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Homemade Crème Fraîche

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Discover how to make homemade crème fraîche with this simple recipe. Use it in both savory and sweet dishes to transform your cooking!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Resting Time 1 day
A jar of crème fraîche with a spoon inside the jar and fresh dill laying on the surface next to the jar.

Have you ever had homemade crème fraîche? It’s a common ingredient for finishing dishes in the restaurant world, especially anything with smoked salmon. I didn’t realize how easy it is to make at home! All you need is whipping cream, buttermilk, and time.

I describe crème fraîche as a love child between sour and heavy cream. Crème fraîche (pronounced “krem fresh”) translates from French to mean “fresh cream”. It’s a velvety, tangy cream that’s a staple in many traditional French recipes, both savory and sweet.

Crème fraîche is prized for its high-fat content, which allows it to resist curdling when heated. This makes it a remarkably versatile ingredient! Replace some of the milk in your Maritime fish chowder with crème fraîche to add depth and complexity, or substitute the sour cream in this brown butter banana bread for extra richness. I like to add fresh chopped dill to crème fraîche and serve it with a smoked salmon platter or sweeten it with powdered sugar to dollop it on a slice of apple upside-down cake. It’s so easy to make and useful that it could become the next staple in your kitchen!

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Ingredients For Homemade Crème Fraîche

Ingredients to make crème fraîche.

Ingredient Notes

35% Whipping Cream: Also called heavy cream, 35% whipping cream is a staple ingredient to make crème fraîche. Its high-fat content gives a rich, creamy texture, and its subtle flavor doesn’t overpower the finished product.

Buttermilk: Buttermilk (the liquid left after churning butter) is filled with lactic acid bacteria. This bacterial culture is the key to making crème fraîche as it helps thicken the cream and gives it a tangy flavor.

It’s important to note that when making substitutions in recipes, the texture and flavor may be slightly different. However, these substitutes are the best options for changing the original recipe.

Ingredient Substitutions

35% Whipping Cream: For this recipe, you can replace the 1 cup (250 ml) of whipping cream with ¾ cup (190 ml) half-and-half cream mixed with ¼ cup of cooled melted unsalted butter. This mixture will give you the same fat content, but the texture may differ. You still need the 2 tablespoons of buttermilk to culture the cream.

Buttermilk: If buttermilk isn’t available, you can make a homemade version by adding 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar to a cup of milk letting it sit for about 10 minutes. Additionally, plain unsweetened yogurt with live cultures can make an effective buttermilk substitute.

Use the JUMP TO RECIPE button at the top of this post, or scroll to the bottom to see the PRINTABLE recipe card with ingredient measurements and complete instructions.

How To Make Homemade Crème Fraîche

Process shots to make this recipe.

STEP 1: Measure the whipping cream and pour it into a clean glass jar.

STEP 2: Add the buttermilk.

STEP 3: Secure the lid tightly on the jar and shake it well. Remove the lid and place a small square of paper towel on top. Secure the paper towel with a rubber band and set the jar in a draft-free spot at room temperature for 24 hours.

STEP 4: After 24 hours, remove the paper towel and rubber band. Stir the crème fraîche, then use it in your chosen recipe. Store it in the refrigerator, tightly sealed with a lid, for up to 10 days.

Expert Tips

1. Don’t seal the jar during the fermentation process. Gas produced during this time must escape to make the crème fraîche.
2. Use a clean spoon each time you scoop your crème fraîche out of the jar. This helps prevent unwanted bacteria which can shorten its shelf life.
3. Homemade crème fraîche should smell tangy but not overly sour. It should also have a creamy, slightly thick texture. If it smells off or has visible signs of mold, it’s best to discard it.

Recipe Notes

  • Using room-temperature whipping cream and buttermilk can help kickstart the fermentation process.
  • Crème fraîche should thicken considerably after fermentation. If it’s not thick enough after 24 hours, give it more time.
  • Once fermented, stir the crème fraîche, seal it tightly with a lid, and store it in the refrigerator. This stops the fermentation process.
  • You can use crème fraîche in sauces, desserts, or as a tangy topping for sweet or savory dishes.

Storage

  • You can keep crème fraîche tightly sealed in the refrigerator for up to one week. Discard it immediately if a strange smell or mold appears.
A bowl of crème fraîche with a spoon in the bowl.

Did you make this homemade crème fraîche? Please rate the recipe and tell me how it went in the comments below. Also, stay in touch with me on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest to see more delicious food and recipes!

Printable Recipe Card

A jar of crème fraîche with a spoon inside the jar and fresh dill laying on the surface next to the jar.

Homemade Crème Fraîche

Author: Kelly Neil
Discover how to make homemade crème fraîche with this simple recipe. Use it in both savory and sweet dishes to transform your cooking!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 minutes
Resting Time 1 day
Course Ingredient
Cuisine French
Servings 16 servings
Calories 55 kcal

Special Equipment

  • Measuring cups and spoons or digital kitchen scale
  • Glass jar with lid
  • Paper towel or clean cloth or cheesecloth
  • Rubber band
Need Metric Measurements?Use the button options below to toggle between US cups and Metric grams.

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup 35% whipping cream, also called heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons buttermilk

Instructions
 

  • In a glass jar, combine the whipping cream and buttermilk. Secure the lid and shake well to combine.
  • Remove the lid. Place a piece of paper towel over the jar and secure it with a rubber band to allow air circulation.
  • Let the mixture sit at room temperature (around 70°F or 21°C) for 24 hours, or until the cream thickens to the consistency of yogurt.
  • Once thickened, stir the crème fraîche well, seal tightly with the lid, and refrigerate. It will continue to thicken and develop a tangy flavor as it chills. Crème fraîche will keep, stored in the refrigerator, for up to two weeks.

Recipe Notes

  • Using room-temperature whipping cream and buttermilk can help kickstart the fermentation process.
  • Crème fraîche should thicken considerably after fermentation. If it’s not thick enough after 24 hours, give it more time.
  • Once fermented, stir the crème fraîche, seal it tightly with a lid, and store it in the refrigerator. This stops the fermentation process.
  • You can use crème fraîche in sauces, desserts, or as a tangy topping for sweet or savory dishes.

Storage

  • You can keep crème fraîche tightly sealed in the refrigerator for up to one week. Discard it immediately if a strange smell or mold appears.

Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 55kcalCarbohydrates: 1gProtein: 1gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.3gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 18mgSodium: 6mgPotassium: 17mgSugar: 1gVitamin A: 234IUVitamin C: 0.1mgCalcium: 13mgIron: 0.02mg
Did you make this recipe?Let me know on Instagram @kellyneildotcom or tag #kellyneil!

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