what is creme fraiche-and what would be a substitute

  • Posted by: william
  • July 27, 2015
Any Fruit Upside-Down Cake
Recipe question for: Any Fruit Upside-Down Cake


sonya August 10, 2015
From Cook's Country magazine, June/July 2007, here's a great definition and how to very very easily make it yourself:

"What is crème fraiche? If I can’t find it at my grocery store, can I use a substitute?

Créme fraiche, contrary to its English translation as "fresh cream," is actually heavy cream that has been soured with a bacterial culture. Texturally, it is similar to sour cream, but with a lighter, more refined flavor. Because crème fraiche will not curdle when boiled, it is often stirred into savory soups or sauces to add a lush finish. If your supermarket doesn't carry crème fraiche (or if you aren't willing to pay the hefty price), it can be made at home. Simply stir one tablespoon of cultured buttermilk into one cup of heavy cream, cover, and let sit at room temperature until the mixture has thickened (at least eight hours or up to two days). Refrigerated in an airtight container, homemade crème fraiche will keep for about two weeks. If you're in a pinch, whisking 2 tablespoons of heavy cream into 1 cup of sour cream will give you the correct flavor and texture, but if you're adding the mixture to a soup, be aware that it will separate if boiled."

That's how to make creme fraiche for any recipe, but if you want to top a dessert with it, the recipe will typically suggest that you sweeten your creme fraiche. Here's a recipe for that, too:

" Lightly Sweetened Creme Fraiche

Published September 1, 2003, Cook's Illustrated magazine

Why this recipe works:

For a quick crème fraiche recipe, we simply whisked together sour cream and heavy cream in a bowl and let the mixture stand until thickened before sweetening it with sugar and vanilla.

Makes about 1 cup

We especially like this on baked apples.


1/2 cup sour cream (4 ounces)
1/2 cup heavy cream (4 ounces)
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons sugar


Whisk sour cream and heavy cream in bowl; set aside at room temperature until thickened to the consistency of yogurt, about 1 1/2 hours. Just before serving, stir in vanilla, salt, and sugar."
Smaug August 8, 2015
Mexican crema is probably the closest you'll find at the store.
PieceOfLayerCake July 27, 2015
While I like crème fraîche as an accompaniment to dishes, I think its nuances are lost in a baked good. I prefer sour cream when baking since its stronger tang is generally more pronounced. Just make sure you choose a thinner sour cream or thin out what you have (to a yogurt consistency). Some sour cream can be quite thick.
AntoniaJames July 28, 2015
Great advice (as usual), PieceOfLayerCake. ;o)
PieceOfLayerCake July 28, 2015
Aww shucks ;) <3
sexyLAMBCHOPx July 27, 2015
erinmcdowell stated in the comments (I would strongly suggest reading for tips), "You can use sour cream instead!"
Monita July 27, 2015
Creme fraiche is somewhere between sour cream and cream cheese. Here's a thread from Amanda Hesser about substitutions https://food52.com/hotline/10973-creme-fraiche-substitute
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