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Worth It or Not Worth It: Making Your Own Crème Fraîche

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There are so many great conversations on the Hotline—it's hard to choose a favorite. But we'll be doing it, once a week, to spread the wealth of our community's knowledge—and to keep the conversation going.

Today: You're just two ingredients and 24 hours away—but is making crème fraîche worth the effort? 

I was a skeptic. I'll admit it: I didn't go into crème fraîche-making unbiased. It seemed impossible that just two ingredients (heavy cream and buttermilk) could produce that velvety, thick stuff I consistently shell out the big bucks for at the grocery store. But in just 24 hours, homemade crème fraîche went from alchemy to achievable. 


Following the directions in this post, I added one cup of heavy cream to a jar with a tight-fitting lid, followed by two tablespoons of buttermilk. Then, I capped the jar and shook everything until combined. After loosely covering the top with a piece of parchment paper and tying it with a string, it was time to wait.

About 24 hours later, my crème had fraîche-d, and I was left with a slightly tangy, rich custard of a cream. It was not as thick as the store-bought stuff, but not detrimentally so—it would still be happy atop grilled bread or a beet cakeFor argument's sake, though, let's breakdown the merits of homemade crème fraîche.

Worth It 

  • Just two ingredients! Two! 
  • The whole process takes all of 2 minutes.
  • Price-wise, heavy cream and a carton of buttermilk cost less than a $8 container of store-bought crème fraîche.

Not Worth It 

  • Well, the wait is 24 hours, so a bit of planning is involved.
  • If you're looking to use this crème fraîche as a replacement for sour cream, err on the side of caution. It's not as tangy, and its subtle flavor might be lost atop, say, pork tacos

Final verdict: Worth it!

Photos by Adrianna Adarme and James Ransom 

Tags: Community, Tips & Techniques, Advice, DIY Food, How-To & Diy, Your Burning Questions