Marmite has a distinctive umami taste that makes it a crucial ingredient in sauces, gravies, broths and can even be spread thinly over crackers and bread. Marmite is made of concentrated brewer’s yeast leftovers, and its strong taste can be the reason why you love it or hate it.
So, what if your recipe calls for Marmite, but you can’t find any? Or do you think that its flavor is too intense? Luckily there are several good alternatives that you can use in your dishes if you’re looking for a Marmite substitute, and we’ll explore them in this article.
The best substitutes for Marmite
Marmite was discovered by chance, as it’s made of the brewer’s yeast leftovers. The exact ingredients of the recipe are unknown, but Marmite is mainly made of yeast extract, spices extract, celery extract, vegetable extract, and salt. It has a thick and rich molasses-like texture.
Being vegetarian, vegan, and halal, Marmite is a versatile type of food that can be consumed on its own or as part of a recipe. Lots of people choose to enjoy Marmite on its own by spreading it on bagels, savory biscuits, bread, crackers, and toast.
Marmite is a staple in many British recipes for its strong taste, and you can also add a teaspoon or a tablespoon of Marmite to your pasta sauce, stew, casserole, or soup and enjoy a richer flavor.
Adding just a tiny amount of Marmite will have a huge impact on the taste of your beef wellington or roast potatoes.
Marmite is pretty salty, so a little goes a long way, as it has a powerful taste when added in big amounts.
You will either love or hate Marmite, but you might not have access to it in some cases as it’s not that common in several parts of the world. This is why finding a good Marmite substitute will help you enjoy tasty recipes whenever you like.
1. Homemade Marmite
If you live somewhere where you have no access to Marmite, you can prepare your own version of homemade Marmite. This recipe will guarantee that you can enjoy the same strong Marmite taste in your recipes, using ingredients that you can easily find in your kitchen.
- 1 kg of sourdough
- 7 g of fresh yeast
- 10 g of sugar
- 4 lt of water
- Cut the sourdough bread into large cubes.
- Mix the yeast and sugar with water.
- Soak the bread for 12 hours.
- Remove the bread and squeeze it well, so you are left with nothing but the liquid.
- Cover the liquid and leave it to ferment for 2 days at room temperature.
- Reduce the liquid on low heat for several hours. This amount of liquid can give you about 200 grams of Marmite.
The resulting Marmite tastes just like the one you can get from the supermarket, so you will never run out of Marmite for any recipe.
If you live in Australia, Vegemite will be the perfect Marmite alternative. Just like Marmite, Vegemite is made of brewer’s yeast extract. It has a salty, slightly bitter, and malty taste. The intense umami flavor makes it an excellent addition to your beef broth as it tastes very similar to beef bouillon.
Vegemite is used to enrich the taste of your stews, casseroles, soups, and beef dishes. Spreading a small amount on top of your toast can make the perfect lunch. It’s also vegetarian and vegan.
On the other hand, it has a slightly stronger taste than Marmite, so it can work if you want to intensify the beefy or malty flavor of your dishes. If you don’t like beer, you won’t enjoy eating Vegemite.
Vegemite goes well with several flavors like avocado, boiled eggs, or cheese. Nevertheless, it’s not that easy to find outside Australia. So, if you live somewhere else, you need to find another suitable substitute for Marmite.
Miso is made of fermented soybeans and a special mold that is cultivated from rice, barley, or soybeans. It’s a staple in Japanese cuisine and can be used as a Marmite alternative in multiple dishes. There are several types of miso recipes, and some of them might not be vegan.
Miso has an interesting taste that combines several rich, salty flavors. The strong umami flavor is the easiest note to notice when you eat miso or use it in a recipe. This is why only a small amount is needed to flavor your dishes.
Miso goes with a lot of peppery or slightly bitter flavors, so it can be served with greens. It can also be served with acidic flavors like dishes that contain lemon or vinegar. It can even be served with apples or lemons, and you can use it to marinate meat as it gives it a nice brown color.
Miso can even be served uncooked and chilled as a dip for vegetables. It has a slightly earthy flavor, so it will work for you if you need a Marmite substitute that tastes slightly different. Moreover, miso is relatively easy to find.
Promite is another Marmite substitute that can be incorporated into multiple recipes. Promite is a dark, brown, salty spread that’s made of brewer’s yeast extract and vegetable extract.
Promite is produced in Australia, just like Vegemite, but the recipe is slightly different. It tastes a little bit sweeter because it contains glucose syrup. Promite is suitable for vegan and vegetarian dishes.
You can use Promite as a spread on your toast or as an ingredient to enrich your spaghetti sauce. It’s also added to beef stew and in fillings, giving them a rich flavor. The umami flavor makes it a great addition to grilled cheese and tomato sandwiches.
The only downside to Promite is that it’s difficult to find outside Australia. However, it’s the right choice for you if you need a Marmite substitute that offers the same saltiness with a slightly less intense flavor.
