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Homemade Crème Fraîche




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Homemade Crème Fraîche recipe ~ with just 2 ingredients you can make thick and creamy crème fraîche ~ no more last minute trips to the supermarket to buy one of those overpriced little tubs!

Making homemade creme fraiche in a glass pitcher

Never run out of crème fraîche again ~ make it yourself!

The other day I was making my  Sweet Potato Spears with Lemongrass Dip, which required crème fraîche, and I was so frustrated when my regular grocery store didn’t have any.  That’s one of the few downsides to the explosion of so many different types of foods we now have available to us in grocery stores…there simply isn’t the shelf space for all of them.  It got me thinking about trying a homemade version.

Crème fraîche is basically a cultured cream

It’s a French version of sour cream, but  more luxurious and subtle.  Not quite as sour, or as thick as sour cream, though.  It’s more of a tangy custard.  (This post from The Kitchn breaks it down even further if you’re interested!)

diy creme fraiche in a small jar

The process of making crème fraîche is so simple!

  • Mix buttermilk and heavy cream in a clean jar.
  • Cover and let sit at warm room temperature for 12-18 hours.
  • Voila!  You’ve got thick rich crème fraîche.

It’s a little like making yogurt only with a cream base instead of milk, but nothing gets heated or cooked.  And it’s much easier.  All you need to do is stir a little buttermilk into heavy cream, and let it sit so the bacteria can do their job.  It will thicken into a silky crème fraîche in about 12 to 18 hours.  You can literally do it in your sleep!

Creme fraiche made with cream and buttermilk, in a jam jar, with spoon

Homemade Crème fraîche can replace mayo, cream, sour cream, yogurt, and mascarpone cheese in recipes.

Crème fraîche has a slightly higher fat content than sour cream, so when you add it to hot food it won’t break down or curdle like sour cream sometimes does.  You can stir it into a sauce at the end to get a beautiful glossy finish and rich flavor.  You can mix it with mayo when you’re making potato or shrimp salad.  Stir it into an omelet or scrambled eggs.  It makes amazing dips, salad dressings, and frostings.   Sweeten it and use it like whipped cream with desserts and fruit.

Recipes using crème fraîche

homemade creme fraiche in a glass jar
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3.34 from 59 votes

Homemade Creme Fraiche

Homemade Crème Fraîche ~ with just 2 ingredients you can make your own thick and creamy crème fraîche ~ no more last minute trips to the supermarket to buy one of those overpriced little tubs!
Course condiment
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
culturing 12 hours
Yield 1 cup

Ingredients

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 Tbsp cultured buttermilk (look for it with the regular milk in your supermarket)

Instructions

  • Pour the cream into a clean jar or small bowl. Stir in the buttermilk.
  • Cover with a clean dishcloth and let sit at a warm room temperature for 12 to 18 hours until it is thickened.
  • Stir it, and cover tightly.
  • Refrigerate until ready to use. It will last 2 weeks in the refrigerator.

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39 Comments

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  • Reply
    Cyndy
    August 21, 2020 at 9:15 pm

    5 stars
    I forgot just how easy it is to make your own creme fraiche. I will be making a fresh batch tomorrow with your recipe for my mushroom soup!

  • Reply
    Patty at Spoonabilities
    August 21, 2020 at 7:52 pm

    5 stars
    Oh there is nothing like an amazingly creamy creme fraiche topped on sliced fresh fruit, or anything really! Yum! Thanks for the great directions!

  • Reply
    Alexandra
    August 21, 2020 at 7:40 pm

    5 stars
    This is so much more simple to make than I ever would have thought – I will definitely be making my own creme fraiche from now on 🙂

  • Reply
    Genevieve from @fittyfoodlicious
    August 21, 2020 at 7:29 pm

    5 stars
    I had no idea Creme Fraiche was so easy to make! This recipe looks easy to follow and delicious. Yummy!

  • Reply
    Chef Mireille
    August 21, 2020 at 7:17 pm

    5 stars
    What a convenient recipe. Not only is creme fraiche expensive but not at the local market which means I usually have to travel to the gourmet market to get it. Thanks so much for this. Will definitely keep it on hand the next time I need creme fraiche

  • Reply
    Chris-27
    August 21, 2020 at 3:58 pm

    Can you freeze the rest of the buttermilk in ice cube trays, and use it for future creme fraiche? I can’t think of anything else I want to make that involves buttermilk. (Oh, wait, biscuits!) Actually, I might try with heavy cream and yogurt … surely, that will work as well as buttermilk?

