What Is Vegemite?

This Australian spread is the ultimate secret ingredient to bring more depth and savoriness into all your cooking.

vegemite on toast
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You may have heard of Vegemite, a nutritious, dark brown paste from Australia with a polarizing flavor and cult following. Aussies love this curious condiment, but its highly condensed flavor isn't for everyone. With a deft hand and a bit of understanding of what Vegemite is, you'll master its use in no time.

What Is Vegemite?

Vegemite is a thick, salty, savory paste that has a cult following in Australia and beyond, where it's used as both a condiment and a seasoning for many savory dishes. It's made from the byproduct of beer brewing as a way to use up something that is produced in massive amounts and usually thrown away.

The yeast is from barley and wheat with some vegetable flavoring, like onion, carrot, and celery, and seasonings added into the mix. Malt extract and B vitamins are also integral to the recipe and help give Vegemite its unique flavor and health benefits.

What Does Vegemite Taste Like?

Vegemite has a complex flavor that is profoundly savory and hyper-rich in umami; it almost has a meaty flavor like demi-glace or rich stock. This yeasty byproduct of brewing is an extremely condensed flavor. Think of it like a bouillon paste — extremely salty and savory. The flavor is unique and also has a bit of a bitter quality that some find off-putting, but in moderation can be pleasantly tasty. If you're a fan of miso, dive in! You'll likely enjoy the funky, salty taste of Vegemite too.

Vegemite vs. Marmite

Although Vegemite and Marmite are both yeast spreads, there are some key differences. Marmite is the yeast spread that's much more popular across the pond in much of Europe but mainly in the U.K. The primary difference between the two is that Vegemite contains malt extract and some other seasonings that Marmite does not.

The color and texture are also different. Vegemite is extremely dark in color — nearly black, and has a spreadable paste-like texture. Marmite, in comparison, is lighter in color with a syrupy texture that's almost grainy. Flavor-wise, Vegemite has a slight bitter edge that is absent in Marmite, and many people say that Vegemite is the more intense of the two.

Where to Buy Vegemite

If you don't happen to live in Australia, Vegemite is a bit harder to find. You might find it now and then at your local grocery store, but it's unlikely. If there's an imported or specialty food store near you, it is possible to locate it there, especially if they carry other Australian goods. Online retailers are probably your best bet for reliably finding Vegemite. Many Australian specialty retailers carry it, and it's easy to find it on Amazon.

How to Use Vegemite

The key to harnessing Vegemite's deliciousness and avoiding totally blowing out your palette is moderation. If you're curious about Vegemite and want to try its flavor for the first time, try lightly spreading a small amount on liberally buttered toast. This is a super common breakfast and snack among Australians and is a great way to get a feel for the flavor.

If you're feeling a bit more adventurous, try another English and Aussie favorite by adding a thin layer in your next grilled cheese. Once you try it, you'll wonder how you ever had a grilled cheese without it!

Vegemite can also be used as an ingredient to boost salt and umami in a recipe. It's a welcome addition to pan sauces or any type of dressing drizzled over meat. Vegemite is also the secret ingredient to stellar roasted veggies, especially root and cruciferous ones like cauliflower or carrots sprouts.

Just add ¼ teaspoon in with your olive oil and spices when you're getting ready to pop them in the oven, just make sure to reduce the salt, or you'll be in for an unpleasant surprise. Vegemite is a great ingredient to have in your back pocket for vegan and vegetarian recipes.


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