Brie is a soft cow’s milk cheese that originated in France but is now popular worldwide.

It’s pale yellow with an edible rind of white mold.

What’s more, brie has a creamy texture and unique, mild taste and aroma that’s characteristic of mold-aged cheeses. It’s usually served with bread, crackers, or fruit.

This unique cheese may also have some health benefits due to its dairy content and the ripening process it undergoes.

This article reviews everything you need to know about brie, including its nutritional content and potential health benefits.

Nutrition facts

Brie is a high fat, nutrient-rich cheese. It contains protein and fat, as well as several vitamins and minerals.

One ounce (28 grams) of full fat brie provides (1):

  • Calories: 100
  • Protein: 4 grams
  • Total fat: 9 grams
    • Saturated fat: 4 grams
  • Carbs: 0 grams
  • Fiber: 0 grams
  • Sodium: 120 mg — 5% of the Daily Value (DV)
  • Vitamin A: 6% of the DV
  • Vitamin B12: 20% of the DV
  • Riboflavin: 11% of the DV
  • Calcium: 10% of the DV

Most of the fat in brie is saturated fat from cow’s milk. Although this fat has historically been linked to heart disease, emerging research shows that it isn’t as harmful as previously thought (2, 3).

Brie is also a good source of protein, with 1 ounce (28 grams) offering a little less protein than a medium egg (4).

In addition to its numerous vitamins and minerals, this cheese is a good source of both riboflavin and vitamin B12. These vitamins play important roles in energy production and metabolism (5, 6).

summary

Brie is a high fat cheese that packs as much protein as a medium egg in just 1 ounce (28 grams). It also offers sizable amounts of vitamin B12 and riboflavin.

How it’s made and served

Brie is made by adding the enzyme rennet to milk, along with salt and bacteria known as cheese cultures. The mixture is then left to ripen for about 1 month.

During the ripening process, white mold forms the rind of the cheese. Unlike other molds that grow on food, this one is perfectly safe to eat (7).

Several varieties of brie exist, as it can be made with whole or partly skimmed milk, ripened for varying durations, and contain added herbs and spices.

These changes can significantly alter both its taste and texture. For instance, a longer ripening period results in a tangier, softer cheese.

Brie can be eaten on its own — uncooked or baked — but is usually paired with bread, crackers, fruit, or nuts. It makes for a simple, elegant appetizer alongside crackers and jam or jelly. Baked brie is wrapped in puff pastry or drizzled with honey.

Summary

Brie forms a rind of edible, white mold during the ripening process. This scrumptious cheese is typically served with bread, crackers, fruit, or jam.

Potential health benefits

Brie contains protein and fat along with calcium, vitamin B12, and riboflavin, making it very nutrient-dense. It offers 100 calories per 1 ounce (28 grams).

Fat and protein are associated with increased feelings of fullness, which may aid weight loss and appetite control (8, 9).

In addition, full fat dairy is associated with a healthier body weight and does not appear to increase your risk of heart disease (10, 11).

Furthermore, brie is high in riboflavin and vitamin B12, which play key roles in energy production. Its calcium is important for healthy bone growth while its vitamin A promotes healthy skin and vision (5, 6, 14, 15).

As a result of the ripening process, brie also contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a highly anti-inflammatory compound that may exert anticancer effects (12).

In fact, in one test-tube study, brie and other ripened cheeses slowed the growth of leukemia cells (13).

Nonetheless, human research is needed.

Summary

Brie is nutrient-dense and aids feelings of fullness. As such, it may promote appetite control and weight loss. Early research suggests that it may even fight cancer cells, though more studies are necessary.

Does brie have any side effects?

Soft cheeses like brie contain a small amount of lactose, a natural milk sugar.

Interestingly, up to two-thirds of the global population is lactose intolerant and should limit their dairy intake. However, cheeses are generally well tolerated, as much of their lactose content is removed or converted during the cheesemaking process (16).

That said, people with a milk protein allergy shouldn’t eat this cheese.

Otherwise, including moderate amounts of brie in your diet shouldn’t have any significant side effects.

The recommended serving size of brie is 1 ounce (28 grams), which is about the size of your thumb. Eating excessive amounts may cause bloating or constipation — and lead to high calorie intake.

Additionally, 1 ounce (28 grams) of brie contains 6% of the DV for sodium, which adds up quickly if you pair it with salty crackers or nuts. Too much sodium can lead to high blood pressure in salt-sensitive individuals (17).

Finally, pregnant women should avoid unpasteurized brie, which is made with milk that did not undergo a heating process to remove bacteria. It may harbor the harmful bacteria that cause listeriosis, which can be fatal (18).

Summary

You can enjoy limited amounts of brie if you are lactose intolerant but not if you are allergic to milk protein. Pregnant women should avoid unpasteurized varieties. Otherwise, moderate intake does not have any side effects.

Proper storage

Brie should be stored in airtight packaging or plastic wrap in the refrigerator. Given that it’s a soft cheese, it’s particularly prone to spoilage or bacterial contamination if left outside of the fridge.

Most manufacturers recommend consuming the entire package by the expiration date.

However, if the cheese looks and smells fine past its use-by date, it’s generally safe to eat as long as it has been pasteurized (19).

All the same, children, pregnant women, and those with compromised immune systems should not eat expired brie — even if it looks and smells normal — due to the risk of exposure to harmful bacteria.

It’s best to eat or freeze brie within 1–3 weeks of opening the package, as it will continue to ripen in your fridge.

Brie can be frozen for up to 6 months if tightly wrapped in foil and placed in a freezer-safe bag. Nonetheless, it may be crumbly after you thaw it and more suitable for cooking rather than serving as an appetizer.

Remember to discard any brie that has been at room temperature for longer than 4 hours (19).

How to tell if it has gone bad

Brie has a perfectly safe layer of white mold on its outer surface.

However, blue or green mold indicates that the cheese has gone bad and should be thrown out.

With harder cheeses like Parmesan, you can cut off moldy areas and eat the remainder of the product. However, visible mold in soft varieties like brie often indicates that mold spores have contaminated the entire cheese (19).

In addition, overripe brie — or brie that has been aged for too long — may be excessively runny and have a strong ammonia odor, which comes from the bacteria used during manufacturing. Although it’s safe to eat, overripe brie may have an off-putting taste and smell.

Summary

Brie should be stored in airtight packaging in your refrigerator and discarded 1–3 weeks after opening. If you see blue or green mold at any point, throw away the cheese.

The bottom line

Brie is a soft cheese known for its creamy texture and edible rind of white mold. It makes a great appetizer when served with bread, crackers, or fruit.

It’s rich in fat and protein, along with calcium, vitamin B12, and riboflavin.

If eaten in moderation, brie may promote feelings of fullness and aid appetite control, which can promote weight loss.

If you’re interested in this cheese, try it baked as a delectable side — or eat it on its own as a snack.