miRNAs are non-coding RNAs with abnormal expression in breast cancer (BC); their expression in high-risk benign breast tissue may relate to BC risk. We examined miRNA profiles in contralateral unaffected breasts (CUBs) of BC patients and validated resulting candidates in two additional sample sets. Expression profiles of 754 mature miRNAs were examined using TaqMan Low Density Arrays in 30 BC samples (15 ER-positive and 15 ER-negative) and paired CUBs; and 15 reduction mammoplasty (RM) controls. Pairwise comparisons identified miRNAs with significantly differential expression. Seven candidate miRNAs were examined using qRT-PCR in a second CUB sample set (40 cases, 20 ER+, 20 ER-) and 20 RM controls. Further validation was performed in 80 benign breast biopsy (BBB) samples; 40 from cases who subsequently developed BC, and 40 from controls who did not. Logistic regression, using tertiles of miRNA expression, was used to discriminate cases from controls. Seven miRNAs were differentially expressed in tumors and CUBs vs. RM samples. Among them, miR-18a and miR-210 were validated in the second CUB set, showing significantly higher expression in tumor and CUBs than RM controls. The expression of miR-18a and miR-210 were also significantly higher in BBB cases than BBB controls. When both miR-18a and miR-210 were expressed in the upper tertiles in BBB, OR for subsequent cancer was 3.20, P = 0.023. miR-18a and miR-210 are expressed at higher levels in CUBs of BC patients, and in BBB prior to cancer development, and are therefore candidate breast cancer risk biomarkers.