Homemade Crème Fraîche

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
3.37 from 60 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
Author Sue Moran


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


  • 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.
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although theviewfromgreatisland.com tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

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  • Reply
    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
      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
      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
    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
      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
    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
    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..

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