As an avid cook, I understand the importance of having the perfect ingredients on hand to create my culinary masterpieces. But what happens when a recipe calls for crème fraîche and you're fresh out of it? Fear not, my fellow food enthusiasts! I have explored some of the best creme fraiche substitutes that you can use.
- What is Crème Fraîche?
- List of the 11 best Crème Fraîche Substitutes:
- 1. Sour Cream
- 2. Mascarpone
- 3. Greek Yogurt
- 4. Cream Cheese
- 5. Cottage Cheese and Heavy Cream
- 6. Ricotta Cheese and Heavy Cream
- 7. Kefir
- 8. Mexican Crema
- 9. Labneh (Middle Eastern Strained Yogurt)
- 10. Cashew Cream
- 11. Coconut Cream
- People Also Ask [FAQs]
- Wrap Up: Crème Fraîche Substitute
- 🍽️ Recipe
What is Crème Fraîche?
At its simplest, crème fraîche is a type of soured cream with origins in France. It's made by adding lactic acid bacteria culture to heavy cream (which is often pasteurized). This process thickens the cream and gives it its signature tangy flavor.
Unlike sour cream, which is usually made with buttermilk or vinegar, crème fraîche contains no added acids or thickeners. It's also higher in fat content than regular sour cream - usually around 30-40%.
Crème Fraiche has a mild, slightly tart flavor that's reminiscent of sour cream but less intense. It's also much thicker in texture than either sour cream or even yogurt, and has a rich silky texture.
It is a very versatile ingredient, and some common uses include mixing into mashed potatoes or using as a topping on tacos or chili.
You can find creme fraiche in most grocery stores in the dairy aisle, next to greek yoghurt and heavy whipping cream.
When storing crème fraîche, it's best kept sealed in an airtight container, such as its own container if it has a lid, or a mason jar, in the refrigerator where it will last up to two weeks after opening.
If you're not planning on using it all within two weeks, freezing is also an option - although thawing can affect the consistency (it may become watery). Creme fraiche can also be purchased in small tubs if you already know you will need very little of this creamy dairy product.
List of the 11 best Crème Fraîche Substitutes:
When you find yourself out of crème fraîche and have a recipe that calls for it, there are several other options to choose from. Here's a list of 11 great substitutes that you can use in its place [two of which are vegan!], and at the bottom, the recipe for your very own DIY crème fraiche.
1. Sour Cream
Sour cream, also known as cultured cream, is the reigning champion in my kitchen when it comes to replacing crème fraîche. Its fat content is slightly lower, ranging from 18% to 20%, but it boasts an incredibly similar taste and texture.
The slightly tangy flavor and creamy consistency make this a prime candidate for a long list of culinary uses. You can use it in soups, salad dressings, and even desserts, without skipping a beat.
To make the swap, simply use the same quantity of sour cream in place of crème fraîche.
The next contender on my list is the ever-indulgent mascarpone. Originating from Italy, this cheese is known for its high-fat content, typically around 45%, which gives it a luxuriously thick and creamy texture, and it is famously known for its use in tiramisu'.
With a subtle, slightly sweet taste, mascarpone is excellent when used in recipes that require a rich, creamy element. While it won't provide that same tanginess as crème fraîche, it's still a decadent replacement you'll fall in love with.
Use it as a 1:1 substitute in both savory and sweet dishes, from pasta sauces to tiramisu.
3. Greek Yogurt
If you find yourself searching for a healthier yet satisfying substitute for crème fraîche, look no further than Greek yogurt. This protein-packed powerhouse has a fat content ranging from 0% to 10%, depending on the brand and type you choose.
With a thick, creamy texture and tangy flavor, Greek yogurt can hold its own in various culinary uses. It's a great alternative for dips, salad dressings, and baking when you want to lighten up the final product.
Be aware, however, that using it in high-heat recipes may lead to separation. Simply replace crème fraîche with an equal amount of Greek yogurt in most recipes, but consider using full-fat Greek yogurt for best results, especially when using it for cooking.
4. Cream Cheese
A classic staple in many kitchens, cream cheese is another excellent substitute for crème fraîche. With a fat content ranging from 20% to 30%, its consistency is slightly thicker and less creamy than crème fraîche, but its subtle tangy flavor won't disappoint.
Cream cheese works well in a variety of dishes, both sweet and savory. While it may not be as versatile as some of the other options on this list, it's a dependable stand-in when you're in a pinch, and it tends to have a long shelf life, so there is a higher chance of already having it in the fridge!
When it comes to replacement quantities, use a 1:1 ratio for cream cheese, but ensure it's softened before incorporating it into your dishes.
5. Cottage Cheese and Heavy Cream
Cottage cheese is made by curdling milk with acid, making it a great substitute for crème fraîche. It has a milder flavor than crème fraîche but still provides a creamy and rich texture.
