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How to Make Crème Fraiche at Home with Just Two Ingredients

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Crème fraiche may sound fancy, but this two-ingredient recipe is perfect for topping tacos or stirring into savory sauces. And it’s a SNAP to make at home.

homemade creme fraiche in a tulip shaped orange bowl

What is crème fraiche and how do you make it?

In a nutshell, it’s thickened cream; a rich, thick, creamy wonderfulness.

Made with heavy whipping cream and buttermilk, this crème fraiche recipe is beyond easy to make. In my quest for a sour cream replacement (so I can stop bringing home those plastic tubs of store bought sour cream) I’ve experimented with a couple of different recipes. For topping tacos, this crème fraiche recipe got thumbs up as the best of the recipes I tried.

The homemade sour cream recipe I made results in a somewhat tangier, somewhat looser option than this creme fraiche.

These recipes are so similar, they’re kind of interchangeable in recipes. Which one you choose to make may just depend on availability of ingredients. You may not always have buttermilk on hand; if you don’t, use my sour cream recipe instead. (Lemon juice is a staple in most refrigerators, right?) That sour cream recipe is perfect for making dips and makes a fine creme fraiche substitute.

Here’s a trick, though. When you buy buttermilk to make these buttermilk biscuits, freeze the leftover buttermilk in ice cube trays. Measure two tablespoons into one cell of an ice cube tray, then pour buttermilk into the remaining cells to match that level. (That way you don’t need to measure each and every one!) When you’re ready to make a batch of crème fraiche, pop out a cube, let it melt, then stir it into the cream as directed.

Here’s how to make creme fraiche in a nutshell: combine two ingredients — that will take you five minutes or less. Let them stand at room temperature. I know, letting dairy products sit at room temperature goes against everything you’ve been taught. But trust me on this. Left to sit, the ingredients will thicken. Stir the mixture and store it in an airtight container in the fridge.

Making this recipe is as easy as can be and completely eliminates the need to buy sour cream in plastic containers. It’s an easy step to embrace on your path to using less plastic!

homemade creme fraiche in a tulip shaped orange bowl

★ Did you make this crème fraiche recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below! ★

Easy Homemade Crème Fraiche

Easy Homemade Crème Fraiche

Yield: 16
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 minute
Resting time: 12 hours
Total Time: 12 hours 6 minutes

It sounds fancy, but this two-ingredient recipe is easy as can be and a great substitute for sour cream.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons buttermilk

Instructions

  1. Combine heavy cream and buttermilk in a jar. If you use a canning jar, the measurements on the side of the jar make it easy! hand holding an empty Ball canning jar
  2. Use a rubberband to secure a thin piece of cloth over the jar. canning jar covered with a striped red cloth, held on with a rubberband
  3. Let mixture sit at room temperature until thickened to your liking, 8-24 hours.
  4. Stir creme fraiche and store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Notes

Serve creme fraiche over tacos or stir some into this creamy pumpkin soup.

Note: To be clear, there is no COOKING involved with this recipe, but the recipe card feature I use here isn't allowing me to leave that space blank. :/

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 16 Serving Size: 1 tablespoon
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 52Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 3gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 21mgSodium: 8mgCarbohydrates: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 1g

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Meet the Author

Kris Bordessa

Kris Bordessa founded Attainable Sustainable as a resource for revitalizing vintage skills. Her book, Attainable Sustainable: The Lost Art of Self-Reliant Living (National Geographic) offers a collection of projects and recipes to help readers who are working their way to a more fulfilling DIY lifestyle.

5 comments… add one
  • Tracy Nelson Jun 23, 2019, 2:08 am

    This looks great. If I’m not able to use it all up in two weeks, will it freeze well?

    • Kris Bordessa Jun 23, 2019, 8:27 am

      I’d be more inclined to halve the recipe if you didn’t think you’d use it all. Freezing will work, but the texture will change slightly. (Good for baking with, though.)

  • Mae Oct 4, 2019, 6:44 am

    I had made this once with store bought buttermilk and it came out perfectly! But recently I’d made some homemade butter that left me with plenty of buttermilk so I used that and this time it took almost 48 hours to even get moderately thick. What did I do wrong?

    • Kris Bordessa Oct 5, 2019, 2:27 pm

      Most store bought buttermilk is *cultured. I imagine that’s the difference.

      • SUZANNE Apr 11, 2020, 10:44 am

        What exactly do you mean by cultured when you refer to buttermilk. Is this a special process used to make commercial buttermilk?

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