How to Make Crème Frâiche at Home

Yes, you can make homemade crème frâiche! My easy homemade crème frâiche recipe is effortless — all you need is milk, buttermilk, and a jar. After making crème frâiche at home you’ll never want to buy it again!

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Wondering What to Do with Crème Frâiche?

I’d never heard of crème frâiche until I moved to Germany as a teen. (In case you’re wondering, you pronounce it like “creme fresh.”) That year, I lived with a German family and noticed that while they rarely ate sour cream, they did often have a small container of crème frâiche in the fridge. I grew to love crème frâiche that year because there are so many sweet and savory ways to use crème frâiche. Here are a few examples:

Savory: add it to pasta, mix with herbs and serve as a dip for potatoes or use it on pizza instead of tomato sauce.

Sweet: add a few teaspoons of homemade vanilla sugar and enjoy as a dip for fruit, use it in desserts like my strawberry crème frâiche mini tarts or fold into freshly whipped cream and use as a topping for desserts like my German Rote Grütze. It’s also amazing in homemade ice cream. Be sure to check out my super easy, single-serve, no churn crème frâiche ice cream recipe at the bottom of this post!

Crème frâiche is something I always missed when living in the US — until I learned how to make it at home. Now you can make it at home, too!

What is Crème Frâiche?

Crème frâiche is a “soured cream” that originated in France but is commonly found all over Europe.

What Does Crème Frâiche Taste Like? Is Crème Frâiche Like Sour Cream?

While it does have a bit of a sour tang to it,  crème frâiche is more deeply flavored, richer, thicker, and smoother than sour cream. It also has a higher fat content.

One benefit of cooking with crème frâiche is that it won’t curdle at high temperatures, so it’s great to use in sauces. It’s seriously good with pasta and on pizza. (I wouldn’t use it as a topping on things like tacos, though. Sour cream is better for that.)

Where Can I Buy Crème Frâiche?

If you’re wondering where to buy crème frâiche, try Whole Foods, Wegmans or Trader Joe’s.

I’ve bought crème frâiche but it tends to be expensive. So, I decided to learn how to make it myself. As it turns out, it’s incredibly easy to make it at home. Plus, you can choose your ingredients and know exactly what’s in your crème frâiche. I’m kicking myself for going all these years in the US without crème frâiche!

What’s a Good Crème Frâiche Substitute?

You can use sour cream instead of crème frâiche but do note that sour cream is more sour and the texture is a little different.

What You Need to Make Crème Frâiche at Home

You only need two ingredients to make crème frâiche at home:

  • heavy cream
  • buttermilk

And you only need two pieces of equipment:

  • a jar or small bowl (I use these jars)
  • cheese cloth or a towel

How to Make Homemade Crème Frâiche

I have hard time saying this is my crème frâiche recipe because it’s just so simple!

The first step is to pour the heavy cream into a jar or small bowl. Then add 2-3 tablespoons of buttermilk. Finally, stir to combine the cream and buttermilk.

Note – I used organic pasteurized cream (not the ultra pasteurized kind) and found that 3 tablespoons buttermilk worked better than 2. The first time I made crème frâiche I only used 2 tablespoons and it didn’t thicken up enough.

Cover the jar loosely with cheese cloth a towel and leave the jar on the counter in a warm room for 12-36 hours.

I left my jar of crème frâiche next to my stove for a couple hours, then set the jar on the warm stovetop after I’d used the oven. Doing so seemed to help speed up the process a bit compared to the first time I made crème frâiche, when I just left it on the counter. The warmer your kitchen, the faster your crème frâiche will thicken up.

I checked my crème frâiche every 6-12 hours. It took more than 24 hours for my crème frâiche to thicken, so don’t worry if yours is still liquid after several hours. Just keep it in a warm place and let it sit out longer. Once the crème frâiche has thickened, put a lid on the jar and let it chill in the fridge (it will thicken up a little more as it chills).

My homemade crème frâiche wasn’t quite as thick as I remember crème frâiche being in Europe but it tasted spot on. One thing to note is that it tends to take longer and come out thinner when I make it in the winter (colder kitchen) than in the summer. You can see the difference below (winter is on the left, summer is on the right):

If you’ve never had crème frâiche, I highly recommend making some just to try it. You can use it to make the strawberry crème frâiche mini tarts in my free ebook!

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Easy Homemade Crème Frâiche

Easy Homemade Crème Frâiche

Yield: about 1 cup
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Chill Time: 1 day 12 hours
Total Time: 1 day 12 hours 5 minutes

Crème frâiche is delicious in both sweet and savory dishes and super easy to make at home - only 2 ingredients needed!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup [227g] heavy cream 
  • 2-3 TBSP buttermilk

Instructions

  1. Pour cream into a jar or small bowl.  
  2. Add buttermilk and stir until combined.  
  3. Cover jar loosely with cheese cloth or a towel. Leave in a warm place for 12-36 hours.  
  4. Once the crème frâiche has thickened, put a lid on the jar and chill in the fridge. 

Now Make Easy No Churn Crème Frâiche Ice Cream

Craving a quick and easy cold treat that’s a step up from vanilla? Try this no churn crème frâiche ice cream made in mini mason jars! It’s delicious eaten right out of the jar or topped with fresh berries. Yum!

Click here to see my other easy no churn ice cream recipes featuring international flavors.

Crème Friâche Ice Cream

Crème Friâche Ice Cream

Yield: 1-2 portions
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Freeze Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 5 minutes

This easy no churn ice cream is a deliciously tangy variation on standard vanilla and a great way to use up left-over Crème Friâche!

Ingredients

  • ½ cup [120 ml] heavy cream
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla sugar (see note below)
  • 1 Tbsp crème friâche (see note below)
  • Pinch of salt

Instructions

  1. Pour all ingredients into a small jar that has a lid. (I typically use an 8oz jam jar.)
  2. Stir until ingredients are well combined.
  3. Put the lid on the jar and then shake the jar several times until the cream has thickened. (I usually shake it 20-25 times.)
  4. Place the jar in freezer for 1-2 hours.
  5. When you're ready to eat the ice cream, take the jar out of the freezer and let it warm up for a few minutes.
  6. Top with lemon curd, raspberry sauce or fresh berries (optional).

Notes

Disclaimer: The International Desserts Blog is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. Thank you for supporting my site and helping me make it the best international desserts and travel resource on the internet!

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About Author

I love baking, traveling, and sharing delicious recipes for European Christmas Cookies! I used to live in Germany, have worked on 4 continents, and now enjoy baking and blogging from my adopted home in North Carolina, USA.

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