5. Brewer’s Yeast
Brewer’s yeast is a versatile ingredient that adds a beer-like flavor to any recipe. Unlike Marmite that has a rich umami flavor, brewer’s yeast is slightly bitter. However, because it’s not that salty, you can safely use it in several desserts as well as drinks.
Only a small amount of brewer’s yeast is needed because it has an overpowering taste that can become too bitter. You can mix it with your cookie dough or add it to a morning smoothie, and it’s suitable for vegan and vegetarian recipes.
6. Nutritional Yeast
If you want to enjoy the umami flavor in your food, but need something that doesn’t taste as strong as Marmite, then you need to consider nutritional yeast. Nutritional yeast has a cheese-like flavor and can be used in multiple savory dishes to add a delicious taste and aroma.
Nutrition yeast adds some nutty flavor to your dish. It’s a good Marmite substitute in cold dishes as it adds a richer consistency to salads and salsas. When added to hot dishes, it gives them a creamy texture.
You can add nutritional yeast to a vegetable casserole, sprinkle it over pasta or popcorn, or use it as a stew and soup thickener. You can either add the flakes the way they are to add a crunchy taste to your recipe or grind them for a creamier consistency if you’re preparing a sauce or soup.
7. Peanut Butter
If you’re not that fond of Marmite flavor, you can replace it with peanut butter. Peanut butter makes a great addition to several recipes and, unless it contains honey, it will be vegan.
Unlike Marmite, which has a strong savory taste, peanut butter combines sweet and salty flavors. Moreover, it has a rich consistency, so you can use it to thicken a casserole or a stew.
Peanut butter can be spread on toast, crackers, or served with bread and bagels. It goes well with several fruits, vegetables and can even be served with beef and fish recipes. However, you should be careful if you’re allergic to nuts, and you should consider another Marmite alternative.
8. Yeast Extract
Yeast extract can be the perfect American version of Marmite as it’s easy to find. There are several generic brands to try, and each one of them can give you the exact rich taste of Marmite. In addition, yeast extract doesn’t contain any animal-based products.
Yeast extract has a tangy bold flavor and is usually melted over low heat before being added to sauces and stews. However, it has a lighter consistency than Marmite, so it doesn’t work as a toast spread.
You can use yeast extract to marinate meat, flavor baked dishes, and as an addition to your bread, thanks to its rich, savory taste. In addition, it will enrich any cheese sauce, as you it goes well with strong cheese flavors like old cheddar.
9. Soy Sauce
Soy sauce has a unique flavor that combines acidity, saltiness, sweetness, and slight bitterness. It also has a dark color, just like Marmite, so it can be used as a substitute if you’re cooking with Marmite.
Soy sauce is made of water, salt, corn syrup, and soy protein, so it’s a good choice for vegan recipes. However, you might need to add more soy sauce to achieve the same saltiness as Marmite.
Although soy sauce can replace Marmite in sauces, stews, soups, and casseroles, it doesn’t work as a spread because it doesn’t have a molasses-like texture.
Bovril is a thick salty meat extract that tastes a lot like Marmite, but it’s not vegetarian or vegan. You can use Bovril in a small amount as a spread on your toast or bagel because, in a big amount, it can be too strong.
In most cases, Bovril is usually mixed with water or milk to flavor stews, soups, broth, or porridge. It tastes like rich beef gravy.
It can be combined with all your meat-based dishes or used for marinating your beef or chicken. Some people can even enjoy a drink made of Bovril if they need an energy boost.
How to choose a Marmite substitute
Marmite is a versatile ingredient, and one teaspoon can change the way your recipe feels and tastes. The beauty of Marmite lies in its profound effect, but if you can’t find it around, you can try any of the alternatives that we mentioned above based on the following characteristics:
- Flavor: for an option that delivers the same flavor, we recommend that you go for homemade Marmite. The same ingredients in Marmite can also be found in Vegemite. If you don’t like the flavor of Marmite, you try Promite, brewer’s yeast or nutritional yeast, which adds the taste of Marmite with some cheesy undertones.
- Umami: if you’re looking for something to flavor your beef and chicken dishes with a strong umami flavor, you can replace Marmite with Bovril. It’s not vegan or vegetarian but will make your gravies taste so much richer.
- Availability: if Marmite is difficult to find, you can choose miso, nutritional yeast, yeast extract, peanut butter, brewer’s yeast, or soy sauce.
- Recipe: yeast extract and soy sauce can replace Marmite in marinades and baked dishes, thanks to the strong fermented taste and rich brown color. However, they lack the molasses-like consistency that makes Marmite a tasty toast spread.
- Sauces: you can use miso, Promite, soy sauce, Bovril, and nutritional yeast in sauces. If you want to prepare a tasty casserole, you can use Vegemite, nutritional yeast, peanut butter, or soy sauce.
If you simply want a delicious spread, we recommend that you go for peanut butter because it delivers the needed crunch. For drinks and desserts, brewer’s yeast will work perfectly.