This article describes two procedures for isolating total RNA from yeast cell cultures. The first allows the convenient isolation of total RNA from early log-phase cultures (vegetative cells). RNA isolated in this way is intact and sufficiently pure for use in microarray experiments, primer extension, and RNase protection mapping. With additional treatment to remove contaminating genomic DNA, the preparation is suitable for reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), quantitative PCR (qPCR), cDNA library construction, high-throughput sequencing of RNA, or other manipulations. However, compared to vegetative cells, the isolation of RNA from cells late in meiosis (asci and ascospores) requires additional effort. This is because a tough cell wall composed of heavily cross-linked polysaccharides and proteins is built around the four spores during meiosis and ascospore development. Therefore, an alternative protocol is presented for extracting RNA from cells late in meiosis. This alternative may also be preferable for cells from stationary cultures or from yeast strains and other fungal species isolated from the environment.