What is Quick-Rising Yeast?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Quick-rising yeast can also be called bread yeast, instant yeast, though you don’t get an instant rise, or rapid rise yeast. It looks similar to most forms of active dry yeast and comes in small packets. These packets have expiration dates, and you should be sure to take note of the date before you use it. Bakers note that the main difference between quick-rising yeast and active dry yeast, or other forms like fresh yeast, is that you can rise bread products in about one half to one third the time. Since bread making can be a lengthy process, this is often viewed as an advantage.

Quick rising yeast is an integral part of many breads.
Quick rising yeast is an integral part of many breads.

How does quick-rising yeast work faster? It has lower moisture than active yeast, and it's made with more nutrients. The individual particles of yeast are smaller and will absorb moisture quickly, getting to work faster. Instead of proofing the yeast, many people simply add instant yeast to dry ingredients, which explains its use in bread machines. Some forms of quick-rising yeast have ascorbic acid, which may help increase the volume of rise too, in a quicker time period.

A bowl of active dry yeast, which is used to make quick-rising yeast.
A bowl of active dry yeast, which is used to make quick-rising yeast.

Another difference between quick-rising yeast or instant yeast and active dry is that it may contain more live cells per package. This could also accelerate the rate at which dough rises. This seems like great news if you want your bread to rise quickly.

Quick-rising yeast helps bakers make bread faster.
Quick-rising yeast helps bakers make bread faster.

It’s important though, to check recipes before substituting instant or rapid yeast for active dry or other forms of yeast. In some cases, quick-rising yeast is preferred and recommended. This is the case if you’re preparing bread in most bread machines, where recipes will call for bread machine yeast, instant yeast or the quick rising variety. In other recipes, you may want to check to be sure if this substitution is okay, though some cooks claim it’s absolutely fine to make a direct substitution.

There are bakers who do dispute the quality of quick-rising yeast when it comes to the taste of baked goods. Some believe that the yeast tastes less “yeasty” and doesn’t impart that special baked bread taste and aroma. Others say they notice very little difference between those breads made with instant or quick yeast and those made with active dry yeast. Some artisan bakers may avoid quick rising forms because they want to create breads in more traditional ways, when quick-rising yeast was clearly not available. Instant or rapid versions of yeast have only been widely available in commercial form since the mid 1980s.

Bread dough using quick-rising yeast may rise in half the time as conventionally made dough.
Bread dough using quick-rising yeast may rise in half the time as conventionally made dough.
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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Discussion Comments


@myharley - Another option to keep yeast fresh longer is to buy a jar and keep it in the refrigerator. It will often last long past the expiration date that way.

My favorite no yeast bread recipe comes from Mark Bittman, although unfortunately I can't remember the name of the book now. It's a quick bread (uses baking soda and/or baking powder) but no yeast. You mix it up in the food processor and bake it. It's half whole wheat, half regular. You can use a loaf pan and slice it, but I just bake it in a big ball. It comes out a little like a giant biscuit, but it's nice sometimes to have fresh, hot bread with dinner on very short notice.


When you are using yeast always make sure your packet has not expired. I have a habit of buying yeast and forgetting it is there. Then when I am ready to bake some bread, the yeast is expired.

If if is only a a few days or weeks past expiration I don't usually have any problems. If it is longer than that, I never get it to rise very well.

Another tip I use when it comes to getting a loaf of bread to rise correctly is to use some dough enhancer. When I started using this, my bread turned out much better.

I also have a yeast free bread recipe that is pretty good. This is great when I want to make some bread or rolls and realize I don't have any yeast in the house.

I still prefer the taste of bread made with yeast, but it is nice to know there are alternatives if you don't have any yeast.


@bagley79 - In my experience it isn't so much the type of yeast I am using as how I prepare it. I have not noticed any difference between the quick-rising yeast and active dry yeast other than the time it takes for it to rise.

When it comes to using yeast, you have to make sure your water temperature is not too hot or too cool. When I was just beginning to make bread, I would use a thermometer so I knew I would have the right temperature.

Now I can tell just by feeling the water. I also always make sure and proof my yeast before using it. If it doesn't proof, I know I am not going to get a good loaf of bread.

I never had good results when I just added it to the dry ingredients without proofing first.


We have a family tradition where we make pizza most Sunday evenings. Using the quick rising pizza dough really makes this process go a lot faster.

My kids always look forward to helping me make the pizza. They are getting pretty good at rolling out the dough, and love to put their favorite toppings on.

Making something like pizza dough is much easier than a loaf of bread. I seem to have no trouble when it comes to pizza dough, but I have yet to master making a good loaf of bread from scratch.

Either it doesn't rise enough or the texture is not very good. I have tried different types of yeast and methods, but my biggest problem is getting the dough to rise high enough.

Does this have something to do with the type of yeast I am using?


I always wondered what the difference was between quick-rising yeast and active dry yeast as far as the difference in ingredients.

Once I began using quick-rising yeast, I don't like to use anything else. It is nice to have the dough rise faster and I have never noticed a difference in the taste.

Sometimes it can be quite tricky when you are making yeast bread. There are a lot of factors that are involved in making a great loaf of bread.

In addition to making sure the bread rises properly, you also need to make changes if you have high humidity or are at a higher altitude.

The effort is always worth it though - there is nothing that tastes better than a slice of warm, fresh baked bread.

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