Cheese

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

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? 

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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 

14 Comments

Michael K. September 24, 2016
Do you refrigerate it during the 24 hrs or just leave on the counter???<br />
 
Judith O. September 25, 2016
I leave mine on the counter.<br />
 
Elizabeth August 18, 2015
We love making our own...and we've even made our own creme fraiche butter! Yep, just pour it into your ol' kitchenaid, whip on high until until the mass separates into whey and butterfat, strain, rinse and press into a bowl. Best. Thing. Ever on warm, crusty sourdough!
 
kaye.spaude August 18, 2015
Thanks for sharing! I have not been able to find creme fraiche within 200 miles of my home so I only have the option of homemade creme fraiche!
 
Charlie S. August 16, 2015
It'll turn out better if you make sure your cream is at least 40% fat.
 
Sam1148 August 15, 2015
For me it's so much a matter of 'worth it or not' it's a matter of 'have it or not'. It's not a common supermarket item around here. <br />The only draw back is that planing ahead thing.
 
Cecilia G. August 15, 2015
I use the cream from my milk cow - her name is Lady Astor and she eats some really good clover! I make piles of creme fraiche and eat it with just about everything! Great article. c
 
Author Comment
Riddley G. August 17, 2015
Wow, I wish I had my own Lady Astor!
 
SarahBunny August 15, 2015
I use a 2:1 cream to buttermilk ratio and let it sit out 36-48 hours. Unless I fail to plan ahead, I'll never dish out $6 for a cup of creme fraiche again.
 
Matt N. August 16, 2015
Does the additional buttermilk make it tangy-er?<br />
 
Mei C. August 15, 2015
I love home made crème fraîche! If you want it thicker, just let it sit longer, and don't stir.
 
Author Comment
Riddley G. August 17, 2015
Thanks for the tip, Mei!!
 
Calissa August 15, 2015
I love homemade creme fraiche, it's so worth it. I use the whey that comes off of plain yogurt mixed with heavy cream and cover it with a brown coffee filter and wrap a rubber band around it to secure it. I keep mine in the oven with the oven light on for 24 hrs then put it in the fridge to get even thicker for another 24 hrs. The oven light keeps the temperature perfect and consistent. It's so tasty you'll never buy store bought creme fraiche again!
 
Author Comment
Riddley G. August 17, 2015
Whoa, whey cool! I'll have to try this method.