I have a tub of nutritional yeast with a "best by" date of February 2012 (at the time of this posting, it's about a month past that). Is it still good to use? It still looks and smells the same as it always has.

In general, what is the shelf life of nutritional yeast?

Does nutritional yeast ever expire or otherwise go bad? Or just lose nutritional value?

  • Several sites say 18-24 months, but I haven't seen any reliable sources. Red Star seems to get the nooch they sell from Lesaffre - maybe you can ask them? lesaffrehumancare.com/others/contact.html
    – paul
    Commented Apr 11, 2012 at 7:27
  • @paul, thanks! Yeah, I did a decent amount of internet searching before posting this and found the same thing -- a lot of people said 12 to 24 months, but a few sources said several years. In any case, none of the sources seemed reputable enough or scientific enough to trust, which is why I posted here ;). I also tried contacting one supplier and they sent back a canned marketing email that didn't answer my question at all. I'll try Lesaffre, thanks!
    – Ben Lee
    Commented Apr 11, 2012 at 15:17
  • While I was also searching for the same thing, I have a feeling manufacturers specify an expiry so you buy more. Most people dont get that nutritional yeast = inactive yeast. So you might want to mention that in case this gets hidden.
    – killjoy
    Commented Aug 10, 2018 at 22:30

6 Answers 6


Your question: is it good to use. My answer: yes.

  1. You say it smells and looks normal. That's an important clue.

  2. We are talking about a dry product. No moist means no growth, no toxins...

  3. Best before date. Wikipedia:

Most shelf life dates are used as guidelines based on normal and expected handling and exposure to temperature. Use prior to the expiration date does not necessarily guarantee the safety of a food or drug, while a product is not always dangerous nor ineffective after the expiration date


I'm not sure about an expiry date, but I have been told by an employee at a health food store to keep it in the dark as it is negatively affected by prolonged exposure to light.

Also, growing up, my mom always kept it in the freezer and I do likewise now. I use it straight out of the freezer, and some that I currently have had in there for at least a year in a tightly closed plastic bag stil tastes great when I use it.

As mentioned by others, it is not active like bread yeast, so that will prolong its life. Also, it seems quite salty to me, so whatever is adding the salty aspect to it may also be helping preserve it.


Nutritional yeast is different from bread making yeast. It s deactivated thus it does not expire like regular yeast.


My personal experience. Moisture is your enemy! If you buy in bulk or have extra you won't be using for awhile, vacuum seal it and add a moisture absorber. Store in dark place. If storing over 6 months use Mylar bags. Depending on your climate, it should last 5 to 10 years. What is lost over time is that the nutrient value slowly decreases. Know what it smells like to YOU before storing (everyone smells things differently). It should smell the same or milder when opening and the same thing with the color. Hope that helps.


Nutritional yeast can turn quite bitter tasting if stored at room temperature for more than a a week or two. So I keep it in the fridge and it will last a few weeks, sometimes a few months (depends how long the seller has stored it before I came along, I guess?). I let my tastebuds be my guide.

Also, the fresher it is, the lighter in color it seems to be - but not always. Also, it seems more flaky and has a "lighter" tang when fresh, compared to a little more matted, and sharper taste when it's been stored awhile (effect of moisture in the air?).

Hope that helps.


The shelf life of yeast is approximately two years. The yeast will become inactive after that time. Reference: http://www.redstaryeast.com/lessons-yeast-baking/yeast-shelf-life-storage

  • 1
    Do you have a reference? Commented Apr 2, 2012 at 22:25
  • 3
    First, your link is about dry yeast, and the question is about nutritional yeast. Second, it only tells us how far the "best by" date will be from the date of production. The OP asked what happens to yeast after the date passes.
    – rumtscho
    Commented Apr 3, 2012 at 12:26

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