There are several options if you can’t find creme fraiche! Here’s the best creme fraiche substitute to use in recipes and for dolloping.
Crème fraîche is essentially a French version of sour cream, but it’s even richer and thicker. This velvety cultured cream is used in many ways: as a creamy dip for veggies, for dolloping soups, or even a spoonful over fruit or a dessert. It doesn’t separate or curdle when heated, ideal for making creamy sauces. But what if your recipe calls for creme fraiche and you can’t find it at the store? Here are a few of the best creme fraiche substitutes.
Best creme fraiche substitute
Note that how these options work depend on the type of recipe and how the creme fraiche is used.
1. Make it homemade!
Guess what: you can make your own creme fraiche! All you need is 24 hours, heavy cream, and plain yogurt. Let the two sit in a warm place for a day and it will thicken into a homemade version of this delightful French cream. Go to Homemade Creme Fraiche.
2. Mascarpone (in desserts).
The best substitute for creme fraiche, other than making it yourself? Mascarpone. Mascarpone is essentially an Italian cream cheese with a lightly sweet taste. Its rich and creamy texture is very similar to creme fraiche. The flavor is sweeter than creme fraiche, without the subtle tang, so it works best in desserts.
3. Sour cream (easiest option!).
The easiest substitute for creme fraiche? Sour cream! It’s rich and creamy, though it has a slightly lower fat content so it’s slightly less so. And the flavor is even a little tangier! You may notice that gives a notch tangier flavor than creme fraiche would. But if you have it on hand, it can do the trick! You can experiment with sour cream in both baking recipes and dolloping. Use it as a 1:1 substitution.
4. Full fat Greek yogurt (in a pinch).
Another creme fraiche substitute in a pinch? Greek yogurt! However, keep in mind that Greek yogurt is not nearly as rich and creamy, and the flavor is much tangier than creme fraiche. This substitution can work in baking recipes, but it will change the texture because there is less fat. It’s an easier substitute for dolloping soups. The ratio? 1:1. That is, replace 1 cup creme fraiche with 1 cup yogurt.
Note: If your recipe calls to add creme fraiche to a hot sauce or soup, beware! Yogurt has much less fat than creme fraiche, so it can curdle easier. Use a lower temperature when simmering, or turn off the heat and add it at the end of making the recipe.
Here are a few recipes made more perfect with creme fraiche:
- Easy Apple Crumble (dollop!)
- Roasted Baby Potatoes with Chive Oil
- Best Apple Pie Recipe
- Mexican Crema Recipe
- Related: Substitutes for Sour Cream
About the Authors
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.