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The 4 Best Substitutes for Instant Yeast

Do you want to add a special flavor to your baked goods? Have you heard of instant yeast?

Instant yeast is an incredibly versatile ingredient that can help enhance the flavor and texture of bread, pastries, and other baked goods.

It’s easy to use, but what do you do if you don’t have it in one hand? Luckily, there are several substitutes for instant yeast that you can use in a pinch.

Let’s take a look at how to cook with instant yeast and the top four best substitutes for it.

What’s Instant Yeast?

Instant yeast is a type of added ingredient used in baking that provides leavening or the rising of doughs and batters.

It originated centuries ago, initially as wild yeast in sourdough starter recipes, which became more purified and harvested for commercial sale over time.

Instant yeast does not taste like anything as it does not add flavor to the finished dish; however, if not blended with flour first, it has an unpleasant and bitter aftertaste.

The great thing about instant yeast is that it can be added directly to the dry ingredients without having to be activated first by moisture, such as water or milk.

This makes it an extremely useful tool for bakers looking to save time when combining wet and dry ingredients simultaneously.

The 4 Best Substitutes for Instant Yeast

If you’re in a pinch and don’t have access to store-bought instant yeast, or you’re looking for a more natural substitute, there are several options available.

Here are the four best substitutes for instant yeast:

1 – Baking Powder

Baking powder is a leavening agent used in baking to help give baked goods a light and airy texture.

Baking powder has a slightly tangy flavor, which makes it great for use in biscuits, scones, muffins, and other quick bread.

If you don’t have any Instant yeast on hand but need to replace it in a recipe, you can use an equal amount of baking powder as an alternative.

Baking powder interacts with heat more quickly than Instant yeast, so be sure to adjust the oven temperature accordingly for the best results.

All in all, baking powder is a helpful tool for giving homemade baked treats an extra lift.

2 – Baking Soda and Acid

Baking soda and acid are two invaluable ingredients for any kitchen.

Not only do they together help create unique, flavorful dishes, but the combination of the two can also be used as a substitute for instant yeast.

When baking soda and acid are combined, it creates carbon dioxide needed to make the dough rise, giving it a light and airy texture.

Since the flavor of the combination is mild, this substitution allows any cook to impart their desired flavors while making use of existing ingredients on-hand.

3 – Sourdough Starter

A sourdough starter is a living entity created by the fermentation of flour and water.

Its origins can be traced back to the ancient Egyptians, and it has been used in bread baking for millennia.

It has a distinctively tangy flavor which enlivens the taste of any bread when added to it.

The sourdough starter can serve as a substitute for instant yeast – typically, 3/4 cup of starter will equal a packet of instant yeast in bread recipes.

Additionally, sourdough starters can add a unique flavor characteristic to many recipes that call for yeast, creating complex flavors that stand out from more traditional recipes.

4 – Active Dry Yeast

Active dry yeast is an essential ingredient to having tasty homemade bread, pizzas, and pastries.

It’s a dry, granular yeast that has been dehydrated with heat which slows down the activity of the yeast giving you more control over the rising process.

It has a mild flavor and adds a subtle level of complexity and depth to recipes.

If you want to substitute active dry yeast for instant yeast, be sure to rehydrate it first in warm water – this will activate the enzymes within the yeast.

Since you’ll need to add more active dry yeast to your recipes, be aware that this may make your finished product increase in sourness/acidity because there is more sugar available for fermentation.


In conclusion, instant yeast is a useful and convenient ingredient for baking, but it’s not essential.

If you’re in a pinch or looking for a more natural substitute, there are several options available.

Whether you choose to use baking powder, baking soda, and acid, sourdough starter, or active dry yeast – these alternatives can help give your baked goods an extra lift.

Just remember to adjust the oven temperature, rehydrate active dry yeast, and account for additional sourness when using these substitutes.

Yield: 1 Serving

The 4 Best Substitutes for Instant Yeast

The 4 Best Substitutes for Instant Yeast
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


  • Baking Powder
  • Baking Soda and Acid
  • Sourdough Starter
  • Active Dry Yeast


  1. Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  2. Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.
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