Marmite is a savory spread from the United Kingdom that holds a special place in British culinary history. Invented at the start of the 20th century, Marmite has a unique flavor and a variety of applications. It is not easy to replace though there are quite a few substitutes that come close to the flavor and texture. The best Marmite substitutes are:
Your best bet: Vegemite
As Marmite’s Australian cousin, Vegemite is easily one of the best substitutes for the savory English spread. It is made from a very similar set of ingredients and has a superior nutritional profile with a greater amount of B vitamins per serving.
Since both have existed since the early 20th century, Vegemite’s history is almost as long as that of Marmite. You can use Vegemite in all of the ways that Marmite is traditionally used including as a spread for toast, crumpets, and crackers. It is arguably the better option of the two when it comes to enhancing the savory flavors of soups, stews, and roasts. Vegemite is vegan just like Marmite.
The one major downside of Vegemite is that it is not easy to find outside of Australia or specialty stores that cater to Australian ex-pats. If you can’t find it, you will need to opt for one of the other Marmite alternatives below.
A decent second choice: Miso
One of the most fundamental Japanese condiments, miso is made from a different set of ingredients than those in Marmite but it does have a similar savory flavor profile. Like Marmite, miso is salty and offers a concentrated dose of the umami flavor. While they don’t offer the same set of nutrients, they are both good sources of vitamin B. Marmite is made with brewer’s yeast that has been fortified with B vitamins. Miso consists mostly of fermented soybeans and salt.
One important benefit of miso is that it will likely be easier to find than Marmite and any of the other substitutes on this list. Check your local Asian grocer. You may also be able to find it in a well-stocked grocery store. Miso contains no animal products so it’s perfectly fine for vegans to eat.
Like Marmite, miso can be used to flavor broths and other savory dishes. Not only will it enhance meaty flavors, but it will also give your food the attractive brown color that you would get from Marmite. In the West, miso is sometimes served thinly spread on buttered toast though this is not a traditional application.
In a pinch: Promite
Another smooth spread made from yeast, Promite is very similar to Marmite in terms of its ingredients and nutritional profile. It is a good source of B vitamins and of the umami flavor that works just as well on toast and crackers as it does in your stews and soups. Promite is formulated for use in all of the same preparations that would require Marmite. Like the other two options above, Promite is vegan.
Like Vegemite, Promite is Australian so it won’t be easy to find if you don’t live in Australia; however, it has a less intense flavor profile than Vegemite so it should be a closer match for Marmite.
Bovril is different from the Marmite alternatives above in that it does contain animal products in the form of beef extract. It is spreadable and intensely savory with a concentrated meaty flavor and deep brown color. The flavor and color make it an excellent seasoning for stews and gravies.