    • Reply
      Sue
      August 21, 2020 at 6:07 pm

      Great question, first of all, I never have an issue with the rest of the buttermilk because I use it in so much of my baking, and it keeps a really long time. And as for yogurt, I haven’t tried that, I’d be curious to hear how it turns out if you try.

  • Reply
    thomas a wall
    December 5, 2019 at 12:28 pm

    where can I get the jar?

    • Reply
      Sue
      August 21, 2020 at 11:16 am

      I just used a recycled jam jar, Thomas, but mason or canning jars work great, too.

  • Reply
    Wesley
    August 18, 2019 at 3:50 pm

    What if you don’t have buttermilk ?

    • Reply
      Sue
      August 21, 2020 at 11:17 am

      You’ll need buttermilk for this recipe, but you can find it right with the regular milk in most grocery stores.

  • Reply
    Cynthia Willis
    May 11, 2017 at 1:03 pm

    Have you tried making this in the instant pot on the yogurt setting? I’m betting the results would be great.

    I will try this next!

    • Reply
      Sue
      May 11, 2017 at 1:11 pm

      Great idea, I’m on the verge of getting an instant pot, I keep hearing great things about them…let us know if you try!!

  • Reply
    Emma Balibalita
    February 14, 2017 at 12:54 pm

    Any recipe’s are good esp,when it comes to dairy product processing.

  • Reply
    davena
    December 17, 2016 at 6:56 pm

    5 stars
    Wanted to replicate a butternut squash soup I tried while in San Francisco. Couldn’t find creme fraiche and decided to use this recipe. Did an earlier experiment using sour cream but this made such a big difference. Thanks.

    • Reply
      Sue
      December 17, 2016 at 8:03 pm

      I’m so glad, thanks for letting me know Davena!

  • Reply
    Willow | Will Cook For Friends
    February 9, 2016 at 7:10 am

    This is so good to know! My grocery store does carry creme fraische, but it is sooooo expensive. Seriously, something like seven dollars for a four ounce container of the stuff — wtf?! Now that I know how easy it is to make, I’ll definitely be doing this the next time I need some!

    • Reply
      Sue
      February 9, 2016 at 8:16 am

      There are so many skills and recipes like this that get lost over time, and people don’t realize that they can do it themselves…hope you try it Willow 🙂

  • Reply
    Christina
    August 7, 2014 at 8:13 am

    This is pure genius! I always have buttermilk and cream in my fridge! Thanks for the post!

  • Reply
    heatherm
    November 1, 2013 at 9:17 pm

    Yay, I did bookmark a creme fraiche recipe that said to use a bit of yogurt as the principle is the same. Commercial buttermilk is often not real buttermilk and full of thickeners and additives, so will try with the yogurt one of these days.

  • Reply
    Toni Legates
    August 12, 2013 at 12:50 pm

    A great post. Most people are unaware of just how easy it is to make creme fraiche. I saw a recipe at a video blog I just love called Foodwishes.com. Where chef John does his take on “The Standard Grill’s” Million dollar chicken. Which just happens to be a roasted chicken that is slathered in a creme fraiche glaze. I haven’t made this dish yet but this post of yours has me craving it.

  • Reply
    Randi Lynne
    August 9, 2013 at 10:35 am

    SO, I am a sour cream addict. I keep it on hand and like to top soups, stews, and all sorts of dishes with a dallop of the stuff. I have been reading food blogs for years and have seen how to’s for making your own yogurt, but never creme fraiche (which for my purposes is an equal exchange for sour cream, but actually even more versatile). I started it yesterday and today had some with my soup. Shared on Facebook saying there is no need to ever purchase sour cream again. It’s one of those “Where have you been my whole life??” moments. Thanks for posting.

    • Reply
      Sue
      August 9, 2013 at 2:06 pm

      Thanks Randi Lynne, it’s great to have your testimonial! The thing I like about it especially is that it doesn’t curdle in hot sauces and soups like sour cream sometimes does.

  • Reply
    Pamela @ Brooklyn Farm Girl
    August 1, 2013 at 11:23 am

    Thanks for posting this! Sometimes this is hard to find in my local grocer so now I know I can just make it myself.

