This homemade crème fraîche recipe is made with just 2 ingredients: heavy cream and a little buttermilk. It takes just 1 minute of active time, plus 12-24 hours of culturing. The result: tangy, silky-smooth, and rich crème fraîche that you can use in a variety of ways in your kitchen: baked into cake and quickbread recipes, swirled into soups, or used to make crème fraîche whipped cream or crème fraîche ice cream.
I'll show you how with this effortless, foolproof formula that I've honed from my 2 decades as a professional baker and pastry chef.
Crème fraîche is so easy to make at home. Whether you don't have access to buy it locally, need to use up extra cream, or if you're just a DIY kinda person, you're going to love this super simple recipe for homemade crème fraîche!
This is the formula that I used when I worked as a pastry cook in San Francisco. We would stir together huge vats to use in and on recipes. I shared this method in my cookbook, and now I'm giving the recipe a home on TBG as well!
This easy crème fraîche recipe is made with just two ingredients:
- Heavy cream or whipping cream forms the base. Be sure to use cream that's fresh and delicious-tasting. Local, organic cream is usually the most fresh and clean-tasting.
- Buttermilk* (or crème fraîche from a previous batch) thickens the cream thanks to live active cultures. Be sure to use buttermilk that's fresh and thick to ensure living cultures that will do their job efficiently.
*I know it's super annoying to buy a whole carton of buttermilk just to use a tablespoon in this recipe. If you have extra buttermilk to use up, try these gluten-free buttermilk pancakes, lemon buttermilk pie, or pumpkin buttermilk pie.
How to Make Homemade Crème Fraîche
This recipe takes 1 minute of active time plus 12-24 hours to culture. It makes 1 cup, and it keeps, refrigerated, for up to 1 week.
- Stir together the buttermilk and cream in a sterilized glass jar.
- Let sit in a warm place (on top of the fridge works well) until thickened, 12-24 hours.
- Stir the mixture 2-3 times as it sits; this will prevent a hard surface from forming on top. This ensures the finished product is silky-smooth!
- Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
All About Crème Fraîche
Some frequently asked questions:
Crème Fraîche is French for "fresh cream" and refers to cream that has been cultured with bacteria until thick and tangy.
No they are not, but they can be used interchangeably in most recipes. Sour cream is thicker and more stable than Crème Fraîche. Crème Fraîche has a sweeter, milder flavor and it melts more readily.
Sour cream, Greek yogurt, and heavy cream can stand in for crème fraîche in most recipes. For dairy-free options, try vegan sour cream, rich coconut yogurt, or coconut cream.
How to Use Crème Fraîche
This versatile ingredient works well in a variety of sweet and savory recipes.
- Swirl it into soups such as curried carrot ginger soup or zucchini basil soup
- Use it to make whipped crème fraîche for topping desserts
- Bake it into a super-moist gluten-free chocolate bundt cake or gluten-free pumpkin pie filling in a flaky crust
- Turn it into a luscious filling for apricot tart, or try the crème fraîche peach tart in my cookbook
- Use it in place of sour cream on tacos or enchiladas
- Serve it with almond flour scones, honey, and jam
- Slather it on lacy almond flour crepes or gluten-free pancakes
- Use it to make crème fraîche ice cream
- Blend it into mashed potatoes to add extra richness and flavor
How do you like to use crème fraîche? Let me know in the comments below!
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2-Ingredient Crème FraîchePrint Recipe Pin Recipe
- 1 cup heavy cream or whipping cream
- 1 tablespoone fresh buttermilk or creme fraiche
- 1 sterilized glass jar
- 1 sterilized metal spoon
- Stir together the cream and buttermilk in a jar to combine well.
- Cover the jar with the lid, and leave in a warm place (such as on top of the refrigerator) for 12–24 hours. The cultures in the buttermilk will go to work on the cream to thicken it.
- Give the mixture a shake or stir 2–3 times as it sits; this will discourage a hard layer of cream from forming on the top.
- After 12–24 hours the mixture should be slightly thicker and have a pleasantly sour smell. Give it a final stir and chill until cold, 2 hours. It will thicken further as it cools.
- Crème fraîche will keep, refrigerated, for up to 1 week.