Vegemite Is The Secret Ingredient Your Mac And Cheese Is Missing

You may have heard about Vegemite toast (a true Australian staple), and after trying it, decided that Australians could keep it all to themselves. But, it might be time to give the salty, bitter, bouillon-like yeast extract a second chance. Instead of smearing it on bread, however, use it as a flavor enhancer or condiment. 

Vegemite — a mix of leftover brewers' yeast, malt extract, salt, and various vegetables and spices — was first created in Melbourne, Australia in 1923 as a nutritious alternative to the British favorite, Marmite. According to Healthline, it's high in B vitamins that are essential for energy, a healthy nervous system and brain function, and may help to fight fatigue. The food stuff is also known for having a strong, savory umami taste that is perfect for adding extra depth and flavor to dishes, such as macaroni and cheese.

Whether you go the easy route with a box of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese — or something fancier like making the dish with a béchamel sauce — the salty, slightly pungent taste of the Vegemite balances the creamy, flavorful taste of the cheddar, elevating the comfort food to being more gourmet than it really is.

Vegemite adds depth and flavor to many dishes

Restaurants have even used the Vegemite mac and cheese trick. In Hudson, New York, Café Mutton Chef Shaina Loew-Banayan decided to experiment and created Fresh Fettuccine With Vegemite and Aged Cheddar. "When I put this dish on our menu, I kept thinking about how many chefs would be disgusted by it," Loew-Banayan told Bon Appétit. The upscale mac and cheese was given extra flavor and intensity with the added Vegemite, and fans of the oily paste were thrilled to see it on the menu. "Yesss Vegemite pasta!" commented one enthusiastic fan upon seeing the menu item on Instagram.

It turns out that there are a lot of dishes besides mac and cheese that could benefit from adding Vegemite — even pizza. In 2021, Vegemite ambassador and Brooklyn-based chef Giovanni Fabiano posted an Instagram video making a pizza with a generous helping of Vegemite layered between the sauce and the mozzarella cheese, captioning the reel with, "Australia, you're doing it all wrong. Come to my shop and I show you how to do it." While there were some that were ticked off that a non-Australian would make such a statement, there were plenty of positive comments from those eager to try it too. One follower even suggested to use Vegemite "always in gravy, in casseroles, on banana sandwiches!"

You may not be spreading this thick, brown Australian favorite on your toast anytime soon, but adding it to a dish such as mac and cheese or pizza may be worth a try.