There are various marmite substitutes, but we’ve narrowed it down to the top five: Vegemite, Bovril, Miso, Soy Sauce and Nutritional Yeast.
Vegemite and Bovril are widely available substitutes for marmite, while miso and nutritional yeast might be less accessible economically or harder to find.
What is Marmite?
Marmite is a dark, thick, syrupy paste packed with salty, yeasty, umami flavor that smells vaguely savory and medicinal.
This British condiment is most classically used as a spread on toast and savory biscuits. In recent years it’s become a popular ingredient to add flavor to all kinds of culinary dishes.
It gets its unique color and flavor from yeast extract, made from brewer’s yeast. While the exact ingredients are a company secret, the contents are listed as yeast extract, vegetable extracts, spices, and salt.
Its appearance, scent, and taste tend to polarize consumers—fans can’t get enough, and haters despise the stuff.
On occasion, Marmite can be hard to find. Some countries don’t sell it, or store shelves just might be low on the product.
In such a case, lovers of Marmite might ask, what makes a good Marmite substitute? Check out our five favorite alternatives!
Recommended Marmite Substitutes
Vegemite is Marmite’s Australian cousin. It’s darker, with a more intense malty flavor than the British condiment, but the closest substitute on our list.
It appears to be made of similar ingredients and malt extract, giving it a more beer-like taste. It’s also different in texture, having a consistency similar to peanut butter.
It used to be less widely available outside of the country, but it is more commonly imported to specialty international food stores. Like Marmite, Vegemite is a vegan condiment.
When to Use It
It’s easy to spread, so this is an excellent choice on toast and crackers if you don’t mind the malt flavor note of Vegemite. Because it’s so intensely flavored, Vegemite is also a good Marmite substitute to mix into broths and meaty dishes as a flavor enhancer.
Try combining softened butter and a spoonful of vegemite for a chicken rub. Cover a roasting chicken with the mix for a deliciously crispy, salty skin. Baste once halfway through with some of the vegemite and butter mixture.
Bovril and Marmite are made by the same company and have very similar packaging. The consistency is similar but darker and more opaque than Marmite, and it has a slightly sweeter, less bitter quality without the yeast flavor note.
The difference between Bovril and Marmite is their ingredients. Marmite is vegetarian and has only five ingredients, while Bovril is an animal-based product claiming over a dozen ingredients, including sugar.
If you don’t mind that it’s not a vegetarian product, Bovril is a decent substitute for Marmite. Since it can be hard to find depending on where you live, it might be fair to note that Beef Better Than Bouillon can also be used like Bovril but is saltier without the sweetness.
When to Use It
Substitute Bovril for Marmite when you want to increase the meaty, umami flavor while cooking. It’s a great way to introduce flavor and add color to a dish, soup, or broth.
If you have it in your pantry, use Miso in place of Marmite. It’s basically a Japanese seasoning made of fermented soybeans. It’s a paste with a similar consistency and color to peanut butter. The darker it is, the longer it’s been fermenting, which increases its salty, funky, umami flavor.
Depending on where you live, there can be hundreds of varieties to choose from. The most common is white miso, which is sweeter, and red miso, which is the darker, more intensely flavored version.
If you are avoiding gluten, miso is also a great alternative to Marmite, which contains gluten.
When to Use It
Substitute Miso butter for Marmite on toast by combining white miso and unsalted butter. Stir red miso into soups or use it to marinate meat and vegetables.
Drink it in a broth, which is a popular way both condiments are used in their home countries. Any way you use Marmite, you can use Miso; you just have to be aware of what kind of Miso you have on hand.
Can’t find miso? Check our article on recommended miso substitutes.
4. Soy sauce
Try soy sauce as a substitute for Marmite.
This Chinese condiment is made of fermented soybeans in a process similar to Miso but in a liquid form. It’s full of salty and umami flavors that pack the same punch as Marmite.
If adding color and flavor is the reason why you need a substitute, consider soy sauce. It’s not gluten-free, and it is vegan, which is the same as Marmite.
When to Use It
Soy sauce pairs well with different spices and herbs, making it a great addition to soups and dishes. Mix it into marinades and gravies to compliment meat flavors.
Use it to add depth of color to a liquid. Know that if you want soy sauce to add saltiness like Marmite offers, you will have to add a lot of this liquid to your dish.
You can’t spread it on toast by itself, but it makes a great compound butter. Just blend 1 part soy sauce to 2 parts softened, unsalted butter and store in a container with a lid.
Still can’t find soy sauce? Check out our recommended substitutes for soy sauce.
5. Nutritional Yeast
Nutritional yeast has become much more popular over the years. If you have it in your pantry, it can make a good Marmite alternative!
It comes from the same source as Brewer’s yeast in Marmite but is not quite the same. Nutritional yeast is a deactivated yeast made for consumption in food. It has wonderful health benefits and a mild, nutty flavor.
This unique food product comes in the form of flakes, powder, or granules and can be found in most grocery stores.
Like Marmite, it contains gluten and is vegan but is much lower in sodium, which might be a great reason to use it as a Marmite alternative.
It’s not as salty tasting but has the same yeasty, umami flavor on a softer note. It’s often used to make vegan cheese or to add a cheese-like flavor to things.
When to Use It
If you’re craving the creamy texture of Marmite, this might not be your choice of substitutes, but it’s a great addition to soups or watery dishes to help give them a creamy, cheesy flavor.
If you like the taste Marmite gives to dishes but feel that it’s a bit overpowering, try nutritional yeast instead.
Frequently Asked Questions
Consider what you are using Marmite for in your recipe. Is it for the flavor profile, saltiness, texture, thickening, or color? Each option on our list offers one of these solutions.
It has a similar flavor with a lighter, more whipped texture, but we excluded it from this list because of its lack of availability, as it’s only sold at Tesco.
Excluding Marmite in a recipe is like excluding salt. It will probably completely change the flavor and probably the consistency of the entire recipe.
Like Marmite, both Miso and Vegemite are surprisingly popular (or unsurprisingly if you are a fan) in desserts. All three are especially good in brownies and pair well with caramel.
You can make your own marmite, but it can end up much more bitter, so unless you prefer that, we recommend just using one of the substitutes listed above.
If you want to add fermented foods to your diet, Miso is a healthy choice. For protein, vitamins, and low sodium, consider nutritional yeast.
Other honorable umami mentions are fish sauce, yeast extract, or peanut butter, but we don’t think you can beat our choices for versatility and job well done.
Our recommended substitutes for Marmite works in different ways to fill in the gaping hole of the beloved condiment. Each one offers a different solution to your Marmite needs.
Love it or hate it, when you need a Marmite substitute, just look in your pantry. Consider the flavor and texture of Marmite when you are looking for an alternative.