WTF ingredients: nooch


Recently, I’ve gotten a few questions in the comments section about nutritional yeast


What is it?

Nutritional yeast is a deactivated yeast (meaning it has no fermenting ability) and it is produced by culturing pure strains of yeast (a fungi) with a mixture of sugarcane and beet molasses.  Sounds appetizing, huh?

Why do you like it?

The reason it’s so popular with vegans and vegetarians is due to it’s “cheesy” flavor and vitamin content.  Since B12 and dairy are ruled out once you commit to an entirely plant-based diet, you can see why something that offers both would be enticing.  And while you don’t necessarily need cheese to survive, you do need B12. 

Bragg’s makes a nutritional yeast that is:

• Non-GMO
• Vegan
• Vegetarian
• Gluten-Free
• Salt-Free
• Sugar-Free
• Fortified with Vitamin B including natural Vitamin B12
• Kosher Certified

So as you can see, the stats are pretty stellar. 

Note: not all brands are fortified with B12 so read labels!

Now that you’re sold on the nutritional info, let me lure you in even further with the flavor. 

What does it taste like?

The first time I tried nooch, I remember thinking it tasted just like the cheese packets you get in mac ‘n cheese boxes.  That probably doesn’t make it sounds very natural, so just try and remember the above stats (it’s healthy, I swear!).  Flavor similarities aside, nutritional yeast is nothing like the chemical and preservative filled faux cheese mixes.  I promise.  It’s kinda nutty and kinda cheesy and (when mixed with liquids) makes a wonderful creamy sauce.  It’s delicious.

How to use it?

I add it to anything and everything.  Since mine is in a shaker, I literally end up sprinkling it on all my meals.  Soups, veggies, salads, etc. 

The most common use is in place of parmesan cheese, or as a topping for popcorn.

But it can be much more than a condiment. 

You can use it in recipes to create a cheesy flavor without dairy, like in mashed/fried potatoes or a tofu scramble.  I also love adding it into bowls of savory oats or grits.  Basically, if you want to make a healthy vegan cheesy sauce, nooch is definitely your got-to ingredient (I’m still utterly obsessed with this recipe, FYI).

Where to find it?

I buy it at Whole Foods, but most health foods stores will have it.  Some places sell it in the bulk bins section so you can continuously refill the same container like I do (I think that Bragg’s shaker is from 2010).  You can also get it online

It looks like yellow dried powder (and as gross as it sounds, the flakey texture is similar to fish food). 

Hope that helps! 

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Comments (36)

  1. Danielle

    Haha, I describe it as looking like fish food flakes too! Great post!

  2. Teresa

    I LOVE nutritional yeast! I make some great mac ‘n “cheeze” recipes with it, but have also played with it in soups, stuffed peppers recipes, and many others. It’s SO awesome! 🙂

  3. Casey @ Insatiably Healthy

    I’ve recently rediscovered my obsession with nooch. And also cause I’d rather eat nooch than take vitamins. I absolutely love that the Whole Foods salad bar has it, I shake that thing like a polaroid picture 😉

  4. julie

    i’m kind of obsessed with you calling this “wtf ingredients”

  5. Pure2raw twins

    love nutritional yeast! we use it a lot in recipes

  6. Emily

    Mmm….I have a love affair with nutritional yeast.

  7. chelsey @ clean eating chelsey

    I love nutritional yeast. I am not kidding when I say I sprinkle it on just about everything.

  8. Katie @ Peace Love & Oats

    I LOVE nutritional yeast, and I’m not even a vegetarian! I just love the way it tastes, and the extra health boost!

  9. Courtney

    EVERYTHING is better with nutritional yeast. Everything. I am obsessed!!

  10. Jess from Midwest Vegan

    I love nooch. It always goes in my tofu scramble and if I forget to put it in, it tastes like something is missing! It’s good on popcorn too. 🙂

  11. Lou

    I hate the word nooch. Drives me mad. But I love nutritional yeast.

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  13. Jamie @ Don't Forget the Cinnamon

    LOVE nutritional yeast! I get it from the bulk bin at my local grocery store but I love the idea of having it in a shaker!

  14. Sarah

    I absolutely love nutritional yeast! Its so good on anything.

  15. Elise (Post author)

    haha…i admit, its not my fave. but nutritional yeast is annoying to write out.

  16. Elise (Post author)

    couldnt agree more 🙂

  17. Elise (Post author)

    oh man, you gotta get the shaker.

