Autolyzed yeast extract and Brewer’s yeast

Katarina Mollo MEd, RDN, LDN

Q: Can you tell me if autolyzed yeast extract contains gluten? I have also heard that Brewer’s yeast does. Thank you.


Autolyzed yeast extract and yeast extract may contain gluten from barley. You should always check with the manufacturer about the gluten-free status of the product if it lists autolyzed yeast extract or yeast extract in the ingredient listing and is not labeled gluten-free as manufacturers are not required to declare barley on the label. If you see a gluten-free label on the product then it has to adhere to the Food and Drug Administration’s regulation of containing less than 20 parts per million of gluten. To confuse things further autolyzed yeast (not the extract) is gluten-free.

Brewer's yeast is not gluten-free and contains barley. Brewer’s yeast is the byproduct of beer production and therefore contains barley malt which is not gluten-free. Sometimes Brewer’s yeast is confused with nutritional yeast as they are both the from the same yeast species -Saccharomyces cerevisiae. However, nutritional yeast is not a byproduct of beer production and is typically grown on molasses from sugar beets or cane and is gluten-free.

Check out the table below for common types of yeasts that are frequently used as ingredients:


May Contain Gluten

Contains Gluten

Baker’s yeast

Yeast extract

Brewer’s yeast


Autolyzed yeast extract

Autolyzed yeast

Nutritional yeast

Torula yeast

Remember that barley is not required to be listed on the label so if a product's ingredients include yeast extract, you need to contact the product manufacturer for more information.



Reviewed October 20, 2022.

Note: This information is provided by NCA and Katarina Mollo MEd, RDN, LDN, NCA's Director of Education. This information is meant for educational purposes only and is not intended to substitute for personalized medical advice or replace any medical advice provided directly to you by your health care provider. No liability is assumed by the NCA or Katarina Mollo, MEd, RDN, LDN by providing this information.

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