The Difference Between Active Dry Yeast and Instant Yeast

I love to use yeast, but I am fully aware that not everyone does and that the different kinds can be confusing. I personally use Red Star Yeast, but you can choose what you prefer. Here is some helpful information on the difference between active dry yeast and instant yeast. I like to stick with instant yeast in my recipes because I feel like it has a better success rate, in my personal opinion. 

*Active dry yeast should be put in lukewarm water before using. This will release the yeast and help it to work. This is called proofing.

*When proofing yeast make sure that the water is warm, not hot, and I always add a little sprinkle of sugar. The sugar is energy for the yeast. You can think of it like the yeast eats up the sugar and makes it grow. Make sense?

*Instant yeast can be applied directly into the other recipe ingredients (providing they aren’t too hot) and will do just fine.

*Instant Yeast is a little more fine than active yeast and cells don’t die in the packaging process like active dry yeast does so make sure to use 25% less if you are using instant when the recipe calls for active.

So, yes you can use them interchangeably, but I tend to have both so I just use whatever the recipe calls for. And to be perfectly honest, I generally use instant and proof it anyway. It works for me. Not sure if it’s proper, but I like that it shows me if the yeast is still good, and I swear it makes my recipes perfect. 

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Carrian Cheney

Lover of all things beautiful, good and delicious. Wife, mother, friend, foodie.

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25 comments on “The Difference Between Active Dry Yeast and Instant Yeast”

  1. How to test instant whether instant yeast is working ? How much sugar for one teaspoon of instant yeast ? My aim is to grind two cups of raw rice and then add yeast for fermenting, but my batter not rising up even after six hours, what to do sweet basil ?

  2. New to baking, a recipe calls for active dry yeast which needs to be proofed in 1 cup warm milk and sugar(milk is the only liquid in the recipe). I have instant yeast which doesn’t need to be proofed and you can add to the dry ingredients as you know. So, if I’m not proofing instant yeast in the warm milk, when do I put the milk in the recipe? All at once? yeast, dry ingredients and milk in a bowl? cold milk or milk warmed to 120F ? lactose milk or regular milk?

    • Hi Jen, instant yeast is so flexible. You can add it in with the dry ingredients but I still proof it with the milk or water because it tells me immediately that my yeast is sill good so I don’t waste my time or ingredients with yeast that has died. Each recipe is different so you’ll follow their oder no matter what, but you’ll pick whether you proof the yeast or just add it with the flour.

  3. Hi!If using 3cups of flour then how much of instant dry do i use.

  4. I want to make cinnamon rolls and the recipe calls for RS Platinum (haven’t seen that one yet) or any instant yeast. It also states that 1 pkg.= 2 1/4 tsp. I only have RS Active Dry Yeast. Are the tsp. measurements the same as the instant? Plus, how much warm water do I place the active dry yeast in?

    Thank you!

    • Hi Amy,
      The measurements are interchangeable, but the rise time can be longer with active dry yeast. The recipe should have some liquid for you to dissolve the yeast in even if it doesn’t call for blooming the yeast. So if it says 2/3 cup water just make it warm water, add a pinch of sugar and add the yeast. 🙂

      • Thank you very much! I can’t wait to make the cinnamon rolls right after I make that brown sugar apple dip. Oh my!

  5. So if m making any sweets .. I can directly put instant yeast into the recipe .?

  6. (1) when you substitute active dry yeast for instant yeast do you follow the same proportions?
    (2) what makes bread softer?

    • Hi Namita, 1 teaspoon instant yeast would be 1 and 1/4 teaspoons of active yeast. I prefer the instant yeast, but to still let it foam or activate for really soft bread. Also, adding vital wheat gluten and dough enhancer can help a ton.

  7. Would you use same amount of instant dry yeast when a recipe calls for active dry yeast?

  8. I've wondered if the substitution amounts are straight up equal – great info Carrian, thank you!

  9. I didn't know this!! I usually always proof my yeast, but this was so helpful!

  10. This is so helpful! I can never remember what to use, when, and how!

  11. I love baking bread and experimenting. Great tips on yeast. I too like to have both of them on hand!

  12. I've always loved working with yeast doughs. I usually use the regular active dry rather than the instant. The longer rise required with active dry seems to give a more complex flavor to the finished baked goods. However, the instant is really convenient! Good information for new bakers.

  13. yeast are not my thing..but one of these days I plan on incorporating it some bread recipe. thanks for the info!

  14. Soooo helpful! I've pinned this and shared it so other ppl can see it too!

  15. Eeek! Yeast makes me nervous, as do candy thermometers and double boilers. However, this is really helpful since eventually, I'll need to outgrow my irrational yeast fears to make some amazing bread 🙂

  16. this is mega helpful! I can see myself referring back to it many times