Last Updated: May 1, 2023 @ 11:17 am.

What's the best yeast for baking? For bread machines? What about nutritional yeast? We fired up the bread machine and tried out different yeasts to find the best bets. Here's what we recommend.

FYI: We've been reviewing and ratings products for the home, families and kids since 1994. To keep our reviews independent, we don't take money or freebies from the brands we review! Our work is 100% reader-supported. Thanks for reading this article!

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Best for French Breads

No GMO's and no refrigeration
This active yeast is made of all natural ingredients and is our favorite for French or crusty breads. Better for oven recipes versus bread machines, in our opinion.
$2.29 ($3.05 / Ounce)

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Best for French Breads: Fleischmann’s Active DRed Star, Yeast Active Dry, 0.25 Ounce, 3 Country Yeast 

Here’s a brief Yeast 101.

Yes, there are several different kinds of yeast—it’s important to understand the basic differences.

The terms “active dry yeast” and “instant yeast” are often used interchangeably. They basically do the same thing, just in a slightly different way:

• Active dry yeast must be added to a liquid (usually water) to “proof” before it is added to dry ingredients.

• Instant yeast is added to dry ingredients before liquids are added. This leaves out the proofing part (yes, it is faster, but there is one drawback: if yeast fails, you have to throw out all the ingredients and start again).

• Nutritional yeast. This is NOT used for bread. A dry inactive yeast, nutritional yeast is used as a substitute for salt or seasoning on popcorn, salads, etc. It is also used as a vegan alternative for Parmesan cheese.

As the best yeast for French bread, we recommend Red Star Active Dry Yeast.

What We Liked

• No refrigeration required. It lasts about a year—check the expiration date on your package to be sure, however.

• No GMO’s.

• No preservatives.

• Very good rise especially for crusty breads.

• Available in various package sizes. We liked the handy packets.

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Best for Bread Machines

Last for 6 months at room temperature
Fast acting, high potency yeast doesn't have to be activated in water before added to dry ingredients. Vacuum-packed, professional grade.
$7.29 ($0.46 / Ounce)

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Best for Bread Machines: SAF Instant Yeast 

This is our favorite for use in bread machine recipes—reliable, excellent quality and easy on the wallet.

What We Liked

 Lasts for 1 year in the freezer or six months at room temperature in a pantry.

• Simple ingredients. 

• Vacuum packed.

• Flexible use—besides bread machines, we also like it for pizza dough, rolls, bagels and more.

• Makes about 96 loaves of bread. Yes, this stuff goes a long way!

• Affordable.

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Best Nutritional Yeast

Vegan seasoning for popcorn, salads
We liked this tangy flavored yeast which has a cheesy, creamy texture. Sprinkle on foods as a Parmesan substitute. Gluten-free, non-dairy, no GMO's.
$18.49 ($1.16 / Ounce)

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Best Nutritional Yeast: Anthony’s Premium Nutritional Yeast Flakes

Nutritional yeast has one major difference with those recommended above—it is inactivated. That is, it doesn’t make bread rise.

Instead, it’s used as a seasoning. We tried out different brands and sprinkled them on popcorn and salads as a vegan cheese alternative. In the end, we think Anthony’s Premium Nutritional Yeast Flakes is the best of the best.

What We Liked

• Nice, cheesy flavor. We liked the texture, cheesey . . . without the dairy!

• Great for vegan mac and cheese.

• Gluten-free.

• No GMO’s.

• Not fortified = no synthetic vitamins. 

• Doesn’t have to be refrigerated. 

• Affordable. Yep, some versions can get rather pricey—this brand is easier on the wallet.

What Needs Work

• More like a powder than flakes, in our opinion. That was fine with us, but we know some folks would prefer flakes.

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Best for Sandwich Breads

Great for sweetened breads too
Excellent quality yeast is our favorite for breads and baking—from sweet rolls to pizza dough. All natural, vacuum packed.
$8.14 ($2.04 / Ounce)

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Best for Sandwich Breads: Red Star Active Dry Yeast 

This active yeast must be proofed first before use—that is, you add warm water first, before adding dry ingredients.

We like Red Star Active Dry Yeast, especially for sandwich breads. Very yummy!

What We Liked

• Vacuum packed.

• Simple ingredients.

• Works well in all types of doughs, from highly sweetened breads to low sugar options.

• Great for focaccia!

• In bread machine baking, liquids should be used at 80°F. This yeast works well in regular cycle bread machines.

What Needs Work

• Not recommended for one-hour or express bread machine cycles.

Why Trust Us

We’ve been rating and reviewing products for the home, families and kids since 1994. We do hands-on testing—we buy the products with our own money and evaluate with an eye toward quality, ease of use and affordability.

Here’s another key point: we don’t take money from the brands we review. No free samples, no sponsors, no “partnerships.” Our work is 100% reader-supported.

Credit for photo at top of article: Geoffroy Delobel

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