To make this substitute, mix 1 cup of cottage cheese with ¼ cup of heavy cream. This mixture will yield one cup of “crème fraîche.” The cream is the same used for whipped cream.
Cottage cheese is lower in fat than crème fraîche so consider adding an extra tablespoon or two of butter if needed.
This substitute is best used in baked goods such as cakes and muffins because it adds richness without overpowering their flavors.
6. Ricotta Cheese and Heavy Cream
Like cottage cheese and heavy cream, this combination yields one cup of “crème fraîche” when mixed together.
Ricotta cheese has a slightly sweeter flavor and more subtle texture than cottage cheese which makes it ideal for recipes like fresh fruit salads or even savory dishes such as lasagna and eggplant parmesan.
Use one cup of ricotta cheese combined with ¼ cup of heavy cream to achieve the desired result. Again, if the recipe requires more fat content feel free to add some butter to enhance its richness.
Kefir is another good alternative to replace crème fraîche due to its thick consistency and sour taste. It is made from fermented cow or goat milk which gives it a distinct tangy flavor that works well in many recipes including soups or dressings.
This ingredient can be used as-is since its consistency is already quite similar to that of crème fraîche; however, you can always thin it out with some water if necessary depending on the recipe requirements.
Kefir also contains higher amounts of beneficial probiotics which makes it healthier than other substitutes for crème fraîche.
8. Mexican Crema
Mexican crema is also very similar to crème fraîche due to its slightly sour taste and creamy consistency; however, Mexican crema tends to be thinner so adding some sour cream or mascarpone may be necessary depending on what type of dish you are making.
It usually requires no additional ingredients since its fat content tends to be higher than other substitutes mentioned above (like cottage cheese). Mexican crema pairs well with spicy food so try using it as a topping for tacos or enchiladas!
9. Labneh (Middle Eastern Strained Yogurt)
Labneh is a type of strained yogurt commonly used in Middle Eastern cuisine. It can be used as-is or mixed with some herbs and spices to give it extra flavor.
It has a similar consistency to crème fraîche but typically contains less fat so additional ingredients such as cream cheese or sour cream may be necessary depending on the recipe.
Labneh, like kefir, is also a healthier substitute, as it contains active cultures which can help with digestion and immune system health.
10. Cashew Cream
For a vegan alternative to crème fraîche, a cashew cream is an excellent option. Cashews are soaked in water until they are soft and then blended with seasonings like lemon juice, garlic, or herbs.
The resulting mixture can be used as-is and yields a creamy texture that is similar to crème fraîche.
Cashew cream can be used similarly to crème fraîche in sweet and savory dishes such as sauces, dips, and dressings or even sweet dishes like cakes, pies, and tarts.
11. Coconut Cream
Another vegan alternative to crème fraîche is coconut cream. It has a similar texture to crème fraîche and can be used as-is in savory dishes, or sweetened for use in baking.
Coconut cream also contains beneficial healthy fats which makes it healthier than other substitutes mentioned above.
People Also Ask [FAQs]
No, crème fraîche is not sour cream; although they share a similar tangy flavor, their texture, and fat content set them apart.
Crème fraîche can last for up to two weeks when stored in the refrigerator. However, it should be checked regularly and discarded if any mold forms on its surface. Always remove the desired amount using a clean spoon to avoiding it spoiling quicker.
Wrap Up: Crème Fraîche Substitute
- There are many alternatives to crème fraîche that can be used in both savory and sweet recipes.
- Whether you’re looking for a vegan option or something with more fat content, these substitutes should provide the desired result while also being healthier than traditional crème fraîche.
- Creativity doesn't stop at just one substitute! In situations where you have a bit of sour cream, Greek yogurt, or cream cheese available, don't be afraid to mix and match for your desired consistency and taste. For example, combining equal parts of sour cream and cream cheese can give you a close approximation of crème fraîche in terms of texture and flavor.
- Experiment with different combinations of ingredients such as cottage cheese and heavy cream or ricotta cheese and butter until you find what works best for your recipes!
- With a bit of creativity and experimentation, it's easy to make delicious dishes without using any dairy products at all.
How To Make Crème Fraîche
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons cultured buttermilk
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Start by combining the cream and buttermilk in a glass jar or resealable container.
- Next, mix the ingredients together until they are well blended, before sealing the container and allowing it to sit at room temperature for 12-24 hours.
- Once this time has passed, your crème fraîche mixture should have thickened into a creamy texture.
- It can then be stored in the refrigerator for up to 10-12 days.
- For best results, try stirring in some freshly chopped herbs or spices before serving to add an extra layer of flavor to your dish, or use it as described in the recipe you are following.
- Make sure to use heavy cream when creating crème fraîche, as this will help ensure that the mixture thickens properly.
- Letting the crème fraîche sit out for 12-24 hours is essential, but if you'd like a richer flavor don't hesitate to let it sit out for an additional 4-8 hours.