These petite rounds of creamy cheese may look alike, but peel back the red wax rind, and each is unique—but not always great.
Before we start this journey together, I think it’s important to clear the air on this experience: Babybel cheese is convenient and cheap, but it’s found in the same grocery store cooler section as Velveeta Slices and Kraft Singles. In other words, it’s not necessarily a prime example of high-quality cheese.
But, while I wish we could all sit at home with our a round of goopy La Tur and a pack of water crackers, life requires that we leave behind our prized cheese wedges and rounds and sometimes eat them in string and stick form.
When that happens, Babybel is a truly wonderful snack cheese that happens to also be perfectly portable, thanks to a thick red wax rind and individual plastic wrappings. It’s also universally appealing—creamy, salty, and a bit tangy, no matter the flavor you pick up.
For the best flavor experience, you do need to treat Babybel like you would any other cheese: don’t eat it right out of the fridge. Give it time to warm up a bit so the flavors can be more pronounced.
Here, the 5 flavors of Babybel are ranked from worst to first in my wholly humble—but pretty snack cheese expert—opinion.
Mini Babybel Light
I know why Babybel decided to produce this cheese product—even dieters know they need some calcium. But y’all, you’re only saving 20 calories. What you get in return is a plasticky, almost spongy cheese that is void of much flavor beyond salt. The flavor is reminiscent of off-brand cheese sticks, the kind your mom bought because they had both a store and manufacturer’s coupon. That is to say, it’s edible, but there are better options.
Mini Babybel Mozzarella
We all know those mozzarella “sticks” are only mozzarella by technical definition. If you compare string cheese to fresh, rich, homemade mozzarella, you’re experiencing flavor profiles that stand almost as polar opposites. This Babybel Mozzarella is a little like those string cheeses—dense, salty, tangy—but with a bit more fresh mozzarella bounce. Fans of string cheese will find a home in these flavors, but you can spare yourself pulling the cheese into spindly shreds.
Mini Babybel White Cheddar
Babybel says these white cheddar rounds have a “hint” of sharpness, and I’ll be the first to admit I’m notoriously terrible picking up on subtle cues, but I can’t find the sharpness anywhere. With that being said, I think this is a scrumptious little cheese. Most Babybel products have a telltale tang about them, and this is no different. (This may be the sharpness of which they speak, but all the other cheeses are equally “sharp” in that case.) It’s creamy and salty, in completely pleasant ways. Real cheddar fans won’t appreciate the mild flavor of this “sharp” cheese, but snack enthusiasts will find a lot of goodness within.
Mini Babybel Original
Is it blasphemous that the original isn’t in the top spot? Perhaps, but hear me out. Babybels are essentially tiny versions of Edam cheese. Edam, which is of Dutch origin, is a semi-hard cheese that has gentle notes of sweet grassiness and a bit of mild nutiness. While Edam can’t be described as tangy or tart in most instances, Baybel cheeses certainly are that. The tang is a bit overwhelming, borderline sour. The Original is always a good choice, but another selection is even better.
Mini Babybel Gouda
Having already turned Edam into a worldwide cheese selection, the Bel Group, French makers of Babybel, set their eyes on another classic Dutch cheese: Gouda. Typically, Gouda is semi-hard, often crumbly and waxy, and its flavors are nutty and sweet. Edam and Gouda are very similar, with Gouda being more dry. For their version of Gouda, however, Babybel created a cheese that’s replaced most of the tang of Babybel cheeses with a very mild nutty sweetness—and then kept all the creaminess that’s so loved in their products. It’s downright pleasant and a real snacking joy with a sweet (not tart) apple like Macoun.