouldn’t take, eat or buy myself. I mean this, I think referring people to products or food items or other businesses is a big deal. And…I like you guys. So, if you ever see anything on this site that looks like it shouldn’t be here or is questionable, please e-mail me at befreshlygrown@gmail.com so I can address it and determine if it needs to be removed or changed. Thanks, Freshly Grown Friends. -Rama




  • Brooke says:

    I have been really curious about both nutritional yeast and how to add more protein back in to our eating habits now that we have drastically cut animal proteins out. Thanks for the research & post!!

    • Freshly Grown says:

      Brooke, you’re so welcome. Thanks for commenting. Yes, try it and see what you think. So many nutrients per tablespoon.

  • I am so intrigued! I’ve always skipped it at the Whole Foods salad bar, but now I’m thinking of giving it a whirl. You pretty much had me at “nutty, cheesy” flavor!! Thanks for sharing the info.

    • Freshly Grown says:

      Yes, definitely give it a go! I really like the taste. It takes a couple of bites to acquire the taste (at least for me), but then I just want more and more. For sure try it on some air popped popcorn! See you soon!

  • Jenny says:

    Hello from Puerto Rico…. !!! This nutritional yeast would be so great for people like me who suffer from PCOS (Polycistic Ovarian Syndrome) since we are deficient in the B vitamins department. But I still have a question: Can I eat this while also taking a B vitamin complex daily? I take a Super B complex with also vitamin C and one pill daily…..hope you can answer me!!! Thanks for sharing this info….

    • Freshly Grown says:

      Jenny, absolutely!! If you are B deficient then you also have to make sure you’re not only consuming enough B vits, but absorbing enough. Both will definitely help in this area! Thanks for stopping by. Hope this helps! Leave a comment anytime πŸ™‚

  • Adele Whelan says:

    Hello from South Africa, we are Vegan and Nutritional yeast is very much part of our diet. My toddler loves it on popcorn and i mix it into our Mac and “Cheese”. my question is can my 8 month old have it mixed into her pureed food, as I am very limited to protein sources for her?


    • Freshly Grown says:

      Adele, welcome! I can’t specifically advise on what you should feed your little one πŸ™‚ but, I can say it is fine to feed nutritional yeast to babies at 8 mths. And like with any new food, just use a small amount and slowly introduce it. 1/4 tsp. mixed in food is a good start! Hope this helps! -Rama (rayma)

    • Jeandri says:

      Hi, I know this is a very old post so I’ll just take a long shot. Where do you buy your Nutritional yeast from? I am also for South africa. X

  • Cheryl says:

    My kitty of 18 years was having a problem with fleas (we live in Florida). I got him started on nutritional yeast and the fleas were gone and his coat became shiny and healthy again. He loves the yeast, but my other cat will just walk away from it. I put about half a tablespoon out several times a day and he eats it with gusto.

    • Freshly Grown says:

      That is fantastic! Thanks for sharing, Cheryl.

  • Becky says:

    I have been wondering about this for awhile now so thank you so much for sharing your research & insight! It is much appreciated!!

  • Reneere says:

    Any concerns about GMO? I read this is grown primarily on beet sugar, your article says the molasses plant. Most if not all beet sugar is GMO. Any thoughts or am I concerned about the wrong things here ;))? I use mine on popcorn and to make non-dairy nut cream cheese and cheese.

    • Freshly Grown says:

      I have never heard of molasses having issues with GMOs, but you’re right, definitely sugar beets. I would check more into it, but you should be fine regarding molasses. Non-dairy nut cheeses are the best! We do the same with nutritional yeast at our house. I have a Vegan Mac n Cheese on the blog. Best, Rama

  • Jake says:

    Thank you for this really post about nutritional yeast !!

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