  18. Sue

    Thanks so much for answering my question on this topic. I tried your recipe and did not have the yeast so not sure if it is why it is more chewy but nevertheless it was still good though. Does the yeast change the texture? Now that I know what it looks like, I am going to venture out to Whole Foods and get some – do you know what aisle they would put this stuff. They got this new diet we are trying for 4 weeks – based upon the book Engine 2- Wish me luck.

    I posted a pic of my dish made with your recipe of seitan on FB and people are asking how to make – is it ok – to mention your blog?


  19. Elise (Post author)

    no problem sue. nutritional yeast doesnt really affect the texture of the seitan. the chewy-ness probably has more to do with the amount of kneading you did to the uncooked “dough”. where stores keep nutritional yeast varies. my local whole foods just moved it the other day, so just ask a person who works there. sometimes its with baking supplies, sometimes its with condiments, and sometimes its in the supplement section with the protein powders and stuff.
    and by all means, go ahead and share the link on FB! spread the veggie love 🙂

  20. Sue

    mmph, that must be it, I must have over kneaded it – because when I went to break them apart- it was stretchy already and you know, it knew grew like you said in the oven. I got to WF last night and they did not have the one you pictured – Bragg’s – they had them in loose bulk- big flakes – does it matter. i am going to repeat and see what happens – and then if it turns out good, then I will brave the Seitan log!

    Do you know anything about the Engine2 diet – based upon the movie Forks and Knives? I was reading about THRIVE and Brenden is a vegan – do you know him. I want to know what your opinions are?

    Also, in the Engine2 they said not to cook with oils- if not, what can I use to cook?

    Any information is greatly appreciated?

    oh, oh, I run and on weekends, i do a long run – and I run real slow – what energy type foods can I bring to eat – that is clean food? I was eating honey stinger’s energy gels.


  21. Elise (Post author)

    forks over knives was a great movie – im glad it was made bc the china study was wonderful, but too densely packed with stats and facts for anyone to actually get through. and i love rip esselstyn and the engine 2 diet. im also a HUGE massive fan of brendan brazier. i have all his books. hes brilliant as an athlete and a vegan/raw foods ambassador. inspirational doesnt even begin to describe it.
    any nutritional yeast works. like i mentioned in the post you can buy them online too.
    brendan braziers books have great recipes for running fuel thats clean and pure and wholesome.

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  24. Deanna @ cookingquinoaintheutilityroom

    I don’t know whether or not I should incorporate nooch into my diet… I want to because of the B12 benefits, but I’m allergic to cane-sugar and that’s what it was cultured with (not exactly sure what that means) … I’m so torn! 🙁

  25. Elise (Post author)

    allergic or sensitive? allergies are not worth messing around with. take a b12 supplement instead.

  26. BBGG

    But dont overdo nutritional yeast, it seems to cause a surge in IGF1

  27. Bee

    I read that nooch can cause MSG-like this true?

  28. Elise (Post author)

    I’ve read plenty of research supporting both views but they all seem biased based on who is sponsoring the study. I use it, but I guess it’s up to you to use your own judgement and discretion.

  29. Sabrina

    What are the ingredients in the Bragg Nutritional Yeast Seasoning stuff? Does it list it on the bottle?

  30. Elise (Post author)

    its on the bottle, inactive dry yeast and a variety of b vitamins (b1, b3, b6, b12). thats it.

  31. Sabrina

    Cool. Thanks. I tried it. The taste takes some getting used to, but not too bad. I mixed it in cauliflower mash. The b vitamins feel like they give a gal pep. Good stuff.

  32. Lyle allen

    Do you know whether the Nutritional yeast sold @ Whole Foods Market is supplemented with B-12?

    Thanks in Advance,
    Durham NC

  33. Susan

    Did you ever find out if you can eat nutritional yeast? I, too, am highly allergic to cane sugar and have been afraid to try nooch.

  34. Marney

    Just bought my first jar last week! It’s already been sprinkled over various meals and added to my puffed rice-crumbed chicken breast, absolutely delish! My next challenge is a cauliflower ‘béchamel’ sauce for a veggie bake..

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  36. Lauren

    Hi All, was doing some research and unfortunately I don’t believe Braggs is GMO free 🙁 Vitacost has filters to weed out products that are GMO free and when I searched nutritional yeast and then checked that box “Non GMO” it eliminated Braggs and left just 2 brands – Foods Alive and KAL. I will be trying one of those that is GMO free.

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