  • Reply
    The Café Sucre Farine
    July 31, 2013 at 6:38 pm

    I love to make creme fraiche this way. It’s crazy how expensive it is here. My daughter lives in London and creme fraiche is just an every day ingredient there, very inexpensive and ordinary. I think someone is playing a trick on us!

  • Reply
    shannon
    July 31, 2013 at 4:15 am

    totally cool: this, like always, is very good to know, as my grocery store is hit or miss when it comes to the creme fraiche. Seems as though when i don’t need it, i see it, but when i seek it out as something to purchase, boom; not there. 🙂 so now i have this as a backup, or i can just completely avoid looking altogether thanks to you.

  • Reply
    Kate
    July 30, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    Great looks on the new site design!
    I was forced to make creme fraiche when I wanted to try Smitten Kitchen’s peach pie recipe two years ago. The pie was awesome to eat and the creme fraiche was a cinch to make using her recipe. I was so stoked being able to use it in a variety of recipes now that I could make it and not hunt it down in a specialty store. I tried making it again this past winter. It was a fLoP! Never thickened. After reading your post I wonder if it was because I screwed a cover onto the jar while it cultured? I will try it again hoping the loose cloth cover does the trick. I have to make another fresh peach pie before the peaches are a distant summer memory :-\

    • Reply
      Sue
      July 30, 2013 at 4:27 pm

      I read that you have to let air circulate while it is culturing, so that could have been it. The cover just has to keep bugs, etc, out, so you can use cheesecloth, or whatever you have around. You said it was winter, and that could be a problem, too. It sits at room temperature, but try to find a warmish spot.

  • Reply
    Kitchen Belleicious
    July 30, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    never thought to make my own creme fraiche and never thought it would be or look this easy. You did an amazing job! it looks perfect

  • Reply
    Jo-Anne Barkwill
    July 30, 2013 at 12:18 pm

    Thanks for this!! I love being able to make things myself. Small amounts and SO inexpensive, perfect for one. Love your blog 🙂

  • Reply
    Irina @ wandercrush
    July 30, 2013 at 11:47 am

    I had no idea it was so basic! I guess the french words intimidated me right off the bat 😉 Thanks for sharing this… for some reason I always shy away from recipes involving heavy cream because I’m afraid it’ll overpower everything with an abyss of creamy richness, but creme fraiche might be a good alternative because I just love the tang of buttermilk.

    • Reply
      Sue
      July 30, 2013 at 12:31 pm

      I know just what you mean, I hesitate to use heavy cream, but creme fraiche just has that chic French way of making it all seem ok 🙂

  • Reply
    Tricia @ Saving room for dessert
    July 30, 2013 at 9:26 am

    I don’t think my comment published – so I’ll try again. I am with you on not being able to find what I’m looking for in just one store. It often requires a trip to 3 stores to find less main stream products. I always have buttermilk so thanks for this easy recipe! I still love your site so much – beautiful job!

  • Reply
    Tricia @ Saving room for dessert
    July 30, 2013 at 9:24 am

    You are so right Sue – sometimes I have to go to several different stores to find everything I need. Sad but true so thanks for this wonderfully easy recipe! Buttermilk I’ve got!

  • Reply
    Joanne
    July 30, 2013 at 4:57 am

    Wow. This is SO much less expensive than creme fraiche! Especially since I always seem to have buttermilk around!

    • Reply
      Sue
      July 30, 2013 at 8:32 am

      I know, what’s up with the price of food these days? I think some of the fancy brands are actually from France…can you imagine paying for it to be flown over? This is waaay better!

  • Reply
    Denise @ magnoliaverandah
    July 29, 2013 at 4:12 pm

    I am so pleased you have posted this. So many times I have gone to buy creme fraiche and there is none and so I have used sour cream instead. Don’t know why the penny has not dropped before …………of course a little buttermilk. I wonder if sour milk would work as well? I have been using sour milk in bread and pastry making lately and it is amazing. Maybe I have a cast iron stomach too!

  • Reply
    Sue
    July 29, 2013 at 11:31 am

    Hi Mary — I’m not sure about the whey, but I think you can substitute a few tablespoons of the yogurt for the buttermilk. Try that and see. Let me know how it turns out!

  • Reply
    Monique
    July 29, 2013 at 9:15 am

    It’s so pretty here!
    I love the sray of flowers above the title..LOVE.
    And your pic too..Well done!
    I will make this Sue..Thanks..