Crème Fraîche recipe

Crème Fraîche

2 days 5 mins
Vadim Rachok
20.12.2023
15.03.2024
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Recipe Ingredients Video Nutrition
8 / 10
Health score
Egg free dishGluten free dishLow Carb DishNut Free DishPaleo DishVegetarian Dish

If you’re a fan of dairy products, you may already be familiar with sour cream, a versatile ingredient that can be used in baked potatoes, dips, dressings, and sauces. Another similar dairy product is crème fraîche, which is becoming increasingly popular in grocery stores. Often considered the French version of sour cream, crème fraîche has a rich and creamy texture. To find out more about the similarities and differences between these two products, we interviewed a dairy expert who also explained the role of mascarpone in this context.

Ah, the magic of homemade crème fraîche! Elevating both sweet and savory dishes, this delightful concoction adds a touch of luxury to your culinary creations. The beauty lies not only in its velvety texture and tangy flavor but also in the simplicity of its creation. With just cream and buttermilk, you unlock the alchemy of crafting your own crème fraîche, bidding farewell to store-bought versions.

What Is Crème Fraîche?

Crème fraîche is a type of cultured cream that has a rich texture and a tangy taste. It can be used as a thickener in soups, a topping on pasta, and as the base of creamy dressings and dips. Additionally, a dollop of this delicious cream serves as an excellent complement to sweet desserts.

Crème fraîche is a dairy product made by adding starter cultures to high-fat cream and aging it for several hours. As the mixture ages, the cultures consume the lactose in the cream, which helps the cream develop the body and create a nutty flavor and aroma. Vermont Creamery, one of the largest US producers of crème fraîche, cultures their product for over 15 hours to ensure a stable end result. Crème fraîche has high acidity and fat content, which makes it ideal for cooking. According to Gina Martano, R&D manager at Vermont Creamery, it not only adds a tangy flavor and silky texture to your dish but also doesn’t curdle when heated or added to acidic sauces.

How to Make Crème Fraîche

Mix cream and buttermilk in a glass jar to make homemade sour cream, cover it tightly with cheesecloth, and let it sit at room temperature until it thickens. Stir the mixture, screw on the lid, and refrigerate it for at least 24 hours before using. That’s all there is to it! You can find the full recipe with step-by-step instructions below.

Cook’s Note

  1. When making whipped cream, use pasteurized heavy cream instead of ultra-pasteurized cream for best results.
  2. Be sure to use cultured buttermilk otherwise the recipe won’t work.

Crème Fraîche

Crème Fraîche Substitute

If you don’t have crème fraîche available and don’t have the time to make it, there are some substitutes you can use. Sour cream is a great substitute for crème fraîche, but it tends to curdle when added to hot dishes. To avoid this, add the sour cream to your dish only after you have taken it off the heat. Alternatively, you could use Mexican crema or Greek yogurt instead.

How to Use Crème Fraîche

Use your new crème fraîche-making skills in one of these delicious recipes:

  1. Chocolate Crème Fraîche Ice Cream
  2. Chicken a la Crema
  3. Chef John’s Creme Caramel
  4. Potato Leek Soup (Vichyssoise)
  5. Red Velvet Pancakes

How to Store Crème Fraîche

For up to two weeks, you can keep your homemade crème fraîche in the fridge in an airtight container.

To Swap or Not

Although crème fraîche and sour cream have similar functions, such as adding a slightly tangy flavor and rich fat to dishes, it is important to note that mascarpone cheese and yogurt are not interchangeable with either cream-based staple. Each has its own unique flavor and texture and can enhance a variety of sweet and savory dishes.

 

I believe this is an excellent fermented mono-product, which serves as a healthier alternative to whipped cream. During the fermentation process, cream becomes enriched with lactobacilli, which have a positive impact on the gut microbiome and contribute to gastrointestinal health. Of course, I wouldn't recommend compromising this wonderful cream by adding sugar during the dish assembly stage (in extreme cases, use a non-caloric sugar substitute to avoid combining simple carbohydrates with saturated fats and nullifying all the benefits of the original recipe). Furthermore, I would use this cream not for desserts but as an alternative to cream cheese for whole-grain avocado toasts at breakfast or as a topping for fish or seafood main dishes. It pairs excellently with vegetables. However, I don't recommend adding such cream to high-carb side dishes like pasta or rice, as well as heavy animal protein like red meat or poultry, to avoid complicating the digestion process and overloading the digestive tract.

Jenny Dobrynina
Jenny Dobrynina
Nutrition Editor
Health score:
8 / 10
Crème Fraîche
Author:Vadim Rachok
Making crème fraîche at home is a simple process. It contains more fat than sour cream, which makes it less likely to curdle when used in cooking. Once you learn how to make it, you'll want to do it again and again. Although it takes a few days, the process requires minimal effort, and the results are fantastic!
Crème Fraîche recipe
Prep Time:
5 mins
Additional Time:
2 days
Total Time:
2 days 5 mins
Servings:
32
Yield:
1 pint
The ingredients you need
2 cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons cultured buttermilk
Let’s start !
1

1 Combine cream and buttermilk in a jar. Cover with breathable material and let sit at room temperature until thickened about 24 hours.

2

2 First, stir the mixture thoroughly. Next, screw on the lid and refrigerate it for 24 hours before using.

Nutrition Information
Servings Per Recipe: 32 Calories: 58
% Daily Value *
 % Daily Value *
Total Fat 6g7%
Saturated Fat 3g17%
Cholesterol 20mg7%
Sodium 7mg0%
Total Carbohydrate 1g0%
Total Sugars 0g 
Protein 0g 
Vitamin C 0mg1%
Calcium 11mg1%
Potassium 13mg0%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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When embarking on your crème fraîche-making journey, opt for pasteurized heavy cream over ultra-pasteurized cream. The former lends itself to a richer and creamier outcome. Additionally, the choice of cultured buttermilk is paramount for success; it's the catalyst that transforms this humble duo into a kitchen staple. Experiment with this versatile creation in various recipes, from luscious desserts like Chocolate Crème Fraîche Ice Cream to savory delights such as Chicken a la Crema. And fear not if you find yourself without crème fraîche; substitutes like sour cream, Mexican crema, or Greek yogurt can step in admirably. Lastly, remember that your homemade crème fraîche, sealed in an airtight container, can grace your refrigerator for up to two weeks. So, go ahead, indulge in the art of homemade goodness!

Vadim Rachok
Vadim Rachok
Pro tip from chef
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